Battlestar Galactica

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 9, Rockies 1: How Jair Jurrjens continues to win — this was his 12th win — and win impressively without striking out a crap ton of dudes is one of the more interesting little things going on so far this year. How the Braves might do if they continue to score some runs to go with that pitching staff could be one of the more interesting little things that could go on going forward. What’s more interesting is the reason I didn’t watch this one: I started watching “Battlestar Galactica” on Netflix last night.  I got through all three hours of the opening miniseries and now I have 74 (or thereabouts) episodes to watch while on the treadmill in the morning.  That should pretty much guarantee that I drop Cylon references and the word “frak” in every other ATH for the next two or three of months, so like, be warned.

Reds 9, Cardinals 8: A long game — 13 innings and over four hours of playing time — thanks in part to the Reds blowing an eight run lead they held in the fifth inning. Pujols was 1 for 6 in his return from his arm being severed by Count Dooku or whatever the hell happened to him.

Mets 5, Dodgers 3: Fourth win in a row for the Mets.  I understand that my cohort Aaron Gleeman, along with many other members of the SABR Convention crew, were at this game.  Now that I know that they have willingly given money to Frank McCourt, however, they’re all pretty much dead to me. Sorry guys.

Astros 8, Pirates 2: See, the Pirates have to lose occasionally, lest all of us national people run out of things to say about them other than “golly gee, how neat it is that the Pirates are winning!”  Now we actually have to consider them like they’re a regular baseball team or something and not some novelty.  I’ll start doing that tomorrow. I still have a few more golly gees in my system.

Indians 5, Yankees 3:  Justin Masterson had eight scoreless innings before the Tribe bullpen decided to make it interesting. Didn’t matter though. And Jetes got a hit. Here’s hoping he gets to 3,000 on Friday night when I’m out having dinner and drinks with my wife and a friend of ours from out of town, because if that happens it’s D.J.’s task to write up the big “3,000th hit” post.

Nationals 5, Cubs 4: The first eight runs of the game came on homers. The last and deciding run of the game came on a suicide squeeze by Wilson Ramos with Mike Morse running.  There is something glorious about all of that. It’s like, “we go all the way or we frakkin’ forget it. None of this in-between stuff for us!”

Marlins 7, Phillies 6: Mike Stanton with the walkoff bomb in the 10th. Charlie Manuel violated a pretty hard and fast baseball rule here: “never call on sucky, awful relievers like Danys Baez on the road in an extra inning game.” Controversial, sure, because a game can be blown at any time, not just when you have a lead to protect, but it’s unwritten, plain as day, in the unwritten rule book.

Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 4: Rickey Romero got roughed up for six runs on nine hits in four and a third. Three knocked in for Ellsbury.

Athletics 2, Mariners 0: Guillermo Moscoso with seven two-hit shutout innings and Scott Sizemore with all of the offense for the A’s. Another home run for him. I guess the AL West just agrees with him. Maybe it’s those 2:12 games. They help sharpen the senses or something.

Brewers 3, Diamondbacks 1: Casey McGehee hit a three-run pinch hit homer. After the game, the slumping McGehee said “It definitely felt like a huge weight being lifted off my shoulder.”  The fact that my first thought upon reading that was “yeah, but if you go back to sucking tomorrow, it’s gonna feel like the cruel fates have thrown that weight back on your shoulder with some extra pounds added on to taunt you” is why I never really meshed well with teammates during my youthful forays into competitive sports.  Having pessimists around just really kills team chemistry.

Tigers 5, Angels 4: Detroit fought back from a 3-0 hole in order to avert the sweep. In other news, Joe West worked the plate and no one was ejected.

Royals 4, White Sox 1: Bruce Chen was effective and Edwin Jackson turned in one of his patented 122-pitch blah-bombs, which those of us who happen to watch a lot of AL Central games have grown used to over the past few years. When he’s on he’s electric. When he’s not, there aren’t a lot of pitchers who are harder to watch.

Rays 12, Twins 5: Three hits and four RBI for Evan Longoria. He’s been slumping, but he has some perspective about it all: “There’s nothing I can really do to control the outcome of a ball put in play.”  Hey Evan, Voros McCracken, my personal human shield when I’m in the greater Phoenix area, called and he says you’re stealing his bit.

Rangers 13, Orioles 5: That was a bloodbath. And it was 100 degrees in Arlington at game time too. Gonna go out on a limb here and say that those two things combined for this being the Orioles’ least-pleasant game all year.

Giants 6, Padres 5: A big night on a long night for Nate Schierholtz, who led off the bottom of the 14th with a walkoff homer. This went with his two-run homer in the fourth inning. Being such a long game and taking place on the west coast, I assume this ended, like, ten minutes ago.

Jeremy Giambi vs. David Ortiz

jeremy-giambi
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The 2002 Red Sox won 93 games, only to finish 10 games behind the Yankees in the AL West and six back of the lone wild card. They named Theo Epstein the GM that November and allowed him to begin reshaping the team, then led by Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez.

