Tuesday, June 3, 2008

And That Happened

Indians 13, Rangers 9: This game was available in HD at Chez Shyster last night, but I didn't watch it. Sure, I tuned in to the beginning, but seeing how nice a night it was out, I decided to take a walk instead. I went a couple of miles down the country lane out of my little village, cut through a nearby cornfield, and spent some time watching the beautiful Midwestern sunset while throwing rocks in a pond. When I came back, I mixed Mrs. Shyster and I a couple of scotch and sodas, sat down, and watched an hour and a half documentary about Las Vegas. Then I got up, sat down at the computer and returned a couple of emails. I was pretty tired at this point, but for some reason I went back into the living room, flipped some channels, and I'll be damned if the game wasn't still going on. Know what? For as much as I love baseball, I think I made the right choices last night.

Braves 7, Marlins 5: Smoltz comes back and immediately blows his first save opportunity (1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER). It took a wild pitch by Marlins' closer Kevin Gregg in the bottom of the ninth to get him and the Braves off the hook, and a Yunel Escobar homer in the 10th won it for Atlanta. I told you I couldn't watch.

Phillies 5, Reds 4: Jay Bruce was awesome again (2-4, HR, RBI) but Chase Utley was awesomer (3-4, HR, 2 RBI), homering in his fifth straight game. I think Utley is fantastic and everything, but it's worth noting that 16 of his 21 home runs have come at home this year, and he's over .200 points of OPS better there too. Last year, it was 14 of 22 at home. It's not like Citizens Bank is Coors east -- Ryan Howard hits 'em out at a fairly even clip at home and on the road -- but Utley seems to be particularly fond of the joint.

In other news, Ken Griffey, Jr. gets a night off. My buddy Mark -- a raging Reds fan -- sat in my office yesterday afternoon musing that Griffey is the most famous zero-tools player of all time. "He can't throw. He can't get to any balls in right. He has no speed or base running skills at all. He can't catch up to anything, and while he's going to get to 600 homers eventually, he'll never see 610." While I'm not as pessimistic about Griffey as Mark is -- I'm not a Reds fan after all, so I'm not as invested -- I find myself hoping that he'll pull a Mike Schmidt and retire the morning after he hits 600. It'll be a nice round number. He'll be able to claim that he went out on his own terms, even if it's not entirely true. His Hall of Fame case and legacy will be unchanged no matter what he does, and by bowing out midseason it will spare him and everybody else the spectacle of a sympathy trade to Seattle later this year when he'll be talked up as a solution to their DH problems, but in reality will be nothing more than a sideshow freak. C'mon Ken. Do it. Hit 600 and ride off into the sunset!

Orioles 6, Red Sox 3: It might have been a good night for one of those two-inning saves from Papelbon. As it was, Okajima coughed up four in the eighth and it was good night Irene.

Twins 6, Yankees 5: Livan Hernandez gives up 13 hits and a walk and the Yankees only score five runs off of him. Meanwhile, the Farnsworth-pitches-the-eighth-inning plan has begun without a hitch (1 IP, 3 H, BB, 1 ER, bacon saved by a caught stealing, but gets the loss anyway). All I know is, Joba had better pitch well tonight or else there will be a lot of second guessing in the New York papers. Wait, what am I saying? Joba could pitch a 27 strikeout perfect game and there would be a lot of second guessing. This is New York we're talking about.

Pirates 5, Cardinals 4: 57 games into the season, and Pittsburgh is sitting at 27-30. That's three games better than they were at this point last year. It's six games better than they were at this point in 2006. Do you know what that means? It means that by 2011 the Pirates stand a decent statistical chance of leading the division 57 games into the season!

Brewers 4, Diamondbacks 3: Dre -- I know they lost, but I don't want to hear you complaining about the Dbacks anymore. I mean, they've lost seven of ten, and in that time have actually gained a game on the Dodgers. For as bad as they've been lately, the West is so terrible this year that I'm having a difficult time imagining Arizona blowing this.

Cubs 7, Padres 6: Chicago begins the portion of their schedule with a BUNCH of road games (12 of their next 15; 22 of their next 31). So far, so good. Bonus: Piniella kept his promise to shorten Zambrano after last Wednesday's 130 pitch outing.

A's 3, Tigers 2: Late inning heroics by Bobby Crosby seal the deal. The A's are kind of a 1960s team, aren't they? Sac flies, RBI singles, and guys who are nowhere near the lead lead in most hitting categories, but aren't so low that they'll kill you. Well, catcher (Kurt Suzuki, 80 OPS+) and first base (Daric Barton, 87) ain't helpin', but you get the idea.

