And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

Leave a comment

Pujols.jpgCardinals 12, Mets 7: Albert’s little slump appears to be over. Big shot in the 8th to bring the Cards closer, much bigger shot in the 10th — grand slam — to put the game out of reach. “I’m human. I’m not a machine,” said Pujols after the game. Sorry dude, I ain’t buyin’ it. Great moments in Mets history: Luis Castillo sprained his ankle after slipping on the dugout steps in the seventh inning. Apparently he was trying to avoid stepping on someone’s glove or something. I’m guessing it was Francoeur’s, mostly because I don’t like him and I want to believe it was his. Also because I don’t like Francoeur, I’ll note that he went 0-5, seeing a grand total of 12 pitches in those at bats.

Dodgers 17, Brewers 4: In a scene out of late-80s WCW, after the game, Prince Fielder ran through the underground tunnels to go put a hurt on Guillermo Mota in retaliation for a ninth-inning plunking. Fortunately for Mota’s health and Fielder’s wallet, he was stopped at the Dodgers’ clubhouse door (though I’m guessing he’s gonna get a fine anyway). No word on whether he had a folding chair with him. Kind of a bush league move on Fielder’s part, though, wasn’t it? I mean, everyone knows that if you’re going to go after a guy, you don’t do it in the clubhouse. You ambush him while he’s doing a standup interview with Tony Schiavone.

Braves 9, Padres 2: Martin Prado homered and drove in three runs and Matt Diaz hit a two-run homer as the Braves broke out the whuppin’ sticks in support of Javier Vazquez. Neither of these guys were the starters at their respective positions for most of the season. Prado certainly has been a marked improvement over Kelly Johnson and Diaz too, over Francoeur. Diaz did, however, perform a tribute to the departed Jeffy last night as, in addition to the homer, he hit into three double plays and struck out. Adam LaRoche was 4 for 4 and Garret Anderson was 3-5, adding to the hit parade. Adrian Gonzalez’s consecutive games streak was ended at 314.

Athletics 6, Rangers 0: Someone should detain the guy who started for the A’s last night and ask him what he has done with the real Gio Gonzalez. Whoever this impostor was, he lowered Gonzalez’s ERA a full run with this 6.2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER performance. The pod people apparently got to Mark Ellis too, as he drove in three.

Orioles 8, Tigers 2: Welcome to the majors, Brian Matusz! The 2008 draftee gave up a run and six hits in five innings, walking three and striking out five. He had some nifty defensive help from Cesar Izturis too, as he dove to pluck a bases loaded grounder in the second to bail the kid out of a jam. Hit a homer too. Jarrod Washburn’s debut — for the Tigers, not in the majors, because he’s been there for a while — was not as nice (5.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER).

Giants 8, Astros 1: Jonathan Sanchez struck out eight in seven shutout innings, winning his first road game of the season. Freddy Sanchez and Pablo Sandoval hit back-to-back homers in the sixth and Aaron Rowand drove in three runs in an unusually potent Giants offensive attack.

Cubs 6, Reds 3: Pirates’ import Tom Gorzellany shuts down a Reds team that is on the fast track to oblivion. No one — and I mean no one — is playing as pathetically as this Reds team is right now.

Diamondbacks 6, Pirates 0: Yusmeiro Petit threw eight shutout innings and took a no-hitter into the eighth, when it was broken up by Ronny “Buzzkill” Cedeno.




White Sox 5, Angels 4: Scott Podsednik hit a two-out RBI single
in the bottom of the ninth as the Sox — fresh off of takin’ it to the
Yankees over the weekend, beat the red-hot Angels. Not that killing giants like that bodes well or anything.
Oh, and Bobby Jenks was unavailable for the game because he had to be
treated for a kidney stone, which is the kind of thing I wouldn’t wish
on my worst enemy.

Mariners 7, Royals 6: Ichiro started the game with a homer and
ended it with a pretty spiffy sliding catch in right. In between he
walked and got another hit, scoring each time. He’s pretty good, ya
know?

Rays 4, Red Sox 2: Walkoff bomb from Evan Longoria. An all or
nothing kind of night for him, as he hit another homer earlier, and
struck out in his four other times at the plate. Game story: “It was
the Rays’ longest game of the season and tied for the Red Sox’s longest
game in innings.” Which means that the Red Sox played a game longer
than 4:57 in less than 13 innings at some point this season. AL East
baseball: it’s fantastic!

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 3: The Sox loss and the Yankees’ win gives
the bombers some breathing room. A day after I say that you don’t see
many complete game losses anymore, Roy Halladay pitched a complete
game, but lost, giving up five runs on ten hits.

Rockies 8, Phillies 3: Thirty-two of the Rockies’ 59 wins have
come on the road this season. They didn’t used to do that sort of
thing. Game story: “Moyer extended his 10-start pattern of alternating
good starts and bad ones, with a subpar effort.” Maybe Manuel should
skip every other Moyer start. Or does it not work that way?

Nationals 6, Marlins 4: The Nats rallied for six in the eighth
inning, capped off with an Adam Dunn homer, to beat the fish. Dunn
pulled a Longoria in this one, striking out three times before
connecting. Wait, Dunn’s been doing that for years, so I guess Longoria
pulled a Dunn.

