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, August 05, 2013
I went to Detroit over the weekend where I took in Saturday and Sunday's Tigers-White Sox games. Such a wonderful time. Cool temperatures, no humidity, good company, good pitching, good food, good beer. It's really all you could want.
As I watched these games and hung around a city that, no matter what else you can say about it, is a lot of fun and loves baseball, I occasionally checked in on Twitter and baseball blogs to see what sort of news was happening. Observed: the closer you are to real baseball and the more fun you're having while watching it, the less any of that Alex Rodriguez and Biogenesis stuff matters. Even in Detroit, fans were 100 percent able to (a) talk about that news as intelligent baseball fans might; while (b) cheering for Jhonny Peralta like mad. It's not either/or. That stuff doesn't cast a shadow on the team or the season or anything. It's just something happening.
Baseball is also happening. And it totally trumps that noise. Don't let anyone wringing their hands over the Biogenesis stuff today and on for the next few weeks tell you differently. Anyway: this happened too:
Tigers 3, White Sox 2: Jim Leyland had the junior varsity in the lineup to start things -- Andy Dirks and Don Kelly batting two and three -- but once it got to the 12th inning Leyland had Miguel Cabrera (pinch hit single) and Torii Hunter (pinch hit to enter the game in the 10th and a game-winning single in his second at bat) bail the kids out. The White Sox ended their road trip 0-7 and they've lost 10 in a row overall. Which, eww.
Blue Jays 6, Angels 5: Two in the eighth and two in the ninth help Toronto come back and avoid a sweep. The AP game story lead off by saying "The Toronto Blue Jays avoided a four-game sweep the hard way." I agree that coming back late is a hard way, but there are harder ways to do it. For example, winning by forfeit when your manager realizes that the other team's starting pitcher is actually one kid riding on another kid's shoulders wearing an overcoat, thereby revealing that the other team has violated roster rules is extraordinarily difficult to pull off. La Russa did that once. No one else.
Dodgers 1, Cubs 0: You on point Fife? All the time, Tip. You on point Fife? All the time, Tip. You on point Fife? All the time, Tip. Well then grab the horsehide and let your pitch rip (Stephen Fife: 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 5K, weighs a buck 150, 36 waist). Also, WTF is up with the caption on this photo?
Cardinals 15, Reds 2: Well, the Cardinals offense seems to be doing better. They scored 13, 13 and 15 runs in three of their last four games, respectively. Now, after a tough road trip that took them through Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, they have one more tough assignment: the Dodgers at home.
Red Sox 4, Diamondbacks 0: Felix Doubront continues his remarkable consistency, shutting out the D-backs for seven innings and making his 15th straight start in which he has given up three runs or fewer.
Royals 6, Mets 2: The Royals had a three-run fifth inning in which Marlon Byrd misplayed not one but two balls due to the sun. After the game Byrd said "I need to get better with sun balls." I wish the reporter he was talking to shot back with "A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell. -- C. S. Lewis," but I suppose that's too much to ask of our decrepit educational system.
Mariners 3, Orioles 2: Henry Blanco hit a two-run homer in the seventh to help the M's to a win. Also: Henry Blanco is still alive and is playing baseball and everything. Kids: forget trying to perfect a curve ball. Forget trying to be a shortstop. Learn how to be a backup catcher and you'll never be unemployed in your life.
Indians 2, Marlins 0: Scott Kazmir and three relievers combine for a shutout. It was the Indians' major league-best 15th shutout this season. It was Cleveland's 10th win in 11 games. Now the Indians have four big ones against Detroit, trailing the Tigers by three games.
Rays 4, Giants 3: Wil Myers homered and the Rays' bullpen tossed four and a third scoreless innings after Fauxsto Carmona struggled.
Pirates 5, Rockies 1: A.J. Burnett went the distance and struck out nine. Russell Martin hit a three-run homer. Some Yankees fan somewhere is trying to craft some argument about how what they're doing matters less because they're on the Pirates.
Twins 3, Astros 2: Twins sweep the Astros. It was their first sweep and is their first three-game winning streak in over a month.
Brewers 8, Nationals 5: Down 4-1 in the sixth the Brewers put up a five-spot. Jeff Bianchi's bloop single over a drawn-in infield put Milwaukee ahead. He also had a squeeze bunt in the game. It was definitely a nice day for backup catchers.
Rangers 4, Athletics 0: Derek Holland threw eight shutout innings with 10 strikeouts. Ron Washington became the Rangers' winningest manager of all time with this win. Which, honestly, I figured had happened a year or two ago, but I guess Johnny Oates was there longer than I realized.
Padres 6, Yankees 3: Yankees third basemen went 1 for 5. The lede for all game stories tomorrow should be "Thank God A-Rod is back!" But I figure they won't be.
Braves vs. Phillies: Braves were winning 4-1 in the eighth when I couldn't keep my eyes open any more last night, so I figured I'd leave this one until I woke up. You get tired when you have a day game after a night game like I did yesterday, with a trip to a hotel bar in between. Takes a toll. Makes me appreciate what Mickey Mantle did way more than I used to. Thank God for greenies, though, or else I never would have been alert for the first pitch in yesterday's day game. Really enhanced my performance.