Daily Dose: Pedro wins Phillies debut

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Pedro Martinez was victorious in his Phillies debut Wednesday against the Cubs, allowing three runs in five innings. Martinez struck out five and walked one while giving up seven hits and showed pretty decent velocity while regularly getting his fastball into the low-90s. He certainly wasn’t great, but it was a solid outing given that he hadn’t faced big-league hitters in 10 months.
At this point in his career Martinez’s upside is limited, but his amazing changeup is still dangerous even when combined with a high-80s or low-90s heater and his ability to miss bats remains relatively intact. He seems unlikely to be much of an asset in mixed leagues, but if career win No. 215 is any indication he’ll have nice value in NL-only leagues down the stretch.
While the Phillies’ decision to dump Jamie Moyer for Martinez pays dividends for one night at least, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Erik Bedard’s season and perhaps Mariners career came to an end Wednesday with news that he’ll undergo exploratory surgery on his ailing left shoulder. As an impending free agent Bedard’s future depends entirely on what Dr. Lewis Yocum discovers during the procedure and there’s little chance of Seattle re-signing him either way. They got a total of 11 wins for all those players and all that money.
* Tuesday night’s bean-balling, benches-clearing drama in Boston earned Kevin Youkilis and Rick Porcello matching five-game suspensions and neither player is appealing, so the clocks started ticking immediately. Youkilis will miss 10 percent of the Red Sox’s remaining schedule, while Porcello will just make his next start one day later. At least Mike Lowell homered again in Youkilis’ place Wednesday.
* Ubaldo Jimenez shut out the Pirates for eight innings Wednesday to pick up his 10th win and has another favorable matchup versus the Nationals next week. He went 1-3 with a 7.58 ERA in April, but Jimenez has a 2.91 ERA and 121/46 K/BB ratio in 139.1 innings since. Now that his control is merely bad rather than awful, the man with the hardest fastball of any MLB starter is capable of really thriving.
* John Smoltz refused an assignment to the minors Wednesday and told the Red Sox that he’s not interested in pitching out of their bullpen, so he’ll either be dealt or released shortly. Whether he’s willing to be a reliever for a different team isn’t clear, but Smoltz has given no indication that he plans to retire and there’s plenty of speculation about who might still be interested in giving him one last chance.
AL Quick Hits: Mariano Rivera was unavailable Wednesday because of shoulder soreness … Tommy Hunter tossed seven shutout innings Wednesday, slicing his ERA to 2.29 … Josh Beckett got his MLB-leading 14th win with seven innings of two-run ball Wednesday … Mike Scioscia said Wednesday that Kelvim Escobar (shoulder) is unlikely to pitch again this season … Joe Crede (shoulder) rejoined the lineup by going 3-for-3 with a three-run homer Wednesday … Oakland asked Justin Duchscherer (elbow) to make one more rehab start … Trevor Bell debuted by allowing four runs on nine hits in 5.1 innings Wednesday … Francisco Liriano had his best start of the season Wednesday, allowing just an early solo homer in seven innings … Armando Galarraga was scratched from Wednesday’s start with a sore throat and fever … Derek Jeter left Wednesday’s game after being hit on the foot, but X-rays were negative.
NL Quick Hits: Out since July 23 with a calf strain, Lance Berkman rejoined the lineup with two doubles and two walks Wednesday … Ricky Nolasco was rocked for 10 runs in 3.1 innings Wednesday … As expected, Jordan Zimmermann will undergo Tommy John elbow surgery next week … Jhoulys Chacin was demoted to Triple-A after struggling in his first career start Tuesday … Tim Lincecum gave up two runs in 8.2 innings Wednesday, but got stuck with a no-decision … Adam LaRoche homered twice and drew a bases-loaded walk Wednesday … Russell Martin made his season debut at third base Wednesday … Hunter Pence went deep twice and knocked in a career-high six runs Wednesday … Homer Bailey left Wednesday’s game after being hit on the foot by Albert Pujols’ line drive, but X-rays were negative … Ted Lilly (knee, shoulder) tossed five shutout innings in a rehab start Wednesday at Single-A.

Veteran’s Committee candidates for the Hall of Fame announced

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The Baseball Hall of Fame has announced the candidates for Veterans Committee consideration for the 2016 Hall induction class. The VC sorts its ballot by era, with each year’s candidates representing a different part of baseball history. Up for consideration: Pre-Integration Era candidates.

Here are the candidates, with short bios paraphrased from the Hall of Fame’s actual press release because, really, who alive who is not a baseball historian is super-familiar with many of these guys?

Doc Adams: a member of the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club in 1845 who helped standardize the game’s tools and contributed to the establishment of the shortstop position. May actually be the inventor of “grit.” I mean, I don’t know this for sure, but he is a white shortstop, so . . .

