Monday, May 5, 2008

And That Happened

Braves 14, Reds 7: Mrs. Shyster came into the living room yesterday afternoon and told me that I had to fix the shelves in the garage. Her view: the screws holding the standards in the wall are hanging by a thread, and sooner or later 75 pounds of garage crap is going to fall onto her station wagon. My view: I'm the one who did the substandard job of putting those shelves up in the first place, so I'm in the unique position to know that if they haven't fallen down by now, they're probably not going to fall any time soon. Maybe. Besides: the wagon is a Volvo, and the Swedish build those things tough. Now will you please let me watch the ballgame?

Five minutes later I was in the garage with a drill in my hand listening to the Braves and Reds on the radio. This was actually OK, because my first exposure to baseball was over the radio, and I often forget how enjoyable it is to listen to a game on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, I was listening to Marty Brennaman, and that poor bastard has simply lost it. Look, we all hate to listen to homer announcers, and we all find it refreshing when the guys in the booth tell the tough truths. Brennaman, however, is long past that stage and is deep into angry and bitter disgust with the Redlegs. Sure, the seven-run second inning would be tough on anyone, but Brennaman made it sound like he was being forced to watch the commission of war crimes. He sounds like a man who truly hates his job, and truly hates the Reds. As a Braves fan enjoying the pasting I should have been reveling in just how bent out of shape he was, but I was mostly just embarrassed for him. Perhaps the most telling thing was the fact that I was actually happy when Jeff Brantley took over next inning. It was so discombobulating that I plan to blame Brennaman when the new shelves come crashing down on the Volvo next winter.

Marlins 10, Padres 3: At this rate, Greg Maddux is going to hit 350 losses first.

Yankees 8, Mariners 2: For those of you who have lost your mid-90s-Mets/2008 Yankees pitching prospect translation key, it goes something like this: (a) Phil Hughes is to Darrell Rasner as Jason Isringhausen is to Rick Reed; and (b) Ian Kennedy is to Kei Igawa as Bill Pulispher is to Brian Bohanon.

Blue Jays 4, White Sox 3: Halladay had pitched four straight complete games before this one, and had lost three of them. All of the commentary about him, as well as his own quotes after this game followed the "man, Roy hasn't been getting any help out there" meme. Thing is, two of the three complete games he lost weren't exactly gems -- he gave up 5 runs on April 23rd and 4 runs (on 11 hits) on April 17th. Know what? Maybe Halladay wouldn't have been 1-3 in his last four starts if everybody was less enamored with his toughness and durability and actually took him out when he was truly out of gas rather than let him hang on for those complete games.

Royals 2, Indians 0: The Indians -- with only four hits and no walks -- weren't going to win this one anyway, but it's worth noting that Betancourt came into the game in the ninth and promptly gave up a dinger, which means that he has given up six runs and two homers in his last two and two-thirds innings pitched. Rafael: when they told you that you had to take Borowski's place, they meant you had to pitch in the situations in which he previously pitched. They didn't mean you had to pitch like him.

Nationals 5, Pirates 2: The Nats started the season with three wins, then lost nine in a row, had a couple of three game skids, and now have won eight of eleven. They're probably going to play this kind of streaky, two steps forward, three steps back baseball all year, and it's an open question as to whether that is preferable to simply being a boring bad team who can't string anything together. I've followed both kinds of teams, and I think I like the streaky ones best, because they give you something to talk about.

Red Sox 7, Rays 3: Youkilis (3-4, 2B, HR, 4 RBI) muscles the Sox to a sweep over the Rays, returning the favor the Rays paid them last weekend in Saint Petersburg. A mere four days after all of the fun stuff about the Rays and Orioles recent good fortune, they both now find themselves three back of Boston, and I have this feeling they won't be getting much closer for the rest of the year.

Phillies 6, Giants 5: This is a very simple game. You hit the ball, you catch the ball, you throw the ball. Unfortunately, the Giants don't two at least two of those things well. What's their record? 14-18. 14-18! How did they ever win 14?

Twins 7, Tigers 6: Carlos Guillen lets a two-out groundball get through the wickets, opening up the floodgates in the seventh inning. In other news, Tigers' DH Gary Sheffield is hitting .185/.340/.309, and the best third baseman on the team is a utility guy. If only there were a solution to this problem . . .

