And That Happened

Red Sox 7, Tigers 5: You’ve probably seen the Youkilis-Porcello fracas, but here’s video of it from a slightly different angle which makes Youkilis seem like even more of the bad guy here. Of course his ejection was the best thing to happen to the Sox last night, as he was replaced by pinch-runner Mike Lowell, who stayed in the game and proceeded to hit two homers and drive in three. So yeah, that was all fun and everything, and it actually worked out for Boston, but can we all agree that plunkings, retaliation plunkings, retaliation for the retaliation plunking and all of that is a total drag? It’s the one part of baseball where Klingon law basically reigns, and I’ll just never get it. Your guy hits my guy? Who cares? The only reason you’re doing it is because we’re hitting you hard. That kind of thing doesn’t call for revenge. It calls for pity.

Indians 5, Rangers 0: Laffey, Smith and Sipp — pitchers, not a 1960s kids show featuring puppets — combine to shutout the Rangers. The Indians did all of their damage in the third via one of those death by a thousand cuts kinds of innings: single-single-HBP-walk-single-double, eventually followed by a sacrifice fly.

Braves 8, Nationals 1: Tommy Hanson (6.2 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 9K) puts a stop to the uppity Nats. Every Braves regular had a hit. Leadoff hitter Ryan Church reached base in four of his five plate appearances. Sure, he doesn’t get big feature stories like the guy he was traded for does, but I don’t think anyone cares.

Orioles 3, Athletics 2: Brian Roberts had three hits, an RBI and two stolen bases as the Os get a rare win over the A’s. Wait. Why does the apostrophe look right on the “A’s” but not the “Os?” I’d think that the apostrophe would be improper in both instances given that they’re abbreviations of plurals as opposed to possessives, but everyone writes “A’s” don’t they? Did Oakland ever formally change their nickname? When I was growing up they were almost always referred to as the A’s, but in recent years you hardly ever see that anymore. Maybe “A’s” was just the proper noun, apostrophe and all, now it’s not, and we’re just dealing with vestigial punctuation? Man, what I wouldn’t give to have a linguistic anthropologist handy right now. Short of that, I’ll settle for APBA Guy. Got any insight here, dude?

Yankees 7, Blue Jays 5: Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada hit back-to-back homers leading off the eighth inning to give the Yanks the lead (where have we heard that before?). There was a moment of silence before the game for Merlyn Mantle, the widow of Mickey Mantle, who died Monday. There, my friends, was a woman of serious freakin’ strength, because God love him, but Mickey Mantle would have driven most women to their graves about 40 years before Mrs. M. was finally put to rest in hers.

Marlins 9, Astros 8: Game story: “Just before the bottom of the 11th inning, Cody Ross turned to teammate Dan Uggla on the bench and gave him a few choice words. “This is the inning,” Ross said he told him. “I feel it. I usually don’t say stuff like that.” Of course the bases were loaded at the time, so the odds were decidedly in his favor. Nice game-winning single by Uggla, but I’m not going to give Ross “I see dead people” kind of credit.

Padres 13, Brewers 6: Adrian Gonzalez went 6 for 6 and the Padres had 22 hits in all off of Braden Looper and six other Brewer pitchers.

Phillies 4, Cubs 3: Brad Lidge blew a 3-2 lead in the ninth, but Ben Francisco homer in the 12th got him off the hook. Lidge certainly ain’t right, though. How about this: Jamie Moyer, closer. Or would he complain about that too?

Reds 5, Cardinals 4: Coming off a shutout, Justin Lehr pitches well again, although this time in much better luck, giving up only one run in six innings despite allowing 11 hits and only striking out one dude. Which is why I hate the first sentence of the AP game story: “Apparently, Justin Lehr is no fluke.” Isn’t he? He’s a 32 year-old journeyman who isn’t allowing any runs despite not striking anyone out and has allowed 19 hits and 8 walks in 20 innings. Great results that still count and everything, but that’s pretty much a textbook example of fluky.

Royals 14, Twins 6: Demoting a knuckleballer like the Twins did with R.A. Dickey last week is the same as breaking a mirror or killing an albatross while crossing the ocean or something: courting doom. How else to explain a shellacking at the hands of the usually punchless Royals? Miguel Olivo homered and drove in three runs. The Twins have lost five of six and eight of 10, and they’re getting beat up at home on a pretty regular basis.

