Rob Iracane: April 2008 Archives

ferrell.jpg

The game of the night features the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels of Angelheim battling it out for first place in the American League West. Surprisingly successful starter Dana Eveland faces less-surprisingly successful starter Ervin Santana. Santana looks to become just the second Angels starter to go 5-0 in the month of April since Frank Tanana did it 30 years ago. The first to do it since then? Joe Saunders, who did it last night by shutting out the A's.

Eveland has a handful of wins, too, so he's no stranger to April success. He is, however, a stranger to the Angels HAVING NEVER FACED THEM EVER. He's also not a stranger to the stage, having done some summer stock a few years back. He's also read The Stranger by Albert Camus three times, and seen the film Stranger Than Fiction starring Will Ferrell once while on a cross-country flight.

The game starts at 10:05 EDT so I assume only our commenter Farthammer will be watching. I look forward to enjoying the highlights on MLB.com in the AM.

liveglog.jpg

Is this really the first regular season game I'm liveglogging between two American league teams? Well, I've only done three liveglogs so far so don't get your pantaloons in a knot.

Today's game features the White Sox and Twins facing off in the ol' Metrodome. The light-hitting White Sox face Minnesota rookie pitcher Nick Blackburn for the second time this season. They've already served him the injustice of a no-decision in a 7-5 White Sox win that saw Blackburn give up but 2 runs in five innings of work.

The even lighter-hitting Twins will face White Sox spot starter Nick Masset, who made his only other major league start last year against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Masset's earlier appearance against the Twins was a huge mess as he allowed five runs in 3 innings of relief on April 20th.

Joe Christensen, yet another sportswriter who should not be using his own headshot in his blog's sidebar, has the lineups. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY I HAVE THE LIVEGLOG AFTER THE JUMP.

umpire.jpg

On the heels of the Kerwin-Danley-getting-knocked-out story comes this cryptic item from last night's Cubs-Brewers contest:

   "Home plate umpire Jerry Crawford left Tuesday night's game after the second inning with an undisclosed illness and was sent to Illinois Masonic Hospital for evaluation. There was a 13-minute delay after Crawford left the field and play resumed in the top of the third with a three-man crew...The Cubs announced Crawford was "feeling ill" but had no further update.

Perhaps you remember Jerry Crawford as president of the Major League Umpires Association way back in 1999, when the umpires staged their mass resignation in a failed move to strengthen their union. Of course, Crawford and a few others rescinded their resignation while many other umps never got their jobs back. Look what that strategy did to poor Eric Gregg.

This wasn't the first time Crawford has left a game due to illness. As per this AP story, Crawford has a history with a bad back. Still, COMMENCE MASSIVE SPECULATION AS TO JERRY CRAWFORD'S ILLNESS...now.

clementebridge.jpg

Thanks to rain, what was supposed to be the game of the night on Monday ended up being the game of the night on Tuesday. No worries because anyone who was lucky enough to watch saw a great contest. Neither Johan Santana nor Ian Snell were particularly effective and neither of the two starters figured in the decision.

The Pirates struck first as the first batter of the game, Nate McLouth, hit a solo ding-dong to left-center off Santana. Snell erased two of three baserunners he allowed in the first three innings; catcher Ronny Paulino threw out Jose Reyes stealing in the first and he got Luis Castillo to ground into a double play in the third.

Jason Bay extended the Pirates' lead to two with a solo tater tot in the fourth, but the Mets came back to tie the game with a Ryan Church two-run homer in the bottom of the inning. By the fifth inning, Snell's night was done after allowing two runs on a single, triple, walk, and an error by Freddy Sanchez attempting to turn a double play. Whoopsie! Johan Santana was done after loading the bases in the top of the 6th, but escaped unscathed when Pedro Feliciano got Adam LaRoche to pop up.

The Pirates added a run in the eighth inning when Duaner Sanchez walked LaRoche with the bases loaded, and then tied the game in the ninth off closer Billy Wagner. Wagner's first blown save of the year was a result of a throwing error by Jose Reyes, a wild pitch, and an RBI single by Freddy Sanchez. After the Mets failed to score in the bottom of the ninth, fans were treated to extra baseball action.

Newly called up John Van Benschoten was tabbed to pitch the bottom of the eleventh; he gave up a single, a balk, an intentional walk, another walk, and then a walkoff single to David Wright to earn his first loss of the year.

Having seen the Pirates for the first time this season, I can attest to the fact that they play sloppy baseball. They'd be a better team without the fielding mistakes and mental errors on the basepaths. New Pittsburgh manager John Russell should take a cue from Rusty Kuntz and school his players on the basics of the game.

linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • According to Reds beat writer Hal McCoy, Bronson Arroyo has been swimming to help with his strength-training and is therefore a sassy senior just like Jorge Cantu. The Real McCoy

  • Watch out, opinionated Yankee beat writers. Kyle Farnsworth has a plastic hunting rifle and he's not afraid to use it. LoHud Yankees Blog.

  • Pat Lackey wonders who will replace Matt Morris in the Pirates rotation. My vote is for John Smiley. Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke?

  • 'Duk creates a clever contest in which we are to guess the baseball players and coaches by looking at their guts. I, for one, am hoping that this will not involved colonoscopy photos. Big League Stew

  • Matthew Taylor (no, not our Matt_T) argues that the Orioles should focus on free-agent hitters and not free-agent pitchers. He's right. Peter Angelos has always been better off wasting money on folks like Albert Belle and letting folks like Mike Mussina walk. Just kidding, of course. He really is right. Roar From 34
dusty2.jpg

It's been another mediocre week for Dusty Baker and his Cincinnati Reds. Sure, they're on a three-game winning streak after scoring 20 runs in the final two games in San Francisco, but a two-game sweep in Houston still leaves the Redlegs in a tie for fourth place in the NL Central at 12-15. That's four wins and three losses on the week; now let's find out how Corey Patterson contributed over the last seven days:

Game 21: Didn't start, defensive replacement in eighth inning, tripled and scored in ninth.

Game 22: Didn't start, pinch-hit in seventh inning, 1-for-2 with a double and an RBI.

Game 23: Led off, 2-for-3 with a run scored and was caught stealing.

Game 24: Did not play.

Game 25: Led off, 1-for-6 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.

Game 26: Batted second behind Jerry Hairston Jr, went 1-for-4 with 2 runs, a walk, and two stolen bases.

Game 27: Led off, 0-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.

So to recap, in twenty-seven games Corey Patterson has been used as the leadoff hitter 16 times. His on-base percentage on the year, however, is at .281, the worst among all regular players on the Reds. No manager in his right mind should be using such a creature in the lead-off spot, but who ever said Dusty Baker was in his right mind? Oh right, tons of people.

elephant.jpg

In last night's 14-2 rout of the Angels by the Oakland A's, Frank Thomas hit a single, double, and his first triple in six years, collecting 2 RBI and increasing his slugging percentage by 67 whopping points. Well if Frank Thomas is so good, then why did manager Bob Geren pull Thomas for a pinch runner after leading off the bottom of the seventh with a double?

It's almost as if Thomas has already fallen out of favor with his new manager! Bob Geren basically said to Thomas "No cycle for you!" J.P. Ricciardi was right! Frank Thomas is washed up! Sure, the game was much closer at that point as the A's had but a 6-2 lead and yes, Oakland scored eight runs that inning after Geren made the switch, but let's get real here. Bob Geren is just keeping Frank Thomas down! Emil Brown hit a homer in the game...why couldn't Thomas? Jack Hannahan hit a homer in the game...why couldn't Thomas? Heck, even Daric Barton hit his first ding-dong of the year...why couldn't Thomas?

I guess J.P. Ricciardi was right. Frank Thomas is too washed up to play for a last place team; his talents are only going to work on the team with the best record in the American League.

sleep.jpg

Here's what happened in baseball while I was up against my will:

Yankees 5, Indians 2: Aaron Laffey was called up to the big club in Cleveland to face the hated Yankees and set the Cleve on fire for a couple hours. New York's big bashers hit some very hard and very long outs and managed just three baserunners (and no hits) through the first five innings. The Indians provided two runs of offense off Mike Mussina, and it's Laffey's time to shine! Well, it was Laffey's time to shine until the sixth inning. That's when the Yanks dinked and dunked and loaded the bases on a couple infield hits and scored a couple runs on some ground outs and before you knew it, Laffey was on the losing side and Mussina tied Carl Hubbell on the all-time wins list. Sorry, Indians fans, but Eric Wedge should not be so lucky.

Orioles 3, White Sox 3 (11): This game was suspended because of rain, so I'll write about it whenever Peter Angelos and Jerry Reinsdorf get together and decide to finish up what their respective baseball squadrons have started. Until then, I'll just attack Ozzie Guillen for attempting a squeeze play in the bottom of the tenth with just one out. Carlos Quentin doubled to lead off the inning and moved to third on a fly out by Joe Crede. Guillen then had Brian Anderson attempt to bunt with Quentin hustling his buns down the third base line, but Anderson foul tipped the ball into catcher Ramon Hernandez' glove; Hernandez tagged Quentin for the second out of the inning and Anderson struck out for the third. BOO, OZZIE, BOO!

Reds 4, Cardinals 3: Out in left field during the third inning of this clusterfuck, Chris Duncan misplayed a fly ball off Edwin Encarnacion's bat in the lights and yet was not charged with an error. Goddamn home scorers called this a RBI double. Encarnacion had two doubles (really just one though), two RBI, and a diving Web Gem at third base to lead the Reds. Rick Ankiel hit a solo ding-dong to fulfill my quota of saying ding-dong at least once for every one of these morning recaps I do. Francisco Cordero pitched a scoreless ninth for his fourth save in four whole chances. I'm really tired and there aren't enough baseball games over right now, partly because...

Mets 0, Pirates 0 (ppd, rain): Game of the Night!

mrmet.jpg

Really? The Pirates are participating in the game of the night? How is this humanly possible? The same Pirates who have not had a winning season since 15 years ago when Jim Leyland was the manager and his lungs were only slightly black? The same Pirates whose 10 wins and 15 losses (.400 winning percentage) start is actually considered an improvement? Allow me to answer my own hypothetical questions.

First, the obvious point. The Pirates are visiting Shea Stadium for the last time ever, and start off by facing the best pitcher in baseball: Johan Santana. His 3.12 ERA is certainly not the best in the league, but Johan turns heads and gets our attention whenever he takes the mound. Even if he pitches for the hated Mets.

But really, the Pirates have the tiniest bit of momentum going into tonight's game. They've finally shed Matt Morris' contract (the problem wasn't Matt Morris...it was Matt Morris' contract). They now employ young stud Neal Huntington, having purged Dave Littlefield last year. Things might get a little bit worse before they get better with the rebuilding in Pittsburgh, but at least they have an ace now in Ian Snell.

Snell got hit hard in his last start against the Cardinals, but he had three quality starts prior to that one. He's recorded 21 K's on the season versus 9 walks; hopefully he continues to keep his walk rate at 2 per nine innings. Unfortunately, the defense behind him is not exactly stellar as his BABIP allowed is .355 on the season.

Tonight's matchup features Snell versus Santana and you better believe I'll be watching that Mets-Pirates game instead of my cherished Yankees. I want to like the Pirates, I want them to succeed. And my girlfriend knows someone who used to know Ian Snell or something so my Ian Snell number is like three. That's kinda awesome.

zombiecub.jpg

New York Times writer Jack Curry recently chit-chatted with Cub hall-of-famer Ernie Banks for a piece Curry was doing about Jim Thome. All-around nice guy Thome recently passed all-around nice guy Ernie Banks on the all-time home run list, and you can absolutely cut the affability between these two sluggers with a knife. Yuck.

Anyway, Curry mentioned he had seen the poorly proofread Ernie Banks statue outside of Wrigley Field, which led Banks to reply:

    "Isn't that something?" Banks said. Then Banks told me he was hoping to add a cool feature to the display. "I want to do something with it so let me run this by you," Banks said. "I want to try and add my voice to it. This way, when people walk by, they'll hear me say, 'Welcome to the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.' I'm going to talk to the Cubs about it."

Good idea, Ernie, but what are visitors to Chicago supposed to feel after you've passed on from this mortal coil? People get creeped out hearing voices from beyond the grave. ZOMBIE ERNIE BANKS NEEDS BRAINS!



You oughta see the picture in full size to fully appreciate it. Does anyone have a better title for this picture? Enter it below in the comments. Stolen from Defective Yeti.

sleep.jpg

Here's what happened in baseball while knowing how to be a star:

Rangers 10, Twins 0: Livan Hernandez is only 33 years old? Really, Livan? Really? Can I see a copy of his birth certificate? Can we get E:60 to confront him, Punk'd-style on this? No matter how old the thirteen-year vet is, he got absolutely shell-shocked by the Texas Rangers, giving up nine hits and seven runs in less than 3 innings. Milton Bradley hit a three-run tater tot in the first inning and it was all downhill from there for Livan. Well, not really. It was all downhill when he signed with the Twins. They don't got no empanadas in Minneapolis.

Marlins 3, Brewers 2 (10): Wes Helms' extra-innings ding-dong helped Florida win the rubber game in Milwaukee and tighten their stranglehold on the National League East. Jeff Loria and his Fightin' Fish haven't been in first place this late since the glory days of Todd Jones, Carlos Delgado, and Mike Lowell in 2005. Yes, those people all played for Florida just three seasons ago. Bizarre. The Marlins used eight pitchers, including Doug Waechter, while the Brewers used just seven. Only seven, Ned Yost? You've got 14 pitchers on your roster, use 'em more wisely. (Whoops, make that thirteen)

Diamondbacks 2, Padres 1: Brandon Webb continues his reign of terror over the National League West, moving to 5-0 against his division rivals and 6-0 overall. His ERA dropped to 1.98 with six innings and no earned runs allowed, while his rival Jake Peavy just can't catch any breaks. This is the second time this season that the Padres have lost a 2-1 game with Peavy on the mound, the first being that 22-inning ordeal against the Rockies in which Peavy threw eight scoreless innings and recorded eleven strikeouts. Snakes catcher Chris Snyder hit the game-winning home run in the second inning, so he had to wait seven innings to fully celebrate the gravity of his ding-dong.

