Drew Fairservice: August 2008 Archives

The Long Slink Home

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Bananas.jpgIn a baseball sense, we all spent last night with a girl WAY outta our league. A mindless little tart named College Football tried to draw our attention away; but last's nights baseball action went the Sexy Librarian Marine Biologist route, and we were putty in her hands. Now hungover, we can all make the walk (off walk) of shame together. But not before we stop in for some brunch and look down the shirt of the waitress named Sunday's slate of games.

The Big Men that Broke the Elevator: You want big names to seal the deal? Roy Halladay leads his Blue Jays into Yankee Stadium for the final time, with Andy Petttitte offering resistance for the Yankees. The Big Z will take on the Old M in the rubber match in Chicago, a game both teams would love to have. CC Sabathia puts his perfect National League record on the line against the Pirates. Symbolic ace Pedro Martinez hopes to pitch a complete game, lest he be saddled with a ND. Pedro may hit the wall after 90 pitches these days, but an exhausted Pedro is better than whatever trash they'd send out there after him. The Mets bullpen has blown 11 of its last 26 save opportunities. That is downright ugly.

The Even Have Aces on the West Coast: John Lackey leads his Angels against the Rangers, looking for a four game sweep and to lower their magic number to 7. Jake Peavy is an ace, but the current state of the Padres devalues that statement considereably. Peavy is still a stud though, as he takes the man that started Game 1 of last year's World Series Jeff Francis. Yeah, that skinny Canadian kid that has been atrocious this year. Francis has actually thrown together a few good starts, but his K rate is way down and his BB rate is way up. Not generally good for business, even against the Padres.

You're so good, you get to play in front of everyone: The Dodgers and Diamondbacks finish their "big" series in the desert. Brandon Webb works quickly and induces ground balls, a recipe for success. Derek Lowe induces ground balls also, but with the Dodgers defense behind him, that is a recipe for disaster. Lowe is a free agent at the end of the year, his record betrays his performance for the year. Maybe a good outing on a big stage will help convince some GMs? Only if those GMs are Yahoo commenters.

With the odds stacked against it, Sunday afternoon isn't going down without a fight. Lots of good stuff here. Enjoy the games!
baby-lobster.jpgDear Mother of God, last night's ongoings were of a historical and mindblowing nature. If I live to be ninety, I will never forget what I saw. Honestly though, I think my brain might explode.

Marlins 4, Mets 3: Game details mumble mumble...Mike Jacobs...massive home run.....Aaron Heilman...four walks...Brian McCann...home run....Nationals win fifth straight...Who cares? The NL East Brings the Shrimp! Best division in baseball? I certainly think so. Double WoW in the same division! Whichever team emerges from this crustacean-laden morass will win the World Series. The Shrimps have foreseen it.

Rays 10, Orioles 9: The Rays bullpen has been outstanding all year, but last night deferred to a higher power. Nick Markakis's two out, game-tying bomb bounced off the scoreboard displaying Dan Wheeler's previously impressive stats. But that's okay, as it set the stage for an uber-dramatic, ROCCOFF WIN for the Rays. Rocco put the Rays ahead in the 8th with a clutch RBI hit by pitch, then sent the reasonably-sized crowd home happy with a double that scored Carlos Pena from first. Seriously Florida, if this crazy game doesn't bring you out en masse, I'm going to up and move this team to Montreal. YOUPPI WOULD SUPPORT THE FROZEN RAYS. The Red Sox have stolen the Yankees ability to stuff any corpse into their jersey and get production out of it. Young guy Mark Bowden pitched 5 effective innings while 30 year old random Jeff Bailey hit his second career ding dong to pace the Red Sox over the White Sox. Dustin Pedroia is 8 for 8 in this series, and 12 for his last 17 overall. He's little, but good.

Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 2: No one could ever accuse Manny Ramirez of not trying. Well, you couldn't accuse him of not hitting, effort notwithstanding. Manny knocked four more hits last night, with two tots among them. Danny Haren was not his sharpest, allowing 10 ten hits and five runs in six innings. Chris Young did his best with a double & triple, but the Dodgers still snapped their losing streak and gained a precious game in the standings. The youth movement is in full swing in San Diego. The bunch of plucky youngsters cheaply beat the Rockies in Josh Geer's big league debut. I'm not 100%, but I think Josh Geer may actually be Lobster Baby.

A's 3, Twins 2: Walkoff walks? Roccoff Wins? Boring and predictable, says Bill Beane. The real value is walkoff sacrifice bunts-turned-throwing errors. It's where the real money is. Joe Nathan blew his fifth save of the year and has no one to blame but himself. Sort of. His attempt to get the force at third wasn't perfect, but Brendan Harris really should have done better to prevent the Coliseum's vast foul territory from swallowing the errant throw whole. Emil Brown scored from first on a throwing error. That ain't right. What the Mariners lack in offense, they make up in wacky names. Tug Hulett (!!) hit his first career tater tot and JJ Putz grabbed the ever-popular blown save/win when the Mariners overcame secretly awesome Shin Soo Choo's clutch 9th inning dinger with two runs in the top of 10. The Angels won thanks to some crappy umpiring and Frankie Rodriquez got another damn save. He has 53 now, his third in three days. Even I have to admit that's pretty impressive.

Brewers 11, Pirates 2: Milwaukee maintained its stranglehold on the Wildcard by strangling the Pirates. Corey Hart & Mike Cameron hit home runs, enough for Jeff Suppan when the lowly Bucs are involved. The Cubs actually lost a home game because the Phillies remembered they're the team that hits lots of tots. Albert Pujols joined Manny & Dustin in the Four Hits Club, but his team didn't win like the rest. The Astros hit three homers but grounded into five double plays, keeping this one respectable. I should stress again that Albert Pujols is absurdly, cartoonishly good.

The Royals? Really AL Central, that is the best you can do? That is Gas Face worthy, my friends. On such a historic night, you couldn't bring it up to the level of your peers. I should be more forgiving, as this one night of baseball could sustain me all winter long. I even had to wake up Lobster Baby to commemorate this wondrous night. We all must vote for the Cave Shrimp to keep the baseball Gods happy.

Unless Roy Halladay, Brandon Webb and CC Sabathia all pitch perfect games, today has no shot of approaching last night's awesomeness. Baseball is great, and all is right in the world.
Aiiiiiii! Elijah Dukes walks and the Nats win!!! You shrimped, dogg.

We also would have accepted "You dead, shrimp" or "You walked, shrimpdogg."
workersunite.jpgIf you are working on this fine & final long weekend of the summer, you should consider filing suit with your employer. The inability to get to the ballpark, or listen to these games on the radio while you grill meat and/or meat substitutes is a crime. A crime I say!

