December 8, 2013
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Thursday, May 31, 2012
Mariners 21, Rangers 8: Look, we can point to Justin Smoak driving in a half dozen runs, Jesus Montero nearly hitting for the cycle or any number of other things as being the cause of this bloodbath. But the fact is, Derek Holland shaved his mustache the other day, and there is likely a causal link there.
Rockies 13, Astros 5: Carlos Gonzalez hit homers in the fifth, sixth and eighth innings. He's 10 for 16 with five home runs in his past four games.
Pirates 2, Reds 1: A.J. Burnett didn't allow any earned runs over seven innings. Aroldis Chapman didn't pitch in this game. Based on how his last week or so has gone, I'm going to assume he was unavailable because he was either running from Interpol, involved in a long con involving a phony off-track betting parlor or compelled to participate in some underground Russian roulette ring in Saigon by circumstance and his own mental scars.
Braves 10, Cardinals 7: Freddy Freeman got his new sports glasses yesterday. And then, in his first at bat since his eye problems got intolerable, hit hit a home run. He added a double and finished with three RBI. Ze goggles! Zay do zomething!
Marlins 5, Nationals 3: Johnson beats Wang. Wang didn't go long in this one, but he allowed no home runs, so no one was hard on him. In other news: "That's OK, I brought an erector set." "Throw a towel over it!" "Do some pushups Pablo, Maybe it will go away!" If you get that -- and if you're anyone other than Old Gator -- kudos.
Blue Jays 4, Orioles 1: The O's lose their fifth straight after giving up four solo homers to the Jays. But bad news for T.O.: Brandon Morrow left the game early after getting plunked on the shin by a line drive. Just a contusion, and he should make his next start.
White Sox 4, Rays 3: The winning streak is now at eight, this despite losing starting pitcher Jose Quintana via ejection and the whole Hawk Harrelson freakout and everything. The Rays have lost 9 of 13 at home. Joe Maddon: "We're not really playing a high level of baseball right now," Maddon said. "Too many mistakes on the field." As opposed to too many mistakes at the golf course or in the Matrix or wherever.
Cubs 8, Padres 6: Darwin Barney had a two-run walkoff homer. After the game he said "That was the first walk-off home run I've had at any level, I didn't even see it go out." Maybe it didn't happen then? Maybe ... Barney doesn't himself believe in Darwin! In other news, my Padres tickets probably just got another buck cheaper.
Phillies 10, Mets 6: The Phillies win, but since Lee went six and since they scored nine of their ten runs in the seventh inning and beyond, he doesn't get the win. I guess chemistry didn't help the back end of the Mets bullpen.
Red Sox 6, Tigers 4: David Ortiz and Will Middlebrooks each hit two-run homers and Kevin Youkilis had a solo shot. Miguel Cabrera went 4 for 5 with three doubles in a losing cause. The Red Sox have won 14 of 19. Tigers fans are the most dour bunch on the planet right now. And now that their division deficit is 5.5 games, ugh, maybe they should be.
Twins 4, Athletics 0: Oakland stinks on ice right now. Letting Francisco Liriano -- who had been one of the worst starters in all of baseball so far this year -- shut you out on three hits over six innings is damn nigh inexcusable. Josh Willingham homered and drove in three. He has to be serious trade bait at the deadline, right?
Royals 6, Indians 3: Kansas City finished May 15-13. It was the Royals' first winning May in 12 years. Cleveland has lost five of six.
Diamondbacks 4, Giants 1: Tim Lincecum pitched better than he has but Ian Kennedy pitched better than Tim Lincecum, allowing one run in seven and two-thirds. Paul Goldschmidt has had only 13 at-bats against Lincecum but already has four home runs off him, the most of any player.
Brewers 6, Dodgers 3: One Matt Kemp injury was survivable for the Dodgers. But, uh oh, here's another. Well, the same one re-aggravated. "It feels worse than the first time," Kemp said. Not good.
Yankees 6, Angels 5: New York avoids the sweep and LAA sees its winning streak end. The Yankees blew a four run lead first, but it was all OK in the end. Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson homered.
75 years ago today, a nice run for Hall of Fame starting pitcher Carl Hubbell finally came to an end. On May 31, 1937, the Meal Ticket, as people called the Giants ace, lost to the Brooklyn Dodgers, ending a winning streak of 24 straight decisions for him. That’s still the longest winning streak for any single pitcher in baseball history.
On July 13, 1936, Hubbell was the tough luck loser in a 1-0 decision to the Cubs. Four days later, Hubbell picked up a win, and by the end of the year had 16 consecutive victories. He began 1937 with a mark of 8-0 before his number finally came up on May 31, 1937.
