Thursday, June 30, 2011


Pilgrims on their way to pay homage to their Dread Lord Verlander

Giants Lose to the Cubs 5-2 in 13 Innings

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain looks up during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Thursday, June 30, 2011 in Chicago. Cain recorded his 1,000th career strike out in the fifth inning against Cubs batter Koyie...
I know, Matty. I know.

If you had to have two words to describe the 2011 Giants, it would probably be "WASTED OPPORTUNITIES."

The Giants blow two leads after the Cubs get down to their last out (their last strike, twice!), Matt Cain gives up no runs in seven innings, Brian Wilson gives up his first home run of the year, and the phenomenal bullpen gives the Cubs two walk-off wins in two days.

This was a butthole of a game. An enormous, stinky butthole. The Giants wasted a million trillion opportunities here and they can go to hell. They probably won't win another game for the rest of the season.


- Bill

Totally Expected, and Yet....Tigers 5, Mets 2

TRIPLES FOR ALL (even fat Peter Krause)

In a strange twist that is so typical 'Mets', I managed to be disappointed by today's loss, despite resigning myself to the fact that they would probably lose shortly after last night's win was secured.  

This dumb team is so adept at playing with my emotions, but credit needs to be given to Justin Verlander, who was not dominant, but managed to work around trouble all day, aided by some sloppy baserunning by Reyes, who was doubled off second after leading off the game with a heads-up bloop double, and Lucas Duda, who managed to bend the physics of space and time by legging out a triple, only to inexplicably be thrown out trying to score on a sac fly to deep left.  (Seriously though, all credit to Boesch on the throw and Avila on the tag, blocking the plate so that Duda's legs never touched the dish.)  

NO CREDIT goes to Mike Pelfrey, who I am so thoroughly finished with.  We've been hearing that he is the future for years now, and despite last season's great first half, (and the start against the Angels that I attended) he has offered no evidence to dispute the fact that he is an inconsistent pitcher who goes completely to pieces the minute that he faces any kind of adversity in a game.  He is a number three at best, and maybe we should start thinking about the fact that he might not be a great foundation to build a staff around.  

A few more timely hits early and the Mets might have had a shot, being within striking distance and knocking Verlander out earlier, but I can't complain.  At least there was no bone-gnawing, chest-shitting or anything of the sort.  Other silver linings:  Manny Acosta proved himself to be a rl cat with a ridiculous play on a drag bunt that got behind him (but then he left the game hurt, still a silver lining, Manny Acosta is TERRIBLE), Gary Cohen said "foibles" and Beltran and Murphy socked dingers.  

Also, what is Terry Collins playing at to bring in K-Rod to replace Acosta with the Mets down by three runs and the closer rapidly reaching that 55 games finished plateau?  His appearances should be used for save opportunities ONLY, but Terry Collins is as good at rationing his appearances as Homer Simpson is at preserving food on the drifting Junior Campers boat.  

4-2 on the road against the AL West and Central leaders and a first-half winning record are no small feats, especially with Santana, Wright and Davis missing significant time.  Now home to face the Yankees, Satan's own brood to be sure.  

Blue Jays 2, Pirates 1: Squeak.

10 K is a pretty good amount of K
Brandon Morrow's ratio of Having Awesome Stuff : Being Good has been frustratingly, horrifyingly off so far this season, so it was just really great to see him fan ten and allow but a lone run in seven innings of four-hit (and three-walk, let us not hide from the truth) baseball. Eric Thames, who could totally be a player, hit his first career home run in the seventh, and Rajai who has been awful and Escobar hit back-to-back doubles and inning later, and we're good!  

Looking ahead, but only, like, six hours ahead, Brett Cecil makes his first start since being recalled from Triple A Las Vegas. You will recall that the reason for his demotion was that he was pitching badly. Perhaps he will be better now? 



