And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 2, Blue Jays 0: Tim Hudson allowed only two hits in eight innings and provided all of the Braves’ offense with a two-run homer. That’s not helping one’s own cause, that’s being a one man force eh, like Charlton Heston in Omega Man. You ever see it? Beauty.

Dodgers 4, Tigers 0: Clayton Kershaw made the Tigers feel like their opponents usually feel when Justin Verlander is pitching (CG, SHO, 2 H, 11K). And like Tim Hudson, he had two RBI of his own.  Which is great, because I got into a little “the DH is awful” argument on Twitter yesterday, and every response back consisted of “yeah, because it’s soooo wonderful to watch pitchers strike out all the time” rebop.  Tell me that Hudson and Kershaw driving in runs on nights where they dominated hitters wasn’t nifty as all get-out. And if your response is “well, that rarely happens,” I’ll direct you to books which set forth arguments about how value is inherently a function of an item’s rarity.

Yankees 5, Reds 3: Given that the Yankees jumped out for four runs in the first off Travis Wood, it was not much of a contest. Until the ninth anyway, when Joe Girardi had to use three pitchers — including Mariano Rivera — to nail down what began as a 5-1 lead. Well, he went with three pitchers. Whether he really had to use three is doubtful, given that he pulled Luis Ayala after he faced one batter and gave up a single and then pulled Boone Logan after he faced one batter and hit him.  Neither of those guys could have rallied to protect a four-run lead? You had to use Mo there? Whatever, Joe.

Orioles 8, Pirates 3:  Nick Markakis had three hits and Jake Arrieta won his ninth. Arrieta got a hit too, so viva interleague play.  His counterpart, Charlie Morton, gave up six runs on eight hits in two innings (plus an unearned run). For the month of June he’s 2-2 with an 8.50 ERA, so yeah, I think we can drop those Roy Halladay comparisons any time now.

Rockies 8, Indians 7:  Jason Giambi just killed a ball off Fausto Carmona in the sixth inning. Reader Brandon Fischer tweeted me this during the game: “Is there a number one starting pitcher worst than Fausto Carmona in the Majors right now?”  Hurm. Hard to limit it to merely “number one starting pitchers,” as Fausto has the worst ERA among all qualifying starters in baseball at the moment.

Cubs 6, White Sox 3: Starlin Castro brought the Cubs back from a 3-0 deficit via an RBI single and a homer and then Carlos Pena iced it with a three run homer. Strong outing for Carlos Zambrano who was shaky in the first inning but then sucked it up and threw 115 pitches over eight innings.

Red Sox 14, Padres 5: Boston is just toying with people right now. It was tied 3-3 before the Sox broke out for a a ten run inning in the seventh. Adrian Gonzalez now has 67 RBI, knocking in three against his old mates. And he’s hitting .353. If you’re the Padres it’s like going to a party, seeing your ex-girlfriend there, noticing that she looks amazingly hot and then watching as she does a freakin’ poll dance in front of everyone, and then tells you that you need to leave the room now.

Rangers 8, Astros 3: It was 7-0 by the end of three and, with all due respect, this isn’t exactly a dangerous Astros team that will shut you down and then strike for the comeback, so that was that. Josh Hamilton hit a two-run triple and Adrian Beltre had two RBI singles. The Astros are 20 games under .500. At least that’s how we commonly refer to it. Fact is, though, that if the results of ten of their games were reversed, they’d be at .500, so how can they be “20 games under .500?”  Hmm. I’ll have to ponder that one a bit.

Rays 8, Brewers 4: Six scoreless innings for Jeff Niemann, who was later aided by a four-run seventh inning and an Evan Longoria three-run homer in the eighth.  It probably ended up not mattering, but Nyjer Morgan was hit by a pitch when it was a 1-0 game, but ordered back to the box by umpire Bob Davidson who claimed he stuck his elbow out, trying to force the contact. Which was total baloney-fueled God-complex stuff on Davidson’s part and which led to manager Ron Roenicke and hitting coach Dale Sveum getting ejected.