Pirates 7, Rockies 3: Ugly game for the Rockies, as they walk a bunch of dudes, commit a bunch of errors, and make the Pirates look like a good team in the process. Andrew McCutchen stole three bases.

Angels 6, Rays 0: Yesterday I read this story entitled “The Mighty Fall of Angels Pitcher Ervin Santana.” Ervin Santana apparently didn’t read it (CG SHO 3 H). David Price didn’t allow a hit until the fifth, and then the wheels just came off (6 IP, 8 H, 6 ER).

Diamondbacks 6, Mets 2: I think it’s safe to say that we’ve entered the “playing out the string” portion of the season for New York. Trent Oeltjen had four more hits, with a triple, a double and a couple of singles. Crikey.

White Sox 3, Mariners 1: Janks (8 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 8K) and Denks (23rd save in a perfect ninth) more or less shut down Seattle, but if it wasn’t for an Alexei Ramirez three-run homer in the ninth, it would have been in vain. Well, I suppose it could have been a two-run homer.

Dodgers 9, Giants 1: Remember that thing I said on Monday morning about there maybe being a race on in the NL West? Eh, forget it. Manny hit a two-run homer, had an RBI double and, working off of the general “treat Manny like Barry Bonds” vibe, was intentionally walked twice. Randy Wolf allowed one run and three hits in eight innings, retiring 16 of his final 19 batters. This allowed Giants fans to leave early, obviating the need to rush to get to the Larkspur Ferry.

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  1. Ben2009 said...

    I think what made Youk so mad was

    1.  Porcello had already retaliated for the Sox hitting Cabrera by throwing at (but not hitting) V-Mart.  So by baseball code of ethics, things were even. 
    2.  Porcello hit Youk in the back part of the arm.  Pitch must have really gotten away from him, eh? 
    3.  The previous night, after the Sox hit Cabrera, the Tigers intentionally hit Youk (even the ex-pitcher talking heads on MLBTV knew that one had been intentional).

    So Youk had been drilled intentionally the night before.  Last night, he’s drilled after a back and forth beaning.  Youk seems far from out of line in thinking that Porcello threw at him.

  2. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Ben—my problem is that the “code of ethics” often changes to fit whatever the folks involved want it to say.

    Sure, he threw at Martinez, but he didn’t hit him, so someone will say that there wasn’t any true vengence exacted yet.

    Sure, he hit Youk on the back of the arm, but no one ever gets hurt when their “Hi, Bettys” are plunked. The thing is, people in Youk’s shoes could conceivably complain about wherever he was hit.

    And is there really any question that Porcello threw at him? I don’t think that’s even at issue. The point is that the Tigers think it was justified because Cabrera, like Youk, was hit for the second time in two days.

    Sure, the Sox might say the second Cabrera plunk was unintentional, but the thing about these plunk-wars is that everyone thinks the other guy started it, everyone thinks they’re in the right, and nothing good ever comes of them.  It’s like Israel and Palestine. Everything after a certain point is claimed as specifically-justified retaliation for something, but no one can really agree on what set it all off or when the tit for tat should end.

  3. Grant said...

    I actually undersold Law’s post. He basically implies that the entire scouts’ section at that game thought Youkilis acted irresponsibly (as did the umpires, which is another discussion). Basically, the Sox fans here are supporting their boy, and it seems like most more-neutral observers are saying Youkilis is in the wrong. Having now seen the clip, I tend to agree with those who say Youkilis overrecated.

    But, hell, that’s what fans should do. They have to support their guys.

  4. RickyB said...

    Not only is it right to put the apostrophe for A’s and O’s due to it being a contraction, but if you get all A’s in school—the plural form of single letters requires an apostrophe so as to not cause confusion for the reader. Otherwise, the A’s would look like the word ‘as.’ Plurals of acronyms, like RBIs, should not have apostrophes. Of course, some people prefer RsBI or RBI as the plural, but that’s another argument …

  5. Dan said...

    You don’t plunk a guy by aiming for his hand! Forget about the day before – an accidental HBP started this thing, and it was due, as is so often the case when batters get hit in the hand or wrist, to the lunge at the plate that they feel comfortable doing because of all of the armor they wear.  There’s no intent on the part of Tazawa.