Well, at least no one hit any fucking grand slams. Also, Don Kelly had the best stuff of any of the Tigers pitchers tonight. And he's a fucking utility infielder/worthless turd. Ruminate on that while I strangle a squirrel. Okay, I'm back. I know, I know, I vowed to just do this picture speaks 1,000 words thing, but shit, sometimes that's just not enough, you know? This was one of those times. On the bright side, I nicknamed David Purcey "Hotspur" because, hey, fuck it, why not? On the not so bright side, ol' Hotspur can't really pitch and is, in fact, kind of a butt. Oh, Purcey, thou art dust, and food for worms.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The New York Mets Don't Give a Flip How Many Outs There Are, Crush Tigers 16-9

In the past four games, the New York Mets have scored 52 runs, which is a team record.  In their series against Detroit, they've scored 30, and 23 of those runs have come with two outs.  We are a long way from having runners in scoring position with fewer than two outs and getting nothing to show for it.  What's best to watch is that they're sons of bitches about it too, hitting from behind in the count, up the middle, opposite field...I have no idea what is happening, but I am having so much fun guys. 

Maybe it was a conditioned response to the past few seasons, but when the Tigers pulled within two in the seventh, I tensed up.  "Oh God, here we go, they're going to blow this one, Verlander's going to throw a two-hitter tomorrow, and we're going home to face the Yankees under .500 again."  Instead, the Mets put up four in the 8th and two in the 9th, all with two hits, and coasted.  

The Detroit Tigers have a relief pitcher named Al Alburquerque.  Why wasn't I told.  

Tim Lincecum Has the Audacity to Allow One Run, Giants Lose 2-1


All tuckered out from their 30 hits and 19 runs yesterday, the Giants only bothered getting three hits against the over-5.00-ERA-owning Ryan Dempster. Tim Lincecum threw another excellent game but laughably gave up two hits IN A ROW and that was all she wrote.

The Giants made it briefly interesting, tying it up in the top of the ninth inning and loading the bases with one out, but Cody Ross grounded into a "Tejada Special" and the Cubbies got the walkoff win against Sergio Romo. Naturally.

So, the win streak snaps at seven, but at least the Diamondbacks lost today, keeping San Francisco 2.5 games in first place. I feared this would happen, but I do believe the Giants used up every last bit of their offense for this road trip during the doubleheader. Gonna be a long, long next few days if tonight was any indication.

Exasperated sigh.

- Bill

Pirates 7, Blue Jays 6: So it has come to this, then.

No doubt intended as good-natured ribbing, I actually agree with the sign.
I know that the Pirates stubborn refusal to drop below the .500 mark is one of the nicer stories in baseball this year, given the extent to which they have awfuled their way through the better part of two decades now, but come on. Much of the blame, sort of, falls at the feet of Jo-Jo, who gave up six runs and didn't get out of the fourth, but as we have discussed previously, there is really no faulting Jo-Jo for anything, as he is only what he is. The bullpen only allowed one run the rest of the way, but that one run, Andrew McCutchen's solo shot in the seventh, ended up being the killer, as the Blue Jays otherwise potentially rad four-home-run comeback fell short. E5 hit a pair,  Corey Patterson had another, and Jose Bautista hit his league-leading/hater-smashing 24th, but in the end it was nothing but a loss. At home. To the Pirates.  

This is not, nor cannot come to good.


GAME TWO: Giants 6, Cubs 3: what is this i don't even

Show a little decorum Cody, geez.

Thankfully, the "expecting the worst" approach worked pretty well. Barry Zito only gave up two runs on an unfortunate homer, which is better than most were expecting. The Giants scored 19 runs in two games today, which not only brought them back to a positive run differential, but also took them from dead last in the majors in terms of offense, to fifth-worst. A momentous day, to be certain.

So the Giants have won seven in a row now. Somehow. Literally everyone got a hit today (except Barry Zito, but let's not be silly dudes). Manny Burriss got his first extra-base hit since 2007. Cody Ross and Pablo Sandoval barely -- BARELY -- missed home runs. The Giants are still kind of lousy at getting hits with runners in scoring position, but on the other hand, Nate Schierholtz is a two-strike clutch-hit machine.