Twins 10, Indians 1: “Doubles are nice,” Minnesota manager Ron
Gardenhire said after the game. The Twins hit seven on them — three
from Joe Mauer — as the pound the Tribe. Scott Baker was on (7 IP, 3
H, 0 ER). David Huff was not (4.2 IP, 11 H, 7 ER). Makes me wish that I
hadn’t already burned my “minute and a Huff” joke a couple of weeks
ago.

Breaking Down the Today’s Game Hall of Fame Ballot: Lou Piniella

TORONTO - JULY 9:  Manager Lou Pinella of the Cincinnati Reds looks on during batting practice prior to the1991 All-Star Game at the Toronto Sky Dome on July 9, 1991 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

On Monday, December 5, the Today’s Game committee of the Baseball Hall of Fame — the replacement for the Veterans Committee which covers the years 1988-2016 — will vote on candidates for the 2017 induction class. This week we are looking at the ten candidates, one-by-one, to assess their Hall worthiness. Next up: Lou Piniella

The case for his induction:

He notched 1,835 wins, made seven postseason appearances, a won a World Series as a manager. That win total is good for 14th all time. Of the 13 men ahead of him, 12 are already in the Hall. The only who isn’t is Gene Mauch, who was under .500 for his career. Connie Mack and Bucky Harris are in that crowd and they were under .500 too, but Mack is kind of a special case as the all-time wins leader and Harris, well, I dunno, he hung around forever and the Veterans Committee was a different beast back in the 1970s. Point is, if you have Piniella’s win total and you’re over .500, as Piniella is, you’re probably getting in, at least eventually.

A lot of those wins came in some good places and at some good times, adding some psychological weight to that record. Taking the 1990 Reds to the World Series and beating the heavily favored A’s was a great story and, as the Reds’ last title for 26 years and counting, stands as a more memorable accomplishment than doing it someplace else. Likewise, his next job, in Seattle, coincided with the franchise’s best seasons thanks to the emergence of Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson and Edgar Martinez under Piniella’s command. Mariners’ history fundamentally changed during the Piniella era and he will always be associated with that. Oh, and his 2001 team set the single season record for wins with 116. He made two playoff appearances with the Cubs too. That’s been eclipsed by the 2016 team’s exploits, but it was a pretty big deal at the time.

It’s also worth noting that Piniella likewise had a very fine playing career, with 18 seasons of 109 OPS+ hitting, a Rookie of the Year Award and a couple of World Series rings on his resume. That’s not enough by itself to get him in the Hall, but he presents a nice total package as a Baseball Man Supreme who has been thought highly of for close to 50 years now.

Oh, one other thing: he was colorful. He had a temper and a repuatation as kind of a red ass, with a good number of on-the-field incidents which stick in people’s minds. That sort of thing doesn’t necessarily make someone a good manager or a good person, but Piniella has been seen as a guy who mellowed with age and, at various times in his career, showed that he had a sense of humor about all of that stuff which makes it play a heck of a lot better. For Hall of Fame purposes, it certainly plays a heck of a lot more memorably.

The case against his induction:

His years in Tampa Bay weren’t all that great and, by the time his days in Chicago were over there was a sense that he was sort of running on fumes and padding that win total to get him into that top 14. In both places Joe Maddon eventually came along and did better things and, in some cases, undoing some bad things Piniella did. Some believe he should’ve won another pennant or two and, yes, some of those Mariners teams disappointed in the postseason. Some people look less amusingly on his temper tantrums over the years and, I suppose, one could characterize them a bit more sinisterly than I did above without being too dramatic.

Would I vote for him?

I think so. As I mentioned in the George Steinbrenner entry, when it comes to managers and executives, I put a lot of weight on whether one could tell the story of baseball in a guy’s era without mentioning his name. Piniella is no Joe Torre, Bobby Cox of Tony La Russa in that regard, but he’s pretty close to that group in terms of the figure he cut in the game and, as I mentioned, he’s critical to the story of a couple of franchises. Certainly the Mariners but also the 1970s Yankees as a player and, possibly, the 1990 Reds. I tend to be a softer Hall of Fame touch than a lot of people, so I get that people may disagree, but I’d put him in.

Will the Committee vote for him?

Hard to say. On the one hand, Piniella feels like the sort of baseball man that gets rewarded by the Veterans Committee. On the other hand, the Veterans Committee took ages to vote in some other notable managers such as Whitey Herzog, suggesting that maybe Piniella will have to wait. This is the first year for the new composition of the Veterans Committe, however, so it’s hard to say if they’ll be tougher or easier graders. He may be the hardest call of all of the guys on this year’s ballot.

Twins hire James Rowson as their hitting coach

BOSTON, MA - June 4: The Minnesota Twins logo is seen during the fifth inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 4, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Minnesota Twins have announced that they have hired James Rowson as their hitting coach.

Rowson was the minor league hitting coordinator for the New York Yankees for seven of the last nine seasons, interrupted by a short stint with the Chicago Cubs as minor league hitting coordinator. He also worked at the minor league levels with the Los Angeles Angels. He played in the minors for the Seattle Mariners and Yankees.

Rowson replacesTom Brunansky, who was hitting coach for the past four seasons.