One for the history books: Yankee Stadium will be at its most resplendent today, playing host to a duel for the ages, Darrel Rasner against John Parrish. I get chills just thinking about the long men taking over for these two gladiators after 4 innings. David Eckstein gets what could be his final start in a Blue Jay uniform, as rumours swirl of him moving to Anaheim or even Arizona. Scrappy white guys everywhere shed a tear.

Fox blew their budget on that new Jerry O'Connell vehicle: That is the only explanation for threatening to broadcast the Mariners and Indians across the nation. Cooler heads have prevailed, so most folks will see the Phillies and the Cubs. America's Shining Star Brett Myers takes on Theodore Roosevelt Lily. The Rockets Red Glare indeed. The Rays get more national love, facing the Orioles at home on the big TV channel. I hope Fox employs Chinese government slaves seat fillers to make the Trop look almost half-full.

Throwdown when the Sun go down: What better way to spend your evening then taking in a pivotal NL West showdown? Things don't get any easier for the Dodgers, facing a growing deficit and Danny Haren tonight. Chad Billingsley will do his part for Dem Bums. The Mets and Fish send two surprising studs of their respective rotations, as good friend to children Mike Pelfrey takes on childishly named Ricky Nolasco. I'll give you a shiny dime if you predicted these two guys would be going head-to-head in a relatively large series. My doppelganger Mark Buehrle tries to stave off the charging Twins, leading his Pale Hose against something called Michael Bowden and the Red Sox. In the grand Red Sox tradition, he will be nearly unhittable in his big league debut, prompting the Sons of Sam Horn to curse every subsequent start he makes as "not good enough."

If you aren't out enjoying one of these games at your local ballpark/backyard/seedy tavern, I have no hope for our world. Some of these games will go a long way in determining who gets the dreaded WoW funeral on Tuesday. Be afraid Scully.
three fried eggs.jpgLast night; baseball was played and you tried to stay up for it all. Sadly you faded out again.

Twins 12, A's 2: The Twins banged out 20 hits (5 from Mauer and 4 from Morneau) in the comprehensive housing of the A's. Jack Cust managed to unclog the bases for a few minutes, but the inability to stop the Twins sneaky attack means they are just a half game back of the White Sox. The Indians welcomed Victor Martinez back just in time to see their winning streak finally came to an end. At the hands of the mighty Mariners, no less! Felix Hernandez was excellent, Jeremy Sowers wasn't bad either, but in a losing effort. The Tigers got another good start from Zack Miner against the Royals, but lost Miguel Cabrera with a strained pectoral muscle. Jim Leyland seems really embarrassed by the changes in Miguel's body.

Mets 5, Marlins 4: A Carlos Beltran tetra tot wasn't enough for the Mets bullpen, who try as they might, simply couldn't give this game away. Luis Ayala did what he could to make Francisco Rodriquez stinking rich, giving up 2 runs and 4 hits in picking up the save. The Mets move 2 up on the Phillies, who are wondering when instant replay will point its all-seeing eyes towards safe/out calls. Ryan Howard was called out at first base on a very close play, only to be called out as the umpire assumed a dude that fat couldn't possibly leg out on infield single. Dude blew his top, first base coach Davey Lopes got tossed (Oh no! Whoever will hold the shin pads?) to no avail, as Alfonso Soriano hit one of those Alfonso Soriano home runs that look like it might break away from Earth in the bottom of the inning. Carlos Marmol relieved Knute Rockne and slammed the very much ajar door shut. Uh, the Nats beat the Braves, and have won four in a row. Democracy wins again.

Rays 14, Orioles 3: So, the Rays are good. They're actually good. You and I can't deny it, all the bitterness in the world isn't going to change it. You're wrong about them being built on high draft picks, too. They hit a King Dong and two ding dongs, stole bases and basically beat the O's all over central Florida. They got a typical outing from the worst ace in the league, the maddening Kid K(an you believe how infrequently I throw strikes?) The Red Sox shoved the White Sox down the back of the dresser, sending Ozzie scrambling to make a pair in the morning. How come Dice-K isn't mentioned in any Cy Young discussions? Dude is 16-2, perhaps his nerd stats aren't as good as Cliff Lee's, he still has a solid WHIP and ERA+. The Yankees sent out unheralded youngster Carl Pavano, and the kid got it done. He held the vaunted Blue Jays offense in check, before turning it over the the vaunted Yankee bullpen who shut it down. AJ Burnett was awesome, but didn't win, so he'll likely go hungry this winter.

Diamondbacks 9, Dodgers 3: The LA Dodgers continued to ride the hot hitting of deadline acquisition Manny Ramirez right into a playoff spot. Is what I would be writing if the Dodgers hadn't forgotten how to win. Manny may have been 4-4, raising his NL average to .400 even, but Nomar made more fatal errors than the farm girl during Frosh Week. Chan Ho Park didn't help matters, tossing soju on the fire until the game was out of reach. That would be 8 in a row for the Dodgers, who are 4.5 games back. The Rockies beat the Padres behind Aaron Cook, but hopefully they aren't deluded enough to think they're still "in it."

Astros 3, Cardinals 2: Lance Berkman hit the first walkoff shot of his storied career. His ballpark-adjusted career is less impressive, but let's just enjoy the moment. With any luck, the Cardinals will take one game out of this series, turning it into some kind of double elimination. Show's over fellas, take your peak at Albert Pujols's enormous penis and move on.

You repeated failure is really putting a damper on our relationship AL West. Yes, I know that K-Rod got his 52nd save of the year, but the only thing cheesier than saves is K-Rod's save dance for Jesus. Yes, it means another Gas Face for you AL West. Don't worry, Ichiro will pull you through. Soon we'll look at the day's games, unless you email me and demand a different form of entertainment*.

*entertainment only implied, no guarantees of any kind will be honoured.
Kingpin1[1].jpgDay games and K machines. Sounds like a good Sunday to me. I'm still here on the homestead, living Polpot's agriculture-based utopian dream.

More Spare Rubber Than Beijing: It is too early to classify these as Crucial Series right? Perhaps simply saying that they are key, key to Meaningful Baseball in September. The Jays and Red Sox hook up their winningest and K-ingest pitchers to decide their three day Canada tilt. Rich Harden's NL numbers are nothing short of frightening, and today he gets to face the Gnats. Another double digit strikeout day is in the works. The ancient Chinese proverb tells us that when Fish and Snake do battle, one should always believe in Ricky. The Angels - Twins division leader tilt comes down to another good pitching match up. Kevin Slowey struck out 12 in his last start, while Santana pitched well but fell to the Rays when last he took the mound.

More from the Mound! We're really spoiled today. CC takes his perfect record and overworked arm to the hill against the Pirates. King Felix gets a shot at Random Lefty X and the A's. The Andy Sonnastine Mirage gets a good look at quick workin', often losin' Mark Buehrle.

