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, May 31, 2013
Mets 3, Yankees 1: The Mets sweep the Yankees for the first time in Subway Series history. Dillon Gee struck out 12. The big question going forward: does this say more about the Mets or more about the Yankees?
Pirates 1, Tigers 0: Jim Leyland was in the Virgin Islands once. He met a girl. they ate lobster, drank piña coladas. At sunset, they made love like sea otters. That was a pretty good day. Why couldn't he get that day over, and over, and over? Or, well, at least two out of three days. It'd be way better than 11-inning 1-0 losses.
Braves 11, Blue Jays 3: Ramiro Pena: run producer. Four RBI as he fills in for Dan Uggla. Jordan Schafer drove in two filling in for B.J. Upton. Evan Gattis went 3 for 4 and scored three times filling in for Jason Heyward. Team depth is something of a new concept for the Braves, but if the starters are going to continue to suck eggs, it's a nice thing to have.
Red Sox 9, Phillies 2: Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits and stole five bases -- five! -- off Erik Kratz and various Phillies pitchers. The team actually gave him a base after the game to honor the achievement. This came after a narrow team vote in favor of doing that rather than giving him Kratz's head on a platter.
Giants 5, Athletics 2: The Giants salvage one as Barry Zito got his first win in six starts. The Giants are now 7-0 when he pitches at AT&T Park and have won 13 of his home starts overall. Jon Heyman thinks it's a shame that they can't play all of their games there.
Indians 7, Reds 1: Clutch-sanity! Six straight two-out hits for the Indians gave them a seven-run fourth inning and, effectively, the ballgame. The Ohio teams split the series home and home. The Reds have dropped nine straight in Cleveland.
Mariners 7, Padres 1: Nick Franklin hit two homers, which were number one and number two of his career. Three other Mariners went deep, giving a demonstration of how differently Petco Park plays during the day. Felix Hernandez allowed only one run over eight innings.
Orioles 2, Nationals 0: Freddy Garcia tossed eight innings of three-hit, shutout ball on a hot and muggy day. Manny Machado had an RBI double. He's got 25 freakin' doubles already and is on pace for 75. He's 20. Imagine this beast playing plus-defense at shortstop and hitting those doubles a tad higher and farther as he fills out.
Cubs 8, White Sox 3: Odd players achieving strange home run feats is the new inefficiency. On Wednesday a backup catcher hit three homers. Yesterday a pitcher -- Travis Wood -- hit a grand slam. Cubs pitchers have 19 RBIs in the month of May.
Rangers 9, Diamondbacks 5: Justin Grimm continues to roll along, giving up two earned runs in six innings. Brandon McCarthy had allowed only one run in 24 innings entering this one but the Rangers beat him up for six runs on nine hits in two and two-thirds.
Astros 7, Rockies 5: The game story said the Astros swept the Rockies "in this two-game series." I thought of this week as teams having four-game series against one another, just split over two parks. The fact that the Mets were described as sweeping the Yankees and the Giants win yesterday was described as them "salvaging one" I figured everyone else was on board with this too. Oh well.
Royals 4, Cardinals 2: Kansas City rallies for three runs in the ninth to come from behind, snapping an eight-game losing streak. I presume this is all George Brett's doing. The Royals got only four hits all game, but he told them to bunch 'em up in the ninth. There was a nearly five hour rain delay before the ninth inning, so I'm sure that's when he told them to get some hits. Hitting coaches are funny that way. For St. Louis: Michael Wacha had a stellar debut, allowing one run on two hits in seven innings.
Angels 3, Dodgers 2: A split in the Freeway Series. I know that Hardees/Carl's Jr. and Edy's/Dreyer's ice cream use different names on each side of the Mississippi. Where is the "freeway-expressway" split? I feel like it's much farther west than that. Anyone?
Twins 8, Brewers 6: Joe Mauer, Chris Parmelee, Brian Dozier and Ryan Doumit all hit homers on a night when the wind was blowing out. Six straight losses for Milwaukee.
Rays 5, Marlins 2: The other day when I compared the Marlins and the 1962 Mets -- the Mets had a better record through this point of the season than the Marlins do -- I noted that there was room to make it up as the Mets had multiple extended losing streaks in front of them. The longest one I saw, however, was 11. The Marlins are now up to nine. I like the way they're trying to get on top of this thing and salt the worst record in the history of baseball away early. That's the kind of drive and gumption that team they had last year with all of its overpriced stars never would have shown.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Players who hit multiple home runs in a game are the new inefficiency. Teams should definitely stock up on those guys while they're undervalued.