    But look at what happened after – way up and in to Martinez.  Then Cabrera comes out of the game due to his injured hand, and the first pitch drills Youkilis in the ribs (I don’t know what video you’re looking at that has it on his arm, if anything it was near the center of his back.

    As for Porcello’s state of mind, has any pitcher ever stood up and said “yeah, I hit you, what are you going to do about it?”  No, they get their “what did I do?” look.

    Youkilis was stupid because it will hurt the team when he’s out for five games.  If V-Mart plays 1B, the statue that is Mike Lowell kills the defense, and it means Varitek’s limp linguine bat is in the lineup more.

    However, Youkilis was absolutely justified in believing the pitch was intentional and being sick of it.  He’s been hit as many or nearly as many times as anyone in the league.  He’s got a right to be upset.

  6. Brandon T said...

    Difference is, Tazawa was making his very first start. The pitch was good: Cabrera started to swing and just barely managed to check it before it hit him in the hand—he was seriously crowding the plate. There was clearly no intent on Tazawa’s part.

    However, Porcello’s plunking was one of the most clear instances I have EVER seen of a deliberate hit. Square between the numbers on the back. Don’t say it doesn’t hurt until you get hit by one :D.

    I think the ump should have issued a warning after Martinez dodged one—this never would have happened. And never should have: you don’t retaliate because a rook hit someone in the first inning of his first start!

  7. lar said...

    But, hell, that’s what fans should do. They have to support their guys.

    Ooh! Does that mean that, when TigersFan1 (or nonSoxFan123456) lobs an insult at PinkHatRedSoxFan1008 in retaliation for a perceived insult in one of these Youkilis threads, CollegeSoxFan23456 gets to start a bench-clearing brawl on the message boards?

    Cause that’d be fun to see! Fans rushing in from their seats, bloggers scurrying to get out of their mothers’ basements, and everyone else cheering and applauding…

  8. Travis M. Nelson said...

    Actually, I’ve seen lots of pitchers look back at the batter as though to make it clear that the pitch was purposeful, and challenge them to do something about it. 

    What i can’t fathom is how we had two incidents last week in which the pitcher hit a batter with a pitch and he and/or his manager admitted that he threw at the batter on purpose, but the pitchers were only fined, if that.  By contrast, two months ago AJ Burnett was suspended five games for NOT hitting Nelson Cruz.  Can someone please explain to me the criteria for punishment?

  9. MJ said...

    How do they even call this a brawl when not even a single punch was thrown?  And how does Youk get thrown to the ground like that?  Although, Porcello should take lessons from Nolan Ryan on how to handle charging batters.

    Youk is currently tied for 7th in MLB with 10 HBP according to’s stat page.  Utley is first with 17. 

    @ Travis, no clue but I’m just as curious as you are.  Seems to be ever since that one (ChiSox?) pitcher admitted doing it, everyone is getting $750 fines and no suspensions.

  10. ecp said...

    MJ – It was Matt Garza who admitted that he deliberately threw at Mark Teixeira because he was “tired of opposing pitchers throwing at Evan Longoria” and got away with just a fine even though he hit him.

    And I’m sure that Red Sox fans well remember that Josh Beckett, like AJ Burnett, was suspended for five games earlier this year for NOT hitting Bobby Abreu.

  11. Dan said...

    Youk got thrown to the ground because he chose to grab him in a bear hug and anyone who is stationary can easily use the other guy’s momentum against him.

    As for the point made earlier that pitchers do stare back in with a scowl – that tends to happen when he throws high and tight but doesn’t hit anyone – the batter stares back, angrily, or maybe says something, and the pitcher shows some sac then.  But almost always when the batter is on his way in for a heart-to-heart, the pitcher gives the “what did I do?” look.

    James Shields and Nolan Ryan notwithstanding.

  12. Dan said...

    By the way, no one has mentioned this but as a yardstick for what Youk will probably get, a year or two ago Richie Sexson charged the mound and threw his helmet and wrestled with Kason Gabbard and got six games, subsequently reduced to five.

    With the Texas series coming up, Youk needs to appeal this and take his chances on when he misses time.

  13. Steve A said...

    I think Jenks is the ChiSox pitcher who said he purposely threw at someone.