Rays 3, Red Sox 0: I don't read the Boston dailies so I cannot fully get a reading of the Red Sox' fans feelings about being swept by the Rays and booted out of first place. I'm entirely aware of all the hemming and hawing about the Yankees lack of production in the early going, but allow me to speak for both fanbases when I ask, "WHAT THE FUCK GOT INTO THE DEVIL RAYS?" James Shields collected his first career shutout, albeit against a lineup that lacked David Ortiz, and Rays rookie Evan Longoria hit a seventh-inning solo homer off Josh Beckett. Earlier in the game, Beckett made a shitty pickoff attempt, allowing baserunner Jason Bartlett to scamper to third base. Bartlett scored when J.D. Drew picked up the ball and threw wildly towards home. You call that run unearned? Pfft.

This Weekend's Questions

| | Comments (8)
night game.jpg Hiya pals! After you're super bored with the NFL Draft, tune in this weekend to find out:


Then stop by for the answers this weekend as CTC wraps up the ballgames. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

Because Commenter Participation Friday is also Classic Television Friday, I bring you this clip from the halcyon days of 1991. Watch Atlanta Brave Otis Nixon take umbrage at Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Wally Ritchie's inside pitches:



Wally Ritchie was suspended just one game while Nixon got four games off to go buy some crack. Commenters, participate! What feud do you think has been brewing long enough that will cause a future brawl in baseball?

spahnsain.jpg

The Giants and the Padres played the game of the night, with San Francisco prevailing 1-0 behind starter Tim Lincecum's 6 and 1/3 innings of shutout pitching skills. Five-foot-ten Lincecum and six-foot-ten Diamondbacks Padres (I didn't have my coffee yet) starter Chris Young were locking antlers for most of the game until 36-year-old Rich Aurilia hit a solo ding dong that determined the margin of victory, thrusting San Diego into sole possession of last place. Closer Brian Wilson pitched the ninth and collected his seventh save.

With eleven gentlemen left on base, the Padres certainly had their opportunities to score in this game. Tim Lincecum was able to weasel out of bad situations (he walked five!) with his magic. Either that or his 98-MPH fastball: Padre first baseman and slugger extraordinaire Adrian Gonzalez struck out thrice against Lincecum, who had nine K's in the game.

Lincecum now has a 16 and 1/3 inning scoreless streak and leads the majors with 36 strikeouts. He's got 4 wins even though he and the rest of the lineup have only cobbled together sixteen runs in his five starts. They've been well-distributed though because the Giants have won all five of those games. Let's review: they're 5-0 in Lincecum's starts and 5-13 with the rest of those chuckleheads on the mound. In the spirit of "Ian Snell and Four Days of Hell" or "Spahn and Sain and pray for rain", the Giants need a clever saying to describe how outstanding Tim Lincecum is and how awful the rest of the rotation has been. Commenters, participate! What should be this clever saying?

sleep.jpg

Here's what happened in baseball while I crawled in the dust again :

Braves 7, Marlins 4: Chipper Jones celebrated his 36th (or was it his 38th) birthday with a homer, two singles, and a huge LOL from the dugout as teammate and catcher Brian McCann legged out a triple. Atlanta picked up a win and a game on first place Florida while reliever Manny Acosta became the first Brave pitcher this season to record a second save. The revolving door of closers in Atlanta keeps spinning, though, as Mike Gonzalez is expected back next month after Tommy John surgery kept him out a year.

Tigers 8, Rangers 2: Texas' downward spiral keeps...um..spiraling....uh... in a downward fashion but don't expect any sympathy from crotchety grampa Jim Leyland. His Tigers crossed the plate so many times this series they've got dinnerware service for an entire army. Jason Jennings gave up five hits and five walks and five runs in five innings and is probably suffering flashbacks to his days in Coors Field. The Tigers hit, yes, five home runs in the game, including two taters from the Big Tilde. I just realized that the last time the Rangers were relevant I was downloading Blessid Union of Souls off Napster in my dorm room.

Rays 5, Blue Jays 3: Toronto's week of shame continues with a sweep at the hands of the Tampa Bay Kissimmee Rays. The Rays finally sold out the 9500-seat stadium at Disney World, which is odd, because there was an awesome basketball game on TV between the Orlando Magic and some other professional basketball team! I believe it might have been the playoffs! I love this game! Anyway, Andy Sonnanstine moves to 3-1 and Evan Longoria had a triple. Mediocrity is great!

Nationals 10, Mets 5: The New York Mets cruised to an easy victo...what? They lost? To Washington? And gave up TEN runs? Oliver Perez held the Nats scoreless for the first 4 innings and then gave up three runs before he got pulled in the sixth inning. Aaron Heilman, who has pitched in every other Mets game this season, came in, loaded the bases, and gave up a grand slam to Felipe Lopez. Thanks for coming, Mets fans! Back to Metsploitation.com or Metstravaganza.com or MetsteriousGrowthOnMyNetherRegion.com or whatever silly Mets blog you run.

linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • David Appelman argues that clutch isn't just for hitters anymore. Go read about starters and relievers and a little something called 'leverage'. Baseball Analysts

  • Ricky Nolasco is adding a splitter to his repertoire. I hope he doesn't call it Mr. Splitty. That's just ridiculous. Fish Stripes

  • Alex Ferreyra gives some due love to Hanley Ramirez, a true fantasy stud. Because fantasy stats never take defense into account. Machochip

  • Paul Sullivan has some not nice words for Congressman Rahm Emanuel, whose praise of the Cubs reveals his complete lack of knowledge about the team. Chicago Tribune Hardball

  • 'duk digs up some fantastic Boston nostalgia on YouTube. I have no feelings towards New England but I friggin' love me some 1993. Big League Stew
truck.jpg

Way back when I so aptly previewed the National League West, I predicted that three teams from this division would be contenders and two would make the playoffs. So far, my thoughts about Arizona have proven true: they've got the best record in the majors and are firing on all cylinders. Brandon Webb is 5-0 and fooling hitters everywhere with his sinker. Chris Young, Justin Upton, and Conor Jackson are all mashing the ball as if it were a delicious Yukon Gold potater. The rest of the division, however, is another story entirely. Here are your current NL West standings:

    1. Arizona Diamondbacks (15-6, .724)
    2. Colorado Rockies (9-12, .429)
    2. Los Angeles Dodgers (9-12, .429)
    4. San Francisco Giants (9-13, .409)
    4. San Diego Padres (9-13, .409)

Least surprising on this list would be the lack of competitiveness from the Giants. While they are barely scraping together three runs scored per game, the pitching staff has suffered injuries and even worse, is suffering Barry Zito. Would the Giants consider giving the lefty with an 0-5 record and a 5.61 ERA a couple weeks to regroup? They did it last year with Matt Cain and it worked out well:

When asked if the Giants might consider doing that with Zito, pitching coach Dave Righetti said, "No, because who the hell is going to pitch? We're not that deep in starting pitching. Noah Lowry is hurting now and we're not that deep in Triple-A. We need (Zito) to pitch."

Yikes. As for the Rockies, their bullpen has been the weakness so far. The Dodgers are simply underperforming where they should be. Their three best starting pitchers (Penny, Lowe and Kuroda) match up well with the Diamondbacks' top three. Also, they're outscoring their opponents across the month but little things like 'batting the aged Nomar Garciaparra third' or 'paying Andruw Jones to play baseball' are hurting the team.

I didn't predict the Padres to do very well, so I'm not going to try and find fault with their poor start. Besides first basegentleman Adrian Gonzalez, there are no hitters on that team that strike fear in the hearts of men. It's a shame; superstar first base prospect Kyle Blanks is ready to play, afro and all.

market.jpg

Frank Thomas needs work and he's getting offers from his old employers. The Oakland Athletics are said to have offered the Big Hurt a roster spot but Thomas is still fielding offers from other teams. Oh no, Frank Thomas fielding? Those offers are gonna go right through his enormous wickets! Says Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown:

    Frank Thomas was close to signing with the Oakland A's on Wednesday until another team made an offer at the last minute, according to a baseball source. The second offer, from an undisclosed team, at least temporarily put the brakes on the A's deal.

Thomas would be a great fit with the A's. They've hit but nine home runs as a team so far and have got a slugging percentage lower than a team made up of hausfraus and little girls. Designated hitter-slash-outfielder Jack Cust's SLG has been cut in half since last year and his strikeout rate would make Rob Deer gasp. Their other DH, former Royal Mike Sweeney, has battled a bad back all season (heck, more like all career) so Thomas would give the A's some extra pop for a super low discount price.

So let's do some quick speculation? Who's the other team to make an offer to Thomas? Seattle? Tampa? Toron...oh, nevermind. J.P. Ricciardi would never be that smart.

sleep.jpg

Here's what happened in baseball while two spirits danced so strange:

Brewers 5, Phillies 4: The Brewers continued their domination against left-handed starters and we can't even blame the Phillies' bullpen for this loss. This one is all on southpaw Cole Hamels; he pitched a gritty 8 innings but was ultimately defeated by Prince Fielder's pair of two-run ding-dongs. Hamels collected eleven strikeouts and walked just two Brewers but couldn't overcome the Vegan Warrior's four RBI. Phillies hitters-slash-wunderkinds Chase Utley, Pat Burrell and Greg Dobbs had their own tater tots that went for naught in the loss.

Pirates 7, Cardinals 4: Dover, Delaware's own Ian Snell gave up a four-spot to St. Louis in the first inning but settled down to pitch five more innings without allowing a run. Don't know how though...kid still allowed eight more baserunners and struck out but one Cardinal. No matter, Ian Snell and Four Days of Hell didn't earn a win. He wasn't in the game when Pirate third baseman Jose Bautista put his team ahead in the eighth inning against reliever and eventual loser Anthony Reyes.

Tigers 19, Rangers 6: I can imagine the smile on Ron Washington's face when his Rangers took a COMMANDING 5-0 lead after the top of the second against Kenny 'Smudges' Rogers. It's the dawn of a new day in Arlington, baby! The Rangers are a team with which to be reckoned! Well new Detroit first baseman Carlos Guillen and his band of merry Tigers proceeded to score nineteen runs (including eleven runs in the sixth inning alone) on six terrible Texas pitchers. Make that five terrible Texas pitchers...C.J. Wilson pitched a perfect eighth. Whee! Guillen had two run-producing at-bats in that wacky sixth inning and CTC's preseason predictions are beginning to less ridiculous as the season progresses.

Angels 6, Red Sox 4: Looks like the only thing that can defeat the Red Sox juggernaut is a contagious disease. Yep, old Uncle Influenza knocked Josh Beckett from his start two nights ago and Daisuke Matsuzaka from his start tonight, thrusting Jon Lester into the game on just three games rest. I guess those cancer drugs do a wicked good job protecting him from the flu! Nice! Maybe he needs a new prescription to protect him from the mighty bat of Gary Matthews, though, who stroked a couple homers to lead Anaheim to the promised land, aka Jacob Wirth's on Stuart Street. SHUT UP I LIKE TO SING ALONG TO SHOW TUNES OKAY?

Yankees 6, White Sox 4: The Moose is back, baby!

Who knew that the Padres had a celebrity fan? Oh, ahem, a celebreality fan. Kendra Wilkinson is 'famous' for taking her clothes off, becoming Hugh Hefner's girlfriend, and then having a seriously annoying laugh on a basic cable TV show. She's parlayed all this Playboy fame into the opportunity of a lifetime for a former fast pitch softball player from San Diego as she will soon be throwing out the first pitch at a Padres game.

Kendra was born and raised in San Diego and considers herself an avid and knowledgeable Padres fan, as the clip below (stolen from Gaslamp Ball) proves:



She's also a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles and was actually hired by the organization a couple years back to write a fan blog on the team website. Her first three blog posts contained no words; she merely posted pictures of herself in a red fur-lined bikini. Perhaps Peter Abraham would like to try this gimmick out for his Yankees blog.

liveglog.jpg

The powers that be have declared that today, Wednesday April 23rd, is to be the only Wednesday of the entire season without an afternoon game. So so sorry, fans of liveglog action. To make it up to y'all, I will let you choose which game I will liveglog next Wednesday afternoon. Here are your choices:

    White Sox @ Twins, 1:05 PM
    Pirates @ Mets; 1:05 PM
    Reds @ Cardinals; 1:15 PM
    Astros @ Diamondbacks; 3:40 PM
    Rockies @ Giants; 3:45 PM
    Braves @ Nationals; 4:35 PM

You just know I want that Nationals game so I can get away with glogging just 2 innings of action. Let me know in the comments which game I should glog next week.

jesus.jpg

For the second night in a row, the holier than thou Colorado Rockies have blown an eighth inning lead to the Philadelphia Phillies. Make that three games in a row where the bullpen has given up a seventh inning lead and we've got a trend. Something tells me that Matt Holliday has been praying to the wrong idol over the past few days and he'd better get back to Their Lord and Savior Jason Hirsh. Oh, he's hurt...they'd better resurrect him.

