December 7, 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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Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Angels/Giants 22, Tigers/Braves 0: So, I'm a Braves fan and my girlfriend is a Tigers fan and each of our teams got the crap beat out of them last night. So we agreed that baseball sucks and decided to watch downloaded "Parks and Recreation" episodes instead. Good call, yes? I mean, Mike Trout and Buster Posey are good, but they're not as good as Aubrey Plaza representing the moon in a model U.N.
Reds 4, Diamondbacks 0: We don't know any Diamondbacks fans or else we would have let them watch TV with us too. I mean, if your team got shut out last night, you probably should have been watching different TV instead.
Rays 4, Indians 2: Matt Moore labored -- he threw 90 pitches and walked five dudes in five innings, but the bullpen bailed him out and the Indians failed to capitalize.
Nationals 5, Mets 4: The Mets bullpen can do it all. If you need them to blow leads in the ninth inning: they got you covered. Tenth? Hey, they can do that for you too. They can give up RBI singles and triples. They can throw wild pitches with the bases loaded. Really, there's no job too small for the New York relief corps
White Sox 7, Red Sox 5: Three run home run for Kevin Youkilis in Fenway. Drops mic, walks off stage.
Yankees 6, Blue Jays 1: CC Sabathia returns and pitches six shutout innings. So, all that happened with the big man gone was that the Yankees built the biggest lead in all of baseball and they got their ace rested some for late in the season.
Brewers 3, Cardinals 2: The stars were dropping like flies. Lance Berkman was ejected, Ryan Braun and Matt Holliday left due to injures. K-Rod, taking over for John Axford, got the shaky save.
Marlins 9, Cubs 5: The Ozzie returns to Chicago. This was fun: Cubs fans booed him during a pitching change in the eighth inning. So Guillen pointed toward his ring finger, telling the Wrigley faithful that unlike the Cubbies, he has a World Series ring. God, I love Ozzie sometimes. Carlos Lee had a grand slam in a five-run fifth inning for the Fish.
Mariners 9, Royals 6: Ryan Verdugo didn't scare anyone. He was lit up for six runs on eight hits in an inning and two-thirds in his major league debut. I mean, Vin Mazzaro came in and mopped up for the guy. And he's sort of like a harbinger of death.
Phillies 3, Dodgers 2: Halladay returns. He only went five innings and didn't figure in the decision, but he struck out six. It took five relievers to go the final four innings, but dadgummit, they held on.
Padres 8, Astros 2: Yonder Alonso had a homer and drove in three. Alexi Amarista and Cameron Maybin each had three hits. The Padres have been scoring a lot of runs lately. Weird.
Rangers 6, Athletics 1: Roy Oswalt vs. Bartolo Colon. Nice match-up if it were, say, 2005. But Oswalt did look like his old self, allowing one run in six and a third innings in the win.
Twins 6, Orioles 4: Three hits and an RBI for Joe Mauer, as the Twins knock off the fading Orioles. Zach Britton walked six guys. The Orioles got lucky with starting pitching in the early part of the season. Now it's freefall city.
Pirates 6, Rockies 2: Andrew McCutchen homered. The Pirates notch their 50th win. I still don't buy them as winning the Central, but I think they can do better than 31-41 the rest of the way and get that sub-.500 monkey off their back.
There are plenty of moments fans of the San Diego Padres would like to have back in order to do over. But few, if any, of those moments can top the one that happened 40 years ago today, when pitcher Steve Arlin didn’t throw a no-hitter, but should have.
On July 18, 1972, the Padres hosted the Phillies in a battle of the two worst teams in the league. Arlin took the hill that day for San Diego, and though he’d led the league in losses the year before, that had more to do with poor run support than himself. Though not a great pitcher, he was a serviceable one.
In fact, he could be quite good. Just 12 days earlier he threw 10 innings of one-hit ball but got a no-decision. (San Diego eventually won 1-0 over the Mets in 14 innings). Clearly, there was some talent in Arlin’s arm.
Today was one of Arlin’s talented days. Through four innings, he’d allowed just one baserunner on a first-inning walk. He walked another man in the fifth and a third in the sixth, but that’s all the Phillies batters could manage. Through eight innings, they hadn’t gotten a single man to second base and, more importantly, hadn’t gotten a single hit.
The Padres were just in their fourth year of existence, and Arlin now stood on the verge of completing the first no-hitter in franchise history.
Leading off the ninth, pinch hitter Deron Johnson lined out to third. Arlin was now just two outs away.
Phillies shortstop Larry Bowa came up next and hit a floater to second for the 26th out. Steve Arlin was just one man away from a bit of history.
In the dugout, Padres manager Don Zimmer wanted to be sure he could help his man get it. He was afraid that the batter coming up, Denny Doyle, might try to cross San Diego up to break up the no-hitter. Fearing an attempted bunt single, Zimmer ordered third baseman Dave Roberts to play in. This was an odd move, especially given that Doyle had neither much speed nor much bunting prowess. But Zimmer wasn’t leaving it for chance.
Instead, of course, Zimmer left a much bigger possibility to chance, and it promptly backfired on him.
Doyle didn’t lay down a bunt. Instead, he swung and connected. The ball went just over Roberts head, right to where he would have been if he’d been fielding his position normally. It should have been a no-hitter clinching out. Instead, it was the single that broke it up.
Apparently flustered, Arlin then balked and allowed a single that scored a run. But he held on for the complete game win, 5-1. That improved him to 8-10 on the year. Hopefully, he’d hold on to the memory of the win because, pitching in front on San Diego’s anemic offense, he dropped his next 10 decisions and led the league in losses for the second straight year.
It was much worse going forward for the Padres franchise. They had hoped to post their first no-hitter on that day 40 years ago today. Not only did they fail to do so then, but they still haven’t since.
Every single other team has thrown at least one no-hitter, except for the Padres. In nearly 7,000 games, the Padres have thrown 25 one-hitters, but no no-hitters. Even the teams that came along in the 1990s have done that.
Call it the Curse of Don Zimmer. He prevented the Padres from doing it on July 18, 1972, and on July 18, 2012 the club still seeks to break the curse.
Aside from that, many 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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