The Bank is open late: The Phillies and Dodgers do it again tonight, under the hypeful eye of ESPN. The Dodgers don't want to slip too much further behind the D-Backs, watch for noted firebrand Joe Torre to offer a rousing pre-game speech. Charlie Manual is going to solicit speech advice from whoever shouts "Go Phils Go" at his car.

I'm trading in cow pies for crackheads as soon as I can. The Iracanes and the Tiger Claws will let you know how it all went down tomorrow. Swing by here this week as the Jays "Quest for Heartbreak" continues. Enjoy the Ks!
baseballbed.jpgWhat happened last night while you wrote mildly amusing game recaps at your in-laws. Your in-laws horse farm, to be exact. On a laptop without Firefox, tabbed browsing, keys for the letters S & D, and a connection speed above 56 Mbps

Yankees 5, Orioles 3: The AL East - Where Italian ballplayers Returning From Extended Turns on the DL Happens. Crazy Carl rode some early run support for 5 innings, picking up his first win since the day before forever. Giambi and Matsui donged and Dave Trembley stomped his way out of the game in the 2nd inning. If loving Carl Pavano is wrong, I don't want to be on Who's the Boss? The Rays continued to lay solid foundation under their house of cards, riding more strong bullpen work (three hitless innings) until they finally got to former Expo Javier Vasquez. He was perfect through 5, Jermaine Dye hit two tots, but the Sox still lost. Lost Sox in Toronto too! Jesse Litsch's smoke and mirrors baffled the Red Sox while Vernon Wells double totting bruised them, bringing the Jays and Yanks one game closer in the Wild Card.

Diamondbacks 7, Marlins 1: Yusmeiro Petit stole Micah Owings job, and he don't want to give it back. 6 innings of 2 hit ball is conducive to employment, especially in the "starter pitcher" market segment. One of the hits was a home run by my NL Boyfriend Hanley Ramirez, but Chris Young and Miguel Montero covered that and then some. Barry Zito has heard the cliche his entire life, but finally realized his record wasn't going to get any better unless he "helped his own cause." The Dude picked up his first RBI of the year, and his Giants ruined Dirk "Imaginative nickname derived from a high-brow skin flick" Hayhurst's big league debut. In true NL West style, this game featured zero homers but 2 triples! How sweet.

Angels 7, Twins 5: The Halos were able to overcame a bad Jon Garland start (even by Jon Garland standards!) thanks to the Twins actively participating in their own downfall. Two third inning errors by Brian Buscher led to a four run outburst. Mark Texeira added an insurance ding dong, making Frankie Rodriquez's already simple job that much easier. He's now one save short of 50, and we're seven days short of September. The Angels stat geek-speak "magic number" is now down to 19. Never ask a girl her "magic number" if you don't really want to know. Frugal Lefty Dana Eveland beat Decadent Lefty Jarrod Washburn in a game that defines the Dog Days exactly. C'mon Jarrod, you can't have a pitchers duel if one guy barely qualifies as a pitcher!

Phillies 9, Dodgers 2: The Phillies scored three runs in three seperate innings, powered by Pat Burrel's 30th home run of the year. He went three for five, and knocked in five runs. Five is better than three, so the numerology is even crazier. Johnny Maine (ain't a damn thing changed) got lit up by the Astros, well the two Astros that are famous and/or good anyway. Lance Berkman and Miguel Tejada notched 6 hits and 6 RsBI, which is surprising when you consider that manager/luddite Cecil Cooper hit Michael Bourne second. I must not understand the nuance of having a sub .300 on base percentage guy getting to bat with the second most frequency on your team. So he's been successful there, that doesn't make it right!

Cubs 9, Nats 2: Rather quietly (quietly Canadian, but loudly All Star teamed), the disastrous closer known as the Cum Dempster is having the best season among Cubs starters. Dude scattered 8 hits of 7.1 innings, only walking one terrible Nat. Aramis Ramirez knocked two dingers, (Mark DeRosa had one too) and the Cubbies continued to cruise. The Brewers stayed in control of the Wild Card, thanks to Ryan Braun's powerful bat and refusal to abide by the laws of a beautiful tradition, 3000 years of in the making. Albert Pujols could hit dandruff off an albino, but one man's 1.100 OPS is another man's intentional walk.

Too bad AL Central, you came so close. The price of gas is finally coming down, so I'll gladly distribute it to you in Face form. If I can work the butter churn fast enough, I'll wander through the day games in a mildly amusing fashion.

Shout at the Devil

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dead kid.jpgBe very afraid. The Rays are on national TV the same day we see the return of Carl Pavano. Nothing makes sense, my entire belief system crumbles. If today is truly Z-Day, I'll try not to act too excited.

Games powered by the Sun's final light: Another sure sign that this is the end: Barry Zito! He leads his Giants in a West Coast day game, the futilely overmatched Padres send a guy named Dirk out for his big league debut. The Jays and Sox hook up again in front of thousands of vacationing New Englanders. The Nats look to get back to their losing ways, sending the perennially putrid Odalis Perez against Ol'Flippy Glove.

We now go live to Joe Buck reporting from the Lake of Fire Before they were in the end of days business, Fox picked out a solid game for today. The Dodgers and Phillies have post-season aspirations, so they send some of their best in the form of young studs Cole Hamels & Clayton Kershaw to the Bank bump,. The Braves-Cards game isn't inspiring a lot of excitement, hopefully there will be scoring oddities that will send my scurrying for my rulebook. The Rays and White Sox give us a legit duel: Kazmir versus Vasquez. Expect lots of Ks and lots of pitches. Sadly for Fox, Vasquez is right handed, meaning the nation will be deprived of the sublime joy that is Rocco Baldelli. We're all worse for it.

Fend off a zombie, win a large bag of peanuts! If the Earth isn't scorched from the Rays destroying the suck/time continuum, Carl Pavano will be there to ensure you're feasting on the flesh of the living by midnight. Jeremy Guthrie will offer the surprisingly solid opposition for the O's. Tonight's finest duel features two fifteen game winners; Edinson Volquez and Aaron Cook. At Coors Field. We are really stretching the word duel to unseen distances here. Brandon McCarthy makes his first start for the Rangers, having been Creampuffed all year long. His return coupled with Hank Blalock playing first should do nothing to stem the tatertide in Texas. Clandestine stud Chris Volstad will do his best to keep the Fish in the hunt, while Little Manny goes for the Snakes.

That's me for today. It's been nice knowing ya, remember that a table leg makes a great baseball bat for defending your home from the mindless hordes. If you see me turning into a zombie, don't stop me! Let me have my fun.
breakfastofchampions.JPGI want to know what happened last night! The waiting could crush my heart.

