Wednesday, July 30, 2008

And That Happened

Angels 6, Red Sox 2: Two outs away from a no-hitter and John Lackey doesn't even get the shutout, but a great performance it was all the same (CG, 2 H, 2 ER). And now, with the addition of Teixeira, the rest of the American League will witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL ballclub!

Cubs 7, Brewers 1: Ben Sheets was knocked around and Carlos Zambrano was dominant (8 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 9K). According to reader Chris H. who watched the game, there was a serious lack of hustle on the part of the Brewers:
The box score won't show it, but the Brewers outfielders really look demoralized out there. Several of the runs scored tonight have been gifts, and in particular I think Ryan Braun is going to need an extra couple hours of sleep tonight, because by the 7th inning he seems to be loping rather than running. Oh, and Corey Hart totally handed Theriot a triple by jogging after a fly ball and basically watching it roll past him. Seriously, I think they're drugged or something.
Anyone else feel that way? If that's the case, don't you pretty much have to blame Ned Yost for letting his team come out flat and loaf in what is the most important series of the year so far?

Astros 6, Reds 2: Fifth loss in a row for the Redlegs. That probably doesn't matter because their season is lost anyway. What does matter is that a couple of guys you know they'd like to shop -- Dunn and Arroyo -- each put up stink bombs, with one going 0-4 with no walks and the other giving up six runs on eight hits in six and a third. As for Houston, the buy-now Astros creep to within 12.5 games of the Cubs, biding their time . . . biding their time.

Rays 3, Jays 0: So much drama in Boston has obscured the fact that the Rays aren't giving up the division, especially to a bunch of dysfunctional babies like the Red Sox. Matt Garza threw a five hit shutout, beating Roy Halladay who, you may have noticed, is pretty good himself.

Mets 4, Marlins 1: The Mets are understandably upset that Teixeira was traded to an AL team on the west coast because now they'll have to buy more expensive plane tickets to get the guys they have scouting him for the inevitable free agent signing. Or at least that's the kind of thing I was reading on a couple of Mets' sites last night. Really, one commenter was saying something like "the worry is that Teixeira is gonna fall in love with the California lifestyle and not wanna come to New York," like it's a fait acompli or something.

Orioles 7, Yankees 6: Attention Yankees fans: Carl Pavano made a rehab appearance down at Class A last night. He struck out four and allowed one hit in two scoreless innings. And you know what? A couple more Sidney Ponson and Darrell Rasner starts, you won't even boo him when he finally pitches a game for the Bombers.

Twins 6, White Sox 5: Another Twins win, and just like that, this race is this race is hotter than a Times Square Rolex! It's as thin as turnip soup! But there's a long way to go, and if you try to read the tea leaves before the cup is done, you're gonna get yourself burned! OK, that had nothing to do with this game. I'm just starting to get a little excited about election season, and I wanted to whip out some Ratherisms.

Rangers 11, Mariners 10: There were 22 21 runs (idiot), 33 hits, and 8 pitching changes in this one. If it weren't for the fact that no one was taking a walk, it could have gone on all night. Bonus: Ichiro notched his 3000th career hit. I think that there's a decent chance that he'll hang around long enough to get 3,000 in the U.S. alone -- doesn't he remind you of Pete Rose on some vague level? -- but if he doesn't, I'll be curious to see how your average BBWAA member views the Japanese component of these 3,000 for Hall of Fame purposes.

Phillies 3, Nats 1: Before any Phillies fans get the idea that Brett Myers is all better now, remember that the team he shut down for seven innings last night has only scored three runs in its last five games.

Pirates 6, Rockies 4: There are some folks out there -- mostly in the Rockies' front office, I think -- who believe that this team has another run in them a la 2007. Worth noting that, 108 games in last year, Colorado was only 3.5 out and was playing above-.500 ball. Also worth noting is that as late as September 16th last year, their deficit in the NL West -- 6.5 games -- was about the same that it is now. I don't think anyone's ever going to get rich gambling on white-hot streaks, but given how bad everyone in this division is capable of playing, it's too late to close the books on the possibility.

Cardinals 8, Braves 3: As evidence of just how nightmarish a season this has become for the Braves, I give you Mark Kotsay, batting third. By the way, Jeff Francoeur was the only Braves player who got into the game last night who was on the team the last time they made the playoffs.

Tigers 8, Indians 3: The Casey Blake trade has created a tremendous opportunity for Andy Marte. After years of failing to live up to the potential with which he was once credited, he basically has 2/3 of a season with no pressure and no competition for the Indians' third base job. Even moderate production over that time will ensure his future employment in Cleveland, because quite frankly, they need him. Since the trade,
Marte has gone something like 2-15 with a single extra-base hit. Marte will never be handed an opportunity like this again, yet here he is, blowing it.

Diamondbacks 3, Padres 0: Doug Davis -- who took a perfecto into the seventh -- was the story here, but Alex Romero's back-to-the-plate catch of a deep fly to right center in the bottom of the eighth was the play of the game. Fire up the video highlight mechanism of your choice to get a look at it.

Royals 5, A's 2: Remember back in the day when Kansas City used to send all of its good players to Oakland this time of year? I kinda miss that.

Dodgers 2, Giants 0: The Dodgers keep pace with the Dbacks via a surprising (at least to me) start from Jason Johnson of all people, who shut the Giants out and didn't walk anyone over six innings. I remember when Johnson came up, and have always had a vague awareness of his presence in the Major Leagues, but I don't think I could tell you when he played for who at basically any time over the course of his career. I love unexpected goodness from journeymen starters for some reason. Always have.


Anonymous said...

Ha - Jason Johnson came up with the Orioles.

