Vin Scully: “and that’s the story of Mike Matheny and the bird poop”

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Yes, Vin Scully is good at describing the game action, but it’s not like he’s Al Michaels “Do you believe in miracles!” intense or anything. He has had a ton of great and dramatic moments, of course, but what sets him apart is how easy and pleasant he is to listen to over the long haul of a game and a season.

His thing is telling stories. That’s key to his flow. You’re watching a three hour game and your attention simply can’t be on the X’s and O’s all the time — and the less said about the “talking to hear myself talk” business of color commentators the better — so Scully provides a respite every inning or so with some bit of background on a player or manager. An anecdote or an obscure fact or two, seamlessly woven into his play-by-play. “Uggla” means “owl” in Swedish, for example. Or this player likes to play the sousaphone. When people try to describe how Vin Scully is relaxing to listen to, the stories are essential to that.

They’re not all beautiful gems, of course. Heck, I’d say most of them aren’t. They’re goofy a heck of a lot of the time and if anyone other than Scully was telling them you’d probably have a lot of “um, oookaaay” sort of reactions. Mostly because the story teller would laugh at himself or be self conscious about it.

For example, can you imagine anyone telling you a story that contained the line “and then a pigeon defecated directly on his head” without guffawing and losing his forward storytelling momentum? I don’t think anyone but Vin Scully could. And that’s what he did last night, describing how a bird crapping on Mike Matheny’s head in Ann Arbor one fine morning helped him decide to stay in school:

Alex Wilson broke his leg on a 103-MPH comebacker

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This one is brutal. Tigers’ right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was diagnosed with a broken leg after taking a blistering 103.8-MPH line drive off of his right leg during Saturday’s game against the Twins. According to the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky, it’s a non-displaced fibular fracture, but will still warrant an extended recovery period and signal the end of Wilson’s season.

Wilson replaced Drew VerHagen to start the eighth inning and worked a full count against Joe Mauer. Mauer roped an 93.3-MPH fastball back up the middle, where it struck the pitcher on his right calf. While Mauer took first base, Wilson got to his feet and tried to toss a warm-up pitch, but was in too much pain to continue and had to be helped off the field.

Even in a season that isn’t going anywhere in particular, this isn’t how you want it to end. The Tigers have yet to announce a recovery timetable for the 30-year-old reliever, but he won’t return to the mound until 2018. He exited Saturday’s outing with a 4.35 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 over 60 innings.

The Tigers currently trail the Twins 10-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Yankees defeat Blue Jays to clinch postseason spot

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The Yankees guaranteed their place in the postseason with a 5-1 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday. Sonny Gray led the charge against their division rivals, clinching his 10th win of the season with six innings of four-hit, one-run, four-strikeout ball.

Gray worked into a little trouble in the first inning, putting runners in scoring position after Josh Donaldson drew a four-pitch walk and Justin Smoak advanced him with a single. The Yankees’ ace induced two quick outs to end the threat, but was overpowered by a Teoscar Hernandez home run in the third inning, the rookie’s fourth blast of the season:

Thankfully for the Yankees, that was the only run that slipped through the cracks. Gray finished the remainder of his outing with two hits and two walks and was backed by another three scoreless innings from the bullpen. Greg Bird supplied the go-ahead run with a three-RBI shot in the fifth inning, plating Chase Headley and Starlin Castro to give the Yankees their first lead of the night.

Todd Frazier tacked on another solo homer in the eighth, while Starlin Castro returned in the ninth to cap the win with an RBI single. Aroldis Chapman did the rest, wielding just 10 pitches to get three straight outs from Kendrys Morales, Kevin Pillar and Rob Refsnyder.

Following Saturday’s win, the Yankees have at least secured one wild card berth, though they’re not out of the division race just yet. They still sit a full four games back of first place in the AL East, with eight games left to play.