December 10, 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, April 05, 2013
Reds 5, Angels 4: Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton finally upped their averages north of .000—each went 1 for 4 and drove in a couple—but not enough to matter. Aroldis Chapman came in to pitch the ninth against the top of the order. Mike Trout singled but then he got Erick Aybar—who sacrificed—Pujols and Hamilton, with his velocity going up a couple miles per hour each pitch. It was a nice closing job, but boy howdy I'd like to see him start a game at 93 and slowly crank it up to 99, Verlander-style, someday.
Yankees 4, Red Sox 2: Pettitte-to-Mariano. If you're struggling, go back to what works. This has worked for about 17 years or so. In other news, the Yankees and Red Sox played a game against each other that lasted two hours and 38 minutes. I didn't think such things were possible, but it actually happened.
Royals 3, White Sox 1: An impressive outing from Jeremy Guthrie (6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 9K). Then the hard-throwers in the bullpen did their thing for three innings. This is what the Royals pretty much drew up happening every game this season. It won't, but this is what success looks like for this team.
Twins 8, Tigers 2: We all laughed a bit yesterday afternoon when the Tigers signed Jose Valverde. But after watching Brayan Villareal stink up the joint to the tune of fives runs in two-thirds on an inning, it's not as if Valverde would be the worst part of this bullpen. At the moment the entire bullpen is the worst part of the bullpen.
Cubs 3, Pirates 2: I watched way more of this one than the Angels-Reds game which was on TV at the same time. Guess I just wanted to see teams I'll see less of over the course of the year. Travis Wood was good and Carlos Marmol was his usual shaky self. My favorite thing was the Pirates, though. In the seventh inning, with the Cubs up 1-0, Clint Hurdle had his cleanup hitter bunt with a fast runner on second and no one out. The cleanup hitter could not get the bunt down and strikes out. The next two batters pop out and strike out. Oh, and the fast runner stole third in the meantime. Maybe if they had one more out. Maybe if Hurdle put a guy in the cleanup spot that he trusted to, you know, clean up.
Padres 2, Mets 1: Eric Stults and five relievers combined for 14 strikeouts and kept the Mets scoreless until the ninth. If you had New York at 162-0, well, sorry.
Nationals 6, Marlins 1: I suppose if you had the Marlins at 0-162 that you still have a lot of life in that proposition. But hey, at least they finally scored a run. The Nats' 2-3-4 hitters combined to drive in all six of the team's runs. I suppose Werth, Harper and Zimmerman are gonna do that a lot.
Orioles 6, Rays 3: Chris Davis, have yourself an Opening Week. He homered for the third straight day and drove on four. For the series he went 7 of 11 with three homers, three doubles and 11 RBI. And if we're gonna mention the Nats' 2-3-4, we should mention the O's 3-4-5. In taking two of three from Tampa Bay they went 17 for 37 with four homers, six doubles, 13 runs scored and 15 RBI.
Phillies 2, Braves 0: Cliff Lee dominated, allowing only two hits—both singles—and striking out eight. Last year Cliff Lee didn't win his first game until the fourth of July. Speaking of wins, this was the first time in 24 tries that the Braves lost a Kris Medlen start. Which, to be honest, makes me happy in some strange way. Seemed like that streak— which stretched over years, a Tommy John surgery and a lot of improbable stuff—was giving people a sense that this kid was somehow magical rather than simply good and fortunate. And from there it's a short slide to people thinking pitcher wins matter. If you want to see how awful it is when people think that, just ask folks if they think Cliff Lee is still an ace. Those poor deluded sods who say "no" are basing this on his win total last year.
Athletics 8, Mariners 2: L.A. Woman-era Jim Morrison hit a homer and drove in four runs for Oakland. Wait, sorry. That was Josh Reddick. Michael Morse homered for the third straight day.
Blue Jays 10, Indians 8: J.P. Arencibia hit two homers. Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista did too. But some bad news: Bautista left the game early with a twisted ankle. Probably not serious, but Toronto needs him healthy all year.
20 years ago today, baseball entered a new era—the era of 28 teams.
1993 marked the emerged of the first round of expansion in 16 years—the longest gap between expansions in the last half-century (though soon we’ll pass it, as it’s been 15 years the Rays and D-backs first played).
On April 5, 1993, the pair of foundling teams—the Florida Marlins (as they were then known) and Colorado Rockies—each played their first game. As it happened, the games weren’t against each other. They’d have to wait a few months for that.
The Rockies got to begin life on the road, playing in Shea Stadium against the Mets. Colorado had some prominent veterans in the lineup—Eric Young, Andres Galarraga and Joe Girardi were the best-known at the time—but the day didn’t go the Rockies' way. In the Big Apple, the Rockies managed just four hits—two by Galarraga—and no runs.
Their starting pitcher was David Nied, a man who would make just 41 starts in his career, but this one got him in the history books as the first pitcher in franchise history. He pitched decently, but with an offense unable to score it made no difference, as the Mets triumphed 3-0. The star of the day was Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden. At 28, it was his 22nd career shutout and 143rd win. Alas, his arm would soon blow out.
Things went better for the Marlins. Playing at home in Joe Robbie Stadium, their first starter was Charlie Hough, who had first been drafted when there were only 20 teams. Today Hough would face off against the team that drafted him all those years ago, the Dodgers.
Hough had a decent day, allowing just three runs in six innings. His bullpen had an even better day, shutting down the Dodgers for the last third of the game. The Marlins hitters had the best day of all. They connected for 14 hits for a 6-3 win.
Things went their way right from the very beginning. The first batter in Marlins history, Scott Pose, reached base on a Dodger error. He was unable to score, but it began a routine of Marlins base. An inning later, Walt Weiss drove in the first runs in franchise history, a two-run triple. He scored a little later on a single by Pose.
Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser was unable to retire the side in order until the fourth, by which time the Marlins already had a commanding 4-0 advantage. Not only were the Marlins able to get a runner on in six of the eight frames they batted, but they got someone into scoring position all six times. Little wonder that they won.
It was a great start for the Marlins, better than Colorado’s debut. By the end of the year Colorado would have a slight advantage, a 67-95 record versus the Marlins’ mark of 64-98. But no one expects much of new franchise teams, and that all lay in the future anyway. April 5, 1993 was just about getting things establishedOrel Hershiserand so they were, 20 years ago today.
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 rather just skim.
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