Anywho, Rockies' closer Manny Corpas blew his third save opportunity of the year when came into the ninth inning with a 6-5 lead. He gave up a single to So Taguchi, who then hustled his buns to third on Chase Utley's single; this let Utley advance to second on Rockies center fielder Willy Tavares terrible attempt to nail the eventual tying run at third. With one out, Corpas intentionally walked Ryan Howard to set up the double play but he forgot that the next hitter, Pat Burrell, is in his contract year. Burrell doubled to deep center field, past a diving Tavares, which cleared the bases. I guess RyHo hustled his buns from first to home, eh? Brad Lidge sent the Rockies home with a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth....crazy, right?

In other Rockies news, shortstop and sophomore slump-sation Troy Tulowitzki was benched for last night's game, which led to this GAWD-AWFUL headline. I actually obtained Mr. Tulowitzki in a fantasy trade with Camp Tiger Claw, in exchange for Devil Rays pitcher Scott Kazmir. This has yet to pan out for either of us.

UPDATE: Dmac has a lol-worthy video of the game-winning hit in which RyHo nearly runs over Chase Utley. Cripes, Coors Field has a huge outfield.

linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • David Laurila interviews Brandon Moss about his little trip to Tokyo with the Red Sox. Moss was the first ever major league player to collect his first ding-dong in Japan. Baseball Prospectus

  • The sad tale of Lyman Bostock. Los Angeles Times

  • Joe Posnanski explains why he is constantly mentioning Duane Kuiper in such hushed tones. I totally get it now. JoeBlog

  • Dex lists seventeen different ways for the Padres to encourage fans to attend games without altering the dimensions of Petco Field, an extreme pitchers park. My favorite is #7: "Start a 100 Hot Dog Club. Have people stamp a card every time they have a hot dog at the park. At the end of the year, fans who've eaten 100 hot dogs get a free souvenir pin to stick on their lanyard or hat". Gross. Gas Lamp Ball

  • Some Pirates fans are already quite tired of the shitty season in Pittsburgh so they're having a little tournament to determine the worst GM in baseball. They're in the quarterfinal round now. Hey, Ed Wade only got the 2 seed? Oh right, Brian Sabean had dibs on the 1. Bucs Dugout

  • A new addictive game. It's like whack-a-mole on ketamine. Doeo
dusty2.jpg

The Cincinnati Reds are still treading water in the tough NL Central; they sit in fourth place at 8-12 having lost series to the Cubs and Brewers last week. Our friend Corey Patterson is doing much worse, having gone hitless since our last update. Let's go game-by-game and see what's what:

Game 14: Led off, 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

Game 15: Led off, 0-for-4 with a walk.

Game 16: Didn't start against lefty Ted Lilly, popped out while pinch-hitting.

Game 17: Didn't start against righty Ben Sheets, pinch hit in the eighth inning and flied out with the bases loaded.

Game 18: Led off, 0-for-4.

Game 19: Led off, 0-for-3 with two walks and a strikeout.

Game 20: Didn't start against righty Brad Penny, grounded out while pinch-hitting.

Damn, he's not even starting against certain right-handed pitching now. Patterson went 0-for-17 with three walks on the week; this drops his OBP to .254. His once mighty .703 slugging percentage is now down to .467, still the fifth best among NL center fielders. Dusty, if you are going to start him (and I still think he should be playing most days), MOVE HIM DOWN IN THE LINEUP!

metsfan.jpg

Enrico at the 700 Level brings us a photo gallery that is sure to make non-Mets fans like myself giggle like a schoolgirl. Seems as if a Mets fan at the Mets-Phillies game this past Saturday was involved in a fracas that ended with him taking a swing at a cop, or as you people in Boston call it "a cawp".

Ever since the Mets decided to field a competitive team a couple years ago, their fans have been traveling down Interstate 95 with great frequency to enjoy a stadium that's the polar opposite of Shit...err...Shea Stadium. The Phillies fans are good folk, but if you cross them, they'll eat you alive.

Completely without Enrico's permission, I have reproduced one of the photos to the left. You can see a pair of legs at the bottom left of the picture; that's his buddy lying face down on the cement already in handcuffs. The Phillies may have lost the game but they won the battle of "whose fans don't get captured on film getting arrested".

sleep.jpg

Here's what happened in baseball while you were bombed out on the blues:

Marlins 10, Pirates 4: Yeah I still believe this Marlins team is but a mirage; they're in first place in the NL East but they've notched three wins against Pittsburgh and five wins against Warshington. Those should not count. The three worst NL pitching staffs by ERA are the Nats, the Fish, and the Pirates, three teams that should be contracted and/or absorbed by the Red Sox and Diamondbacks. Okay, enough Marlin-bashing for one day, let's list the things they did well today: (a) Mark Hendrickson actually posts some good numbers (5 K's against 1 BB) in eight innings and collects two hits and an RBI (b) Hanley Ramirez, Josh Willingham, and Dan Uggla hit taters (c) every Fish starter had a hit and a run. Oh wait, this all came off Pirate pitcher Matt Morris? FORGET EVERY NICE THING I SAID. Nate McLouth extended his hitting streak to nineteen games.

Red Sox 8, Rangers 3: John Kruk actually said something cromulent about the Rangers on the ESPN television program Baseball Tonight. In a segment where he was to evaluate what was wrong with Texas, he pointed to their defense and said that if their pitching staff wasn't aces-a-plenty, they'd need good defense behind them in order to succeed. Hey! I agree with John Kruk. It's not just about the errors (although their 22 whoopsies lead the AL) as much as it is about the fact that they're not making the plays they should be making. Their DER is for shit because they're not converting batted balls into outs. Ian Kinsler made a throwing error in this game but it was Milton Bradley's losing an easy fly ball in the sun in left field that led to all the LOLs (and the Sox' fifth run).

Dodgers 9, Reds 3: Brad Penny pitched a good game and Nomahhhhh hit a homahhhhhhh but the REAL story was the promotion of Jerry Hairston Jr up to the big club in Cincinnati. Jerry Hairston and Corey Patterson, together forever in shittiness! Neither Corey nor Jerry started the game but both made an out while pinch-hitting. Pinch-hitting? More like pinch-shitting! I know I'm supposed to be nice to Corey Patterson but he's hitless since the last CPW update and that was a solid week ago. Cripes! Well, he's still out-hitting Andruw Jones, who was moved down to eighth in the Dodgers' lineup.

Cardinals 4, Brewers 3: Eric Gagne FINALLY got a night off, so it was Derrick Turnbow's opportunity to brown the bed for Milwaukee. A double by Brian Barton set up Skip Schumaker's go-ahead double off Turnbow that provided the winning margin in the ninth. In wackier news, Corey Hart misplayed Ryan Ludwick's fly ball in the top of the eighth which led to a Cardinal run and then Ludwick misplayed Corey Hart's fly ball in the bottom of the eighth which lead to a Brewer run. OMG they're totally twin spazzes!

Braves 7, Nationals 3: I feel really bad for saying that the Giants would be the worst team in the majors this year because The Nationals losing ways are even worse than Teddy Roosevelt's awful losing streak. Tim Hudson was masterful but hey, it's just the Nationals.

poollady.jpg

Our favorite sassy senior Jorge Cantu is out of the pool and into hot water. Seems as if some comely young St. Petersburg lass is accusing Cantu of smacking her around:

    "According to the St. Petersburg Times, Cantu has a Wednesday court date in Pinellas County stemming from a temporary protection order filed against him earlier this week. St. Petersburg resident NAME REDACTED alleged she sustained bruises to her left biceps and was verbally threatened Feb. 8."

Cantu denies everything, or at least Cantu's agent denies everything on behalf of his client. You know, these accusations have to be false, because sports agents never lie and/or fabricate the truth to protect his client's interests.

Things couldn't possibly get any worse for Jorge Cantu. It's hard enough having to replace Miguel Cabrera at the hot corner for the Florida Marlins, but now he has to deal with this legal mess? Feh! Because the next best third baseman on the roster is named Wes Helms, expect Cantu to not miss any time.

(we owe a Coke to FishChunks)

fallingman.jpg

After taking two of three games in their weekend series with the Yankees, the Bawlmer Orioles currently sit in second place in the American League East with an actual real live winning record (11-8). The fans in Baltimore are so excited, they're falling all over themselves in pure unadulterated joy. Either that, or they're just falling all over themselves:

    "Two fans at Thursday night's Orioles game were taken to the hospital after one fell from the club-level deck at Camden Yards and landed on the other moments before the Orioles beat the Chicago White Sox in a 10-inning game. The Orioles called the incident "an unfortunate accident," but citing privacy laws would not offer specific details. However, several sources with knowledge of the incident said an adult male was leaning too far over the railing on the first base side of the stadium just above the "Bank of America" advertisement. He fell, roughly 30 feet, down to the main seating bowl where he landed on another man."

Privacy laws, my ass. When that dude fell off the escalator at Shea, we knew everything from his name to his nationality to the possibility that he was acting like a jackass by standing on the rail. We demand to know the name of the (most likely drunk) fan who tumbled off the swank club level at Camden Yards! How else will we, as non-Orioles fans, know who to shame?

Still, I feel bad for the unwitting victim who sat in the lower level. When you pay $75 for a seat to an Orioles game, the only pains you expect to feel are (a) the team losing (b) a sore tush from sitting through a 5-hour Steve Trachsel game and (c) wicked bad acid reflux from a plate of Boog's BBQ. You never expect to have some chucklehead fall ass-over-teakettle into your lap.

(we owe a Coke to Baseball Musings)

lidge.jpg

The Phillies survived another exciting ninth inning performance by closer Brad Lidge to beat the Mets last night 5-4. There are no players or coaches or batboys or peanut vendors on that team who actually want an exciting inning when Brad Lidge is pitching, but Pat Gillick made his bed and now he has to eat his cake. Or something.

After Pedro Feliz hit a tie-breaking pinch-hit ding-dong in the seventh inning, J.C. Romero survived an eighth inning double to hold the game, bringing Lidge in for the save. Lidge walked Damion Easley (he's still employed?) and Jose Reyes tapped a grounder up the middle that nicked off Lidge's glove. With runners on first and second and none out, Phillies fans everywhere were reaching for the Tylenol PM and Bacardi 151, but Lidge struck out Luis Castillo and got David Wright to foul out. Phillies shortstop Eric Bruntlett did his best (albeit whitest) impression of Jimmy Rollins and snared a hard-hit grounder by Carlos Beltran to end the game.

Oh by the way, Chase Utley had two home runs and trails only Chipper Jones in the NL OPS race. David Wright is in third place, so for anyone who thought Hanley Ramirez was the best NL infielder, go screw.

sleep.jpg

Here's what happened in baseball while making this dream come into play:

Reds 4, Brewers 3: Eric Gagne blew another save for Milwaukee but hey, I'm sure he's got a valid excuse and/or note from his therapist. I mean, it was the fourth day in a row that he's been used by Ned Yost, so his arm was probably super-tired. Either way, he was handed a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the tenth in Cincinnati and gave up two solo ding-dongs. One of the taters was hit by Redleg third basemen Edwin Encarnacion who had let the Brew Crew go ahead in the top of the tenth by booting an easy grounder. Whoopsie doodle! Superstar Ken Griffey Jr notched the game-winning single for Dusty and the boys. By the by, this contest was knotted at one after nine innings thanks in part to Milwaukee hurler Yovani Gallardo and his recently rebuilt left knee; Gallardo went eight strong and allowed but four hits.

Blue Jays 5, Tigers 3: After leaving a "Dear John" letter in Frank Thomas' locker, J.P. Ricciardi found himself suddenly without a power bat in his lineup. Would J.P. have second thoughts about the breakup? Would he reconsider, and stand outside Frank's bedroom with a boombox blaring "In Your Eyes" above his head? I don't think any of this is possible because J.P. has found his new Big Hurt, and his name is David Eckstein. Little Scrappy Doo hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning to lead the Jays over the once-again-struggling Detroit Tigers. Forget this "Rod Barajas as DH" nonsense...are you kidding me, Toronto? Really? Rod Barajas? Put in Eckstein!

Giants 8, Cardinals 2: BREAK UP THE CODDAMN GIANTS! Seriously, they just took 2 of 3 from St. Louis and have moved a half a game ahead of the Dodgers into fourth place in the NL West. Rookie sensation John Bowker collected his third homer, all coming off Cardinal pitching while the worst cleanup hitter ever ever ever Bengie Molina hit three doubles and drove in three gentlemen. San Fran pitcher Jonathan Sanchez did his best Steve Trachsel impersonation, throwing over 100 pitches in just five innings but still picking up the victory. Cardinal starter Braden Looper got taken for a loop...bwa ha ha bad pun. Seriously though, he got hit very hard.

Red Sox 6, Rangers 5: I was driving home from Delaware yesterday and I asked my girlfriend to check the scores of the Yankees and Red Sox games; New York was ahead of Baltimore 2-0 and Boston was behind the Texas 5-0. Finally! One for the good guys this weekend. The Yanks would avoid a sweep and the Sox would have to settle for just two wins over the lowly Rangers. IT WAS NOT TO BE. Hey, thanks Rangers' bullpen! Wes Littleton and C.J. Wilson, you just made my shitlist. The two combined to allow five hits and four runs in just one and two-thirds innings, com-PLETE-ly blowing the game for starter Kevin Millwood and my own personal era of good feelings. At least the Yankees pulled out the win and nobody got hurt...oh shit.

