Thursday, August 21, 2008

And That Happened

Phillies 4, Nationals 0: I'm beginning to think that the Nats have been secretly hired by Major League Baseball to be professional wrestling-style "jobbers" a la Iron Mike Sharpe or S.D. "Special Delivery" Jones. Sure, they look like a baseball team -- they have the uniform and know a few moves and things -- but ultimately their job is to "sell" the moves of the big stars. Really good jobbers -- guys who could make marginal wrestlers who were nonetheless pegged for stardom look good -- were highly respected behind the scenes. I'm talking about the guys who would give a few extra twitches following Hulk Hogan's leg drops. The guys who would pretend that Ric Flair's big chops across the chest actually hurt. In baseball, it would be the guys who make Brett Myers look like a top quality Major League pitcher.

White Sox 15, Mariners 3
: As R.A. Dickey can attest (1 IP, 6 H, 8 ER, 2 BB), it's been a really tough year for knuckleballers.

Brewers 5, Astros 2: Kind of an unremarkable game in every respect. A homer, some sac flies, some minor bullpen drama, then averted. You know, when I started writing these recaps back in April, I was dead certain that I'd run out of things to say about games by the end of May. That hasn't happened, though, which both surprises and pleases me. Sure, most days there are one or two games I mail in like this, but given that there are as many as 15 games a night and many involve teams way the hell out of the race by now, that's not a terrible ratio.

Mets 6, Braves 3: Speaking of mailing it in, this looked like a miserable performance for Atlanta, who went down on twenty six pitches in the final three innings. No one really noticed this back when they won all the time, but if there's one knock on the Bobby Cox Braves is that they seem to shut it down when it looks like it would be hard to get back in a game. It was forgivable and almost understandable back when they were nine games up in the division and, let's face it, needed a rest once in a while, but it's really hard to take on a bad team like this one.

Twins 3, A's 1: Liriano goes to 4-0 with a 1.14 ERA since his callup. I'm kind of angry to see Mike Redmond play the offensive hero. It's nothing personal against him, but he's best known among Braves fans as a guy who inexplicably owned Tom Glavine over the years. Really, his career line against Glavine is .438/.471/.604, and because of that, I can't think of Redmond without thinking of Glavine. Seeing him still out there hitting well on the same day Glavine is sitting in Dr. James Andrews' office waiting to hear that his career is over is just wrong somehow. Update: OK, maybe not over, but the clock is certainly nearing midnight, no?

Reds 2, Cubs 1: The Reds win despite getting only four hits, mostly because the Cubs only got three.

Rangers 9, Tigers 1: Once in a while Kevin Millwood will rip off a game like this one (CG, 6 H 1 ER) reminding you that you once thought he could have been a perennial All-Star. Then he goes out the next time and gives up five runs in six innings and walks too many guys, and you go back to scratching your head.

Angels 5, Rays 4: Garrett Anderson's done it again; Garrett Anderson's done it again; Clackin' that bat, gone with the wind; Garrett Anderson's done it again.

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 1: Derek Jeter is heating up, having raised his batting average 17 points since the sweep against the Angels a week and a half ago. It's probably too little too late to help, but he'll probably quiet the small but growing chorus of Jeter Jeerers who have cropped up this season if he can push the average over .300.

Orioles 11, Red Sox 6: Noting the young pitchers' recent review of video and alleged discovery of some windup and release flaws, WEEI's Rob Bradford asked today "Has Buchholz found something?" Based on this game (2.1 IP, 3 H, 5 ER) I would say that as I'm writing this, he has found a plane ticket back to Pawtucket waiting in his locker. UPDATE: I'll be damned, I was right! We'll, partially anyway. He's being demoted, but instead of Pawtucket, he's going to Portland to be a Sea Dog. Ouch.

Cardinals 11, Pirates 2: St. Louis enters what looks to be the post-Izzy era with aplomb, made all the easier by a nine run need that wasn't really in need of protecting.

Diamondbacks 8, Padres 6: Adam Dunn strikes again. Two walks, a homer, three RBI and a couple of runs. Weird night as ace Jake Peavy and vice-ace Danny Haren combine to give up 11 runs in 11 innings.

Rockies 4, Dodgers 3: Errors all over the place as Torre's desire to rest James Loney causes Martin and Blake to play out of position. The Dodgers are now two back.

Giants 6, Marlins 5: Brian Wilson blows a save when he gives up three runs in the top of the ninth, but vultures a win when Matt Lindstrom gives up a walk, a single, and a couple of sacrifices in the bottom half. Wilson said, "I feel pretty terrible about not being able to hold it for Cainy, but the bottom line is we won." The real problem here is not the blown save. The real problem is the continuing decline in baseball nicknames. At some point in the past decade, players and managers have come to believe that it is acceptable to simply add a "y" an "ie" or an "ey" to the end of a fellow's name and call that a nickname. "Cainy." "Smoltzie." "Hawpey." I've seen all of these, and dozens more. It's lazy and it's sad. If you have a player named Cain on your team and you can't come up with something related to Charles Foster Kane or the film which featured him, I simply wash my hands of you, good sir. What? High school-educated ballplayers born in the 80s do not know and love Citizen Kane? Are you serious? Why, I never.

Indians 8, Royals 5: A scary moment in the fifth as Royals' outfielder Mitch Maier was leveled with a pitch to the face by Zach Jackson. He left under his own power but broke a couple of bones beneath his eye. The Indians better watch out for him, though. He's gonna go with Jackson and Kelly Shoppach to dinner at some Italian place some day to mend fences and then, when he comes out of the bathroom, he's going to have a couple of baseballs that his teammates stashed in there and come out beanin'. When he's done, he'll just let his hand drop to his side, and let the ball slip out. Everybody'll still think he's got it. They're gonna be staring at is face -- so he's gotta walk outta the place real fast -- but he won't run. He's not gonna look nobody directly in the eye -- but he's not gonna look away, either. Hey, they're gonna be scared stiff of him, believe me, so he won't worry about nothin'. You know, he's going to turn out all right. He'll take a long vacation -- nobody knows where -- and the Royals are gonna catch the hell.


dlf said...

I was figuring on some riff on Wilson not being Able to help Cain.

tHeMARksMiTh said...

Darn you dlf, you stole my comment.

Anonymous said...


Citizen Cain (sic) and the Godfather in one post. It's 4 star night at SysterBall presented by TCM.

Neyer wrote a good post about the beloved AAA's and their inexorable march to 90 losses. He of course hedged with his usual statistician's flair and said the AAA's might only lose 85, but as he stated correctly, what's the difference.

But it was cruel and unusual to point out that even the Ray's probably never had a stretch as bad as the current 6-27. I guess all us A's fans have left is the Nationals. And the knowledge that great seats will always be available next year.

Chadillac said...

What do you think you're gonna do, fire that baseball from 90 feet? No, you gotta get up close like this (holds baseball to temple) and bada-bing, you've got stray helmets and maple bat parts all over your nice Royals' uniform.

Daniel said...

I agree 100% about the nickname thing. Whatever happened to Mad Dog? Or the Big Hurt? Or Crime Dog? Or even the Bash Brothers? Even Pronk has been on the DL for most of the season. It's a dying breed.

Adding the "-y" to the end of the name works in hockey, for some reason. But it just seems silly in baseball.

tHeMARksMiTh said...

I'm calling Brett Wallace (AA Cards player) Mr. Pickles from now on because when I looked up an image for him while doing a blog post on him, this dancing Mr. Pickles came up. I have no idea why, but I hope everyone joins me in calling him Mr. Pickles when he comes up in a year or two.