What we're watching: Big starts for Penny, Price

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– After playing a dramatic 13-inning game Tuesday, the Red Sox and Rays will be looking for long outings from their starters tonight. Unfortunately for them, Brad Penny and David Price aren’t very good bets to turn them in. Penny has averaged 5.5 innings per start while going 7-5 with a 5.07 ERA. He’s yet to go seven full innings this year. Price did pitch seven innings last time out, doing so for the second time this year. However, that was against the Royals. He’s averaged 5.0 innings on is way to a 4-4 record and a 5.10 ERA.

– It probably wouldn’t have made the list under normal circumstances, but tonight’s Brewers-Dodgers game could feature fireworks if there’s still some fight left in Prince Fielder after he tried to charge the Dodger clubhouse following Tuesday’s game. Perhaps Fielder will simply let his bat do the talking against the Dodgers’ Jason Schmidt, who has been throwing 85-88 mph since returning last month. Dodger bats should make some noise as well. Braden Looper has allowed 11 runs over 11 innings in his last two starts, and he gave up four homers when he faced Los Angeles back on July 10.

Game of the Night

Colorado vs. Philadelphia – Two of the game’s hottest left-handers will face off as the Phillies try to break a three-game losing streak. They’ll turn to J.A. Happ, who has lost two in a row since his 7-0 start. Run support has played a big role there, though, as the Phillies scored a total of one run in the two losses. Happ had a 2.93 ERA and a 1.05 ERA during July. Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa was 5-0 with a 2.50 ERA last month. He’s won seven starts in a row and lowered his ERA from 5.81 to 4.68 in the process.

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.