Something else that's come out of the past week: Chris Stewart. He got called up to be Eli Whiteside's backup catcher when that know... thing went down. The line on him was that he was a good defensive catcher who was slightly worse than Eli Whiteside with the bat. (Which is kind of like saying that a dude with his upper body on fire is slightly less on fire than a guy with his whole body on fire.) But Whiteside kept letting every ball get past him, couldn't throw out a single base runner, and hit Eli Whiteside-level bad. He caught like four games in a row a couple weeks ago and then went "Oh, my body," and sat in a tub of ice for a bunch of days. While old greyhead was trying to keep his kneecaps from sliding down into his feet, Stewart started a mess of games, blocked tons of pitches, hosed all kinds of fools (seriously, he has a major cannon), called spectacular games, and his fist pumps got the fans and his pitchers fired up, all while hitting well above the Eli Whiteside line. As a bonus, his face is way less punchable than Eli's, which is nice. The Giants still have their eye on Yorvit Torrealba or whoever because they clearly need a real, actual catcher, but I am a huge fan of Stewart now. I'll take him over Whiteside, even though Whitey once hit a grand slam, and that was pretty neat. Also, his nickname is "Whitey."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


A Nice Competitive Game in Det- AHAHAHAHAHAHA I'm Sorry: Mets 14, Tigers 3

Am I doing this right

"This is a crazy season of baseball, everyone. I hope it never ends."

My Baseball Feelings associate penned the above just a few short hours ago, and as Carlos Beltran's grand slam sailed out of Comerica Park to FINALLY put an end to the Mets' one-inning grand slam drought, it was all I could think of.  What a wonderful game, where a team can go almost 300 games without hitting a grand slam, and then get two in consecutive innings.  Tomorrow, the Mets might look just awful, and sink back to .500 again, and I will curse their names, Bay and K-Rod, Thole and Murphy, but for tonight, I am enjoying baseball, and that is enough to make life good.  

GAME ONE: Giants Win...13-7? Must be a Typo

DJ Qualls avoids the tag

It has been said before, but it bears repeating: if Miguel Tejada hits a home run in a baseball game, all bets are off.

That was a weird game that should have been a lot more fun than it was. The Giants score three in the top of the first, the Cubs tie it in the second, then in the third the Giants get three more, thanks in part to a GAMMA BOMB out of Wrigley by Pat Burrell as part of his three-hit day.

The Giants never stopped adding runs after that, but Ryan Vogelsong had his worst start of the season. By which I mean he allowed three earned runs in five innings and got the win. One thing must be noted here: Bill Hall had a truly abysmal game both at the plate and in the field. Had he not been playing second base, the final score would have been closer to 13-7. Hall dropped a double-play ball hit right to him, failed to cover first base on a bunt in a bunt situation where the hitter squared to bunt before the windup, and deflected no less than two sure-out ground balls. If he starts game two, we riot.

Anyway, a win is a win is a win. You would think the Giants bats are coming alive at long last, but with all the light-hitting youngsters starting game two tonight (as opposed to the light-hitting oldsters that started game one), I'm expecting the win streak to end at six this evening as the Giants get shut out. Stay tuned!

- Bill

Tigers 4, Blue Jays 2: W(h)ither Aaron Hill

Jim Leyland was wrong, but it felt so right.
Perhaps oddly, the eighth inning in which the Mark Rzepcynski and Shawn Camp combined to blow it and allow the go-ahead runs didn't get my goat nearly as goatingly as the broken dreams of the top of the sixth. Here's how that one went: Escobar singled, youngster Eric Thames struck out (these things happen), Bautista ripped one down the line and passed the diving haters, so that's runners on first and third, one out. Adam Lind was quite rightly intentionally walked -- for serious, Lind has been a beast of a dude for weeks now -- setting the stage for an Aaron Hill first-pitch dribbler to the right side and a double play that went Cabrera --> Avila --> Cabrera --> despair to end the inning.