SITE NEWS: This series ends today with the annual Patriots Day morning-time game, so Camp Tiger Claw will liveglog it. First pitch at 11AM...be here!

sleep.jpg

Here's what happened in baseball while running into the lake in just socks and a shirt:

Orioles 6, White Sox 5 (10): Down three runs in the eighth inning, Baltimore decided to honor Liz Phair's 41st birthday and rally for the extra inning victory. The O's scored a run in the eighth on Luke Scott's RBI double and two runs in the ninth on Brian Robert's RBI double and Melvin Mora's RBI single. Bobby Jenks let in the ninth inning runs and ruined his first tea party of the year. Bawlmer produced one magical winning run in the tenth as Adam Jones drove in Kevin Millar, who had walked to start the inning. Former Mariner (and I love identifying former Mariners who are succeeding outside of Seattle) George Sherrill picked up the W.

Brewers 5, Cardinals 3 (10):Milwaukee also decided to celebrate Ms. Phair and overcame a 3-0 eighth inning deficit to St. Louis and send the game to extra innings. Prince "Veggie Dip" Fielder hit his first ding-dong of the season in the tenth to cap the win for the Brewers. Cards reliever Randy Flores rendered starter Kyle Lohse's third well-pitched game by allowing the three tying runs in the eighth; Fielder hisself hit the game-tying double. For those of you who had April 17th in the "when will Prince Fielder break out of his slump", you win! Eric Gagne managed to get the save despite allowing two baserunners with none out in the bottom of the tenth. Yecchh!

Rangers 4, Blue Jays 1: You know it's a wacky world when Vicente Padilla outduels Roy Halladay and David Murphy outslugs Frank Thomas. It all happened last night in Toronto as Padilla allowed only one of ten baserunners to cross home plate and rightfielder Murphy tallied three doubles, two runs, and an RBI. Halladay pitched a complete game but he couldn't stop Texas from sweeping the Jays. Oh, it was just a two-game series? That's not long enough for the Rangers to hit the strip clubs in Toronto...heck, that's not even long enough to get some deux-deux-deux.

Red Sox 7, Yankees 5: The highlight of the evening was the gyro and two Bud Lights I had in the parking lot. The highlight of the actual game was the pair of taters by Manny Ramirez, who is just an absolute monster. Manny has now collected 55 homers against the Yankees and I have now thought to myself 55 times "I wish he was a Yankee". Josh Beckett pitched pretty well (eight innings & three runs) but Mike Mussina was a stinkeroo (three innings & five runs & a whole lot of hesitation between pit....zzzzzzz). The Yankees tallied two runs in the ninth off closer Jonathan Papelbon but we were already on the George Washington Bridge. Sigh.

Mets 2, Nationals 2 (in progress): Christ, I'm glad I wasn't at Shea tonight. This one's still happening, in the fourteenth consarn inning now. Yikes.

I'm heading out soon for the Red Sox/Yankees tilt at The Stadium. Hopefully, it'll be a better game than last night's dreckfest. Thanks for joining me all day while CTC was on a farm in Maine. No, seriously.

Go, baseball!

Perhaps you saw astronaut Garrett Reisman throw out the first pitch from the International Space Station before last night's Yankees-Red Sox contest. Well, Reisman went to Parsippany High School in Parsippany, New Jersey; he graduated six years before yours truly came in as a lowly freshman. Here's an interview about the pitch with the crew:

dusty2.jpg

We've got three National League games to follow this afternoon:

Astros at Phillies, 1:05PM: Brandon "Baby Got" Backe and Brett "Punch Drunk" Myers battle it out in the rubber game. It's the 'Businessperson's Special' at Citizens Bank Park, which means any fan in attendance dressed in khakis and a polo shirt gets a bucket of red paint thrown on them by the Phanatic.

Brewers at Cardinals, 1:15PM: Kyle Lohse goes for his third win and tries to continue his magical season; somehow the magical Cardinals have the best record in baseball. BTW, 'magic' is my way of saying 'HGH'. Manny Parra will go for the Brewers and try to avoid being the odd man out when Jeff Weaver is called up. Tom Haudricourt has the lineup changes for both teams.

Reds at Cubs, 2:20PM: Rookie sensation Edinson Volquez tries to stop the bleeding for Dusty Baker's Redlegs while washed-up veteran lefty Ted Lilly will do his best to beat a Corey-Patterson-less lineup. John Fay should have the lineups as soon as he stops posing like a dork.

ihascheezburger1.jpg

Hey, remember a long long time ago when Indians pitcher C.C. Sabathia won the AL Cy Young Award? Oh, that was just last year. So what the heck is wrong with him now? In four starts in 2008, he's pitched 18 innings and allowed 32 hits, 14 walks and 24 runs. His 13.50 ERA is as chunky as he is. Haha fat joke! Zing! Sabathia is in his so-called 'contract' year, so each time he goes out and takes a dump on the mound he's leaving about $4 million in future earnings on the table. Says C.C.:

    "My arm feels fine. I just can't command either side of the plate."

I don't buy it. Here are some contributing factors that might be causing's Sabathia's slump:

  • He was overworked in 2007, throwing a career-high 256 innings.
  • Complications from having his last name tattooed on his back, uniform-style, in 2000
  • Too many burgers during spring training
  • Finally suffering from the shame of being named Carsten

Seriously though, I hope this contract can be voided.

shag.jpg

With four home runs and two doubles in just 26 at-bats this season, Brewers centerfielder Gabe Kapler is off to a shocking .962 slugging percentage. Not bad for someone who was managing single-A ball last season. Still, he's only got a platoon job once regular centerfielder Mike Cameron comes back from his suspension, and even worse, he's hurt.

Kapler bruised his right shoulder before the Brewers' game on Tuesday and has missed the past two games. He's day-to-day but Milwaukee's other centerfielder named Gabe (Gross) has been a sorry replacement, going 1-for-7 with three strikeouts in the two games.

How exactly did Gabe hurt himself? I'll let manager Ned Yost explain, via Cardinals blogger Derrick Goold:

POWER SHAGGING (tr. v.) - To power shag is to track fly balls during batting practice as if they were fly balls in games, i.e. running after line drives and scaling walls to prepare for game-like situations. I.e., Kapler was power shagging when he raced to catch a fly ball in BP and knocked his shoulder into the wall. "What makes Gabe Kapler so good is he doesn't differentiate between the game and practice," Yost said. "He shags BP balls as if they were the game. And that's how you stay on top of your game."

I would have thought 'power shagging' meant something entirely different. Oh well. Gabe, you're a boob for slamming into the wall during batting practice.

sleep.jpg

Here's what happened in baseball while staying at the Marriott with Jesus and John Wayne:

Diamondbacks 4, Giants 1: When I left you at 5:15, the score was 4-1 and the Diamondbacks were coming up to bat in the sixth inning. Not much else happened after that point, except a whole lot more dominance by Mr. Brandon Webb. Neither team scored in the last four innings; Webb finished with eight innings pitched and just five baserunners allowed. Most impressively, he recorded 14 groundball outs among the 29 batters he faced. The other Brandond (Lyon) picked up the save and hasn't blown one in ten whole days. Good show!

Astros 2, Phillies 1: Three huge questions were answered in this game. (1) Will Roy Oswalt return to form? (A) Yes, he pitched seven strong innings. (2) Will Kyle Kendrick pitch well enough to keep his jerb? (A) Yes, he pitched seven strong innings. (3) If the Astros have a lead and it's close and late, who the heck is gonna close for them? (A) Tonight, the answer was Doug Brocail, and not Jose Valverde. Brocail saved the game for Oswalt; former Phillie Michael Bourn scored both Houston runs including his go-ahead ding-dong in the fifth inning.

Marlins 6, Braves 5: Atlanta lost their seventh one-run game of the season to the red hot Florida Marlins, who themselves have four one-run wins. The Braves have won exactly zero games by that slim margin and now sit at 5-8 in the NL East, just ahead of the lowly Warshington Nationals. I don't know how to solve such a quandary; it just seems like a wheelbarrow full of bad luck. Perhaps Bobby Cox needs a vial filled with gypsy tears to turn his fortunes around. Tim Hudson had an unsatisfactory start, getting pulled after allowing four runs in just three innings. Mike Jacobs collected his National League-leading sixth home run. The artist formerly known as Luis González contributed a pinch-hit two-run tater in the seventh, helping the extremely mediocre Mark Hendrickson pick up the win.

White Sox 3, Orioles 1: That one-game suspension shore was restful for Jim Thome. His three-run dong in the top of the first inning off Baltimore starter Adam Loewen was all Chicargo needed to beat the fading O's. Manager Ozzie Guillen was confident before the game that Thome would snap out of his slump. How prescient! Jose Contreras was efficient enough to keep the game time under 2 and a half hours, striking out 6 and walking none. All 12,000 people in attendance at Camden Yards were pleased that they were able to get home in time for Top Chef. They'd have been home even earlier if Loewen hadn't walked five White Soxen. Awful!

Yankees 15, Red Sox 9: Yecccchhh, what a stinker. Even Yankee fans can't be pleased with this one. Both starters (Chien Ming-Wang and Clay Buchholz) got bombed, every Yankee starter scored, and Kevin Youkilis got an ouchie on his toe. The game took well over four hours, and I am really tired from watching it (read: really tired from listening to Michael Kay).

liveglog.jpg

Today's liveglog will go from 3:45PM until 5:15PM. I'd like to do more but I have an urgent meeting at 5:30PM, so you're going to have to follow along with the MLB Gameday doodad after that point.

Hey, this is the second week in a row that the Diamondbacks are part of the ol' liveglog. Good thing they are the most potent offense in baseball so far...they should pad their stats today against lefty Barry Zito of the Giants. Zito will face all righties today except Stephen Drew. Three different hitters have five home runs so far: Chris Young, Mark Reynolds, and Justin Upton; the team is scoring well over 6 runs per game. The D-Backs send ace Brandon Webb to the mound, so I'm not expecting much of a contest.

Hop the jump to follow the glog!

SadGuy.jpg

Blue Jays third basegentleman Scott Rolen has been hanging out in Florida rehabbing his borkened finger, an injury he suffered during infield practice in spring training. Poor Scott has had a pin surgically inserted into his middle finger and is still expected to miss a few more weeks. Hey Toronto Star blogger Cathal Kelly, how's Rolen been biding his time?

    I ran into Rolen in the tunnel underneath Camden Yards. I knew things were going okay when he immediately stuck out his hand to shake - that is, the hand with the broken finger. Then I asked him what he was reading. "Still (Upton Sinclair's) The Jungle," he said. Good to know he's not wiling away his days in Florida on the couch.

I wonder how long ago Kelly and Rolen last spoke. In other words, how long has it taken Rolen to read The Jungle? Let's Google it.

Googling...Googling...Googling...

And here we are: Rolen has been reading the same book for nearly two months. Yes, it's it's 480 pages long, but Scott Rolen has nothing better to do with his injured finger keeping him from fielding grounders or taking batting practice.

What was the impetus for choosing such a book? This is a Very Serious Novel that describes the suffering of the early 20th century 'have-not' immigrants toiling away in the meatpacking industry at the hands of the corrupt 'haves'. Maybe Scott thought he was checking The Jungle Book out of the liberry. Oh, that fun-loving Baloo!

Full disclosure: I've never read Upton Sinclair but Camp Tiger Claw has, so there.

lidge.jpg

In Philadelphia last night, Shawn Chacon of the Houston Astros pitched a goddamned gem, hurling eight scoreless innings in which he allowed but 6 Phillies to reach base and struck out the mighty Pat Burrell twice. New Astros closer Jose Valverde was called on by manager Cecil Cooper to protect a 3-0 lead in the ninth inning, and that's where it all went to poo:

    Pinch-hitter Chris Snelling hit a leadoff homer in the ninth off Valverde, and Chase Utley was hit by a pitch. After Ryan Howard struck out, Pat Burrell tied the score at 3 with a two-run homer to right. (Geoff) Jenkins struck out, but the ball eluded catcher Brad Ausmus for a passed ball and Jenkins scampered safely to first before (Pedro) Feliz ripped a shot into the left-field corner. Jenkins slid home with the winning run just ahead of the tag.

Geoff Jenkins ran through the stop sign at third base on his way to scoring the winning run. In Philadelphia, this is called "defensive driving". Third base coach Steve Smith tried to hold Jenkins at third because there was just one out. In baseball, this is called "a smart move". Jenkins isn't Don-Mattingly-slow but he's not exactly fleet-of-foot either. Still, he scored because home plate ump Bill Miller made a bad call, so he's the Philadelphia hero of the day. Tony Luke gave him a free roast pork Italian after the game.

Luckily for the Phillies, it was a home game. Feliz' hit was a walkoff double which means they didn't need to bring in their own crappy closer, Brad Lidge. Lidge visited with his former Astro teammates before the game; this must have been when he infected them with his loserjuice. HOW DO YOU LIVE LIKE THIS, ASTROS FANS

linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • Rich Lederer over at Baseball Anaysts previews the 2008 amateur draft, set to take place June 5th and 6th: Part One, Part Two

  • Eamonn Brennan reports that the Los Angeles Dodgers organization has invited several Dodgers bloggers to meet with various team officials, including general manager Ned Coletti, blowjob king Tommy Lasorda, and skankstress Alyssa Milano: AOL Fanhouse

  • Tuffy freezes his ding-dong off watching the Tigers get shut out, but still enjoys himself because he is a good-natured person: The Big Tilde

  • Padres blogger Dex exchanged interviews and pleasantries with a Rockies blogger and then they went out for malteds: Gas Lamp Ball

  • There is a suicidal bear in Fresno: UmpBump

  • Chris Mottram says that Jim Bowden is a douche. I am not one to disagree with Chris Mottram: Mr. Irrelevant

  • One More Dying Quail did a heckuva lot of research to identify all the former big-leaguers managing independent league teams. Oh, so that's what Jeffrey Leonard is doing nowadays: Bus Leagues Baseball
sunflower.jpg

Perhaps the only thing more embarrassing for a veteran Major League starting pitcher than giving up a home run to Jason Kendall would be getting demoted to the bullpen. Here are three such pitchers who might be facing this utter and soul-sucking humiliation:

Kyle Kendrick: No, the Phillies don't exactly have a bunch of available arms to fill his spot, but that didn't stop Uncle Cholly from pushing Kendrick's next start up a bit in favor of the shockingly decent Adam Eaton. Kendrick has allowed 12 hits and 8 walks in just 7 and 1/3 innings pitched across two starts. He's not really pitching this season, he's nibbling around the strike zone and has only struck one dude out (haw haw Josh Fogg). Looks like Baseball Prospectus' forecast of Kendrick was spot on. Here it is: "Yuck" Oh well, there's always Japan. Possible replacement: Ryan Madson.

