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Thursday, April 23, 2009
And That HappenedGiants 1, Padres 0: Barry Zito was dominant. In other news, "A Beautiful Mind" has won Best Picture, the Queen Mother has died at the age of 101, and I'm under 30, childless, and have money. Hello, and welcome to the exciting year 2002!
Cardinals 5, Mets 2: To my own two eyes it appears that John Maine was responsible for this one getting out of hand, but I'm learning that Daniel Murphy's methods are insidiously box score-resistant, so I can't be sure that he isn't the one that truly messed it up. Like maybe he fell down on a long plank balanced on a boulder in left field, thereby shooting an anvil into the air which fell on Maine's landing foot or something. I've seen it happen, and rarely is the outfielder charged with an error in that situation.
Braves 1, Nationals 0: Eight innings of shutout ball for the Nats and then they walk in the game's only run. Some questionable bullpen usage by Manny Acta here. The reason the bases were loaded for Kelly Johnson's fateful plate appearance was that Martin Prado walked before him. The reason Martin Prado was in the game was because Manny Acta brought in the lefty Michael Hinckley to face Bobby Cox's first pinch hitter, Greg Norton. If Acta had stuck with Garrett Mock or gone with another righty, Norton probably stays in the game. Norton sucks and is 0-11 on the year. Prado is a fiesty little dude who is hitting .368 on the year. Did Acta think that Bobby wouldn't try to put in someone better against lefties than Norton? Did he not realize that Prado was sitting there, available on the Braves' bench?
Yankees 9, Athletics 7: CC Sabathia did everything he could to lose this game for New York (6.2 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 4 BB) but the Yanks managed to pull through on the power of a Melky Cabrera homer in the bottom of the 14th. Melky had two dingers, by the way, which more than anything else that has happened in the past week should cause a team of scientists to descend on that park to figure out what the hell is going on. This one breezed by in a crisp four hours and fifty-seven minutes.
Red Sox 10, Twins 1: Scott Baker was shelled (4.2 IP, 10 H, 6 ER). Tim Wakefield was brilliant again (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER). Because of rain, that counts as a CG for Wakefield, even though as a knuckleballer, seven innings constitutes warm up. Oh, and happy birthday to Tito, who turned 50 yesterday.
Red Sox 7, Twins 3: Game two of the doubleheader went the distance. Francisco Liriano was every bit as bad as Baker was, giving up seven runs on four hits in four innings. The Sox have now won seven in a row and, given the rainout, today's off-day and strong performances from both Wakefield and Brad Penny yesterday, welcome the Yankees with a fresh pitching staff.
Diamondbacks 2, Rockies 0: Haren has pitched with bubkis for run support and got just above bubkis yesterday, but it was enough because Danny's pretty much awesome (7 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 9K). The Rockies seeming endless road trip is now over and they can retire to Denver for some home cooking for a bit.
Royals 2, Indians 0: Brian Bannister gets the callup and shuts the Indians out for six innings. Great. Now there won't be any shutting Posnanski up until at least the All-Star break. And look! A Joakim Soria sighting! Hillman must have really been desperate if he let him in a tight game. I mean, it was on the road in the Western Hemisphere in a non-palindromic year, and the percentages probably called for Kyle Farnsworth in that situation.
Astros 6, Dodgers 5: Decent enough day for Randy Wolf, but it's not like Lance Berkman was gonna keep hitting .210 all year.
Blue Jays 8, Rangers 7: Darren O'Day was claimed off waivers mere hours before the game and didn't even get to the ballpark until nearly 10pm. Upon his arrival, he was given someone else's jersey and thrown in to pitch the 11th inning. O'Day threw five pitches, the last being the game-losing double to Kevin Millar. Way to put your guys in a position to succeed, Ron Washington.
Reds 3, Cubs 0: Johnny Cueto pitched seven scoreless innings and looked for much of the game like that kid who burst on the scene last spring and inspired Bob Gibson comparisons. He still goes too deep into counts and thus has to leave games earlier than you might want him to, but if he is putting it together, the Reds may have a shot of hanging around this thing a bit longer than usual this year.
White Sox 8, Orioles 2: John Danks lowers his ERA to 0.95. Paid attendance -- 10,868 -- was just 361 souls more than the all-time Camden Yards record low.
Brewers 3, Phillies 1: Just one of many games impacted by the wind and the rain and the cold, and I am getting really, really tired of it. The eastern U.S. is supposed to get warm and sunny this weekend, and dear lord do we need it.
Tigers 12, Angels 10: Something is dreadfully wrong with Scot Shields, who hasn't recorded an out in two straight appearances. Something is wrong with Justin Verlander too, giving up seven runs on nine hits and two walks. He's been hit really hard, but somehow his peripherals look OK. What gives?
Rays 9, Mariners 3: I had started to wring my hands a little about the Rays slow start, but then I realized that (a) nine of their first fourteen games were against AL East opponents, and that the thing about winning that division is to beat up the other divisions and simply hold your own otherwise; and (b) the 6-9 record they have right now is exactly the the same record they had through fifteen games last year. So let's chill, everyone.