Rays 9, White Sox 4: As unlikely as these two division-leading teams are, is anything more shocking than Tampa Bay's worst-to-first bullpen? An Aussie named Balfour shut the door when it counted, holding the Rays close until the Sox pen gave up 6 runs in the final two innings to put this one out of reach. Rocco Baldelli and Nick Swisher were among the numerous tater-toters, but were the only ones to overcome incredible fatigue before the game. Rocco from a mysterious, barely manageable disease while Swisher was spent from too many J├Ągerbombs, zebrah. The Red Sox got home runs from the small, overachieving guy and the large, underachieving guy to keep the surging Jays at bay. The Yankees got tots from the cast of the popular daytime drama Jacks and Jill: Love on the Ballfield (Cody, Xavier, Robinson and Jose) to keep the Wild Card in their dreams. Bobby Abreu and his 5 singles are better suited to the WB.

Cardinals 18, Braves 3: I like to think I understand baseball, so I recognize that many noteworthy and/or interesting things occurred during this game. Adam Wainwright was excellent in his first start since June 7th, good to know. The Cards scored 18 runs without hitting a home run, that is pretty cool. Joel Pineiro picked up just the second save of his career. What? A save? In a game decided by 15 runs?!!!? They must have scored all those runs late, and he came into a save situation. It was 12-1 when he entered the game??? I give up. Here's the (incredibly stupid) rule, I'll see you in hell. The Brewers dropped six runs in the seventh to beat the Pirates, maintaining their 2.5 game lead in the Wild Card. Neal Cotts snapped on a water cooler because the Nats snapped their long ass losing streak against the young bears.

Twins 9, Angels 0: The Twins are still in first place, getting past the sand bagging struggling Angels. Glen Perkins ran his record to 11-3, pitching 8 shutout innings. Delmon Young and Denard Span hit home runs and took exception to Chris Rock's view of Minnesota. Cleveland got another good start out of Fausto Carmona to continue their pointlessly strong August. The Royals and Tigers played a game in which one team scored more than the other.

Mets 3, Astros 0: Johan Santana left the game with a three-run lead and went straight to the bar. He emerged later, drunk but pleased to hear that Aaron Heilman and Luis Ayala held on to give the Mets this pitcher's duel. Roy Oswalt went the distance, retiring the last 20 batters he faced but took the loss. Had he pitched the last three innings of a blow out, he would have gotten a save instead. Pack the stats bro, your agent is going to be pissed. Mean kids Ryan Howard and Chris Coste ruined old man Maddux's return to the Dodgers, hitting homers and hiding his glasses in their dugout. Florida weathered 13 Big Unit Ks and scored two unearned runs to come from behind to beat the Diamondbacks. They're pretty much out of it, but those impoverished kids have so much pluck...

Giants 5, Padres 0: Stop me if you've heard this one before: Tim Lincecum is really fucking good. Kid struck out 8, hit a double and pitched 8 shut out innings. I really wish Brian Sabean was a little dumber, Timmy'd be a Jay and I'd be in heaven. Travis Ishikawa hit a triple tot and Fred Lewis wondered when you'll learn his name. The Rockies continued their sick, masochistic joke entitled Livan Hernandez. How does 3.2 innings and 6 runs allowed grab ya? His ERA stays at its glorious level above 15, which isn't fit for the infirmed or nursing mothers.

Ouch, that hurts AL West. Gas Faced again. The Rangers hit two more home runs in a losing effort, which is all they're capable of at this point. And Marinerds, take heart. Brandon Morrow will be back soon. As will I, with a look at today's games!

Pay to Lincecum

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moneybaby.jpgAll the stars are out today, big pitching match ups are the norm. Check out the aces as they make decisions with precision.

Dust levels at All-time High: Not as much with the sweeps this week, with only the Mets, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Twins looking to do the deed. Two game series don't count, just like teams 8 games out of the Wild Card race aren't really in the wild card race.

Olympic Fencing Competition Ignites Dueling Fever! You have you choice of duels today. Would you like the contrasting styles of Shaun Marcum and Josh Beckett? What about unquestioned ace Johan Santana taking on paper ace Jeff Karstens? Remember when Randy Johnson was an Astro? Neither does he. He brings his excellent second half into the 100% Real Juice Homerdome to take on Roy Oswalt. Kyle Lohse and Edinson Volquez bring similarly strong records but shockingly different peripherals to battle in the Natty.

Not Olympic Quality, but Still Compelling: You know what is better than 80% of the Olympics? Watching Tim Lincecum pitch. If he only took the mound every 4 years, it would be a crime. Not unlike Mike Hampton (who got the win last night) drawing an annual pay check yet only pitching during Olympic years. Jeff Francoeur had 4 hits last night, if he does the same today I'll make commenter Matt_T's bed for a week. Lincecum looks to bounce back after taking a ball to his vert ramp-ravaged knees last time out.

Under the Lights: The guy you saw leaving your girlfriend's house this morning leads his Phillies against Cha Seung Baek and the Padres. Baek is going to have to channel his countrymen from Old Boy if he intends on surviving the Phillies lineup. The not-ready-for-prime-time Rays are playing at night, but ESPN couldn't care less. Kid K takes the hill, and laughs at the ideas of "efficiency", "throwing strikes" and "keeping his fastball down." He's just that good.

Watch the day games, go out and do outside stuff, then come home and let Joe Morgan addle your brain. That's me for the weekend, Rob and CTC will guide you through your workweek. If I'm not back next weekend, blame the AL East standings.
Fiberoptics.jpgWhat happened on the baseball field while you smoked and traced the skyline.

Mets 7, Pirates 4: Five straight wins and an excellent start from Pedro? Things look good for the Mets. What? Under the rug? That? That's nothing, just ignore it. Don't lift that up! Dammit! Yes, the bullpen tried their hardest to make it interesting, but Jose Reyes' quick start (home run and triple in the first two innings) was enough to push your favorite squadron 2 ahead of the Phils. Should I be concerned that the Phillies have lost 5 of 6 Shane Victorino? Oh, no questions asked.

White Sox 2, A's 1: Two teams that went crazy with the ding dongs last night opted for the egg white pitchers duel today. John Danks went 6 strong and Bobby Jenks picked up his 25th save, while Nick Swisher called a teammate "bro" for the 10 000th time this season. He's on pace to shatter Brady Anderson's league record. Loser of record Greg Smith is having a much worse year than I am willing to give him credit for. He seems good, but is in fact quite awful. You learn something new every day. The Twins somehow cracked the airtight M's bullpen to remain tied at the top.

