Wednesday, June 25, 2008

And That Happened

Giants 3, Indians 2: I had kind of a rough day yesterday. Things just weren't working right. Computer trouble. Client trouble. Kid trouble. By around 9:15PM or so, I had pretty much had it with the world. Before slipping into a nice cozy glass of scotch, I decided to turn on the end of this game. Though they're on every night here, the Indians do nothing for me. The Giants -- at least the current incarnation --do even less. But then, in the top of the ninth, San Francisco gets Rich Aurilia over to third with Omar Vizquel at the plate. They put the squeeze on and, Casey Blake's bobble aside, it's a thing of beauty. Good timing. Good execution. Great camera work by the STO team. It was the kind of thing that can make a pretty crummy day brighter.

Mariners 11, Mets 0: Getting pounded by the worst team in the game is bad, but letting Richie Sexson go 2-3 with 3 RBI off of you is even worse. Of course doing those things while getting shutout by a knuckleballer missing a normally essential ligament in his arm takes things to a whole new level. For what it's worth, Tim Wakefield's career ERA against the Mets is 2.43; Charlie Hough: 2.67; Phil Niekro: 3.02; Steve Sparks: 9.00, but that was only two innings.

Blue Jays 14, Reds 1: On Sunday the Daily News ran a story about trade rumors allegedly swirling around Bronson Arroyo. I wasn't buying it on Sunday, and after pinching off a one inning, ten-run, 11-hit loaf against the Jays last night, I don't think anyone else is buying it either. He's 0-for-June and is sporting 6.52 ERA overall. He's going to make over $20M between 2009-10. No one trades for a guy like that. They call in Exorcists to rid themselves of his unholy presence.

Pirates 12, Yankees 5: Bill Mazeroski threw out the first pitch. Two innings later he suited up and hit a two-run double off of Darrell Rasner because, hey, everyone else was doing it.

Astros 4, Rangers 3: Josh Hamilton left the game early with a gimpy knee. He's hitting .285 over his last ten games. As slumps go that's pretty minor, but you have to think that the heat and the fact that he doesn't get rested much could be catching up with him. While we're talking about Hamilton, I wanted to reprint a comment an anonymous commenter recently made in that "to boo or not to boo Hamilton" thread from the other day:
At Spring Training in Surprise this year, the Giants blew off my kids, age 9 & 11 when they went autograph hunting on Easter Sunday after the Giants/Rangers played. Josh Hamilton watched it happen, then ran over to where my kids were, introduced himself and signed baseballs, caps, bats and tickets until everyone left in the park had an autograph. He asked kids what positions they played, acted interested when they answered and probably saved my vacation by connecting with the kids. When we see Josh on TV now, we cheer - and you should too.
No one's life is so simple and straightforward that we can tell whether they are good guys or bad guys based on a single observation, but as single observations go, this is a pretty big one in Hamilton's favor.

Brewers 4, Braves 3: The good news: Jeff Francoeur's contact lenses may be working, as he went 2-4. The bad news: He's still killing the Braves, this time with two errors in the first inning which led to two unearned runs. Not that anything was going to stop the Brewers last night anyway, as they've won eight of nine.

Rays 6, Marlins 4: The top of the eighth was a study in mutual futility. First up were the Marlins, who gave up three rinky dink hits to the first three batters to load the bases. Then it was the Rays turn. Bases loaded and nobody out and they hit into two consecutive fielders choices in which the lead runner was forced out at home. Then the anti-momentum swung back to the Marlins, as reliever Joe Nelson walked in two guys in a row to give the Rays the lead for good.

Angels 8, Nats 3: If you Google "woeful" and "Nationals" you get 681,000 hits. That's not as bad as the Reds' 751,000, but it's far worse than the Mariners' 130,000 and the Royals' 29,500. And if you think for a second that my saying this is not about me playing the Joker to Chris Needham's Batman in an effort to lure him back onto the cruel streets to start blogging about the Nats again, well, you're just not familiar with my work.

