And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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I went to Detroit over the weekend where I took in Saturday and Sunday’s Tigers-White Sox games. Such a wonderful time. Cool temperatures, no humidity, good company, good pitching, good food, good beer. It’s really all you could want.

As I watched these games and hung around a city that, no matter what else you can say about it, is a lot of fun and loves baseball, I occasionally checked in on Twitter and baseball blogs to see what sort of news was happening. Observed: the closer you are to real baseball and the more fun you’re having while watching it, the less any of that Alex Rodriguez and Biogenesis stuff matters. Even in Detroit, fans were 100% able to (a) talk about that news as intelligent baseball fans might; while (b) cheering for Jhonny Peralta like mad. It’s not either/or. That stuff doesn’t cast a shadow on the team or the season or anything. It’s just something happening.

Baseball is also happening. And it totally trumps that noise. Don’t let anyone wringing their hands over the Biogenesis stuff today and on for the next few weeks tell you differently. Anyway: this happened too:

Tigers 3, White Sox 2: Jim Leyland had the junior varsity in the lineup to start things — Andy Dirks and Don Kelly batting two and three — but once it got to the 12th inning Leyland had Miguel Cabrera (pinch hit single) and Torii Hunter (pinch hit to enter the game in the tenth and a game-winning single in his second at bat) bail the kids out. The White Sox ended their road trip 0-7 and they’ve lost ten in a row overall. Which, eww.

Blue Jays 6, Angels 5: Two in the eighth and two in the ninth help Toronto come back and avoid a sweep. The AP game story lead off by saying “The Toronto Blue Jays avoided a four-game sweep the hard way.” I agree that coming back late is a hard way, but there are harder ways to do it. For example, winning by forfeit when your manager realizes that the other team’s starting pitcher is actually one kid riding on another kid’s shoulders wearing an overcoat, thereby revealing that the other team has violated roster rules is extraordinarily difficult to pull off. La Russa did that once. No one else.

Dodgers 1, Cubs 0: You on point Fife? All the time, Tip. You on point Fife? All the time, Tip. You on point Fife? All the time, Tip. Well then grab the horsehide and let your pitch rip (Stephen Fife: 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 5K, weighs a buck 150, 36 waist). Also, WTF is up with the caption on this photo?

Cardinals 15, Reds 2: Well, the Cardinals offense seems to be doing better. They scored 13, 13 and 15 runs in three of their last four games, respectively. Now, after a tough road trip that took them through Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, they have one more tough assignment: the Dodgers at home.

Red Sox 4, Diamondbacks 0: Felix Doubront continues his remarkable consistency, shutting out the Dbacks for seven innings and making his 15th straight start in which he has given up three runs or fewer.

Royals 6, Mets 2: The Royals had a three-run fifth inning in which Marlon Byrd misplayed not one but two balls due to the sun. After the game Byrd said “I need to get better with sun balls.”  I wish the reporter he was talking to shot back with “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell. — C. S. Lewis,” but I suppose that’s too much to ask of our decrepit educational system.

Mariners 3, Orioles 2:  Henry Blanco hit a two-run homer in the seventh to help the M’s to a win. Also: Henry Blanco is still alive and is playing baseball and everything. Kids: forget trying to perfect a curve ball. Forget trying to be a shortstop. Learn how to be a backup catcher and you’ll never be unemployed in your life.

Indians 2, Marlins 0: Scott Kazmir and three relievers combine for a shutout. It was the Indians’ major league-best 15th shutout this season. It was Cleveland’s 10th win in 11 games. Now they have four big ones against Detroit, trailing them by three games.

Rays 4, Giants 3: Wil Myers homered and the Rays’ bullpen tossed four and a third scoreless innings after Fauxsto Carmona struggled.

Pirates 5, Rockies 1: A.J. Burnett went the distance and struck out nine. Russell Martin hit a three-run homer. Some Yankees fan somewhere is trying to craft some argument about how what they’re doing matters less because they’re on the Pirates.

Twins 3, Astros 2: Twins sweep the Astros.  It was their first sweep and is their first three-game winning streak in over a month.

Brewers 8, Nationals 5: Down 4-1 in the sixth the Brewers put up a five-spot.  Jeff Bianchi’s bloop single over a drawn-in infield put Milwaukee ahead. He also had a squeeze bunt in the game. It was definitely a nice day for backup catchers.

Rangers 4, Athletics 0: Derek Holland tossed eight shutout innings with ten strikeouts. Ron Washington became the Rangers’ winningest manager of all time with this win. Which, honestly, I figured had happened a year or two ago, but I guess Johnny Oates was there longer than I realized. UPDATE: Or make that Bobby Valentine. Whatever.

Padres 6, Yankees 3: Yankees third basemen went 1 for 5. The lede for all game stories tomorrow should be “Thank God A-Rod is back!” But I figure they won’t be.

Braves 4, Phillies 1: Ten straight for the Bravos. Chris Johnson with a couple of RBI. Dude is batting .346. Not bad for a throw-in in the Justin Upton deal.

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.