December 11, 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 17, 2013
Athletics 10, Mariners 2: This game was a Father's Day treat for me. Why? Because I used it to teach my daughter how to keep score. I printed out scoresheets. I did a little sketch on the top of hers to illustrate the numbers which correspond with each defensive position. I paused the TV after complicated plays to explain to her why each play was scored the way it was. Around the sixth inning it was getting near the time I was going to have to make dinner but my girlfriend saw what was going down and went in and made it so I didn't have to take time away. Even if it wasn't the most competitive game on the planet, it was one of my favorites ever and one which, I think anyway, my daughter and I will remember forever.
My son? well, he's not quite possessed of the attention span for keeping score yet. However, if he had known that the clubhouses filled up with poop after the game he too would have considered it his favorite game and one which, I think anyway, he would remember forever.
Yankees 6, Angels 5: CC Sabathia cruised until he got into the trouble in the ninth inning but, hey, that's what Dave Robertson and Mariano Rivera are for, right? Yes, but just barely. The Angels rallied for five but Mo finally closed the game out by fanning Albert Pujols. Yankees snap a five-game losing streak.
Blue Jays 7, Rangers 2: The sweep. Chien-Ming Wang won for the first time in over a year. Colby Rasmus homered for the third straight game. The Rangers are reeling, having scored only eight runs in their past six games, losing all of them.
Rockies 5, Phillies 2: Jhoulys Chacin and a lack of run support makes Cole Hamels a 10-time loser. Carlos Gonzalez hits his 20th dinger of the year. Over his last six starts Hamels has worked 37 and a third innings, striking out 42, not walking guys and not allowing homers. He's 1-4 in those starts.
Astros 5, White Sox 4: The Astros win their fourth in a row, sweeping the Sox in the process. Matt Dominguez had a three-run double. Jason Castro homered. The Sox have lost 12 of 13 on the road.
Padres 4, Diamondbacks 1: I thought of the Padres as a frisky team before the season began. Too bad you can't take away most of April because they have, indeed, been pretty frisky since, going 15-13 in May and 9-5 in June. They're only three games out in the no-one-wants-it NL West after sweeping Arizona. Kyle Blanks with a big three-run homer in the eighth to snap a 1-1 tie.
Pirates 6, Dodgers 3: He wasn't as sharp as he was in his debut last week but Gerrit Cole wins his second start. The rookie allowed three runs on seven hits and not walking anyone in five and two-thirds.
Tigers 5, Twins 2: Doug Fister works fast and throws strikes and I still have no idea why the Mariners ever wanted to get rid of him. Torri Hunter hit his 300th career homer and had an RBI on a ground rule double.
Royals 5, Rays 3: The Royals' great pitching continues. Wade Davis allowed two runs in six innings. Overall, Royals pitchers have allowed three runs or fewer in 14 of their past 15 games and the team has won 10 of 12
Marlins 7, Cardinals 2: Why baseball is baseball: the best team can face the worst team and lose two of three. And then the next day dawns, no one freaks out about it too much and the games begin again. Ricky Nolasco allowed one run and three hits in seven innings. The Cardinals dropped their first series since late April.
Mets 4, Cubs 3: Oh, Carlos Marmol. The Cubs' "closer" allowed four runs in the ninth, including a walkoff three-run homer to Kirk Nieuwenhuis, spoiling Matt Garza's seven shutout inning performance. I know the Cubs are trying to shop Marmol to a contender, but it's not working.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 3: Chris Davis continues to feast on Red Sox pitching. He hit his major league-best 23rd homer and Manny Machado extended his hitting streak to 14 games as Baltimore moves into a game and a half of Boston. Baltimore has taken six straight series from the Sox.
Reds 5, Brewers 1: Johnny Cueto returns from the DL, pitches six strong and even drives in a run on a suicide squeeze.
Indians 2, Nationals 0: Stephen Strasburg returned and pitched well -- one run in five innings of work -- but not as well as Corey Kluber. Kluber tossed eight shutout innings, striking out eight and not walking a soul.
Braves 3, Giants 0: Julio Teheran was fantastic, striking out eight in six shutout innings. More impressive: the millions who sat through a game with Curt Schilling in the booth without killing themselves.
Thirty years ago today, Bob Welch had about as good a day as a pitcher could possibly have. He damn near won a game all by himself on the mound and at the plate.
On June 17, 1983, Welch took the hill for the Dodgers in Los Angeles against the visiting Cincinnati Reds. Normally, you’d expect it to be an easy win for the Dodgers, as they clearly were the superior team. The day began with LA sporting a 41-20 record, a full 15 games better than Cincinnati. However, the Reds had a nice leveling factor. Their ace pitcher, Mario Soto, was on the mound. An All-Star the previous year—and would be again this year—Soto’s ERA was barely over 2.00. While Welch was a nice pitcher, he was no Soto.
And it looked like Soto brought his "A" game today. Through five innings, the Dodgers could manage just two scratch singles and a walk, and the walk was erased in a foiled stolen-base attempt. The home team hadn’t even come close to scoring.
However, Welch matched Soto goose egg for goose egg. Welch wasn’t as sharp as Soto, but in the early going it was all bend and no break. Cincinnati loaded the bases in the fourth but couldn’t score anyone. Through six innings, Welch had allowed nine base runners, but none had scored.
Heading into the bottom of the sixth, the game was still looking for its first run. Unfortunately for Soto, the Dodgers were about to find it. Leading off the sixth, Soto allowed a solo home run. Worse that, the home run came off the bat of none other than Welch.
In his previous 313 career plate appearances, Welch had never homered. He was a .182 hitter with a half-dozen doubles and one triple. But he sure picked a good time to smash his first longball.
Soto recovered nicely, striking out the next three batters to end the inning, but it was still 1-0 Dodgers. Well, eventually the Reds would have to get to Welch, right? He couldn’t keep pitching his way out of jams.
No, Welch couldn’t keep pitching his way out of jams. Instead, he stopped pitching his way into them. In the remaining three innings, Welch let just two Reds reach base. One was a meaningless single and the other a two-out base on balls in the ninth.
The Reds sent Johnny Bench up as a pinch-hitter after that walk in the ninth. If anyone could turn a 1-0 defeat into a 2-1 Reds edge with one swing of the bat, it was the old catcher. But this was Welch’s day, and Bench flew out to end the game.
Welch had pitched a complete-game shutout and smacked a home run in a 1-0 win. He’d done it all. Of his 211 career wins, none was better deserved than this one, which happened 30 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that occurred X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim.
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