Angels 2, Marlins 1: The Jack McKeon era — Mark II — begins dubiously. Jered Weaver gave up the lone run in seven innings. So too did Anibal Sanchez, but his pen allowed a second run to score in the eighth. The benched Hanley Ramirez did manage a pinch hitting appearance. This was the 11th straight loss in a one-run game for the Feesh.

It’s the tenth anniversary of the biggest rout in baseball history

Associated Press
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Ten years ago today the Rangers and the Orioles squared off at Camden Yards. The Orioles built a 3-0 lead after three innings and then all hell broke loose.

The Rangers scored thirty (30!) unanswered runs via a five-spot in the fourth, a nine-spot in the sixth, a ten-spot in the eighth and a six-spot in the ninth. That was . . . a lot of spots.

Two Rangers players — Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vazquez — hit two homers and drove in seven runs a piece. The best part: they were the eighth and ninth hitters in the lineup. There was plenty of offense to go around, however as David Murphy went 5-for-7 and scored five times. Travis Metcalf hit a pinch-hit grand slam. Marlon Byrd drove in four. It was a bloodbath, with Texas rattling out 29 hits and walking eight times.

On the Orioles side of things, Daniel Cabrera took the loss, giving up six runs on nine hits in five innings. That’s not a terribly unusual line for a bad day at the office for a pitcher — someone will probably get beat up like that in the next week or so — but the Orioles’ relievers really added to the party. Brian Burres was the first victim, allowing eight runs on eight hits in only two-thirds of an inning. Rob Bell gave up seven in an inning and a third. Paul Shuey wore the rest of it, allowing nine runs on seven hits over the final two.

The best part of the insanely busy box score, however, was not from any of the Orioles pitchers or any of the Rangers hitters. Nope, it was from a Rangers relief pitcher named Wes Littleton. You probably don’t remember him, as he only pitched in 80 games and never appeared in the big leagues after 2008. But on this day — the day of the biggest blowout in baseball history — Wes Littleton notched a save. From Baseball-Reference.com:

Three innings and 43 pitches is a lot of work for a reliever and, per the rules, it’s a save, regardless of the margin when he entered the game. Still, this was not exactly a game that was ever in jeopardy.

When it went down, way back on August 22, 2007, it inspired me to write a post at my old, defunct independent baseball blog, Shysterball, arguing about how to change the save rule. Read it if you want, but know that (1) no one has ever paid attention to such proposals in baseball, even if such proposals are frequently offered; and (2) the hypothetical examples I use to illustrate the point involve an effective Joba Chamberlain and Joe Torre’s said use of him, which tells you just how long ago this really was.

Oh, one final bit: this massacre — the kind of game that the Orioles likely wanted to leave, go back home and go to sleep afterward — was only the first game of a doubleheader. Yep, they had to strap it on and play again, with the game starting at 9PM Eastern time. Baltimore lost that one too, 9-7, concluding what must have been one of the longest days any of the players involved had ever had at the office, both figuratively and literally.

Hall of Fame baseball announcer Rafael ‘Felo’ Ramirez dies

Associated Press
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MIAMI (AP) Rafael “Felo” Ramirez, a Hall of Fame baseball radio broadcaster who was the signature voice for millions of Spanish-speaking sports fans over three decades, has died. He was 94.

The Miami Marlins announced Ramirez’ death Tuesday.

Ramirez, who died Monday night, began his broadcasting career in Cuba in 1945 before calling 31 All-Star games and World Series in Spanish. He was the Marlins Spanish-language announcer since their inaugural season in 1993 and was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2001.

He was known for an expressive, yet low-key style and his signature strike call of “Essstrike.”

Several Spanish-language broadcasters, including Amury Pi-Gonzanez of the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants, have admitted to emulating his style.