Cardinals 9, Reds 3: Albert Pujols is quite enjoyable to watch. Every time he makes contact, the ball seems destined for the lower stratosphere. He hit 2 very Big Flies today; but still trails the Big Fly Big Shot Ryan Ludwick, who hit is 31st. I knew I should have drafted Ryan Ludwick over Pujols in my [redacted]. The schizophrenic Brewers rode Gabe Kapler's fence-riding catch to edge the Dodgers in extras. David Riske K'd Manny to end the game, leaving the Brewers in the wild card driver's seat.

Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 1: An established meme here in WoWland is appreciation of good pitching. Shameless homerism will always take a backseat to a well-pitched game. When those two glorious worlds collide however.....Roy Halladay is the best pitcher I have ever seen. The Red Sox scored 37 runs in three games against the Rangers, but only mustered 6 singles and a late Pedroia Monster shot against Halladay. Alex Rios took his aborted benching in stride, knocking a home run and a triple. Paul Byrd didn't pitch badly, but is surely no Roy Halladay. The baseball gods offered the Yankees a reprieve yesterday, forcing the Royals into 3 errors and a wild pitch. Poor little Zach Grienke pitched excellently, allowing two Berts but no Earnies. Brett Gardner had three hits including the game winning walkoff single. His brother-in-arms Kevin Maas finally sold the Johnston place on Birch Street. Good day for both of them.

Diamondbacks 11, Astros 5: Who likes tetratots? The D-Backs hit two tetratots, Chris Young and Miguel Montero doing the honors. Miguel Montero had a two tot day, while Chris Young remained red-hot and one of the streakiest players in the league. Adam Dunn had two hits, three walks and a stolen base, but did it all with a look of disdain on his face. What a bum. Livan Hernandez picked up the win! He must be on the way back. Hmmm, 6 innings, 10 hits, 6 runs. That seems poor. But he cut his ERA in half! Still over 15? Troublesome. 2002 Cy Young award winner Troy Tulowitzki added three hits and three RBI. He's been OPS over .850 since the all star break, there might be hope for this kid yet.

I don't want to give you the Gas Face again AL West, what with Texas shutting out the Rays, but I have to do it. This fancy machine shows me that your race is as good as over. The Angels are currently pounding their chests 15 meters from the finish line.
lightning.jpgMany more intriguing battles today in the baseball world. Mrs. Fields is going under, let's hope it doesn't effect worldwide tater-tot production.

When the sun comes out, you can really smell the sewage: Day game in the Bronx! I still don't believe the Yankees are done yet, what with their deal with the Devil still ongoing. The Bombers send the physical manifestation of that deal against the Zack Grienke and his Royals. Grienke will try to replicate the start in April in which he shut the Yankees out over 7 innings. He will not try to replicate almost every other start of his career.

Fox's West Coast Bias is Sickening! Three games pitting AL West teams against rivals from the Central? Typical. Kowtowing to Big Cheese, once again. The Go Go Angels make their weekly stop on your television set, this time against Fausto Carmona and his Tribe. With Lackey going for the Angels, this could be a nice little ground out pitchers duel. The White Sox - A's and Twins - Mariners round out the lineup.

Pour Me Another Sassparilla Paul Byrd and Roy Halladay will turn the clock back to just Gold Rush times, but to last week as well! They met last Saturday inside a half-empty multipurpose facility, a game marred by poor defense and Paul Byrd's success. Tonight they face off in big time divisional game at one of baseball's true shrinesTM. The Mets heave a Pedro Martinez-shaped rag doll towards the mound, knowing that Zach Duke won't offer much resistance. The Livan Hernandez Experience is offered a reprieve, facing the lowly Nats. Weekly target of my jokes Mike Hampton gets meet Fred Lewis up close and personal. The rest of the nation will soon follow suit, kid is going places. I should really cut Hampton some sla...does that say he's due to earn $20 million dollars next year? American dollars? For his rare combination of middling success and constant state of physical disrepair?? Sorry Mikey, the gloves come back off.

Go outside in between innings, but make sure you come back and check out all this sexy baseball today. Next time you make reference to A Rod, K Rod, or ManRam; think about Usain "Lightning" Bolt and recognize what a MAN'S nickname sounds like.
babytype.jpgWhat happened last night? Just look around.

Royals 5, Yankees 4: Ever get the feeling it just isn't your year? Losing at home to the Royals via a wild pitch is a pretty sure sign. Mariano Rivera gave up a double to Esteban German(!) and an infield single, before the guy that only throws fastballs saw one of his patented cutters elude Jose Molina to put the Royals ahead in the ninth. The hard-luck Yanks got the lead off man on in the bottom of the inning, only to see their pinch runner, the guy designated to run, promptly picked off. Sigh. Loaded bases held out over demustached faces as Jason Giambi made the final out with the sacks full. Smirking shitbag Matt Garza dominated the oil money Rangers with a comprehensive 2 hit shutout. The Rays are riding the Woonsocket Rocket right into the playoffs people, it is time we adjust to the new reality. It rained all over Roy Halladay's grimace, postponing the game until September. A day-night doubleheader will balance the schedules, but what about the memories??

Phillies 1, Padres 0: Jamie Moyer led his Cubs Orioles Mariners Phillies into Jack Murphy Petco and pitched a gem against perennial Cy Young candidate 350 game winner Greg Maddux. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn lauded both players determination and willingness to pay exorbitant union fees for more than 20 years. The pair of quadragenarians made their debuts in 1986 for the Cubs, and both men pitched 7 excellent innings tonight. A Pat Burrell homer in the 7th was the difference in the game. In 1986, Pat the Bat was learning to conceal his first STD. The Mets edged the Pirates behind a desperately overdue good start from Mike Pelfrey; keeping them one game up in the East.

Twins 9, Mariners 3: Fransico Liriano was the beneficiary of Rob's praise and a 7 run inning as he lead his Twins into a slice of first in the Central. Former Twin and free market enthusiast Carlos Silva took the loss, his 14th of the year. That is (approx) one loss for every million dollars he will average annually over the life of his current contract. Think about that next time you're negotiating with a man named Bevan. The White Sox attempted to trade jacks with the A's, but designated jacker Jack Cust hit two jacks, while Kurt Suzuki hit the game winning walkoff jack to cap a crazy game.
D-Backs 12, Astros 2: Brandon Webb + numerous home runs = a good night at the ball park. Webb was predictably ridiculous, throwing a mere 85 pitches over 8 innings. Uncle Wandy walked 6 dudes in 2.1 innings (totaling 77 pitches, for what it's worth) but it was Tim Byrdak that surrendered three home runs to Chrises Young, Burke and Synder. Poor Ed Wade is currently scouring the world in search of the best baseball player with a surname beginning with B. That is clearly the missing link on this year's squad, not enough Bees. The newest Dodgers supplied three runs in the slight roughing up of Manny Parra that ensured this division reminded tied. They may not have the best records, but they will make it compelling down the stretch.

