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!
And here's the full roster.
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Let’s discuss the THT Annual (7)
10th anniversary: the A.J. Pierzynski trade (15)
It’s The Hardball Times Annual 2014 (8)
25th anniversary: Rob Neyer writes a letter (4)
Putting the knock on pitching changes (2)
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Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Dodgers 4, Giants, 0: I watched part of this game with my kids after they got home from school. When they were showing the lineups, they showed Clayton Kershaw's career .146 average and my son asked me why it was so low compared to the other players'. I explained to him that pitchers can't really bat. I am thankful that we changed it over to the Tigers-Twins game before Kershaw hit that homer because I'd hate for my son to question his father's wisdom.
Brewers 5, Rockies 4: I saw a guy in Arizona last month wearing a "Lucroy is my homeboy" t-shirt. You earn that shirt with walkoff sac-flies, right?
Cubs 3, Pirates 1: Jeff Samardzija allowed only two hits while striking out nine. And extended a streak, now entering its sixth year, in which I never actually type his name out, preferring instead to copy and paste it. Really, if ever receive a call from someone telling me they've taken a loved one hostage and to free them I have to spell "Samardzija," they're pretty much already dead.
Mets 11, Padres 2: The Mets continue to kick butt in home openers, this being their 20th win in their last 22 Opening Days at Shea/Citi. Jon Niese pitched effectively into the seventh, had two hits, an RBI and scored a run. But really, I'm still telling my kids pitchers can't hit.
Tigers 4, Twins 2: So cold that Justin Verlander actually wore a long-sleeved shirt under his jersey. That's the first time I've ever seen that. But by far the coolest thing in the whole game was when Prince Fielder scored from third on a wild pitch. That man may be big, but he friggin' moves. I bet he's faster than several other first baseman in the game which, given his size, would not be something that would get you good betting odds. But I bet it's true.
Nationals 2, Marlins 0: Harper + Strasburg = wins. That's an equation that's gonna hold together for several years. Two homers for the guy I picked to be the NL MVP mere hours before the first pitch of the game. Keep making me look smart, Bryce, and I'm gonna say even more nice things about you.
White Sox 1, Royals 0: Chris Sale outduels James Shields, pitching seven and two-thirds of shutout ball. Tyler Flowers' homer was all the support he needed.
Red Sox 8, Yankees 2: Just a whole lot of blah for New York. It's way, way too early to worry about CC Sabathia -- anyone remember how bad he started out in 2008? And in a lot of other years -- but in a year when the Yankees HAVE to have the rotation come through for them, this is not encouraging. Neither is a 3:37 game time for a ballgame this sloppy. But for two teams undergoing so much roster upheaval lately, that has to be some sort of comforting bit of continuity, yes?
Angels 3, Reds 1: Chris Iannetta was the hero, hitting a solo homer in the third and a bases-loaded single in the 13th inning to account for all of the Halos' runs. Guessing Mike Scioscia and Dusty Baker were not really planning on Game One taking 12 pitchers between them. Insert that thing about battle plans never surviving engagement with the enemy.
Braves 7, Phillies 5: Three homers off Cole Hamels for Atlanta, which is pretty much how the Braves rolled all spring training and which is pretty much how most of their wins will go down this year. All season there will likely be a lot of feast/famine, methinks.
Diamondbacks 6, Cardinals 2: Arizona rattled out 15 hits—seven of which were doubles—giving the newly-extended Adam Wainwright a bad first game of the rest of his life. Meanwhile, Ian Kennedy allowed only two hits over seven innings while striking out eight. Gerardo Parra had three of those doubles in his four hits.
Mariners 2, Athletics 0: Felix Hernandez had a much better night among the newly-extended pitchers: seven and two-thirds innings, no runs, two hits, eight strikeouts. Both M's runs came on a Franklin Gutierrez double. This may be the only day of the season Gutierrez isn't suffering from some mystery ailment or 19th-century disease, but it is nice to see him play when he is healthy.
20,000 days ago, the A’s lost a game in heart-breaking fashion. It was a walk-off error game that even by the standards of walk-off error losses was mind-numbingly awful. The only positive for the A’s was that it didn’t mean anything to them, as they were already well out of any pennant race. In the entire futile history of the Kansas City A’s, it might have been their most futile play.
It was June 30, 1958, and the Kansas City A’s were on the road in Detroit facing off against the Tigers. The game got off to a rollicking start, with both teams scoring in the first and second innings. After taking the third inning off, the offenses returned in the fourth, and before the fifth inning began, the game was tied up, 4-4.
The first half may have been a back-and-forth slugging match, but as the game went on, the A’s began to inch away. A Harry Simpson solo homer in the sixth game the A’s a 5-4 edge, and that’s where the game stood until the ninth inning,when a Bob Cerv dinger gave the A’s an insurance run.
Heading into the bottom of the ninth, the A’s had a nice, 6-4 lead. It was small enough to be overcome but obviously you’d rather be the team up by two heading into the bottom of the ninth. WPA would give the A’s a 91 percent chance of winning the game.
Kansas City reliever Tom Gorman entered to work his fourth inning of the game. He’d allowed a runner into scoring position every inning so far, but hadn’t let any score, so things seemed fairly safe.
Tito Francona led off the inning for Detroit with a pinch hit single. Okay nothing to worry about for KC. Just a minor thing. Next up was another pinch hitter, dangerous slugger Gus Zernial. Or not so dangerous— he flew out for the first out. Now Detroit was really running out of lives.
Fortunately for the Tigers, Gorman had run out of steam. Frank Bolling cracked a sharp single to center, advancing Francona to third. Then Ozzie Virgil, who had recently become the first black player in Tigers history, laced another single to load the bases.
Now things were getting a little worrisome for the A’s. The tying run was in scoring position, the winning run on base—and there was still just that one damn out. And next up was Harvey Kuenn, who routinely hit .300. Sure enough, he swung and did what he specialized in—made contact.
Fortunately for the A’s, Kuenn didn’t hit a seeing-eye grounder. He’d hit one right to shortstop Joe DeMaestri. This was an excellent chance to win the game with a double play.
That’s when things went completely to hell for the A’s. I guess DeMaestri was a little too eager to get the double play. He threw it to fellow middle infielder Hector Lopez. Rather, he intended to throw it to Lopez. Instead it went into right field.
Francona came around to score easily, making it 6-5. Bolling tore around third and went for home as well, with Virgil headed for third. Now the game might be tied with the winning run just a flyball away from home. In right, a young Roger Maris saw a chance to save the play and the day and threw it to home.
Well, he meant to throw it to home. Instead Maris, like DeMaestri before him, threw it off the mark. It bounced away from its intended target, allowing Bolling to tie it up, 6-6. Virgil also kept on chugging and the A’s never had a chance. Detroit had won it 7-6.
Plenty of games have walk-off errors. But typically they’re tie games, or maybe when a team is down by one. Three runs scoring on a walk-off error? That happens less than once a decade. But it happened here—and with two errors at once, no less—and it happened 20,000 days ago.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary.” Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim.
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