June 19, 2013
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Friday, August 31, 2012
Orioles 5, White Sox 3: Zach Britton strikes out ten, gets sent down to the minors. That's fair. That aside, heady freakin' times for the Orioles who, apart from the Yankees fans, I think everyone on the planet is wanting to sweep New York and make the AL East a dead heat by Sunday night. Viva chaos.
Cubs 12, Brewers 11: Jonathan Lucroy drove in seven runs for Milwaukee -- his second seven-RBI game of the season -- but the Cubs still won. Total bullpen meltdown, capped with a K-Rod blown save on a day when Axford was unavailable. I was shocked to see that driving in seven in a losing cause is not terribly uncommon. Indeed, he was the fourth player in the past five years to do it, joining immortals like Jose Guillen.
Mariners 5, Twins 4: Look at the Mariners go. They're not gonna finish at .500. They're certainly not gonna make the playoffs. But they've played respectable baseball all year and are finishing strong. If you're not gonna win, at least be respectable and competitive every night out, and that's what Seattle is doing.
Phillies 3, Mets 2: Hustlegate. I can't think of a former MVP who has found himself at this place in his career like Rollins has, but that's where he is. I don't even know what to think about it. Except that I think there are 20 teams and maybe more who would love to have a non-hustling Jimmy Rollins as their shortstop.
Athletics 12, Indians 7: The AP gamer referred to the Indians as "free falling." I think that's an insult to parachutists, who at least have a plan about where they're heading. The A's continue to lead the AL wild card race.
Blue Jays 2, Rays 0: A two run double in the first was all Toronto needed as Carlos Villanueva pitched six shutout innings with three innings of blanks from the bullpen.
Nationals 8, Cardinals 1: For a team whose calling card has been offense all season, the Cardinals' recent offensive drought has to be somewhat concerning, no? They went 28 innings without scoring a run before the eighth inning of this one, and that came after everything was more or less decided. Another homer for Bryce Harper and ten strikeouts over eight shutout innings from Edwin Jackson.
Royals 2, Tigers 1: Now it's three things that would-be playoff teams don't do: Lose Justin Verlander starts, lose to Bruce Chen and lose to Jeremy Guthrie. Basically, you can't get the tar knocked out of you by the Kansas City Royals is what I'm saying. I don't think I'm declaring the Tigers dead yet, but the patient is in dire shape.
Giants 8, Astros 4: Bad luck and worse luck, all on one play -- and a late collapse blowing a 4-0 lead -- pretty much sums up the 2012 Astros.
Angels 5, Red Sox 2: Boston goes 0 for 2012 against the Angels. The AP gamer described Zack Greinke as "unintimidating but effective" in this one. I plan on filing a lawsuit later today because that was the working title of my autobiography.
Diamondbacks 2, Dodgers 0: Ian Kennedy pitched shutout, two-hit ball for six and a third. Chris Young hit a two-run homer. The D-backs take their seventh straight from the Dodgers. If L.A. falls short this year, not beating the D-backs as much as they should will be a good reason.
Twenty years ago today, baseball had one of its real blockbuster trades. A player in his prime,widely regarded as the best player in baseball, a key cog on a team that had won the pennant in three of the last four years, was traded for three players, two of whom had already been All-Stars.
It was Aug. 31, 1992 when the A’s dealt Jose Canseco to the Rangers for hitter Ruben Sierra, reliever Jeff Russell and starting pitcher Bobby Witt. At the time, it seemed like a huge deal. Looking back, it was a grand disappointment all around.
Let’s start with the biggest name involved—Canseco. Nowadays, he’s more a joke than anything. He’s starred on a series of reality TV shows and is as closely associated with steroids as any player in any sport.
But 20 years ago was a different time. Canseco was the Rookie of the Year in 1986, a year with a lot of strong rookie performances. Two years later, at age 23, he won the MVP Award, becoming baseball’s first 40 homers–40 steals man. The A’s won the first of three consecutive pennants in 1988, with Canseco their biggest name. In 1991, he led the AL in homers for a second time, with 44.
Barely 28 years old at the time of the trade, he was one of the biggest names in the baseball universe.
