December 8, 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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Thursday, June 06, 2013
Rockies 12, Reds 4: The Colorado Wrecking Crew: Carlos Gonzalez hit three home runs and drove in six. Troy Tulowitzki hit two of his own. Pedro Villarreal had no idea what hit him.
White Sox 7, Mariners 5: You figure if you score five runs in the top of an extra inning that you're gonna win that extra inning game. The White Sox did that in the top of the 14th inning of this one, but then immediately coughed up that five-run lead in the bottom half, thanks to a Kyle Seager grand slam and an Endy Chavez RBI single off Addison Reed. Robin Ventura stuck with Reed for some reason after that, however. Well, probably for the reason of "who the hell else are we gonna pitch in a 16-inning game?" It paid off as Reed settled down in the 15th and 16th and the Sox pulled it out in the end. Whew.
Blue Jays 4, Giants 0: The Giants couldn't do Dickey against R.A. Dickey. The knuckleballer threw eight and a third two-hit shutout innings. He also doubled in the Jays' first run of the game. I think that if a pitcher has what turns out to be the game-winning RBI and gets the win that we should call it a "Baseball Bugs."
Rays 3, Tigers 0: Started watching this one, got bored, then decided to switch to that Liberace movie, "Beyond the Candelabra." Rob Lowe's drugged out, plastic surgery addicted plastic surgeon should have his own spinoff. It was LITERALLY the BEST performance I have EVER seen. Oh, Alex Cobb pitched seven and two-thirds of shutout ball. Doug Fister matched him into the ninth but then ran out of gas as the Rays put up three in the ninth.
Braves 5, Pirates 0: Julio Teheran was four outs from a no-hitter before Brandon Inge -- who should be summarily suspended by Bud Selig for 100 games and his contract voided -- broke it up. Still, eight shutout innings with 11 strikeouts for the Braves' breakout pitcher of 2013.
Mets 10, Nationals 1: Marlon Byrd had two homers and three RBI, Anthony Recker had three RBI of his own and Dillon Gee pitched seven solid. The Nats -- this and many other writers' pick in the NL East and as the best team in baseball back in March -- stink on ice.
Phillies 6, Marlins 1: And because the Nats stink on ice, they have allowed the Phillies to slide into second place. Philly brings its record to 30-30 -- their first time at .500 since they were 6-6 -- thanks in part to finally scoring Cole Hamels some runs. Their ace struck out 11 and won his first game in a dog's age. Ryan Howard hit a triple. You don't see that every day. You do seem to see Domonic Brown hitting home runs every day, however. He hit his 10th in 12 games and leads the NL with 18 overall.
Yankees 6, Indians 4: CC Sabathia went the distance after being staked to a 6-0 lead by the end of the second inning. I suppose this is what pitching to the score looks like?
Athletics 6, Brewers 1: Guess the A's decided that they just weren't going to lose anymore. Neat trick if you can pull it off. Bartolo Colon is 7-2 with a 3.14 ERA and he's walked only six guys in 77.1 innings. He turned 40 two weeks ago.
Rangers 3, Red Sox 2: A day after the Red Sox got 13 extra base hits and scored 17 runs, five Rangers pitchers combined to limit them to two runs on five hits. Alexi Ogando came back off the DL for the start and was solid. The Rangers have the best record in the AL and their best record through 58 games in franchise history.
Cubs 8, Angels 6: Two homers for Mark Trumbo, including one to tie it in the eighth and force extras, but he can't do it alone. A three-run double for Anthony Rizzo in the 10th was enough to put Chicago over.
Royals 4, Twins 1: Three runs in the first and a nice combo performance by Jeremy Guthrie and four relievers help the Royals snap their 11-game home losing streak.
Diamondbacks 10, Cardinals 3: Paul Goldschmidt is a friggin' beast. He hit his second grand slam in five days and ups his season line to .336/.417/.608 and is on pace for 36 homers and 146 RBI. Arizona has won four of five. It was the first time the Cards lost back-to-back games since the end of April.
