Mets 2, Reds 1: Those of you who followed ATH last season will recall that I don’t have the Extra Innings package and I don’t watch 15 games a night. On a good night I watch parts of two games, on an average night I watch most of one, and some nights I don’t get any. This feature is about parsing box scores and game stories and trying to extract a couple of worthwhile observations from the stories they tell rather than tell you something you couldn’t figure out if you had seen the game. Indeed, the best part of ATH is when someone who actually saw one of these games makes a comment explaining something I missed. Reader APBA Guy is the master of this for A’s games (and it’s necessary — since they usually end the latest, I often give the A’s the shortest shrift). Anyway, this game — which took place while I was toiling at the office — seemed to have something I missed. Something that can explain how Johan Santana went 5.2 innings with seven strikeouts and four walks and only threw 99 pitches, while his counterpart Aaron Harang went 5 innings with only two strikeouts and three walks, yet threw 114. Easily explainable, sure — the Reds were hacking except when they walked and Harang went deep on most hitters — but I’m having trouble picturing how that all went down. Of course, the most critical thing that went down was the Reds only scoring one run with runners on second and third with no one out in the sixth, but those things happen when it’s 39 degrees and windy and crappy out.
Rangers 9, Indians 1: Cliff Lee’s first action since winning the Cy Young award did not go exactly as planned (5 IP, 10 H, 7 ER). Of course, the same thing happened to the 2007 Cy Young award winner in his early action last year and things turned out alright for him. Ultimately, the fact that Lee was facing the stacked Rangers — the Rangers some lone nut is picking to win the AL West this year — mitigates this disaster somewhat. Forget it Cliff, it’s Arlington.
Orioles 10, Yankees 5: It’s really not fair that a team like the Yankees can just open up the vault and buy a championship by picking up guys like Sabathia (4.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 5 BB, 0K) and Teixeira (0-4, 4 LOB).
Pirates 6, Cardinals 4: From the recap: “Cardinals Hall of Famers Stan Musial, 88, and Red Schoendienst, 86, tag-teamed the first pitch. Musial rode a cart to the mound and flipped the ball to Schoendienst, who walked halfway to the plate and made an underhand throw.” Given how Jason Motte blew up in the ninth (4 H, 4 ER, BS), I’m guessing La Russa would have preferred Stan and Red to close too.
Marlins 12, Nats 6: I’ve watched the video of that Emilio Bonifacio inside the park home run a couple of times now, and each time Lastings Milledge looks a tad more pathetic trying to catch up to it. Bad positioning, a bad break, or both? No matter how ugly, however, I’ll watch highlights from this game again and again, because it was 90 degrees in Miami and looked it. I may complain about that in July, but from where I’m sitting this morning, it seems just fine to me.
Diamondbacks 9, Rockies 8: IM during the game from Mike McClary of The Daily Fungo (who lives in Arizona): “Webb looks mortal.” I’d say: 4 IP, 6 H, 6 ER. As a Tigers’ fan, McClary himself probably didn’t feel so good, seeing Tony Clark hit two homers nearly a decade after his team made the determination — which seemed like a pretty sound one at the time, actually — that he was toast. Felipe Lopez hit two bombs of his own.
Cubs 4, Astros 2: As the season goes on, you’ll see me alluding to my Carlos Zambrano man crush every fifth day or so. He works fast, he throws hard, and he hits well. He would have fit right in in the 1960s with guys like Drysdale and Marichal and the rest. He tied the Astros up good until he ran out of gas in the 7th but Sweet Lou sent out half the damn pitching staff to finish things off.
Dodgers 4, Padres 1: James Loney had the big bat last night (3-4, 2 RBI), throwing a moderate kink into the opening stages of the great 2009 Jake Peavy marketing tour.
Blue Jays 12, Tigers 5: Whatever was ailing Verlander last year has carried over into this year, as the Tigers’ “ace” gives up eight runs in less than four innings. Roy Halladay wasn’t too sharp himself (7 IP, 6 H, 5 ER), but how many times did he lay it all out on the line last year only to get zilch in run support? He’s due to be carried, frankly, and Adam Lind did most of the carrying (4-5, HR, 6 RBI).
Mariners 6, Twins 1: On a day of blowouts and glorified batting practice, a gem from King Felix (8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER 6K) and a homer from Junior are enough to dispatch the Twins. Meanwhile, my pick of Francisco Liriano for the Cy Young award is stumbling out of the gate (7 IP, 4 H, 4 ER).
Angels 3, A’s 0: On a day of blowouts and glorified batting practice, a shorter but still impressive gem from Joe Saunders (6.2 3 H, 0 ER) and a homer from Howie Kendrick are enough to dispatch the A’s. Get Oakland: lead runner thrown out on a double steal in the third inning. Is this evidence that Beane pays more attention to soccer than baseball anymore? Because that’s the kind of thing that got chairs thrown at people (or something) back in the Moneyball days.
Rays vs. Red Sox: Postponed: Cats and dogs.
Royals vs. White Sox: Postponed: Dogs and cats. Or snow. Or the threat of snow. Heck, according to Posnanski’s Facebook status “It ain’t that bad in Chicago … they could have played ball. It won’t be any better tomorrow,” so who knows? Also, can someone tell me if I’m breaking some kind of ethical rule by posting Posnanski’s Facebook status? This seems like a gray area. Of course the guy has like 1,500 friends, so it’s not like I’m revealing state secrets here.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Now that we have a full slate of games — and now that I’m moonlighting for NBC — the daily schedule is going to change a bit around here. ATH will still be up at or around its usual time. Unlike last year, however, I’m not going to to follow it up immediately with other posts. Rather, those will start coming online mid-to-late morning and into the afternoon. This (a) allows me to get stuff up over at the other gig; while (b) allowing ATH to have a little longer in the prime, first-post real estate that it deserves; and (c) balancing the day out a bit more, which many of my west coast readers have asked. Ultimately, there shouldn’t be much of a falloff in volume most days, just a shifting around of posting times.
As always, the email address is to the upper left if you wanna complain about it. I may even listen.