Live Blog: Giants-Phillies NLCS Game 2

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11:22: Ryan Madson was shaky, but he gets Edgar Renteria to ground out to end it. Final score: 6-1, Phillies. Roy Oswalt was The Man tonight.  Now these teams fly to San Francisco for Game 3. Tomorrow night it’s Rangers-Yankees from New York. I’ll be writing up a little recap here shortly, but after that it’s nighty night. Thanks for haning out!

11:18: Five run game with two-outs in the ninth and the FOX cameras find a woman in the crow with her hands over her mouth as if she’s worrying or fretting or whatever. That’s FOX’s favorite shot, by the way. Took them three hours to find it tonight, but dadgummit, they found it.

11:15: Raul Ibanez with a nice running/diving/falling catch. The crowd yells “Rauuul!”  McCarver thinks it necessary to tell us that thr crowd was yelling “Rauuul.” Thanks, Tim. Thought They were booing!

11:12: Ryan Madson comes in to close it out. It’s a five run game. I could probably just start writing up the game recap, but every single time I’ve ever done that, something that materially changed the story occurred after I got writing. So, if it’s cool with you, I’ll just chill here, OK?  Oh, as I was typing that, Buster Posey walked, so maybe something is doin’.

11:00: But it works for Manuel. And Oswalt. Aubrey Huff is retired and Oswalt finishes (presumably) a fantastic night. One run on three hits and some fantasticness on the basepaths. A night after Ace 1 falters, Ace 2 comes up big.

10:57: Charlie Manuel comes out to yank Oswalt, but apparently Oswalt talked him out of it. This worked so well for Bobby Cox. And Grady Little.

10:55: Andres Torres is now 0 for 4 with 4Ks. Methinks we might see Aaron Rowand on Tuesday.

10:44: The whole “pitch to the struggling Jimmy Rollins” strategy didn’t work. Three-run double, it’s 6-1 Philly in the seventh.

10:41: Things still dicey for the Giants in the seventh. They intentionally walk Jayson Werth to bring up Jimmy Rollins, and then Bochy pulls a double switch with Santiago Casilla replacing Jeremy Affedlt and Pablo Sandoval replacing Mike Fontenot. I was going to make a joke about “Pablo Sandoval: defensive replacement” but Fontenot has stunk on ice out there tonight, so how bad could this be?

10:32: Roy Oswalt just scored from second on a Placido Polanco single despite third base coach Sam Perlozzo putting up the stop sign for Oswalt. Best part: as it became clear that Oswalt wasn’t stopping, Perlozzo quickly put his hands down, hoping no one saw him. How do you feel if you’re the third base coach in that situation? Everyone in the joint saw you try to stop the runner, and he scored anyway. Your team did good in spite of your best efforts.

10:26: Jonathan Sanchez gives up a single to Roy Oswalt, and Sanchez’s night is over. 100 pitches. After seeing him early, I never would have thunk that he’d make it into the 7th.

10:21: “God Bless America.” I appreciate the sentiment, but I really dislike the song. How about “America the Beautiful” or “This Land is Your Land?” OK, they’ll never do Woody because Commies are bad and all, but still. Even if you’re going to go with a patriotic song instead of “Take me out the Ballgame,” there are better options.

10:18: Fly to the track. Damn. I was hoping to see 40,000+ Philly fans crying. Or claiming Ross was cheating. Or both.

10:17:  Cody Ross is coming to the plate! Lock up the youngins!

10:11: Edgar Renteria makes a back-to-the field, on the run catch. He drops it out of the glove but holds on. Crazy.

10:08: Oswalt allows a single to Freddy Sanchez but that’s it. Now he has a whole half inning to think about how to approach Cody Ross. “Say, Chooch, I was thinking we could go with a fastball, middle-in. Maybe a bit low? Whaddaya think?”

10:01: After the manufactured run, Ryan Howard gets on base again. Then Jayson Werth — who has had no luck at all against Sanchez — swings at the first pitch and is out 5-4.  What the hell? Why would anyone — let alone anyone who has had issues with Sanchez — swing at his first pitch? I really don’t get it.

9:57: A Victorino double, and sac flies from Utley and Polanco put the Phillies up 2-1.

9:54: I get it now: Sanchez wasn’t throwing strikes on purpose. When he does, they get crushed.

9:46:  “Insanity: the belief that one can get different results by doing the same thing.” -Albert Einstein, speaking on the Phillies’ approach to Cody Ross.

