Monday, June 16, 2008

And That Happened

Rangers 8, Mets 7; Mets 4, Rangers 2: The Mets take two of three from the Rangers after reports that the weekend could make or break Willie Randolph. Which is silly of course. Based on those reports it seems like he's a dead man walking regardless of what happened in the Texas series, and Minaya's quotes after the second game bear that out: "These are our coaches today. They are our coaches. As the GM I leave myself room to evaluate things. I think we're not playing to our potential. I always leave room to evaluate things." Does that sound to you like a guy who was waiting for the weekend's results to make up his mind? The only question is what, exactly, is Omar waiting for?

Cardinals 7, Phillies 6
: Scary moment as Yadier Molina is taken off the field on a back board. Mitigating the situation: (a) later reports seem to indicate that he's OK; and (b) even if he wasn't, the Molina home world is standing by to replicate additional Molinas as needed. On a more serious note: Everyone is lauding Molina for being tough, but I've watched the reply several times, and it seems clear that if the throw from Chris Duncan had been online, Bruntlett would have likely gotten to Molina before the ball did. In other words, Molina was blocking the plate without the ball. It happens all the time, but a catcher shouldn't be allowed to do that, and if he wasn't doing that, he wouldn't have had his back turned to the runner when the ball came in, and probably wouldn't be in a hospital bed as you're reading this. Just sayin'.

Indians 7, Padres 3: C.C. Sabathia continues his Yankees' audition (8 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 10K) and bests Greg Maddux in the process. Actually, since all the stuff came out about the Yankees' rumors the other day, I'm way less inclined to believe that a trade will actually happen. Partially because those of you out there who know the Yankees' system have convinced me that the available parts don't match up, but mostly because I'm not convinced that Cleveland has any intention of giving up on the playoffs unless and until they go on some nasty skid. Right now, they basically have Grady Sizemore and no one else performing consistently, yet they've gained a game on Chicago in the last week and stand 5.5 games out. If I'm Shapiro, I probably don't think about unloading Sabathia until the All Star break, and then not at all if the margin is around the same or smaller. Why? I know my team is better than it has shown, and I have no faith in the White Sox keeping it up all year. Someone has to win this division, and I think Cleveland is as good a bet as Chicago, even with the 5.5 game deficit.

Tigers 5, Dodgers 4: The Dodgers have lost 15 of 20. By all rights they should be buried, but since Arizona has played pretty poorly too, they're still theoretically in the race. The Dodgers lost their designated hitter by moving Russel Martin to catcher in the eighth inning. How does Joe Torre make that mistake after managing in the AL for the past 12 years?

Red Sox 9, Reds 0: Homer Bailey is as lost as George Bailey was just before jumping off the bridge to save Clarence.

Cubs 7, Blue Jays 4: The Cubs lineup is obviously in flux now that Soriano is out for a while. I like the move of Fukudome up to the two-hole, which seems like a natural place for him. On the other hand, the only basis I can think for batting Jim Edmonds ahead of Geovany Soto is that Soto has an RBI incentive clause the Cubs are trying to avoid reaching maturity.

Brewers 4, Twins 3: Some controversy in the eighth inning as Brendan Harris called for time, didn't get it, and wasn't looking when strike three came over the plate from Guillermo Mota. Harris complained. Gardenhire was ejected for arguing it. Silly me. I thought you were supposed to pay attention unless and until the ump actually calls time. While we're talking about this, I'll note that this is one area in which I'd like to see umps become more aggressive in an effort to shorten games. It's not the umpire's job to ensure that the batter has optimized everything prior to taking a pitch. He only has to be sure that the guy is generally ready to go. My view would be that unless the batter has crap in his eye or unless the pitcher is really pushing the envelope with respect to Rule 8.04, the batter is committed once he digs in, and the next thing that should happen is either a pitch or a called ball in the event the pitcher takes more than 12 seconds.

Pirates 5, Orioles 4: Matt Capps blows his third save opportunity in four games, but manages to hang around through the 10th to pick up the win. His quote after the game: "Obviously it would have been a whole lot better to have the game end in the ninth inning, but I am what I am. I am who I am." What's that, a vulture?

Yankees 13, Astros 0: The Yankees have won four in a row and 9 of 12, but a 13-0 win that ends with Wang leaving on crutches can't feel like much of a victory. As for the Astros, whose reign as the NL's Team-Frisky is officially over now that the Pirates, of all teams, have passed them in the standings, Cecil Cooper said it best: "Today, we didn't even show up, didn't even compete. A total embarrassment."

Marlins 9, Rays 3: Congratulations Ricky Nolasco! You have now taken the lead for most pitches thrown by a starter in a game this season with 132. Even better, there was no competitive reason for it! Your team was up by seven as you entered the ninth, and your manager has admitted that sending you out again was for purely trivial purposes: "It would have been my first [complete game] as a manager as well. I've never had one, so I guess we were both cheering hard for it." To repeat: no shutout or milestone of any type was on the line, and the game was not in doubt. Fredi Gonzalez just thought it would be kind of cool to shred your arm.

A's 5, Giants 3: Oakland has swept the Giants twice in a row now. The Giants still have the questionable legal right to keep the A's off the peninsula and out of San Jose, imperiling the future of the franchise. Let's call it a wash.