Rich Hill: Well this one has already been signed, sealed and delivered by Lou Piniella, as Hill already spent the past weekend in the bullpen, presumably to sweep up Carlos Marmol's discarded sunflower seeds. Hill's first start this season was serviceable, allowing just 2 runs on 4 hits across 6 innings in a Cubs' loss to the go-go Astros. In his second start, he went just 3 innings, letting in 3 runs, 3 hits, and 4 walks. Says Lou, "In the first inning [Thursday night], he was just aiming it. When he came back after the first inning, he looked a little confused." Ouch. Former starter Jon Lieber has been stellar coming out of the 'pen in long relief. Possible replacement: Lieber.

Dave Bush: Brewers right-hander Bush is carrying a hefty 8.44 ERA after two road starts this season, one against the Cubs and one against the Reds (our friend Corey Patterson had a double off the guy). With hard-throwing Yovani Gallardo coming off the DL soon there will be a logjam in the Brewers' rotation. When you're stinking up the joint as badly as Bush is, chances are that Ned Yost is going to Febreze him right into the bullpen, or even worse, option him down to Triple-A Nashville. Possible replacement: Gallardo (or holy crap, Jeff Weaver)

dusty2.jpg

The Cincinnati Reds are chilling at 6-7, good enough only for fifth place in a surprisingly competitive National League Central. (Did you know the six NL Central division teams are 23-16 against the other two NL divisions? No?) After a somewhat hot start in the first ten games, the Reds are coming off a road sweep in Pittsburgh. The Pirates had two lefty pitchers start in the series, Paul Maholm on Friday and Tom Gorzelanny on Sunday, so our lefty-hitting friend Corey Patterson only made pinch hit appearances in those games. How'd he do the rest of the week?

Game 8: Led off, 2-for-5 with a HR, 2 RBI and 1 run.

Game 9: Led off, 3-for-5 with a HR, 2 doubles, 2 RBI, 2 runs and a walk.

Game 10: Led off, 0-for-5.

Game 11: Didn't start versus lefty Paul Maholm, flied out in the ninth, 0-for-1.

Game 12: Led off, 1-for-4 with a double, walk, RBI, run, and a stolen base.

Game 13: Didn't start versus lefty Tom Gorzelanny, grounded out in the seventh, 0-for-1.

That's a pretty good week! Looks like our friend Dusty Baker is determined to platoon Corey Patterson and play him exclusively against right-handed pitchers. That part of the strategy is working; Patterson is slugging .667 on the season with four home runs and five doubles.

The part of the strategy that is not working is that Baker is penciling Patterson into the lead-off spot in every game he starts. Corey's on-base percentage is a mere .304, easily the worst on his team among qualified batters. Sure, he's hitting a ton of taters but there are seven guys on the Reds with more walks than Patterson.

Maybe Dusty isn't maximizing those home runs anyway; all but one of those ding-dongs have been solo jobs. Perhaps if some of the good OBP guys were ahead of Patterson in the lineup, he'd have more a chance to drive in some RBIs. Yes, he wouldn't have as many stolen base opportunities with Ken Griffey and Adam Dunn "clogging the bases", but he already doesn't have many stolen base attempts anyway: Corey has but two singles and three walks on the season.

I've definitely turned a corner on Corey Patterson. I'm rooting for him to be successful now, but I'm mostly interested in seeing Baker move him down the lineup, hopefully to the five hole.

sleep.jpg

Here's what happened in baseball while letting it ring a long long long long time:

Yankees 8, Devil Rays 7: Down 7-2 after a serviceably good start by Yankee rookie Ian Kennedy, Tampa Bay knotted the game at 7 with three seventh inning home runs. Two of the dongs, including Evan Longoria's first career homer, came off Brian Bruney, who received raves in spring training for dropping his pregnancy weight. Sorry, Yankees fans, but expect Bruney to put all 20 pounds back on tonight after drowning his sorrows in Haagen-Dazs. Gallons and gallons of delicious, fattening Haagen-Dazs. The Rays made the game interesting in the seventh but after Robinson Cano's pinch-hit home run put the Yanks up 8-7, closer Mariano Rivera found a way of making the game very, very boring, earning his first four-out save of the season.

Tigers 11, Twins 9: Detroit's offense got off the schneid in a big way, scoring all 11 of their runs after the start of the sixth inning against the Twins. Crappy pitcher and even crappier blogger Pat Neshek took the blown save and the loss, coming into the game in the 8th with a two-run lead and giving up a 2 RBI triple to Ivan Rodriguez, an RBI sac fly to Jacque Jones, a Clete Thomas triple, and a Placido Polanco RBI single. Whew! Tigers starter Jeremy Bonderman did himself no favors, allowing seven runs (four earned) in 6 and 1/3 innings. When asked his reaction about his team's first home win of the year, Detroit manager Jim Leyland simply replied "Aw shit, I don't have time for this."

Orioles 4, Blue Jays 3: Creed fan Kevin Millar led the (first place?!?) Orioles with 3 RBI as Baltimore beat Toronto despite Alex Rios' two-run dong off closer George Sherrill in the ninth. The O's collected 13 hits in the game and ran amok on the basepaths, swiping four bases off Blue Jays' catcher-cum-movie critic Gregg Zaun. Just 11,510 spectators were on hand at Oriole Park to see a game that featured six double plays. I'm falling asleep writing about this snoozefest...no wonder only 11,000 fans showed up. Care!

Athletics 2, White Sox 1: Ozzie Guillen continues to get quality starts from his pitching staff but couldn't keep his lineup scoring runs as Chicago managed but one run in seven innings off somebody named Greg Smith. White Sox starter Mark Buehrle had his second straight quality start after stinking it up on Opening Day, but his team simply refused to support him. Maybe it's time to stop playing the theremin in the clubhouse, Mark. Former Royal star and Billy Beane's latest pickup from the discount bin Mike Sweeney reached base twice and scored both runs.

headless.jpg

I don't know who Skip Hall is or what he does but that won't stop me from launching an unprovoked attack on him and his reputation just like how he launched an unprovoked attack on Manny Ramirez in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Please to read:

  Game 4 of the 2007 American League Championship Series had just ended, the Tribe was up, three games to one, but the image of Manny Ramirez standing at home plate with arms raised in a self-congratulatory pose burned brightest. It's 2008 now, and if professional baseball players truly police themselves on the field, it's time for Ramirez to get the major-league equivalent of a Taser blast. He needs to be knocked down -- at the least. Ramirez's act last October calls for high-and-tight heat. Don't hit him, just put him on the ground. If Jake Westbrook wants to put a two-seamer into Ramirez's ribs, well, there will be no tears shed here.

Jesus, Skip. This has really been sticking in your craw for six whole months? I realize how sad it is when your favorite team loses a playoff series, and I realize how sad it is to know the best outfielder in baseball left your favorite team for Boston eight years ago, but vowing revenge against him is no way to heal the hurt, Skippy. Yes, Manny lifted his arms in celebration. He wasn't showing up his opponent, he was overjoyed at hitting a home run that cut his team's deficit.

Heck, I think he showed a lot of class. If I wanted to show up the Indians or their fans, I would have turned to the dugout and raised both middle fingers while doing the Lindy Hop up the first base line. And let's assume for a second that I'm 100% wrong, that Manny was indeed showing up his opponent. Don't you think he's earned that right? Not only is he the best outfielder in baseball, he's also got one of the most unique personalities. Manny gets RESULTS, both in statistics and television ratings.

By the way, if Jake Westbrook hits Manny Ramirez in the ribs, it won't be because that was his intention. It will be because Jake Westbrook has the control of Michael J. Fox playing Jenga.

sleep.jpg

Here's what happened in baseball while I was double-fisting Argentinian Cabernet and American Bud Lights:

White Sox 11, Tigers 0: Javier Vazquez is the latest White Sox starter to post some zeros against the hapless Detroit Tigers lineup, going seven scoreless innings and collecting nine strikeouts. Those Tigers are still on the waiting list to collect some hap, having been shut out four times already. IT'S NOT EVEN TAX DAY YET. Rookie Clete Thomas was Jim Leyland's leadoff hitter yet again and rewarded Leyland's forward-thinking approach by striking out four times. Two different White Soxes, Joe Crede and Paul Konerko, hit grand slams in the game; it was Crede's second four-run homer in a week's time. Wait...four shutouts for the Tigers, four strikeouts for Thomas, four-run homers for Crede and Konerko....IT'S THE FOURPOCALYPSE!

Cubs 6, Phillies 5 (10): The Cubbies took advantage of some terrrrrible umpire-atin' in this contest but prevailed mostly because Chase Utley made an oopsie at the wrong time. The bad call was a disputed solo home run off the bat of ol' shaky-heart Mark DeRosa; third base umpire Adrian Johnson called it fair but television replays clearly show it foul. I know. I was watching TBS and enjoying the dulcet tones of color guy Buck Martinez. Utley's error allowed Carlos Zambrano to reach first base as Ronny Cedeno scored the eventual winning run. Zambrano? Really? A pitcher? Hustling his buns to cause Utley to throw the ball away and let the winning run score in extry innings? HOW DO YOU LIVE LIKE THIS, PHILLIES FANS?

Padres 1, Dodgers 0: Ol' poopypants Greg Maddux went the minimum 5 scoreless innings to collect his win and then immediately high-tailed it to Vegas to celebrate his 83rd birthday. Hey, not bad...I hear they have $3 prime rib and dollar Rob Roys at the Golden Nugget between 4 and 5PM on Sundays. It was nearly 100 effing degrees at the game and fan Jeff Hechter just remembered he was wearing a diaper on his head. Maddux was aided by several defensive gems by shortstop Khalil Greene; there was but one run-scoring play in the game, a fifth-inning sacrifice fly by Padres right fielder Paul McAnulty. This made fan Jeff Hechter sigh and remember that (a) his team was shut out and (b) he was still wearing a diaper on his head.

Rockies 13, Diamondbacks 5: The Diamondbacks finally lost a game, ending the Rockies' five-game-long national nightmare of losing to Arizona. Shortstop Clint Barmes emerged from behind the shadow of Troy Tulowitzki for one shining day, getting a start in place of the reigning NL Rookie of the Year. He collected three hits, four RBI and the ire of five Phoenix groupies longing to check out Tulowitzki's tush. The Rockies and tied with the Dodgers at 5-7 and remain just 0.5 games ahead of the San Francisco Giants. Perhaps their only chance to win this division would be to curse the D-Backs and stuff a Dante Bichette jersey in the pool filter at Chase Field.

Red Sox 7, Yankees 4 (in progress): We should have made more noise about the first ever regular season Red Sox-Yankees series here at Walkoff Walk what with Kris being a staunch Red Sock fanatic and I, being a diehard Yankee supporter. But...we didn't, because we do not plan ahead very well. It's 11PM right now and we're still in the top of the sixth. I do not plan to stay up and watch the final three innings of this nonsense, mostly because I need to manufacture the Z's but also because three more hours of Joe Morgan might melt my brain. Let us hope for the best!

Today's old-timey video clip is from the beginning of the 1968 All-Star Game, held in Houston's Astrodome. The starting pitchers were Don Drysdale and Luis Tiant.



How cool does Sandy Koufax look in that clip? He's already out of baseball two years but he's there to talk up his former teammate Don Drysdale. That's a classy dude! Also, wasn't color TV invented by 1968?

As for the game, Willie Mays scored the game's only run in the bottom of the first inning. He singled off Tiant, advanced to second on a pick-off attempt gone awry, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a GIDP by Willie McCovey. This was perhaps the worst ASG ever in terms of offense; the American League had but 3 baserunners and struck out 11 times. Mays played the entire game, recorded zero putouts or assists, and collected just that one hit, and still won the MVP. You know why? BECAUSE HE IS THE GREATEST PLAYER TO EVER PLAY THE GAME.

Stick around this weekend for Saturday morning and Sunday morning wrapups of selected baseball games by the venerable Camp Tiger Claw

clinton.jpg

In one of the few 'new' and actually likable baseball traditions that have been created since Bud Selig's arthritic hand of power wrested the reins of control from Fay Vincent, players all across Major League Baseball will wear the number 42 on Tuesday to honor Jackie Robinson. Selig retired the number 42 eleven years ago in a ceremony at Shea Stadium and President Clinton was there to give the evening some gravitas and some extra blackness. Give credit to Ken Griffey Jr. for bringing 42 back on Jackie Robinson Day last year; it was his idea and he personally petitioned the Budster to let this happen.

Players set to wear the number this season include Mariano Rivera, partly to honor Jackie and partly because he wears it every day. Also, Jimmy Rollins, Joey Gathwright, Dusty Baker, Griffey, and....Mark Kotsay? Way to earn some street cred in Hotlanta, Mark.