If it were only that Aaron Hill was not hitting, that would be awful enough, in that Hill seemed as though he would be our everyday second baseman for years. But it's more than that: he's having more trouble in the field than you could ever expected, too. Hill, at his best out there, is terrific. But when he's not getting a handle on the ball turning (or not turning, in fact) the double play, it is like, what is the deal Aaron Hill? He is just in no way going to be our second baseman going forward. His pretty team-friendly contract is structured such that the Blue Jays have to decide after this season whether or not they want him for several more years at rates that seemed completely reasonable based on the career trajectory it looked like he was on. But his actual career trajectory is shaped like a tragically disappointed and unstirrable wang.

It's sad.


what did i miss

Yep, that's sixteen strikeouts.

My vacation did not begin well for the Giants. Although they took two out of three in the desert and left the godless wasteland of Arizona 1.5 games in first place, little did they know that their offense was about to completely crater (I mean moreso), and they would be swept by the A's in Oakland before returning home, where Madison Bumgarner pitched an historically awful third of an inning and left the game in disgrace. They dropped that first game against the Twins, their fifth straight loss, and fell a game and a half behind the Diamondbacks.

But then, thanks to the Twins playing like their gloves were made of radioactive scorpions, the Giants took the next two games and the series. Then the Indians came to town, and played the first game of the series like their gloves were made of a Twins player who had a glove made of radioactive scorpions. The second game of the series was won on two errors and a clutch balk. Brian Wilson racked up four saves in four days.

If you caught the Giants' nationally-televised game last night, you might be fooled into thinking that the G-men have a thoroughly average offense. Do not be fooled. They have a pathetic offense worthy of all the ridicule they receive. But the pitching. Sweet sassy molassy, that beautiful bean pitching.

Tim Lincecum shook of his shaky-start streak and hurled a seven-inning, 12-strikeout classic. Madison Bumgarner went "LOL what Twins game" and struck out a career-high 11 batters through seven innings while giving up one earned run. Ryan Vogelsong keeps being Ryan Vogelsong v2.0, which is fantastic. The bullpen has played out-of-their-minds good since that awful, awful Bumgarner start. Jeremy Affeldt has pulled the craziest 180 of any previously-lousy bullpen guy I've ever seen. He pitched two innings yesterday and struck out five of the seven batters he faced on something like 20 pitches. The Indians had absolutely no idea what was going on. The drone of the ESPN announcers faded away and every time Affeldt threw, there was a massive explosion sound. It was...phenomenal.

So the Giants have a Major League-best five-game winning streak going on, have the second-best record in baseball since May 3, and are (thanks to Neil's Tigers) once again in first place, all while scoring -2 runs over the past ten games. Perhaps best of all, tomorrow brings that most special of gifts: a double-header at Chicago. This is a crazy season of baseball, everyone. I hope it never ends.

- Bill

Monday, June 27, 2011


Maybe I Should Predict Getting Swept Before Every Series - Mets 8, Rangers 5

HEH, had it the whole way.

Well, that was unexpected.  I went into this weekend expecting the worst, with the Mets sending out their youngest arms against one of the most potent offensive teams in the game, and certainly wasn't hopeful about the series, especially after Friday night's 8-1 pasting.  However, I didn't count on Josh Hamilton being a for-real vampire and Lucas Duda showing up all "oh hey guys, learned how to hit last night, watch this," on Saturday.  

Yes, I know that Jon Niese might be a jackrabbit disguised as a Major League pitcher and K-Rod continued his slide with two more runs allowed in a none-save situation yesterday, but the fact of the matter is that the Mets went into the home of the AL West leaders and took two out of three.  Can't do much better than that.  

With the Mets having faced teams like the Angels, A's and Pirates in recent games, it had been a while since I saw games against a offense like the Rangers, where 5-run innings are not really that big a thing.  It's exhilarating to watch, in some sick way, knowing that no lead is safe, and oh boyyyy here comes Manny Acosta again!  


