Harry How/Getty Images

Check out the Braves’ abysmal third inning last night set to “Yakety Sax”

11 Comments

The Braves had a forgettable bottom of the third inning on Tuesday night against the Angels. Starter Bartolo Colon and his defense helped the Angels score nine runs — the only runs they would score — to take a 9-2 lead.

The nightmare started when Juan Graterol singled up the middle after shortstop Dansby Swanson whiffed on a dive attempt. After Eric Young, Jr. hit into a fielder’s choice, Colon made a pickoff throw to first base with Kole Calhoun batting. First baseman Matt Adams somehow missed the throw and the ball trickled into foul territory. Thankfully for the Braves, Young did not advance.

Calhoun hit a weak grounder into the shift on the right side. Second baseman Jace Peterson had to go to his right a bit and wound up juggling the ball trying to flip the ball to Swanson, allowing both runners to reach safely. Albert Pujols then memorably crushed his 599th career home run, a three-run shot to left field to put the Angels up 3-2.

After Luis Valbuena singled, former Brave Andrelton Simmons hit what should’ve been an easy 6-3 putout to Swanson, but Swanson once again whiffed making the grab. Valbuena went to third and Simmons went to second on the error. Following that, Ben Revere tapped a weak grounder to Adams, who attempted to throw home to get Valbuena, but he had trouble with the transfer and no outs were recorded. Cliff Pennington then hit a weak tapper back to Colon on the mound. Colon looked at second, turned around and slipped on the mound dirt. He whipped the ball home across his body for the tag play on Simmons but he was too late and all Angels were safe, pushing the lead to 5-2.

Danny Espinosa finally made solid contact, hitting a line drive to center field, scoring Revere and moving Pennington to third. Graterol came back up and hit another tapper back to Colon, who threw to Peterson on second base in an attempt to turn an inning-ending 1-4-3 double play. Colon’s throw was low and Peterson couldn’t make the scoop, so the ball trickled into center field. Pennington scored and Espinosa advanced to third. Young returned to the dish and laid down a bunt down the first base line. Adams fielded the ball, but Peterson was late covering and Adams’ flip was late anyway. Espinosa scored and the Angels had runners on first and second with one out. Calhoun then singled to left, plating the Angels’ ninth run of the inning and knocking Colon out of the game.¬†Luke Jackson came in and Pujols was intentionally walked. Valbuena ended the inning when he lined into an inning-ending 4-6 double play.

Whew. Now imagine all of that set to Yakety Sax. Justin Russo on Twitter did just that:

For those keeping score at home, only five of the 14 Angel batters who came to the plate that inning put the ball into the outfield without an assist from the Braves’ defense. 10 of those batters hit ground balls, one hit a fly ball, two hit line drives, and one walked. The Atlanta defense committed three errors and two other Angel batters reached on a fielder’s choice in which no outs were recorded.

There have likely been worse embarrassing defensive innings, but the Braves’ third inning on Tuesday ranks up there.

It’s the tenth anniversary of the biggest rout in baseball history

Associated Press
Leave a comment

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
2 Comments

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.