Cubs 6, Marlins 5: The Big Z wasn't at his best, but some timely hitting brought the Cubs back against the struggling Florida Marlins. Daryle Ward gazed at the Lenny Harris card in his locker, then went out and pounded the go-ahead home run in the top of 9. The Cubs have won 5 in a row and are opening up a serious gap in the National League Central. America's ex-boyfriend Rick Ankiel hit his first home run in a month and issued a challenge to Michael Phelps. In a desperate ploy to regain the nation's affection, Ankiel suggested that Phelps win a medal in track & field before accepting the title of greatest athlete in all creation.

Despite the best efforts of the Gas Face, a little AL West content snuck into today's mildly amusing recap. Team USA beat Canada in Olympic baseball, with part-time baseball player and full-time Zamboni driver Chris Reitsma giving up the winning runs in the seventh inning. Cuba edged Taiwan 1-0 in the Dissident Classico 2008. Check back this afternoon and we'll look at tonight's games.

Lemme Get Rid of this Gum

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sweepingbaby.jpgNobody wants to wander the clubhouse alone. Check out today's games and participate in some champagne bukkake with your loved ones.

Sweet, Sweet Sweeps The Mets, Braves, Brewers, Astros, Halos, Tribe, Twins, Rays and Orioles all stand poised to sweep their opponents aside. The Astros are going to have to do it without Carlos Lee, who looks to be lost for the season with a broken pinky finger. He should wrap that shit in a Creampuff shirt. Sweeps in baseball are just like sweeps on TV. Expect a lot of stunt casting, weddings and cliff hangers at the ballpark today.

It Lives! Livan Hernandez drags his carcass onto the mound for yet another team. The Rockies made the curious decision to allow the bloated ERA man to make his debut at Coors Field. He takes on the gunshy Ivy league baller Chris Young and his punchless Padres.

Bring Your Big Guns to War Some strange yet interesting duels today. The Diamondbacks will hope their true ace will stop their slide against Mighty Mike Hampton. The Cubs - Cards game in prime time features all star Ryan Dempster taking on Chris Carpenter. Carpenter looked great in his last start but the team is still going to handle him with the kid gloves. Joe Saunders against Andy Pettitte would be a duel if the Yankees didn't look so bad this weekend.

Thanks for stopping by this weekend. Camp Tiger Claw and Rob will return with your regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. Enjoy the games!
Bananas.jpgLots of baseball was played while your nose was in the air.

Twins 7, Royals 3: Ladies and gentleman, your first place Minnesota Twins. Their run differential isn't great, they're not a good defensive team, they don't hit home runs and they don't really pitch that well. But fuck it, they're in first place. The White Sox fell to the Red Sox, and sadly lost Jose Contreras to a blown Achilles tendon. I would be shocked to see a man of questionable age like Jose come back from such a tough injury. Ozzie shouted at a reliever and they still lost. YELL LOUDER OZZIE, THEY'LL HEAR YOU.

Giants 3, Dodgers 2: The Giants threw a big sombrero party and the biggest head of them all done showed up. Barry Bonds gave a strange, boastful speech that ended with "I'm not retired." Sure thing Barry. The Dodgers blew a late lead and a chance to step into first place. Not for nothing, Manny Ramirez had three more hits and sports a frightening OPS of 1.445 as a Dodger. He wants to be a Yankee now? I thought he wanted to retire a Dodger? Whatever bro, keep raking and you can play wherever you'd like. Danny Haren did not stop the D-Backs losing streak but he did give up a home run to Brian McCann. McCann had four RBI, stole a base and broke the O-Dog's wrist. Add his late-night show with ZZ Top and you've got a full day.

Rays 8, Mariners 7: You'd be better off leaving your teenage daughter with Evan Longoria than trusting your bullpen against the Rays. They came from way the fuck behind again last night, beating the sub-standard M's. The Fat Catcher knocked in the winning run, handing Miguel Batista the loss. His 12th. When your literary agent calls you more than your baseball agent, take your Macbook to Starbucks and call it a day.

Mets 8, Marlins 6: The Mets very expensive 3-4-5 hitters had a field day against the young Fishmen, going 7 for 11 with two home runs, two doubles, and a walk. The beleaguered Mets bullpen hung on for the win, with Aaron Heilman secretly picking up his second save in as many days. The Phillies jumped on Ian Snell early, cruising to a 4-2 and staying ahead in the NL East. Jimmy Rollins had two triples, meaning someone's roto team is happy and Jimmy Rollins is now tired.

Cardinals 12, Cubs 3: The Annual Illinois State Tater Tot Festival kicked off yesterday at Wrigley. Troy Glaus had 2 tater tots, but even he doesn't like tater tots as much as Carlos Zambrano. Carlos hit himself a tater tot, but gave up four Cardinal tater tots. That cancels out the goodness of his own tot. The Cardinals are still close enough to break your heart. The Brewers really, really want to play your team in a short series. The Brewers bullpen decided to do some maintenance work around the ballpark with all their free time this weekend. Eric Gagne and Seth McClung tried to build a BBQ pit, but were disappointed because it didn't look anything like the diagram and none of the grills fit right. Ben Sheets was dominant, allowing just 5 hits, a double by a guy who's layup I blocked in high school among them. So he's not invincible.

The AL West is a done deal, as is their receiving of the Gas Face. Check back and we'll take a look at today's games under the sun. If I play my cards right, I may have the opportunity to heap scorn on Cliff Lee in my outdoor voice.

Banana image courtesy of Steve Hopson

It's a Sad Day America

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bernie mac.jpgA sad day indeed. Bernie Mac will be playing whitejack in heaven tonight. The comedian passed away at the age of 50 due to complications from pneumonia. Hopefully today's games live up to the standard of Mr. 3000.

Canada Comes Correct in the Afternoon: The lone day game features your Toronto Blue Jays hosting Cleveland in a match up of shouldas and couldas. The Tribe's season has been bleak, and they are now holding out hope that a Cliff Lee Cy Young Award will be the only highlight. When I say holding out hope, I mean engaging in shenanigans to give him the best possible shot. They pushed Lee back a day so he doesn't have to face his once and future king Roy Halladay. The Spiders instead send grizzled honky Paul Byrd to the bump.

Foxy Boxing: Two big national TV games feature two very prominent franchises in danger of having their seasons slip away. The Big Zed leads his Chubbies against the Cardinals, weather permitting. Tony La Russa needs to find someone on his current roster to feud with, that seems to yield better results. The Yankees and Angels hook up at Disneyland, with ace Jon Lackey taking on Joba's former caddy Dan Giese. 3 games behind the Sox, the Yanks patchwork pitching staff can't afford to give up 6 per game, as they have since their 8 game winning streak ended.