Astros 8, Brewers 6: You're not going to believe this, but Eric Gagne allowed five baserunners in the ninth and blew the save. It had basically nothing to do with the outcome of the game, but Salomon Torres pitched a couple of scoreless innings. I always like to see him do well. Though his poor start on the final day of the 1993 season helped my Braves win the division, the guy still gets heckled by Giants' fans, and that seems way the hell out of line for something that happened so long ago. What were you doing in the fall of 1993? I was living in my first apartment and making $3.85/hr as a clerk at the supply counter of the Ohio State University Bookstore. I wasn't old enough to drink yet. I still had a head full of hair. I thought Olive Garden was a pretty nice restaurant. I went to the Indians-White Sox game the same day Torres got blown up by the Dodgers and actually got mad because someone parked too close to my Chevy Cavalier in the Municipal Stadium parking lot. In short, I would be insulted if someone judged me based on what I was like in 1993, because I'm certainly not the same person I was then, so I get mad whenever I hear about Torres still having to live down what happened on October 3rd of that year.

Angels 6, Orioles 5: Joe Saunders gives up 12 hits in 5 innings, but only gives up four runs. Attention sportscasters: you are officially authorized to use the term "scattered."

A's 3, Rangers 1: Someone must have told Jack Cust (2-3, HR, 2 RBI) that he needed to heat up or else look for a job, because he's ten for his last twenty and has raised his average nearly 100 points in the past week or so.

Rockies 7, Dodgers 2: LA's eight game winning streak is over. From the Game Notes: "
Torre said the Dodgers have had the eyes of slumping Andruw Jones examined several times. 'They've checked out OK,' Torre said. 'We know his problems aren't physical ones and his hitting trouble isn't terminal.'" I hate to be a pessimist, but given how Jones has fallen completely off a cliff, how exactly do they know that this isn't the end? On what is Torre basing his hope?

Mets 5, Diamondbacks 2: The heretofore reeling Mets take 2 out of 3 from the best team in the league. People who know a thing or two say that's not good enough.

Cardinals 5, Cubs 3: Someone forgot to tell St. Louis that the NL Central was supposed to be a Brewers-Cubs race this year. Albert Pujols is hitting .358/.518/.604. Imagine what he'd be doing if he had an elbow that worked. Game highlight: listening to Morgan and Miller go out of their way to compare Fukudome to Ichiro and Matsui, despite the fact that he has very little in common with either of them apart from his nationality. Am I crazy -- or just reaching for poignancy -- if I say that based on his numbers in the NPL NPB, he's closer to being Joe Morgan than either of those two other guys, and the very man who should see that is the one reaching for race-appropriate comparisons?


Bob Timmermann said...

But if you forget about Marty, you will just have to put up with his spawn, Thom. That's not much of an improvement. In fact, it's even worse.

However I believe the Japanese baseball leagues go by NPB, not NPL. B

erik said...

On the Cubs-Cards game, I liked how Morgan was going on and on about how player's fit into certain lineup spots due to their personality, and kept citing Tony Gwynn as his example to prove his point, repeatedly saying how Gwynn was a great hitter but not a 3rd place hitter...supposedly to support the fact that great hitters sometimes don't hit well in certain lineup spots. He completely fails to mention that Gwynn played mostly in the 3rd spot, with the second most PA's in the 2nd spot, and all of his slash stats (BA/OBP/SLG) were higher when he hit 3rd...

Craig Calcaterra said...

Thanks for the heads up on NPB/NPL, Bob. I always mess that up.

Erik: yeah, that pretty bit pretty much drove me nuts too.

Kelly said...

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the Fukudome comment. The side-by-side video of how he "sort of" hits like Ichiro was almost too much.

Alex said...

ESPN and last night's announcers were also going out of their way to play up the Cubs-Cards rivalry. I think they finally feel bad for forgetting there's baseball outside the northeast, but this is too little too late.

Also, I was under the impression that pretty much all Japanese hitters (lefties at least) hit with the one-foot-out-the-box style like Ichiro. Even Matsui.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday the umps blew two obvious calls and one of them led to an error for a fielder.

It seems odd that a defender who makes the play is charged with not making the play because the ump blew the call. I wonder if all the defensive metric systems end up with that result.

Anonymous said...

Easy with the Halladay comments. Those complete games do wonders for my fantasy team.

Anonymous said...

As a Dodger fan, I agree with your view of Andruw Jones. Couldn't believe that the Dodgers actually signed him, he's been on the decline for 2 yrs prior to this. Might as well just put up 2 strikes on the board as he walks up to the plate, would save a lot of time. They need to stop signing Brave outfielders.