Thursday, July 31, 2008

And That Happened

Cubs 7, Brewers 2: Bottom of the fifth, one out, Jason Kendall on first, pitcher Manny Parra at the plate. Kendell is gunned down by Henry Blanco as he's trying to steal second, and he was out by a country mile. Next pitch, Parra triples to deep left center, but with two outs it will take a hit to score him, thus tying the game up. It doesn't happen, though, as Ray Durham grounds out meekly. Why is Ned Yost stealing there? Parra had already doubled once in this game, so you know he came to the park with his hittin' pants last night. For his part, Kendall is a sub-50% base stealer over the course of his career. I'm not a true believer in the big Mo, but I have to wonder if the shape of the game doesn't change there in the fifth if Parra had knocked in Kendall with that triple instead of simply tuckering himself out for nothin', which is what he did.

But Kendall wasn't just a menace on the basepaths. Reader Chris H. -- who is quickly becoming my Cubs-Brewers correspondent -- has this to say about Jason's defense:
The outfielders don't have to worry because their sub-par play was overshadowed by the utter incompetence that is Jason Kendall. The Cubs have pretty much run with impunity on him, and while Bob Brenly keeps mentioning that Jason's caught-stealing rate was 43% coming into this game, history tells us that Jason can't throw out yesterday's newspaper.

Then there was the terrific play where Reed Johnson swings and misses a wild pitch, then doesn't realize it for a couple of moments, and then still makes it to first ahead of Kendall's throw...well, you just have to wonder when Kendall's going to retire.

Surely there must be one of the Flying Molina Brothers around somewhere that the Brew Crew can acquire or something.
Patience, Chris. MLB Genetics is working on the problem, but it's not anticipated that each team will have access to its own Molina until at least 2011.

White Sox 8, Twins 3: Because it would be a terrible thing to be in first place, the Twins brass decides to stick with Livan Hernandez when there's an ace waiting to be sprung in Francisco Liriano. The results are predictable: 4 IP, 9 H, 5 ER. Free Francisco Liriano!

Tigers 14, Indians 12
: Remember when these two teams -- and not the Twins and White Sox -- were supposed to battle for the AL Central? 'Twas not to be. Instead, two of the league's worst bullpens face off with predictably ugly results.

Yankees 13, Orioles 3: Abreu after the game: "I don't really like too much the DH. It's one of the ways to get a day off. I had a good day, but I don't like the DH." Well, it certainly likes him (3-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI).

Royals 4, A's 3: Kansas City sweeps the A's. Not to take anything away from the Royals here, but that pretty much has to be the low point of the season for Oakland, right? From the game notes: "[Frank] Thomas, out since May 29 with right quadriceps tendinitis, faced reliever Keith Foulke in a simulated game Wednesday and afterward declared himself ready." I understand how pitchers simulate a game -- you basically throw off a mound and pretend certain things happen as a result of those pitches. But how does a DH like Thomas simulate a game? You're either hitting or you're not, right? How can anything he did in that "simulation" be anything other than BP or something that, for all practical purposes, is a real game?

Angels 9, Red Sox 2: Mark Teixeira goes 0-4 with a couple of strikeouts in his first action with the Angels. Ya gotta cut the new kid some slack, though. He's still learning his class schedule and who his teachers are and everything. Luckily the older kid who's been around for a long time took up the slack (4-5, 2B, HR, 4 RBI).

Marlins 7, Mets 5 -- Phillies 8, Nationals 5: a game and a half separates the three NL East contenders. I've got a feeling this one is gonna come down to the last weekend. None of these teams are so good or so bad to separate themselves in the next two months. Even the addition of Manny Ramirez won't make the Marlins prohibitive favorites the rest of the way. The beauty of this, as Neyer pointed out the other day, is that because the Cubs and Brewers are playing so well, there's a real chance that the East will be winner take all, loser go home, with no wild card to save them.

Rockies 7, Pirates 4: Wow, Aaron Cook has 14 wins? I had no idea.