Astros 11, Orioles 7: Houston launches six homers and wins its seventh game in its last eight. Jason Castro, Carlos Pena and J.D. Martinez had two-run homers, Jose Altuve, Matt Dominguez and Marwin Gonzalez had solo shots. I hope the three slackers in the lineup who didn't go yard have to pay fines in kangaroo court today or something.
Padres 6, Dodgers 2: Jason Marquis' deal with the devil continues as he takes a no-hitter into the sixth and notches his seventh win of the year. My daughter will be thrilled. Marquis tied up the Rangers in the first major league game she ever went to last season and now she thinks he's really good. Maybe this is all about one child's willingness to believe or some hokey crap like that. [music swells].
50 years ago today, something rather remarkable happened: a pitcher hit a walk-off, game winning home run. This has never been common, but used to happen on rare occasion. Now? It’s happened once in the last 40 years, and that was way back in 1986.
On June 6, 1963, the Chicago Cubs hosted the San Francisco Giants in Wrigley Field. Both teams had their ace pitchers on the mound—Hall of Famer Juan Marichal for San Francisco. He was in the midst of his first big season, in which he’d win a league-leading 25 games. Taking the hill for the Cubs was Larry Jackson, who would lead the league in wins the next year.
With those two men working, runs looked few and far between. The Giants were able to strike early, with Willie Mays driving in a run in the top of the first, but Larry Jackson clamped down on things quickly after that. After seven innings, it was still 1-0 Giants.
In the eighth, the Giants finally added an insurance run on a pair of singles and a productive ground out. However, the Giants didn’t have much time to enjoy their new 2-0 lead. In the bottom half of the inning, sweet swinging Billy Williams belted a two-out, two-run homer to tie it up. Neither side scored in the ninth and the contest went into overtime.
In the top of the 10th, it looked like San Francisco would break it open. Against reliever Barney Schultz, the Giants loaded the bases with just one out two singles and an intentional walk. Well, Schultz didn’t have it, so the Cubs brought in the hero of our story, Lindy McDaniel.
At 27 years old, McDaniel was already an established reliever. He’d come to Chicago in the recent offseason from St. Louis. Actually, it was in the same trade that brought Larry Jackson to the North Side. Facing a bad situation, McDaniel promptly engaged a series of notable clutch heroics.
First, McDaniel bought himself some breathing room without even throwing the ball to the batter. Instead he threw it to the shortstop and picked Willie Mays off second base. It was McDaniel’s first pickoff in five years. Now there were two outs and runners on the corners. OK, a single would still give the Giants the lead, but at least an out couldn’t. No matter, the batter couldn’t make contact with McDaniel’s offerings anyway. Lindy fanned him to end the inning. That was a mighty clutch appearance.
Time for the bottom of the 10th, with the Cubs still in it. And wouldn’t you know it—the first batter due up was pitcher Lindy McDaniel. Back then, managers still let their relievers bat on a fairly regular basis. McDaniel typically logged 20 trips to the plate a season.
Facing him was not Marichal, who San Francisco yanked from the game, but another star pitcher, former White Sox ace Billy Pierce.
You noticed the title to this piece. You read the first paragraph. You know what happened. Pierce threw, McDaniel swung, and the ball flew out of the park. Just like that, the Cubs won, 3-2 in 10 innings. It capped off a series of heroic plays by McDaniel. He picked a guy off, struck a man out, and belted a walk-off homer, all right in a row.
The stat WPA is designed to tell us the likelihood that a team will win the game given based on the current situation and how each at-bat changes the odds. When McDaniel entered the game, WPA reckons that the Cubs had a 22 percent chance of winning. Three plays later it was up to 100 percent. That’s a spectacular turnaround in such a short amount of time—with the perfect way to cap it off.
It was a great finale for the home crowd all right, and it happened 50 years 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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