Tag: Darin Downs

Tony Sipp Astros

Tony Sipp pulls double-duty for the Astros


Tony Sipp was a centerfielder at Clemson, but once he became a pitcher he thought the days of patrolling the outfield were behind him.


Welcome back to National League baseball, home of the double-switch and creative substitutions.

The Astros were shorthanded in the bullpen on Monday. Fellow lefty Darin Downs, who pitched two innings the day before, was unavailable and Rudy Owens was the long man in the pen, ready to come in if the one-run game went to extra innings.

“Coming into that situation as a staff we kind of knew that once Cosart came out of the game we were going to have to be creative and try to match our guys up as best we could. Having a guy like Tony Sipp who can play the outfield, it gives you that kind of flexibility.”

So Sipp became a strategic pawn in Bo Porter’s master plan.

“When (Sipp) left the dugout (in the eighth inning) he knew he was going to get the first guy and that Williams was going to come in and get Goldschmidt, and then he was going to have (Miguel) Montero,” Porter said. “So it was pretty much explained to him before he left the dugout, so no one was shocked.”

Knowing and being prepared might be two entirely different things, though. Sipp struck out Gerardo Parra and out came Porter to make his unusual double switch, bringing in Jerome Williams to face right-handed hitting Paul Goldschmidt and sending Sipp to right field.

“I didn’t think it was actually going to happen, though. He gave me a warning, but I’m like, ‘Alright, okay Bo,’” Sipp said.

[RELATED: Drake is coming to an Astros game]

Once in the outfield, Sipp started running the possibilities through his head.

“I don’t think I had time to be nervous, I was just more focused more than anything because obviously if I let a guy, if I misplay a ball then I put myself in a worse situation because I have to come back and face Montero, I knew that,” Sipp said. “I joked around with Dexter and told him, ‘Hey, if I have to dive for a ball back me up.’ He was like, ‘Hey, you better not dive.’ Ultimately I would have had to work with whatever situation I had out there so I was fully prepared to dive.”

Williams ended up walking Goldschmidt and Sipp was brought back to the mound to face Miguel Montero, who he also struck out. Kyle Farnsworth then replaced Sipp, who took a seat on the bench to watch Martin Prado strike out to end the inning and preserve the one run lead.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

New York Yankees' Suzuki runs and watches the ball after he hit a walk-off home run to beat the Texas Rangers in their MLB American League game in New York

Yankees 4, Rangers 3: Walkoff homer for Ichiro? Well shut my mouth. Wait, what? Well jeez, Brian, it’s just an expression. You don’t have to agree so emphatically and profanely.

Angels 14, Tigers 8: Well that fifth inning got out of a hand in a hurry. Rick Porcello was beaten around for seven runs on ten hits and his relief Darin Downs didn’t fare much better. J.B. Shuck drove in four. Even Josh Hamilton had a good game, going 3 for 5.

Orioles 6, Indians 3: The O’s snapped a four-game losing streak. Chris Davis hit his 28th homer, which tied it up in the seventh and Alexi Casilla’s three-run homer put Baltimore ahead in the eighth.

Nationals 7, Diamondbacks 5: The Nats jumped out to a 6-0 lead by the fifth inning and then held on, giving Gio Gonzalez his first win since May 5. From the AP gamer:

[Gonzalez] said pitching with the big lead for a change didn’t alter his approach.

“No, you still have to go out there and attack,” Gonzalez said. “The team gives you a big lead like that you want to get them back in there, especially when they’re swinging it real hot.”

Jack Morris just shakes his head.

Marlins 4, Twins 2: The Fish have won four of five. Jose Fernandez allowed one run and four hits in five innings and Marcell Ozuna drove in a pair. It sometimes seems like there’s no future in Miami, but those two are part of one.

Brewers 9, Cubs 3: Two homers for Rickie Weeks, who has a nine-game hitting streak in which he’s 14-for-32 with four homers and seven RBI. Milwuakee has beat the Cubs nine straight times at Miller Park and 19 of 21 times overall.

Dodgers 6, Giants 5: Matt Kemp comes back from the DL. While he only went 1 for 4 at the plate he ended the game with a running, sliding, over the shoulder catch that, one hopes, put to rest any concern about his hamstring. If the Dodgers are going to climb back in the race a healthy and productive Kemp has to be a part of that.

Red Sox 11, Rockies 4: It was 7-1 after the third inning so this one wasn’t exactly suspenseful. Dustin Pedroia drove in four runs on three hits and the Sox tallied 20 safeties in all. BTW: people used to say “safeties” more often as a synonym for hits, but no one does it anymore. I don’t want it to come back because I find it annoying, but I did feel like it was worth pointing this out.

Phillies 6, Padres 2: A homer — his 20th — and four RBI for Domonic Brown. Jason Marquis loses his first game since April 22nd. But he does lead the league in walks and he walked five Phillies in four and a third.

