Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Rays 16, Red Sox 5: After scoring 20 runs in their first nine games, the Rays asplode for 16. The most damage was inflicted by leadoff hitter Sam Fuld who went 4 for 6 — all extra base hits — with three RBI.  If this was the NBA Fuld would have stopped on first with that last double of his to get the cycle. Thank God this isn’t the NBA. Oh, and Fuld has some sweet catches in left, too. Before the season started there were Red Sox fans who liked to mock the Yankees’ pitching problems. Well, the Red Sox have now given up 69 runs in 10 games, so there isn’t anyone this side of that team of guys with handlebar mustaches who played the Gashouse Gorillas in the Bugs Bunny cartoon who Red Sox fans can mock for their pitching. And at least they signed Bugs later.

Mariners 8, Blue Jays 7: Wow. You figure that if you get seven runs and 12 hits in six innings off Felix Hernandez that you’re going to win. And the Jays had to figure they would given that they were up 7-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh. But nope: the M’s came back. Luis Rodriguez’s two-run single with two outs in the ninth was the game-winner. Milton Bradley was a key part of the comeback too, homering in the seventh and walking in a run and scoring the following inning. After this debacle, I’m guessing John Farrell is going to be loathe to go to his pen tonight.

Indians 4, Angels 0: Break up the Indians. That’s eight straight for Cleveland, this one coming on eight shutout innings from Mitch Talbot of all people. Asdrubal Cabrera’s solo homer in the first was all the Indians would need, but Matt Laporta added a three-run jack in the second.  Are the Indians this year’s version of last year’s Padres?

Rockies 7, Mets 6: Stop me if you’ve heard this one: the Mets took the lead but the bullpen blew it. Stop me if you’ve heard this one: the Rockies were powered by Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, each of whom drove in three. Jason Isringhausen pitched for the Mets. It was his first action in a Mets uniform since 1999.  Man, 1999 was a long time ago.

Rangers 2, Tigers 0: I thought that putting Neftali Feliz in the pen in favor of Alexi Ogando was a dumb move. And the part of that in which Neftali Feliz is not currently a starter is still dumb. Overall, however, the Ogando-in-the-rotation thing has been straight aces. He shut out the Tigers for seven innings running his scoreless innings streak to 13 in his two starts.  He left with a blister problem in this one and had a blister in his first start as well. Here’s hoping that isn’t a recurring theme.

Athletics 2, White Sox 1: Man, this one has to hurt. Mark Buehrle pitched eight innings of two-hit, shutout ball only to get the no-decision because his offense couldn’t do much of anything against Dallas Braden and Tyson Ross and because a Juan Pierre error in the ninth inning allowed the A’s to tie it up. Into the 10th and Kurt Suzuki homers off Jesse Crain for the game winner. Anyone have surveillance on Crain to make sure he’s not really a double agent, still on the Twins’ payroll?

Cubs 5, Astros 4: The Cubbies jumped all over Nelson Figueroa for 5-0 lead and then held on as the Astros chipped away but fell short. Starlin Castro was 3 for 5 with three runs scored. Second smallest crowd in the history of Minute Maid Park (20,175). I’m not going to say that baseball has come a long way in the past 25 years, but I remember some random promotional giveaway night at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium in the late 80s that drew a little over 20,000 and Skip Caray went on and on about how weird it was to play in front of such a big crowd. And while the Braves drew particularly poorly then, it wasn’t uncommon for teams to routinely have four digit attendance nights without anyone saying much about it.  Only a handful of teams back then would think of a 20K night as some dire low.

Dodgers 6, Giants 1: For the second time on the young season, Clayton Kershaw shut the Giants down. Shutting them out, in fact, through six and two-thirds anyway. Including Opening Day and his last start against the G-men last September, he hasn’t allowed a run over his last 23 and two-thirds innings against San Francisco. The game was dedicated to Bryan Stow, who was beaten in the Dodger Stadium parking lot on Opening Day. Before the game the players came together on the mound, offering a joint statement about how the rivalry needs to stay on the field. It was a nice gesture as was the fund raising to benefit Stow that each team has done in recent days. Sadly, however, the type of people who attacked Stow are likely immune to this message. After all, if the example of sportsmanship baseball players typically exemplify and the nature of baseball itself doesn’t set the proper example, the words of players likely won’t either. Like the man said: there’s a meanness in this world.

Reds 3, Padres 2: Once again Edinson Volquez was shaky in the first, allowing two runs, but once again he settled down and that’s all the Padres would muster all night. Mat Latos was the opposite in his season debut: he started strong, notching five strikeouts in his first three innings, but then made mistakes to Jonny Gomes and Chris Heisey, whose homers accounted for all of the Reds’ scoring.

Cardinals 8, Diamondbacks 2: Kyle McClellan allowed one run over six innings. He also doubled in a run in the third and singled in a run in the fourth to — wait for it! — help his own cause. Yadier Molina scored on the double, so without looking I’m going to say he was on third or else the double lodged in the wall or something. It was the most runs the Cards have scored all season. Oh, and Albert Pujols hardly contributed, going 1 for 5 with no runs scored.

Looking Ahead to Next Year’s Hall of Fame Ballot

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 15:  Chipper Jones #10 of the Atlanta Braves stands in the on-deck circle prior to batting against the Cincinnati Reds at Turner Field on May 15, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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We’re only a night’s sleep removed from the 2017 Hall of Fame class being announced but, hey, why not look ahead to next year’s ballot?