Maybe you have like Baltimore allergies or something.

Jason said...

Worth noting: Chris Young made his return last night from the broken nose suffered on a comebacker by Pujols back in May. Something like 5 IP, 8 K's, no ER's

tadthebad said...

A few days ago you had the Sox heading to the WS, but today they are dysfunctional babies? You just can't help yourself, can you?

Craig Calcaterra said...

Well, no, I can't help myself, but it's worth noting that a few days ago the Red Sox weren't feuding (publicly anyway) with their best player and considering trading him away.

All of that said, a team is fully capable of acting like dysfunctional babies and still going to the World Series. Ask the 1977 Yankees or the mid-70s A's.

I haven't yet totally absorbed the impact of the Teixeira trade, but pending that, I stil think the Red Sox are as good a bet as anyone to make the World Series in the AL. They just aren't making it easy on themselves.

Peter said...

The only reason Andy Marte is still with the Indians is Brandon Phillips. He hasn't hit, in the minors or the big leagues, since his 2005 season with the Richmond Braves. It's not like he's looked good but just not gotten great results, either.

You have to think Wedge and Shapiro are in CYA mode on this one...what are the odds that Marte suddenly remembers how to hit after two and a half years of "blah" performance? At this point, we've got nothing to lose, so I'm glad to see him get a long look before we move on to waiting for Wes Hodges to be ready.

Craig Calcaterra said...

Good point, Peter. At the SABR convention Shapiro made a point to say that he didn't give Brandon Phillips enough time in Cleveland to develop. I think he was being a bit hard on himself -- there were a lot of signals that Phillips was regressing -- but you certainly get the sense that he's going to give Marte every possible oppotunity to turn it around before cutting the line.

Sara K said...

Making Empire references about a Left Coast team? Next thing you know, we'll be hearing politicians ranting about how we need to build a wall to keep out Canadians.

Jacob said...

Arte Moreno can't frighten me with his sorcerer's ways.

Peter said...

Oh, Indians fans know Jason Johnson well -- in 2006 we gave him $3.5M to start 14 games and put up an ERA+ of 76.

I actually remember watching his first start that year. He threw 7 shutout innings, and I remember thinking "We may have ourselves something here". Oops.

tadthebad said...

Good point about the PUBLIC feuding with Manny. Although whether it was picked up nationally or not, the Sox have been publicly feuding with Manny since Henry et al. bought the team. The Red Sox have as decent a chance as any to make the WS? Sure, I suppose. But, well, let's just say I'm not holding my breath. Fortunately, the Sox get to battle Teixeira tonight. Fantastic news!

You really think Manny is their best player? Best hitter - no question (currently anyway). Best player?

Craig Calcaterra said...

I get sloppy with hitter/player sometimes. I'd say their best hitter, sure, but probably not the best player when you factor in other stuff. I have no idea where Drew's defense is these days, but he could be a better choice this year. Pedroia is a big step down in production, but he's obviously younger, player a more valuable position, and is a more important person for the team over the next few years.

As for their chances? I lump them in the same pile I lump the Yankees and used to lump the Braves, and that's the pile of teams who you simply can't declare dead until their heart stops beating. If Teixeira is Teixeira for the rest of the season -- and he was heating up with the Braves and was a monster post-trade last year -- I suppose the Angels are the smarter pick.

Daniel said...

Do or do not, there is no try.

That's pretty much what it comes down to for the Angels this season. Wouldn't it be great if ESPN was playing the Angels-Sox game so everyone could see Tex's debut?

Or would that be West Coast bias?

Craig Calcaterra said...

Good point, Daniel. I suppose I can't say a thing about the game they show tonight given all of my bitching about it the other day.

Mark dlV said...

Ryan Braun was an absolute menace in the field last night. He had a difficult time differentiating between his left and his right numerous times.

Tim Kelly said...

I watched the Cubs/Brewers game last night. After the Cubs were up 6-0, Corey Hart took a bad angle to a Theriot liner, allowing the ball to get by for a triple instead of a single. I think this was poor play rather than a lack of effort.

The real story was Braun in LF. Milwaukee fans will cite his ZERO errors on the season as evidence of his stellar defense but his performance last night is Exhibit A in why Fielding % is a joke, especially for outfielders.

He watched an early double from Ramirez, barely moving a muscle in thinking it was gone, only to see it pound off the wall. He misplayed Fukudome's triple with an ill-advised dive and what Bob Brenly called a "jog" back to the fence to pick up the ball. He was gun-shy in allowing Fontenot's single to fall in front of him for a single and did not judge Soto's ball well for another single at his feet. Later, Ramirez made him do a pirouette as his liner sailed over Braun's head for another double.

It was a night for Braun to forget but do not fret. In that big inning, WGN cameras kept catching Braun looking up at the Jumbotron after each play, surely to analyze what went wrong and how to improve...

Chadillac said...

I think Ichiro will end up with more hits than Rose when combining his Japanese totals. He'll eventually stop getting 200+ hits each season, but he's a good enough hitter to play into his early 40's. He should be a first ballot HOF.

Jonathan said...

FWIW - your math is off in the Rangers/Mariners game. "22 runs scored" in an 11-10 game...
I'm having a hard time coming to grips w/ the fact that the Braves are out of it. Even though they have not made the playoffs the last two years, they pretended like they were in it until late. Oh well, at least no October disappointment this year...

Craig Calcaterra said...

I don't know what's worse: that I can't add 11 and 10, or that it took almost 12 hours for someone to notice it.

There are people out there reading, right? Right?!


Anonymous said...


We'd be reading if we weren't in a narcoleptic stupor from watching the A's play. When KC has twice your energy you are definitely on the express elevator to hell, going down.