December 13, 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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Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Dodgers 3, Brewers 1: After the last scene of Don Mattingly's managerial life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that at many times along the path of his time in Los Angeles, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints. Clayton Kershaw then whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you. Never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you." (9 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 5K).
Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 1: Patrick Corbin continues to roll on, and this time he added some strikeouts to skew dominant. He allowed one run on three hits, striking out ten.
Marlins 5, Phillies 1: The Marlins have 13 wins this season, four of which have come against Philly. That's gotta make the Phillies angry. Cole Hamels was certainly angry, as he left the clubhouse in something of a huff. Maybe it's because Charlie Manuel pulled him early for a pinch hitter in an effort to get a run? Maybe it was because the Phillies have scored only 20 runs for him all season? Maybe because he saw Alex Sanabia throwing a spitball?
Indians 10, Mariners 8: Two homers for Yan Gomes as the Indians continue to roll. Winners of 18 of 22 and a team that doesn't look like it's going anywhere.
Braves 5, Twins 1: Sometimes I wish Gleeman and I were competitive rah-rah fans so when stuff like our teams meeting happens we could talk trash and all that. But we're not. I suppose if I sent him some "in your face" kind of message after this one he'd respond back with "oh well." Which is way better for the blood pressure, frankly. A three-run homer for Dan Uggla and a nice outing from Julio Teheran.
Reds 4, Mets 3: Jay Bruce hit a tie-breaking homer in the sixth. Arolids Chapman, who blew his previous two saves, locked this one down. Dusty Baker on his closer:
"Got to get back on the horse, right away," manager Dusty Baker said. "Otherwise it festers and grows."
The horse? So confused.
Blue Jays 7, Rays 5: R.A. Dickey is slowly righting the ship, winning his second in a row. You have to right the ship or else it gets all infected and oozes. Or something. Sorry, that Dusty Baker quote is still bugging me.
Yankees 6, Orioles 4: The Orioles are in a flat spin, losers of six straight. People usually say "tailspin" but I liked "Top Gun" a lot when I was a kid and flat spins are far more ominous and scary for me, Goose. With the Yankees down 4-3 in the ninth, Travis Hafner homered off Jim Johnson, who has now blown three straight saves. Vernon Wells and Hafner added RBIs in the 10th to seal the win. Mariano Rivera did not, in contrast, blow the save. Because he is Mariano Rivera.
Athletics 9, Rangers 2: It feels like these two teams have played 15 games against one another in the past couple of weeks. Oh well, too busy to check. Gonna assume that's right. Anyway, Seth Smith homered and scored three runs. Bartolo Colon pitched seven strong innings.
White Sox 6, Reds Sox 4: Sox win.
Padres 4, Cardinals 2: Jason Marquis has won five straight starts. He said after the game that he's "making better pitches." Bud Black said after the game that Marquis is "a guy that continues to make pitches when he needs to." I guess he's just making pitches, eh?
Astros 6, Royals 5: Matt Dominguez hit a three-run homer. Jason Castro hit a solo shot. Miguel Tejada hit a homer too. It was his first bomb since 2011. Jeremy Guthrie was shelled and has allowed 19 runs and 11 hits in his past two outings. The Royals are now a sub-.500 team.
Giants 8, Nationals 0: Ryan Vogelsong was cruising -- tossing five shutout innings -- until he broke his throwing hand while fouling off a pitch in the bottom of the fifth. Enter the DH people. Meanwhile, after the game Davey Johnson announced that Ryan Mattheus broke his pitching hand punching a locker in frustration Sunday. Jesus, people.
Fifty years ago today, a star was born. Though the player’s career ultimately didn’t pan out as hoped due to injuries, his pure talent was something for all to see.
It was May 21, 1963 when Reds pitcher Jim Maloney had his first great game.
Maloney made it to the majors in 1960 barely out of his teens, but at first he was just a background pitcher. From 1960-62, he made just 38 starts and 22 relief appearances, posting a 17-20 record.
But he had talent, and 1963 was his year to prove it. Maloney was already off to a nice start, with a record of 5-1 and a 2.60 ERA prior to this game. But May 21, 1963 would take him to a whole other level.
On this day Maloney and the Reds would be in Milwaukee to take on the Braves, a club on the downswing but still with a formidable lineup. In fact, the Braves would finish third in runs scored, behind big hitters Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews. Today they wouldn’t have much success.
In the first, Maloney fanned two batters, including Mathews to end the inning. Then Maloney struck out the side in the second inning. And then he did it again in the third. That was seven straight Ks, a nice achievement nowadays, and fantastic for 1963.
In the fourth, Maloney fanned Lee Maye to run the streak to eight in a row. He needed just one more to go through the entire lineup. Unfortunately for him, that last man left was Hank Aaron, who grounded out. Well, it was a moral victory for Milwaukee, I guess. No matter—Maloney then fanned Mathews to end the inning.
Through four frames, he’d allowed just one hit—and fanned nine. He was on pace for a record-setting performance. The one-game record for a game (not including extra-inning games) was 18 Ks. Maloney was already halfway there, with most of the game left.
Maloney fanned two more in the fifth, giving him 12 strikeouts. He whiffed just one in the sixth, but a baker’s dozen still put him on pace to break the record. In the seventh he fanned two more, including Eddie Mathews again, keeping Maloney stay on pace with 15. The young fireballer looked unstoppable.
However, it takes just one inning to mess it up, and Maloney didn’t strike out anyone in the eighth. In the ninth he finally fanned Hank Aaron, but he walked the other two batters he faced, and with just a 2-0 lead, manager Fred Hutchinson decided to pull him.
Still, Maloney struck out 16 batters, including an amazing eight in a row at one point. A star had been born. He’d go on to win 23 games that year, and two years later post another 20-win season. Twice in 1965 he’d throw nine no-hit innings—but both games went into extra innings. He preserved the no-hitter for a 1-0 win in one of them, but lost the other game 1-0 when someone finally got a hit off of him. Maloney would throw another no-hitter in 1969.
He remained a solid pitcher for the rest of the 1960s, but by 1969 he was wearing out. He fanned just 102 batters in 178 innings. Something was wrong with his arm, and in fact he never won another game, going 0-4 in 1970-71. It’s a shame, because the Reds had their Big Red Machine lineup just starting to take shape, with pennants in 1970 and 1972. If they had had a genuine ace—someone like Maloney—that awesome Reds team could’ve been even better. Born in 1940, he could’ve been around for their 1970s pennants, but life doesn’t always work out like storybooks.
But Maloney did have a storybook day 50 years ago today, the day he fanned eight in a row and flirted with the one-game strikeout record.
Aside from that, many other events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that happened X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better items in bold if you’d rather just skim.
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