And That Happened

Phillies 12, Cubs 5: Pedro Martinez wasn’t spectacular in his 2009 debut, but he was effective enough and showed that he still belonged on a Major League mound (5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 5K). I was most impressed by his first inning strikeout of Jake Fox where, after consistently hitting 88 on the gun with his fastball to start off the game, he ratcheted it up to 92 on strike three. That’s useful. One wonders if it wouldn’t be more useful in the pen, but that’s something we’ll figure out over the next couple of weeks. Jeff Samardzija made his first start and it wasn’t pretty, as he gave up seven runs on eight hits in 3.1 innings. Oh, and some dumb rich kid showered Shane Victorino with beer as he caught a fly ball. No word on whether Victorino picked up a rock and made a nice-sized dent in the fan’s life-sized Hot Wheels car after the game. So what else do you want to hear, I’m out of stories.

Braves 6, Nationals 2: It’s a lot of fun for me to watch the Braves win like this. Now if only Philly and Colorado will cooperate by losing a bit.

Rockies 8, Pirates 0: That’s not what I mean when I ask for cooperation. Ubaldo Jimenez makes short work of the Pirates (8IP, 3 H, 0 ER).

Twins 7, Royals 1: Brian Bannister gets shelled (6 IP, 9 H, 7 ER) and Francisco Liriano had his best start in, like, forever (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 8K). Most of the damage against Bannister came in the first, when the Twins hit four straight singles off of him, followed by a home run. Bannister tried to explain to the Twins that all but the homer was the result of an unusual run of BABIP luck, but they insisted on celebrating anyway. Ignoramuses.

Giants 4, Dodgers 2: Juan Uribe wins it on a walkoff homer in the 10th, though if it wasn’t for a bad call at first base that led to a Dodger run, it would have ended in the ninth. There was some pushing and shoving early in this one, but no Youkilis-Porcello moments. Which is sad, because the inside pitch that caused the ire was to Pablo Sandoval, and I would have liked to see his kung-fu in action.

Mets 6, Diamondbacks 4: Jon Rauch got pissed at the ump over what he felt to be a shrinking strike zone in the eighth and charged in to argue with him. Manager A.J. Hinch came out to protect his pitcher and Rauch shoved him aside. “He really didn’t hold me back too much, and I went and apologized for manhandling him.” You just can’t buy that kind of respect from your subordinates. It has to be earned.

Red Sox 8, Tigers 2: Despite a fairly big series against the Rangers this weekend, Youkilis began serving his suspension, and thus sat this one out. Probably a good idea, though, because (a) the Sox have approximately 347 guys who play first or third; and (b) who’s to say the Tigers wouldn’t have thrown at him again? Josh Beckett goes seven innings giving up two runs and notching his 14th win. I’m getting this funny feeling that they’re going to give him the Cy Young award this year despite the fact that there are several starting pitchers more deserving. It just feels like a “look at the wins!” kind of year.

Rangers 5, Indians 0: Strike that — reverse it. Tommy Hunter continues to impress (7.2 IP, 6 H. 0 ER 5K) and Josh Hamilton goes 3-4 with a couple of doubles as the Rangers replicate the Indians 5-0 win from the previous night.

Cardinals 5, Reds 2: Chris Carpenter (7 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 10K) shuts down the Reds. A line drive off of Homer Bailey’s foot shuts down Homer Bailey after throwing only 12 pitches. Pujols hit his 38th homer. Matt Holliday goes 3 for 4.

Angels 10, Rays 5: Not a lot of pitching to be found here, as the teams combine for 24 hits. From the Angels side it had to do with the fact that Trevor Bell was making his major league debut. Rob wasn’t as impressed as the Angels’ announcers. Bell wasn’t all that impressed with the majesty of the Major Leagues: “But just talking to the veteran guys, they said the game is no different up here. Just more people and better speakers.”

Athletics 6, Orioles 3: The A’s finish up their 28-games-in-28-days stretch with a victory, resulting in a 14-14 record. In August 1990 I worked 28 straight days at the radio station without a day off. All 11pm-6am shifts. I was pretty whipped by the end of that stretch, and it was all I could do to read the station ID at the top of the hour without slurring my speech or falling asleep. I guess what I’m saying is that the A’s can declare victory with that 14-14.

Astros 14, Marlins 6: Hunter Pence had two homers — both of them three-run jobs — and Ricky Nolasco continues to make people wonder why he was such a hot fantasy property back in March (3.1 IP, 8 H, 10 ER).

Yankees 4, Blue Jays 3: A costly victory for the Yankees as Jeter, Rodriguez and Posada all got beaten up by hit or pitched balls, and Mariano Rivera didn’t even hang around for the game due to a “cranky arm,” whatever the hell that means. They got a bit of a cushion now, though, so they can give some guys a day off here or there.

Mariners 1, White Sox 0: Ken Griffey Jr. has had a rather poor (presumably) final year in the majors, but he get a nice near-the-end highlight here, singling home the game’s only run in the bottom of the 14th. I mentioned Josh Beckett’s Cy Young chances before. Among the guys with better cases but who likely won’t get near the support are Felix Hernandez, who threw seven shutout innings with ten strikeouts to lower his ERA to 2.72. Mark Buehrle had a good game too — his first since the perfecto — shutting Seattle out over eight.

