Orioles’ pitcher Tommy Hunter didn’t have a great outing last night. But unlike some guys, he was not content to either hide from the media or to hide behind cliches about “not making my pitches.”
Nope, he had a pretty specific opinion of one of the pitches he left out over the plate for A.J. Pierzynski:
“Well, the one today was just a horsesh*t pitch in a horsesh*t spot. It was just horsesh*t. I don’t know how else to say it. It was a ball right down the middle of the plate that any big league hitter would be able to do that. I’m not taking anything away from Pierzynski. He put a good swing on it. Good for him. Tip your cap. But it was horsesh*t on my part.”
Some things in baseball change a lot. But then some things don’t. Guys have been calling stuff “horse sh**” in the game forever, even though you don’t often hear that term spoken by civilians. I’m kind of glad they still do, because it’s a great term.
But it’s a vexing one for me as a writer. Every fiber of my being wants to make it two words rather than a compound, but when I consulted Twitter on the matter the majority sentiment was that it should be one word (two if referring to actual equine feces as opposed to using it in the adjective form). The strongest dissenter was Old Hoss Radbourn, who has good reasons for making it two words, but he does the same thing to “base ball” and that’s troubling for me.
Oh well. I’ll let you guys decide. Henceforth, is it “horsesh*t” or “horse sh*t?” I will let the majority of the readership rule. Because, after all, I write this horsesh*t for you guys.
The magic number to clinch a wild card spot is still 1, but the Mets have at least secured a wild card tie after defeating the Phillies 5-1 on Friday night.
Jay Bruce powered the offensive drive, going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles and his 33rd home run of the season, ripped from an Alec Asher fastball in the seventh inning. On the mound, right-hander Robert Gsellman limited the Phillies to seven hits and one run over six frames, striking out seven batters in his eighth appearance of the year. Behind him, a cadre of Mets relievers turned out three scoreless innings to preserve the lead and anchor the Mets in the wild card standings.
The Cardinals aren’t out of the race quite yet, and can still force a tiebreaker with the Mets if they manage to win the remainder of their games this weekend and the Mets lose the rest of theirs. Any other scenario will ensure the Mets’ exclusive rights to a wild card spot next week. While a wild card clinch is unlikely to happen tonight, with St. Louis leading Pittsburgh 7-0 through 7.5 innings and just entering a rain delay, it remains a distinct possibility over these next two days.
In a season that boasts the likes of Max Scherzer (he of the 20-strikeout masterpiece) and Clayton Kershaw (he of nine separate games with at least 10 strikeouts), there hasn’t been anyone who’s done exactly what Carlos Rodon did this week.
During Friday’s series opener against the Twins, Rodon retired seven consecutive batters via strikeout. His streak — and the beginnings of a perfect game, if you can call it that after just 2 ⅓ frames — ended on a Logan Schafer double that found right field well before Rodon managed to put up two strikes. With seven consecutive strikeouts, Rodon became the first American League pitcher to strike out seven batters to start a game since right-hander Joe Cowley did it for the Sox back in 1986. Had Schafer whiffed on a couple more fastballs, Rodon would have tied Mets’ starter Jacob deGrom for most strikeouts to start a game in major league history.
Not only did Rodon manage to quell the first seven batters in Minnesota’s lineup, but he extended his strikeout streak to 10 consecutive batters dating back through his last start against the Cleveland Indians. Per MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger, the last major league pitcher to do so was reliever Eric Gagne, who accomplished the feat for the 2003 Dodgers during his first and only Cy Young Award-winning season.
Any way you slice it, this is an impressive look: