Monday, July 21, 2008

And That Happened

Royals 8, White Sox 7: 1983 throwbacks! No fair cheating, though, Chicago. The real 1983 Sox wore 'em much, much tighter. The duds were worn in honor of Harold Baines, a statue of whom was unveiled at the ballpark yesterday. I am not one of those guys who think that teams should limit honors to only those players with Hall of Fame-worthy careers, but Harold Baines -- a player I always liked a lot by the way -- may be the least impressive major leaguer to have a ballpark statue erected in his honor in the history of the game (non tragic death edition).

Brewers 7, Giants 4
: A week's worth of rust doesn't due Lincecum any good (6 IP, 6 H, 5 ER). His bad outing set the stage, however, for making me look bad. Just last week, I dropped the name of Gino Espinelli as one of my punch lines regarding the irrelevance of the AAA All-Star Game. Yesterday, because Lincecum needed help, he makes his major league debut. According to the game story, the first batter he faced fouled off his second ever big league pitch, bouncing it off the plate and right up into his crotch. The lesson: don't mess with Gino Espinelli.

Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 5: Given that they're both 48-50 we can't really call it an epic battle for first place in the NL West, but I'll settle for a battle. Brandon Webb's nice outing was wasted when Brandon Lyon coughed up five runs in 2/3 of an inning throwing this one to Los Angeles. Random stuff: I just found out that the guy who called the balls and strikes in this one -- Tim Timmons -- lives about two miles from me during the offseason. I can't think of anything creative to do with that information except to file it, hope that he becomes the center of a historic play of some sort this postseason, and then confront him about it online at the Kroger come November.

Indians 6, Mariners 2: It was a battle of the two worst teams in the AL, but there really is a lot of space between Cleveland and Seattle. Only five and a half games record-wise, but 73 in terms of run differential. Carlos Silva leaves after giving up four runs in three innings. Mariner fans will be forgiven for not taking comfort in the fact that Silva "only" has three+ years and more than $36 million left on his deal.

Rangers 1, Twins 0: Vicente, Eddie, and C.J. -- who are either Rangers' pitchers or sidekicks from various 1980s TV action series -- combine to shut out the Twins.

Rockies 11, Pirates 3: Aaron Cook gives up three runs in his first inning of action. If he had done that last Tuesday night I wouldn't have struggled for three days last week to make up for my All-Star game sleep deficit.

Cardinals 9, Padres 5: Aaron Miles' walkoff grand slam was only the most dramatic of the Cardinals' three straight come from behind wins against the Padres over the weekend.

Cubs 9, Astros 0: I still like the Cubs to win it all, but more than St. Louis and Milwaukee, they strike me as a team that doesn't need to find itself in a three-way race for the rest of the summer. I can't put my finger on why this is exactly -- maybe I think they'll feel deflated if they're fighting for the wild card rather than staying a comfy couple of games up in the division -- but I just feel that way.

Angels 5, Red Sox 3: LAAofA is up nine games to a team who is only that close due to some good pitching that they have since sold off. Look for lots of Vlad and Torii rest over the next two months as Scioscia, despite saying he ain't, turns his view towards the playoffs way before anyone else in the AL has the luxury of doing.

Nationals 15, Braves 6: There's a long and rich history of former Braves players beating the crap out of Atlanta after they've been shipped out. It's maddening, really, because it's never a revenge thing inasmuch as the Braves almost never send anyone away who ends up being good anywhere else. It's more like getting sucker punched by a guy you always treated more than fairly. Add Willie Harris (2-3, HR, 5 RBI) to that list. Silver lining: the Braves' sole purpose over the next 30 days -- showcasing Mark Teixeira -- was sustained, as the Dead Firstbaseman Walking goes 3-4 with two homers and three RBI.

Blue Jays 9, Rays 4: Cito Gaston said after the game that Scott Rolen was probably the best third baseman he's ever seen. Rolen is about as good as it gets over there, make no mistake about it. But it's worth noting that the starting third basemen for the Jays during Cito's last reign were Kelly Gruber and Ed Sprague, which means that anyone with a pulse and one working leg would be likely to impress Cito at the hot corner.

Tigers 5, Orioles 1: Remember at the beginning of the season when people were wondering whether Verlander was healthy? His monthly ERAs: March: 6.00; April: 6.60; May: 3.92; June: 2.73; July: 2.70.

Yankees 2, A's 1: I watched this one. Weird ninth inning, as the heat apparently got to everyone's head, keeping Abreu from holding on to the ball, keeping Ryan Sweeney from advancing, and keeping Abreu from throwing a strike to second base. Thank goodness for Alex Rodriguez -- the king of cool -- who backed up the play and then threw it to Jeter to make the putout.

Mets 7, Reds 5: A weekend split is good enough to boost New York into a first place tie. After a day off, it's three against the Phillies . . .

. . .Marlins 3, Phillies 2: Who aren't playing their best ball. As many have noted, last year's Mets' collapse was all about dropping games to the Phillies. If they want to exercise exOrcise those demons [thanks Drew!], they have to beat Philadelphia. Not to discount the Marlins, of course, who sit a mere half game back.

By the way, in case you haven't noticed it, there are six divisions in baseball, and five of them look to be having really exciting races for the rest of the season. God, I love baseball.


Dre said...

ugh! what a gut wrenching weekend

Only Bob Melvin has the managing ineptitude to turn a potential 3 game sweep into getting lucky to sneak out of the weekend with 1 win.

The Good News: The bats are starting to hit a little bit again and we still have the best 2 starters in the game.

Pretty crazy when 100 games into the season, a team can be so awful yet so dangerous if they can somehow win the West.

Alex said...

Speaking of CJ Wilson (he was mentioned, I swear), I heard he was gonna start throwing a gyroball this season. Any word on that?

James said...

Hey Craig,

FYI, the Mets are 7-3 this season against the Phils. This week is a BIG BIG series for my Mets though.

Keep up the good work.

- James K.

Drew said...

Hopefully, the Mets will exOrcise the demons, since exErcising them is only likely to make them stronger.

Yeah, I'll nit pick like that.

Craig Calcaterra said...

Good catch, Drew. I never get offended at someone trying to keep me from looking dumb.

Pat said...

Baines was plenty impressive. He appeared to be on a possible HoF track at the start of his career with 4 all star nods, 4 top 20 MVP votes a SS award by the time he turned 30. Yeah, in '83 he prolly didn't deserve it, but hey, he got it.

Baines wouldn't have ever been considered 'the straw that stirred the drink' but he was an above league average hitter until his age 40 season when he had an impressive 135 OPS+ in 450 ABs.

That was it for our good friend Harold, but that did let him finish up awfully close to 3000 hits ( 2866 ) and 400 hr ( 389 ). He was kinda a "roid free raffy".

Anonymous said...


The MSM out here is cheerleading the beloved A's with the intent of averting a catastrophic nose dive in attendance. Down 4,000 per game already the A's could be looking at barely over 20,000 per this season.

Getting swept by the Yankees after scoring 4 runs total is no way to get the fan base rallied, despite exhortations that Beane knows what he's doing and "wait till 2010".

The last owners pocketed much of their revenue sharing money, and one suspects that with the contract costs dropping like a rock in teh East Bay, not every spare cent is going to player development.

Don't get too fond of Houston Street or Mark Ellis.