And That Happened

Tigers 6, Rangers 4: What a difference a weekend makes. The Rangers looked like world beaters after taking the Indians apart in the season’s opening series, and then they get swept the hell out of Detroit. Not that they couldn’t have won this game. In fact, they had a 4-0 lead behind Kevin Millwood before C.J. Wilson allowed the wheels to fall off in the eighth inning. Meanwhile, someone tell the Texas Rangers Blog people that unless they’re John Mayer, they’re stealing my bit.

Padres 6, Giants 1: Tim Lincecum turns in his second bad start in a row, this time getting whupped by a Padres team that is inexplicably whupping everyone. The only possible explanation for this is that the Giants couldn’t see the Padres in those camo uniforms and thus were taken completely by surprise.

Mariners 1, A’s 0: No camo for the Mariners, who are starting the season out every bit as surprisingly as are the Padres. Big time pitchers’ duel here, with Trevor Cahill taking a no hitter into the seventh yet still losing the game because Bedard took a shutout into the ninth. Bedard started the game moderately inefficiently, and then threw just eight pitches in the fifth, seven in the sixth, 11 in the seventh and only nine more in the eighth inning. This never would have happened if Billy Beane were alive.

Angels 5, Red Sox 4: Fisticuffsmanship! Well, some acrimonious milling about, anyway. I didn’t see it, but from this description in the Projo Sox Blog, one wonders why Josh Beckett wasn’t ejected, because he kind of sounds like the jerk in all of this.

Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 1: “You sendin’ the Wolf?” “Feel better?” “Sh*t, that’s all you had to say!” He’s Randy Wolf, and he solves problems (7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER).

Phillies 7, Rockies 5: After blowing leads of 4-0 and 5-1, the Rockies’ bullpen finishes the job by giving up a game-winning two-run home run to Matt Stairs. Someday alien explorers will find our lifeless planet and begin to comb through the records of our extinct society, and when they do, one of the questions they’ll be asking themselves is how a guy like Matt Stairs was let go by ten teams over the course of his career.

Royals 6, Yankees 4: Alberto Callaspo hits a ball that not only goes through Nick Swisher’s legs, but Robinson Cano’s as well. Callaspo then ran all twelve hoops in a rare double sextuple peel!

Cardinals 3, Astros 0: Readers from last year will recall that I frequently make mention of the fact that Kyle Lohse could have been had by any team before the 2008 season for virtual peanuts. No one wanted him, so he signed with St. Louis for a bit north of $4M. After a great season he’s making $10M now, but so far on his way to putting up another great season. He gave up a single on his first pitch of the game and then retired 24 straight.

Braves 8, Nationals 5: I know I lived through it, but as I read it in the AJC, I simply can’t believe that the Braves went 6-12 against the Nats last year. Not too much trouble with them so far, as every starter except for Wonderboy gets a hit to help complete the sweep. Pfun Pfact: catcher Brian McCann stole a base, which was the first Braves’ steal of the year. Pfunner Pfact: He has five since the 2008 All-Star break, and that leads the team. How very station-to-station of them.

White Sox 6, Twins 1: Mark Buehrle works fast and throws strikes. Jim Thome hits long bombs. It’s just what they do.

Marlins 2, Mets 1: I suppose Mets fans everywhere can be mad at Daniel Murphy muffing that fly ball that led to two unearned runs in the second inning to ruin an otherwise dominating start from Johan Santana (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 13K), but the rest of the New York lineup needs a talking-to as well for allowing Josh Jonson to get a complete game with barely breaking a sweat. The two teams combined for two walks and eight hits and ended this thing in a cool 2:04. It’s as if they had a plane to catch or something. Wait a minute . . . we may be on to something here . . .

Rays 11, Orioles 3: Tampa Bay raps out 17 hits against Adam “there’s a reason no one has let me start for them since last July” Eaton and Brian “holy crap, I was even worse than Eaton” Bass.

Reds 2, Pirates 0: On Opening Day, Aaron Harang was a portrait of inefficiency, requiring well north of 100 pitches to get into the fifth inning. Yesterday: complete game shutout with 9Ks on 108 pitches. First complete game in the Majors this year, by the way, and it kind of put a damper on two pretty spiffy defensive plays by the Pirates: a double play Jack Wilson started while lying on his belly in the dirt, and a triple play — also started by Wilson — on a hard liner to short with runners on first and second running. Well, before they got doubled and then tripled off, that is.

