Tag: Ryan Howard

Ryan Howard

Ryan Howard is not a fan of the shift


Mentioned this in the recaps, but here’s some video evidence of what Ryan Howard dealt with last night against the Cardinals, shift-wise.

After the game, these were his comments:

“No, I don’t like it at all,” said Howard, who has grown accustomed to seeing four infielders on the right side of the infield when he steps to the plate. “That’s four hits. I mean, again, it’s nothing that I’m doing wrong, I’m hitting the ball hard. It’s just right at guys playing shifts. So, all you can do is continue to swing.”

He’s allowed to be frustrated. But it does strike me that if you’re that dependent on grounders through the infield you had better either (a) be fast; or (b) not be considered a middle-of-the-order threat. The shift doesn’t, after all, take away doubles and dingers.

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

Empty Camden Yards

source: AP

Orioles 8, White Sox 2: I talked about this as I was watching it yesterday, but the key takeaways for me were how (a) an empty ballpark actually makes Hawk Harrelson’s commentary . . . sort of OK; and (b) the blistering pace. As a fan it was easy to get used to watching this one pretty quickly because, really, a game on TV is in some ways like watching a game filmed at a studio. It’s all pitcher-batter-play-in-the-filed focused in ways that watching a ballgame at the park isn’t. The lack of crowd noise made a big difference initially, but it was easy to ignore after an inning or two. As for the pace, commenter 2131andbeyond hit the nail on the head, I think:

As someone who has attended ~400 games at Oriole Park over the last decade, what I noticed during today’s action was simply the heavy focus on the game itself. Lack of distraction, so to say. There are so many interactions throughout the game involving fans, from tossing balls and even checking out foul balls, that add up over time. Also, no sound effects or music between pitches and at bats, which generally guys will let play out before pitches are thrown. In this case, after a home run, the celebration generally would have gone on 20-30 seconds longer, but didn’t occur. Those small bits of entertainment value, while also keeping the players fully focused on the game and nothing else, easily adds up to a good chunk of time over nine innings.

There was a lot of getaway day first-pitch swinging too, but I agree that the players just got on with it a lot more than usual. I’m sure the atmosphere, or lack thereof, had a lot to do with it.

Angels 6, Athletics 3: Mike Trout homered and hit a bases-loaded double. Albert Pujols left the game with a leg injury. It doesn’t seem terribly serious, but the Angels are going to err on the side of caution by exiling him to another state, removing all evidence of his existence from the ballpark, initiating legal proceedings in an effort to claw back tens of millions of dollars for his betrayal and offering pissy little statements about how he has yet to apologize.

Nationals 13, Braves 4: I guess Tuesday night’s game opened the floodgates for the Nats’ offense. Here they rattled out 15 hits, including a three-run single for Jordan Zimmermann. The Braves have lost seven of nine. We’re seeing a lot fewer stories about their grit and play-the-game-the-right-way attitude these days, huh? I guess that stuff doesn’t matter too much when you, you know, suck.

Marlins 7, Mets 3: Ichiro hit a three-run homer, giving the Marlins some insurance runs and giving hope to all of us old S.O.B.s over 40. Giancarlo Stanton also homered, reminding us that this is a young man’s world. Dee Gordon added two more hits, raising his average to a four-speed dual-quad posi-traction .409. The old S.O.Bs out there will get that reference.

Brewers 8, Reds 3: Ryan Braun hit a grand slam and a solo shot. There were seven homers total in this game, accounting for 10 of the 11 total runs scored. Reds starter Michael Lorenzen — no relation to Moose; unsure about Jared — gave up three of them in his big league debut.

Rays 3, Yankees 2: A-Rod had a bad game — 0-for-6 with four whiffs — and has been hitting poorly, but I question whether he is really worth the first 11 paragraphs of a 20-paragraph AP game story. Especially in a game where one of the teams’ bullpens combined for seven scoreless innings, following up a starter in Drew Smyly who struck out ten in the six. The Yankees’ pen allowed one run in seven and a third, but that one run — a James Loney RBI single in the 13th — was the difference.