Rockies 5, White Sox 3: After getting right against Detroit and Minnesota, the White Sox have hit the offensive skids again. How many reporters do you think were hanging around Ozzie Guillen at the end of this one, waiting for red meat?

Royals 8, Diamondbacks 3: After losing Friday's game 1-0 on a 10th inning walkoff homer, and after getting blown out on Saturday, I was at a loss to predict just how the Royals would lose this one. They showed me, though, actually winning it. One wonders what Arizona's intensity level is these days, what with knowing that no one in the NL west really appears able or willing to challenge them no matter how bad they play.

UPDATE: As Dre properly notes in the comments, I'm a freaking moron. Kansas City won on Saturday, not Arizona. I just lazily looked at the box score, saw a big number and a little number, and assumed that the Royals were on the short end of the stick. The lesson -- aside from the fact that I should probably pay attention to what happens over the weekend -- is that I am pretty shoddy when it comes to details.

Angels 2, Braves 0: The Angels salvage one behind seven and a third scoreless innings from Joe Saunders. Chipper goes 0-4, and is one more bad game away from dipping below .400. In other news, I'm not going to say that I'm losing touch with my favorite team, but until yesterday I had no idea that the "exciting new Braves starter" Jorge Campillo turns 30 in August. Still, a 2.17 ERA after six starts is nothing to sneeze at, even when he takes a hard luck loss like this one.

Nats 6, Mariners 2: The lowly Nats sweep the lowlier Mariners and now Seattle has lost approximately a gajillion straight home games. I scrolled down to the paid attendance, figuring it would be pretty pathetic. I was mistaken: 38,548, which is an 81% capacity crowd. This on a cloudy, cool day too. My first thought: promotion day. Second thought: not even free bats or balls could draw this many people to watch this crap team lose this crap matchup on what looked like a crap day. It must have been "free money day" or some promotion where every 10th customer gets a chance to play an inning at first base for the home team. I mean, at least that would explain Miguel Cairo's place in the lineup. What? Really? The MAJOR league roster? Wow.


Hotspur said...

Actually, as a Braves fan who's just moved from LA (14 years) to Seattle and recently attended my first Mariners game, I can tell you first-hand: Mariner fans are unabashedly enthusiastic about their team, in a manner which seems to have sprung to life fully-formed like Athena from Zeus' forehead in 1995, and which seems to have no discernible relationship to the actual current performance of the team (or lack thereof). It's the damndest thing I ever saw -- especially coming from the Turner Field environment, in which a team can win its division 14 times in a row and still not fill two-thirds of capacity for a playoff game.

Can't decide which I like better -- a good team with crappy fans, or a crappy team with good fans. Guess it'd be too much to ask for both.

Dre said...

Craig... KC blew out AZ on Saturday, not the other way around.

Craig Calcaterra said...

God, I'm a moron. Thanks, Dre. I updated the post.

Daniel said...

Rare form today Craig - an "It's a Wonderful Life" reference and the line, "Fukudome up to the two-hole," which I'm sure is a euphemism for something (I'm just not sure what).

Craig Calcaterra said...

When I wrote that I had no double entendre in mind, Daniel, but I will admit that it kind of looked dirty the moment I saw it. I like stuff like that, though, so I left it.

As for the other thing, I more or less have to stop myself from quoting either IAWL or Citizen Kane on every other post. It's hacky as hell to always be doing that, but I watched so many movies and so much TV as a kid that I can't help but see the world through media filters.

Anonymous said...


The AL prevailed over the weekend, 25-17, continuing the trend of the past few years. The Yankees, Detroit, and the beloved A's all swept, as did the Nationals.

So how bad is Seattle really?

I can tell you how bad the Giants are: 4 runs in 27 innings vs the A's.

Each game followed a pattern, both teams starters matched each other until the middle innings, when the A's combination of patience and game plan started to chip away at the Giants.

We all love Omar, but really, at 41, he isn't getting to his left like he needs to. And his secondbaseman, Ray Durham, at 37 isn't getting to his right. This means anything hit up the middle gets through against the Giants, and that's what the A's were doing: walk, up the middle, line drive.

Meanwhile, the A's infield of Ellis, Chavez, Crosby and Barton hoovered up everything, which worked great for their two rookie left handers, Smith and Eveland.

The Giants have done better than we expected so far this year. But if they played in the AL, they'd be duking it out with the Mariners for futility.

Daniel said...

Hey, IAWL is fine with me. That's by far my favorite "Christmas" movie and one my family has a tradition of watching every year.

BTW, I get to attend the Angels - Mets tonight, I've got seats right behind the Mets bullpen, and I'm trying to come up with some good (non-dirty) insults to hurl at Billy Wagner or other Mets relievers. Any suggestions?

Craig Calcaterra said...

No insults. Instead, you should try to get someone in the bullpen to go on record with an accurate, unvarnished opinion of Willie Randolph and his job prospects.

If you get someone -- especially Wagner, but I'll take anyone -- to say something they normally wouldn't say to the media, I'll put it in a post, credited to your intrepid reporting skills, of course.