Indians 8, Blue Jays 4: I credit those rockin’ home alternates for the victory. Best uniforms in baseball this side of the Detroit homies, in my mind.

Cubs 8, Brewers 5: The little closer controversy that developed over the weekend for the Cubs may be history soon. After giving Kevin Gregg a day to think about it, Piniella went back to Marmol-Gregg. Granted, it wasn’t a save situation, but Marmol took eleven pitches to strike out two dudes and retire a third in his inning. Gregg gave up a dinger, a double and a walk in the ninth. Sure, in an ideal world you’d keep Gregg as the three-run-lead ninth inning pitcher and call him a closer while giving Marmol all of the really hairy stuff in the seventh and eighth, but I think we’re past the point where even a maverick manager could get away with that for long. A blown save in the ninth inning simply brings far more heat down than a blown lead (or tie) in the seventh, regardless of how little it technically matters when the lead was actually blown. If I’m Lou, I make Marmol the closer, subtly stretch him by a third or two-thirds of an inning here and there, and by the time the playoffs come, go full-Gossage with him.

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  1. Levi Stahl said...

    I don’t know, Ron: your point is taken, but I kinda think people might consider cutting the Angels some slack this week, given what they’ve been through. Not some on-the-field-playing-the-game slack, mind you, but at least some doing-your-best-not-to-get-into-bench-clearing brawls kinda slack.

  2. themarksmith said...

    You forgot to mention Francoeur’s two triples, neither of which he earned. But by the end of the season, they’ll just be numbers on a stat sheet, and he’ll get his 3.000 SLG for each.

  3. Jeremy said...

    I’ll agree with you on the Indians unis if they drop Chief Wahoo from the arms. Put a capital “C” there instead.

  4. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Jeremy—that goes without saying.  I’d buy the hat now.  if they nixed Wahoo, I’d probably get a jersey too.

  5. Todd said...

    Lohse also pitched a complete game… and the start time was earlier, so I’m guessing it ended earlier too?

  6. Linus said...

    I am surprised you didn’t mention Reed Johnson’s catch that robbed Fielder of his first major league Grand Slam.. i don’t know if i have seen a single defensive play that saved a) so many runs, b) at a more opportune time.  Oh.. and the brewers give out walks like it is candy.

  7. Levi Stahl said...

    I’m not sure candy is the right metaphor for the Brewers’ handing out of walks: with candy, there’s always at least some awareness on the part of the giver that giving out too much could be bad. Confetti might be a better metaphor.

  8. Melody said...

    I didn’t think the Beckett throw deserved an ejection—he certainly had plausible deniability, given that he’d been forced to change his motion so abruptly.  It was a little ridiculous that the umpires ended up ejecting so many Angels players for no apparent reason.  Apparently (according to the all-knowing Peter Gammons) the real altercation occurred after the Angels were ejected, when several of them became angry at the umpires (rather than at Red Sox players).  I agree it might have been nice to give them a little extra leeway considering what they’ve been through, but that’s especially true considering that I’m not sure what they were ejected for in the first place.  Guess it didn’t do them any harm, though, scoreboard-wise.

  9. APBA Guy said...

    Glad I was at Easter dinner with the folks and missed the beloved A’s getting shutout by Seattle. I followed Bedard carefully when he was with the O’s, and last year was a lost year for him. Very quickly people forgot how good he was.

    But the good news is Trevor Cahill recovering from a shaky start vs. the Angels last week.

    An interesting note: Boston comes to Oakland tonight for a series, both teams have identical records. The wind is up, the fog is hovering on the horizon, ready to roll in when the sun goes down. Not much should get out of the Mausoleum tonight.

  10. Ron said...

    On the Beckett thing, it’s amazing anyone would want him ejected. I think everyone in the world except me advocates pitch counts and restricting innings to keep pitchers from getting hurt.

    But letting a batter call time in the middle of a motion, and expecting a pitcher to just stop short while in the middle of a pitch? Yeah, no chance of an injury there.

    Beckett shouldn’t have went at his head. That’s wrong. But one in his rib cage? Yeah, perfectly acceptable to me. Batters do that all the time, and the pitcher has stop short or throw a pitch differntly than he intended. Maybe if the umpires enorced the rule and made the batter stay in the box, pitchers wouldn’t do things like that.

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