And That Happened

Diamondbacks 14, Mets 1: I was tempted to say that Adam LaRoche’s two three-run home runs yesterday are just the latest example of second-half greatness from a great second-half player, but check out his month-by-month OPSeseses: April: .953; May: .787; June: .698; July: .669. Contrary to his reputation, he’s gotten worse as the season has gone on. I wonder if those bombs are the opening salvo to a furious August and September to salvage that reputation.  Jerry Manuel on the Mets’ performance: “We didn’t pitch, we didn’t hit, we didn’t play defense.”

Rays 3, Yankees 0: That’s eight of nine for the Rays, who pull to within one of the Bombers. Joe Girardi felt obligated to use all of his shiny new toys — Kearns! Berkman! Wood! — while giving A-Rod and Brett Gardner the day off.  Made the box score look all Central Divisiony to me.

Reds 2, Braves 1: Some shaky defense and tons and tons of stranded runners by the Braves wastes an excellent performance by Tommy Hanson. Both Reds runs were the result of Braves’ defensive miscues: if Jason Heyward didn’t try to make a diving catch on Brandon Phillips’ triple it would have at best been a double with no run scoring, and of course, Alex Gonzalez’ error gave the Reds their second run. I’d rather they just get beat 14-1. When that happens I just let the game fall out of my head. These coulda-shoulda-woulda games stick with me all damn afternoon.

Phillies 6, Nationals 4: Philly had to come from behind and then get two RBI singles in the 11th to avoid a sweep by the Nats. Charlie Manuel had no problem giving Brad Lidge the ball to close this one despite him giving up the walkoff homer on Saturday night. Ryan Howard sprained his ankle in the first inning and was hobbling around the clubhouse in crutches after the game. For as bad as the Braves have been playing lately, if Lidge keeps closing and key players keep getting hurt for Philly, you have to like Atlanta’s chances.

Angels 4, Rangers 1: Jered Weaver and Cliff Lee are probably the two best starters in the AL this year. The former outpitched the latter yesterday. The Angels are still way back, but taking two of three from Texas may be the start of something, right?

Padres 5, Marlins 4: Josh Johnson has his worst start of the year, giving up five earned runs. Indeed, it was the first time he had given up more than three since his first start back on April 5th.  Ryan Ludwick gets a pinch hit and comes around to score in his Padre debut.

Rockies 8, Cubs 7: The Rockies are a streaky bunch. They take their fourth in a row after that big losing skid coming out of the break. Dexter Fowler saved the game with this awesome catch in the ninth, but he probably bought himself some time on the DL too. Way to take one for the team, Dex. Bad day medically all around, as Cubs’ starter Carlos Silva left the game in the first with an irregular heartbeat.

Cardinals 9, Pirates 1: I know it’s statistically impossible, but it at least seems like every single time Adam Wainwright pitches his line looks like this: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 5K.

Twins 4, Mariners 0: Francisco Liriano struck out 11 and gave up only two hits. The M’s have lost seven in a row, three of which have been shutouts. Just terrible, terrible baseball. Who gets fired first: Wakamatsu or Manuel?

Astros 5, Brewers 2: See, all the Astros needed to do in order to go on a tear was trade away their best pitcher and best hitter. Seems obvious in hindsight. A pinch hit grand slam in the seventh by Jason Michaels was the big blast here.

Royals 5, Orioles 4: Bruce Chen was in a hell of a jam in the sixth — bases loaded, no one out — but reliever Kanekoa Texeira bailed him out. Texeira after the game: “I told Bruce today, ‘Big guy, I got your back. Bruce, don’t worry.” Amazing. No, not Texeira’s foresight, but rather that was the first time in his 33 years on Earth that anyone has ever called Bruce Chen “big guy.” By the way: anyone know what ever happened to Jung Bong?

White Sox 4, Athletics 1: A complete game with 11 strikeouts for Gio Gonzalez, but it was not enough on a day when Gavin Floyd had a perfect game into the sixth inning. Dude’s been on fire for basically two months and the Chisox simply don’t lose anymore.  Speaking of New Comiskey: I was chatting with my HBT Daily/Extra cohort Tiffany the other day, who just got back from a trip to Chicago. She contends that a day at Comiskey is way better than a day at Wrigley. I’ve not been there, but based on her and others’ descriptions — and based on my own experiences at Wrigley — I think I can see that. I bet that, rooting interests notwithstanding, serious Chicago baseball fans would make a strong case for the South Side simply because you don’t have all of that party atmosphere baloney going on down there. Thoughts?

