Tag: Yu Darvish

Brett Gardner

Yu Darvish: “I just blame the parents of Brett Gardner”


Quality, quality quote from Yu Darvish after last night’s win over the Yankees. A win which was only blemished by two Brett Gardner home runs. Darvish:

“I just blame the parents of Brett Gardner. I just blame them for creating a great hitter.”

Gardner 5 for 11 with four homers — all solo shots — against Darvish for his career.

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

Marlins celebration

Marlins 7, Nationals 6: Rafael Soriano and a three-run lead in the ninth seems safe. Not last night it wasn’t. The Marlins rallied for four, capped by a Jeff Baker two-run single. The Nats had a 6-0 lead at one point here. This is the kind of game that comes back to haunt later in the season when things are tight. Or at least what this Braves fan’s wishful thinking is telling him.

Mets 7, Phillies 1: A.J. Burnett was probably a decent trade deadline candidate until recently. But he has certainly put the kibosh on that. Seven runs allowed here in five innings and six runs in five innings two starts ago vs. eight shutout innings against the Giants six days ago. You willing to bet a prospect on that anyone? I don’t know that I would be.

Rays 2, Brewers 1: Jake Odorizzi allowed one run and three hits in seven innings and a couple of RBI from James Loney. Also: a kind of compliment by Ron Roenicke to former Angels coaching colleague Joe Maddon: “Joe is out there, but he’s got great common sense and you don’t usually see that in a guy that’s out there.” Thanks?

Braves 2, Padres 0: Ervin Santana was fantastic — 11 Ks in seven innings — but the story here is, or at least should be, Jason Lane pitching six solid innings in his first major league start at age 37. This after seven years in the wilderness when his career as a hitter fizzled out. You don’t make this long, hard climb back unless you are made out of pure, unadulterated desire and unless you love baseball like no one’s business. Jason Lane is a story waiting to be told. Someone please tell it, because I bet it’s fantastic.

Blue Jays 14, Red Sox 1: I guess it was a game until the sixth inning. Then the Jays put up a nine-spot. Which in the metric system is, like, a three-spot I guess. I dunno, I always had a hard time with conversions like that. All I know is that Toronto unloaded hectares and liters and kilos of hurt on Boston. Clay Buchholz couldn’t retire anyone in the sixth and gave up seven runs in all. Five RBI for Mely Cabrera, four for Ryan Goins. R.A. Dickey struck out ten and allowed one run in seven innings. I guess no one ever taught him to pitch to the score.

Cubs 4, Rockies 1: Tsuyoshi Wada picked up his first big league win in his third big league start, allowing one run and five hits in seven innings. Anthony Rizzo drove in two.

Astros 7, Athletics 3: Homers from Chris Carter, Jason Castro, Marc Krauss and Matt Dominguez. Carter’s was a three-run shot. His was of saying ‘ello to this old friends on the A’s. Castro and Krauss went back-to-back in the sixth.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $100,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $10,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Rangers 4, Yankees 2: Two runs on nine hits (scatters, smothered and capped) in seven innings for Yu Darvish. He struck out eight as well. Two homers for Brett Gardner in a winning effort in a losing cause.

Diamondbacks 2, Reds 1: A 15 inning affair that ended a bit before midnight a bit after Nick Ahmed hit an RBI single in the top of the inning. Twelve pitchers used in all, most of whom put up zeroes in the box score. Indeed, Dbacks relievers combined for eight shutout innings after starter Chase Anderson managed to allow just one run in seven. As an Ohioan who has been to Cincinnati an awful lot, I truly have to wonder where the players in this one go out for dinner afterward. Like, it’s Taco Bell I guess. Great town in some respects, but not a night life kind of town. Should make next year’s All-Star Game all kinds of fun.

Pirates 5 vs. Giants 0: 4-0 in the first on a night when Vance Worley needed almost no help at all, tossing a four-hit shutout. It was his second career complete game. His first: against the Giants as well.


VIDEO: Derek Jeter passes Carl Yastrzemski for seventh on all-time hits list


With three hits against the Rangers this evening, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has passed Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski for seventh-place on baseball’s all-time hit list.

Facing Yu Darvish, Jeter singled and doubled in his first two at-bats to tie Yastrzemski. He then smacked an opposite-field single in the seventh inning to move into sole possession of seventh-place with his 3,420th career hit. You can watch video of the hit below:

Jeter is now 10 hits away from tying Honus Wagner for sixth on the all-time list. Assuming health, he should be able to pull that off over the final two months of the regular season. Of course, the top-five consist of Pete Rose (4,256), Ty Cobb (4,191), Hank Aaron (3,771), Stan Musial (3,630), and Tris Speaker (3,515). Cap Anson is listed as sixth on the all-time list in some places, but that includes five seasons in the National Association between 1871-1875. MLB has him listed at 25th all-time with 3,011 hits.