Last season, some teams' entire rosters wore the number 42, including the Dodgers, Robinson's former team. Can you imagine trying to keep score at a baseball game when EVERYONE IS WEARING THE SAME NUMBER?

- Wait, who's on first?
- Number 42.
- Well, which number 42?
- No, which number 42 is on second.
- Fuck you Abbott, just tell me who's on first!

And...scene.

sleep.jpg

Here's what happened in baseball before the sweet sounds came down:

Cubs 7, Pirates 3: After playing 27 innings in the past two days (that's like...three games worth!), the Cubs decided to alter their game plan in their quest to sweep the Pirates. Manager Lou Piniella must have sat his kids down and asked them to try and have more runs than the opposing team once the ninth inning was completed. The result? Great success! Chicago catcher Geovany Soto had four hits including a two-run dong in the Cubs' five-run sixth inning. Seton Hall product Matt Morris took the loss.

Rangers 3, Orioles 1 (Game 1): Texas 'ace' Kevin Millwood finally got hisself a win, but still manages to boggle the collective mind of the baseballblogosphere intelligentsia. Seven innings pitched with just three hits? Great! Seven innings pitched with five walks and just two strikeouts? Uh-oh...those numbers won't make Nolan Ryan very happy, Mr. Millwood! No matter, the Josh Hamilton-Michael Young combination produced two runs and somehow, a game started by Steve Trachsel lasted less than three hours.

Mets 3, Phillies 3: This game is currently in the top of the eleventh, but I had to let you know what happened just now. Jayson Werth led off with a single, and Cole Hamels came up to sac bunt him to second. Hamels laid down a gem; neither Mets' third baseman David Wright nor catcher Brian Schneider could handle it. Phillies now have runners on first and second with no out. Nice setup! But then: shortstop Eric Bruntlett came up next and fouled off three straight bunt attempts, thus striking out and leaving him 0-for-6 in the game. Chase Utley then grounded into a double play and the inning was over. HOW DO YOU LIVE LIKE THIS, PHILLIES FANS? (Update: Jose Reyes just 'scored' the winning run, Mets 'win' 4-3 in the bottom of the twelfth)

Marlins 4, Nationals 3: The shitty Marlins continue to beat up on even shittier teams like the Nationals, but Florida did it with class and style and swept the Nationals for the first time in Warshington, D.C. Sassy senior Jorge Cantu had three hits and two RBI but the star of the game was pitcher Mark Hendrickson. No walks in seven innings? Alright, man! That's the longest he's gone without allowing a walk since October 2005 when, as a Devil Ray, he threw a complete game loss to Bawlmer. Attendance at BRAND NEW Nationals Park was a measly 24,000. Must be because nobody can git there. Those fatcats in Washington are at it again!

linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • Joe Posnanski shares a good Joe Morgan anecdote. To be more specific, it involves the humiliation of Joe Morgan at the hands of Joaquin Andujar, so that should satisfy all your Joe-Morgan-being-humiliated needs. JoeBlog

  • Derrick Goold analyzes the Cardinals' starting rotation and notices that they have so far been extreme ground ball pitchers. Thankfully, Eckstein is no longer around to boot easy grounders. BirdLand

  • Maury Brown reports that advertising time on MLB's partner networks has almost sold out. FOX, ESPN, and TBS are rolling in the dollars, and even the YES Network is worth more money than the Gettys and the Rothschilds combined. Biz of Baseball

  • Futuremrsrickankiel has some fun with Bartolo Colon headlines. Filthy! The Melody of Riot

  • Steven Goldman argues that the birth year of America was really 1947. Why? Two words that rhyme with 'Jackie Robinson'. Take your time and read this one. Baseball Prospectus
lugo.jpg

Hidden in the box score of the Tigers - Red Sox game from last night at HISTORIC Fenway Park is a rare occurrence of extreme inadequacy. No, I'm not talking about the goddamned hawk and it has nothing to do with the lack of clean toilets in the bleacher section. Boston had a 2-0 lead going into the top of the fourth, when Detroit put up a four-spot on starting pitcher Jon Lester. I'll let the game play-by-play page from Yahoo explain what happened in the bottom half of the inning:

    Bottom 4th: Boston
       - J. Varitek doubled to left
       - J. Ellsbury walked
       - J. Lugo grounded out to third, J. Varitek out at third, J. Ellsbury out at second
       - J. Lugo caught stealing, catcher to second

Julio Lugo came up with no outs and runners on first and second. He managed to avoid hitting into the dreaded triple play but still wiped out the two runners with his fielders' choice groundout. Lugo then ended the inning by getting thrown out attempting to steal second by catcher Ivan Rodriguez. Oops!

Yes, stealing second base with two outs is a good strategy, especially when the runner is as quick as Lugo. He was successful 85% of the time last year and accumulated 33 steals. But isn't it a shame when you are single-handedly responsible for all three outs in an inning? I guess Julio could always blame the hookworms.

padrepickins.jpg

The San Francisco Giants have scored but 4 runs in their last two games but have won both of 'em. In the baseball blogging business, we call that 'luck'. Sure, we could sit here and talk about how wonderful the Giants' starting pitchers are, but what fun would it be to be so consarn positive?

Two nights ago, Bengie Molina was the hero and last night, first baseman Dan Ortmeier provided the only offense in a Giants 1-0 win over the San Diego Padres. Ortmeier came up in the bottom of the ninth of a scoreless tie with a runner on second and two outs. He knocked a double over the head of Padres' center fielder Jim Edmonds (looks like someone lost a step or 39) and the Giants had their second walkoff win in two days. Nice win, but what about the rest of the game?

The Giants' top six hitters combined to go 3-for-19 in the game, while the entire Padres' lineup went 4-for-28. We all expected the Giants offense to be miserable but what of the young studs in San Diego? Kevin Kouzmanoff 1-for-4 with 2 K's. Adrian Gonzalez 0-for-4 with 2 K's. Scott Hairston 0-for-2. Heck, even Garry Templeton went hitless. Jeez Padres...nice way to support starter Justin Germano. Germano has not allowed a run in 13 innings pitched this season but his offense has supported him with the same number of runs: zero. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if Ray Kroc's corpse took the microphone at the next Padres' home game and apologized to the crowd for his team's poor play.

sleep.jpg

Here's what happened in baseball before I was sleeping like a log:

Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 3: After I left this game for dead after five innings, the managers met behind homeplate and decided to continue the game even though I was no longer liveglogging. Joe Torre is such a trooper! Turns out all the fun happened after I closed up shop. After James Loney broke a 2-2 tie with his sixth inning home run, Eric Byrnes responded with a bases loaded single in the bottom half of the inning off Hiroki Kuroda, the Japanese David Cone. Former Red Sock Brandon Lyon earned the save after completely screwing up his two previous chances.

Mets 8, Phillies 2: The Mets are off the schneid, beating the Phillies for the first time in the teams' past 523 contests. The Phils committed four errors including two by shortstop Eric Bruntlett. Wait, Eric Bruntlett? Oh right, Jimmy Rollins has an ouchie. Well, Phillies infielders, committing four errors is no way to help out your starter Kyle Kendrick. What's that? Kendrick walked six batters in the first two innings? Yecch...Robin Roberts must be spinning in his gra...what's that? He's still alive?

Marlins 10, Nationals 4: It's just over one week into the season which means that the AP baseball writers can bring out purely reactive words like 'surging' and 'slumping'. Already, AP baseball writers? Really? Yes, the 'surging' Marlins have won 4 of 5 games and currently sit in first place. But they've been beating the 'slumping' Nationals, a team that was supposed to suck anyway! So what; they started off the season with three straight wins and have yet to earn win #4. Color me unsurprised. As for the game, Mike Jacobs had two dongs. Color his girlfriend surprised.

Athletics 6, Blue Jays 3: Toronto closer B.J. Ryan may still be rehabbing but no worries, Blue Jays fans, John Gibbons totally trusts Jeremy Accardo. Not to save games, mind you, but rather to blow a save by giving up 4 runs. After a rather serviceable start from Dustin McGowan and holds by Justin Frasor and Scott Downs, Accardo waltzed into the ninth inning to protect a 3-2 Blue Jays lead and Eric Gagne-d all over the mound. Huston Street managed to avoid the same fate and earned a save for my fantas...err, for Oakland.

Tigers 7, Red Sox 2: Oh my stars and garters the Tigers are streaking and the Red Sox are slumping. Seriously though, Detroit's bats came alive and the Tigers got their first win of the season. Edgar Renteria and Marcus Thames provided two RBI each in Detroit's four-run fourth; that was all the offense they'd need as the pitching staff rendered nine Boston hits mostly ineffective. To add injury to impotence, Mike Lowell left the game with a sprained thumb. Detroit closer-cum-blogger Todd Jones did everything in his power to make things interesting in the bottom of the ninth, allowing two hits and a walk but prevented the Sox from plating any runs.

liveglog.jpg

Thanks to the good people at the LA Daily News (read: Tony Jackson), I have obtained the lineup for today's matchup:

Dodgers:
Rafael Furcal. SS
Matt Kemp. CF
Andre Ethier. RF
Jeff Kent. 2B
James Loney. 1B
Russell Martin. C
Blake DeWitt. 3B
Juan Pierre. LF
Hiroki Kuroda. P

D-Backs:

Chris Young. CF
Eric Byrnes. LF
Orlando Hudson. 2B
Conor Jackson. 1B
Mark Reynolds. 3B
Justin Upton. RF
Augie "Doggie" Ojeda. SS
Robby "Banana" Hammock. C
Micah Owings. P

Pre-game thoughts: Joe Torre has quite the quandary on his large Italian-American hands when he fills out his lineup card: four mediocre outfielders and Andre Ethier. Andruw Jones is slumping, Juan Pierre outright sucks, Delwyn Young has a funny first name, and Matt Kemp never got a tag at Walkoff Walk. Today, Andruw Jones is the odd man out.

Unlike last year where they couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a cowpie, Arizona currently leads the majors in runs scored. It's still early, but don't tell Chris Young, Mark Reynolds, or Justin Upton; they've combined for 12 home runs so far. A cursory glance at the batting stats for the team shows that only Eric Byrnes is underperforming expectations. Odd, because he was the only member of the team last year who could (a) hit or (b) paddle.

Onto the liveglog! Click through and follow after the jump.

Bengie Molina Shames Us All

| | Comments (5)
bengiemolina.jpg

Baseball is the kind of sport where the only guarantee is that there are no guarantees. The only people who can be prophetic are those who make no prophecies. Predictions always prove to be predictably wrong. And people like me tend to shit out a bunch of clichés to explain why much-derided cleanup hitter Bengie Molina hit two home runs last night to lead the Giants over the Padres.

Molina's first home run came off Randy Wolf in the second inning. After hanging on to a 2-1 lead for starter Tim Lincecum, Giants closer Brian Wilson blew the save and sent the game into extra innings. Our boy Bengie ended the game in the 11th with a walkoff homer off Cla (his name is not Clay, San Francisco Chronicle) Meredith.

We've had a couple of LOLs on this website at Bengie's expense already, but if he continues to knock those dingers, we'll have to print all sorts of retractions. Kid's got three home runs already on the season, more than Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Barry Bonds, Stan Musial, Jack Kerouac and Santa Claus combined. The rest of his own team has combined for exactly one home run (Ray Durham). Molina has seven RBI on a team that has scored only 19 runs in their first seven games. I stand by my prediction that the Giants' offense will be about as effective as a window-sized air conditioner in hell; perhaps, however, the eldest Molina brother isn't the worst cleanup hitter ever. (Read item #2)

dusty2.jpg

The Reds split a four game series with the Phillies, but how did our friend Corey Patterson do?

Game 4: Led off, 1-for-4 with a double, a run and an RBI.

Game 5: Led off, 1-for-3 with a home run, his first walk of the season, two runs, a stolen base and an RBI.

Game 6: Led off, 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI.

Game 7: Didn't start vs. lefty Cole Hamels but entered the game in the ninth and reached on a So Taguchi error.

Well shit. Corey is still not getting on base (.261 OBP) but with two home runs and two doubles on the season, he's slugging .619 and still looking good in center field. Patterson does belong on a major league roster; I won't argue against that anymore. However, he's no leadoff guy. Just because he's fast and lanky doesn't mean he should be batting ahead of guys who are getting on base like Jeff Keppinger or Joey Votto. Bat him eighth, Dusty. Or seventh or even sixth. He's got opposite-field power and he can even knock in noted slowpoke Adam Dunn.

bluemonday.jpg

Braves reliever Blaine Boyer had himself a great spring and earned a spot on Atlanta's 25-man roster. Poor fella had shoulder surgery in aught-six and is finally healthy enough to pitch at full strength. He's also earned manager Bobby Cox' trust, having made four appearances in four close games. Too bad he's lost two of them, and both losses came on Mondays:

•  Last night, Boyer entered the game against the Rockies with the Braves leading 1-0 in the eighth inning. After allowing a leadoff double to Troy Tulowitzki and striking out Todd Helton, Boyer gave up what proved to be the game-winning two run home run to Matt Holliday. (bonus Matt_T fact: at 2 hours and 5 minutes this was the fastest game in Coors Field history)

•  Last week, Boyer entered the game against the Pirates with the game tied at 9 in the eleventh. After a 1-2-3 inning, Boyer came out for the twelfth and eventually gave up what proved to be the game-winning three run home run to Xavier Nady.

Blaine has been quite good in his non-Monday appearances, striking out five batters in 3 innings against the Pirates and Mets. Luckily for him, the Braves have next Monday off.

bondsplaque.jpg

The Giants may have gotten embarrassed in their home opener by Greg Maddux and his Padre teammates but that's not stopping the San Francisco faithful from celebrating their prodigal son:

      With little fanfare but in plain sight to anybody entering AT&T Park on Monday, the Giants unveiled a pair of new displays that commemorate Barry Bonds' slugging exploits for the club.