Red Sox 4, Tigers 3: Nice vulture job by Papelbon, as he blows the save in the ninth yet was the pitcher of record when the Tigers threw the ball away to allow the winning run score on a bunt single in the bottom of the ninth. I wonder if some day Clay Buchholz will have 288 wins or something and some baseball writer will keep him off his Hall of Fame ballot because he “just didn’t know how to win.”

Indians 5, Blue Jays 4: If Cleveland could play Toronto 162 games a year they’d be, like, the best team ever. They’ve taken six of seven from the Jays, this one on the strength of a two-run homer from Asdrubal Cabrera.

Giants 2, Dodgers 0: Matt Cain threw shutout ball into the eighth, and both Giants runs came in on an Edgar Renteria triple in the sixth. I usually watch a good bit of the Sunday night game if not all of it, but I randomly picked up “Ball Four” last night and started thumbing through it. By the time I looked up I realized that the damn game was most of the way over. I certainly consider it time well spent, however.

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Comments

  1. MikeS said...

    @Mike E, in my role as official White Sox apologist….

    I went to college in that neighborhood 25 years ago and it was a lot worse then.  Many of the projects have been shut down, the area is in the process of a little bit of gentrification.  It’s still not North Michigan Avenue but it’s not as bad as it used to be. (Damning with faint praise).

    I think Craig may be talking about just the ball game and in the park, not the pre and post.  There certainly isn’t as much to do in the area but The Cell has plenty of parking and allows tailgating in the lots.  They have metal drums to dump coals in if you grill.  It’s easy access to the expressway afterwards to get home.  Wrigley has none of that.  The Cell is cleaner and in better physical shape than Wrigley which you would expect when comparing a 20 year old building to a 100 year old one.  The concourses are wider and brighter and there are more, better and more varied concessions.  No obstructed views.  I sat way back in the LF corner in the lower bowl at the 2005 ALCS and could see just about everything.  My seat pointed a little behind second base, but no support struts in the way.

    You are right, if you want a beer after the game there is more nightlife around Wrigley although those bars will be jammed and the prices will be nearly as high as in the ballpark.  If you have kids, or you’re an old fart like me who just wants to get home and go to sleep that stuff doesn’t really matter.

  2. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Yeah—I meant the game itself. I mean, Tiger Stadium was in the middle of pure awfulness, but it was great.

    Just as far as sitting in the ballpark, watching and enjoying the game, I’m guessing I’d enjoy myself a hell of a lot more than I have at Wrigley the few times I’ve been there.

  3. Eddo said...

    MikeS is right with just about every comment.  The outfield concourses, in particular, really elevate the Cell’s status.  There’s a reason they modeled the Yankee Stadium II outfield area after U.S. Cellular.

    I’ve been to Wrigley once this year, in the bleachers.  While it wasn’t as bad as MikeS describes it (a bar with $50 cover), it wasn’t a great place to watch a game, either.  And I generally prefer outfield seats wherever I go.

    The area around the Cell is much better now than when the place was built, too.  The Wrigleyville area isn’t exactly a safe area, either, mainly due to the high foot and car traffic and greater number of intoxicated people around.

  4. Jim G. said...

    And Comiskey doesn’t have the strong urine smell that Wrigley does. Although, that might be all the Budweiser.
    Mike S. is right. When they tore that row of high rise projects on the east side of 94, the area’s safety improved greatly.
    Mike, I assume you went to IIT?

  5. MikeS said...

    @Jim G.

    Got it in one.  BA Chem, 1989.  Drove through there twice last week after ball games.  A lot is still the same but there is quite a bit new as well.  That noise reducing tube they built around the el would have been oh so very welcome a couple decades ago!

  6. MikeS said...

    Biased Sox fan and I haven’t been to Wrigley much in the last 30 years, but yeah.  The Cell is a better baseball experience than Wrigley.  They have all kinds of stuff to keep little kids entertained which doesn’t do much for me but families like it. Most people are there to watch the ball game.  Some drunken fans like anywhere, but the bleachers aren’t a bar with a $50 cover.  Good (overpriced of course) food and beer.  Blue Moon, Stella Artois, Pillsner Urquel and a few varieties of Lienenkugel’s on tap.

  7. Mike E said...

    Um, I’m from Cleveland, but I know enough to know that the Cell isn’t exactly in the best part of the city, so I don’t really get the “better baseball experience.”

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