There was some baggage. He’d been injured a few times, topping 135 games only once after 1988. And he had a reputation as a jerk. But he could hit.
It was a shocker that the A’s dealt him, but the three guys they got in return all had their own reputations. Sierra was only 26 years old, but he was already a three-time All-Star in his seventh season in the starting lineup. Though he wasn’t the best at any part of the game, he’d shown the ability to hit for average, some power, and some speed.
Witt, at 28, was more of a wild card. He surely had a tremendous fastball, but he just as surely lacked good command of the strike zone. Ever since a 17-10 season in 1990, he’d scuffled, going 12-20 with a 5.04 ERA for Texas in 1991-92. If A’s pitching coach Dave Duncan could work his magic, maybe Witt’s fastball would live up to its promise.
Russell, 30, was another scuffling pitcher the Rangers had converted into a reliever—and had seen his career take off as a result. So far in 1992, he had a 1.91 ERA in 51 games. Oh, and Texas also spent money.
This had the potential to be an all-time great trade. Instead, everyone fizzled. Witt remained an enigma. He never lived up to people’s hopes. He started 63 games for Oakland and then the A's jettisoned him. Russell was good there, but they let him walk in the offseason. He had one more good season, and then fell apart.
Sierra spent the longest time in Oakland, lasting until mid-1995, but he turned into a huge disappointment; the sort of guy who strangely peaks in his early 20s. He was at best an average offensive force in Oakland. In 1,560 plate appearances he hit 60 homers with a .253 average, and .303 on-base percentage. He hung around the majors until age 40, but was never much of a force.
So the A's didn’t get what they hoped for out of the trade. Neither did Texas.
Canseco hit .233 with four homers in the last month of 1992 for his new team. That was just a small sample size, but with injuries his sample sizes never got big. He played in just 60 games in 1991, hitting 10 homers with a .255 average. He did have a nice 1994, with 30 homers in the strike-shortened season, but the memories of Canseco as a Ranger are ones of futility and failure. He’s remembered for the time in the outfield a ball hit his head and bounced over the wall for a homer. Or people will recall the time he took the mound as an emergency pitcher—and promptly injured his arm.
Canseco would have a few more really nice slugging seasons, but he went from being a first-rate star to a what-might-have-been. And those good seasons would come after he left Texas.
The giant trade from 20 years ago today turned out to be a giant disappointment.
Aside from that, many other events today from the world of baseball celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something occurring X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better items in bold if you’d rather just skim through it.
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Thursday, August 30, 2012
Nationals 8, Marlins 4: Bryce Harper hit two homers, bro. Jacob Turner: not really ready for the major leagues yet, bro.
Mets 3, Phillies 2: Matt Harvey continues to impress (6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 6K). The Phillies pitcher listed in the box score is named "Tyler Cloyd." I'm calling b.s. That's a name you desperately reach for when you're trying to pretend to be someone else but didn't really think ahead.
Royals 1, Tigers 0: Look, it's pretty simple: if you have pretensions of the playoffs, you beat the Royals when your ace is going like the Tigers didn't do on Tuesday night. And you don't get shut the hell out by Bruce Chen for eight innings either.
Pirates 5, Cardinals 0: We're all sitting around here waiting for the Pirates to keel over and die and then they go and take two of three from the guys they're chasing. Coming up: a lot of games against the Cubs and Astros. The Wild Card race is getting wild.
Padres 8, Braves 2: Tuesday night was just a blip, it seems. The Padres win their ninth of 10. Eric Stultz allowed no earned runs over six.
White Sox 8, Orioles 1: Joe Saunders, amazingly, wasn't an immediate boon to the O's rotation. Their recent pickup allowed 10 hits and seven runs over five and a third.
Reds 6, Diamondbacks 2: Chris Heisey smacked two homers as the NL's best team sweeps the S-akes.
Blues Jays 8, Yankees 5: Yunel Escobar had the big day. The Yankees looked sloppy and stranded runners. I know the real issue here is getting everyone healthy, but really, they're playing bad baseball at the moment regardless.
