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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THT's latest e-bookThird Base: The Crossroads is THT's new e-book, available for $3.99 from the Kindle store. The good news is that anyone can read a Kindle book, even on a PC. So enjoy the best from THT in a new format.
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Monday, May 20, 2013
Phillies 3, Reds 2: Aroldis Chapman is usually automatic. But he surrendered back-to-back bombs to the murderers row that is Erik Kratz and Freddy Galvis as Philly walked off Cincinnati. Heck, the inning started with Chapman walking Delmon Young on four straight pitches, so you know he wasn't on it yesterday. And Cliff Lee probably needs to buy Galvis dinner: Lee pinch ran for Young and was caught stealing. If he hadn't, Kratz's homer wold have been enough. Galvis saved his bacon.
Cardinals 4, Brewers 2: The Cardinals beat old friend Kyle Lohse for the third straight time. After the game he said "Baseball is a stupid game. Baseball is weird, man." They should have sent a poet.
Rangers 11, Tigers 8: Three homers, five driven in and a 4-for-4 night for Miguel Cabrera are still not enough for the Tigers to beat Texas. The Rangers rapped 18 hits, scoring five runs of Doug Fister and six off the bullpen. Four driven in for David Murphy. I was back and forth into this game all evening as I did and watched other things. It seemed to last eleventeen hours.
Red Sox 5, Twins 1: This one featured a three-hour rain delay during which the fans who stayed got to see the movie "The Sandlot" in its entirety on the video board. Secondary game highlights included a nice start from John Lackey and homers from Dustin Pedroia and Will Middlebrooks.
Pirates 1, Astros 0: Jeff Locke shut out the Astros for seven innings. A solo shot from Pedro Alvarez in the fifth was all Pittsburgh needed. This one was the anti-Tigers-Rangers game, as it was done in a cool two hours and 24 minutes.
Rays 3, Orioles 1: I knew Matt Moore had pitched a great game the moment I learned that my girlfriend inadvertently left him on the bench on her fantasy team. There was much cursing and such. Moore's seven strong innings ups him to 8-0 on the year.
Indians 6, Mariners 0: Justin Masterson struck out 11 in seven shutout innings and Cleveland roughed up Felix Hernandez for six runs (five earned) in five innings. The Tribe has won 17 of 21 and now leads the AL Central by two games.
Marlins 2, Diamondbacks 1: Ricky Nolasco adds to the parade of nice starts yesterday, striking out 11 in eight innings and helping the Marlins end their seven-game losing streak.
Mets 4, Cubs 3: When I was writing the Rangers recap I accidentally wrote "Daniel Murphy" instead of "David Murphy." I would have likely left that mistake up there had I not looked at the box score of this one and been reminded that Daniel plays for the Mets and David for Texas. I think I've made that mistake a half dozen times in the past couple of years. Anyway, here Daniel batted leadoff and hit the tie-breaking homer in the eighth. The Mets won their first series at Wrigley in six years.
Rockies 5, Giants 0: Barry Zito being relatively good recently has probably made some forget how much of a disaster he was for several years. Putting him in Coors Field is a helpful reminder. Zito was touched for five runs on 11 hits in five and two-thirds. The Giants have lost five of six. Their rotation has gotten bombed lately and now has the third worst rotation ERA in the NL.
Padres 13, Nationals 4: Speaking of beat up starters, Dan Haren surrendered seven runs in five innings and overall the Padres did a Gashouse Gorillas conga line around the bases against Nats pitching, getting the series split.
Braves 5, Dodgers 2: This game featured two hours of rain delays and the Dodgers bullpen failing to hold a lead for Matt Magill, who allowed only one unearned run in five innings. Atlanta didn't hit a homer, which is kinda rare for the Braves in a win.
Athletics 4, Royals 3: The Royals' skid continues -- they've lost 10 of their last 13 games and have sunk back to .500 -- as Oakland sweeps 'em. Yoenis Cespedes singled and scored and hit a homer.
Angels 6, White Sox 2: Jake Peavy walked guys with the bases loaded twice. He walked five in all and allowed four runs on four hits. Which is weird because when you see a guy walk the bases loaded once, let along twice, it feels like he's giving up, like, a dozen runs no matter what. Or maybe that's just some weird hangup of mine about bases-loaded walks.
Blue Jays vs. Yankees: POSTPONED: All at sea again. And now my hurricanes have brought down this ocean rain. To bathe me again. My ship's a sail. Can you hear its tender frame? Screaming from beneath the waves. Screaming from beneath the waves. All hands on deck at dawn. Sailing to sadder shores. Your port in my heavy storms. Harbours the blackest thoughts. I'm at sea again. And now your hurricanes have brought down this ocean rain.
5,000 days ago, one of baseball’s most impressive pitching achievements occurred, though for various reasons it was one of the least impressive examples of this most impressive achievement.
On Sept.11, 1999, Twins pitcher Eric Milton threw a no-hitter, defeating the Angels, 7-0.
Looking at Milton’s line, there seems to be no reason to minimize his achievement. Not only was it a no-hitter, but it was a no-hitter with 13 strikeouts. So it’s not like he relied very heavily on his defense. The outing wasn’t littered with line drives or anything. Also, Milton walked just two batters, so it’s not like he had terrible control but was lucky with balls in play.
Yet, it’s still one of the least impressive no-hitters of recent times. While Milton did dominate the Angels lineup that day, the issue is exactly who was in that lineup. It was September, and just like all teams, the Angels had several minor leaguers called up to the big league squad.
The best Angels hitters that season were first baseman Darin Erstad, DH Mo Vaughn, and outfielders Garret Anderson and Tim Salmon. None of them played on Sept. 11, 1999. In their place stood Jeff DaVanon, a 25-year-old who made his big league debut a few days earlier; Todd Greene, a journeyman backup with a career .286 on-base percentage; Steve Decker, a .221 career hitter who was one week away from the end of his unmemorable career; and Matt Luke, a backup playing in his third and final season.
So half of the day’s lineup consisted of scrubs standing in for stars.
As an added bonus, there were other starters missing the day, as well. Gary DiSarcina and Randy Velarde were never great-hitting middle infielders, but each was good enough to play in over 1,000 games.
In this game, Velarde sat while someone named Trent Durrington played second base. Durrington played in 140 major league games—and had 46 hits. DiSarcina’s replacement at short was Andy Sheets, who hit .216 in 356 games. Finally, the normal catcher, Matt Walbeck, had the day off while a man named Bret Hemphill worked the plate. Hemphill had the least impressive career of them all: just three hits.
So seven of the nine batting order spots consisted of fungible players. There are literally minor league lineups with more impressive talent on display.
There were two starters in the game, with one a name worth knowing: third baseman Troy Glaus. While he’d develop into a fine hitter and All-Star, in 1999 the young Glaus was a .240 hitter, albeit one with power. The most dangerous hitter facing Milton was outfielder Orlando Palmeiro. When Orlando Palmeiro is your most dangerous weapon, you’ve got a pretty weak lineup.
Still, Milton did dominate and no-hit them. He still deserves credit, and he did throw a gem. Saying it’s one of the least impressive no-hitters shouldn’t overlook the key point, that it was a no-hitter. And it was a no-hitter 5,000 days ago today.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their “day-versary” or anniversary. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim.
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