December 13, 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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Friday, August 30, 2013
Tigers 7, Athletics 6: Torii Hunter walks off the Tigers, who came back from a 6-1 deficit. A 6-3 deficit in the ninth. All while losing Miguel Cabrera mid-game. Now, starting pitching, please stop requiring Tigers bats to bail you out all the time.
Orioles 3, Red Sox 2: Baltimore avoids the sweep and pulls to within three and a half of the wild card. Chris Tillman with his 15th win. Out of context quote from Buck Showalter after the game: "September's an eternity." Going down to the art house tonight to see some experimental French film in which people struggle with the meaninglessness of existence and the knowledge of their own mortality. It features Buck Showalter uttering that line at the end of scene breaks. He's in black and white. Everyone else is in color. He's also wearing sad clown makeup. You have to see the whole thing to understand.
Mariners 3, Astros 2: Talk about struggling with the meaninglessness of existence. That's the very essence of an August 29 Mariners-Astros game, yes? Maybe there's hope for Seattle in this existential struggle now that its six-game skid is over. Franklin Guitierrez had three hits including a two-run homer. Afterward Eric Wedge wondered what might have been had Gutierrez been around all year. This is the story of Gutierrez's entire career, of course. Which means that Wedge here is essentially -- and futilely -- bargaining with the very idea of inevitability. I think that one opens tomorrow, though, so I have to go to the theater again rather than catch it as a twin bill with Showalter's thing.
Braves 3, Indians 1: The sweep. Kris Medlen tossed seven shutout innings. I feel like every good pitching performance for the past week has been "seven shutout innings for ____." Which, fine, I like good pitching. I just need someone to mix in an eight shutout innings or a three-inning, eight-run meltdown complete with a manager having an outburst to the press afterward. Brian McCann hit a three-run homer. Justin Upton left the game after being hit on the hand. Good thing his brother plays on the same team and can provide a compatible donor hand if necessary.
Brewers 4, Pirates 0: Yovani Gallardo had [all together now] seven shutout innings. Seven shutout innings is the new black.
Angels 2, Rays 0: Oh, look: Jason Vargas had seven shutout innings. See what I mean? Tampa Bay has lost four of five, and the Angels have won five of six. Problem is the team losing these games is in the wild card race.
Mets 11, Phillies 3: Carlos Torres takes Matt Harvey's slot in the rotation and does just fine. Ethan Martin takes his usual slot and gets hammered. Daniel Murphy had four hits. Anthony Recker hit a two-run homer.
Nationals 9, Marlins 0: Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond each had three-run homers and Gio Gonzalez threw seven shutout innings. Eight of nine wins for the Nats, who are now six and a half back of the second wild card. It's still a tough task -- even if the Reds go .500 the rest of the way and the D-backs fall off the map Washington has to go 22-7 -- but this is a nice little surge.
Royals 3, Twins 1: Five in a row for the Royals, who have been so very hot and cold this season. That puts them six back of the A's. Problem is, there are three teams ahead of the Royals who are also chasing Oakland.
25 years ago today, one of the most incredible achievements in baseball history began.
On Aug. 30, 2013, Orel Hershiser began his record 59 scoreless inning streak. That streak broke the old record of 58 scoreless innings held by Don Drysdale.
While records are broken every year, Drysdale’s mark looked like one of the least likely ones to fall. For one thing, Drysdale broke a half-century old record when he had his streak. Well, sometimes a record falls by the bunches, but not in this case. No one in the 1970s or 1980s had seriously threatened his mark. Drysdale had the advantage of having his best year in 1968, the year of the pitcher, the season when run scoring was at it’s lowest mark since the Deadball Era.
By 1988, scoring was higher. It wasn’t incredibly high, but it was normal, which put it far higher than the 1968 NL.
Hershiser was a star pitcher, though. He emerged in 1985, posting a 19-3 record and a 2.03 ERA. Though he had a middling 1986 as his arm acclimated to the big league workload, in 1987 he led the league in innings while posting a 3.06 ERA.
So far, 1988 had been another nice year for Hershiser. On Aug. 19, he’s thrown a complete game shutout, dropping his ERA under 3.00, and though he’d lost his following start on Aug. 24, that had more to do with poor run support than anything Hershiser himself did. He surrendered just two runs in a tough luck 2-1 loss to the Mets.
In today’s game against the Expos, things got off to a nice start with LA taking an early 3-0 lead. The big blow came from the bat of Hershiser himself, a two-run double in the second inning.
That lead was enough, and it allowed Hershiser to overcome his one problem frame. In the fifth, with one out and a runner on third, Tim Raines bopped a double to left that let a run in. Moment later, Raines scored on a single by teammate Dave Martinez. Well, sort of.
Martinez singles and Raines rounded third to score, but the Dodgers might’ve had him at the plate had it not been an error by the relay man. As it happens, the relay man was Hershiser himself. OK, the Dodgers still had a 4-2 lead, and that ended up being the final score.
In the last four innings, Hershiser allowed two walks and a scratch single, and no one advanced beyond first base. It wasn’t anything worth paying attention to—and wouldn’t be, if it wasn’t for the fact that Hershiser then went the next 55 innings without allowing a run. Hershiser’s streak was a magnificent achievement, and it was an achievement that began 25 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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