Every city has a unique vibe when it comes to bad baseball news. A lot of cities do the panic thing with some local flavor or another. Many others simply tune out and look to another sport like football or hockey to take their minds off things. If the Yankees are doing poorly there’s usually some reference to an off-the-field distraction or clubhouse dispute as a means of explaining it all. Chicago tends to go historical and take its bad news as if it had been ordained by Fate.
But Boston? Oh man, Boston does bitter better than ANYONE:
The math says the Sox are probably going to qualify for the tournament, but they should be barred on sheer principle and merit. Let the worthy teams participate in the playoffs. The Sox are not worthy. Really, how do you root for these guys anymore?
Sure, this is Dan Shaughnessy, but he’s been stirring the pot in Boston for a long time so he knows this will resonate with a lot of people. Only question is whether, in the event the Sox make the playoffs and win it all, he turns on a dime and writes some book about it being all magical and crap. I sort of hope he does, actually, because that kind of chutzpah can be a thing of beauty. I’d probably buy three copies.
Oh well. My only regret is that we have less than a week for the fan bases in Boston, Atlanta, St. Louis and Tampa Bay to tear themselves apart in their own unique way. It’s great fun.
Just one week after Taylor Cole and Felix Peña tossed a combined no-hitter against Seattle, Mariners right-hander Mike Leake worked on his own perfect game through eight innings against the Angels.
It was an ambitious form of revenge, and one that Leake served up perfectly as he held the Angels scoreless in frame after frame. He sprinkled a handful of strikeouts throughout the first eight innings, catching Matt Thaiss on a called strike three in the third and getting two whiffs — called strikeouts against both Brian Goodwin and Shohei Ohtani — in the fourth.
The Mariners, meanwhile, put up a good fight against the Angels, backing Leake’s attempt with 10 runs — their first double-digit total since a 13-3 rout of the Orioles on June 23. Daniel Vogelbach led things off in the fourth with a three-run homer off of reliever Jaime Barria, then repeated the feat with another three-run shot off Barria in the fifth. Tom Murphy and J.P. Crawford helped pad the lead as well with a two-RBI single and two-RBI double, respectively.
In the ninth, with just three outs remaining, the Angels finally managed to break through. Luis Rengifo worked a 1-1 count against Leake, then returned an 85.3-m.p.h. changeup to right field for a base hit, dismantling the perfecto and the no-hitter in one fell swoop. Leake lost control of the ball following the hit, issuing four straight balls to Kevan Smith in the next at-bat and giving the Angels their first runner in scoring position. Still at a pitch count of just 90, however, he induced the next two outs in quick fashion and polished off the win with a triumphant eight-pitch strikeout against Mike Trout for the first one-hitter (and Maddux) of his career.
Had Leake successfully closed out the perfecto, it would’ve been the first of his decade-long career in the majors and the first the Mariners had seen since Félix Hernández’s perfect game against the Rays in August 2012. For their part, the Angels have yet to be on the losing end of a perfecto. The last time they were shut out in a no-hitter was 1999, at the hands of then-Twins pitcher Eric Milton.