Cubs 9, White Sox 3: Backup catcher Dioner Navarro smacked three homers—a solo, a two-run and a three-run jack—to pace the Cubbies. A Cubbies team that happen to have a +1 run differential despite a record of 21-30. That doesn't mean a ton in a mere 51 games and I doubt it will be sustainable, but it is an "aw, neat" kind of thing.
Orioles 9, Nationals 6: Three homers for Ryan Zimmerman, too. Unfortunately not enough for the Nats, as his partner in Zimmermanness—Jordangot rocked for seven runs in six innings. Chris Davis had two homers of his own and the O's pen tossed four and a third shutout innings in relief of Chris Tillman.
Phillies 4, Red Sox 3: Dom Brown hit two homers to add to his great month of May. A weird month of May too. He has 10 home runs this month but no walks. Maybe pitchers ought to stop throwing him strikes? Just a suggestion! Ryan Howard also went yard, breaking an extremely long home run drought for him.
Indians 5, Reds 2: Mark Reynolds and Jason Giambi each hit homers and Justin Masterson allowed only one run in six innings for his eighth win of the year. The Indians snap a five game losing streak.
Pirates 5, Tigers 3: Anibal Sanchez almost no-hit the Twins his last time out. This time he was far more mortal as the Pirates plated five runs off him in six and two thirds. Wait, one can't be "more mortal." One is either mortal or immortal. Being "more mortal" is like being "more pregnant."
Mets 9, Yankees 4:Ruben Tejada and Ike Davis were called into a meeting the other day and were told they could be sent down to Las Vegas. It's even being reported that, had the Mets not rallied against Mariano Rivera on Tuesday night, the demotions would've happened. Now, I have no idea what difference the rally against Rivera made—how can a weird fluke like that determine personnel decisions?—but it did get them a reprieve. And last night Tejada led off the game with a hit and scored and Davis drove in two in the first inning. David Phelps recorded only one out before he was yanked. Ivan Nova later pitched five solid innings in relief. Let's pretend they were flip-flopped and this was a bullpen implosion. Makes for better copy. That's four losses in a row for the Yankees. Maybe they've reached the limits of what no-names can do for them.
Blue Jays 3, Braves 0: The Jays went with a committee approach to pitching in this game, starting a reliever and having no one go more than three and a third innings, and it friggin' worked to the tune of a four-hit shutout. Braves starter Kris Medlen left the game after being hit on the calf with a comebacker but he's expected to make his next start. Of course, given that there's a chance he goes to the pen when Brandon Beachy comes back, I'm gonna call this yet another bullpen injury for Atlanta.
Rays 3, Marlins 1: Eight straight losses for the Marlins. Thank god they got rid of all of those players who made them stink last year. Fauxsto Carmona allowed but an unearned run in eight and two-thirds. There should be someone keeping track of how many Marlins game stories talk about the opposing pitchers seemingly figuring something out or taking a strong step forward with little or no acknowledgment that facing these minor league bats is the most relevant factor.
Twins 4, Brewers 1: Aaron Hicks hit a homer and had a nice, home run-saving catch. I feel like I've written that before very recently.
Angels 4, Dodgers 3: Jered Weaver returns and pitches six one-run innings. Well, one one-run inning and five in which he allowed no runs. Six one-run innings would be dreadful.
Cardinals 5, Royals 3: Remember when the Royals won spring training and started pretty good and some people were all like "hey, here come the Royals?" Hahaha, that was awesome. Aaron Crow was rocked for four runs in a nightmare eighth inning. Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran each homered for the second straight game.
Astros 6, Rockies 3: Tyler Chatwood struck out 10 guys in six innings but Erik Bedard matched him in the more important runs allowed column and the Astros got to the Colorado pen. A homer and a safety squeeze helped Houston in its three-run ninth.
Padres 3, Mariners 2: Eric Stultz was dominant for eight innings, striking out 12, but the Padres bats couldn't make anything happen against Joe Saunders. Will Venable hit a walkoff single in the tenth, however. Very little offense on a cool night in San Diego. Who woulda thunk it?
Athletics 9, Giants 6: The A's are on fire, winners of six straight. This one wasn't easy, though: it was a seesaw affair that lasted nearly four hours. As for the Giants, Bruce Bochy said this:
"We pretty much covered all facets of the game tonight as far as not playing well."