Cardinals 8, Tigers 4: Hey, it's the 1934, 1968, and 2006 World Series! Feel the excitement! Less exciting but probably more relevant was Gary Sheffield's return after a month or so away. He went 1-4 with a homer. In other news, the National Association of Smoke Producers and Mirror Manufacturers has announced historically-low inventories among its members by virtue of an unusually large order placed by a customer from the Greater St. Louis area.

Red Sox 5, Diamondbacks 4: According to the game story, David Ortiz may hit off a tee today. My boy might too if I can get home from work before it rains.

Royals 7, Rockies 3: Until Alex Gordon's homer in the 7th, the Royals' runs all came on four singles and a fielder's choice. Not the most intimidating display of power the world has ever seen, but it was made up for quite nicely by Zach Greinke's ten strikeouts in six innings.

Orioles 7, Cubs 5: Chicago used 19 players in a game that was 7-1 at the seventh inning stretch. Yeah, it got a little closer after that, but from the box score it doesn't exactly look like the kind of game that would inspire someone to go all La Russa on us and empty the benches with double switches and all of that nonsense. Anybody see this? What was the deal? Did Piniella put in a bunch of bench warmers thinking the game was out of hand in the seventh?

A's 5, Phillies 2: Two big blasts -- by Emil Brown and Jack Cust -- put this one out of reach. Is it just me or does it seem like Emil Brown has had an inordinate number of huge, game-changing hits this year for a guy hitting .246/.288/.375? Maybe it is just me, but I feel like I've written some variation of "big hit from Emil Brown!" quite a few times this year.

Twins 3, Padres 1: Hells Bells! Hoffman gives up back-to-back homers to Brendan Harris and Brian Buscher in the ninth inning. If it makes him feel better, it wasn't a blown save because the game was tied. Probably doesn't make Jake Peavy (6 IP, 1 ER) and the rest of the Padres feel any better, though.

White Sox 6, Dodgers 1: Mark Buehrle (8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER) makes quick work ( 2:05) of the punchless Dodgers. Of course, he makes quick work out of just about anyone.


Anonymous said...

The Cubs used a lot of pitchers, for one, since Marshall was okay but ultimately ineffective (threw a lot of pitches) and threatened to take the lead a couple times late (including loading the bases with none out before George Sherrill remembered what baseball was and struck out the next 3 guys) so pinch hitters had to be used...but I think there was only one double switch when Edmonds came out for Marmol (I think)

mahnu.uterna said...

Being a StL fan has been a strange trip for a few years now. I couldn't even enjoy their 2006 run because there's NO WAY they could POSSIBLY win, so why get worked up? Now they're four games above their Pythagorean projection halfway through the season, and I wish they'd get on with the losing already so I can spend my time in more productive ways...

Jason said...

Good story on Hamilton. While I disagree with his rationale on his decision to boot his agent, he's still a guy worth rooting for. He's come all the way back and seemingly has a grasp of his place in the game and the debt he's trying to repay. (just repaying the debt to his agent, ba-dum-cha. Don't forget to tip your waitresses.)

Root for Hamilton. I wouldn't let the biz of the game influence anything.

Pete Ridges said...

This googling game has the potential to occupy far too much of my time.

Barry Bonds Evil Steroid User: 107,000
Overrated Jeter: 105,000
Psychopath Hillary Clinton: 83,000
Woeful Shysterball: 112

The last appears to be mainly due to Craig's description of the Giants organization.

Dre said...

Doug Davis throws a 7 inning gem but Bob Melvin, the idiot, leaves him out there to start the 8th. To compound his idiocy, Melvin then brings in Chad Qualls who sucks with men on base. Ballgame, Red Sox. This team tears my heart out on a daily basis.

Pete Toms said...

Did anybody know who Justin Christian is before last nite?

