And That Happened

Giants 9, Rockies 5: What a difference a week makes. Heck, not even a week. Six days after the Rockies beat the Giants on a grand slam, the Giants do it to the Rockies, courtesy of Edgar Renteria. Given the Dodgers’ relatively uninteresting play lately, I think I’m going to squint my eyes until the end of the season and pretend that this is a bonafide pennant race as opposed to a wild card race.

Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 0: Papa-oom-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow-mow, papa-oom-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow (6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER). Not that we should be surprised. Byrd has always done well on 340 days rest.

Royals 3, Mariners 0: More dominance from Zack Greinke (CG, SHO 1 H). We can only hope that the writers are smart enough to realize come awards voting time that Greinke’s win total is a function of his team. Given the extremes involved here, I think they will. If he had won 15-16 wins for a middling team like the Twins or the Brewers, someone would be tempted to say that Greinke wasn’t a “winner.” That many wins with a profoundly terrible Royals team will be viewed as a positive rather than a negative. In other words, he’ll get the Steve Carlton-in-72 vote.

Angels 9, Athletics 1: After the game, John Lackey talked about how this Angels team compares to the 2002 team which won the World Series and on which he made his debut: “Several guys on that ’02 team will tell you we might not have been the best team, but we were hot . . . That ’02 team was more of an offense-based team, for sure. We didn’t pitch that well.” That’s so right. Except for the fact that the 2002 Angels were tied for the best ERA and allowed the fewest runs per game in the American League.

Brewers 4, Pirates 1: Jeff Suppan won on his bobblehead day. In other news, there’s a Jeff Suppan bobblehead day.

Cardinals 2, Nationals 1: Adam Wainwright won on his bobblehead day. This is somewhat more defensible. Though to be honest, I’d rather have the Suppan, just for the sake of randomness.

Tigers 4, Rays 3: This is the kind of game the Rays were winning a year ago. There’s not some magical explanation to it. The pendulum just swings, ya know?

Mets 4, Cubs 1: Nelson Figueroa (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 10K, RBI) was a one man team. Really, it was just him, playing all nine positions like Bugs Bunny vs. the Gashouse Gorillas because the rest of the Mets are on the DL.

Twins 5, Rangers 3: The Twins scored three runs in the eighth via a variety of unconventional means, after which Ron Gardenhire said “We kind of knick-knacked them a little bit.” I think that means that instead of being pummeled, the Rangers were Hummeld.

Yankees 8, White Sox 3: The Yankees keep winning, and because they’re doing so well, they continue to mess with Joba Chamberlain, yanking him after 35 pitches despite there being nothing wrong with him. At the risk of sounding like one of those cranky old pitchers from the 60s and 70s, I can’t help but think that Chamberlain is going to turn out like that kid you knew whose parents would never let leave the house growing up and then got alcohol poisoning the same week he went away to college because he had no perspective or life experience. Sure, you don’t want to let him kill himself now, but there are worse things in the world than letting the boy pitch and get knocked around a bit.

Orioles 5, Indians 2: Brian Matusz has the best start of his very, very young career, and spends a lot of time in the game story talking about how he overcame his initial struggles with adjustments and video and all of that. The fact that he was facing the Indians didn’t hurt either.

Marlins 6, Padres 4: “It was a tough weekend for us and today was nice to salvage the series,” Cody Ross said after the game. The Padres took two of three. If they had lost the first one and won the second two, no one on the Marlins would be talking about how the win on Friday “salvaged the series.” Likewise, if they had won Saturday’s game but lost on the bookends, no one would feel too good about things. I use that phrase all the time, but games are games are games.

Dodgers 3, Reds 2: Dodgers pitchers combined to strike out 20 Reds. Nine of those Ks came in the 8th-12th innings, dooming Cincinnati’s chances to get anything going. Clayton Kershaw still hasn’t won a game since mid-July, despite the fact that he has a sub-3.00 ERA since then.

Diamondbacks 4, Astros 3: Arizona won the game, but closer Chad Qualls dislocated his kneecap on the last play of the game and will probably be done for the year. I’m one of the more squeamish people I know. Seriously, my daughter lost her first tooth a couple of weeks ago and was out of commission for hours. But nothing makes me cringe more than thinking about kneecap injuries. Really, it’s taken me ten minutes to just write this individual recap out because I’ve been alternating between mild nausea and frantic rubbing of my own kneecaps in an effort to somehow make the horror of that kind of injury erase itself from my thoughts.

Phillies 3, Braves 2: Games like this don’t make me feel too hot either. First Chipper throws away the bunt in the seventh, and then Garret Anderson just butchers the Carlos Ruiz “double” that put the Phillies ahead for good. Continued failure to support Jurrjens. Just — further failure. At times like these I have to remember that, for most of the year anyway, I’ve been on the “2010 is the Braves’ year” train, believing that the team brass was really thinking that too, even if they could never admit it. I still think that’s right, but that little hot streak earlier this month is the kind of thing that makes you forget.

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  1. Matt said...

    I think the only reason people are getting pissy with the Joba thing is that this short start came in August rather than in April or May. Last year, the Yankees attempted to back-load Chamberlain’s innings and this year they front loaded them.