Pirates 7, Marlins 4: Leave it to the Pirates to shut down baseball's hottest team. This is latest into the season that Pittsburgh has been above .500 since 2002. That was so long ago that Barry Zito was good, the Queen Mother was alive, and I was under 30, childless and had money!
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:43am
Well played with the bookends.
Good stuff as always.
Posted 04/23 at 07:25 AM
Steve Phillips on BBTN expressed displeasure that the first Red Sox - Twins game was called after 7 innings due to rain. He said that it absolved potential bullpen usage for the 8th/9th innings for both teams, as will benefit Boston and Minnesota in their next series, and that they should have postponed Game 2 until today and made every effort to complete a full 9 innings for Game 1. He went on to say that if he represented an AL East or AL Central team he would be pretty ticked off.
Legitimate criticism of the umpires? (Phillips was careful to point out that the decision was not up to Boston or Minn). I think his perspective is a little overblown. He did not point out that had the umps followed his suggestion, weather may have put the Sox and Twins at competitive disadvantages for their next series. Thoughts?
Posted 04/23 at 07:46 AM
Craig Calcaterra said...
I think the umps’ first and foremost responsibility in that situation is to get two official games in and whatever the strategic implications of that be damned. I think if you get umps thinking about how that kind of stuff affects the competitive situation of teams you invite chaos. If the Twins’ or Red Sox’ next opponent is worried about its bullpen, they should sign a knuckleballer.
Posted 04/23 at 08:24 AM
Best and that happened of the young season, in my opinion.
Daniel Murphy actually almost made a good defensive play, almost throwing a runner out at home. Operative word: almost.
Posted 04/23 at 08:47 AM
Vegas Watch said...
“If Acta had stuck with Garrett Mock or gone with another righty, Norton probably stays in the game. Norton sucks and is 0-11 on the year. Prado is a fiesty little dude who is hitting .368 on the year.”
Don’t you think maybe we’re taking advantage of hindsight and SSS a bit too much here? According to every projection there is, those two are very comparable hitters, with the edge probably going to Norton.
Posted 04/23 at 09:04 AM
You really should have made more of a mention of the two starters. Lannan and Jurrjens were both efficient and magnificent. They did just about everything right, and it was a great game to watch for people who love these types of games.
As for the Prado and Johnson walks, I think we can blame Flores/Hinckley for throwing curveballs on three consecutive pitches from 1-2, and then trying to throw those same pitches to get ahead to Kelly. By the time he figured out that he was not getting his curve over, he was down 3-0 to Kelly and had to throw a fastball. However, Acta had used Hinckley a lot lately and probably should have brought in someone else, but I’m not sure Mock was the guy to leave in there.
Posted 04/23 at 09:10 AM
I think Tad forgot to mention one thing about Phillips’ complaint: by ending the first game early, it can be seen as a pretty obvious money-grab by Major League Baseball to get both sets of paying customers in the park.
I can easily see the point he’s making. I’m just not sure it’s as terrible of an act as Phillips seems to think it is.
Posted 04/23 at 09:45 AM
I wonder when the last time each team sent a knuckleballer to the mound in the same inning of the same game?
The Twins, brought R.A. Dickey into the game just before it was called. Though I have no idea if he actually threw a knuckleball.
Posted 04/23 at 09:48 AM
Man, I graduated from high school in 2002. That WAS a long time ago.
Posted 04/23 at 10:03 AM
But at worst, the second game would have been played today; as it stands, both clubs are off today. So how does that increase the opportunity to money-grab? I would think leaving the first set of customers in the park longer would accomodate greater sales (excluding alcohol, of course, as it was after the 7th).
Posted 04/23 at 10:24 AM
Steve, the M’s sent Dickey out against Wake last year at least once. Flutterball fest!!!
Posted 04/23 at 11:21 AM
Dan Greer said...
Verlander’s problem is that he doesn’t throw inside, allowing batters to smack him around when they make contact. I didn’t see the start he made, but he’s been doing this for a few years now. Great stuff and decent command gives him a solid K/BB ratio, but he simply doesn’t scare hitters very much.
Posted 04/23 at 11:43 AM
APBA Guy said...
I saw the numbers on the homeruns at Yankee stadium last night, and they are up dramatically. What people are missing is that homers to left are up substantially as well, from 1 to 7.
From what I saw of the A’s & Yankees series, Cashman’s observation about “it’s the pitching” is a big contributor. If the wind were the principal cause, you wouldn’t have that big increase to left (of course, the sample size is still very small).
Anyway, The A’s have hit 4 HR’s this season. They got 1 yetsreday, Kurt Suzuki’s fan-aided HR to left, a first row (wink, wink) “shot” that all Kurt Suzuki fantasy owners will take, for sure.
There may be some wind-aid to right, but as many pitches as I saw that were up and over the plate, HR’s will be up there.
Posted 04/23 at 11:48 AM
Yeah, I know, Tad. Like I said, I’m not saying I agree with him. I just heard them talking about it on Mike and Mike this morning, and that’s what the conversation seemed to focus on. And I can see how someone more cynical than me could hear that and focus on the same thing. That’s all.
Posted 04/23 at 12:17 PM
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