Rangers plan to hold on to many of their veterans

Adrian Beltre

The Rangers enter Saturday’s action with the worst record in baseball at 39-57, but they won’t be pawning everybody off. Relievers Joakim Soria and Neal Cotts, as well as outfielder Alex Rios could be traded by the July 31 deadline, but according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the club plans to hang on to Adrian Beltre, Yu Darvish, and Elvis Andrus.

Soria, 30, is in the final year of a two-year, $8 million deal. He has a club option for 2015 worth $7 million with a $500,000 buyout. The right-hander has a 2.59 ERA with 16 saves and a 42/4 K/BB ratio in 31 1/3 innings this season.

Cotts, 34, is earning $2.2 million this season and will be eligible for free agency after the season. The lefty has posted a 3.48 ERA with a 49/16 K/BB ratio in 41 1/3 innings thus far.

Rios, 33, is playing out the final year of a seven-year, $69.835 million contract signed with the Blue Jays back in 2008. A $13.5 million club option for 2015 with a $1 million buyout remains. The outfielder has a .302/.330/.435 slash line with four home runs, 42 RBI, and 16 stolen bases.

It’s easy to see why those three would draw some interest from contending teams.

MLB All-Star Game’s continued irrelevance could be saved by going international

84th MLB All-Star Game

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – You might not be old enough to remember this, but Battle of Network Stars used to be a thing. Every now and again, a bunch of television “stars” – let’s just put “stars” in quotations because it wasn’t like Johnny Carson was out there – would gather together in some fairly exotic location like Hawaii and compete in various “sporting” events.

Yeah, we need to put “sporting” in quotations too because while they did have some actual sports in there like swimming and cycling, they also had pseudo-sports like tug of war and an obstacle course and so on.

It was entertaining at the time, partly because we were so starved for something resembling sports on television that we would watch anything, and partly because Howard Cosell was the announcer, and Cosell was incapable of lowering the volume or intensity for trivial competitions. With Cosell, everything was at least as important as the Super Bowl or the seventh game of the World Series. So you would hear him shout things like, “One thing you have to say about Patrick Duffy is that he’s a COMPETITOR!” or “Robert Wagner doesn’t know the MEANING of the word quit!” Sometimes it seemed Cosell got the irony. And sometimes, it seemed, he did not.

Point is that we as a country used to love stuff like that. Superstars competitions. Battle of the Network Stars. Battle of the Sexes. Match races. All-Star Games galore. You know, every year an all-star team of college football players would face against the Super Bowl champion. It is a very funny thing to see a young person discover THAT for the first time. Their faces go pale, and their eyes widen, and they sputter, “They … they … they … DID WHAT?” There are so many baffling things about the old College All-Star exhibition – injury risks for young players, injury risks for old players, absurdity of a Super Bowl team actually playing a bunch of college kids – that they don’t know where to begin.

But we can begin here: We don’t care about pointless games now. We just don’t. And the range of pointlessness has expanded – we don’t care like we did about horse races that are not the Kentucky Derby, track events that are not the Olympics, boxing matches that are not for some sort of championship. We’ve replaced all of that in the American psyche with stuff at least tangentially connected with sports we DO care about – stuff like the NFL Draft and recruiting and free agency and those viral stories of the day. We’d rather talk and tweet and text and argue about where LeBron James will sign or what nutty thing Johnny Manziel will do next than watch sporting events that don’t count.

And that brings us, yet again, to the All-Star Game.

Well, every single year we write about how much the All-Star Game has lost. Last year, about 11 million people watched – one-third of the audience from 1982, one-half of the audience from 1994, thirty-one percent down from five years ago. But perhaps the most sobering fact was reported by Sports Business Journal: The average age of the All-Star Game viewer was 53. That would be a five followed by a three.
Whenever I am in the younger demographic of a television audience, you have real problems.

Well, the All-Star Game just doesn’t make sense anymore. It made sense when few baseball games were on television and the opportunity to see the stars play was magical. It made sense when the American and National Leagues were truly separate – before interleague play, before free agency, before easy travel between the leagues, before teams switched leagues – and so the only time you might see Johnny Bench face Jim Palmer was in the World Series or All-Star Game. It made sense when we CARED about meaningless games just for the enjoyment of the moment.

