fred merkle

100 years ago today: Giants score 10 before making an out


May 13, 1911

After future Hall of Famer Christy Matthewson pitched a scoreless top of the first against the Cardinals, the New York Giants lineup came out and scored 10 times before making an out on the way to a 19-5 victory.

The Giants started the game with a two singles, a two-run triple and a walk before Slim Sallee was pulled from the game.  An inside-the-park homer from Fred Merkle followed, making it 5-0.  After a single, a walk and two more singles, the last from Matthewson himself, the Giants were up 7-0.

The 10th straight batter to reach did so on a fielder’s choice.  After that, Larry Doyle flied out for the first out of the game.  And, it turned out, the only one Bob Harmon would get.  He was pulled after a walk and a hit by pitch and replaced by Lou Lowdermilk.

The Giants went on to make it 13-0 from there.  Merkle doubled with the bases loaded, giving him six RBI in the inning.  He then stole home for the final run of the frame.

With the huge early lead, the Giants decided to pull their ace and put in another future Hall of Famer, Rube Marquard.  Marquard went on to set a major league record by striking out 14 in eight innings of relief.

Merkle, maybe the second most famous player in the game as a result of his “boner” three years earlier, ended the contest with seven RBI on his way to driving in 84 runs on the year.  He had arguably the best of his 16 seasons in 1911, finishing seventh in the NL MVP balloting (or the Chalmers Award, as it was known then).

The Giants had no future Hall of Famers in their lineup that year, but they did have Doyle, an outstanding second baseman.  He ended up finishing the season second in the NL in OPS behind Honus Wagner.  The Giants won the National League pennant largely on the strength of Matthewson and Marquard, who was just coming into his own.  The pair combined for a 50-20 record and a 2.23 ERA in 584 2/3 IP.

The Giants went on to lose a World Series plagued by rain in six games to the A’s.  Matthewson won Game 1, but took losses in Games 3 and 4, which were played seven days apart due to the conditions.

Playoff Reset: The AL Wild Card Game

Wild Card

Each day throughout the playoffs we’re going to be doing what we’ll call a reset. Not always a preview, not always a recap, but a generalized summary of where we stand at the moment and what we have to look forward tonight.

Today, of course, is Day One of the playoffs so we can really only look ahead, so let’s look ahead to what’s on tap in tonight’s one and only game.

The Game: Houston Astros vs. New York Yankees, American League Wild Card Game
The Time: 8:08 PM Eastern. Or thereabouts.
The Place: Yankee Stadium, New York
The Channel: ESPN
The Starters: Dallas Keuchel vs. Masahiro Tanaka

The Upshot:

  • Dallas Keuchel is the Astros’ ace and may very well win the Cy Young Award, but he’s (a) pitching on three-days’ rest; and (b) not in Minute Maid Park, where he is clearly superior compared to how he does on the road. At the same time, (a) the Yankees haven’t figured him out this year, going scoreless against him in 16 innings and striking out 21 times, including a poor performance against him in the Bronx a month or so ago; and (b) lefty sinkerballer types are basically the platonic ideal of a pitcher you want to throw against the Yankees to drive them crazy. While, historically, pitchers going on short rest in the playoffs fare poorly — in the past 20 years they are 18-37 — sinkerballers and extreme groundball pitchers fare much better than most. It ain’t a perfect setup for him, but you gotta like Keuchel here.
  • Meanwhile, Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka has made one career start vs. the Astros: this year, back on June 27. He got beat up, allowing six runs in five innings, receiving no decision. Those disclaimers about past performance not being indicative of future results you see in financial services commercials should apply to this and all other past matchup stats you see in the postseason, however. One random start here or there — or two in Keuchel’s case — doesn’t tell us a ton. This is baseball and tomorrow is always another day. At least if you don’t lose the Wild Card Game. More of a concern for Tanaka: rust. He has pitched only once since tweaking his hamstring against the Mets on September 18 and it wasn’t a good outing. At least he’s rested?
  • Both teams are dependent on the longball but both teams have struggled at times on offense down the stretch, with the Yankees’ bats being particular quiet in the season’s last month or so. Someone needs to wake up A-Rod. And Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Chase Headley and Brian McCann for that matter too. Of course, all of that firepower may not matter. The playoffs often see offenses go quiet and pitching come to the fore. Both teams have decent bullpens — the Yankees’ far, far more than decent — and given Tanaka’s rust and Keuchel’s short rest, this one is very likely to come down to multiple innings of hard-throwing relief. That favors the Yankees if they can keep it close.
  • Both teams are basically stumbling into the postseason, with the Yankees having lost six of their last seven games. They’re also under .500 since the end of July. The Astros swooned themselves in the second half, going 11-16 in September before rebounding in the season’s last week. Good thing momentum generally isn’t a thing in the playoffs — remember those 2000 Yankees losing 15 of 18 before the playoffs started and then won the World Series! — because neither team here has much of it.

This is the Astros’ first playoff game in a decade. While the Yankees haven’t been in the postseason since 2012, there is a lot of playoff experience here, making this an interesting study in contrasts from a storyline perspective. At least if you’re into storylines. Personally I’m not. I’m more into baseball games and in this baseball game I think Keuchel is a tough draw for the Yankees, even on short rest. For New York to advance they’re gonna have to be a team they haven’t been for weeks and maybe months: one that lays off junk down low and hits the ball hard.

Mike Scioscia will return as Angels manager in 2016

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 21:  Manager Mike Scioscia #14 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the dugout during batting practice before a game against the Minnesota Twins at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 21, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images

It was assumed already, but Mike Scioscia made it official during Monday’s press conference for new general manager Billy Eppler that he will return as Angels manager in 2016.

Scioscia, the longest-tenured manager in the majors, has been at the helm with the Angels since 2000. There was a clause in his contract which allowed him to opt out after the 2015 season, but he has decided to stay put. He still has three years and $15 million on his contract, which runs through 2018.

Jerry Dipoto resigned as Angels general manager in July amid tension with Scioscia, so there were naturally questions today about what to expect with first-time GM Eppler in the fold. According to David Adler of, Scioscia isn’t concerned.

“I think we’re going to mesh very well,” Scioscia said. “If we adjust, or maybe he adjusts to some of the things, there’s going to be collaboration that’s going to make us better.”

Eppler is the fourth general manager during Scioscia’s tenure with the team.

After winning the AL West last season, the Angels finished 85-77 this season and narrowly missed the playoffs. The team hasn’t won a postseason game since 2009.