Tigers 10, Twins 7: Two homers for Miguel Cabrera brings his line to .370/.453/.630 with five bombs and 17 RBI. Yawn. Neither of his homers was as unconventional as James McCann’s, whose first career homer was an inside-the-park number. McCann is a catcher of course. Check it out (and try to ignore the fact that Jordan Schafer went to his right several steps before going back on the ball):


Astros 7, Padres 2: Six straight wins for Houston, including this three-game sweep in which they outscored the Padres 30-9. Dallas Keuchel allowed only three hits in eight innings and raised his record to 3-0, but saw his ERA rise from 0.62 to 0.73. I guess that just shows that he’s been pitching to the score. The Padres have dropped seven of eight.

Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 1: Rick Porcello turned in a performance that the Sox really needed from their staff, allowing one run on two hits over seven innings. Hanley Ramirez homered once again. He has 10 in the month of April.

Indians 7, Royals 5: Jason Kipnis homered and drove in four. Scary moment in the fifth when Danny Salazar beaned Alcides Escobar. Escobar seems OK and it did not seem intentional, so there was no retaliation from the Bad Boys of Baseball. That’s saying something since Yordano Ventura was on the mound. Of course, since he has a suspension pending, him hitting an Indians batter here would be like a guy knocking over a liquor store while out on bail and awaiting sentencing for grand theft auto.

Cardinals 5, Phillies 2: Peter Bourjos showed off his legs. He hit a game-tying RBI triple, scored on a fielder’s choice that a lot of dudes wouldn’t have scored on and robbed Chase Utley of extra bases with a nice catch. He got caught stealing once, though, so I suppose his legs have their limits. Ryan Howard homered, but he also grounded out into the shift three times. After the game:

“No, I don’t like it at all,” Howard said. “That’s four hits. I’m hitting the ball hard, it’s just that guys are playing shifts.”

Well, sorry.

Mariners 5, Rangers 2: Logan Morrison was 4-for-5 and doubled in a couple of runs. Felix Hernandez improved his record to 4-0. Used to be he’d allow two runs while pitching into the seventh and come away with a no decision or worse. Four errors for the Rangers.

Pirates 8, Cubs 1: Andrew McCutchen went 2-for-5 with a two-run triple and notched his 1,000th career hit. Which seems kind of crazy, but that’s how time works for you when you’re an old S.O.B. You think things like “wait, McCutchen is only playing in his fourth or fifth season, right?” Then you look up and realize you’ve forgotten years. Sometimes decades. Because the 1990s were just a few — wait, holy crap! Gerrit Cole struck out eight and allowed only an unearned run in six innings.

Diamondbacks 9, Rockies 1: When Josh Collmenter is on, he’s on. And here he was on, tossing eight innings, striking out six, not walking anyone and allowing an unearned run. Jordan Pacheco hit a three-run homer and Yasmany Tomas drove in three.

Dodgers 7, Giants 3: Homers from Joc Pederson, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier and Jimmy Rollins. The game story talks about how it’s hard to do that at night in L.A. because of the marine layer. My San Diego-living brother talks about the marine layer all the time. Kind of bitching about it because he’s been in California for 20 years now and gets all complainy when it isn’t 75 degrees or more with sun beating down on him directly. Personally, I think the term “marine layer” is a beautiful term, just as far as language goes, and like to say it a lot. Marine layer, marine layer, marine layer. Besides, to have it, it means you have an ocean next you, so stop whining, Curtis.

Wait, sorry. That got a bit personal. I’ll just text him next time.

Reminder: the reason the DH isn’t universal is because the Phillies screwed up the vote

phillies logo

I feel like we’ve linked this at some point in the past, but since everyone (not just me!) is talking about the DH today, here’s a nice reminder of why we don’t have the DH in the National League today.

It’s a story from David Mouton from a few years back, recounting a story he heard of the 1980 vote in which the NL was deciding whether or not to adopt the DH. It needed a majority vote to pass. There were 12 teams in the NL at the time. Six were clearly on board for the DH. Four were opposed. Two — the Phillies and Pirates — were on the fence.