Saturday Night's alright for questions: Can the Pirates keep their scoreless innings streak alive? Ian Snell doesn't think so. Will Dice-K and Jose Contreras swap duels as well as stories about their immigrant experiences? Can Ben Sheets and Brewers actually make up some ground in the Central? Will Fransico Liriano and Zack Grienke provide the pitching contest of the night? Was I being serious when I wrote that? I don't even know anymore. Jair Jurrjens and Dan Haren don't think so, they believe their duel to be the night's best. Haren needs to put on his Big Ace Pants and stop the Snakes' losing streak in its tracks. Will the Dodgers get good Kuroda or nefarious Kuroda?

Should be a good night, enjoy the games. Check back this afternoon for more of my probing analysis.
math_400.jpgWhat happened last night while you were desperately explaining your presence outside Danica McKeller's house as purely mathematical.

Mets 3, Marlins 0: Ding donging hero David Wright continued his ding donging ways, hitting a two run ding dong in the first inning to give Oliver Perez more than enough offense. The mysterious Perez went a day early in the rotation and turned in an excellent two hit, three walk performance. Mr Met would still be wise not to turn his back on Oliver Perez in a dark alley. Equally unreliable and/or utterly contemptible Aaron Heilman pitched two perfect innings, striking out three. The worst pitching staff in all of baseball is now the proud owner of a 21 inning scoreless streak. The shut-down Pirates held the bruising Phillies in check for 12 innings, squeaking out a 2-0 win. The Mets to climb within a game of first, one up on the Marlins in the loss column.

White Sox 5, Red Sox 3: The battle of hosiery related puns went the way of the bleach last night, making a winner out of Mark Buehrle. Abe Frohman was spotted in the White Sox dressing room after the game, speaking to Carlos Quentin about an unholy union of tater tots and sausage. Something about the Breakfast Kings of Chicago. Jon Lester was saddled with his first loss since May 25th, a misleading fact that exposes pitcher's wins and loses as the sham that they are. The Royals banged out 11 hits and scored but one run, allowing the Twins to defy mighty Pythagoras once more and stay a half game back.

Cubs 3, Cardinals 2: Silver fox Jim Edmonds had a big day. Hit two home runs, lightly disparaged his former boss, made an almost-necessary diving catch in centerfield. Henry "The Blue Whale" Blanco ruined your day, sucking all the shrimp into his baleen mustache with a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the 11th inning. The Brewers stayed within shouting distance thanks to CC Sabathia's fourth complete game as a Brewer. Did CC suddenly get THAT much better? His ERA+ has more than doubled in the NL (that's good), but his walk rate is slightly up and his K rate is slightly down. His BABIP is actually higher than his BAA, so he isn't getting lucky. Maybe it's the competition? No, that couldn't be. Both leagues are of equal quality, with the NL possessing many of the games top offensive stars...

A's 4, Tigers 2: The Tigers ignored WoW's taunting and the A's terriblosity and announced, finally, that their season is over. The A's snapped their ten game losing streak, and Brad Ziegler insisted that he's the one with more records than the KGB. 37 scoreless innings is 37 scoreless innings, but if he gets close to the all-time record, you can bet the Flat Earth society will disagree. Emil Brown hit a A's tater tot, while Marcus Thames hit one that landed two slums over. The Angels 17 hits and 10 runs succinctly answered the "Can Ian Kennedy sub for Joba" questions. The Yankees might just be in trouble, but it is far to early to say such a thing on a website such as this.

Dodgers 6, Giants 2: The Manny sideshow took a back seat to the Jeff Kent Heehaw spectacular for one night. Kent's bases loaded double gave recently re-activated Brad Penny and the Dodgers bullpen all the offense they would need. The Giants only managed three hits (two for extra bases by Bengie Molina) but 7 walks made this game interesting. Jonathon Broxton got one out in a four run game to "earn" the "save". The Diamondbacks fell at home to the terrible-on-the-road Braves, who got a tater tot from WoW commenter Chipper Jones. The Dodgers are just a half game back while the D Backs have lost three in a row.

The mighty AL East gets the even-mightier Gas Face. YOU ARE LETTING THE RAYS RUN AWAY WITH YOUR DIVISION PEOPLE! That is as gas face-worthy as anything. Stop by later for a preview of today's games and maybe other stuff. I have to work today, so you might as well be entertained.
Hooray, here's what's coming to ya...

Deities in Stirrups

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sweepingbaby.jpgEnjoy today's order of games, get the celebratory nonsense out of your system. Tomorrow is the most hallowed of Canadian holidays: Simcoe Day, in which Canadians celebrate the ancient tradition of having a long weekend in August. Act appropriately.

Three game winning streaks are relatively meaningless: Don't tell that to all the curlers in your family. Sweeping is integral to breaking the spirit of you opponents, buoying you for further success. The Sox, Rays and O's can all complete AL sweeps, the Astros, Brewers, Nats, and Giants can do likewise.

Welcome back! Fransisco Liriano makes his return to the Twins rotation, proving once again that whining will get you what you want 9 times out of 10. Livan Hernandez and every stodgy baseball writer that trump wins over stat-geekery can't quite figure it out.

A Duel! Of sorts. Jorge Campillo has been the Braves pitcher most able to keep all his parts in good working order. He takes on Ben Sheets, who's awesomeness and pending free-agency make this a match up to watch. The potential duel between Ian Snell and Carlos Zambrano seems unlikely, as this game is not played in Pittsburgh. Ian Snell's home/away splits are quite terrible. Never before has a man longed so deeply for the warmth of steel mills at his side.

Under the lights: The Phillies and Cardinals will live out their junior high cafeteria dreams and hurl tater tots at each other long into the night. Upstanding citizen who had the good sense not to harm his dog Brett Myers takes the hill against Todd Wellemeyer. The Cardinals just keep scraping this together, staying close and getting production out of several non-Pujols figures. Even Lurch Glaus has a cool 18 home runs. By my estimation, Jon & Joe will offer Albert Pujols their next grandchild before the 4th inning.

Enjoy the games! Enjoy the sun! Enjoy the knowledge that I don't have to work tomorrow! Enjoy the silence!
blackpudding.jpgI'll understand if you missed last night's action, sometimes these things are out of your hands.

Dodgers 4, D Backs 2: People try to tell me that LA is some haven of sin, a den of iniquity. I didn't believe it until last night. Manny's home run sent the crowd into the kind of raucous orgy you usually see when a blogger's parents go away for the weekend. Hiroki Kuroda got the win and Chan Ho Park the save (!) as the Dodgers picked up a game on Arizona. Kuroda & Park will next appear in a fish-out-of-water buddy flick highlighting the simmering tension between the Japanese and Koreans. Speaking of odd couples, Barry Zito pitched 8 innings of shutout ball. Hi-yo!