The Red Sox didn’t make any big splashes that winter. Their biggest free agent signing was Ramiro Mendoza, who got $6.5 million for two years. They also signed Mike Timlin and Bill Mueller (who played behind Shea Hillenbrand at third initially). They traded for Todd Walker. They stole Bronson Arroyo off waivers.

What Epstein did totally overhaul was a first base-DH situation that held the team back the previous season. 2002 trade deadline pickup Cliff Floyd exited in free agency, as did disappointments Tony Clark and Jose Offerman.

Brought in was a three-headed monster of underappreciated, high-OBP, Moneyball-type players. First, the Red Sox traded Josh Hancock to the Phillies for Jeremy Giambi, who had just hit .244/.435/.538 in 156 at-bats after coming over from the A’s at midseason. He hit .272/.402/.475 in 684 at-bats total between 2001 and 2002, and he looked like he was still very much in his prime at age 28.

The day after the Giambi trade, the Twins made the move to release David Ortiz. No one pounced, though, and Ortiz remained unsigned for a month before joining the Boston on a one-year, $1.25 million contract. Ortiz, who was entering his age-27 season, hit .272/.339/.500 in 412 at-bats for the Twins in 2002.

While that was going on, the Red Sox were working to bring in Kevin Millar for first base. Millar hit .306/.366/.509 in 438 at-bats for the Marlins in 2002 and was even better the previous season, but he was a poor outfielder and third baseman and the team already had Derrek Lee at first base. So, the Marlins, rather than trade Millar for a player, sold him to Japan for some much-preferred cash. Millar, not realizing that he was a desired commodity around the league, went along with the plan. That’s when the Red Sox broke an unwritten rule and claimed Millar off waivers. It turned into a long ordeal, but the Red Sox were finally able to land Millar in February by buying him from the Marlins.

I remember at the time being most excited about the Giambi acquisition. He couldn’t play defense and he had gotten himself exiled by the A’s for some transgression the previous year, but he looked like an awesome offensive force with his terrific power and ridiculous walk rate. Ortiz was certainly worth taking the chance on, too, but I thought Giambi would be better and leave Ortiz with little to do.

Indeed, Giambi started over Ortiz on Opening Day. However, both got off to lousy starts and Giambi’s playing time quickly diminished. Giambi finished April at .125/.288/.292 in 60 plate appearances, starting only once in the final week of the month. Ortiz came in at .212/.311/.346 in 61 plate appearances.

Both players found their strokes at the beginning of May. For Giambi, though, it amounted to all of about two weeks of success. He peaked with an .828 OPS on May 16. Ortiz’s build was slower, but it lasted. He had a .942 OPS in May, a .961 OPS in June, a .987 OPS in July and a 1.097 OPS in August before plummeting all of the way to .977 in September. He finished 5th in the AL MVP balloting despite playing about half the time the first two months.

Giambi, finding himself more starved for at-bats after Ortiz heated up, landed on the DL in late June with a bad shoulder. At the time, it looked like it might have been a made-up injury to get him playing time in the minors for a spell. It wasn’t. He returned a few weeks later, but he still wasn’t right. He made his last appearance on Aug. 1, going 0-for-3 against the Orioles. He landed back on the DL and then underwent surgery to repair damage in his labrum and rotator cuff.

As it turned out, Giambi never played in the majors again. As he was trying to come back from the shoulder surgery the next spring, he developed back problems. He played in 17 minor league games with the Dodgers in 2004 and nine with the White Sox in 2005. That was it for him, and he was done at 30 years old. In early 2005, he admitted to using BALCO-provided steroids and said that he regretted it. The strength training likely played roles in both his emergence and his downfall, given the breakdown of his body.

Things worked out a little differently for Ortiz…

Ortiz through 2002 (age 26): .266/.348/.461, 108 OPS+ in 1,693 PA
Giambi through 2002 (age 27): .269/.381/.437, 114 OPS+ in 1,549 PA

Ortiz after 2002: .290/.386/.570, 148 OPS+ in 8,387 PA
Giambi after 2002: .197/.342/.354, 81 OPS+ in 156 PA

And those 2003 Red Sox? Well, they won 95 games, which was good enough for the wild card this time. Still, they lost to the Yankees in seven games in the ALCS. They were still one year away.

Jose Fernandez’s high school jersey was returned

MIAMI, FL - JULY 09:  Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Marlins Park on July 9, 2015 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Yesterday it was reported that someone stole Jose Fernandez’s high school jersey, which had been hanging in the Alsonso High School dugout in Tampa for a vigil. That was pretty vile stuff indeed.

Thankfully, however, someone’s conscience got the best of them: the jersey has been returned. School officials say that a family found a large envelope outside of the high school with the words “Jose’s jersey” written on it. They took the envelope into to the school this morning and the jersey was found inside.

Bad form taking it, whoever you are, but in most cases it’s never too late to make a better decision and fix your mistakes.