I have a book review and a brief due today, two opinions on pending legislation due tomorrow, and it’s my 14th wedding anniversary. By all rights, I should have punted the box scores last night and tried to get a head start on some of that other stuff (and maybe taken some time to think about how to spend my 14th wedding anniversary). But then my palms started itchin’ and my fingers started twitchin’ and whatever it is that forces me to sit down and crack wise about baseball games every damn day just sort of took over. At least that’s what I’m going to tell my editor, my boss, and my wife when they all track me down later today to yell at me. Think they’ll understand?
Orioles 11, Red Sox 10: John Smoltz pitched better (4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) but had to leave when the rains came. I wouldn’t worry about the short outing, however, because Francona may want him in the bullpen. Why? Because Boston blew a 10-1 lead after their half of the seventh. Among the big blows was an Oscar Salazar pinch-hit three run homer and a Nick Markakis two-run double off of Papelbon after being 0-7 against him entering the game. It was the biggest comeback in Baltimore Orioles history, and one that had to be particularly sweet for Os fans who have had to put up with so many interlopers in their ballpark for Sox games in recent years.
Pirates 3, Cubs 0: Ross Ohlendorf and Freddy Sanchez got to the ballpark, realized that they were the only two Pirates not traded yesterday, and went about their business, Bugs Bunny vs. Gashouse Gorillas-style: Ohlendorf shut out the Cubs over seven innings (pasting those pathetic palookas with his powerful, paralyzing, perfect pachydermous percussion pitch) and Sanchez scored one run and drove in the other two for Pittsburgh. Most people thought Sanchez would be out on that run he scored in the fourth because Ted Lilly had the ball and was waiting for him at home plate. Then again, most people probably didn’t count on Sanchez having that 1940s pinup in his back pocket to distract Lilly either.
Braves 5, Phillies 4: I told Bill at Crashburn Alley that the Braves would take two out of three in this series. So far, so good. I never would have bet on the Bravos coming back in extra innings after coughing up two late homers like they did in this one, however, because they just don’t do that. Martin Prado was 4-5 with four RBI, including the game-winner in the 10th. My guess is that puts Kelly Johnson on the bench until the day Bobby Cox is buried in the cold, cold ground.
Rays 4, Blue Jays 1: I was gonna get all cute and quote some song lyrics here, but I couldn’t decide if I should go with “Running to Stand Still,” or “Hold On, I’m Comin’.” I suppose that all depends on how the Red Sox and Yankees do. Either way I have this feeling that the AL East is going to be redonkulously exciting in the second half.
Diamondbacks 6, Reds 2: Danny Haren’s teammates have failed to show up for him so many times this season that he would have been forgiven if he had picked up a bat and beat them silly. Lucky for everyone involved Haren is a clearer thinking guy than I am and decided to simply take the bat to the opposition, going 2 for 2 with a homer and a double. Oh, and he pitched seven innings of one run ball while striking out nine. He then drove the team bus back to the hotel, watched game film, set the lineups for the next week, called Billy Beane and asked what he’d want for Matt Holliday and started spitballin’ ideas for next season’s promotional calendar.
Giants 6, Cardinals 3: You had to figure Chris Carpenter was going to come back down to Earth eventually. You just didn’t figure on it happening all at once (5 IP, 11 H, 6 ER), especially against an offense like the Giants’. Despite the loss, Pujols had his requisite two home runs.
Brewers 6, Mets 3: That’s five losses in a row for the Metropolitans, capping off a lovely 9-18 June. Though that’s maybe not as important as the fact that, on June 1st, they were 2.5 games out of first and now, on July 1st, they’re only 3 games out. My God, the NL East is horrifying this year.
White Sox 11, Indians 4: Crisco. Bardol. Vagisil. Any one of them will give you another two to three inches drop on your curve ball. Of course if the umps are watching me real close I’ll rub a little jalapeno up my nose, get it runnin’, and if I need to load the ball up I just [wipe] wipe my nose. Hey, I haven’t got an arm like you, kid. I have to put anything on it I can find. Someday you will too. [note: all Indians losses are going to get “Major League” quotes until Eric Wedge is fired or they win three in a row, whichever comes first].
Twins 2, Royals 1: The game story breaks out the first “hapless” I’ve seen in at least a year. It also notes that the Royals “are among the AL’s worst in hitting, runs, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.” Anyone ever make a movie about the Royals? Maybe I should be quoting that instead.
Marlins 7, Nationals 5: I called the Cardinals a one man gang the other day. So too are Hanley’s Fish (2-4, 4 RBI).
Rangers 9, Angels 5: Marlon Byrd homered twice and drove in five runs. Let’s hear it for Victor Conte’s supplements, everyone!
Yankees 8, Mariners 5: Mariano Rivera threw out the game’s first pitch, yet somehow came back in in the ninth to get the save. Don Wakamatsu, showing lots of class, decided not to protest the game.
Tigers 5, A’s 3: Armando Galarraga walked six guys. It’s not everyday that you can do that and win, but then again, it was the A’s he was facing and they are notably poor at making anyone pay for anything. The A’s have plugged in Gio Gonzalez into the rotation three or four or maybe fifty times this season, but pretty soon that experiment has to end, right? Because he’s, like, terrible. Yesterday he gave up three runs on seven hits in five innings, and you can make the argument that that’s his best start of the year.
Padres 4, Astros 3: Padres win, but Adrian Gonzalez got hurt. Hard to tell if it’s major. Gonzalez doesn’t know himself: “Sometimes I feel something and I wake up the next morning and I feel great. Then sometimes I wake up and something aches that I didn’t feel the night before.” I’m not sure why, but upon reading that I almost immediately got a sonic image of that statement being sung by Kevin Cronin over slowly ascending chords and making an almost perfect REO Speedwagon song.
Rockies 3, Dodgers 0: Jason Marquis pitches the game of his life (CG, SHO, 2 H, 3 K, 0 BB), and only needed 86 (!) pitches to do it. And Jim Tracy is the best quote in baseball: “In the seven-plus years I’ve sat behind a desk like this, that’s the first time I’ve seen a starting pitcher throw a nine-inning, complete-game shutout and do it with less than 90 pitches.” He watches games from his desk? I’ve heard of hands-off managers before, but that’s ridiculous. In other news, I was finally getting used to the idea that Manny coming back on Friday would be anti-climatic because the Dodgers simply didn’t need him too bad. This skid they’re on is changing my mind back again.