Yankees 8, Angels 2: Mike Mussina is a miracle of modern medicine. He has erased any memory and/or element of last year's small-d disastrous season by being outstanding this year. The upstart Yanks beat up on the big bad Angels thanks to 7 excellent innings from Mussina. A mere 2 hits and 2 walks looked good alongside tator-tots from recently the disposed Jose Molina as well as Alex Rodriquez, Bobby Abreu and Wilson Betemit. Every team in the AL East won last night, so the only thing that changed was my belief in tectonic upheaval.

Brewers 4, Braves 2: Atlanta rib joints beware! There are two very large, very happy men headed your way and they are in the mood for celebrating! One big man hit 2 home runs and the other pitched into the 9th to pick up his 5th win in 5 National League tries. What is that? One of them is a vegetarian? Well deep-fry that motherfucker a pumpkin and snake out the gravy pipe! They don't care that the Cubs won also, they want to eat and they don't give a shit what their colon says!

Indians 5, Twins 1: Olde-tymey Paul Byrd turned the clocks back to a time when Cleveland wasn't awful, preventing the Twins from taking over first in the division. David Dellucci opted out of a celebratory tater-tot, citing his family's interests in preference for olive oil. The White Sox lost to the surprisingly not last-placed Royals. Billy Butler has really come to life in the last week, and Joakim Soria continued his excellent season with his 31st save.

Marlins 5, Rockies 3: Marlins ace Ricky Nolasco struck out 13 Rocks in 8 innings and was excellent outside of two Matt Holliday home runs. The Fish passed the Mets for second place behind the Phillies, who beat the Cardinals 2-1. All three runs came off of solo taters by Ryan Howard, Greg Dobbs and Ryan "I'll flash you my junk before I flash in the pan" Ludwick.

The AL West is eligible for (and will receive) the Gas Face for going 0 for 4 last night. Come back later on and find out what else is going on outside of Blue Jays in prime time!
Note: The Jays - Rangers game will not be televised nationally. Please resume not giving a shit.
babydog.jpgAnother Saturday, another full slate of games. Already this morning Partick Thistle edged Dunfirmline 1-0 in a thrilling Scottish First Division lid-lifter, so the men playing rounders have their work cut out for them.

The lone early game is another afternoon affair between the Cubs and Pirates, sparing the poor inhabitants of Lakeview the indignity of light and sound pollution in their quiet, residential neighbourhood. Ted Lilly goes against Pat Maholm in a game the Cubs need if they want to hold off the Brewers.

The National Broadcasts will mainly feature the Yankees and Angels battling on scorched-earth. The Yankees have cooled off this week and could really use a win today. The Angels are red-hot and don't even need to be; they're just showing off. Jered Weaver and Mike Mussina should provide a fair match up. The Brewers send CC against the Braves while the White Sox offer Mark Buehrele against the Royals. The Royals on national television? Z-day can't be far off now.

It's too damn hot to play during the day in a lot of cities on this fair continent of ours. Johan Santana and Roy Oswalt are gonna party like it's 2004 in the Duel of the Day. Joe Blanton hopes to stave off demotion from the starting rotation to junior Phanatic, doing Bar Mitzvahs and Krustyburger openings only. The Cards respond with Bradon Looper. The A's & Sox should be another tight affair with lefties Eveland and Lester hooking up at Fenway. I prefer not to think about people hooking up at Fenway, a lot of that dirt has been there for 80 years. Jeremy Guthrie and King Felix figure to provide a strong match up of starters but the Dyson sponsorship is a little puzzling. Manny's madcap adventures continue in a game the Dodgers probably don't want to lose, facing fireballing Diamondback Yusmeiro Petit.

Enjoy the games, don't let Joe Buck get you down. Check back tomorrow to find out if Manny triggered the Big One and caused California to drift away forever.
Gretzky.jpgAll kinds of wonderful things happened last night as you reconsidered your Sal Paradise-style tour of North America.

Rays 5, Tigers 2: Waiting for the Rays to collapse? Pull up a chair, you'll probably want a magazine to pass the time. No, you can't borrow my National Geographic with tribal boobies. We're going to be here for a while, I intend on being comfortable. The Rays survived a mediocre outing from ace Scott Kazmir (110 pitches in less than 5 innings?) with home runs from Carlos Pena and destroyer of worlds Evan Longoria. In New England, Great White Hope Jason Bay tripled and scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the 12th inning, keeping the Sox 3 games behind the Rays.

Pirates 3, Cubs 0: The Pirates key deadline acquisition showed that he's ready to lead the Bucs on a long playoff run. Doug Drabek knows he doesn't have to shoulder the...oh goodness, I'm mortified. Nadybait Jeff Karstens pitched 6 shutout innings and Jason Michaels drove in two. Milwaukee pummeled the Richmond Braves while Ryan Ludwick's one-man hashbrown empire gave the Phillies a taste of their own MO. The Brewers & Birds sit four games behind the Cubs in the Central.

Angels 1, Yankees 0: The G Funk Angels continued their Bitches Ain't Shit tour of the East Coast, beating Mo Rivera and the Yankees 1-0. They've won 5 in a row against the Yankees and Red Sox. They're pretty good. The Seattle Mariners however, are not. Their tragicomedy mercilessly rolled on as the M's put up 5 in the 9th (sounds good!) to halve the score at 10-5 (quite bad). Ugh. Somebody should make sure Ichiro's clubhouse stall locks from the outside.

D Backs 2, Dodgers 1: 99. Manny Ramirez made his Dodgers debut wearing number 99. I suppose 1/17 and ╬▒ were taken, forcing Manny to make the only other logical choice. Manny had the chance to be the hero, representing the tying run in the bottom of nine. Brandon Lyon bravely induced a double play ball out of Manny, soldiering on despite soiling himself on the mound. The Snakes are now up 3 on the Dodgers. TIm Lincecum remains the best baseball player you'd mistakenly shoo away from your storefront.

Twins 4, Indians 1: The Minnesota Twins are a terrible, unstoppable juggernaut. They cannot be beaten or slowed. They will kill us all without mercy. The lose 5 in a row, then win 6 of 7 to get within a half game of the White Sox. The Pale Hose and a 38 year old man nicknamed the Kid fought out a 4-2 win over the Royals. Griffey had a great night at the plate but was lifted for a pinch runner/defensive replacement in the 8th inning. Ozzie Guillen apologized after the game for brazenly demanding that I admit to my youth being over.

Guess what NL East? You get the Gas Face for letting the Nats represent you in the winner's circle. What a night. I wish I could accurately portray the way my heart soared when Manny appeared wearing 99. More great stuff later on today.