Rays 5, Blue Jays 1: Matt Moore wins his tenth after striking out 11 in six innings. Walked six too, but worked around it. Wil Myers drove in a run. He has eight RBI in nine games since being called up.

White Sox 5, Mets 4: Chris Sale struck out 13 in eight innings and left with a lead but didn’t get the win because he didn’t want it bad enough or something. Or maybe because Addison Reed — who vultured the win —  blew the save with help from a Gordon Beckham error. Alexei Ramirez mooted it all with a walkoff single.

Braves 4, Royals 3: Jason Heyward’s seventh inning homer broke a 3-3 tie and gave the Braves the win. Earlier he hit a two-run double. Even though, in recent years, a lot of Braves have found their way to the Royals, it was the Braves’ first ever trip to Kansas City.

Cardinals 13, Astros 5: Mike Matheny jumbled up the lineup and the Cardinals offense woke up. Correlation? Yes. Causation? I dunno. But Allen Craig went 4 for 5 with a homer and three RBI and Matt Carpenter drove in three of his own after clearing the bases with a triple.

Athletics 7, Reds 3: The fact that I looked at this score and first thought “1972 World Series rematch” instead of “1990 World Series rematch” makes me wonder how my brain works. Though admittedly I have the worst memory of the 1990 World Series than any World Series of my teenage years. I was busy during the week of that Series rehearsing some play I was in in which I got to kiss the amazingly attractive girl who played the female lead and, wouldn’t you know it, I kept needing to rehearse that scene a lot because I couldn’t get it right. Or at least that was my story and I’m sticking to it. Anyway, the A’s pounded Bronson Arroyo.

Pirates 9, Mariners 4: Five homers for the Buccos. Starling Marte had two of them plus a triple. When people ask me, as the have an awful lot lately, if the Pirates are going to collapse like they did the past couple of years I’ve been saying no. Why? For the simple reason that I often write other offensive contributors’ names in the Pirates recaps besides Andrew McCutchen. It’s a team this year. Not one star and a lot of smoke and mirrors.

Anibal Sanchez exits start in the fourth inning

Atlanta Braves v Detroit Tigers

Tigers starterAnibal Sanchez was taken out of tonight’s game against the Twins after three and two-thirds innings due to a shoulder injury, reports Chris Iott. The Tigers had skipped Sanchez’s turn in the rotation last week, making manager Jim Leyland anxious to see his right-hander perform tonight. It didn’t go well, as Sanchez allowed two runs on five hits and an uncharacteristic four walks.

Iott describes Sanchez’s struggles:

The Twins had a runner on and one out in the fourth when Trevor Plouffe ripped a home run an estimated 415 feet to left field to tie the score at 2-2. After Sanchez issued a two-out walk to Brian Dozier, Leyland made a rare trip to the mound that did not result in a pitching change.

But Sanchez threw just one more pitch. Pedro Florimon singled to center to put runners at first and third. After Alex Avila and Sanchez met at the mound and dragged their feet a bit, Leyland returned to the mound and replaced Sanchez with left-hander Darin Downs.

As of right now, there are no indications that Sanchez was lifted due specifically to the shoulder injury, or simply because he performed poorly.

Tigers intentionally walk Jeff Francoeur in 10th, lose 8-3 to Royals

Kansas City Royals v Boston Red Sox - Game Two

It wasn’t the worst call of Jim Leyland’s life. It may not have even been the worst call he made today. But  Leyland opened the floodgates for a five-run 10th inning when he intentionally walked Jeff Francoeur in the 10th inning Thursday against the Royals. It was a 3-3 game at the time, but the Tigers went on to lose 8-3 after an Alex Gordon grand slam in the inning.

Francouer was walked by left-hander Phil Coke with one out and runners on second and third after a wild pitch. Coke had already walked a left-handed batter in the inning in Mike Moustakas and he went on to walk George Kottaras after the IBB, giving the Royals a one-run lead. Fellow lefty Darin Downs took over from there, and after getting a grounder to second that led to a forceout at home, he surrendered the slam to Gordon.

In truth, walking Francoeur there was a move a bunch of managers in Leyland’s position would have made. Francoeur has always hit lefties quite well. Even as lousy as he has been this season, he entered the day 7-for-18 against lefties, good for a .389 average. And on deck was a rusty left-handed hitting catcher with a career .194 average against lefties (Kottaras, who had taken over for Salvador Perez in the game, had just five plate appearances despite spending the whole season to date on the Royals’ roster). Coke’s entire reason for being is to retire left-handed batters, and if he could have gotten Kottaras for the second out, he had another set to hit in Chris Getz.

But this wasn’t Coke’s day. It is something that Leyland might have figured out during the walk to Moustakas, but if he was going to leave Coke in and not turn to a right-hander, then walking Francoeur was justified. Frankly, if I were going to blast Leyland about anything today, it’d be about giving yet another start to .118-hitting Don Kelly in left field.