    Fans of each team (myself included) are bypassing Craig’s point here.  Batters get hit in the back (square in the numbers).  Pitchers throw at batters purposely.  Just because statement A is true doesn’t mean statement B is true, unless it fits your storyline.

    All that said, too bad Porcello’s only 20.  I’m sure his teammates would be all over buying him some beers if he were of legal drinking age.

  14. chattanooga said...

    Porcello plays a professional sport with 25 other guys in their 20’s and 30’s.  He will make $2,000,000 this year.  I don’t think his age is holding him back from having a brew.

  15. APBA Guy said...

    I sure am glad everyone else weighed in on the A’s spelling and apostrophes and stuff, since I have no training in that field.

    I went to UVA, where I double-majored in Debauchery and Excess, training for a career as a layabout (once referred to as a ne’er-do-well-note use of apostrophe to signify missing letters, as in A’s, or O’s).

    I will note though that the A’s predecessor teams are rarely referred to as the A’s: it’s nearly always the Philadelphia Athletics or the the Kansas City Athletics.

    As was observed previously Finley wanted something more modern sounding after the move to Oakland (perhaps realizing that Oakland wasn’t a thriving metropolis like SF or LA), and the team was called the A’s with regularity.

    Today the broadcasters almost always refer to the team as the A’s, but the home jerseys will say Athletics, as do many of the souvenir t-shirts, and indeed my own fierce looking black fleece hoodie with gray “Athletics” written across the chest. I have learned in the many years since UVA that the key to success as a layabout is the development of one’s particular fashion sense. It is also imperative to not freeze one’s ass at A’s night games, so a thick hooded sweatshirt is a necessity, layabout or no.

  16. Will said...

    I don’t have any statistical evidence to back this up, but this kind of brouhaha seems much more common in the AL than in the NL. I suspect that the fact that NL pitchers know they will eventually have to bat discourages them from being too intent on plunking guys.

  17. tbliggins said...

    The worst thing about the Youk/Porcello ‘brawl’ was the disproportionate advantage it gave the Red Sox.  The Tigers lose their starting pitcher after 15 pitches bc Youk is offended.  Youk will appeal the inevitable suspension until they play the Royals/Orioles/A’s and it won’t matter.  You just can’t toss a pitcher for a HBP unless warnings are given.  It is too subjective.

  18. Mark said...

    Actually, considering that he has “Janks” going 8 innings and “Denks” picking up the save, it appears that we have a rare case of consonant-switching, not vowel-switching.

  19. Joe said...

    I’m a Red Sox fan, and I think Youk overreacted (and hurt the team) in charging the mound.  That said, I think Porcello went at him on purpose, because Cabrera had just gone out of the game.

    That said, I think the retaliation on the part of Porcello was weak.  Here was Tazawa, who in his only other major league appearance gave up a 15th-inning walkoff to ARod, in the first inning of his first start.  Two on, one out, 0-2 to Cabrera.  He’s going to choose that moment to plunk a guy?

    The pitch was close enough that Cabrera considered swining – indeed, that’s how his hands got in the way of the pitch.  I’m sorry he got hurt, but Porcello’s retaliation (second attempt, actually) was completely unjustified.  And though I don’t think he would have been tossed had Youk not charged the mound, I’m glad he did, because he was being an idiot.

  20. Daniel said...

    I think the biggest travesty is that Porcello got ejected BECAUSE Youkilis charged him.  The umpire made no move immediately after the plunking to eject Porcello, which means that it wasn’t decided to toss him until after the scrum.  And the scrum was initiated by Youkilis.

    Whether Porcello hits him on purpose or not, Youkilis should have walked down to first.  No one gets tossed (or tossed to the ground), no one gets fined, no one gets suspended.  The umpires most likely warn both benches and the beanball war ends.  But instead, Youkilis charges and then Porcello gets tossed.  Seemed a bit unjust.

  21. Timmy said...

    I got to see my favorite pitcher in action live last night.  Tommy Hanson is everything you could want in a young pitcher and more.  He tossed a gem last night, that was sort of abbreviated because of a couple of pedestrian ground balls that found holes in the first, thus running the PC up a bit prematurely.  I don’t even think he had his best fastball last night, but he carved up the Nats.

  22. Jack Marshall said...

    1) Youkilis, by his own admission, “lost it,” and should not have charged the pitcher.