9:44:  Cody Ross breaks up the no-hitter and ties the game with his third home run of the postseason. Phillies fans have a new mortal enemy. Eventually they’ll stop throwing him pitches right where he likes ’em.

9:39: And Sanchez induces a popout and escapes the inning. I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen a pitcher who looks this shaky only give up one run. If I didn’t know the score and could only see Sanchez’s pitches, I’d guess he was down 5-0.

9:37: Sanchez and Oswalt both start walking off the field on the 1-2 pitch, thinking it a strike. Sanchez doesn’t have good control, but this strike zone has been pretty pathetic tonight.

9:28: What’s more unexpected? Mike Fontenot dropping completely misplaying that popup, or Jimmy Rollins swinging on the first pitch against Sanchez?

9:25: Middle of the fourth and no one is doing anything against Oswalt. Sanchez has settled down too, of course. How cool would it be to have a playoff game’s entire run production be a bases loaded walk in the first inning?  It would certainly make writing up the post-game story easy.

9:16: Ryan Howard ground rule double. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Howard tonight. For a guy who’s supposed to be nothin’ against lefties, he’s had a couple of nice at bats.

9:14: I love the chat with Giant’s hitting coach Hensley Muelens. I used to watch “Bam Bam” when he played for the Columbus Clippers back when I was in college. I thought he’d be a big star.

9:09: I don’t know about Sanchez, but Oswalt has definitely figured out this ump’s strike zone. Four Ks for little Roy.

9:08: My wife, sitting on the couch next to me: “Get up and get me some gummy bears.”  Me: “I can’t, I’m live blogging the game.” Her: “Just pause it.” Me: “Dude, it’s a LIVE blog.”

9:01: Love the vintage Wild Thing video. Then Mitch says “I can tell you, as a guy who struggled with his control . . .” You don’t say?

8:57: The video of the guys making cheesesteaks as we went to commercial is definitely the highlight of the night so far. Sorry Old Gator, but that stuff is goooooood.

8:53: The Philly faithful boo Cody Ross. Yeah, screw him. How dare he jack those two awful wheelhouse fastballs Halladay threw him last night!

8:52: Sweet run to snag that fly ball by Shane Victorino. Query: was the fall necessary, or just for show? There will be other litmus test questions later tonight. In other news, Victorino’s nickname is “the Flyin’ Hawaiian.” Thanks Tim McCarver.

8:48: I’m on Twitter tonight too. Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times put the glass-is-half-full spin on Sanchez’s first inning: “Jonathan Sanchez struck out the side. And he has a no-hitter going.”

8:45: Sanchez walks Jimmy Rollins with the bases loaded. 1-0 Philly. It might have been in the zone. But man, Sanchez is all over the place. The ump gave him a high pitch. Didn’t give him the low one. It may suck for the Giants, but it’s the kind of thing that happens to you when you look like you have no idea where it’s going.

8:41: Werth HATED the 1-2 pitch that struck him out. Looked OK on the FOX pitch tracker thing. Honestly, though, guys who are struggling like Sanchez is don’t get that call very often.

8:37: And Sanchez walks Howard. He has thrown a ton of pitches already tonight. Just a horrible approach for him facing Howard. Though let’s give credit to Howard too for laying off some junk he often chases.

8:34: I think Fontenot’s sideburns caused his balance to be off, which in turn screwed up the throw. Utley at third, Polanco at first, one out and Ryan Howard has to hit a lefty.

8:28: My daughter just went up to bed. She asked me if I could tuck her in tonight. I said “no honey, I’m working.” She said “you’re not working, you’re watching baseball.” Man, I love my life.

8:25: “Raul Ibanez: and growing up, my favorite player was Tris Speaker.”

8:22: Wow, with a textbook slide like that, I have no idea how Uribe ever could have hurt his hand. /Sarcasm

8:12: Can’t tell you how happy I am that all the Jonathan Sanchez highlights are of him making Braves hitters look foolish. They’re like the random players you used to see Dominique Wilkins jamming on in those 1980s SI poster.

8:08: When it comes to the National Anthem, brass quintets > pop soul divas.  And yes, I’m standing as I type this. I promise.

7:25: One ace down, two to go for the Giants. Tonight it’s little Roy. Can he contain Cody Ross? It’s a good question! And one I never thought I’d be asking about Cody Ross in a thousand years.

On the other side is Jonathan Sanchez. He of the 2-0 record and 1.38 ERA against the Phillies this year.  Can he continue to tame them, or will the sophomoric taunts of the Philly crowd — more wolf whistles maybe? — lead to his undoing?