At least they were thorough?
Diamondbacks vs. Rangers: POSTPONED: In the twilight glow I see them. Blue eyes cryin' in the rain. When we kissed goodbye and parted. I knew we'd never meet again. Love is like a dyin' ember. Only memories remain. Through the ages I'll remember. Blue eyes cryin' in the rain. Some day when we meet up yonder. We'll stroll hand in hand again. In a land that knows no partin'. Blue eyes cryin' in the rain. Now my hair has turned to silver. All my life I've loved in vain. I can see her star in heaven. Blue eyes crying in the rain.
100 years ago today, a bit of baseball history was made. Red Sox outfielder Harry Hooper hit a home run leading off the game against the Senators. Twice.
In a Boston-Washington doubleheader, Harry Hooper made history by smashing lead off home runs in both games. That was something no one else had ever done before. And it would be quite some time until it was ever done again. Not until 1993, a full 80 years later, would any other.
July 5, 1993, Rickey Henderson did it. In other words, a baby born the day Harry Hooper performed this feat was likely dead by the time it happened again.
It’s amazing anyone would do this in 1913. The entire AL combined for 159 homers. Last year, 10 AL teams had more than 159 homers. The 1912 AL averaged 20 homers per team, with only one man in the league cracking double-digits.
And if someone were going to hit home runs leading off both ends of a doubleheader, you wouldn’t expect it to be Hooper. Even by the standards of the day, Hooper wasn’t much of a power threat. He belted two homers the year before, and would launch just one the next year. In 1914, he had all of four—half of which came leading off this doubleheader. Prior to today, Hooper had just nine homers in four-plus seasons; but seven of those homers were inside the park shots. Both his leadoff homers left the yard, doubling his career outside-the-park home run total.
At least it came against the right opposing team. Washington’s pitching staff surrendered a leading-worst 35 homers on the year. Even there, however, it’s odd. Sure that’s the club most likely to allow this unlikely achievement—but a league leading 35 homers allowed is still just 35 homers. It’s not even a homer every fourth game. Washington played 155 games that year, but surrendered three leadoff home runs, two by Hooper on that day.
An unlikely hitter achieving an unlikely feat in a seemingly impossible era. You’d never expect something like this to happen. You could never dream that Harry Hooper would belt lead off homers in both ends of a doubleheader at the height of the deadball era. But it happened—and it happened 100 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something happening X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d prefer to just skim.
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Today, Kyle Lohse attempts to join a very select group of baseball pitchers.
Wait—Kyle Lohse? Making history? Select group of pitchers? Are we talking about the same Kyle Lohse here?
Yup. The former Twins-Cardinals-Reds-Phillies and current Brewers pitcher has a chance to do something that only 12 other men have done before: notch a win against all 30 franchises. To date, Lohse has defeated 29. Tonight he leads the Brewers against the Twins, and if Minnesota falls before him, that will complete the set.
No, he isn’t the most prestigious pitcher out there, with a 119-114 record and middling ERA. However, the guys who’ve defeated all 30 teams form an interesting mix of legends and Lohses. Here are the members of the club Kyle Lohse hopes to join: Al Leiter, Kevin Brown, Terry Mulholland, Curt Schilling, Woody Williams, Jamie Moyer, Randy Johnson, Barry Zito, Javier Vazquez, Vicente Padilla, Derek Lowe and A.J. Burnett.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Since it now trickles throughout the length of the season, MLB has seemingly dropped its big marketing push for interleague play. Either way, baseball’s schedule is still taking a break this week, expanding interleague from one series per day to all 15, with a big focus on cross-town or nearby interleague rivalries. The Yankees are playing the Mets. The Cubs are playing the White Sox. The Giants are playing the A’s.
I don’t really have strong feelings toward the idea of interleague play one way or the other, but I do think that these cross-town rivalry games can certainly be fun. The fan bases usually get into it, and even though interleague is more common now than ever before, there’s still a certain amount of rarity in seeing Washington play Baltimore.
Now, naturally, since these teams don't often see each other, some of these rivalries are tepid at best. But as you might imagine, a handful of the cross-town series can get rather heated, especially if the two teams share a metropolitan area and actively compete with each other for fans.
San Francisco and Oakland are this way, and it’s only been exacerbated by the A’s and their centuries-long stadium search, compounded by the Giants claiming territorial rights to San Jose. Which makes it baffling to see what CBS Sports columnist Jon Heyman tweeted Tuesday night.
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