From the beginning to the end, here were Hubbell’s pitching statistics: 27 G, 22 GS, 19 CG, 2 SHO, 207.2 IP, 159 H, 45 R, 41 ER, 38 BB, 103 K, 9 HR, 2 saves, and a 1.78 ERA. Oh, and of course a 24-0 record.
Hubbell left the game trailing only once in this span. On July 26, 1936, with the winning streak only at three games, the Reds tagged him for four runs in seven innings for a 4-2 advantage over New York. However, the bullpen held Cincinnati for the next two innings and in the bottom of the ninth, the Giants rallied for three runs and a 5-4 triumph.
Hubbell’s Game Score in that near miss was 43, his worst total in the stretch and one of only three times his Game Score was below 50. (In fact, it was one of only three starts with a Game Score below 58). Hubbell had fortune shine his way, but he was also doing a damn good job.
Not only was Hubbell damn good, but he was also damn consistent. Only four times in his 22 starts did he allow more than two earned runs. That ain’t bad. In half of his starts, the opposing clubs scored one run or less.
Consistent also describes Hubbell’s offensive support. The Giants rarely lit the world on fire in Hubbell’s starts but could be counted to do their share. They plated more than six runs only three in the 22 starts, but they were held to less than three runs only twice—and Hubbell won both of those games, 2-1. They usually scored 3-5 runs. The overall offensive production was 106 runs in 22 starts (4.82 R/G), which is really nice but nothing out of this world.
Consistently terrific pitching combined with consistently quality offense combined with another factor to make Hubbell’s streak happen—good timing.
On May 4, 1937, Hubbell allowed a streak-worst six runs (only three earned), but that was one of the days the Giants bats really erupted, and he won 7-6. On Aug. 26, 1936 Hubbell allowed a streak-worst five earned runs, but the Giants scored just enough, 6-5 for the win. Twice he surrendered four runs, but the Giants won both games, 5-4. In all, there were nine one-run victories.
Some will say it’s better to be lucky than good, but Hubbell was lucky and good. He was lucky and great.
But that was all before May 31, 1937. Brooklyn tagged him for a pair of runs in the first, another pair in the third, and when they pushed another run past him in the fourth it was time for Hubbell to hit the showers. It was his shortest outing in over a year. Brooklyn kept pouring it on, assuring that Hubbell wouldn’t be saved by a no-decision. The Giants lost, 10-3.
His winnings streak no more, Hubbell initiated a four game losing streak, something he hadn’t done since April 1932.
In many ways, the winning streak was Hubbell’s last hurrah. He’d been among the best pitchers in baseball for the last several years. From Opening Day 1933 until the end of the streak, Hubbell was 101-42 with an terrific 2.34 ERA. But beginning with May 31, 1937, Hubbell was 14-8 with a pedestrian 3.70 ERA for the rest of 1937. That’s roughly what he did for the next several years.
Today marks not only the 75th anniversary of the end of Hubbell’s losing streak, but the end of Hubbell’s prime.
Aside from that, many other events today celebrate an anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that occurred X-thousand days ago today). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you just want to skim the lists:
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The news broke earlier this week. Longtime White Sox and Tigers right fielder Magglio Ordonez decided to call it a career. He suffered an ankle injury in last year’s postseason and had gone unsigned by any team since then, so it makes sense that he’s decided to retire.
Now that his career is officially over, it makes sense to look back at his career. Below is a list of his career highlights. They are his personal bests and worsts, the most memorable and greatest contests he appeared in, his milestone moments, and various other oddities and notable moments he was on hand for.
Here it is, in chronological order.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Twins 3, Athletics 2: Holy ninth inning rally, Batman! Josh Willingham hits a two-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth off Brian Fuentes after the Twins were shut out for six innings by Jarrod Parker and two by Jerry Blevins and Grant Balfour.
Angels 5, Yankees 1: The Angels win again and are now over .500. And Pujols hits his eighth homer. Mark Trumbo homered again. Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos put on a defensive clinic. That's 11 of 15 for Anaheim and eight in a row. It's like April and the first half of May never happened.
Marlins 3, Nationals 1: Anibal Sanchez hasn't lost to the Nationals in 19 starts (he's 8-0 with a 1.97 ERA against Washington). That's pretty impressive. As was his performance in last night's game (7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER). The Marlins are 20-8 in the month of May, which is the best record in baseball in that span.
White Sox 7, Rays 2: Chicago is also hot. The Sox are winners of seven straight after rocking Big Game James for six runs on 10 hits. Hideki Matsui had a homer in his first game back in the bigs.
Mets 6, Phillies 3: Joe Blanton didn't have it. Scott Hairston did, hitting a two-run shot to give the Mets some breathing room in the sixth. Omar Quintanilla made his Mets debut and went 3 for 4 and scored twice. Easily the best debut for a Mets player with Q as the first letter of his last name ever. You can look it up.