Your guess is as good as mine, Old Sport, so why don’t we all watch it together. The live blogging will commence in this thread starting at 8PM Eastern.  I can’t say I’ll be as thorough as D.J. is when he live blogs these things, but I promise you my jokes will be cornier.

Feel free to get the chatter going. I’ll see you at 8.

Miguel Montero throws Jake Arrieta under the bus after the Nats steal seven bases

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It takes a lot of things to happen for a runner to steal a base. He has to be fast. He has to get a good jump on the pitcher. He has to beat the catcher’s throw down the second and he has to avoid a tag if it’s close.

In light of that, any number of people can, theoretically anyway, be responsible for an opposing base runner stealing a base. The pitcher can be responsible for not holding the runner or for being slow in his delivery to the plate. The catcher can be responsible for getting off bad throws to second. The middle infielder can handle the throw poorly or apply the tag poorly. Or, in some cases, the defense may do everything right and still not nab that runner because he was just too dang fast.

Last night the Washington Nationals stole seven bases off of the Chicago cubs. Trea Turner, one of baseball’s fastest players and best base stealers, stole four of them. The pitcher on the mound for all seven of them was Jake Arrieta. The catcher behind the plate for all seven of them was Miguel Montero. The infielders for all seven of them were Tommy La Stella and Javier Baez. All of these men, Turner, and his teammates Anthony Rendon and Michael Taylor, who also stole bases, were the moving parts in play.

Who was to credit and who was to blame for all of those stolen bases? If you ask Miguel Montero, it was his pitcher, Arrieta:

 

If you can’t watch the video, here’s what he said:

“The reason why they were running left and right today because they know he was slow to the plate,” a visibly frustrated Montero said. “It really sucked because the stolen bases go to me, and when you really look at it, the pitcher doesn’t give me any time.”

You can watch all seven of the stolen bases here. Turner gets great jumps and that can partially be blamed on Arrieta. That’s especially true on a couple of steals that didn’t even draw a throw from Montero. But on one of them Montero bounced his throw, on another it was a delayed steal that seemed to take Montero by surprise, on a third the pitch was high and outside, making it hard for Montero to get rid of the ball quickly but not attributable to Arrieta being deliberate, one came with a runner on third, which caused Montero to, wisely, hold on to the ball to prevent a run from scoring, and on the last one Montero airmailed the throw.

Perhaps someone with a stopwatch on Arrieta could better proportion blame here, but by my estimation Arrieta was clearly to blame for two of them, Montero was more at fault on three of them and the other two were really no one’s fault but circumstance. And that’s without giving Turner, Rendon and Taylor credit, which is just dumb.

But sure, Miguel, go ahead and throw this all on your team’s ace. That’s a fantastic thing for a backup catcher to do. Leads to great job security.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Nationals 6, Cubs 1: Max Scherzer allowed one run over six innings, striking out six. Four of the Nats runs came via a couple of infield singles and a couple of Cubs throwing errors. The other two came via a Michael Taylor RBI double. The Nationals stole seven bases off of Miguel Montero and Jake Arrieta, four coming from Trea Turner. After the game, Montero wanted everyone to know that it wasn’t his fault, it was Arrieta’s:

“The reason why they were running left and right today because they know he was slow to the plate,” a visibly frustrated Montero said. “It really sucked because the stolen bases go to me, and when you really look at it, the pitcher doesn’t give me any time.”

Team. Player. Joe Maddon, any comment?

Rangers 2, Indians 1: Adrian Beltre hit his 450th homer. And he did it at a wonderful time: in the ninth inning of a tie game, giving his team the win. The homer was his 2,969th career hit. Which is nice.

Orioles 3, Blue Jays 1: Kevin Gausman and three relievers held the Jays to a lone run. Which, once you adjust for this being the Orioles, is the equivalent of any other team holding the opposition to, like, negative eight runs. Mark Trumbo doubled in two, Adam Jones singled in one. A ninth inning solo homer from Troy Tulowitzki was the only damage the Jays did all night.

Tigers 5, Royals 3: Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez each homered, helping the Tigers overcome an early 3-0 deficit. Justin Verlander allowed three over seven and the bullpen tossed two shutout innings. Which, once you adjust for this being the Tigers, is the equivalent of any other team’s bullpen shutting out the opposition for, like, eleven innings.

