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!
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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Nationals make great deal for Fister (2)
Transaction Analysis Lightning Round: Pierzynski, Nathan, Ellsbury, and more (1)
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Monday, August 19, 2013
Yankees 9, Red Sox 6: All of the fireworks. All of the intrigue. All of the A-Rod. But this game really came down to the bullpens. The Yankees' was fresh and effective, the Red Sox' wasn't. Our more thorough write-up can be read here. For now the Red Sox probably need to think less about which rats they want to punish and more about how to get guys out and how to protect a division lead which has been cut in half since Tuesday.
Marlins 6, Giants 5: Hero of the game, Jeff Mathis. He homered and hit a tiebreaking double in the eighth that just eluded Andres Torres' dive. Worst part: The home run sculpture in the outfield in Miami got jammed and did not go off after Mathis' home run. Which, jeez, if I had to play for that owner and that team the least I'd want is that sculpture to spin around and fart all over itself.
Tigers 6, Royals 3: Chalk up another win for Max Scherzer -- his 18th -- and another homer for Miguel Cabrera, his 40th. I'd be rather shocked if this wasn't your Cy Young -MVP combo in the American League this year. The Tigers won three of five in this rare five-game series and I feel like that's enough to put any hope of anyone in the AL Central challenging them to rest.
Phillies 3, Dodgers 2: That's the end of the Dodgers' 10-game winning streak thanks to not one but two ninth-inning errors from Hanley Ramirez. For the Phillies it was the first win -- and first runs scored -- of the Ryne Sandberg Administration.
Orioles 7, Rockies 2: Chris Davis went 4 for 5 with a double, a homer and a couple driven in. The homer was his 45th. Adam Jones had three hits including a two-run homer. So weird that last year they needed all the runs but had an awesome bullpen, this year they have been scoring just fine but have needed better relief. Baseball, man. Baseball.
Braves 2, Nationals 1: Julio Teheran tossed six scoreless. The Braves won two of three and now have a 15.5 game lead. All of this stupid beanball crap has reflected poorly on the Braves in my view -- and Braves fans booing Harper like they did here is dumb -- but it's not going to amount to the stuff of rivalry until next year, it seems.
Rays 2, Blue Jays 1: Jose Lobaton hit a walk-off home run in the 10th. This goes with his walkoff triple on Friday. Now all he needs is the single and double for the walkoff cycle. That's a thing, right?
Diamondbacks 4, Pirates 2: Sixteen innings. The D-backs held the Pirates scoreless in the last 13 of those. Adam Eaton had four hits including the go-ahead double in that final frame. The Pirates dropped two of three -- Saturday's game in ugly fashion allowing 15 runs on 20 hits, this one with no punch at all -- and have lost three straight series. Their division lead is down to one game. They need to find a way to stop the bleeding.
White Sox 5, Twins 2: Alexei Ramirez homered and had three RBI. Hector Santiago pitched in and out of trouble but got the win. After the game his manager, Robin Ventura, said it was like a root canal watching him pitch. He really did. Which, well, thanks, skip.
Reds 9, Brewers 1: Homer Bailey allowed one run in eight innings. Not that he needed to be so good, as Wily Peralta fooled no Reds batters and coughed up seven runs on eight hits in four and a third. Ryan Hanigan drove in three.
Mariners 4, Rangers 3: Kyle Seager with a go-ahead double in the ninth on a pitch from Joe Nathan at which he probably had no business swinging. The M's take two of three from Texas.
Cardinals 6, Cubs 1: Adam Wainwright struck out 11 in seven innings to snag his 14th win. Jon Jay drove in four with a homer and a double. After a rough stretch St. Louis has now won five of seven and is only a game behind the Pirates. Now the Cardinals get the pleasure of facing the punchless Brewers for three games. After that, though, 17 straight against teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today.
Astros 7, Angels 5: Matt Dominguez hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the seventh inning and the Astros take two of three. They took two of three from the A's before that, so that's a pretty nice stretch for them. Mike Trout left the game with some hamstring tightness, but he doesn't think it's serious.
Padres 4, Mets 3: A walkoff homer for Will Venable to lead off the ninth. He also drove in a run in the fifth. He now has a 15-game hitting streak.
Athletics 7, Indians 3: Chris Young and Alberto Callaspo homered in the fifth inning. Josh Donaldson drove in three. Lots of good defense from the A's too. Oakland is now only a half game behind Texas. Cleveland has lost six of its last seven in the Coliseum.
Ten years ago today marked a franchise milestone of sorts for the Seattle Mariners. On that day, the M's won a game that was important for two reasons.
On Aug. 19, 2003, the Mariners thrashed the Toronto Blue Jays, 9-1. That easy win was the 2,000th win in franchise history. That’s nice. It gave the franchise a cumulative record of 2,000-2,212. That sounds less nice; 212 games under .500. Yeah, but as it happens, 212 games under sea level is Seattle’s high-water mark.
The Mariners, like all expansion teams, had a rocky start. Pretty much all clubs have some rough sledding when they start up, but in the case of Seattle, it was an unusually long-lasting rough ride. In their first 14 seasons, the Mariners suffered 14 losing records. Not until 1991 did they break through with a winning campaign, and they didn’t consistently top .500 until 1995.
That stretch set them back by quite a bit. A loss on July 31, 1994, put the Mariners 388 games under .500 (1,206-1,594). That’s a mighty big hole. To dig their way out, a team would need to win 90 games a year for 22 straight seasons. That’s tough.
But Seattle did start digging. With a terrific core of talent including Ken Griffey Jr., Jay Buhner, Alex Rodriguez, and Randy Johnson, they become a consistent winner in the 1990s and early 2000s. The culmination of this was a spectacular 116-46 season in 2001. They followed that up with 93-win campaigns in 2002 and 2003. That first 15-plus years put Seattle in quite a deficit, but they kept chipping away at it.
Which takes us back to Aug. 19, 2003. That win that day gave the Mariners a record of 76-49 on the year (and 794-618 since their low point: a .562 clip). It was all downhill from there. They dropped six straight and eight of their next 10. While they rallied some, after Aug. 19 they had a losing record: 17-20. The next year, Seattle’s glorious decade came crashing down with a 99-loss season.
Seattle had made nice progress digging its way out of its early hole, but Aug. 19, 2003, would be as close as they ever get to .500. In fact, in the decade since then, they’ve given it all back. As I write this, Seattle is 388 games under .500 (2,720-3,108). Not only is that 176 games worse than where they stood 10 years ago, but it’s equal to their old low point. A little over a month ago, they set a new all-time low: 391 games under .500, achieved on July 11, 2013.
212 games under obviously isn’t the best all-time franchise record the Mariners ever had. (That would be a .500 2-2 record after their fourth game ever), but that’s because it took the Mariners a long time to dig that hole for themselves. A loss on Aug. 16, 1983, put then 212 games under .500 (412-624) and since then, Aug. 19, 2003, serves as the franchise high tide—and that moment was 10 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other 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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