Author: Craig Calcaterra

Byrd catch

Video: Marlon Byrd’s catch helped preserve that no-hitter


A bit lost in the shuffle of yesterday’s no-hitter by the Phillies is that it wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for a really sweet catch by Marlon Byrd in the third inning. A catch that not only saved the no-no, but prevented a couple of runs from scoring too. Watch:

Byrd is not known for his defense at this point of his career, but that was a nice grab there. Especially given how much trouble Hamels was working through in the first couple of innings.

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

Phillies pitchers

Phillies 7, Braves 0: I talked about the no-hitter at length yesterday when it happened, so allow me to ask why we haven’t seen more of these in the past couple of years. More strikeouts and less contact. More hard throwers. More bullpen specialization. It seems to me like these should happen more often than they do. I guess that they don’t shows that, yes, these are still special, obviously, but conditions favor such beasts now more than they have for a long time.

Cardinals 5, Pirates 4: The Cards, for the first time all year, are alone in first place in the NL Central. The lore about this team is that if a relatively lackluster Cards squad makes the playoffs, watch out, they’re bound to win it all. I guess that’s happened a couple of times, but I suppose they’d rather finish strong and with the division going away.

Cubs 4, Brewers 2: Not that it’s up to them. The Brewers, however, need to not do things like drop six in a row, which is what they’ve done. Here Jorge Soler helped do them in, doubling twice and scoring a run. He has extra base hits in all five of his major league games so far. He’s the third guy to do that in his first five games in the past century.

Padres 3, Diamondbacks 1: Cory Spangenberg — which sounds like the name of a tight end from the 1980s more than a big league third baseman — made his big league debut. He hit a two-run single. He also irked the Padres by announcing on Twitter that he was being promoted and making his debut before they had a chance too. So it was a big day.

Marlins 9, Mets 6:  The Mets had a chance here — it was tied heading into the bottom of the eighth — but they blew it thanks in part to Jeurys Familia’s two throwing errors on a single play and a wild pitch. Oh, and the wild pitch was accompanied by a throwing error by Travis d’Arnaud. Six errors for the Mets in all, after which manager Terry Collins said afterward that “It wasn’t a big-league baseball game, I can tell you that.” Not that he needed to tell us that.

Athletics 6, Mariners 1: The A’s get back on track, thanks to new addition Adam Dunn. Who, let’s be honest, was born to be an Oakland Athletic. Dunner hit a homer in his first at bat in the green and gold and added another hit later. Five first inning runs for Oakland, which ended things before they started. A strong performance from Jason Hammel as well plus a two-run single for Geovany Soto. Viva La Mid-Season Imports.

Tigers 12, Indians 1: Miguel Cabrera was given a bit of a rest — allowed to DH rather than play 1B — and it must have paid off: two homers on a 4 for 5 day. This after an August in which he only his one homer the whole bleedin’ month. David Price did his part too, allowing one run over seven and striking out eight. Corey Kluber, who has somehow lost his super powers, allowed five runs and couldn’t escape the third inning.

Giants 4, Rockies 2; Rockies 10, Giants 9: The first game took three months to complete. Really, guys, we HAVE to do something about the pace of play. *Someone whispers in my ear and explains that it was the resumption of a suspended game from May*  Ahem, never mind. The second game took about three hours and forty-four minutes. I’m gonna err on the side of caution and assume it was suspended and resumed too. *guys whispers in my ear again.* Well I’ll be damned. Charlie Blackmon with a walkoff single. The Giants’ six-game winning streak comes to an end. They are now only two back of the Dodgers because  . . .

Nationals 6, Dodgers 4: . . . The Dodgers dropped their third game in four tries. The dingers did it here. Denard Span socked two homers and Jayson Werth and Asdrubal Cabrera added their own. Gio Gonzalez was solid and won his first game in ages. He also [altogether now[ helped his own cause, singling and scoring. The Nats have the most wins in the NL.

Twins 6, Orioles 4: Four RBI for Joe Mauer. Phil Hughes allowed three runs in eight innings, but none of them were earned. Hughes has 15 wins on a team that only has 60 overall.

Rays 4, Red Sox 3: Matt Joyce had an RBI single in the bottom of the tenth to help the Rays salvage a split. I basically got nothing else here. It’s weird when normally good teams are just playing out the string.

Royals 4, Rangers 3: Sal Perez homered and drove in three as the Royals won for the first time in a week. This was your standard Royals win: close game and then in the late innings Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland shut the door with hitless relief. Regarding what I said in the Phillies recap at the top? If just one Royals pitcher can toss six hitless innings — or, heck, five maybe — this is the sort of pen which can pretty much end the game when it comes in.

The Dodgers call up Joc Pederson

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game - World Team v United States

Lots of minor leaguers will make their way to the bigs starting today as minor league seasons end and major league rosters expand. One of the better ones coming up is Joc Pederson, who was just called up by the Dodgers from Triple-A Albuquerque.

Pederson won the Pacific Coast League MVP Award after batting .303/.435/.582 with 33 home runs and 30 stolen bases over 121 games this season. It’s an open question how much playing time he’ll get, but Don Mattingly now has good young player at his disposal who can handle all three outfield positions.

No-hitter! Four Phillies pitchers combine to blank the Braves

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Four Phillies pitchers combined to no-hit the Braves in Atlanta today. Tt was the 12th no-hitter in franchise history. And the first ever combined no-no for Philly.

Cole Hamels took the first six innings, Jake Diekman Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon handled the seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively. Hamels pitched in some early trouble, walking five guys, but the Braves stranded a lot of runners and never threatened. The relievers shut the Braves down completely, retiring the final nine batters of the game in order. Overall, Phillies pitchers struck out 12 Braves hitters.

Despite it being a 7-0 game heading into the bottom of the ninth, Ryne Sandberg called on Papelbon to lock things down. Can’t say as I blame him. This has been a lost season in so many ways for the Phillies and, recently, there has been some internal strife on the team. Why not do your best to give everyone something to be happy about?

And the Phillies leave the ballpark happy, today. Five RBI for Ben Revere, a no-hitter against a division rival and a 7-0 victory. A happy Labor Day for Philly, indeed.

Manny being Manny. Which, these days, means Manny being a great coach and mentor.

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Ken Rosenthal has a story up about Manny Ramirez’s summer in Iowa, where the Cubs employed him as a once-a-week player but, in reality, a second hitting coach for some of the organization’s top hitting prospects like Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler. It was a productive and eye-opening summer. Here’s a story about Manny reporting back to Theo Epstein about the Cubs’ minor leaguers:

Ramirez, speaking on the phone to Epstein, broke down every player on the Iowa roster, giving detailed, sophisticated assessments of not only their skills but also their personalities.

Epstein found the conversation so impressive and surprising that he left his office immediately after getting off the phone with Ramirez and walked down the hall to visit with other Cubs executives.

He had to repeat the conversation verbatim to his colleagues to make sure that it had really happened.

There are other stories in there too which show that, a few years after his multiple drug suspensions and various jackwagony acts, he’s a new, far more mature man than he used to be.

Manny wants to play in the bigs again. That’s not going to happen. He says he hasn’t thought about a full-time coaching career. Based on what Rosenthal reports here, that could very easily happen if Manny wants it to be.