Tagged: Carlos Zambrano

Okay, THIS one would be warranted

Sure, sure, five of those seven runs were allowed by the
starter, but the Mets blew a 7-0 lead, they lost in 13 innings, the tying run
scored with two outs in the ninth…it wasn’t great. After the oft-maligned Aaron
Heilman pitched three shutout innings, Scott Schoeneweis came in for the bottom
of the thirteenth and immediately gave up a triple to Shane Victorino. Mets
manager Jerry Manuel made the logical move here, ordering Schoeneweis to
intentionally walk the next two batters to get to the pitcher’s spot. As the
Mets’ announcers told us, Cole Hamels, their best-hitting pitcher, was already
used the previous time the pitcher’s spot came around, and Kyle Kendrick, their
second-best, was warming up to pitch in case it went to the fourteenth. Brett
Myers, 2-for-44 on the year, came up, and after the announcers discussed the
possibility of a squeeze, they decided that Myers had received orders not to
swing. Uh, was Charlie Manuel watching this year’s All-Star Game? If you
weren’t going to let your pitcher swing anyway, why not just leave Rudy Seanez
out there, save Myers for if the game goes 20-some-odd innings and Kendrick
gets tired? The Mets’ announcers had a bigger concern, namely, why it took
Schoeneweis six pitches to strike out a batter with no intent of taking the
bat off his shoulder.
This, too, was a strategical move, avoiding the
possibility of the 1-2-3 double play. The Phillies won, 8-7, on Chris Coste’s
single, capping off a 4-for-4 night that started with a pinch-hitting
appearance in the eighth inning. Wait, whaddya mean “strategical” isn’t a word!
BOOO!!!!!!!!

 

Yeah, there was a lot of booing where I was last night, the
house at the corner of 161st and River–most of it directed at the
home team’s third baseman, at least in the later innings. Heck, they even booed
him when he made a play. Great game. We were originally going to go into
the city by way of public transit, so I opted to forgo my bright red Red Sox
gear for something more subtle. The t-shirt features a dictionary-style
definition of the word “idiot” with the alternative definition “One who sells
his soul to the evil empire”, a clear reference to former Sox outfielder Johnny
Damon. It looked a particularly apt characterization, as Johnny seemed to be
the only one on the team doing anything on offense, hitting two home
runs in a game in which the Yankees only scored a total of three runs. A-Rod
was particularly atrocious, going 0-for-5 with two GIDP and making the final
out of an inning in four of his five PAs. He also had an error. The Red Sox are
now just 3½ out in the division. Also, they may be getting Mark Kotsay from the
Braves. Kotsay’s current team was only mentioned in that last sentence in order
to provide a segue into the Braves’ stunning come-from-behind win, scoring four
times in the bottom of the ninth to win 10-9. The game had been 3-0 Atlanta at
one point, then 6-3 Florida, and then I think it was tied 6-6 before the
Marlins took their 9-6 lead. I’ll have to double-check that. (Correction–After
6-3 was 6-4, then 8-4, then 8-6 before 9-6.)

 

In other news, Carlos Zambrano broke a record last night. He
picked up a base hit in his thirteenth straight start, surpassing the 12-game
hitting streak by Johnny Sain that had served as the record for a pitcher. An
interesting curiosity. Oh, and the game the Cubs played against the Pirates put
that Braves-Marlins game to shame in lead changes. The Pirates scored the first
three runs, then it went from 3-1 Pittsburgh to 5-3 Chicago in a flash, so
quickly on the out-of-town scoreboard that I assumed a grand slam. It wasn’t; Geovany
Soto had a three-run double, and the other run came…somewhere in that vicinity.
The Pirates closed it to 5-4, then the Cubs scored again to make it 6-4, only
for the Pirates to tie it at 6-6…but then the Cubs took a 7-6 lead, only to
quickly end up down 8-7! Then the Cubs started to get serious. (My dad and I
were on the way home by the time this started, and neither of us were remotely
surprised to hear that Craig Hansen had walked two batters.) It became 9-8,
then 10-8, and then Geo Soto had his second three-run double of the night. The
final score was 14-9 Cubs, with Soto driving in half of his team’s runs.