All that stuff is gone. Bud Selig’s rather desperate effort to attach meaning to the game by having it determine World Series homefield advantage hasn’t added anything at all, largely because it doesn’t matter to anyone now. It won’t matter to anyone for months, and even then it will only matter to fans of teams actually in the World Series. And for teams in the World Series, it will seem impossibly stupid to have homefield advantage determined by some single in the eighth inning by an All-Star pinch-hitter off an All-Star middle reliever.

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about it: What can be done to make the All-Star Game matter again? It’s still an amazing opportunity for baseball – the All-Star Game still has one of the best stages in sports. It’s a Tuesday night in July when NOTHING ELSE is going on. And, weirdly enough, I started thinking about lessons the All-Star Game can take from the Home Run Derby.

It’s weird because: I very much dislike the Home Run Derby. Almost everyone I know does. It’s a terrible event live. It’s a terrible event on television, viewed through the prism of Chris Berman shouting “back-back-back.” The Derby is repetitive and dull and generally annoying.
BUT … it does something the All-Star Game does not. It sticks in the mind. I was thinking about the Home Run Derby the last decade or so and found, to my utter shock, that memories flooded back. I immediately remembered Josh Hamilton’s home run barrage as he was completing a comeback that blew the mind – that was inspiring. Bobby Abreu hit a billion homers one year, that was pretty amazing. Ryan Howard … Prince Fielder … Vlad Guerrero … I remember these moments pretty vividly. I remember Robinson Cano winning with his dad pitching. I remember Robinson Cano flailing helplessly as Kansas City fans booed him for leaving hometown hero Billy Butler off the Derby team.

Then, I was thinking about All-Star Game memories from the last decade: I came up completely empty. I could not think of a single one – and I’ve BEEN to almost every All-Star Game in the last decade. The last vivid memory I have from an All-Star Game was the 2002 tie game calamity, more than a decade ago. And I’ve BEEN to the All-Star Games. Before that, I remember them stopping the game in the middle to honor Cal Ripken.

So why is the Derby more memorable to me (and the numerous others I asked) than the All-Star Game? I think it’s simply this: It’s completely different. The All-Star Game is just another game, one of 3,000 or so that will be played this year if you count spring training and the postseason. Yes, it has the best players (or some reasonable facsimile), and yes it has great history with Ted Williams’ game-winner and Bo Jackson’s bomb to center and Pedro Martinez’s two thrilling innings of strikeouts and whatever. But, in the end, it’s a meaningless game. And we don’t have any time for such things.

The Home Run Derby, for all its many flaws, is DIFFERENT. Same thing with the dunk contest, which is better than the NBA All-Star Game. It acknowledges that people have changed, that it isn’t enough to just get together a few familiar stars and have them play a game for no real purpose. We don’t watch sports like that anymore.

So, it’s really simple: Baseball can keep playing the All-Star Game as is, and fewer people will watch every year. Or they can learn from their own history and figure out a way to make the game memorable again.

* * *

OK, since you asked, here’s what I would do to make the All-Star Game matter again: I would put together one Major League Baseball All-Star Team and have them play a game against a Japanese League All-Star team.

Yes, of course there would be some logistical concerns. But there are so many good things about this game that I don’t even feel like there’s a need to sell it … but here are just three:

1. It would bring back some real meaning to the game. The thing about the old All-Star Game was that players used to feel some sense of pride for the league they played. The National League was older and more established, the American League was the upstart. Then the National League was much more active in integration, while the American League moved slowly. Then the National League won a bunch in a row. And so on. Now, nobody CARES what league they play in. Heck, the Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers happily swapped leagues.

But if you had MLB against Japan … you better believe players would care.

2. The Japanese Leagues are obviously much, much better than people generally seem to believe in America. It’s obvious because in recent years players like Ichiro, Yu Darvish, Masahiro Tanaka, Koji Uehara and so on have become mega-stars in the big leagues. It would be so good for baseball to get the leagues closer together.

3. The All-Star Game would become a world-wide event in a way that it is not now. Baseball does not celebrate its worldliness as much as it should. There are several different languages spoken in every clubhouse. The best players bring new cultures and new styles into the sport. It’s funny; baseball’s championship has been called the World Series for 100 years, but in many ways the world was not invited. I think you begin by bringing in a Japanese All-Star Team, but over time you could add players from Korea and China and Latin American countries. Make it the World All-Star Game.

Anyway, it’s just one idea.