Rays 8, Rangers 4: Two homers for Evan Longoria. More like Even Longballia, amirite?
Athletics 8, Indians 4: I spent an hour yesterday telling people that the A's and Rays' offenses suck and how they won't go far in the playoffs because of it. Nothing you can say about baseball lasts more than a day.
Brewers 3, Cubs 1: Sometimes I look at the box score and just can tell that the game was no fun to watch. Like when three of the game's four runs were scored on two groundouts and a play on which there were two throwing errors.
Dodgers 10, Rockies 8: A.J. Ellis' grand slam in the eighth seemed like gravy, as it stretched a five-run lead into a nine run lead, but the Dodgers ended up needing it as they withstood a seven-run rally by Colorado in the bottom of the inning.
Twins 10, Mariners 0: Trevor Plouffe doubled in a couple and hit a two-run homer. But really, everyone in Minnesota got into the act.
Giants 6, Astros 4: You'd think Hunter Pence would be nice to the Astros seeing as how they gave him his freedom from having to play for them and everything. But no, he's an ingrate and hit a three-run homer off them. It was his fourth homer against Houston in the seven games he's played against them since departing.
Angels 10, Red Sox 3: Kendrys Morales and Chris Iannetta hit homers and C.J. Wilson won for the first time in 11 tries.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Major League Baseball celebrated Otherwise Good Teams Get Shut Out Night last night. It was quite festive.
Marlins 9, Nationals 0: Look, maybe this will start a conversation no one thinks we'd ever have about an ace pitcher on a first place team, but maybe the Nationals should consider shutting Stephen Strasburg down (5 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 5 ER). That's five straight losses for the Nats. Ricky Nolasco with the five-hit shutout.
Pirates 9, Cardinals 0: Pedro Alvarez hit two homers and drove in four. James McDonald pitched fantastically and the Cardinals were accused on the very pages of this blog of being "dipwads." Can't say I disagree with that.
Rangers 1, Rays 0: Yu Darvish struck out ten over seven innings. The game's only run came on an Ian Kinselr homer in the fourth.
Orioles 6, White Sox 0: Chris Tillman handled seven innings and Brian Matusz, relief pitcher, took it home for the final two. A Nick Markakis bases-clearing double in the second was all Baltimore would need. But they got three more anyway.
Braves 2, Padres 0: Overall the Padres aren't an "otherwise good team" this year, but they certainly have been lately, so they fit Theme Night. Kris Medlen now has a scoreless innings streak of 28 and two-thirds. He's easily Atlanta's best starter right now, which is nothing anyone truly expected before the season started. Heck it was nothing anyone expected in late July. Oh, and he has a music video too. Nice muscles, Dan Uggla.
Athletics 7, Indians 0: This one doesn't count as part of Theme Night, because they stink, but it is worth noting that the Indians haven't scored in 22 innings and haven't scored in 45 of their last 48 innings. They've lost 12 of 13. There are three teams with worse records than Cleveland, but really no one who feels as miserable as they do, day-in, day-out. The A's, meanwhile are rolling and stay atop the wild card standings, winners of 10 of 12.
Angels 6, Red Sox 5: What in the hell were you doing, Bobby Valentine?
Royals 9, Tigers 8: Wow, I would not have called "the Royals are gonna rock Justin Verlander for eight runs on 12 hits in five and two-thirds" if you gave me any odds on the planet. Just not what you want happening on a night when your division rivals lose and your ace is on the hill.
Yankees 2, Blue Jays 1: Phil Hughes allowed one run over seven innings. Rickey Romero lost his 11th straight, but at least this time he didn't get shelled. Rafael Soriano locked down the save one day after he blew one in major fashion. Then he sat and held forth with the media about the great issues of the day. Quite the raconteur he is when he wants to be.
Brewers 4, Cubs 1: Jeff Bianchi hit a three-run homer early and that's all the Brewers needed. OK, I'll grant that the Cubs may feel as bad as Cleveland.
Mets 9, Phillies 5: Wait, I thought it was the Mets who were the ones who typically gave up 3+ runs in extra innings. So confusing. B.J. Rosenberg broke the heck down in the 10th, allowing an RBI double, an RBI single and a two-run homer. Kelly Shoppach hit the bomb and earlier drove in another with a double.