 

Just another game off the calendar, though, as the Brewers
kept pace in dominating fashion. After eight innings, the lead was a
comfortable 5-0. By the time the Cardinals came to bat in the bottom of the
ninth, though, it was a laugher, as the Brewers put up seven insurance
runs in the top of the inning. The shutout held up for a 12-0 final.

I love this game

Been awhile since I last updated–I’ve kind of been
procrastinating the typing up of my handwritten All-Star Game Journal. A
warning for when I do get it up: I start getting really strange when I’m
staying up late. I got an early start this morning, which means classic games
on XM. This morning’s classic was from April 27, 2003. I know this to be the
date because the out-of-town scores happened to mention that Kevin
Millwood had no-hit the Giants. When you can share an afternoon with a no-hitter,
and a no-hitter with only one run of support at that, and still make it as a
classic game, you know it’s a good day in baseball. From what I had heard when
I joined the game in progress, St. Louis had led 6-1 before the Marlins tied it
up in a five-run ninth backed by homers by Ramon Castro, Luis Castillo and Mike
Lowell. One thing I found especially curious, listening to the late innings of
this game, was that the Cards repeatedly issued intentional walks to Lowell in
order to get to Derrek Lee, twice with two outs already just in the innings I
heard. Maybe by now that would once more be a good strategy, but there were a
few years there that hardly anyone warranted getting an intentional pass to get
to D-Lee, certainly not Mike Lowell. Fernando Viña had the game-winning RBI
single for the Cardinals in the 20th inning…to end the game
1-for-10. -_-‘ Yeah…it’s that kind of game. Last night’s action was interesting
in its own right. While there weren’t any 20-inning games, there was a
ten-inning game, and it wasn’t tied up when the ninth inning began. I know this
because I saw a bit of the ninth when I first woke up, replayed on ESPN–it was
the Brewers-Cardinals game that they’d happened to choose for Monday Night
Baseball. I could’ve sworn it was the Brewers that had trailed 3-2, but the
wrap-ups on XM’s Baseball This Morning, while not mentioning that it had become
tied in the ninth, did say that Rickie Weeks had a 3-run homer “earlier in the
game”, so I guess it must’ve been the Cards. I don’t know; my TV was flickering
this morning, the result of a power surge last night that knocked out the power
in my town for a few hours, so I didn’t stick around to watch for very long.
Milwaukee ended up winning 6-3, Bill Hall with a solo homer to start the three-run
tenth. Ten is also the number of runs the Rockies scored, on twenty hits…in a
not-so-close loss. The Dodgers had 8 runs on the board before the host Rockies
even came to bat and won 16-10. Ten, too, is the number of runs the Tigers
scored…in the eighth inning. Miguel Cabrera was 5-for-6 with 6 RBI in the
Tigers’ 19-4 victory over the Royals. Boston finally won another road game, but
the Rays and Yanks likewise won, so the Sox remain 1½ back in the division,
three ahead of the Yankees. They did, however, increase their lead in the wild
card race, as the Bombers’ 12-4 victory was over Minnesota, now two back in the
wild card race and still just half a game behind the White Sox, who fell to the
killer bat of Josh Hamilton and the rest of the Texas Rangers. This win moves
the Rangers into second place in the AL West, half a game better than Tampa’s
victim, the A’s, but still 8½ games behind the division-leading Angels, losers
last night but still the only team with 60 wins and the only team with less
than 40 losses (which, if you’re keeping count, means their closer’s save total
exceeds their team’s loss total.) Back to the NL side, Rich Harden pitched a
great game for the Cubs but fell to 0-1 in the National League as the North
Siders were shut out 2-0 by Randy Johnson and the Arizona Diamondbacks. With
the NL East co-leading Phillies and Mets both idle last night, the Marlins had
a chance to make it a three-way tie with a win over the Braves, but couldn’t do
it, managing just two singles and a walk in a 4-0 defeat. Freddy Sanchez hit an
inside-the-park home run as the Pirates beat the Astros 9-3 to snap a five-game
losing streak.

