And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Halladay pitching.jpgPhillies 2, Braves 0: Roy Halladay can pitch a little. The Braves threatened exactly once, in the seventh inning when they loaded the bases on hits from Chipper Jones and Brian McCann and a walk from Jason Heyward. This was the baseball equivalent of the cat letting the mouse run a few feet just so it could see the mouse run. Halladay apparently grew bored with this little exercise, however, got the double play — courtesy of some slick defense from Chase Utley — and the threat was over.  Otherwise? Pure domination (CG, SHO 7K).  For me it was like the Jiminez no-hitter the other night. Sucks that it was my team, but something to behold all the same.

Yankees 3, Athletics 1: Phil Hughes takes a no-hitter into the eighth inning but loses it on a combacker from Eric Chavez that bounched off Hughes’ left flank and eluded him long enough to allow Chavez to reach first. Nice effort all the same. The run with which he was charged was an inherited runner which Joba Chamberlain allowed to score. I’m guessing right now is probably not the best time for me to begin my “Girardi got it wrong when he picked Phil over Joba” campaign, huh?

Red Sox 8, Rangers 7: Second walkoff win in a row for the Sox, this time in the twelfth inning as Ron Washington has Dustin Nippert intentionally walk Dustin Pedroia to get to Kevin Youkilis, who then hits the game-winning double.  Walking someone to get to Youk with runners in scoring position in a tie game? Are we sure Washington is passing all those drug tests he’s supposed to be taking?

Padres 5, Giants 2: The Padres will not be stopped, as they win their sixth in a row. Jon Garland gave up one run in seven innings against a Giants’ offense that suddenly looks a lot like 2009’s version. Oh, and here’s something you don’t see every day: 18 minute rain delay in San Diego. I called my brother who lives out there to ask him what the heck was happening. He said he couldn’t talk because he was too busy gathering survival supplies and making sure his life insurance was paid up. They just don’t do rain in San Diego.

Royals 4, Blue Jays 3: There’s nothin’ wrong with Zack Greinke, it would seem, as he threw seven strong innings. His bullpen betrayed him once again, however, so he was gypped out of his first win of the year. Alex Gordon made up with an ugly day both offensively and defensively by hitting the game-winning homer in the 10th. Jose Guillen continues his torrid start, going 2-4 with a homer.

Nationals 6, Rockies 4: A victory, but Ryan Zimmerman left the game after appearing to hurt his hamstring, so we’ll put it in the “Pyrrhic” column. On the bright side, Jason Marquis was sent to the DL after the game, so that bad man can’t hurt you any more, Nats fans.

Brewers 8, Pirates 0: I’ll hand it to the Pirates: when they lose, they don’t mess around. They go out there and lose with gusto. So far this year they’ve lost games by scores of 10-2, 9-1, 15-6, 9-3, 6-0, 8-1, and 8-0. It’s almost a courtesy when you think about it. It’s as if they’re telling the good people of western Pennsylvania “Hey, it’s cool. You can turn the game off now and go make sandwiches with fries in them or whatever it is you do all day. There’s no chance we’ll make it close.”

Astros 5, Marlins 4: How it is you take two of three from Philly and then look bad against Houston two nights in a row is a mystery to me. It’s like the Marlins are an NBA team or something. Lance Berkman was caught stealing third at one point in this game. What possible reason would Lance Berkman have for stealing third base?

Twins 6, Indians 0: An eerie start for the Erie warriors as they drop a heartbreaker to the Twins, six to nothing.  Francisco Liriano allows zero runs for the second straight time. Michael Cuddyer had a two-run triple and a homer. David Huff walked six guys. He tried for the corner and missed a lot. Not sure how those guys could lay off pitches that close.

Cubs 9, Mets 3: Alfonso Soriano (3-4, 3B, HR, 3 RBI) shows everyone that he belongs in the lineup and Carlos Silva (6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER)  shows everyone that he belongs in the rotation. After the game, however, Lou Piniella reassigned Silva to pitch batting practice and reassigned Soriano to a job as a Dippin’ Dots vendor. Lou said they were each cool with it. After this game Ike Davis’ line stands at .273/.273/.273, which is kind of cool unless you’re interested in Ike Davis producing and stuff.

Dodgers 14, Reds 6: The Aaron Harang contract drive continues (5.2 IP, 10 H, 6 ER).

Rays 12, White Sox 0: Mark Buehrle fell just nine hits, six runs and a walk short of his second straight perfect game against the Rays.

Cardinals 9, Diamondbacks 4: Tied into the ninth and then the absolute worst bullpen in the game allows St. Louis to score five. This after Arizona had come back from being down 3-0 in the 1st. Two homers for Colby Rasmus, the second of which provided the winning margin. A three-run job from Skip Shumaker in the final frame was nice insurance.  This one was sprinkled with extra fun too, as the benches cleared when Chris Carpenter, running the bases after getting hit by an Edwin Jackson pitch, tried to take out Kelly Johnson on a double play.  The dude would be pitching the next half inning so you’d think he’d just wait to hit someone himself, but I guess Carpenter is a team-first guy and would rather not get ejected in his efforts to maim the opposition.