Mariners 5, Twins 2: Three driven in for Dustin Ackley on a homer. Hisashi Iwakuma allowed only one run -- zero earned -- in six. Then he handed it over to the capable hands of Oliver Perez. OK, Ollie only threw eight pitches so it didn't matter. I just can't get over the fact that he's in the big leagues again.
Giants 3, Astros 2: The Giants were down 2-1 heading into the ninth, but it was rally time. Brandon Belt singled, Joaquin Arias doubled him in and then Hector Sanchez singled in Arias.
Rockies 8, Dodgers 4: All kinds of bad news. Another bad loss to the Rockies and, worse, the loss of Matt Kemp to a knee contusion and possible jaw problem. Wilin Rosario went 3 for 4 with a homer and three driven in. I bet you there are only, like, a dozen people outside Colorado who know that guy has 22 homers and his slugging .500.
Reds 5, Diamondbacks 2: Johnny Cueto wins his 17th, allowing two runs over seven.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Rangers 6, Rays 5: Adrian Beltre was last week's player of the week after hitting for the cycle one night and hitting three bombs on another. He's off to a good start for that award again, going 3 for 3 with a homer a double and four RBI. David Price had one of his worst outings of the season (4 IP, 10 H, 6 ER).
Cardinals 4, Pirates 3: Also continuing his hot streak: Matt Holliday. He hit his 24th homer, breaking a 2-2 tie in the sixth. The Pirates have dropped six of their last seven. Are we allowed to talk about them playing to break the streak of sub-.500 seasons yet, or do we still have to act like they're in the wild card hunt?
Mariners 1, Twins 0: Felix Hernandez is ridiculously good (CG SHO, 5 H, 5K). Later this morning we'll hear more about how the Yankees should trade for him. His fifth shutout of the year, by the way. Tough luck loss for Liam Hendricks, who allowed one run over nine innings.
Athletics 3, Indians 0: Brett Anderson's return continues to be stellar. He shut the Tribe out over seven, allowing only two hits. Oakland has won nine of 11.
Padres 3, Braves 0: Casey Kelly's major league debut: fantasitc (6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER). He also hit a single. I think it's now officially safe to say, if it wasn't already, that the Padres won the first Adrian Gonzalez trade. Yasmani Grandal accounted for all of the Padres' runs, with a homer and a single. San Diego has won eight straight.
Blue Jays 8, Yankees 7: Colby Rasmus put his hair in some seriously stupid looking cornrows recently. He took them out before this game, however, and hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth to put the Blue Jays in front. There's a lesson in there for you kids. Of course, Derek Jeter tied it in the bottom half, so there's a lesson in there too. Basically, just don't be a total douche and instead be a professional and good things will happen. In extras, Derek Lowe threw a ball away, putting the go-ahead run on third, which eventually scored. Darren Oliver beats Derek Lowe, because it's 1999 or something. Oh, and Mark Teixeira left with a calf strain and he's gonna miss a couple of weeks.
Orioles 4, White Sox 3: Baltimore wins another one-run game, its 13th straight. And Nate McLouth hit a two-run homer. They should be called the Batlimore Oh Reallys?
Red Sox 5, Royals 1: Dice-K with his first win since the Cold War or thereabouts. Forgive me if I assume this had more to do with the Royals bats than Matsuzaka's skillz.
Rockies 10, Dodgers 0: Josh Beckett's debut for the Dodgers looked a lot like most of his starts for the Red Sox. Inefficient, deliberate and, while not a total disaster, not particularly effective either. Didn't matter much, though, given that Jeff Francis and the bullpen didn't allow a run. And even if they had, the Dodgers' pen got violated for seven runs in the eighth.
Brewers 15, Cubs 4: Five homers for the Brewers including two from Aramis Ramirez. Ryan Braun had four hits and drove in five.
Reds 3, Diamondbacks 2: Bronson Arroyo pitched well and hit a home run to put the Reds ahead. Sometimes you gotta do everything yourself.