Yankees-Tigers/Braves-Pirates/Jays-Indians: All the games within a three hour radius of chez Shyster were rained out yesterday, which tells you that the weather was pretty crappy at chez Shyster too. This was fairly disastrous, in that in honor of Mother's Day, I took charge of the kids, which allowed Mrs. Shyster to go shopping all day. There's nothing more dire than seven or eight hours with a 4 year-old and a 2 year-old and no way to get them out on the playground or a busy street or something to let them run and blow off steam. What's worse, there were no afternoon baseball games to provide pleasant background noise either, because the only two scheduled to show up on my TV -- Tigers-Yankees and Indians-Jays -- were canceled. I thought about turning on the radio to catch the Reds, but after last week's experience, I couldn't risk Marty again.
The point of all of this is to tell you that I think I lost my mind somewhere between the Play Doh and the 153rd rendition of "On top of Spaghetti," so please forgive me if this morning's recaps are somewhat sub par. Anyway:
Brewers 5, Cardinals 3: All-hail the bullpen-by-committee. The Brewers have actually gained a game in the standings since I slagged on them on Friday. I wonder if the Gagne-drama is enough of a distraction to save Yost's job for a while should things continue to be mediocre in Milwaukee. It'll be an academic question if they get more games like this one out of Ryan Braun (2-4, 2HR, 2 RBI).
Royals 4, Orioles 0: Brian Bannister rights the ship (8 IP, 2, H, 0 ER). Tony Pena, Jr. was a defensive replacement. He didn't play on Friday and was a defensive replacement last Wednesday as well. Could it be that Hillman has finally figured out that it's not 1966 anymore and that this is a guy who can't get 500 at bats?
Mets 8, Reds 3: You have to wonder if Johnny Cueto's first couple of starts aren't going to end up screwing him up for a long time. If he had simply been passable out of the gate instead of dominant, his recent stretch of awfulness (4.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 2 HR) could be addressed by a move to the bullpen or some time in Louisville or something. As it stands, though, there are probably a lot of people convinced that he just needs to be run out there 25 more times this year, assuming that he'll somehow return to being Bob Gibson soon enough. Instead of simply being a kid with great stuff but a lot of trouble with concentration and the gopher ball, he's under the microscope. An issue to be tackled on talk radio. A problem to be solved by anyone with a field pass and an idea about how to fix pitchers.
Rays 8, Angels 5: If the season ended today, the Rays would be in the playoffs and the Angels would not be. Just thought that was worth mentioning. All the more impressive is that Tampa Bay has been doing this while getting virtually nothing from their big money (for them anyway) corner infielders Carlos Pena (.716 OPS) and Evan Longoria (.711). I'm guessing each of them are eventually going to hit this year, which should make life pretty uncomfortable for the other wild card wannabes in the American League.
Marlins 5, Nationals 4: I'm guessing that if back in March you told Manny Acta that his best hitter come Mother's Day would be Aaron Boone, he would have reached for the Alka-seltzer. This one is all Luis Ayala's fault, though, as he came into the game in the 8th and gave up a single and a couple of homers in the process of wasting a nice start from Shawn Hill (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER). Dan Uggla had a big day for the fish (2-3, 2 HR) on a day when it seemed like 17 guys hit two home runs.
Cubs 6, Diamondbacks 4: Everyone was ready to crown Arizona last week and then they come to Chicago and drop three straight. Yesterday's may have been excusable, though, as it was under 50 degrees and rainy, which isn't exactly the kind weather anyone can get all that enthused about playing in.
A's 12, Rangers 6: Rich Harden makes his first start since April 2nd. It wasn't a good one: 3.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 4 BB. Thankfully for him, the Rangers sent out a slate of pitchers that were thought to be decent, oh, a decade or so ago, they got shelled, and Harden was off the hook.
Padres 3, Rockies 2: Yes, I know this was Saturday night's game, but (a) yesterday's game was pretty nondescript; and (b) this game was Maddux's 350th win. My man crush of two decades goes six innings, giving up three hits and one unearned run. All I ask is for five more wins so that he can retire with more than Clemens, and after that I will stop bargaining with God in an effort to protect his health and well being.
Mariners 6, White Sox 3: At the end of April, Ichiro was hitting .250 or something. An 11 game hitting streak to kick of May has him all the way up to .292 now, so I guess we can stop worrying if he'd lost something. And, yeah, I know they won the game and he got a couple of RBIs and everything, but can anyone explain to me what Miguel Cairo is doing starting at 1B for a team that, a month ago, had aspirations of making the playoffs? I mean, I know Seattle is having trouble with attendance, but I don't think having an original Devil Ray batting second is going to do anything to help it. You laugh, but the freak show rationale beats the baseball one.
Giants 4, Phillies 3: How happy do you think Ryan Howard is to have Andruw Jones around this year? Sure, he has a few more home runs, but they're both making eight figures are basically hitting .170 with a .280 OBP. He somehow hit a triple in this game. I didn't see the replay, but I have to assume that this was a blown call by the official scorer.
Astros 8, Dodgers 5: Somebody probably needed to wake up Joe Torre before he allowed Jonathan Broxton to give up his fifth consecutive hit without retiring a batter to start the eighth inning. I mean, the Dodgers did have the lead entering the frame, so there was something worth paying attention to.
Twins 9, Red Sox 8: This was probably the first time I've ever watched a Major League game and honestly thought, "yeah, I could probably hit this guy." Not the knucklers, but Wakefield threw a heck of a lot of his "fastballs" which, as Morgan pointed out, were essentially batting practice pitches. Speaking of Morgan, I realize he gets a lot of crap thrown his way (and that he deserves an awful lot of it) but at least while I was watching, he made probably five or six good sharp observations that added to my experience as a viewer. Just thought it was worth noting.