Blue Jays 8, Orioles 6: Adam Jones hit two homers, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Jays, who snagged a 8-1 lead by the fifth inning. Brett Lawrie had three hits and three RBI. And no umpires were harmed in the making of this baseball game. The O's have dropped four straight and seven of ten.
Braves 5, Cardinals 4: The Braves finally break their losing skid thanks to a three run homer by Dan Uggla and a shot from Michael Bourn as well. Fredi Gonzalez batted the pitcher eighth. I'm guessing Fredi credits that bit of strategy for the win and will be doing it constantly now.
Royals 8, Indians 2: Mike Moustakas drove in four and Will Smith got his first career win. In other news, whenever the Royals face the Indians, I get the lyric from Dylan's "Summer Days" in my head which goes like this: "I got a house on a hill, I got hogs out lying in the mud/Got a long-haired woman, she got royal Indian blood." It's a fairly nonsense song, but it rocks and gallops, Dylan has gotten away with that kind of thing for 50 years now and I love it so I don't care.
Cubs 5, Padres 3: Jeff Samardzija struck out eight in seven innings on what was his own bobblehead day in Wrigley Field. Alfonso Soriano hit a homer. His seventh in 13 games. I don't guess he gets a bobblehead day this year. The Padres have lost five straight and eight of nine. Which just means the price for that game against the Rangers I'm taking my kids to on June 18 gets cheaper and cheaper. Heck, at this rate I may be able to get some inexpensive Field Box VIP seats or something. Keep losing, San Diego! Do it for the children!
Red Sox 6, Tigers 3: Justin Verlander done got blowed up (6 IP, 10 H, 5 ER). David Ortiz went 3 for 4, doubled, homered and drove in a couple.
Reds 8, Pirates 1: Reds third baseman Todd Frazier had two hits and drove in two, helping snap the Pirates' four-game winning streak. The day before he saved someone's life at a restaurant by giving the Heimlich maneuver. Not a bad 24 hours or so for the guy, no?
Mariners 10, Rangers 3: Josh Hamilton went deep again, but that was about the only thing that went right for the Rangers. John Jaso hit a two-run homer and had an RBI single. Scott Feldman got the loss for the Rangers. He was starting as a fill-in for Neftali Feliz. Roy Oswalt was signed on the same day. Do I gotta draw you a diagram, people?
Brewers 2, Dodgers 1: Ryan Braun's two-run homer in the first was all the Brewers needed. My friend Todd was at the game. He texted me last night to tell me that at one point Braun threw a ball into the stands to a fan, but the fans threw it back to him, which made him laugh. So then at the end of an inning he caught another ball and faked a throw to the stands. Fun times.
Giants 3, Diamondbacks 1: Melky Cabrera had three hits. That makes 50 hits this month for him, breaking Willie Mays' team record for hits in May. He has 77 hits in 50 games. Who knew the Giants were getting mid-2000s vintage Ichiro?
Thirty years ago today, something happened in Baltimore that didn’t draw much attention at the time, but turned out to be the beginning of something big.
On May 30, 1982, Orioles manager Earl Weaver penciled the name Cal Ripken Jr. into his lineup as starting third baseman. The Streak had just begun. It would be the first of 2,632 games played by Ripken, a stretch that wouldn’t end until near the completion of the 1998 season.
Ripken wasn’t playing in his first big league game. He’d played in a smattering of games with the Orioles in late 1981, and won the starting job at third base in spring training 1982, replacing Doug DeCinces, who had left via free agency for California.
Ripken had played in nearly every game for Baltimore so far in 1982. He missed the second half of a doubleheader in April, and got a day off in early May. On May 29, he sat for the third time. Again, it was a doubleheader in which Ripken played in the first contest and sat out the second one. In other words, even the day before he began his consecutive games played streak Ripken played in a game. Baltimore let Floyd Rayford start in Ripken’s place in the second game, one of only 15 he’d start all year for Baltimore.
On May 30, Ripken returned to the lineup as scheduled. He didn’t do very well, going hitless while receiving a walk. In fact, it was a lousy day for Baltimore; the Orioles garnered just one hit. Only a Rick Dempsey single midway through prevented them from being no-hit.
But Ripken was in the lineup and he always wanted to play. At the time, he wasn’t doing very well, which explains why Weaver gave him some days off. Ripken ended May 30 batting .235, and as late as June 8 was still at .233. But he had promise.
He caught fire in mid-June, swatting 26 hits in 17 games. Eleven of those hits went for extra bases. That assured Ripken would stay in the lineup as long as he wanted to—and he wanted to. In midseason, Weaver shifted the young star to shortstop, and the rest was history.
It was a long streak for Ripken, and it began 30 years ago today.
Aside from that, plenty of other baseball events celebrate either their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something occurring X-thousand days ago) today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d prefer to skim things:
Click for more...