The Phillies’ representative at the time had orders to vote for the DH. But then (a) a fishing trip; and (b) game theory entered into it. Go read Mouton’s account for the details.

But know that, as usual, the Phillies messed up a good thing. And for that reason, they’ve been playing Ryan Howard at first base for several years.

(thanks to Tyler for the reminder)

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

John Farrell Dustin Pedroia

Orioles 18, Red Sox 7: Scoring 18 runs is neat. Doing so with the benefit of only one homer — a solo shot — means this was less of a big walloping than it was a continued and sustained beating. Kudos to the Orioles for avoiding those rally-killing bombs for the most part. Seven Oriole batters had multiple hits and four had three hits. Delmon Young drove in five runs and three others drove in three runs each. The Red Sox’ collective starting rotation ERA is 5.75. Which isn’t good, in case you were curious.

Yankees 6, Mets 4: A-Rod homered — he’s one away from Willie — and the Yankees took two of three in the Subway Series. Which means, based on the coverage I saw about all of this late last week, they now officially own New York. The Mets will sign over the deed to Citi Field in a noontime ceremony today. All persons identifying as Mets fans in the city, please report to the Javits Center for reeducation.

Phillies 5, Braves 4: Ryan Howard hit a homer for the second straight game as Philly takes two of three from Atlanta. Major League Baseball officials will meet in New York today to see if the second one counts, however, as it came against Trevor Cahill, who is under investigation for being a secret agent embedded with the Braves to bring them down from the inside. An alternative theory is that he’s really two kids, one on the other’s shoulders, in a trench coat disguised to look like a Braves uniform. That’s my theory anyway.

White Sox 3, Royals 2White Sox 5, Royals 3: Avisail Garcia with the walkoff single. Which, since it came at the conclusion of a game that was suspended in the ninth inning and had thus just resumed, probably felt a tad less climactic than these sorts of things tend to be. In the second, full game David Robertson got the save. After having won the resumed game, which he began. Meaning he threw the first and last pitch of the day. Which sort has my mind all blown up in here.

Tigers 8, Indians 6: I was at various stores and bars and places over the weekend and everywhere I went seemed to have a Tigers-Indians game on. I didn’t really watch a lot, but as I looked up from my lunch or a beer or while paying for a shirt or something at a cash register, it seemed like Cleveland was giving Cabrera an intentional walk. Probably wise. In this one he homered and drove in three. He has three homers on the year, all against the Indians.

Pirates 8, Diamondbacks 0: Francisco Liriano and the pen combined to toss a three-hitter. Liriano walked six as he did it, but sometimes even hitters are at a disadvantage if the pitcher doesn’t know where the ball’s going. The Pirates rapped out 14 hits. Which is a term I love. “rapped out.” I get a mental image of the Pirates on a stage, “Super Bowl Shuffle”-style, saying “We’re the Pittsburgh Pirates and we’re here to say . . .” Remember when sports teams did that stuff? Holy crap.

Cubs 5, Reds 2: Addison Russell started the season 2 for 19 with 11 strikeouts, but maybe his double with the bases loaded in the fourth inning, clearing the bases, will kickstart him. Or maybe it’ll take a while. I dunno, he’s a kid. Think about what you were like when you were 21. My god, we were all awful at everything when we were 21.

Marlins 6, Nationals 2: I’m not the alarmist type. I’ve seen enough baseball to where an otherwise good team struggling in April turned it around and, come August, people had forgotten all about that poor start. But the Nationals were supposed to be good a couple of years ago and never got off the ground so I imagine some Washington fans are a tad concerned. This game finished off the sweep by the Marlins, giving them their fifth win in a row. Giancarlo Stanton hit an RBI triple. And he scored after literally crawling back to third base, because fundamentals:


I feel like I’ve seen more messed up rundowns so far this season than I’ve seen in the past three seasons combined.