    2) Under the circumstances, it was completely reasonable for KY to assume Porcello intentionally threw at him. It was the first pitch of the inning; it was Youk, is often a target; Porcello had already thrown at(and missed)Martinez; the top of the inning had ended with Cabrera having to leave his at bat because his hand was hurting from getting hit, reviving it as an issue in the game; and Porcello doesn’t hit batters very often. Using the pitcher’s EXPRESSION as proof that it was accidental is ridiculous. Youkilis is supposed to ignore all the other circumstantial evidence that it was intentional because of a facial expression? Really?

    3) Cabrera’s hand was hit in the strike zone—-it could not have been intentional, especially with a nervous rookie pitching in trouble in the first inning of his first start. Which makes Porcello’s retaliation at Martinez especially stupid.

    4) Why didn’t the umpires issue warning after Porcello barely missed Martinez…especially considering the game the night before?

    5) Doesn’t the umpire throwing out Porcello suggest that he thought it was intentional?

    6) Anyway, now that the Red Sox have three first-basemen and two thirdbasemen, Youk can go charging whenever it’s beneficial to get rid of an effective opposing pitcher…

  23. tadthebad said...

    But Youk got ejected, too, and it is almost pure luck that Youk’s replacement ended up hitting two bombs after-the-fact.  For that one game, I think the punishment doled out was not unjust, but as was mentioned before, a warning to both sides after Martinez was buzzed would have been a good move. 

    I originally thought Porcello’s “what, me?” routine was directed more towards his teammates, as in “where’s the help, guys?  why are you allowing this psycho to reach me?”  However, Porcello handled the rush quite nicely and took out Youkilis fairly easily.

  24. Nate said...

    As a frequent rider of the Vallejo ferry, I can say that the Larkspur ferry crowd never leaves early. They’re too busy finishing off all that wine in the luxury box. Marin County bastards.

  25. tbliggins said...

    Jack -

    You make a couple of good points.  The umpires should have issued warnings after the Martinez pitch.  Also, Youk sure can go charging the mound against an effective pitcher, which is why the ejection of Porcello w/out a warning is so dangerous.  There is too much subjectivity involved, especially in Fenway.  I highly doubt that Porcello gets tossed in Detroit under the same circumstances.  If the umpire thought it was so intentional why did he not immediately toss him?

    Also, I do not think that Cabrera getting hit was intentional, but that pitch was not in the strike zone.  Just because a hitter starts his swing does not mean the pitch was a strike.

  26. AdamZ said...

    It was a pretty dumb move on Porcello’s part. He missed Martinez already and managed to avoid a warning, so why not then wait until later in the game when you’re about to be taken out? By going after Youkilis as early as he did (he had to expect some kind of reaction) he not only got himself kicked out of the game, he also forced the Tigers to go to their bullpen early for the 2nd day in a row.

    Also, it seems to my that in these beanball wars the pitcher seems to get off much easier then the batter does. Not only does the batter get fined and suspended for 5-6 games, there is also a chance that he will have to deal with an injury. The pitcher on the other hand will get fined and suspended for 6 games, but really only misses one game (the one he starts) and never has to deal with the threat of an injury, unless the charging batter manages to reach him and actually do some damage which rarely seems to happen. So to me it seems like the pitcher really has nothing to lose in these situations (in the AL at least). My logic could very well be flawed but this is the way I’ve always seen these things.

  27. Jack Marshall said...

    It was fun listening to Dennis Eckersley on the NESN broadcast adamantly argue that Porcello didn’t intend to hit Youk, and then gradually change his mind over the coures of the game, especially after learning Youkilis was only the second batter he had hit all year and watching the pitch a few times. Eck suddenly said that when he was a young pitcher, seeing his team’s star get removed from the game after being hurt by a pitch, he’d hit the other team’s star “so my team mates would dig me.”

  28. Daniel said...

    The starting pitcher is more valuable than one batter for a single game, when everything is factored in.  I wouldn’t have been opposed to Porcello getting tossed, but the fact that Porcello didn’t get tossed until after Youkilis charged the mound is what bothers me.  Umpires, when they’re going to toss a pitcher for throwing at a hitter, always do it immediately.