      On the wall in right-center field appeared an orange shield-shaped plaque emblazoned with the number 756, a tribute to the home run Bonds hit last Aug. 7 to become baseball's all-time leader in that category. After the top of the second inning Monday, the Giants made note of the new plaque with a PA announcement and displaying it on the scoreboard.

No pregame honors for you, Barry! Nope, your tiny miserable plaque gets announced while half the stadium is in the can and the other half is getting garlic fries. Seems your old boss Peter Magowan finally realized he had blood on his hands and he figured a good way to honor all the dollars you brought in...I mean, all the home runs you hit...was to commemorate a number. Hooray for 756! Boo, Bonds!

Oh, and Barry? You're still unemployed and Donald Fehr isn't helping your cause. No worries, though, because you've got Sam Feldman on your side, and Sam Feldman gets results!

sleep.jpg

Here's what happened in baseball before I settled for a cup of coffee:

Astros 5, Cardinals 3: Jose Valverde did his best Brad Lidge impression, blowing a 3-0 ninth inning lead and then earning an ill-begotten win thanks to a walkoff home run by Miguel Tejada. Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez honored the Astros' home opener by pitching a gem, but Valverde went and shat all over it. Jose must have partied too hard at the pregame festivities at Halliburton Plaza.

White Sox 7, Twins 4: Remember all those trade rumors that had Joe Crede playing third base for the Giants? Or the Phillies? Or the Buffalo Bisons? Welp, they must have all been false because Crede is still a White Sock: he hit the go-ahead grand slam off shitty blogger Pat Neshek, sending the Twins to Sadtown, USA. ChiSox manager and gigantic Pudge Rodriguez fan Ozzie Guillen was ejected by umpire Phil Cuzzi for the second time in eight months. This just goes to prove my theory: Ozzie Guillen is a crazy asshole.

Cubs 10, Pirates 8 (12): The Cubs blew a 7-0 third inning lead as pitchers Ted Lilly, Kevin Hart and Carmen Pignatiello decided that the Pirates home opener needed to have a little more excitement. Pittsburgh came back to tie the game at 8 in the seventh and had a chance to win in the bottom of the ninth. With runners on first and third and just one out, Jose Bautista attempted to bunt for a hit but the squeeze was not on; pinch-runner Brian Bixler froze at third as Bautista was called out. It's a shame the Pirates have no Rusty Kuntz to teach the basics! The Cubs scored two runs in the 12th with a collection of walks and Pirate errors. Whither Kuntz?!

Yankees 6, Devil Rays 1: Does anyone know how serious a strained quadricep is?

Coming later: Padres-Giants and Braves-Rockies

puertorico.jpg

Last night during ESPN's coverage of the White Sox' romp over the Tigers, Joe Morgan and Ozzie Guillen disagreed about who was/is the best Puerto Rican to ever play Major League Baseball. Morgan supports the late great Roberto Clemente whilst Ozzie points to current Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez as the best player to emerge from that magical place where always the pineapples growing and always the coffee blossoms blowing.

Chicago Tribune blogger and beat writer Mark Gonzales fills us in:

So after Morgan expressed his opinion around the batting cage before Sunday night's game between the Sox and Tigers, Guillen calmly provided an unprintable two-word answer and then retreated to his office to gather evidence that his opinion was unbiased. Guillen returned with a button and sticker of Clemente. He also pulled a black-and-white photograph of Clemente from his wallet.

Oh, a button and a sticker and a photo! That proves everything! Gonzales also provides us with the stats:

   Clemente: 18 seasons, 3,000 hits, .317 batting average, 240 home runs, 1,416 runs, 1,305 RBIs, 83 stolen bases, 15 all-star games, 12 Gold Glove awards.

   Rodriguez: 18 seasons (entering 2008), 2,499 hits, .302 batting average, 288 home runs, 1,212 runs, 1,184 RBIs, 114 stolen bases, 14 all-star games, 13 Gold Glove awards.

Well this is all for naught. They're both awesome! Clemente was possibly the best National League right fielder in the 1960s, and Rodriguez was possibly the best American League catcher in the 1990s. How these two boneheads can possibly compare two players who were so different and had just one major thing in common (their homeland) is beyond me. Clemente was a great player and an amazing human being. Pudge Rodriguez is a great player and was (most likely incorrectly) fingered as a steroid user by Jose Canseco.

HOWEVA, if we're talking about the best player to emerge from the Dominican Republic, I gotta go with Chico Escuela.

sorecolon.jpg THEY SAID APPLY SLIGHT PRESSURE, DAMMIT.
barrel.jpg

So, how did that Brewers' home opener go...ahem...turn out?

    With portable toilets in short supply outside Miller Park today, some enterprising folks saw an opportunity to create their own comfort zones.

    Beer-drinking tailgaters could have waited in line for more than a half-hour to relieve themselves at the parking lots' official potties. Or they could have paid the parking lot businessman.

    One fellow set up a plywood screen around a 30-gallon plastic barrel and charged $1 for a one-time use. By about 2:15 p.m. the entrepreneur had gone to the game, and the barrel was one-third filled.

Maybe now that Bernie Brewer can no longer slide into a mug of beer he can now slide into a 30-gallon barrel of piss.

Brewers fans drink a lot of beer so naturally they will have to relieve themselves a lot more than, say, your typical wine-sipping cheese-eating Patriots fan. But the only thing I can imagine more disgusting than a barrel one-third full of urine is what Brewers fan Danielle Loche had to say:

"Three people told me they were wearing Depends diapers"

Game, set, match.

weekend.jpg

Five Six teams swept their opponents this weekend which establishes a new record: the most weekend series sweeps in Walkoff Walk dot com history. Here are their stories:

Diamondbacks sweep Rockies, 3-0: On their first regular season trip back to Denver since celebrating a division championship by staining the visitors' clubhouse rug with milk, Arizona got revenge for the 2008 NLCS by sweeping Colorado. D-Backs starters Micah Owings, Brandon Webb and Edgar Gonzalez held the Rox to just 3 runs in 18 and 2/3 innings while Snakes' third basegentleman Mark Reynolds collected two home runs and six runs batted in on the weekend. Oh, that Coors Field altitude can make a star out of anyone!

Blue Jays sweep Red Sox, 3-0: Jet lag is a bitch, right Terry? Having traveled 16,000 miles in the past eighteen days across three countries and two continents and like, 34 time zones, the Red Sox are pooped. Les Jays Bleus took advantage of this and romped all over Boston pitchers, crossing the plate 23 times over the three game sweep. That's like, 22.9998 runs American. Designated pillow-fighter Frank Thomas provided the power with 12 total bases and 8 RBI.

Brewers sweep Giants, 3-0: Oft-injured pitcher Ben Sheets provided the cherry on top of the series sundae with his second career shutout on, well, Sunday. Sez Ben: "(I'm a) big-league pitcher, that's what we're supposed to do. Some days we're supposed to be good." As a past fantasy owner of Mr. Sheets, I'd like to disagree. You're a number one big-league pitcher, Benny. You're supposed to be good every day.

Cardinals sweep Nationals, 3-0: Stop the world, I want to get off. I don't think I can live on a planet where Kyle Lohse has pitched twelve consecutive scoreless innings. Braden Looper and ace Adam Wainwright were your other successful starters while former starter Rick Ankiel is loving life back in the two-hole. I'd probably go 4-for-12 with two homers hitting in front of Albert Pujols, too. The Nationals have now lost four games in a row; something tells me they won't be seeing first place again for a long, long time. THESE ARE BASICALLY THE EXPOS, PEOPLE. Sure, they have a shiny new stadium, but you can't put lipstick on a pig. Unless the pig is named Kelly Clarkson. Rawr!

Braves sweep Mets, 2-0: T'would have been a three game series had Willard Scott not let Mother Nature rain out the game Friday night. Bitch! Still, the Braves rocked John Maine on Saturday and won a John Smoltz-Johan Santana pitchers' duel on Sunday to round out their record to an NL East leading 3-3. Mark Teixeira had a coupla web gems on Sunday including a game-ending diving stop that sealed Rafael Soriano's first save as a Brave.

Yes, the Orioles swept Seattle 3-0 this weekend but the series ain't over until the fourth game concludes this afternoon. Tell you what: if we come back and the Mariners are slaughtered, I owe Peter Angelos a Coke.

UPDATE: Oh yeah the Chisox swept the Tigers but that doesn't count because beating triple-A teams is no big accomplishment.

marlahooch.jpg

St. Louis Post-Dispatch blogger Derrick Goold covers the Cardinals with fervor, but don't count out his passion for cinema. Today, he uses his knowledge of baseball movies to create an ideal baseball roster of fictional characters in film history:

* Starting pitcher: Steve Nebraska (The Scout)
* Strikeout setup man: Henry Rowengartner (Rookie of the Year)
* Closer: Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn, of course
* Catcher: Crash Davis
* First Base: Clue Haywood (Major League)
* Second base: Marla Hooch (A League of Their Own)
* Third base: Dottie Hinson, a position change until Crash retires
* Shortstop: Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez (The Sandlot)
* Left field: Shoeless Joe Jackson (Field of Dreams, if he's hitting righthanded, it's fiction)
* Center field: Willie Mays Hayes
* Right field: Roy Hobbs
* Power on the bench: Dennis Haysbert. Yes, the actor, Mr. President, see he can be two bats for one roster spot -- Max "Hammer" Dubois (Mr. Baseball) and Pedro Cerrano (Major League).
* Defense, speed, promising talent to nurture: Esquire Joe Callaway (Bingo Long)

I ain't got no squabble with the team, except why would one force Geena Davis' Dottie Hinson to change positions? (Giggity giggity) She's a far better catcher than Kevin Costner's Crash Davis, and I bet she's not afraid to block the plate. Heck, even John Candy in Brewsters' Millions was a better catcher than Costner.

So who would be a better fictional third baseperson? Besides Troy Glaus...reports show that he is, in fact, real. My vote is for Ed.

uecker.jpg

Remember way back, in the formative days of Walkoff Walk, when we watched the video of the Brewers fans freezing their asses off waiting for tickets for their home opener? No? Well go watch it, and then come back here for a hilarious follow-up post.

Waiting...

Waiting...

Okay, so today is the Brewers' home opener! Luckily for those crazy fans, Miller Park has a retractable roof to regulate the temperature and weather for the comfort of players and fans alike. Today's weather in Milwaukee is sunny but chilly, not unlike the disposition of that reporter. Yes she's bright and charismatic on camera, but off camera, she is a wicked ballbreaker. (full disclosure: she is not a wicked ballbreaker but actually just a soulless robot-reporteress)

In other good news for the Brewer fans, their team gets to face the light-hitting Giants today. Is Bengie Molina still hitting cleanup for San Francisco? Cripes, that's like having Ron Santo as your middle linebacker.

Ron Stilanovich is the new Tom Emanski, except with a sense of humor and proclivity to use naughty words. He sends along a link to his video page on YouTube and I've taken the initiative to embed my favorite of the videos below:




Yes, that is indeed the one and only Matt Kemp. I tend to think that 'parody is dead', but these videos made me laugh. They're clever and quick and funny AND BASEBALL-RELATED so I don't feel bad posting them here. Please to enjoy!

sleep.jpg

Here's what happened in baseball before I was staring at the ceiling:

Pirates 4, Braves 3: Bobby Cox' wacky managerial move of the night was to bring in left-handed reliever Royce Ring to replace pitcher Chris Resop in the top of the tenth; Ring struck out left-handed hitter Adam La Roche. Seems normal, right? Yes, except that Cox moved Resop to left field so he could come back and pitch against righty Xavier Nady. Of course, the move backfired...Resop was the one who put the winning runs on base before the switch and Resop was the one who let in the game winning hit to Nady after the switch. In return for this transgression, Cox beat up Resop's wife.

Padres 3, Astros 2: The better Hairston (Scott) had a single, double and triple and his pal Kevin Kouzmanoff knocked him in with a home run off Houston pitcher Shawn Chacon. Poor Scott has one foot in the grave and one foot on a banana peel, though, because he's due to lose his center field job once Zombie Jim Edmonds comes off the DL. Zombie Jim Edmonds needs brains!

Devil Rays 0, Orioles 0: Only during a rainout could fewer fans attend than attended Wednesday night's game. Gross, Orioles.

Yankees 3, Blue Jays 2: Yippee skippee!

hawk.jpg

Some poor schoolgirl was attacked by a hawk at Fenway Park today because she was too dumb to stay away from the raptor's nest. Via the Boston Globe:

The girl was in the upper deck behind home plate, some 40 feet from the hawk's nest, where a single egg lay in an overhang near the press booth. The hawk had been perched on a railing and swooped at the girl with its talons extended. She was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.

It was the second incident with a hawk in the park in the last two days. It has been common for the birds to take up residence in the stadium rafters in the off-season, dining on rats and mice when the park is quiet.

She got her scalp scratched by the hawk's talons, but she's fine now. The poor hawk, however, lost both its nest and its egg; they were removed by the Boston Animal Rescue League. I guess the score is Schoolgirl 1, Hawk 0. Dice-K's response to the incident was "Can I buy her underwear?"

