If the season ended today, two things would happen: (1) we’d all be really surprised and would demand explanations; and (2) we’d have the Rangers facing the Rays in the ALDS, just like they are tonight.
And we’d likely have tonight’s matchup as well: Cliff Lee vs. David Price, which considering the struggles Tim Lincecum is now going through, tops the Ubaldo Jimenez-Lincecum matchup from last month and stands out as the matchup of the year.
Maybe the most intriguing thing about the matchup is that each starter has had trouble with the opposition. Two of Lee’s first four starts this season came against the Rays, and he lost both of them. Price hasn’t faced the Rangers this season, but he’s 0-2 with a 9.45 ERA in three starts against Texas.
Every time I hype up a matchup like this it ends up being a dud. Here’s hoping my luck changes, because there are only eight games tonight, and I really want this one to be good.
Because of course he did.
It wasn’t just his first at bat, but it was his first pitch. It came off of John Kilichowski, an 11th round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals out of Vanderbilt. The ball went out to left center, off the bat of the lefty Tebow.
Next time, meat, throw him a breaking ball.
The other night, Blue Jays reliever Joaquin Benoit needed help getting off the field after the second benches-clearing incident with the Yankees. It was later revealed that Benoit tore a calf muscle during the fracas, ending his season.
Yesterday he pointed the finger at just about everyone else for the incidents like the one that led to his injury. Hitters specifically. From The Star:
“I believe as pitchers we’re entitled to use the whole plate and pitch in if that’s the way we’re going to succeed,” Benoit said. “I believe that right now baseball is taking things so far that in some situations most hitters believe that they can’t be brushed out. Some teams take it personally.”
That “take it personally” line is interesting coming from Benoit as, in this instance, it seemed pretty clear that the whole plunking exchange which led to his injury started because Josh Donaldson took an inside pitch that did not seem to be a purpose pitch at all, too personally.
Did Benoit take a veiled swipe at his teammate here? If so, that’s pretty notable. If not it’s notable in another way, right? As it suggests that Benoit believes it’s OK for his teammates to take issue with inside pitches but anyone else who does is part of the problem?
Which is it, Joaquin?