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Archive for July, 2012

A Quick Post About The Most Stunning Twist Of Fate This Baseball Season

Of course my computer breaks down tonight and can’t get past the start-up screen. Tonight of all nights, because tonight gave us one of the most unbelievable moments of the year.

Padres versus Dodgers, top of the ninth inning. Padres on second and third. Two strikes, two outs, and the Dodgers leading by a run.

And then it was one of those times when the adage rang so true: You will see something you’ve never seen before every time you watch a baseball game.

Yes, it’s overstated. But given the game situation, I don’t know many people who have seen anything like that.

I apologize for being such a damn tease. If you haven’t seen the play yet, get out of your cave, and do a Google search for “Kenley Jansen error.” Or just go to MLB.com. Do something, just do it now! I would link the video of the craziness here, but I don’t know how to do that yet on this Samsung Galaxy Tab. I installed the WordPress app a few minutes ago to type this up, and it is like pulling teeth.

If you have seen the play in question, I hope you were as amazed as I was.

The Padres actually had runners on the corners with nobody out. Then Jansen buckled down and seemed to have righted the ship. A strikeout, a pop up, and Alexi Amarista looked overmatched. The remnants of a near-sellout crowd were ready to celebrate.

I wasn’t in attendance, but that’s probably a good thing since most people at Dodger Stadium probably weren’t paying attention to the field between pitches. Like Jansen.

Two runs, the tying and go-ahead runs, score with that team one strike away from a loss. All without a pitch being thrown.

That is unless you count Jansen’s lovely panic toss to the backstop as a pitch.

Huston Street made easy work of what had to be a shell-shocked team in a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth.

The Padres stole this game as the Dodgers threw it away at the same time.

I’ll close by saying I look forward to seeing how the Dodgers and their closer rebound, or at least try to rebound, after being absolutely blindsided.

And the crew that works at Best Buy better get my computer fixed by tomorrow, because my fingers are having a tough time with this tablet crap.

Alfonso Soriano Tried His Best Yesterday To Make His Awful Contract Totally Worth It

It was kind of fitting that, after what seemed like the longest all-star break known to man, we were forced to wait an extra three hours and 40 minutes for baseball to resume Friday afternoon. Alfonso Soriano took advantage of the long pregame rain delay to transport his baseball-playing abilities back to about 2006.

Soriano hit two home runs, two doubles and drove in five during the game. He became the first Cub to post that exact line since the beginning of the Live Ball Era. The five RBIs tied a career high. He became the seventh Cub to record four extra-base hits in a multi-HR game. Aramis Ramirez did it twice. And Soriano became the eighth Cub — and the first player this year — to get four extra-base hits in his only four at-bats of a game. Plus, the Cubs got the win, 8-1.

So I guess that’s the good news.

The bad news is that the Cubs are still on the hook to pay a 36-year-old defensive liability with a full no-trade clause, whose speed and power have declined greatly with age, $54 million through 2014.

Notes About The 83rd MLB All-Star Game

If tonight’s MLB All-Star Game wasn’t going to be very captivating, then all I hoped for was some oddities I could write about.

Unfortunately, the former was true. If you missed anything after the fourth inning, you honestly didn’t miss anything. Luckily, the game was such a blowout that a few unique things did take place. So here are some words about … whatever this was.

The 8-0 final represented the first All-Star game shutout since 1996 when the NL won, 6-0. It was the largest run differential in an ASG — oh, don’t forget the freaking hashtag! — since 1983. Fred Lynn’s grand slam helped lead the AL to a 13-3 victory.

Justin Verlander allowed five runs in the first inning. Well, it would have been four if Prince Fielder had given the slightest attempt at picking that one-hop throw from Derek Jeter. Regardless, those five runs were one less than Verlander has allowed in 18 first innings this entire season.

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Tyler Clippard Loses His Scoreless Streak. Ernesto Frieri’s Continues On

July 10, 2012 3 comments

As a Yankees fan, I’m totally OK with the fact that they traded this guy five years ago straight up for Jonathan Ayambadejo. That’s not how his name is spelled, but he wasn’t good enough for me to care.

This is where the rule stating that every team must be represented in the MLB All-Star Game really irks me. It’s like ordering a huge steak dinner that automatically comes with two sides. Yeah, I’m picking two sides, not because I want to, but because I have to. So screw you, steamed broccoli and garlic mashed potatoes — you’re only going into my mouth because you were free. Same goes for you, side salad that no one ever eats.