Rays 5, Blue Jays 1: The sweep continues Toronto’s futility at Tropicana Field. Which is weird because it’s the one ballpark in which they can maybe squint a bit and feel like they’re back in Rogers Centre. Chris Archer tossed seven shutout innings. He hasn’t allowed an earned run since his first start of the season, back on April 6.

Brewers 6, Cardinals 3: The Cardinals stranded eight runners in the first three innings and 14 overall. If hitting with men on was a special St. Louis skill like so many Cards fans insisted to me a couple of years ago when their RISP average was super high, maybe they’d have done better  here. Absent that, I’m gonna say that maybe there’s some luck involved in all of that.

Rangers 5, Angels 4: Less of a series than a meeting between mom and dad to swap custody of Josh Hamilton. The Rangers salvage one in the three-game series here. Leonys Martin hit a homer in the 11th and the Rangers scored a second run, which proved necessary, on an error.

Astros 7, Athletics 6: The win came on a two-run rally in the ninth when Evan Gattis hit a two-run double on a pitch up in his eyes. The A’s had walked Jed Lowrie to load the bases and get to Gattis, but he showed them. The Astros swept the A’s. Houston is in first place in the AL West.

Twins 4, Mariners 2: Joe Mauer with a two-run triple with two outs in the 11th. It was hit hard and likely falls in against anyone, but it’s probably not crazy to say that a better right fielder than Nelson Cruz at least gets to that ball faster, takes an angle that allows him to cut it off and doesn’t let it roll to the wall. Maybe it doesn’t matter, but I feel like M’s fans are gonna be dealing with the tradeoffs Nelson Cruz creates all season.

Padres 3, Dodgers 1Alexi Amarista and Derek Norris homered to help the Padres avoid the sweep and their fourth straight loss. Brandon Morrow allowed one run on five hits over seven innings.

Giants vs. Rockies: POSTPONED: The rain came down

Soaked the old habachi
And I wish I could sing, like allen callaci
And then you would know
How sad it was, when the rain came down

Drop by drop
Gallon by gallon
Brother if I could sing,
If I could sing like allen
You would know
And understand how sad it was when the rain came down

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

Jose Bautista

I haven’t added them all up nor have I researched the matter, but if I just had to guess, with my gut, based on doing these recaps every morning, I’d guess that more runs were scored last night than any night with 15 ballgames going in, say, a year. Maybe a year and a half. Could be wrong — could be way wrong — but it sort of feels like it.

I’d also say that, based on the couple of game stories I read, someone fired the cliche machine up to 11. But hey, it’s hard to be creative on a Tuesday night. Anyway:

Blue Jays 13, Orioles 6: So Bud Norris isn’t having a great time. Rocked for nine runs in two and a third, which follows on two previous not great outings, including an eight-run bleed-out against the Orioles in his first start of the year. On the year: twenty earned runs on 18 hits in ten and a third. In the offseason the O’s were trying to deal Ubaldo Jimenez but no one wanted him so they thought about trading Bud Norris instead. Always go with your second instinct, I guess. Two homers for Edwin Encarnacion. Oh, and Jose Bautista hit his 250th career homer that (a) came after O’s pitcher Jason Garcia nearly hit him, so (b) Bautista admired the shot, stared down Norris and then flipped his bat, causing the O’s to get all feisty and mad. Adam Jones even said, unironically, that Bautista needs to “respect the game” afterward.

Phillies 7, Marlins 3: The Phillies actually had an offense last night, led by Ryan Howard, who hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth. Howard was 2-for-3 with a walk, in fact. So I guess it just so happens that our friend Ryan here was only MOSTLY dead. And, as we all know, there’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there’s usually only one thing you can do: eat $50 million of his contract and ship him to the American League.

Royals 6, Twins 5: Mike Moustakas hit a two-run homer and drove in the go-ahead run with a single in the eighth inning. After the game, Ned Yost was asked about how he stuck with Moustakas over the past couple of years despite all of his slumps:

“You almost want to stand up on this table and yell, `I told you so!” Yost said, flashing a wry grin. “But I’m not. I’m not an I-told-you-so kind of guy.”

