December 12, 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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Thursday, September 06, 2012
In addition to the box scores, I also watched Bill Clinton last night. No matter what your politics, I hope we can agree that Clinton makes everyone want to listen to their "Siamese Dream" cassette and drive around in their Chevy Cavalier, waiting for their pager to blow up. Anyway:
Nationals 9, Cubs 1: Gio Gonzalez threw seven three-hit shutout innings and the Nats smacked six home runs. Two for Bryce Harper and one for the incandescent Adam LaRoche. There hasn't been scoring like this in Washington since Clinton left office.
Braves 1, Rockies 0: Mike Minor took a no hitter into the seventh, but gave up a hit on his first pitch of that inning. People on Twitter blamed me for jinxing it. Whatever. I want to gamble or play games of skill with these people who believe in such sorcery.
Brewers 8, Marlins 5: The season is starting to become a blur to me. As I sit here and type this right now, I am convinced that there has been a Brewers-Marlins game end in the score 8-5 every night for the past three weeks. I won't check it. I'm just sure of it.
Yankees 6, Rays 4: Wait, I was convinced after reading all of the tabloids yesterday that the Yankees were never going to win again. What happened? Three RBI for Russell Martin and, while it wasn't Hiroki Kuroda's best start, he continues to be the de facto ace of the staff in the second half.
Pirates 6, Astros 3: Brock Holt -- Brock Holt! -- had two RBIs. The Pirates are now one and a half games back of the Cardinals for the Wild Card.
Blue Jays 6, Orioles 4: Rajai Davis homered and had three RBIs to help the Jays avoid the sweep. Now the Orioles go home for four against the Yankees and three against the Rays.
Rangers 7, Royals 6: Homers from Adrian Beltre and Michael Young. Ryan Dempster struck out eight over six innings.
Mets 6, Cardinals 2: R.A. Dickey won his 18th on his charge to 20 and the Cy Young award and Ike Davis had a three-run bomb. Adam Wainwright, in contrast, was a better hitter than pitcher yesterday. He allowed five runs and eight hits in five innings, but hit a home run.
White Sox 6, Twins 2: Alex Rios hit two homers -- one a grand slam -- and drove in six. And a day after the Twins erupted for 18, Jake Peavy restored order.
Tigers 7, Indians 1: But Detroit keeps pace behind homers from Cabrera and Fielder. Now the Tigers have a 10-game road trip which I do not think it is hyperbole to say will determine the outcome of the season for them.
Phillies 6, Reds 2: Erik Kratz hit a three-run home run and Chase Utley hit a two-run bomb, which was more than enough for Roy Halladay, who allowed one run in seven and a third. Joey Votto returned and went 2 for 3 with a walk.
Angels 7, Athletics 1: Torii Hunter drove in three and the Angels swept Oakland, helping put themselves back in the Wild Card race. The result, however, is way less important than the health of Brandon McCarthy, who took a liner off his head. He appears to be doing OK, thankfully.
Diamondbacks 6, Giants 2: Trevor Cahill took a no-hitter into the seventh. Chris Johnson doubled, tripled and drove in two. There was the threat of fisticuffsmanship in the eighth when John McDonald ran into Pablo Sandoval on a play at third without sliding, but cooler heads prevailed.
Padres 4, Dodgers 3: L.A. couldn't take advantage of the San Francisco loss, thanks in part to a great Cameron Maybin play, robbing Matt Kemp of a home run. Now the Dodgers face the Giants for three this weekend in San Francisco. Moving time, Dodgers.
Mariners 2, Red Sox 1: With this win, Seattle matches its win total from 2011 with 24 games left to play. Kevin Millwood allowed one run over six before Eric Wedge went expanded rosters bullpen crazy. Dustin Ackley hit a two-run single.
Believe it or not, Tom Tango has just opened his tenth (!) annual scouting report. This is a chance for all baseball fans to come together and create that Wisdom of the Crowd thing we hear so much about. Simply go to Tango's scouting web page, select your favorite team, and fill out the fielding report on the players you've seen at least ten times. It'll make you feel like the scout you really are.
Tango's Fielding Scouting Report has been a real asset to baseball fans and analysts for a long time (ten years is a long time in Internet years), but it only works if enough people participate. So help us all out and express your opinion at the same time. And thanks to Tango for organizing this event each year.
100 years ago today was one of the greatest pitching showdowns of all-time. It was advertised in advance as a classic pitchers duel, and it lived up to its hype.
On Sept. 6, 1912, Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators faced off against Smokey Joe Wood of the Red Sox with more than just a game at stake.
These two of the best pitchers in all baseball. Wood was a 22-year-old phenom having a breakout season. Though he’d won 23 games in 1911 (against 17 losses), that was nothing compared to his performance in 1912. He’d end the season with a 34-5 record, a 1.91 ERA, and 10 shutouts. Bill James would later rank Wood as one of the 100 best pitchers of all-time and it was entirely based on the strength of his peak.
Johnson was the elder pitcher, though not too much older. Though he’d won 100 games by the time the game began 100 years ago, he was just 26 years old. Johnson was younger that day than Felix Hernandez is today.
Though Johnson had established himself as a tremendous talent in previous seasons, he took his game to a whole new level in 1912. Though his 33-12 record on the year isn’t as flashy as Wood’s 34-5, it isn’t much worse and came despite pitching for a worse team. Johnson’s ERA of 1.39 easily topped Wood’s mark and led the league.
More than that, Johnson had made American League history just a few weeks earlier when he set a new consecutive wins record. In the summer, Johnson was unstoppable, winning 16 consecutive decisions.
Yet as soon as Johnson finally recorded a loss in late August, there was already a challenger to Johnson’s newly forged record: Smokey Joe Wood. Even before Johnson’s streak came to an end, Wood had already begun a winning streak of his own. On Sept. 2, Wood won his 13th consecutive decision, putting Johnson’s record within sight.
And then the Senators traveled to Boston for a series.
Well, naturally they had to square off against each other. With Wood bearing down on his record, Walter Johnson got the chance to defend his winning streak in person 100 years ago today. So many churned out to Fenway Park—in its inaugural season as a ballpark—that the Red Sox had to create a standing room only section of people roped off in the outfield. Stuff like that happened in those days.
It promised to be a day of great pitching, and so it proved to be. Early on, neither team could score. In the bottom of the sixth, the Red Sox finally broke the deadlock. With two outs an no one on, Boston’s star 24-year-old centerfielder Tris Speaker hit one that landed into the standing room only crowd in the outfield. On other days it might’ve been a flyout, but today it was a ground-rule double. Immediately after that, Duffy Lewis drove him home with a shot down the rightfield line.
On a day like this, you figured one run might be enough, and so it was. Wood won 1-0 for his 14th straight win. Johnson had his chance to defend his streak but it was not to be. Washington put a runner in scoring position in the eighth and ninth innings, but Wood prevented them from scoring each time.
As it happens, Wood would get to 16 straight wins to tie Johnson, but be unable to surpass it. And the showdown between the two became one of the most famous games of the day. Its popularity would be rediscovered a half-century later when several players of the day recounted it to Lawrence Ritter in his classic baseball book, The Glory of Their Times.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that happened X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d prefer to just skim through things.
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