  2. MooseinOhio said...

    Paul Byrd pitches well for the Red Sox.
    John Smoltz pitches poorly for the Red Sox.
    Paul Byrd is a better pitcher than John Smoltz

    This is a great example of a logical fallacy but it also seems to represent the type of reasoning many baseball commentators (Sutcliffe/Phillips) use today. 

    Also – Good article in ESPNtheRag about how Nolan Ryan has helped change the culture in Texas, specifically with how pitcher are developed/handled.  For example, he wanted his pitchers to throw long ball at distances greater than 120 feet (the new standard length) to help them build up arm strength.

    Make me wonder how many innings Nolan Ryan would let Joba throw this year – I suspect it is significantly higher than the what the Yankees would ever consider.

  3. Jack Marshall said...

    Paul Byrd pitches well for the Red Sox.
    John Smoltz pitches poorly for the Red Sox.
    Paul Byrd performed like the Sox needed him to, and John Smoltz did not.
    Paul Byrd accomplished more for the Sox in his one game than Smoltz did in his eight.

    Nothing wrong with these statements: they’re true.

    Though I eagerly await the stats “proving” that Byrd actually pitched WORSE than Smoltz, but was luckier.

    Would the Sox trade Byrd for Smoltz today if they could? Oh, probably. But I bet they’d have to think about it.

  4. Jason B said...

    Figueroa pitched better than Bugs did – don’t you remember the Gashouse Gorillas were doing a conga line around the bases when they were swatting homer after homer?  Ol’ Bugs was a gamer though, that plucky little fella bounced back gamely.

  5. MooseinOhio said...

    Jack – I agree with you and should have noted my logical fallacy was meant to be for their career not the given year.  While I think Smoltz may have been able to pitch well at some point for the Sox the team did not have the luxury of giving him more starts to work it out as the WC race was/is too tight to risk losses. 

    The Smoltz Project was worth a try but I think it may have lasted a few games too long as I think Bowden or Tazawa would have given the Sox an equally viable chance of winning the last few games Smoltz pitched.  Byrd pitched a great deal in the AL, pitched in the AL East successfully and does not rely on his fastball the same way Smoltz does and it appears may be a better option for the Sox.

  6. Bob Tufts said...

    Considering his off season DUI, I don’t think a drinking analogy is the way to go when describing Chamberlain and his work load.

  7. Alan said...

    Jason B: No no, Bugs wasn’t in the game yet when the Gorillas were doing the conga line. He was in his rabbit hole heckling. Then a Gorilla got sick of his sh*t, yanked him out of his hole and forced him into the game.

  8. scatterbrian said...

    APBA Guy:

    Lackey pitched a good game, and Morales is having a banner year, but I wouldn’t get too worked up about who the Angels beat. Lackey makes about as much as Oakland’s lineup yesterday, about half of which goes to Mark Ellis….

  9. Jeff said...

    Highlight of the day yesterday? Mike Redmond heaving and gasping his way to third base on the most inexplicable triple I’ve ever seen.

  10. scatterbrian said...

    Lackey’s probably thinking of the postseason. In 16 games, the Angels hit 24 homers and averaged over six runs per game, while they allowed 21 homers and gave up over five runs per game.

  11. APBA Guy said...

    Don’t you know about the Byrd?
    Everybody’s heard that the Byrd is the word!

    Watching Lackey dismantle the A’s today made me almost forget that the series split, 2-2.

    But Kendry Morales put on a show this series that I won’t forget. He’s up to 30 HR’s, .948 OPS.

    Texeira is at 32 HR’s, .927 OPS.

    But Mauer is at 1.043, and plays catcher.

    So Morales is not the MVP, but is having a fabulous year.

    30 HR’s for Morales, whereas the A’s entire starting lineup had 51.

  12. Daniel said...

    Yeah, that 2002 Angels team had good pitching, but they gave up plenty of runs in the postseason.  It was the offense, via the 5 to 8-run innings, that won them that title. 

    To be honest, I think the current pitching staff actually has more talent than that pitching staff (Vet Lackey, Weaver, Santana, Saunders vs. Rookie Lackey, Washburn, Ramon Ortiz (!!!), and Old Appier), but the pendulum, it does keeping swinging.

  13. Jason B said...

    Alan – you’re so right.  I think Oliver Perez or Brandon…*ahem*…Bronson Arroyo may have been pitching beforehand.

    I don’t think it’s even legal to have that many runners on base at once.  Much less the conga provision in rule 8.5(a), paragraph 4.  I mean, that’s strictly prohibited, the umps just *never* enforce it.  C’MON BLUE! GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME!!

  14. Grant said...

    Plaschke’s already firing up the old Underwood, getting ready to blast Kershaw for “not knowing how to win.” That is if he ever lets go of Manny’s leg…

  15. Chip said...

    Potshots at the Indians again. Intelligent work. I’m not saying they’ve got a great offense, but they are middle of the pack of the AL in OPS+.

  16. Brad said...

    I was also going to mention the unnecessary shot at the Indians.  I know they’re having a disappointing season but they are 5th in the AL in runs scored.  It’s not their offense that ruined their season, it was their pitching (and specifically their bullpen).  I expect better from you, Craig.

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