December 9, 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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Friday, June 29, 2012
Pirates 5, Phillies 4: All of you who predicted that A.J. Burnett was going to rattle off eight straight wins at some point this year, please cut it out because you're lying. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go piss off a bunch of Yankees fans by suggesting that Brian Cashman should trade for Burnett to shore up the depleted pitching staff.
Rangers 7, Athletics 6: Because you want to play an almost four-hour nine-inning game in steamy hot Arlington, Texas, the ten pitchers these teams trotted out there combined to throw 345 pitches.
Rockies 11, Nationals 10: This one was probably fun for no one either. The Rockies jumped out to a 7-0 lead, totally squandered it when Josh Outman couldn't live up to his name, then finally pulled it out on a Marco Scutaro RBI single in the 11th. Jim Tracy said after the game "we made it a lot harder on ourselves than we needed to." That describes most of the 19 years of Colorado Rockies baseball, no?
Padres 7, Astros 3: Kind of a wild one. Andrew Cashner had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning but left that inning poised to be the loser. Then San Diego rallied for six runs in the ninth, capped by an Alexi Amarista grand slam.
Diamondbacks 3, Braves 2: Trevor Bauer made his big league debut, but wasn't efficient and didn't figure in the decision. Chris Young hit a ninth inning homer to win it.
Tigers 5, Rays 2: Four straight losses for the Rays. Weird stat line: James Shields allowed 14 hits, but still pitched seven and two-thirds innings. How often do pitchers who get knocked around like that go almost eight?
Angels 9, Blue Jays 7: The Jays loaded the bases against Ernesto Frieri in the ninth, but he slipped out of it. Two run homers each for Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo. We've been calling their numbers all year.
White Sox 4, Yankees 3: Any team can have a closer blow a two-run lead in the ninth, but it takes a special team to have three relievers more or less combine to do it. Cody Eppley and Clay Rapada each put a runner on base in the ninth -- Rapada thanks to his own throwing error which should have resulted in a double play -- and then David Robertson gave up a three-run homer to Dayan Viciedo.
Indians 7, Orioles 2: The Tribe snap a five-game losing streak. How did they do it? Likely some sort of Faustian bargain. How else to explain a Johnny Damon three-run home run off a lefty?
Giants 5, Reds 0: Madison Bumgarner: one-hitter complete game. That's four straight shutouts for San Francisco pitching. Eventually, I presume, a team will score a run against the Giants. I'm just not sure when.
Mariners 1, Red Sox 0: Wow, another awesome pitching performance out west. Living in the eastern time zone sucks, dudes. I saw the ugly games last night and missed the gems. Felix Hernandez: CG SHO 13K.
Mets 3, Dodgers 2: L.A. is reeling, but hey, at least they ended their 33-inning scoreless streak. David Wright hit a solo homer and RBI double. Fifth straight loss for the Dodgers.
Sixty years ago today, the Cubs staged one of the most incredible comebacks in baseball history. It was a game they by all rights should’ve lost, but damned if they didn’t come away with a win.
On June 29, 1952, in the first game of a doubleheader against the Reds in Crosley Field, the Reds pulled out to a lead and kept pulling away. At the end of the eighth inning, Cincinnati led 8-2. Yeah, 99 times in 100, the team with the lead notches an easy win. Today would not be one of those 99 days.
At first it looked like it would be a routine ending. The first Cubs out in the top of the ninth made outs. Now the Cubs were down to their last out with no one on and trailing by six runs. The odds of winning that game are pretty damn slim, to put it mildly.
Oh, and the bottom of the order was coming up. As if things didn’t look bleak enough, right?
Third baseman Bill Serena came up representing the last Cub hope, and he doubled. Then came shortstop Roy Smalley, who walked.
The pitcher was due up next, so manager Phil Cavarretta went to his bench and had Gene Hermanski pinch-hit. His single scored Serena, making it, 8-3. Well, at least the Cubs weren’t giving up too easily.
Then came the moment the Reds really would like to have back. Leadoff hitter Eddie Miksis tried to bunt his way on, but instead laid down what should’ve been the game-ending out. Should’ve been. Instead, Reds third baseman Eddie Kazak—who had entered the game as a defensive replacement an inning earlier—muffed it. Kazak was safe, Hermanski made it to second, and Smalley scored to make the score 8-4.
Time for a new pitcher. Starter Bubba Smith took a seat and relief specialist Frank Smith was called on to finish it. Instead, he hit the first batter he faced and then allowed a bases-loaded single. The score was now 8-6 and the tying run on base. It soon got even worse as Cubs slugger Hank Sauer smashed a double. Another run was in to make it 8-7. The tying run was 90 feet from the plate, and the winning run in scoring position.
So long, Mr. Smith. Cincinnati now turned to veteran Ken Raffensberger to hold the fort. He intentionally walked the first batter he faced to set up the force at every base.
So now it was as clutch as it gets. A one-run lead with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth. The Cubs went with another pinch hitter, Johnny Pramesa. He came through, singling in a pair of runs for a shocking 9-8 Cubs win. Down to their last out, nine consecutive Cubs had reached base.
Finally, the Reds got the last out when Serena came up again and popped up.
The Reds weren’t done yet. They were coming up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth. Though the first guy got on with a walk, the next three made outs, ending the game. If it was any consolation, the Reds won the second game of the day handily, 9-1, but the most memorable part of the day was still Cincinnati’s inning from hell against the Cubs.
Aside from that, many other events today celebrate their 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 would prefer to skim over everything.
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