Cardinals 7, Braves 2: Chris Carpenter returns to action for the first time since April 2007, and pitches four effective innings, which can only be a good sign for the Cardinals' playoff hopes. For the Braves, Casey Kotchman is the new guy too, and he goes 0-5.

Rays 3, Blue Jays 2: The All-Star break certainly came at a good time for Tampa Bay. Entering it on a seven game skid, they have emerged 8-5 after the break.

Rangers 4, Mariners 3: I've always been a little so-so on Michael Young. I think he got more love than he probably deserved because he replaced A-Rod, and I've always had a sneaking suspicion that there was some Great White Hope dynamic going on with him. Don't get me wrong -- I like him, and think he's a really good player -- but I just couldn't get as enthused about him as some people seemed to be a couple of years ago. Maybe I should reconsider, because he's a pretty tough dude: he had his broken finger on ice in the clubhouse, sees it's a close game, puts on his uniform because he may get a chance to pinch hit, goes in, and delivers the go-ahead run. I broke my finger once. I walked with a fake limp for a week for some reason and claimed the inability to do anything except watch X-Files DVDs all day.

Reds 9, Astros 5: Dunn and Griffey combine for three homers and five RBI, giving us a glimpse of just how awesome the attack of the 2003 Reds could have been.

Diamondbacks 7, Padres 3: -- Dodgers 4, Giants 0: I guess if we ignore the records up to this point and just pay attention to the Dbacks-Dodgers horse race, the NL West can be enjoyed.


Sara K said... said "Cardinals' playoff hopes"...heh-heh!

Craig Calcaterra said...

Well, I suppose they do look better than they really are, what with playing the Braves and all. Still, if Milwaukee woofs all four of these games with the Cubs, who's to say they won't go into a shell for a couple of weeks? Likely? Nah. But possible.

Chris Heer said...

I think the Cardinals absolutely can have playoff hopes. It is not hard at all to picture a Brewers fade after how they've looked against the Cubs. I mean...C.C. Sabathia v. Ted Lilly? Who on Earth would've bet on Lilly?

And yeah, I can't understand the Twins' thinking re: Livan. Of course, I'm sure Livan wants to keep pitching because, well, you know, Livan...Livan likes his money (he makes a lot, they say).

Anonymous said...


Low point for the A's: getting swept by KC for the first time since 1988, or only scoring 7 runs in those three games?

Something tells me there will be a series of increasing lower points as 2008 plays out. Predicted 2009 average attendance: 17,000 per game, but the owners still raise ticket prices and parking. Ellis and Crosby leave, along with Joe Blanton. The payroll looks like the Marlins, plus Chavez' $ 11M per year that nobody blames Beane for.

Jason Kendall said...

You guys call me sucky but I call myself gritty!

Jake said...

Hey... TOTALLY unfair comment about the Tigers bullpen. Sure, they're not very good, but the bullpen only gave up 4 of those 12 runs in 10 innings...

Brad said...

What, no love for Kelly Shoppach? He ties a major-league record by hitting 5 extra base hits in a game, with 2 home runs and 3 doubles, and you don't write anything about it. That feat has been done 9 times in baseball history, but only twice in the AL. The other was also a Cleveland Indian -- Lou Boudreau in 1946.

nickolai said...

I hated Kendall when he was on the A's, but he's far from a sub-50% base stealer. He's at a 67% success rate in his career.

I'm not saying he should have ran in that situation, but when you're as anemic at the plate as he is, you're probably looking for any possible way to contribute...

Craig Calcaterra said...

Sorry about that. The game went late and I couldn't get to the recap until this morning. Then my son woke up early and I didn't have a chance to circle back and write something more about it. By the time I got into the office and actually had a chance to do it, well, I had moved on.

Good performance by Shoppach, though. I will note, however, that he should have struck out in the at bat against Jones when he hit the homer. Both ball 2 and ball 3 were perfect, perfect pitches that the ump simply called wrong.