December 5, 2013
Get It Now!Hardball Times Annual is now available. It's got 300 pages of articles, commentary and even a crossword puzzle. You can buy the Annual at Amazon, for your Kindle or on our own page (which helps us the most financially). However you buy it, enjoy!
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10th anniversary: the A.J. Pierzynski trade (15)
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Friday, June 15, 2012
Reds 12, Indians 5: One in a bunch of lopsided Thursday games. Brandon Phillips simply abuses Indians pitching as a rule and he did so again yesterday, driving in four. And he likes it too. He said after the game: "Deep down, it feels good to beat up on the Tribe." Michael Brantley extended his hitting streak to 21. The Reds sweep the Indians for the first time in four years. They are so close to claiming victory in the Battle of Ohio. And to the victor goes the spoils! Soon the Reds will dine on the finest bologna and Velveeta the Buckeye State has to offer and the streets of Columbus, Lima and Akron will flow with the blood of the non-believers!
Cardinals 5, White Sox 3: Adam Dunn tied Josh Hamilton for the major league lead in homers with his 22nd bomb. He's on pace for 57 homers and 255 strikeouts. His average is .227 yet his OPS is .940. Dude is too weird to live, too rare to die. Sure, the Cardinals won, but that's a mere detail. We're in the business of building this donkey's legend here, friend.
Mets 9, Rays 6: Johan Santana was less-than-sharp, but the Mets sweep the Rays behind two homers from Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Jason Bay added one too. That's something considering he's on a "hey, good for you!" basis for doing anything more than falling over these days.
Tigers 5, Cubs 3: Detroit wins its second straight over Chicago and Justin Verlander notches a win for the first time in a month. Most notable, however: just how thoroughly Detroit fans took over Wrigley Field in this series. It was basically a home game for the Tigers. Someone in Chicago had better come up with some sort of "Cubsitude" campaign. Or something.
Orioles 12, Pirates 6: Baltimore unloads on former mate Erik Bedard for its biggest offensive night of the season. Steve Pearce homered and drove in five. Matt Wieters drove in five and did it without even hitting a homer. The O's were up 10-0 before the Pirates got a run. Just a shellacking.
Athletics 8, Rockies 2: Oakland has one of the worst offenses in the game but leaves Colorado having scored 26 runs in a three-game sweep. Meanwhile, Jarrod Parker allowed only three hits over seven scoreless innings. The Rockies are simply cratering.
Phillies 6, Twins 1: Know what Charlie Manuel needed? A night when he didn't have to call on that freak show bullpen of his. And Joe Blanton gave it to him. Blanton threw a complete game, allowing one run on seven hits. Jim Thome hit a three-run bomb because he is Jim Thome and all he does is mash taters.
Royals 4, Brewers 3: For the second night in a row the Royals got to the back end of Milwaukee's bullpen. Though really, this isn't all on John Axford. He struck out the first man he faced but strike three was a wild pitch, allowing the batter to reach (note: like 75 percent of wild pitches seem to come on balls the catcher should at least knock down and passed balls are rarely called these days). The winning run scored on a dumb decision by shortstop Edwin Maysonet, who cut off a throw from the outfield in an effort to get the batter which allowed the lead runner to come around and score.
Diamondbacks 11, Rangers 3: Arizona salvages one and breaks out of a run scoring drought to do it. Daniel Hudson struck out seven in seven innings, rebounding from a nightmare start his last time out.
Astros 6, Giants 3: It was an extremely Barry Zito third inning, as he walked the bases loaded and then allowed a grand slam to J.D. Martinez. Brandon Belt hit his third homer in as many games. It's gonna be extra fun when Bruce Bochy comes up with an excuse to bench him next time. I'm gonna go with "those homers are rally-killers" or some variation on that theme.
Padres 6, Mariners 2: The sweep. Edinson Volquez allowed one run and four hits while pitching into the seventh. Overall, Padres starters basically shut down the M's lineup. Good for them and all, but I hope the pitching doesn't continue to be good. Because I'll be at the Padres-Rangers game with my kids on Monday night and if anyone takes a no-hitter late, I can totally see my kids being all like "can we GO?" At which point I'll put them up for adoption.
Ten years ago today was one of the most famous games in the history of interleague play. It was the Battle for the Big Apple as the Mets took on the Yankees. But it wasn’t just any Mets-Yankees match-up. No, this would be the first time Mets catcher Mike Piazza and Yankee pitcher Roger Clemens faced each other since the 2000 World Series.
In the first inning of Game Two of the 2000 World Series, one of the strangest plays in the history of the Fall Classic occurred. Famously, Piazza hit a broken-bat grounder to second base, and Clemens took a chunk of shattered lumber by the mound and tossed it in front of Piazza. Now, Piazza would’ve been out anyway, but you’re not supposed to do that, and had it been a regular season game Clemens likely would’ve been ejected.
There was more background to Clemens and Piazza, too. In a July 2000 interleague game, Clemens nailed Piazza in the head with a fastball, knocking him out of the game with a concussion.
In 2001, not wanting an ugly rematch, Yankee manager juggled his rotation to avoid pitting Clemens against the Mets in interleague play. But now it was another year and that wasn’t going to happen again.
Now, on June 15, 2002, Clemens and Piazza would face each other again, and that created quite a bit of pre-game buzz. What would happen? Would Mets starting pitcher Shawn Estes throw at Clemens for what he did to the Mets catcher all those years ago? Given what happened and Clemens' overall reputation as a schmuck, plenty were hoping the Mets would plunk him. The fact that it was a game between two New York teams surely didn’t diminish the hype.
Well, the storyline heading in was all about Clemens and Piazza, but the big news of the day turned out to be Shawn Estes.
In the top of the third inning, Clemens came to the plate against Estes. Everyone waited to see what would happen. Would Estes plunk him? Nope. He did, however, throw a pitch a foot behind Clemens. For some that was enough, but for others it was weak. No matter, both dugouts were issued warnings after Estes plunked Clemens. The story and game weren’t over, though.
In the bottom of the third, Estes came to the plate with no outs and a runner on second. There were no fireworks, though. At least not at the plate. But when Estes laid down his sacrifice bunt on the Clemens’ first offering, Rey Ordonez managed to score all the way from second base. He should’ve just made it to third, but when Ordonez chugged into the hot corner, he realized no Yankee covered the plate. So he motored home for a 1-0 Mets lead. The guy who should’ve covered home? Clemens.
Two innings later, the score was 1-0 when Estes came to the plate again with a runner in second base. Instead of laying down another sacrifice to advance the runner, Estes swung away. Boom—home run. Estes hadn’t plunked Clemens earlier, but now he bombed Clemens for a 3-0 Mets lead. And Estes had all three RBIs.
An inning later, Piazza came to the plate. He’d already come up twice and flown out and grounded out. Now, came the memorable at-bat. Leading off the sixth, he smacked a home run off Clemens for a 4-0 Mets lead. A few minutes later, Clemens left the game in mid-inning to the jeers of the Shea Stadium faithful.
Estes pitched seven scoreless innings allowing five hits while fanning 11. Behind his arm and bat the Mets cruised to an easy 8-0 lead. All the focus before was on Clemens and Piazza, but when the game ended Estes was the star of the show.
Aside from that, plenty of other baseball events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something occurring X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d prefer to just skim over things.
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