December 9, 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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Monday, June 03, 2013
Phillies 7, Brewers 5: Dom Brown homered and tripled and drove in four while Cliff Lee struck out 11 in seven and two-thirds. Philly is only one game behind the Nats right now, you guys. Why? Because ...
Braves 6, Nationals 3: ... the Nats dropped two of three to Atlanta, with B.J. Upton of all people fueling the Braves with a walkoff single on Saturday and a homer on Sunday. It's really amazing how many dudes on the Braves have sort of sucked -- B.J. Upton, Jason Heyward, Dan Uggla and Tim Hudson -- yet the Braves are enjoying the biggest lead of any team in baseball. Imagine if some of those dudes actually start contributing.
Giants 4, Cardinals 2: I didn't think the Giants would stink on the road forever, but I didn't think Chad Gaudin would be the one to snap them out of their road funk. But good for him. Meanwhile, Yadier Molina was ejected for throwing his helmet on the ground when he was called out at first. Except he said after the game he knew he was out and wasn't disputing the call, he was just mad at himself. Seems like a pretty relevant distinction to me. I mean, no, tossing equipment about is not exactly a Profile in Sportsmanship, but I think it's one thing if you're doing it as a display of anger at an umpire -- let's call that a Lawrie -- vs. just being mad. Oh well.
Twins 10, Mariners 0: Hey, it's Jeremy Bonderman. Where has he been? [whack!][crack!][bang!][blast!]. Oh, that's where he's been.
Orioles 4, Tigers 2: Chris Davis went yard again, Kevin Gausman looked pretty darn sharp, the wheels fell off for Rick Porcello and the Tigers in the seventh inning and the Orioles took two of three from Detroit.
Marlins 11, Mets 6: Mets sweep Yankees. Marlins sweep Mets. Marlins better than Yankees? Isn't that the transitive theory or something? Marcell Ozuna drove in four. Greg Dobbs drove in three. The Mets bullpen gave up seven runs in three innings. It was the Marlins' first three-game sweep of the year.
Rays 11, Indians 3: Evan Longoria and Yunel Escobar each hit two-run homers -- Longoria drove in three in all -- and James Loney had a two-run double. Terry Francona got ejected. I feel like veteran managers get ejected during Sunday day games more than any other games. Especially when they're at home. They're probably dragging a bit for the day games after night games and would like some time on their couch.
Rangers 3, Royals 1: Seven shutout innings for Yu Darvish and a tie-breaking homer for Jurickson Profar in the eighth. And to this day I still get people asking me how the Rangers win games without Josh Hamilton and C.J. Wilson.
Pirates 5, Reds 4: Of course you stretch one of your lesser relievers to three innings rather than go to your best reliever when you're in a tough spot in extra innings. I mean, what would you have Dusty Baker do? Use Aroldis Chapman in a non-save situation? That's crazy talk. On the bright side for the Reds: Chapman is REALLY well rested for tonight's game.
Diamondbacks 8, Cubs 4: Patrick Corbin wins his ninth game. Edwin Jackson, meanwhile, falls to 1-8. Carlos Marmol walked the ballpark again and got booed. Remember when he was supposed to be a trade chit at the deadline? Yeah.
Astros 5, Angels 4: If you think the Marlins winning three straight is a big deal, know that the Astros have won five straight. Jordan Lyles continues to be impressive, allowing two runs in five and two-thirds and striking out five.
Rockies 7, Dodgers 2: Matty McGill/he stood on the hill/pitched like he was drunk and looked like some roadkill, so ... he went way ... back to Triple-A ... people down there/really like to get it ON ... get it ON!
Athletics 2, White Sox 0: Chris Sale's scoreless innings streak stops at 28 and Jarrod Parker tossed six and a third scoreless himself. The A's are winners of 14 of 16.
Red Sox 3, Yankees 0: one hour and 58 minutes of game time, two hours seven minutes of rain delays. And a complete game shutout that lasted five innings for Clay Buchholz. Homers for Jose Iglesias and David Ortiz. Seven losses in eight games for the Yankees.
Blue Jays 7, Padres 4: Mark DeRosa hit a two-run homer in the 11th and the Jays bullpen allowed just two hits and no runs in nine innings of work after Ramon Ortiz left the game with an apparent elbow injury. An elbow injury that, in his case, may very well be career-ending. In other news, does anyone know why they were playing a night game on a Sunday getaway day that wasn't an ESPN game?
Ten years ago today, one of the more notorious at-bats of the 21st century took place. It was one of those rare occasions when a player was caught cheating red-handed. On June 3, 2003, Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa had his bat shatter, revealing that he’d loaded it with cork, which is illegal.
June 3, 2003, was the first game in an inter-league series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Chicago’s Wrigley Field. Of course, heading into the game, no one knew Sosa would get busted. But he was still the main focus heading in, and not just because he was the big name on the Cubs. No, he’d had a very unusual last four weeks.
This contest was just Sosa’s third game since May 9. On that day, he took a fastball to the face that shattered his sunglasses, and he missed the next three weeks recovering.
In his return on May 30, Sosa went 0-for-4 with a trio of strikeouts. The next day, he was 1-for-7 with five whiffs. Even for Sosa, a man who led the league in strikeouts three straight seasons, that was bad. Clearly, he wasn’t himself. Sosa finally had a moderately decent day on June 1, 1-for-4 with a double, but people wanted to see him have another few games to make sure he was back.
So when Sosa came to the plate in the bottom of the first, there was plenty of curiosity about what he’d do. Well, no one expected what happened. Swinging at a pitch he would ground out on, Sosa’s bat erupted, spilling its secret of cork. The umpire immediately ejected him, and the league later gave Sosa a seven-game suspension.
The league also confiscated all 76 of his bats to test them for cork, but they all came back clean. The five bats he’d previously donated to Cooperstown also were tested and came back clean. Sosa said corking was something he’d just done recently in an attempt to get out of his post-HBP slump, and the evidence backs him up. Despite that, some wondered if Sosa had done this before anyway and if could’ve helped him amass his big homer totals.
However, there’s a dirty little secret about bat corking. Of all the methods to cheat, it’s by far the least effective. It’s the placebo pill of the under-handed world. The effects of corking a bat have been studied several times by scientists. It’s even been on an episode of Myth Busters. The results always come back the same: it doesn’t help the ball move forward. If anything, it actually hurts efforts to make a ball go a greater distance.
It’s not that Sosa is necessarily above engaging in effective cheating measures to hit home runs—but that’s a whole other issue. For now, the issue is Sosa corking his bat, something the entire world found out he did a decade ago today.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that happened X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim.
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