December 10, 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!
And here's the full roster.
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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Leverage Index by inning (2)
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Transaction Analysis Lightning Round: Pierzynski, Nathan, Ellsbury, and more (1)
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Pirates 2, Cardinals 1; Pirates 6, Cardinals 0: First. Place. Pirates. And the best record in baseball. A walkoff in the opener and a beatdown in the nightcap. Six straight losses by the reeling Cardinals, who lost Yadier Molina to the DL on top of it all. And maybe—just maybe—the end to the now-silly "are the Pirates for real?" talk.
Rangers 14, Angels 11: 1998 called and said it wants its final score back. Angels fans called and want that last pitch from Daniel Stange back. The one he tossed to Leonys Martin, who hit the walkoff three-run homer.
Phillies 7, Giants 3: Philly finally wins a game, breaking its eight-game losing streak. Look for Ruben Amaro to give quotes today about how they are now competitive, followed by long-term contract extensions to Delmon and Michael Young and a trade for Vernon Wells.
Tigers 5, Nationals 1: Alex Avila hit a grand slam. But the biggest hit of the night came from Dave Dombrowski picking up Jose Iglesias as part of the Jake Peavy trade. He's gonna look awfully good at short for the Tigers. Rick Porcello and Doug Fister may go and pick him up at the airport, actually.
Braves 11, Rockies 3: Two homers for Freddie Freeman as the Braves extend their division lead to a whopping 10 games. Note: the Braves have not lost a game since they opened a Waffle House at Turner Field. This is a simple fact.
Dodgers 3, Yankees 2: Mark Ellis with the walkoff single. He's hitting .415 with a homer and eight RBIs since the break. The Dodgers extended their NL West lead to three and a half games.
Orioles 4, Astros 3: Chris Davis hit his first homer since the All-Star break. If you believe some of my commenters and friends on Twitter, this is clear evidence that he stopped using steroids at the break and began again yesterday afternoon at, oh, 4 p.m. People are dumb.
Indians 7, White Sox 4: A four-run eighth inning keyed by a Ryan Raburn pinch hit RBI single. The Indians have won nine in a row at home.
Red Sox 8, Mariners 2: Brandon Workman gets his first win, striking out nine in six innings of work, on the night that the Sox pick up Jake Peavy. Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run homer.
Mets 4, Marlins 2: Zack Wheeler took a no-hitter into the seventh but he allowed the Fish to tie it up that inning. The bullpen held after that, however, and John Buck hit an RBI single in the 10th to win it.
Rays 5, Diamondbacks 2: Fauxsto Caromona pitched a complete game and Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar each drove in a pair. Tampa Bay maintains its half-game lead in the AL East.
Brewers 6, Cubs 5; Brewers 3, Cubs 2: Brewers sweep the twin bill. Glad of that actually. Not for them, really, but that one of the teams won both games. As I've been saying for years, there is little more pointless in the world than a split doubleheader between non-contending teams. Inquiring about its significance is like a philosophical question from a depressed philosopher.
Royals 7, Twins 2: Two homers from Mike Moustakas and seven solid innings from the now apparently not-selling Kansas City Royals. Seven back in the Central and five back in the Wild Card race.
Blue Jays 5, Athletics 0: Mark Buehrle with seven shutout innings, extending his scoreless innings streak to 20. Jose Bautista and Emilio Bonifacio each homered.
Padres 4, Reds 2: That's five straight losses for the Reds, who need to get the heck back home. Nick Hundley's two-run double in the eighth made the difference. Will Venable went 3 for 3 with a walk, a run scored and an RBI.
It's trade deadline day, babies. Keep it locked on HBT and you won't miss a thing.
Fifty years ago today, Paul Foytack had his moment of infamy. He did something that no pitcher had ever done before, and no pitcher would ever do again for several decades. And it’s something that no pitcher ever wants to do.
On July 31, 1963, Foytack surrendered back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs.
In 1963, Foytack was an aging pitcher nearing the end of his line. He'd had his moments as an innings-eating starting pitcher for the mid-to-late 1950s Tigers. Never a star, Foytack was a solid and dependable pitcher, the kind who could start 30-some times a year and win 15 games.
Foytack had some control problems when he first came up, walking a league leading 142 batters in 1956, his first full season. That’s still the second highest total in Tigers history. But he soon got it under control, walking half as many just two years later.
While he tamed his control, one problem continued to haunt Foytack—he gave up more than his share of home runs. In fact, by mid-1963, despite having thrown fewer than 1,500 innings in his career, Foytack had cracked the top 50 all-time in home runs allowed.
By 1963, the Tigers decided to dump him in the bullpen, and at midseason they traded him to the Angels, where he was primarily a mop-up man. So it came that 50 years ago today the Angels called on him to pitch the mid-innings of a game they were losing to the Indians, 5-1.
Foytack pitched an event-less fifth frame, and then retired the first pair of batters in the sixth. Then he met he date with destiny.
Up came Indians third baseman Woodie Held, A decent player with mid-range power, Held had hit 19 or more homers in five of the previous six seasons. And he showed off that power here, taking Foytack deep for a solo shot.
Eh, no matter. Held was batting eighth, and that meant up to the plate came Cleveland’s pitcher, Pedro Ramos. There’s an irony that Ramos would be a batter in this sequence, because he was a gopher-ball prone pitcher himself. Three times he’d led the league in homers allowed and he’d end the season ranked sixth all-time in dingers surrendered. Even better, Ramos holds an unusual record: most homers allowed to opposing pitchers, 15. Yet in this at bat Ramos would be the slugger, not the slugged. He took Foytack deep for the second straight homer.
That’s aggravating, but that’s life. Time to focus on the next batter: Tito Francona, father of the current Indians manager. Though not a slugger, Francona wasn’t a weakling either, as his 125 career homers attest. Well, career home run No. 91 happened right here.
Angels manager Bill Rigney opted to keep Foytack in the game. Maybe it was all happening too fast. Maybe it was just because Foytack still needed just one more out. Or maybe it’s because the next batter was a 23-year-old rookie named Larry Brown, playing in just his 25th game and still looking for his first home run.
He found that first homer. Four batters in a row had gone deep against Foytack. For years, Foytack would be the only pitcher to make that claim— until April 22, 2007 when it happened to Chase Wright. But Foytack did it first, 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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