Nelson Cruz home run

The memorable homers I missed

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As I suspected, I missed the most memorable home runs by a number of teams yesterday.  Here, based on reader feedback, are the most egregious oversights and a few other random observations:

Yankees

There wasn’t strong dissent here, probably because there was so much to choose from, but there were some interesting alternative suggestions. One person mentioned one I hadn’t considered: Chris Chambliss’ homer in the 1976 ALCS that killed the Royals.  The rationale: it was a bigger “we’re back” moment than Reggie’s World Series homers in 1977.  Interesting choice. I don’t agree with it, but interesting.

Red Sox

No super-strong opposition to the Fisk homer, but some people found the Bernie Carbo homer from earlier in Game Six more of a big deal as it happened. Again, respect for Carbo’s shot, but I’m staying with Fisk.

Blue Jays

There were a surprising number of Jays fans who contend that Roberto Alomar’s homer off Dennis Eckersley in the 1992 ALCS was a way bigger deal than Joe Carter’s 1993 World Series game-winner. The thinking is that Alomar’s was an exorcism home run, symbolically casting out the demons of the Jays’ 1980s failures. This was a recurring theme in the criticisms of my choices — homers that meant for to a team’s fans based on past history than for the actual moment itself — and I suppose I understand it because, like I said yesterday, this stuff is subjective.  But to the non-hardcore Jays fans, Alomar’s doesn’t register twenty years like it did at the time. Hard to beat a walkoff World Series shot.

Rays

This one was a pure miss. Almost everyone says it was Dan Johnson’s big homer to fend off the Red Sox in the heat of the 2008 playoff race was the biggest. I have to agree.

White Sox

Another pure miss. There are two bigger homers than that Geoff Blum one I cited, both in Game Two of the 2005 Series: Paul Konerko’s grand slam and Scott Podsednik’s game-winner.  All of the memorable White Sox homers are detailed by Brett Ballantini over at CSN Chicago.

Indians

Another monster whiff on my part. As Vince Grzegorek noted, there are many candidates bigger — or at least way more recent — than Ken Kelner’s 1948 shot: Tony Pena’s shot in Game One of the 1995 ALDS against the Red Sox and, later in that game, Albert Belle’s famous bicep-flexing after he hit a homer in the 11th and the Sox had his bat confiscated. But the biggest was probably Sandy Alomar’s homer off Mariano Rivera in the 1997 ALDS.

Rangers

Nelson Cruz’s shot in Game Six of last year’s ALCS, which put a dagger in the Yankees. Just plum forgot about it, which makes me wonder about my short term memory.

Athletics

A lot of people want to go with Jose Canseco’s moon shot into the eleventeenth deck of the Sky Dome or Mark McGwire’s game-winning solo shot in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 3 of the 1988 World Series.

Phillies

I figured that if I got this one wrong that I’d hear holy hell about it, what with the belief among Phillies fans that I hate them and everything they stand for. Yet there were only a couple of people who disagreed with Dick Sisler’s 1950 pennant-clinching shot.  Those couple of people have a pretty good argument, though, inasmuch as their suggestion — Mike Schmidt’s blast in the top of the 11th on the second-to-last day of the 1980 season, securing the NL East title over the Expos — was tough stuff. And has the benefit of actually being remembered by a decent number of living people.

Nationals

Everyone who had an opinion said it was Ryan Zimmerman’s walkoff homer to beat the Braves on the debut night of Nationals Park a couple of years ago. Given that I was actually watching this game and cursing the television after it happened, you’d think I would have remembered it.

Cardinals

I didn’t get this one wrong — Ozzie Smith’s was the best — but I was surprised at how many people want to cite the Pujols-off-Lidge shot in the 2005 playoffs. Well, sorry. Great homer. A defining moment in a great career. But it is dwarfed by Smith’s on sheer WTF-ness alone.

Padres

People are way more enamored with Steve Garvey’s homer in Game Two of the 1984 NLCS, and I have to agree, I totally blew that one. But in my defense, I do like to write the name “Kurt Bevacqua.”

I think that’s it.  On everything else I believe that there are either (a) some disagreements but not so great to make me change my mind; or (b) no disagreement whatsoever.

Chris Archer could lose his 20th game tonight

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10:  Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on from the mound after surrendering a home run in the sixth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 10, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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That’s a pretty negative way to put a headline, but the fact is, a starting pitcher losing 20 games is a rare and notable feat these days. But Tampa Bay Rays starter Chris Archer could pull it off against the White Sox this evening. He’s 8-19 with a 4.02 ERA in 194.2 innings across 32 starts in 2016.

That’s a big fall from 2015, when he was considered one of the rising aces in the game. Archer was an All-Star last year, and finished fifth in the Cy Young voting, finishing fifth in pitcher WAR, sixth in ERA, second in strikeouts, second in strikeouts per nine innings, fourth in fielding independent pitching and allowing the fourth lowest number of hits per nine innings pitched among AL starters.

To be fair, he still should be considered one of the best pitchers in the game. Yes, it has been a bad year for Archer, but he still strikes out a lot of guys. Overall, it takes a pretty good pitcher to lose 20 games in the big leagues. You don’t get the opportunities to do such a dubious thing unless you’re healthy and you have the confidence of your manager to take the ball every fifth day. And to be fair to Archer, he’s had bad defense and awful run support this year. Make no mistake, he has pitched worse than he did a year ago, but not so much worse that he deserves to reach a milestone no one has reached since 2003.