    Porcello should have been treated independently of Youkilis.  If Youk hadn’t charged, Porcello probably would have been allowed to stay in the game with a warning.  That’s what’s unjust.  Porcello’s fate was dedided by an action beyond his control.

  29. Jack Marshall said...

    It was fun listening to Dennis Eckersley on the NESN broadcast adamantly argue that Porcello didn’t intend to hit Youk, and then gradually change his mind over the course of the game, especially after learning Youkilis was only the second batter he had hit all year and watching the pitch a few times. Eck suddenly said that when he was a young pitcher, seeing his team’s star get removed from the game after being hurt by a pitch, he’d hit the other team’s star “so my team mates would dig me.”

  30. Jack Marshall said...

    What is really needed is some consistency and standards from MLB and the umpires. The Red Sox saw Ramon Ramirez thrown out of one of the Yankee games in a situation where there was no reason to believe he was throwing at anyone, before any warning had been issued. I don’t quite agree with Craig about plunkings—-I think they have some legitimate tactical value, and especially with the DH, some retaliation is fair. But either baseball should ban all intentional hit batters, or lay out what the proper way to respond is.

  31. tadthebad said...

    I know ATH is meant as a traveshamockery, but you really think Youkilis is the bad guy here?

    BTW, laughed my ass off at the link.

  32. Grant said...

    A’s and O’s both look right, to me. And the apostrophe is serving as a replacement for omitted letters, like in nothin’ doin’, so I think that it’s grammatically correct as well. Could be wrong, though.

    And tadthebad – I didn’t see the play yet, but last night Keith Law threw up a post where he seemed to think very strongly that Youkilis was at fault and should be suspended. Worth noting.

  33. dlf said...

    Regarding the Oakland franchise … back in the early 70s, shortly after moving the team from Kansas City, Charlie Finley changed the team name to the A’s.  After he was finally pushed out by Bowie Kuhn, the club gradually reverted back to the original name and made a formal proclomation around the time of the Bash Brothers era.  But to someone of my generation, seeing them called the Athletics strikes me as wrong as calling the team in Anaheim anything other than the California Angels.

    Different subject …

    Of course Youklis is to blame.  His team clearly intentionally plunked Cabrera the prior game and then hit – perhaps not intentionally – Cabrera again yesterday.  Of course the Tigers were going to retaliate.  You can’t charge the mound for a retaliation plunking, you can’t throw your helmet, and you can’t have your sorry arse thrown to the ground by the pitcher after you charge him.

  34. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Yeah, what DLF said re: Youkilis. Not that I think he’s the only bad actor. I think everyone who gets involved in these stupid beanball wars is being jerky.

    That said, the “bad guy” comment in the post was meant more to make the post heel-turn Andre the Giant comparison work better.

  35. dtro said...

    Don’t know if it was intentional, but the reversal of vowels in Danks and Jenks cracked me up for some reason.

  36. Travis M. Nelson said...

    Yeah, Moyer’s upset, but can you blame the Phillies for putting him in the ‘pen?  I mean, no matter what the owner and/or GM told him before the year, you’d think that it would have gone without saying that, “If you pitch like my grandmother, all bets are off.” 

    And hey, it’s not Youk’s fault he got thrown to the ground.  After all, you use different moves when you’re fighting half a dozen people than when you only have to be worried about one.

  37. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Dtro—not intentional (I hadn’t even noticed it until you pointed it out) but I’m leavin’ it that way because I think it’s kind of funny too.

  38. Steve A said...

    As I listened to the talking heads last night, it definitely came down to the ex-pitchers supporting Porcello’s side and the ex-batters supporting Youkilis’s side.

    I watched it through my orange-and-blue glasses, and I believe Youkilis overreacted.  It seems like it’s been hot and humid in Boston the last few days.  A lot of pitches seem to have gotten away from the pitchers.  Porcello already threw inside on VicMart.  Look at how shocked and surprised Porcello was when Youkilis was charging him.  Porcello’s no Oscar winner, either.  He barely shows any emotion on the field.

    I fear the groundswell of support that we will hear in the media that this “brought the Red Sox together”.  I’d like to see how together they are for those 5-6 games without Youkilis.  On the other hand, the Tigers suffered last night with having to throw Chris Lambert out there on a moment’s notice.  They’ll bounce back strong, though.

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