Is Ramon Vazquez not one of the seasons biggest surprises? ( ok, it's still June and he'll return to norms or whatever the statheads call it ) Nonetheless, credit where credit is due. After 160+ AB his BA is well over .300 and his OPS well over .900.

I saw Arroyo's performance. His line is indicative of how he pitched. He got RAWKED.

Is there a market for Eckstein? It appears he's not gonna play a lot under Gaston. Dodgers? How's Furcal?

Anonymous said...


The beloved A's continued their tour of NL Division leaders, this time playing the Phils. Fortunately the game was in the friendly expanse of the Mausoleum, where the sheer expanse of ground intimidated the band-box familiar Phillies.

Despite the unconscionable placement of K Suzuki at leadoff, from which spot A's management had successfully lowered his April BA by 130 points, the team managed to rally from Moyers' hypnosis and win due in large part to Mr. E Brown's 3 run HR in the 8th.

As Craig points out, Brown has been responsible for more than a few big hits for the A's. He's also been responsible for allowing the opposition extra bases and extra runs with his "play" in the outfield. But with Travis Buck maintaining an MLB BA south of Mendoza in two trips to the show in 2008, some combination of Cust/Brown in the outfield will have to be endured. Last year, Buck had an OPS over .850 with an OBP nearly .400. Perfect for leadoff.

Everyone the A's have tried at leadoff has been destroyed by the experience: Suzuki, Barton, Hannahan, Ellis, and back to Suzuki. And to make the torture worse, the team runs "flashback" commercials of the all time greats. There's nothing like watching K Suzuki, perfect in the 7hole, flailing away at leadoff only to be tortured by images of Rickey Henderson a few seconds later, with Bay Area native Joe Morgan intoning cheerfully "Rickey was the greatest lead-off hitter of all time." So he was.

Still, the A's play the right way, there's lots of "try" and "want-to" as the rodeo cowboys say, in the way the A's play. Despite their shortcomings they are entertaining to watch.

John said...

I'm an Indians fan and the Indians do nothing for me.

Daniel said...

Watching Dmitri Young try to field a grounder in widescreen Hi-Def is more brutal than the opening scene of "Saving Private Ryan." That might be why blogging about the Nationals could accurately be described as masochism, and, as such, not attractive to those wishing to keep their sanity.

Ron Rollins said...

Does anyone realize that the Cardinals have been in 2 of the last 4 World Series. No other National League team can say that.

I'm not sure why they don't get more respect. Or has Fox finally convinced everone in the world that the National League consists of the Cubs and Dodgers only?

Ron Rollins said...

In fact, you have to go back to '97 to find the last team that can claim 2 appearances, and that's the Marlins.

A little love, please.

Craig Calcaterra said...

No lack of love here, Ron. Just the realization that the Cards are continuing to win (a) without the best hitter in baseball; (b) without their best pitcher from those World Series teams; and (c) in a Central division that is way more competitive now than it was in 2004 or 2006.

And don't get me wrong, I'm not devaluing their wins or anything. My definition of "smoke and mirrors" is not "fraud" or "phony" or something. Rather, it's just the term I apply to a team getting by on unexpected performances, pluck and luck, and that in my mind is what the Pujols and Carpenter-free Cards are doing.

Ron Rollins said...


I should started by saying I agree with you. It has been smoke and mirrors watching it. And it all could come crashing down tomorrow. I've seen all your comments about the Cards and know you have a decent amount of respect for them.

For a blogger (joke) that is, since all the experts (baseball writers/analysts/commentators - really a joke) seem to write them off year after year, and give them no respect at all.

These so-called experts always seem to forget that last year they were the defending champs and in the race until mid-September, when the Cubs took a 4-game series from them.

The other way around and its a whole new playoff picture.

Here's my advice to Cardinals and all the teams in baseball who aren't the Yankees and Red Sox.

"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it."

--from the notebooks of Lazarus Long