Giants 10, Mets 2: Nothing like giving your team one-third of an inning to start a week-long road trip in style! Perez: 0.1 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 6 ER. About as heroic a turn a long man can give you from Claudio Vargas (4.2 IP, 0 ER) is the only thing that saved the bullpen for the next couple of days.


Mark Runsvold said...

It will only be fitting if the M's trade Jeff Clement or some other good prospect to the Reds for Junior and then bench him in favor of Jose Vidro when he doesn't hit.

Dre said...

ha! Thanks for the note Craig... last night's game was especially grueling all around. Melvin leaves Davis in 1 batter too long, Reynolds error contributes to 2 runs scoring, our LOOGY gives up the go ahead HR to Prince, and we get em loaded in the 9th with 1 out and come up empty after a popup and a strike out on a ball 4 inches inside and low.

Just think if Arizona had been playing well for the last 5 weeks, we could be printing playoff tickets already.

Jacob said...

Even though the results didn't show it (a better defense would have gotten him out of the inning), Smoltz was pretty filthy last night. I'm not sure exactly what he was throwing, but it was clocked at 95 and had ridiculous sink.

Daniel said...

I love your writeups Craig, but no Angels for like 5 days in a row? Give some love to the LAA. Okay, I'll stop complaining about this free blog now.

Here's some math for you:
Ken Griffey Jr - 400 Hr's - Emotion = Garret Anderson

Also, it's interesting that the NL West is so bad. Just about everyone was predicting this division to be a crapshoot among 4 85 - 90 win teams (Dbacks, Dodgers, Padres, and Rockies). Boy was that wrong.

Craig Calcaterra said...

No, you make a good point Daniel. I have to blame my son for the lack of West Coast coverage in general and Angels coverage in particular.

See, I usually start writing these up at around 10PM eastern as the east coast games are going final, and then finish with west coasst games when I wake up the next morning because, let's face it, I can't stay up as late as I used to.

For the past week, my boy -- who will turn 3 in July -- has decided that waking up at 6 am would be fun(yesterday it was 5:20!). My wife is either at the gym or in the shower around then, so I have no choice but to get him. Needless to say, that has killed my ability to write up the west coasters in anyting approaching a comprehensive fashion (I've opted for low hanging fruit in recent days).

Possible solutions:

(1) Kill my son. Promising, but probably involves a lot of paperwork;

(2) move to Marin County or Coronado Island, or Newport Beach or somewhere like that so I can get the west coast scores in by a decent hour. Again, promising, but I'll have to ask the New York Post people for a raise on what they pay me for book reviews. Currntly it's like $400 a pop. If they'd raise it to, say, $10,000 a review we may be getting there.

(3) I can suck it up and work a little harder.

Unfortunately, it looks like 3 is going to have to carry the day until my boy decides to sleep later.

Anonymous said...


The A's squeak out another victory at home, and I find myself in the curious position of defending Mr. K Suzuki, he of the lowest OPS
(.635) among qualified (see ESPN definition) catchers, behind even Jason Kendall.

The basic argument is this: the A's have the 3rd lowest team ERA in MLB at 3.51, close to the leading Jays (at 3.32). The catcher does have an impact on the team ERA, especially one who catches 9 of 10 games, K Suzuki is second in caught stealing percentage, above Pudge but behind Kendall, and for over a month he took one for the team batting leadoff. Since he has been repurposed to a more comfortable 9th hole, his OPS is up 60 points. Nobody will confuse him with McCann or Posada, but he's doing an excellent job behind the plate and having a positive impact on the staff. Just watch a few games and see how the pitchers react to him. He's closer to a Matheny/Ausmus type catcher (though still years away from THAT skill level-he's only 24, very young for a starting catcher).

As for Daric Barton, I'll let someone else take that one. :)Production at first is definitely a problem for the A's.

Daniel said...

Craig - I have a 2-year old son who decided to wake up at 5:30 the other morning (and does so occasionally). Thankfully, it hasn't become a trend, but I can relate.

You did forget though, that if your 3-year-old is healthy and somewhat robust, you can generally sell him into labor somewhere. Less mess than infanticide, plus a decent profit if you know how to haggle. Food for thought.

Anyway, I really do love your writeups whether the Angels are in them or not (this is the first place I come in the morning). We'd welcome you over on the Left Coast if you decide to move out here (East Coast games start at 4 pm!!!), but keep up the good work where you're at, and I'll welcome the Angels new when I can get it.

Bob Timmermann said...

I believe the Dodgers-Rockies and Angels-Mariners both finished before the Giants-Mets games.

Craig Calcaterra said...

Well, right, but to me back east they all ended after bedtime. When I woke up to the slate of box scores, I had a choice: pick on the low hanging fruit (Oliver Perez's craptacular performance) or think hard to say something insightful about the Dodgers and Angels. Given the little time I had thanks to Shyster Jr., I went with the low hanging fruit.