 

So I ended up not posting the same day I originally wrote
this…again. Means time for more updates…Colorado scored ten again, but
this time, it was more than enough for a blowout win over the Dodgers. The Reds
won in eleven innings, while in St. Louis, we had a truly great radio call.
“It’s interesting how deep Ankiel is playing Hall…and he should be as [Hall]
hits it over his head into the bleachers for a home run; man he really destroys
us.” Just like that. No change in voice tone, as Bill Hall’s two-out solo homer
in the ninth inning gave the Brewers a 4-3 victory; the Crew now leads St.
Louis by one game in the wild card race and is just a game behind the Cubs, who
lost 9-2 to the now sole NL West-leading D-Backs. The tie atop the NL East was
also broken, obviously, as the Phillies scored six runs in the ninth to beat
the Mets 8-6. The Marlins also stayed just a game back with a 4-0 win over the
Braves; Chipper Jones accounted for the Braves’ only hit of the game. In other
Diamondbacks news, 6’10” Randy Johnson is no longer the tallest pitcher on
his team, as they acquired 6’11” Jon Rauch from the Nationals in exchange
for a minor-league infielder. Also in the transaction news: Houston acquired
Randy Wolf from San Diego. This baffles many, as Houston doesn’t seem to be in
contention (they lost to Pittsburgh again last night), but with the deadline
still over a week away, they could get two starts out of him and still be able
to deal him away. If there’s a contending team out there rumored to want Wolf
that has something the Astros want, this could’ve been a very shrewd move. The
White Sox increased their lead in the division with a win over Texas, as the
Twins lost to the Yankees. The Red Sox, winners again over Seattle, now lead
both the Twins and Yankees by three games for the wild card and trail the Rays
by just half a game, as Oakland retook second place in the West with an 8-1 win
over Tampa Bay.

 

Why do I even bother? It’s been nearly a week now, and still
no official updates from me. More interesting trades made, as the Dodgers pick
up Casey Blake from the Indians (good move) and the Yanks get Xavier Nady and
Damaso Marte from the Pirates (even better move). Still, yesterday was a prime
example of how stats can be misleading. Yesterday’s SportsCenter stated,
truthfully, that the Yankees had won all four of the starts that Sidney Ponson
had made for them. However, what wasn’t told there was that he generally left
those starts in the sixth inning or so and in one of them gave up seven earned
runs in five-plus innings. (Remember that game I was telling you about when I
was in Tampa watching the Boston bullpen implode against the Rays while the
Yankees seemed to have more runs each time their game passed by on the
out-of-town scoreboard? That would be the one.) Boston starter Jon Lester, on
the other hand, had given up just 5 earned runs in 23⅔ innings over his last
three starts, including a complete-game shutout at Yankee Stadium. Naturally,
the Sox pounded Sir Sidney and the Knights of the Buffet Table to the tune of a
9-2 win. The following divisions have seen a tie for first place (give or take
a couple of percentage points) within the past week: AL East, NL East, NL
Central, NL West. (The following division can’t possibly see a tie for first
until the second week of August and probably won’t see one ever again this
season: AL West.) Yes, the Brewers finally caught the Cubs, entering yesterday’s
action in a dead heat. The Brewers lost again, giving the Cubs a one-game lead,
but the two teams start a four-game series tonight in Milwaukee. Should be
exciting. Scheduled matchups: Lilly vs. Sabathia, Zambrano vs. Sheets, Dempster
vs. Parra, Harden vs. Bush. But seriously, the Angels’ AL West dominance is
sick. Their lead over second-place Texas is more than the other five division
leaders’ leads over the second place teams combined. Actually, if you
add up the games behind for the other five second-place teams (Boston 1,
Minnesota 2.5, Philadelphia 1, Milwaukee 1, Los Angeles 1), you could add in
the deficit for one of the two eastern divisions’ third place teams (New York 3
or Florida 2) and still come up with something below the 10.5 games that Los
Angeles of Anaheim leads their division by. The Angels have been the rare team
that does truly well on the road, fully five games better than any other team
(14 games over .500, with second-best St. Louis a mere 4 games over .500 on the
road)–and that’s even with a road loss yesterday. (St. Louis also suffered a
road loss, though.) Actually, that road loss is notable not because it’s rare
that they lose on the road, but because of who the home team was. Prior to
their win over the Angels yesterday, the Orioles had not won on a Sunday since
April 6, the first Sunday of the season.