History Lesson: getting tough with bugs

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If you watched last night’s Yankees-Indians game you noticed that Joba
Chamberlain was bothered far more by the insects than he was by any of
the Indians’ hitters. And, if you didn’t have the good sense to mute
the broadcast, you heard Steve Phillips and Co. go on and on and on
about the famous “midge” game from the 2007 Division Series. I watched
enough of the game to get the gist, but whenever the announcers kept
going back to that and their two or three other tired topics that
didn’t have much to do with the game, I flipped over to something far more worth my time.

Anyway, the game’s events have tHeMARksMiTh looking back fondly at a time when grounds crews knew how to deal with bugs:

The night was June 2, 1959, and the Baltimore Orioles called upon
the Chicago White Sox. Before the game started, gnats swarmed around
pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm. The grounds crew came out and started batting at
them with a towel, but it didn’t work. Then, they went to find bug
spray, but that wasn’t the answer, either (sound familiar?). Finally,
they get a bright idea. Smoke bombs! Attaching them to the fireworks
display, the grounds crew set them off. Smoke covered the field, and
the game was delayed a half an hour. However, the smoke cleared and the
gnats were gone.

I suppose if they did that today there would be lawsuits and OSHA
complaints and everything. But this is baseball we’re talking about
here, and baseball is important.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.

Dodgers can clinch NL West on Friday

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The Dodgers staved off a four-game series sweep at the hands of the Phillies, winning 5-4 on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The win reduced their magic number in the NL West to one, meaning that a win against the Giants at home or a Diamondbacks loss to the Marlins on Friday will result in clinching the division.

Of course, the Dodgers winning and the Diamondbacks losing hasn’t exactly been a sure thing lately. The D-Backs rattled off a 13-game winning streak from August 24 through September 6. The Dodgers lost 11 games in a row from September 2-11 and were on a four-game slide before Thursday’s win.

The Dodgers will send Rich Hill to the mound to start opposite Jeff Samardzija. The Diamondbacks have Zack Greinke opposing Adam Conley.