Well, you just told-us-so, Ned, so you kind of are.

Angels 14, Athletics 1: Johnny Giavotella drove in four and Kole Calhoun had four hits, including a three-run homer. After the game, Giavotella said this:

“From day one in spring training, this team has welcomed me with open arms. They believe in me, and it’s great to have guys that rally around you and root for you”

Somewhere, in exile, Josh Hamilton sheds a single tear as mournful music plays.

Astros 6, Mariners 3: I love the intro to this AP gamer:

Collin McHugh continued to linger, never getting knocked around enough to where his night needed to end . . .

I feel like that was a lyrical passage to at least six songs in the mid-90s.

Jose Altuve hit a go-ahead three-run double on an 0-2 pitch in the eighth inning. The Astros are 8-6 and sit atop the AL West, by the way.

Cubs 9, Pirates 8: Addison Russell made his big league debut and finished 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. But that’s OK, because (a) the Cubs won anyway; and (b) Kris Bryant made a debut that was just as poopy on Friday and all he’s done since then is knock the friggin cover off the ball and get on base like crazy. Starlin Castro chipped in as well, going 3-for-5 with a homer and four driven in.

Rangers 7, Diamondbacks 1: Prince Fielder homered, doubled and drove in three. Asked what he’s doing, he said he is “just looking for a pitch [he] can drive.” I can’t believe he’d reveal such top secret information like that. Opposing teams read these game stories, you know. Fielder on the year: .386/.435/.509 with nine driven in. Guess he was just mostly dead too.

Giants 6, Dodgers 2: The third only mostly dead performance of the night, with Tim Lincecum allowing only one run in six innings to snag the win. He also provided another great cliche on the night when he revealed that his secret was “making good pitches.” Huh. “So, kids: if you’re a young pitcher out there, make good pitches. Not bad ones. That’s a tip from your old friend, Tim,” Lincecum did not add.

Reds 16, Brewers 10: Two grand slams for the Reds — Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier — and two homers from Zack Cozart powered up the Reds. Elian Herrera hit a grand slam for the Brewers and drove in five overall. RIP all the pitchers in this game. The Reds have scored 22 in two games against Milwaukee. Welcome back to 1999.

Nationals 2, Cardinals 1: One of the few pitchers duels of the night. And should’ve been lower scoring than it was, except Drew Storen blew the save in a 1-0 game in the ninth. Yunel Escobar’s walkoff homer in the 10th, however, saved his bacon.

Yankees 5, Tigers 2: Nathan Eovaldi allowed one run on eight hits and a walk while pitching into the eighth inning. The Yankees turned four double plays behind him. Chris Young and Stephen Drew hit solo homers in the seventh.

Mets 7, Braves 1: Trevor Cahill didn’t throw strikes, got behind in counts and the Mets sat back waiting for his get-me-over pitches, which they smacked all over the dang place. This is not a repeat from, like, every Trevor Cahill start of the past couple of years. Catcher Kevin Plawecki made his debut, filling in for the injured Travis d’Arnaud. He got two hits, scored twice and threw out a runner trying to advance. That’s nine wins in a row for the Mets.

Red Sox 1, Rays 0: Wade Miley and four relievers combined on the shutout. The game’s only run came on a throwing error that should’ve been an inning-ending double play. Mookie Betts’ hard slide helped throw second baseman Ryan Brett off balance, however.

Indians 6, White Sox 2: Carlos Carrasco made his first start since being hit in the face by a comebacker. He seemed just dandy, striking out eight in five innings on a cold night. The pen took over from there, allowing only one run in four innings of work. In all, Indians pitchers struck out 15 White Sox.

Padres 7, Rockies 6: Derek Norris hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the eighth to help the Padres complete a come-from-behind victory. Clint Barmes homered and Wil Myers had three hits and the Padres have won six of seven. They’re 10-5 overall and six of those wins have been come-from-behind jobs.