Padres 6, Brewers 5: The new-look Brewers lose to a Padres team that has won 5 of 6. After the game, Doug Melvin demoted Prince Fielder, released Ryan Braun, fired Ken Macha and had three of every five stadium vendors killed. Dude doesn’t mess around.

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  1. Greg Simons said...

    I’m waiting for all the mid-September stories about how wimpy pitchers are these days, because I don’t see anyone winning 20 games this season.

    Well, maybe Jason Marquis, because he’s, y’know, clutch.  Wouldn’t that be awesome – Jason Marquis, Colorado Rockies pitcher and Cy Young winner?!?!

  2. lar said...

    “Cranky arm”? Never heard of it. It sounds like something Lucy would invent to get out of playing on Charlie Brown’s team.

    There was one series when she went and got “washer-woman’s elbow” (i doubt you hear the diagnosis much these days) and was very upset about it. She took it as an affront to the women’s movement. Of course, it then led into Charlie Brown getting “little leaguer’s elbow”…

    Ok, I’m rambling. But I still like the idea of Mariano Rivera coming out of a game because of “washer-woman’s elbow” or even “little leaguer’s elbow”. I can only imagine what the NY press would say about all of that.

  3. Gate said...

    I think it’s a little much to say that Beckett’s Cy claims would boil down to a fascination with wins.  Looking at the basic stats as well as some of the more advanced metrics, he’s in a group with Hernandez, Halladay and Greinke as one of the top 4 starters in the league.  I think you could also argue that as great as Greinke has been, he’s also spent a lot of starts pitching against some mediocre AL Central Teams.  Halladay and Hernandez are probably a step above Beckett at this point, but I think he’s definitely in the (legitimate)Cy discussion.

  4. ecp said...

    If Beckett wins the Cy Young, I will puke.  I don’t think the voters have a fascination with wins, but I do think they have a fascination with all things Boston, however, so I suppose it’s very likely.  At any rate, by WAR he’s the fourth best AL pitcher behind, in order, Greinke (who’s still way out in front), Halladay, and Verlander.  Then comes Lester, followed finally by Hernandez.

    Greinke still deserves it in my book.  He’s clearly been the most valuable pitcher, quality of opposition be damned.  If he didn’t have the worst run support in the AL, he would have as many wins as Beckett, and there wouldn’t even be a question.

    Off topic:  I got a kick out of the sight of 6’11” Jon Rauch shoving aside manager AJ Hinch, who’s 6’1”.  It looked like he was swatting a fly.

  5. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Dead Kennedeys song “Night of the Living Rednecks.” Spoken word piece in which the DKs singer describes a night in Portland, Oregon during which “some dumb rich kids” “shower him with water” after driving by him in their tricked-out pickup truck which he calls “a life-sized Hot Wheels car.”

    It’s the kind of reference I expected maybe four people to get, and even then it’s a lame narrow reference. Sometimes I just have to get them out of my head, however.

  6. Aaron Moreno said...

    I love how you can pick up that “fire Ken Macha” is wrong, but not “release Ryan Braun.”

    I think the mind tends to focus on the beginning and ending more than the middle.

  7. Jason @ IIATMS said...

    @Christopher Pearson:  be careful, man.  You’re about 3 miles from the point, you missed it that badly.

  8. JasonC23 said...

    So, wait, did Doug Melvin have three of every five stadium vendors killed or not? I’m getting so confused here.

  9. Daniel said...

    I would put my level of impressed-ness regarding Bell somewhere between Neyer and Gubizca.  The kid threw pretty well and really only made one bad pitch.  Pena’s first home run was a pop up fence scraper down the right field line that wouldn’t have got out at night.  And the umpires blew a call at second that would have made it a one-run shot instead of tw.

    His stuff was good, his location was decent.  I think he’ll be better than some of the other guys the Angels have trotted out there this season.

  10. APBA Guy said...

    Lot of consistent references to blown ump calls over the last few days, lots at first and a ton of strike zone issues. In April nobody cares. But now that the races are heating up it’s a different story.

    The missed call in the Giants game was hideous, and unfortunately Lincecum couldn’t pitch around it. It’s too bad we won’t see more replays or automation to assist the umps anytime soon. It’s especially too bad that MLB is doing too little to control ego-inflated umpires. So many bad calls, so little response. Fans don’t want to see games decided by bad umpiring.

  11. Greg Simons said...

    But, APBA Guy, what about the human element?  Who wants automated systems to call games with unemotional accuracy when you can have imperfect people like Don Denkinger helping to decide who wins or loses a game?  The umpires’ personalities and their personal strike zones add crucial flavor to the subtext of an otherwise black-and-while game.  Why anyone would want to give that up in the pursuit of correctness is beyond me.

    And, besides, don’t you know that the fix is on (as David has pointed out to us several times)?  MLB will never ditch their favorite puppets in favor of electronic gadgetry that can’t be manipulated to Bud’s will.

    It’s a conspiracy, man.  Get with the program!!

  12. Gerry said...

    Craig, you missed the big story from the Mets-Diamondbacks game – Jeff Francoeur drew a walk, after falling behind in the count, 0 and 2.

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