Previewing Sunday Night Baseball: Yankees at Mets

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With the Yankees and Mets less than an hour from first pitch, here’s a few things to consider:

On the bump:

Livan Hernandez (5-2, 4.05) hopes to salvage one for the Mets.
Hernandez allowed three runs — two earned — over seven innings in a
loss to the Cardinals in his last start. It was his first loss since
April 23. Hernandez has become a real workhorse for the Mets, logging
86 2/3 innings this season — second on the team. He has never beaten
the Yankees in six career starts. He took a no-decision against them on
June 12, allowing six runs over 5 1/3 innings.

Chien-Ming Wang (0-6, 11.20) is still in search of his first
victory. He threw his best start of the season last time out, holding
the Braves to three runs over five innings, striking out four while
walking just one. Considering his rough start, Wang was very effective,
throwing 42 of 62 pitches for strikes. Wang is 0-3 with a 7.27 ERA in
four starts since returning from the bullpen. Wang is 1-1 with a 4.96
ERA in two career starts against the Mets.

Back in the lineup:

– Derek Jeter, who missed the two previous games due to a severe
headache, fever and cough, is back in the lineup and will leadoff on
Sunday. Jeter is enjoying an excellent season, batting .308/.377/.451
with nine homers, 30 RBI, 47 runs scored and 17 stolen bases. He is the
all-time leader with a .385 career batting average against the Mets.

The Replace-METS:

– The injury-riddled Mets are just 9-for-87 (.103) with one home run over their last three games.

Yanks take season series:

– The Yankees are 4-1 against the Mets
this season. This is the first time they have won the season series
against the Mets since 2003.

Fantasy angle:

– Alex Rodriguez is 11-for-19 with three homers and 10 RBI against Hernandez in his career.

– David Wright is ninth in the majors with a .370 batting average this month.

It’s the tenth anniversary of the biggest rout in baseball history

Associated Press
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Ten years ago today the Rangers and the Orioles squared off at Camden Yards. The Orioles built a 3-0 lead after three innings and then all hell broke loose.

The Rangers scored thirty (30!) unanswered runs via a five-spot in the fourth, a nine-spot in the sixth, a ten-spot in the eighth and a six-spot in the ninth. That was . . . a lot of spots.

Two Rangers players — Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vazquez — hit two homers and drove in seven runs a piece. The best part: they were the eighth and ninth hitters in the lineup. There was plenty of offense to go around, however as David Murphy went 5-for-7 and scored five times. Travis Metcalf hit a pinch-hit grand slam. Marlon Byrd drove in four. It was a bloodbath, with Texas rattling out 29 hits and walking eight times.

On the Orioles side of things, Daniel Cabrera took the loss, giving up six runs on nine hits in five innings. That’s not a terribly unusual line for a bad day at the office for a pitcher — someone will probably get beat up like that in the next week or so — but the Orioles’ relievers really added to the party. Brian Burres was the first victim, allowing eight runs on eight hits in only two-thirds of an inning. Rob Bell gave up seven in an inning and a third. Paul Shuey wore the rest of it, allowing nine runs on seven hits over the final two.

The best part of the insanely busy box score, however, was not from any of the Orioles pitchers or any of the Rangers hitters. Nope, it was from a Rangers relief pitcher named Wes Littleton. You probably don’t remember him, as he only pitched in 80 games and never appeared in the big leagues after 2008. But on this day — the day of the biggest blowout in baseball history — Wes Littleton notched a save. From Baseball-Reference.com:

Three innings and 43 pitches is a lot of work for a reliever and, per the rules, it’s a save, regardless of the margin when he entered the game. Still, this was not exactly a game that was ever in jeopardy.

When it went down, way back on August 22, 2007, it inspired me to write a post at my old, defunct independent baseball blog, Shysterball, arguing about how to change the save rule. Read it if you want, but know that (1) no one has ever paid attention to such proposals in baseball, even if such proposals are frequently offered; and (2) the hypothetical examples I use to illustrate the point involve an effective Joba Chamberlain and Joe Torre’s said use of him, which tells you just how long ago this really was.

Oh, one final bit: this massacre — the kind of game that the Orioles likely wanted to leave, go back home and go to sleep afterward — was only the first game of a doubleheader. Yep, they had to strap it on and play again, with the game starting at 9PM Eastern time. Baltimore lost that one too, 9-7, concluding what must have been one of the longest days any of the players involved had ever had at the office, both figuratively and literally.

Hall of Fame baseball announcer Rafael ‘Felo’ Ramirez dies

Associated Press
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MIAMI (AP) Rafael “Felo” Ramirez, a Hall of Fame baseball radio broadcaster who was the signature voice for millions of Spanish-speaking sports fans over three decades, has died. He was 94.

The Miami Marlins announced Ramirez’ death Tuesday.

Ramirez, who died Monday night, began his broadcasting career in Cuba in 1945 before calling 31 All-Star games and World Series in Spanish. He was the Marlins Spanish-language announcer since their inaugural season in 1993 and was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2001.

He was known for an expressive, yet low-key style and his signature strike call of “Essstrike.”

Several Spanish-language broadcasters, including Amury Pi-Gonzanez of the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants, have admitted to emulating his style.