It didn’t take Andy Pettitte long to find his mojo. He struck out nine in eight scoreless innings Friday as the Yankees beat the Reds 4-0 in the second start of his comeback.
The Reds’ dysfunctional offense was no better tonight with designated hitter Ryan Ludwick batting in Bronson Arroyo’s place. Manager Dusty Baker’s switch putting Zack Cozart in the leadoff spot last month has produced disastrous results, yet he remains too stubborn to try something new. Cozart went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts tonight. The top five hitters in the Cincinnati lineup were a combined 1-for-15 with 10 strikeouts.
Pettitte excelled from the start tonight, just as he did five days ago against the Mariners. This time, he was able to keep it going through the middle innings. All four hits he allowed were singles, and he struck out just one. Unfortunately, the strikeouts did add to his pitch count, and at 115 pitches after eight, he wasn’t given the chance to go for his first shutout (or complete game of any type) since 2006. It was the first time since July 8, 2008 against the Rays that he finished an outing with eight scoreless innings.
Pettitte is expected to face the Royals next Wednesday in his third start back. Just like the first two, it will come at home in Yankee Stadium.
Major League Baseball just announced the details for the ceremonial and off-field stuff in connection with Games 1 and 2 of the World Series. The one most people were wondering about was the ceremonial first pitch. Sorry, Charlie Sheen fans. Sorry fans of “Major League” in general. Two real baseball stars are handing first pitch duties: Kenny Lofton before Game 1, Carlos Baerga for Game 2.
Lofton needs no introduction. He should be a Hall of Famer but is criminally overlooked, perhaps because he bounced around to a lot of different clubs. He made his name in Cleveland, however, doing three separate tours with the Indians, leading the AL in stolen bases for five straight years early in his career and putting up a line of .300/.375/.426 in ten seasons on the shores of Lake Erie.
Baerga played for the Tribe between 1990 and 1996 and was, for a time, quite the superstar, even if people don’t talk about him much anymore. His career fell off pretty quickly in that way that often happens for second basemen and/or stars who end up on the Mets, but there was a time when he was perhaps the biggest star on some excellent Indians teams. People had “will Carlos Baerga be a Hall of Famer?” conversations and stuff. The mid-90s were a special time.
Beyond the first pitches, the National Anthem will be sung by Rachel Platten before Game 1 and by the group Locash before Game 2. As I am an old man out of touch with most things, I have no idea who they are, but I am sure their fans are passionate and their renditions of the Anthem will be fine and non-controversial. Fox, MLB and the folks at major record labels are pretty good about that sort of thing and everyone will be especially vigilant in light of what happened with that Canadian tenors group at the All-Star Game. If nothing else, I bet you pick up the check for the Anthem performance after the song, and not before these days.
I realize everyone is super excited about the Cubs being in the World Series for the first time since 1945, with the chance to win it for the first time since 1908. But you’d think folks would remember that it’s just the Cubs — and not Chicago as a whole — who have been away from the Fall Classic for so long.
I know their recent struggles makes it seem like a long, long time ago, but the White Sox won the World Series in 2005. They were in the World Series in 1959 too. You wouldn’t know that, though, if you looked at some prominent media outlets:
I understand the impulse to tell the “a whole city is coming together!” story every time stuff like this happens, but there are a lot of White Sox fans in Chicago. A good number of them don’t give a crap about the Cubs. Many even resent them for being the glory franchise in the city in the eyes of many. They certainly don’t feel like there’s a championship drought afoot, and I imagine they’re somewhat cranky about having their team’s glory plastered over like this.