UPDATE: THERE IS A PHOTO GALLERY. Oh c'mon, she doesn't look hurt at all.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: The girl's name is Alexa Rodriguez. I shit you not.

linkpunch gorilla

Sometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday (except when we forget) WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • ESPN.com contributor and all-around good guy Jonah Keri gives us his 100 story lines to keep abreast of during the 2008 season. Number 84 is spot-on: "The Royals will be really interesting." Indeed!
  • The Orioles set an attendance record last night. Oh, the glories of ineptitude have been visited upon the Charm City, and the fans respond with fervor. Fervor for not showing up, that is.
  • Retired history teacher Bob Rittner defends the DH at Baseball Analysts. I disagree with his thesis but I respect the arguments he presents. Frank Thomas doesn't know it, but he loves Bob Rittner.
  • Alex Ferreyra drafts a fantasy team consisting entirely of Latino ballplayers over at Machochip, and he has some help from an unlikely but brilliant and charming source. I still don't understand why he broke his own rules to take Justin freakin' Morneau. Yes, I am an unabashed Derek Jeter fan who still feels the burn of 2006.
dusty2.jpg

The Reds beat the D-Backs 6-5 in rather dramatic fashion thanks to Edwin Encarnacion's three-run walkoff homer, but the story I want is Corey. If you remember from earlier this week, Dusty Baker's hand-picked leadoff hitter Corey Patterson had an oh-fer in his first game as a Red. Welp, last night Patterson hit a home run, but I'm not ready to eat my hat quite yet. Yes, he hit the dinger off stud pitcher Dan Haren, but (a) it was a solo job and (b) he's still not taking pitches.

Patterson has a pretty high power/speed number over the course of his career, which means he hits a lot of dingers and steals a bunch of bases. But even the man who invented the stat, Bill James, has said the power/speed number is a 'freakshow stat'. Sure, historically awesome players like Barry Bonds and Willie Mays have high power/speed numbers, but so do historically mediocre players like Ron Gant and Marquis Grissom. Truth is, without a good eye for drawing bases-on-balls, you're just a two-dimensional hitter; I'd rather have that third dimension like drawing walls or a fourth dimension like hitting to the opposite field or even a fifth dimension.

So over the course of the first two games of the season, Corey Patterson is 1-for-8 with a home run and an RBI, and I'm 1-for-2 in predicting Patterson to have a shitty day. He's not in the lineup today against lefty pitcher Doug Davis, so the CPW is taking a day off.

Click through the jump for an impromptu LIVEGLOG!!!

Please visit our friend D-Mac at Philadelphia Will Do for all your Phillies-Nats liveblogging needs.

cookgobbling.jpg

Yes, the Rockies certainly would benefit from your starting pitchers going further in the game but did you have to use such a filthy metaphor and endorse oral sex, Troy Renck?

sleep.jpg

Here's what happened in baseball before dreams complicated my life:

Brewers 8, Cubs 2: If you followed the liveglog, you know what happened in the first seven innings. Not much changed in the last two: the Cubs couldn't hit much or field very well, Ron Santo kept groaning and sighing, and Jason Kendall kept hitting. Kid went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a stolen base. One thing about Santo as a broadcaster: he sure likes to joke about his diabetes and his amputated legs, which leads me to believe that it's a defense mechanism. Perhaps it's actually worse to root for the Cubs than it is to lose your legs below the knee.

Braves 10, Pirates 2: Rookie Jair Jurrjens pitched a gem in what was a close game until Atlanta unleashed the dragon, or rather a seven-run eighth inning. Mark Teixeira and Yunel Escobar provided the power and commenter Matt_T got a free pack of baseball cards! And free parking! This is what happens when only 17,000 fans show up for a game.

Reds 6. Diamondbacks 5: The boo birds were out in force for Cincy third baseman Edwin Encarnacion in the bottom of the ninth, as he effed up his task of laying down a sacrifice bunt with his team down two runs. Eddy, you tried your hardest and you failed miserably. The moral is: never try. So he stopped trying to bunt and hit a walkoff three-run home run. Hooray! Says teammate Brandon Phillips: "He can't bunt for shit. But he sure can hit." Hey, that's the lyrics of 50 Cent's new hip-hop jam, "Bunt Fo' Shit".

Royals 4, Tigers 0: The Tigers vaunted and much bally-hooed offense runs into the pitching prowess of former Met prospect Brian Bannister. You know what they say about former Met pitching prospects: they go on to perform very well for other teams. Bannister pitched seven innings and gave up but two hits, not bad for some nerd who scored 800 on his math SATs. Bannister's performance was good enough for me to replace him on my HACKING MASS team.

Blue Jays 5, Yankees 2: Let us not speak of this contest.

liveglog.jpg

Brewers
2B Rickie Weeks
CF Gabe Kapler
1B Prince Fielder
LF Ryan Braun
3B Bill Hall
RF Corey Hart
SS J.J. Hardy
RHP Jeff Suppan
C Jason Kendall

Cubs
SS Ryan Theriot
LF Alfonso Soriano
1B Derrek Lee
3B Aramis Ramirez
RF Kosuke Fukudome
2B Mark De Rosa
C Geovany Soto
CF Felix Pie
LHP Ted Lilly

Thanks to the Brewers Blog for providing a lineup. It's a shame that the Cubs blogs in the Chicago newspapers SUCK, so I stole this from the comments at Bleed Cubbie Blue.

I will be listening to the Cubs radio team, Pat Hughes and Ron Santo. I promise to not make any amputee jokes because (a) it's cruel and (2) he deserves to be in the hall of fame. One of the best third basemen ever. With our without legs.

The glog starts soon, after the jump:

uturn.jpg

The Dodgers have been struggling with depth at third base, having lost old dude Nomar Garciaparra and young stud Andy La Roche to extended injuries. Some kid named Blake DeWitt has been starting over there; he's got a couple hits, a couple runs, a stolen base, and no errors in the field so far, so he's been somewhat better than serviceable. Still, Joe Torre being Joe Torre he needs a veteran presence at the hot corner so Ned Colletti went out and asked Marcus Giles to sign a minor league deal.

Giles accepted, got in his car, and started driving towards the triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas. Somewhere along the line, though, he changed his mind, turned around, and went home. Why? Maybe he has a gambling problem and knew being in Las Vegas was too risky. Maybe he realized his fear of Larry Bowa. Or maybe he doesn't want to end up sleeping with Alyssa Milano.

Strangely enough, the LA Times and the LA Daily News have conflicting reports as to where Giles was coming from. Was he living in San Diego? Was he living in Lake Havasu? Does it really matter? The lesser Giles is unemployed and it doesn't seem like he cares. One more thing, via Tony Jackson:

And the worst part is, the Dodgers passed on two other players they could have signed because they were convinced they had Giles, and neither of those players is still available. One of them is believed to have been Alex Cintron, a free-agent infielder who signed a minor-league deal with Baltimore yesterday

Dammit Giles! The Dodgers missed out on CINTRON! CINTRON!!!!!!

liveglog.jpg

Hey, Wednesday Afternoon Liveglog Clubbers, come back this afternoon at 2:20 for Walkoff Walk's very first liveglog of a game (in North America) that counts in the standings, as the Milwaukee Brewers visit the Chicago Cubs. Your pitching matchup today is Jeff Suppan versus Ted Lilly; let's see if the bullpens can get the job done if either team has a close lead late today. If you haven't registered as a commenter yet and you want to join in on the fun, please read this helpful combudsman post. We'd love to have you follow along with me as I struggle to figure out what's going on in a game I'm listening to on the radio.

sleep.jpg

Here's what happened in baseball before I took a trip to Sleepytown:

Marlins 5, Mets 4: Pedro Martinez pitches three miserable innings and then decides the fourth inning would be a good time to pull a hamstring and leave the game. In New York, this is called "pulling a Clemens". The Mets' pen holds down the fort and lets the Mets' offense tie the game at four but it all goes to shit when Matt Wise gives up a walkoff home run to Marlins third basegentleman Robert "Who?" Andino. You only get one "first Major League homer" and Andino used his WISEly. ZING!

Angels 9, Twins 1: The newest Angel of Anaheim starter is Jon Garland and he was fucking efficient against the light-hitting Minnesota lineup. Only seven baserunners in eight innings? Damn, we'll be home in time to watch the 10PM news. Oh by the by, Minnesota's favorite ex-boyfriend went 0-for-4 with five Angelgentlemen left on base. But he certainly heard many huzzahs and hoorays!

Rockies 2, Cardinals 1: The day after rain negated three innings of actual baseball, the Rox and Cards sent out their second-string Opening Day pitchers. Surprise surprise though: Kip Wells and Kyle Lohse were somewhat serviceable for their respective teams, tossing a combined 10 and 1/3 innings and letting in just one run. Yadier Molina's solo homer was all for naught, though, as Troy Glaus' throwing error allowed the tying run to score; reliever Ryan Franklin walked in the winning run in the 8th.

Yankees 3, Blue Jays 2: I was at this game and it was awesome. That is all.

twins.JPG

New Angels center fielder Torii Hunter celebrated Opening Day by returning to his old plastic tarp-encrusted playground in Minnesota and going 0-for-4 with a double play and a ninth inning strikeout at the hands of former teammate Joe Nathan. Hunter's replacement Carlos Gomez went 2-for-3 with two runs, two stolen bases, and a couple good plays in the field as the Twins beat the Angels 3-2. And yet amid all this good news, the Minnesota fans were absolutely agog with Torii Hunter Lovin'©.

Maybe you joined me in watching this game on ESPN2 last night. The fans cheered Hunter as if he were a returning war hero and the announcers were falling over just to mention it. I actually saw a kid holding up a sign that read "This Is Torii Country". No kid. It ain't. He's an Angel of Anaheim now and his job is to try and help his team score more runs than your beloved Twins. It's time to give up the Torii Hunter Lovin'© and you gotta do it like you were breaking up with a girl. Move on immediately! No more late night drunken phone calls to Torii. No more meeting up for 'just a coffee' to 'talk about stuff'. No more scribbling "I <3 Torii" in your algebra notebook. No more leaving dead cats on Torii's front porch. Well, you can still leave the dead cats, but only if they're already dead.

It's too soon in his career to tell if Carlos Gomez will be a serviceable replacement in center field for the Twins, or even if he'll exceed anything Hunter ever did. Doesn't matter. He's your center fielder now, and Torii Hunter has run off with a much hotter and far wealthier guy than you.

dusty.jpg

The Reds lost their first game under new manager Dusty Baker, 4-2 to the Diamondbacks. Arizona used a strong pitching performance by ace Brandon Webb and three solo home runs to their advantage, but they also had a sekrit weapon: Corey Patterson leading off for the other team.

Former Oriole Corey Patterson went 0-for-4 and left three Reds on base in his debut as the Cincinnati center fielder. He's got a career .297 on-base percentage; this simply will not do as your leadoff hitter, Dusty!

On the other hand, perhaps I should be enjoying the schadenfreude that Dusty Baker brings to the Reds lineup. After all, I hate the Reds and I hate Dusty Baker. Did you know that in almost seven full seasons, Patterson has drawn only 150 bases-on-balls? Did you know that Barry Bonds drew 151 bases-on-balls in a single season? And that was 1996, before his alleged steroid use began.

Yes, I think I will enjoy following Patterson's suckitude as the leadoff hitter. Perhaps I will continue to update you on his pathetic showing on a semi-irregular basis until either (a) it gets boring or (b) he starts doing well. Full disclosure: Corey is an above-average defensive center fielder and he is one of the best base-stealers in the NL Central. Also full disclosure: I don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to evaluating player talent and only listen to what others tell me.

sandbox.jpg

Our very own Camp Tiger Claw has been invited to participate in an exclusive web contest run by one of the baseball blogs at the New York Daily News. It is The Second Annual Player Pick Pool, and I'll let blogger Jesse Spector explain his little competition:

If you don't remember from last season, the rules are simple - each week, panelists will pick one player, who will accrue points from Monday through Sunday, with one point awarded for each hit, homer, run scored, RBI and stolen base he gets. Once you've picked a player, you may not pick him again.

The baseball season is about 26 weeks long, and by my count, there are approximately 15 players capable of hitting for power, hitting for average, and swiping a base. This contest can be won by slotting those 15 players properly over the course of the season and getting lucky with 10 or 11 other fellas. Alternately, you can use Camp Tiger Claw's strategy and pick Manny Ramirez because he's a total homer.

Here are the participants in this wicked game:

  • Los Angeles-based comedian Mike Schmidt. You'd think if you shared your name with the great Philly third baseman, you'd change your nom de plume to pursue a career in stand-up. Mike has a podcast; the only episode on his website is 20 minutes long and I made it through 3 minutes befo...zzzzzz. He's the defending champion of this little game so he obviously spent way too much time picking his players based on pitching matchups and meteorological forecasts. Of course he has a lot of time on his hands...he's a stand-up comic!
  • Deadspin.com editor Will Leitch. Will finished in last place in the inaugural Player Pick Pool, undoubtedly because he kept picking Willie McGee each week.
  • MLB.com senior writer Jonathan Mayo. He recently wrote a deep investigative book about Roger Clemens and his involvement in the steroid scandal. Mayo gets to the heart of the matter by interv....wait, what? Clemens wrote the foreword to the book? It's just a fluff piece? Next.
  • SportsJudge.com...ahem...'Chief Justice' Marc Edelman. Let me try and explain what this SportsJudge site is all about: you pay them actual real life money to settle disputes in your fantasy league. A lot of money. And then they produce actual legalese-sounding decisions. I am not shitting you. Hey, it's your nickel, Bub.
  • Jesse Spector, who writes the blog in question and runs this little contest. I like the cut of his jib. His blog covers all of baseball and is not team-specific; this is a rarity among mainstream media sports bloggers.
  • My associate and blogbrother Camp Tiger Claw.

Allow me to get meta for a second as I predict the outcome of this prediction game. Camp Tiger Claw will win in a romp because he has a sekrit weapon.