December 7, 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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Friday, August 09, 2013
Turns out the seventh time is the charm.
Friday night, Nationals pitcher Dan Haren took the hill for the seventh time in his career against the Phillies. Unlike the first six times, this time Haren came away with the win, in a 9-2 triumph for Washington.
This proved to be a historical win for Haren because—as noted in advance here at THT—he’d already beaten the other 29 teams. This win gives Haren a victory against his 30th/final franchise.
Haren got to his 28th team back in 2009. At the time, he needed just the White Sox and Phillies. He got the ChiSox in April 2011, and has been needing just the Phillies ever since.
He is the 13th pitcher to join the club.Preceding him in the club are some of the best pitchers of the last 20 years, men like Kevin Brown, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. Then again, also beating him to the club are a bunch of random journeymen like Woody Williams, Terry Mulholland, and my personal favorite, Vicente Padilla.
Rounding out the club are Al Leiter, Jamie Moyer, Barry Zito, Javier Vazquez, Derek Lowe and A.J. Burnett.
And now, Dan Haren.
Here is when the guys joined the club:
April 27, 2002: Al Leiter
March 31, 2004: Kevin Brown
July 3, 2004: Terry Mulholland
Sept. 10, 2004: Curt Schilling
Sept. 26, 2006: Woody Williams
May 26, 2008: Jamie Moyer
April 19, 2009: Randy Johnson
June 12, 2010: Barry Zito
July 21, 2010: Javier Vazquez
Aug. 10, 2010: Vicente Padilla
May 10, 2010: Derrek Lowe
July 21, 2012: A.J. Burnett
Aug. 9, 2013: Dan Haren
Five of the seven losing teams on Thursday scored one run. This means something. This is important. [sculpts Devil's Tower out of his mashed potatoes, scares family]
Giants 4, Brewers 1: Tim Lincecum looked like the Timmy of old yesterday, tossing eight shutout innings and allowing only one hit. These past several performances are likely to keep him from clearing waivers this month and thus are likely to keep him in San Francisco.
Tigers 10, Indians 3: The idea of a "statement game" or "statement series" in baseball is pretty weak, but these past four game pretty much sounded like the Tigers telling the Indians "Perhaps you will win the AL Central someday. But not today." Max Scherzer gets his 17th win. Ryan Raburn gives the Indians some extra value in the form of an inning on the mound, but I don't imagine that's what they had in mind when they signed him to that extension. Twelve straight wins for Detroit.
Pirates 5, Marlins 4: Down 4-0 in the fifth? No problem. Pittsburgh scored two in the fifth, two in the seventh and then Russell Martin hit a two-out pinch hit single in the 10th to walk the Pirates off. It's the Pirates' 28th come-from-behind win this year. Their 70th overall. They went six seasons in a row without winning 70 games between 2005 and 2010. Since 1994 they've won fewer than 70 games 11 times.
Royals 5, Red Sox 1: Kansas City wins its 16th of 20 since the All-Star break, moving to 4.5 back of the Wild Card. Bruce Chen was phenomenal, pitching shutout ball for seven and two-thirds and not allowing a runner past first base until the eighth.
Phillies 12, Cubs 1: Cody Asche had three hits, including his first big league homer. Ethan Martin pitched five innings and allowed one run and four hits for his first big league win. Darin Ruf homered too. Look at those baby Phillies go.
Dodgers 5, Cardinals 1: Hyun-Jin Ryu was great for seven innings and A.J. Ellis hit a three-run homer. Ellis also had high praise for Ryu, saying after the game "He pitches to the scoreboard as well as anyone I've caught." A regular Jack Morris.
Mets 2, Rockies 1: New York sweeps Colorado. Dillon Gee allowed one run while pitching seven and two-thirds. The Rockies lost nine of 10 on this road trip, thus ending the "could they make a run in the NL West?" portion of their season.
50 years ago today, Jim Hickman hit one of the most clutch home runs in Mets history. It didn’t help them in any pennant race and had no larger implications. This was still the early Mets, after all. But it was still a very cool home run. It was a walk-off home run he hit. And no one was happier for it than Hickman’s long-suffering teammate, pitcher Roger Craig.
On Aug. 9, 2013, Roger Craig to the mound for the Mets, looking for a victory. Hoping for a victory. Praying for a victory. God, how Craig wanted a victory.
That last few months had been rough for Craig. The year had begun as well as a Mets pitcher can hope, with Craig splitting his April decisions for a 2-2 record. Then he went 0-for-May. And 0-for-June. And 0-for-July. A loss on Aug. 4, dropped Craig’s record to 2-20. He really wasn’t pitching that badly, either. His ERA was just 4.16, not spectacular, but clearly not in line with a historically dreadful 2-20 record. His offensive support was non-existent, though: just 31 runs in his 19 starts in that span. 13 times the Mets scored two or fewer runs for Craig.
Hopefully, today would be different. Sure enough, the Mets scored three runs giving them an early 3-2 lead, but wouldn’t you know it – the Cubs tied it in the top of the eighth, 3-3. Fortunately, this was a half-century ago and just because a pitcher gave up a game-tying run in the eighth didn’t mean he was done for the day. Aging manager Casey Stengel kept his faith, leaving Craig in the game. Craig finished off the eighth and threw a scoreless ninth.
So it was still tied, 3-3 with the game three outs from extra inning. It looked destined for overtime, as two of the first three Mets batters made outs against Cubs pitcher Paul Toth. With the bottom of the order up, this should be easy for Toth to get the last out.
Instead, Mets shortstop Al Moran unleashed a double. This was rare for Moran. In 395 career plate appearances, he’d hit just five two-baggers, but this sure was a well-timed one. Due up next was Roger Craig. Well, no time to rely on him. Pinch hitter Tim Harkness strode to the plate in his place. The Mets would either win it here or Craig would get the no-decision. At least he wouldn’t get a 19th straight loss. The Cubs decided they’d had enough of Toth, and brought in relief ace Lindy McDaniel.
At this point, Cubs manager Bob Kennedy made a questionable move. He ordered Harkness intentionally walked. OK, it would set up the force at every base. But that didn’t matter—the Cubs needed just one out and the game-winning run was on third. Harnkess did have the platoon advantage, but if that mattered so much to Chicago, they should’ve brought in a lefty. McDaniel was a former All-Star and Harkness would hit .211 on the year.
Regardless of what the thought process was, Harkness took his base at first, bringing up Jim Hickman with the bases loaded. He immediately made Kennedy’s decision to walk Harnkess look foolish by belting a game-winning, walk-off grand slam. The 11,566 Mets fans in the Polo Grounds went crazy, but no one was happier than Roger Craig—whose 18 game losing streak was now history. That was an impressive win for the Mets—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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