Phillies 8, Mariners 2: Maikel Franco and Arron Altherr homered for the Phillies, who overcame a 2-0 deficit. Which, once you adjust for this being the Phillies, is the equivalent of any other team overcoming, like, a six-run deficit. Aaron Nola allowed two runs over seven and struck out nine.

Red Sox 9, Twins 2: Most pitchers will not come back after a rain delay of more than an hour or so. Here Drew Pomeranz waited out a 76-minute rain delay in the second inning and stayed in the game to deliver five solid innings, backed by homers from Christian Vázquez and Chris Young In his last seven starts, Pomeranz is 4-1 with a 2.70 ERA, 44 strikeouts and 9 walks in 40 innings. The Red Sox reclaime sole possession of first place in the AL East.

Rays 4, Pirates 2: avid Freese misplayed a groundball at third base in the top of the 10th inning, allowing Steven Souza to score and giving the Rays the win. An Adeiny Hechavarria sac fly added an insurance run. Hechavarria also singled in a run in the eighth. Not a bad first day on the job for the newest Ray.

Reds 8, Brewers 6: The Redlegs were homer happy with Joey Votto hitting a tiebreaking two-run homer in the fifth and Billy Hamilton, Adam Duvall and Eugenio Suarez all going deep as well. Travis Shaw hit a three-run shot in a losing cause. The Brewers have lost three of four but continue to hold a one-game lead in the NL Central.

Marlins 6, Mets 3: Mets starter Robert Gsellman left the game after straining his hamstring while trying to beat out a grounder in the fourth inning and will now likely be the sixth Mets starter to hit the DL this year. DH uber alles. He also allowed three runs in three innings, but the Mets came back to tie it with a Travis d’Arnaud homer in the seventh. A pinch-hitting Ichiro singled in J.T. Realmuto in the bottom half of the seventh, however, and Christian Yelich singled in two more in later that inning to pad the Marlins’ lead.

White Sox 4, Yankees 3: The Yankees’ bullpen imploded once again. Leading 3-1 in the eighth, Domingo German and Tyler Clippard combined to issue four walks to allow the White Sox to get within one. In the ninth, Dellin Betances walked two guys and hit a batter before Jose Abreu smacked a walkoff single. Abreu also had an RBI double in the third. The White Sox snap a four-game losing streak.

Athletics 6, Astros 4: Ryon Healy hit a a grand slam in the sixth and Khris Davis scored one run and doubled in another. Sean Manaea was solid into the sixth, holding the mighty Astros lineup to one run. That grand slam gave the A’s needed room to absorb George Springer‘s ninth inning three-run shot.

Diamondbacks 6, Cardinals 5: The Cardinals bullpen blew this one. Leading 5-2 in the eighth, Trevor Rosenthal surrendered an RBI single to Daniel Descalso and a sac fly to Chris Herrmann to allow the Dbacks to get within one. In the ninth, Seung-Hwan Oh gave up a solo homer to David Peralta to force extras. Herrmann struck again in the tent, knocking in Reymond Fuentes with a game-ending RBI single off of Matt Bowman.

Dodgers 4, Angels 0: Kenta Maeda tossed seven shutout innings and the Dodgers scored all four of their runs in the six via a Cody Bellinger RBI single and a Joc Pederson three-run blast. This one was over in a crisp two-hours, thirty minutes. Some kook wrote a column the other day in the Wall Street Journal saying weeknight baseball games should be seven innings. If that was the case here fans could’ve kept their engines running while they watched the game and popped right back out.

Braves 3, Padres 0: Rookie Sean Newcomb shut out the Padres for six innings, striking out eight, to pick up his first career win. He’s only allowed four earned runs in 24.1 innings over four starts, so he probably deserves to have more than the one win. Padres manager Andy Green thinks Newcomb maybe didn’t deserve his eight strikeouts here:

“That was the largest strike zone I have seen against our guys behind home plate. Newcomb threw the ball very well. But Tyler Flowers is the player of the game in my mind. He is snatching balls above the zone, below the zone, and bringing them back in and getting a strike on all of them.”

Miguel Montero agrees, it was someone else’s fault. Atlanta has won eight of ten.

Giants 4, Rockies 3: This one went late but Denard Span finally sent everyone home with a walkoff RBI single in the bottom of the fourteenth inning to give the Giants the win. Kelby Tomlinson forced extras with an RBI single in the eighth inning. The Rockies are reeling, losers of seven straight. They were in first place entering play a week ago today. Now they’re in third, five and a half back of the Dodgers. So much for that early season feel good story.