Mariners 4, Orioles 1:  I have Monday morning in the when-is-Dave-Trembley-getting-fired pool. It’s an off day right after a road trip. Saves the team an extra plane ticket getting Trembley back home and everything. Just really good timing, ya know?

Tigers 4, Angels 3: The first batter Brian Fuentes faces after coming back from the DL — Miguel Cabrera — homers off him in the 9th inning, tying up the game. A couple batters later Ramon Santiago singles in Gerald Laird for what would be the game winner.  Mike Scioscia should be commended for his loyalty to the Fue
ntes, but it ain’t like the
team had any trouble closing games out while he was out.

Twins pitcher barfs before almost every appearance

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 18:  Ryan O'Rourke #61 of the Minnesota Twins reacts after loading up the bases in the seventh inning against the New York Yankees on August 18, 2015 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Twins righty Ryan O'Rourke has pitched in 54 big league games. He has barfed before almost every one of them.

No, really:

Through his first 54 big-league outings over the last past two years, O’Rourke estimates he emptied the contents of his stomach close to every time.

“I don’t do it in the public’s eye,” O’Rourke said Tuesday. “I go in the bathroom, or sometimes it’s just on the back of the mound. But, yeah, it happens.”

I wonder if I’ve barfed 54 times in my entire life. I doubt I have. Then again, I’m not doing anything in front of tens of thousands of people with potentially millions of dollars at stake.

Yet he who is without sin hurl the first, um. Well, never mind.

The new intentional walk rule isn’t a big deal but it’s still dumb

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 06:  Anthony Recker #20 of the New York Mets calls for an intentional walk as Paul Goldschmidt #44 of the Arizona Diamondbacks looks on during the eighth inning at Chase Field on June 6, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
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Let us preface this by stipulating that the new rule in which pitchers will no longer have to throw four balls to issue an intentional walk is not a big deal, objectively speaking. Teams don’t issue many IBBs to begin with. A couple a week, maybe? Fewer? Moreover, the times when a pitcher tosses one to the backstop or a batter reaches out and smacks a would-be intentional ball may be a lot of fun, but they’re extraordinarily rare. You can go years without seeing it happen.

So, yes, the intentional walk rule announced yesterday is of negligible consequence. We’ll get used to it quickly and it will have little if any impact on actual baseball. It won’t do what it’s supposed to do — speeding up games — but it won’t harm anything that is important either.

But let us also stipulate that the new rule is dumb.

It’s dumb because it’s a solution in search of a problem. Pace of play is a concern, but to listen to Rob Manfred and his surrogates in the media tell it, it’s The Most Pressing Issue of Our Time. Actually, it’s not. No one is abandoning baseball because of 5-15 minutes here or there and no one who may be interested in it is ceasing their exploration of the game because of it. And even if they were, IBBs are rare and they’re not time-consuming to begin with, so it’s not something that will make a big difference. It’s change for change’s sake and so Rob Manfred can get some good press for looking like a Man of Action.

It’s also dumb because it’s taking something away, however small it is. One of my NBC coworkers explained it well this morning:

I agree. Shamelessness is a pretty big problem these days, so let’s not eliminate shame when it is truly due.

Picture it: it’s a steamy Tuesday evening in late July. The teams are both way below .500 and are probably selling off half of their lineup next week. There are, charitably, 8,000 people in the stands. The game is already dragging because of ineptitude and an understandable lack of urgency on the part of players who did not imagine nights like this when they were working their way to the bigs.

Just then, one of the managers — an inexperienced young man who refuses to deviate from baseball orthodoxy because, gosh, he might get a hard question from a sleepy middle aged reporter after the game — holds up four fingers for the IBB. The night may be dreary, but dammit, he’s going to La Russa the living hell out of this game.

That man should be booed. Boo this man. The drunks and college kids who paid, like, $11 to a season ticket holder on StubHub to get into this godforsaken game have earned the right to take their frustrations out on Hunter McRetiredBackupCatcher for being a wuss and calling for the IBB. It may be the only good thing that happens to them that night, and now Rob Manfred would take that away from them. FOR SHAME.

And don’t forget about us saps at home, watching this garbage fire of a game because it beats reading. We’re now going to have to listen to this exchange, as we have listened to it EVERY SINGLE NIGHT since the 2017 season began:

Play-by-Play Guy: “Ah, here we go. They’re calling for the intentional walk. Now, in case you missed it, this is the way we’re doing it now. The new rule is that the manager — yep, right there, he’s doing it — can hold up four fingers to the home plate umpire and — there it goes — he points to first base and the batter takes his base.”

Color Commentator, Who played from 1975-87, often wearing a mustache: “Don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. There was always a chance the pitcher throws a wild pitch. It happened to us against the Mariners in 1979 [Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice: it didn’t] and it has taken away something special from the game. I suppose some number-cruncher with a spreadsheet decided that this will help speed up the game, but you know what that’s worth.

No matter what good or bad the rule brings, this exchange, which will occur from April through September, will be absolutely brutal. Then, in October, we get to hear Joe Buck describe it as if we never heard it before because Fox likes to pretend that the season begins in October.

Folks, it’s not worth it. And that — as opposed to any actual pro/con of the new rule — is why it is dumb. Now get off my lawn.