What am I talking about again?

Whatever it is, I’m feeling a trip to Outback right about now.

Anyway, Ryan Cook and Huston Street are fine, but they’re in Kansas City because they are surrounded by mediocrity. They were the best of the relative worst. If not for that stupid edict, and if MLB wanted to choose two more-deserving closers, Ernesto Frieri and Tyler Clippard should be taking the trip and those roster spots.

Both of them pitched on the ceremonial final day of the season’s first half with scoreless streaks on the line.

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How Bad Has It Gotten Tim Lincecum?

Tim Lincecum celebrates getting a batter out, something he hasn’t done very often this season

Baseball Prospectus, this ain’t. I would like to tell you why and not just how this 2012 season has gone so very, very wrong for Big Time Timmy Jim. His fastball velocity is down a full two miles per hour on average from late season. But I haven’t been looking at pitch F/X or pitch location charts, so simply, here are some things you may have heard and some things you may not have heard to put his dreadful first half into perspective.

Warning: I’m going to use the word “qualified” way too often.

Yes, his ERAs stands at 6.42, almost a half run worse than any qualified National League pitcher. His WHIP is at 1.583. The last time a pitcher who qualified for the ERA title posted such grotesque marks, it was 2005, and the man was Jose Lima. He ended with 6.99/1.66.

In that season, batters hit .314 off of Lima Time. They are hitting just .268 off of Lincecum this year.

Actually, Lima’s 6.65/1.625 from 2000 is the next chronological entry on that list. But I digress.

Of course, Lincecum isn’t just another guy on the mound. Among all-stars, those ERA and WHIP numbers have been “topped” just three times. There’s Lima, once again, in 2005 and 2000, and Darryl Kile (6.61/1.752) in 1999. And just by coincidence, that’s a tad grim.

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One Inning. Six Outs. Six Pitchers

Those in attendance at Fenway Park tonight can say they saw something that will never be surpassed for as long as baseball exists.*

I don’t know how many times it has been matched, but never surpassed. For in the seventh inning of tonight’s Yankees-Red Sox filibuster game, Bobby Valentine and Joe Girardi used one pitcher each to get one out.

Andrew Miller comes in from the pen to begin the top of the seventh with Boston leading, 7-6. After allowing a walk and a single, Miller strikes out Robinson Cano looking. His night: done.

Vicente Padilla is greeted by Mark Teixeira, who triples into the left-center field triangle to give the Yankees an 8-7 lead. It was Teixeira’s first triple since August 2011.

After Padilla gets a strike out and gives up an RBI double, he gets the hook in favor of Scott Atchison. He gives up an RBI hit to Eric Chavez and finally gets the third out by K’ing Russell Martin.

So, four runs on four hits off of three pitchers. But they struck out the side, so that’s lovely.

To the bottom of the seventh. Boone Logan, who completed the sixth, starts off with a pitch that was mashed by Cody Ross. 10-8, Yankees. A single, then a strikeout, and Cody Eppley replaces Logan.

Eppley allows a single and gets a force out.

And then … he is replaced by David Robertson, who strikes out Nick Punto to end the seventh. All of it.

I haven’t looked to see how many minutes this one inning lasted, but I’m sure some cranky fans thought they could have fit in the new Spider-Man movie and make it home in time for the ninth.

But hey, it’s the Yankees and the Red Sox. If these games don’t require four hours to finish, partial refunds should be handed out.

*Let’s just not even consider the possibility of a dropped third strike/wild pitch representing a pitcher’s only recorded “out.”

Cliff Lee Is A Winner

July 4, 2012 1 comment

As you celebrate America’s independence — or just think it’s pretty sweet that you get this Wednesday off from work for some reason — recognize that, today, Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee gained his independence from a winless season. I’m not sure if that makes any sense.

Lee allowed two runs through eight innings, and the Phillie offense supported him with three in each of the final three innings as they beat the Mets, 9-2.

Lee is now 1-5 on the year and has stopped his streak of winless starts to begin a season at 13. That’s not too close to the record as Athletics pitcher Matt Keough didn’t get his first W until Aug. 8, 1979 following 23 fruitless tries.

But Lee has little company when you consider that he’s a Cy Young winner.

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