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.
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Thursday, August 22, 2013
Orioles 4, Rays 2: Chris Davis homers again. Number 46 on the year. He's four short of the all-time Orioles record. He tied Rafael Palmeiro for the most home homers in Orioles history with 25. Tommy Hunter got the save, as it does appear that Buck Showalter is gonna go with the hot hand now. Or, at the very least, avoid Jim Johnson.
Braves 4, Mets 1: Three-run homers in the 10th inning are great. Blown calls at first base that allow those three-run homers to happen instead of the third out of the inning being properly recorded are not so great. I'll get over this one and won't renounce the win because that would be silly, but yeah, this game woulda been very different if it were the Replay Era.
Yankees 4, Blue Jays 2: Hit number 4,000 for Ichiro between the U.S. and Japan. I don't think there's any doubt that he'd be pushing that mark if he had spent his whole career here. Such a unique talent. Alfonso Soriano -- who also spent some time in Japan -- hit the tie-breaking two-run homer in the eighth. The Yankees still have to climb over three teams, but they are only four back in the Wild Card.
Mariners 5, Athletics 3: Brendan Ryan got to play and had two hits and drove in three runs. Given how awesome his glove is it's sad that he doesn't hit better so he can hang around longer and get more PT.
Cardinals 8, Brewers 6: Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig homer and four relievers help bail out the redbirds after Jake Westbrook couldn't make it out of the fifth. Westbrook did hit a bases-loaded double THHOC, however.
Red Sox 12, Giants 1: Barry Zito was shellacked for six runs on seven hits in three and two-thirds. We may have seen his final start as a Giant, if Bruce Bochy's cryptic comments about changes to be made mean what they sound like they mean. Even if he gets another, his time in San Francisco is almost over and it's ending very much like it began.
Indians 3, Angels 1: A year ago Cleveland ended the year with just 68 wins. Last night the Indians won their 69th. With more than a month remaining, the Indians are just five and a half games behind division-leading Detroit and two and a half behind the A's for the Wild Card. Not bad for a team that, at times anyway, has looked lost. Just very hot and cold. A two-run homer for Nick Swisher and a strong outing for Justin Masterson who, last start against them notwithstanding, has historically owned the Angels.
Padres 2, Pirates 1: Ian Kennedy threw seven shutout innings and the Padres avoided the sweep. Yonder Alonso did all the damage on offense. Or, yonder, Alonso did all the damage. Unless you actually were in San Diego yesterday in which case that would be misleading.
Phillies 4, Rockies 3: Another low-run-support no-decision for Cliff Lee as the Phillies failed to capitalize on many early opportunities, but Michael Young hit a walkoff single to end it.
Tigers 7, Twins 1: Boy the Twins stink. I watched the second half of this game and the Tigers' late rally was the stuff of both good hitting on their part but a lot of boneheaded plays and curious pitch selection on the part of Minnesota. It just looks like a totally lost team.
Reds 10, Diamondbacks 7: Shin-Soo Choo went 4 for 5 with a homer and three RBI and the Reds started early with an 8-0 lead. They needed all of that to hold of the D-backs. But hold them off they did and now have a pretty comfortable six-game lead over Arizona for the second Wild Card.
Rangers 5, Astros 4: Elvis Andrus with a walkoff sac fly. That's probably among the least uplifting walkoff events you can have. Walkoff errors or wild pitches at least have some moment of unexpected excitement to them. Walkoff walks have a sense of building tension as the pitcher struggles to locate. A walkoff sac fly is, like, "and, yep, there it is. It will be deep enough. Ballgame."
Dodgers 4, Marlins 1: Zack Greinke had eight innings of one-run ball. Yasiel Puig went 0 for 5, but hey, at least he was on time to the ballpark.
White Sox 5, Royals 2: Dayan Viciedo hit a grand slam and that made all the difference. Well most of the difference, but I read Robert Frost before bed last night and I wanted to say "that made all the difference" at some point today.
Nationals 11, Cubs 6: Two homers for Anthony Rizzo were nice but Cubs pitchers gave up two three-run homers to Nats hitters. And that has made all the difference.
OK, that worked a little better, with the exception of the awkward "has." But we'll just go with it.
110 years ago was a landmark day in the history of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise. On Aug. 22, 1903, their all-time cumulative franchise record hit .500, and it’s been over .500 ever since.
On Aug. 22, 1903, the Pirates beat their in-state rivals, the Phillies, 7-4. With that win, the Pirates had 1,409 wins and 1,409 losses since their establishment in 1882.
Wait, 1882? Don’t the Pirates often trace their history back to 1887, not 1882? They often do, but 1887 is the year they joined the NL. From 1882-86, the Pirates were in the American Association, which was the rival big league to the National League at the time. The Pirates aren’t unique in having jumped. In fact, four of the eight pre-expansion NL teams actually began in the AA: the Pirates, Reds, Cardinals and Dodgers.
At any rate, aside from parts of their debut campaign in 1882, the Pirates' all-time record had always been under .500. It was two steps backward, one step forward in those early years. Things completely fell apart in 1890, when they experienced one of the worst seasons in history, going 23-113, 90 games under .500 for just that one year.
Their all-time record reached its historical low point in June 1892, 207 games under .500. But since that was their low point, it means they started to get better after that. However, it was still slow going. By the end of 1899, they were still 160 games under .500 in their franchise history (1,067-1,227). But then they caught a nice break. The NL contracted that year, and the Pirates were the big winners. When the Louisville club ceased to exist, the Pirates got several stars, most notably shortstop Honus Wagner.
The Pirates finished in second place in 1900. In 1901, they won their first pennant as again league dynamics helped them out. The AL came into existence that year, and raided NL teams for players, but didn’t take any Pirates. As the only team with its core in place, the Pirates became a dynamo. They not only won a pennant in 1901, but in 1902 set a record with 103 wins (in a 140-game season).
Though the AL finally began raiding the Pirates for talent after 1902, what was left was still enough for a third pennant. Which is how on Aug. 22, 1903, a franchise that just three and a half years earlier stood 160 games under .500 was now 1,409-1,409.
The Pirates won their next 10 decisions to give them a cushion over .500. They nearly went back to it in 1904 (just two games over .500 after one losing streak) but stayed above .500. With Honus Wagner anchoring a star-studded team, the Pirates posted an unbroken series of winning campaigns from 1899-1913. By that time, they were well over 300 atop .500.
That is a might nice lead to have. They were a contending team in much of the 1920s and 1930s, pushing their record northward of 500 games over .500. The franchise peaked on Sept. 13, 1946: 582 games over .500 (4,904-4.322). The Pirates tied that mark two games later, but then fell backward.
As bad as they were in the early 1950s, they stayed over 190 games ahead of .500 the entire time. They bottomed out at 191 games in July 1958. Then began a 20-year glory stretch, culminating on Aug. 17, 1980 with the Pirates 544 games over .500.
After some ups-and-downs, they ended their 1990-92 division three-peat glory stretch 544 games over .500. As bad as the next 20 years were, 544 provides a powerful cushion. Heading into this year, the Pirates were still more than 100 games over .500. And with a young team and a solid record, they should stay over .500 for the foreseeable future.
But to build up that cushion, the Pirates first had to make it to .500, and they did so exactly 110 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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