After yesterday’s vote there are two guys clearly banging on the door: Trevor Hoffman at 74% and Vladimir Guerrero at  71.7%. It’d be shocking if they didn’t get in.

Also back, of course, and already polling over 50%, which tends to ensure eventual election, are Edgar Martinez (58.6); Roger Clemens (54.1); Barry Bonds (53.8); and Mike Mussina (51.8). All of them are worthy and each of them should have some segment of the baseball commentariat pushing their cases.

But the new class of eligibles is formidable too. Let’s take a preliminary look at everyone we’ll be arguing about next December:

  • Chipper Jones: You have to figure he’s a first ballot guy;
  • Jim Thome: 612 homers will say a lot and, I suspect, most people believe he’s a first ballot guy too. Still, his handling will be curious. Yes, was a better hitter than Sammy Sosa. But was he so much better that it justifies Thome getting 75% in his first year while Sosa is scraping by in single digits? According to Baseball-Reference.com, Thome and Sosa are each other’s most similar comp in history. This is less a Thome point than a Sosa one, of course. I think they both belong.
  • Omar Vizquel: Every few years a defensive specialist hits the ballot and the writers go crazy. When a defensive specialist who got along really, really well with the press comes along, Katie bar the door. Vizquel is gonna cause a lot of arguments about the measurement and value of defense. He’s also going to cause a lot of people to say things like “you had to watch him play” and “it’s not the Hall of Stats!” He’s going to cause a lot of stathead types to counter with “but Scott Rolen was just as good on defense as Vizquel, but you don’t like him!” It’s gonna get ugly. It’ll be glorious.
  • Johnny Damon and Andruw Jones: Will probably be one-and-done, but way better than you remember. If we wanna talk defense, I’ll offer that I have never seen a better defensive center field in my lifetime than Jones. It’s a shame that his falling off a cliff in his 30s will taint that as his legacy.
  • Chris Carpenter and Livan Hernandez: Hall of pretty darn good pitchers who will be fun to talk about;
  • Hideki Matsui: Also one and done, but everyone loves him so I bet he gets some “good guy” votes;
  • Jamie Moyer: A first-time eligible at age 55. Sandy Koufax had been in the Hall of Fame for 18 years when he was the age Moyer will be when he hits the ballot.
  • Scott Rolen: Way better than people believe now and way better than people said at the time. As suggested above, his defense was nowhere near as raved about during his career as it would be if he played today. If his 72.7 career bWAR was heavier on offense as opposed to distributed 52.1/20.6 on offense and defense, people would’ve probably talked him up more. Career WAR for Jim Thome: 72.9. Career WAR for Derek Jeter: 71.8.
  • Johan Santana: The Hall of What Could’ve Been if Shoulders Weren’t So Dumb.
  • Kerry Wood: The Hall of What Could’ve Been if Elbows Weren’t So Dumb. Still, if Jack Morris can stick on the ballot for 15 years based on one dang game, I don’t see why Wood can’t get some support based on a better one.

There are a couple of other fun “oh my God, how has he been retired that long?” names that will appear on next year’s ballot. Check out the whole list here.

Jorge Posada highlights 16 one-and-done players on Hall of Fame ballot

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 24:  Jorge Posada addresses the media during a press conference to announces his retirement from the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on January 24, 2012 in the Bronx borough of  New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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Former Yankees catcher Jorge Posada received only 17 total votes (3.8 percent) on the 2017 Hall of Fame ballot. Unfortunately, he is one of 16 players who fell short of the five percent vote threshold and is no longer eligible on the ballot. The other players are Magglio Ordonez (three votes, 0.7 percent), Edgar Renteria (two, 0.5 percent), Jason Varitek (two, 0.5 percent), Tim Wakefield (one, 0.2 percent), Casey Blake (zero), Pat Burrell (zero), Orlando Cabrera (zero), Mike Cameron (zero), J.D. Drew (zero), Carlos Guillen (zero), Derrek Lee (zero), Melvin Mora (zero), Arthur Rhodes (zero), Freddy Sanchez (zero), and Matt Stairs (zero).

Posada, 45, helped the Yankees win four World Series championships from 1998-2000 as well as 2009. He made the American League All-Star team five times, won five Silver Sluggers, and had a top-three AL MVP Award finish. Posada also hit 20 or more homers in eight seasons, finished with a career adjusted OPS (a.k.a. OPS+) of 121, and accrued 42.7 Wins Above Replacement in his 17-year career according to Baseball Reference.

While Posada’s OPS+ and WAR are lacking compared to other Hall of Famers — he was 18th of 34 eligible players in JAWS, Jay Jaffe’s WAR-based Hall of Fame metric — catchers simply have not put up the same kind of numbers that players at other positions have. That’s likely because catching is such a physically demanding position and often results in injuries and shortened careers. It is, perhaps, not an adjustment voters have thought to make when considering Posada’s eligibility.

Furthermore, Posada’s quick ouster is somewhat due to the crowded ballot. Most voters had a hard time figuring out which 10 players to vote for. Had Posada been on the ballot in a different era, writers likely would have found it easier to justify voting for him.

Posada joins Kenny Lofton in the “unjustly one-and-done” group.