Sam Breadon: Owned the Cardinals from 1920 until 1947. Hired Branch Rickey and helped create the blueprint for the modern farm system with minor league clubs owned or controlled by the parent club. Which, to be fair, wasn’t necessarily the best deal for a lot of folks, even if it was a good deal for baseball owners.

Bill Dahlen: Shortstop from 1891-1911 for the Cubs, Dodgers, Giants and Braves. He was a power hitter for his era. Not that his era was known for power. When he retired he was the All-Time Home Run King. With . . . 84.

Wes Ferrell: Pitched for 15 seasons from 1927-1941, compiling a 193-128 record for a lot of teams, though doing his best work for Boston. A six-time 20-game winner, including winning 25 games twice. As far as wins/ERA politics go, he was Jack Morris before Jack Morris and was probably a good bit better than Jack Morris.

Garry Herrmann: President of the Cincinnati Reds from 1902 to 1927 and chairman of baseball’s ruling National Commission from 1903 to 1920. Gets credit for helping bring the AL and NL together and starting the World Series. Demerits for running a conflict-of-interest-riddled National Commission which was disbanded in favor of the Commissioner system following the Black Sox Scandal, maybe?

Marty Marion: Thirteen seasons in the majors, 1940-50, 1952-53, batting .263 with 36 home runs and 624 RBI at shortstop. Mostly with the Cardinals. Was named the 1944 N.L. MVP Award winner, twice also finishing in the top 10. Considered one of the best fielding shortstops of his era. His prime almost perfectly coincided with the war years, which may have taken the shine off of some of his offensive numbers during that stretch, but he was considered a top shortstop, at least with the glove, for a long time after the war too.

Frank McCormick: Eight-time All-Star and the 1940 National League Most Valuable Player with the Reds. A first baseman, his comps are Sean Casey-types.

Harry Stovey: An outfielder in the National League and the American Association in the 1880s and 1890s, leading his league in home runs five times and runs scored four times. His pic at the Hall of Fame site is of a wood engraving. Baseball is old, you guys.

Chris von der Ahe: Owned the original St. Louis Browns franchise – now the Cardinals – from 1881 through 1899 “and demonstrated his visionary qualities with entertainment options at games.” No word on whether he invented The Cardinal Way.

Bucky Walters: Pitched 19 seasons in the major leagues, from 1934-1950, compiling a 198-160 lifetime record. Mostly with the Reds. Won 27 games once. Was the MVP as a pitcher in 1939, which is pretty sweet.

As the Hall notes, Dahlen, Ferrell, Marion, McCormick, Stovey and Walters are included for their contributions as players, the other four are inclusions for their off-field careers.

The Pre-Integration Era ballot is determined this fall by the Historical Overview Committee of the Hall of Fame, which is comprised of several historians and journalists. They are: Dave Van Dyck (Chicago Tribune); Bob Elliott (Toronto Sun); Jim Henneman (formerlyBaltimore Sun); Rick Hummel (St. Louis Post-Dispatch); Steve Hirdt (Elias Sports Bureau); Bill Madden (formerly New York Daily News); Jack O’Connell (BBWAA secretary/treasurer); Jim Reeves (formerly Fort Worth Star-Telegram); Tracy Ringolsby (MLB.com); Glenn Schwarz (formerly San Francisco Chronicle); and Mark Whicker (Los Angeles News Group).

The results of the voting will be announced at the Winter Meetings in early December.

Starts times of postseason games announced


Every year the playoff schedule is announced, every year people complain. And it’s understandable why they do. After six months of games starting at around 7pm — bam! — the playoffs come and you’re either staying up late or tuning in early to watch your local nine.

Of course, the reason for this is that Major League Baseball has two fundamental problems to deal with when the playoffs come around (a) the country is big; and (b) baseball is local and two-thirds and more of the fans don’t have a local team to root for in the playoffs. As such, baseball has to make a schedule that somehow deals with teams — like the Mets and Dodgers — who have big time differences between their home fan bases while trying to rope in as many national viewers as possible.

This means compromises and weirdness like, say, the first couple of Mets-Dodgers games starting after 9pm Eastern time on Friday and Saturday. Or the Texas Rangers starting a game at what, back home in Texas, will be 11:45AM. Which, admittedly, aren’t great start times, but do we expect Dodgers fans in L.A. to fight Friday rush hour traffic and be home in time to watch a game featuring the local team any earlier than 6pm? Seems like a tall order.

Anyway, the early round schedule was just released and you can see it below. If you are so inclined you can find all manner of inconveniences here. Sure, if you don’t have a job — or if being online and watching baseball all day is your job — Friday’s back-to-back-to-back-to-back playoff games are pretty sweet. But otherwise, just plan accordingly and do the best you can.

And remember: no one gives a rip about these schedule issues about ten minutes after the games start:

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