The guy who did that in 2003: Mike Maroth of a 119-loss Tigers team. Maroth won nine games that year and now gets referenced every time someone approaches 20 losses. If Archer avoids his 20th loss, he might match Maroth’s 2003 win total himself tonight. If not, well, everyone will cite Archer’s name, and not Maroth’s, whenever someone get to 19 losses in a season.

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 28:  Mark Teixeira #25 of the New York Yankees celebrates his game winning ninth inning grand slam home run against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on September 28, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 5, Red Sox 3: Congratulations to the Red Sox, I guess. They won the AL East thanks to the Blue Jays loss while this game was still going on, but they were deprived of the right to woop and holler on the field in New York given Mark Teixeira‘s stunning walkoff grand slam with two outs in the ninth. The Yankees were down 3-0 heading into the inning. The Yankees staved off elimination for another night. It will come, but in the meantime this was their 82nd win, ensuring a winning season at the very least.

Orioles 3, Blue Jays 2Hyun Soo Kim hit a ninth inning pinch hit homer which gave the Orioles a 3-2 lead and, eventually, 3-2 win over the Blue Jays. It simultaneously gave the Red Sox the American League East. Not too bad. Unless you’re a Jays fan, that is. For the O’s, it kept them a game ahead of the Tigers in the Wild Card and pulled them to within a game behind Toronto for the top slot.

Tigers 6, Indians 3: The Tigers likewise keep pace with Baltimore, thanks to a tiebreaking three-run homer from Miguel Caberea moments before the game was stopped on a very rainy night in Detroit. It ended up being shortened to a five inning affair. There was an earlier stoppage of 45 minutes before the 72 minute delay turned into the end of the game. If the Indians hadn’t already clinched the Central I’m guessing they’d be pissed about this, but at least this way they got to go back to the hotel and relax.

Mariners 12, Astros 4: Robinson Cano hit a three-run homer in the first inning and the M’s added four more before the Astros scored their first run, making this one a breeze. The pile on led to a win which kept Seattle two games behind Baltimore for the second Wild Card slot.

Mets 5, Marlins 2: Jay Bruce and James Loney homered as the Mets give themselves a one and a half game lead over San Francisco for the NL’s top wild card spot. The Marlins’ pregame routine for this one was Jose Fernandez’s funeral, so it’s understandable if their heads weren’t completely in this one.

Reds 2, Cardinals 1: Cardinal-killer Anthony DeSclafani allowed only one run over six innings as Adam Duvall‘s two run single in the third holds up. DeSclafani is 4-1 with a 2.13 ERA against St. Louis in his young career. He’s 15-19 against everyone else.

Rockies 2, Giants 0: The Rockies, paced by Tyler Chatwood‘s eight scoreless innings, shut out the Giants. Nolan Arenado singled in a run in the fourth and Gerardo Parra singled in one in the seventh. Jeff Samardzija struck out 11 while pitching into the seventh. If needed, he’ll pitch in a Wild Card tiebreaker on Monday.

Pirates 8, Cubs 4: John Jaso hit for the cycle. It was the first cycle for a Pirates hitter since Daryle Ward did it in 2004. Remember Daryle Ward? Meanwhile, Jake Arrieta went five innings and allowed 10 hits and seven runs in his worst start of the year.

Braves 12, Phillies 2Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 30 games, Matt Kemp hit a two-run homer and Mike Foltynewicz pitched two-hit ball over five innings. The Braves’ second half has been pretty darn good.

Royals 5, Twins 2: The Red Sox lost, but won the AL East anyway. The Royal won, but were officially eliminated from the postseason. Oh well. The Twins lost their 10th game in their last 11. That ties the record for the most losses since the franchise moved to Minnesota. One more loss and they’ll top the 1982 club for this grand honor. Gary Ward was the offensive star of that team. No one remembers Gary Ward, do they?

Diamondbacks 3, Nationals 0: Another rain-shortened game, this one lasting through the top of the sixth. The Nats have lost seven of 11. Between that and all of their injuries, they have to be the division winner with the least amount of confidence heading into the playoffs.

Rangers 8, Brewers 5: Texas was down 5-4 heading into the bottom the eighth but rallied for four. Elvis Andrus singled in run to tie it and then Carlos Gomez hit a three-run homer to give the Rangers the game. It was the second night in a row Gomez hit a three-run shot. In all, he has eight homers and 24 RBI in 31 games since joining the Rangers after being released by Houston.

White Sox 1, Rays 0: Miguel Gonzalez pitched a three-hit shutout into the ninth inning but was pulled when he put a runner on his pitch count went over 100 in what is a meaningless game. His workload was actually higher, as he threw a lot of warmup pitches during a rain delay. Todd Frazier‘ 40th homer was the game’s only scoring. Overall he’s hitting .228/.307/.474.  Statistically this has to be one of the worst 40-homer seasons ever, right?

Angels 8, Athletics 6: A win is nice, but having Mike Trout get hit with a pitch late in the game which will cause him to have tests on his shoulder isn’t the best news. Kole Calhoun homered as the Angels sweep the A’s.

Padres 6, Dodgers 5: Padres rookie outfielder Hunter Renfroe hit a homer onto the roof of the Western Metal Supply Building in right field at Petco Park. He’s the first one to ever do that in the park’s history. Not bad. Now the Padres have something to lead the 2016 highlight reel anyway. Renfroe was the PCL MVP this year and has hit four home runs and drove in 12 in the seven games since he’s been called up.