Blue Jays 5, Cardinals 0: Ricky Romero Pitched A Four-Hitter and Knocked In A Pair, No Big Deal

No big deal.
Ricky Romero's four-hitter could very well have been a three-hitter had Corey Patterson been even borderline competent in centre field, but no, sometimes he just kind of stops and then the ball falls between him and the fielder just to his right or left. This time it was Juan Rivera who Patterson managed to psyche out by totally misplaying a ball that was obviously his. Rivera pulled up, no doubt thinking well Corey Patterson is the centre fielder and all so we're good but that turned out to be a huge mistake. The dudes on the radio were apoplectic. I have not seen the play on video but I choose to believe Ashby and Howarth when they assured me it was unacceptable. And so I will not accept it. 

But Romero! Remember how after his last start, he kind of mentioned how, outside of Lind and Bautista, the offense had been terrible of late? Maybe that was cool to do; maybe it wasn't. But it was definitely cool that yesterday he drove in a pair on his own with a little hack swing that pushed the ball passed a drawn-in Lance Berkman at first. Berkman had thrown the ball away when he tried to come home with it on a similar Patterson dribbler earlier in the inning, so this was a day on which it kind of sucked to be Lance Berkman, I guess. But a great day to be Ricky Romero. Or me, enjoying the baseball game.  

Anyway, I was just about to complain about how today is an off-day and off-days are the worst, but in fact the Blue Jays and Tigers are making up a rain out today. Excelsior! 


Sunday, June 26, 2011


Gotcha, motherfucker!


Blue Jays 6, Cardinals 3: One-Hit, Five-Run Innings Are Rad

The yet-to-be-cut Juan Rivera
Carlos Villanueva had another totally solid start, Rauch and Rzepcynski combined for a couple perfectly acceptable innings, and Frank Francisco allowed but a single run in the ninth (which I will take at this point). These were all good and necessary things. But it was the five-run third inning that I would like to draw your attention to, because it was excellent and strange.

Villanueva himself drew a lead-off walk, which was both hilarious and, as it turned out, useful. Escobar walked too, you see, before Hill moved the runners over with a groundout to the right side. The Cards then elected to walk Jose Bautista with first base open, which is probably not a bad call, except that after an Adam Lind sac fly, and a throwing error charged to third baseman Daniel Descalso that was really a blown call at first (yes, the throw pulled Berkman off the bag, but everybody except first base umpire D. J. Reyburn saw Berkman get back in time), Juan Rivera hit a three-run shot to left. 

So that's five runs in -- and only one earned -- on one hit. 

Which is outstanding.



The Pope prostrating himself before Justin Verlander.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Blue Jays 5, Cardinals 4: Against All Odds, The Blue Jays Won After I Went to Bed

Is he crazy early on a lob ball, or are we a little late joining the action? The medium of photography, ladies and gentlemen.
If the Blue Jays are tied or trailing when I go to bed, that's it, it's a loss. I write that one off completely so as not to be tormented by hope as I try to get to sleep. It's not worth it, and I'm usually right, so I have no plans to change this habit of mind despite Jose Bautista's lordly opposite field ninth-inning home run to win it in St. Louis last night.

The all-wise Allan Ashby observed a couple of days ago that Bautista, who has been a little bit off for a few weeks now, was all of a sudden looking really, really good in batting practice again like he had when he had those two months of being IRL Barry Bonds (if I have not previously talked about the awe with which we all went down early to watch 2003 Bonds, in all his drug-fueled glory, launch BP balls into sections of the Skydome nobody had even sat in in like a decade, that does not mean that it didn't happen). And sure enough, that's two home runs in a couple games for Bautista, who might well be getting hot again. Which would own.

In other Jose Bautista news, he's being moved back to third base. I neglected to mention in my Awful News from The Farm Roundup the other day that along with Drabek pitching horribly and Travis Snider getting beaned in the very bean itself and possibly concussed, Brett Lawrie is hurt, which means that the unbelievably poor performance from Blue Jays third-basemen this season looked set to continue indefinitely. It's obviously way easier to run a reasonably productive outfielder out there than a reasonably productive third baseman, so here we are. You will recall that earlier in the week Bautista made an awesome leaping catch in right to rob a home run, and you will also recall that Jose has been gunning it in in thunderous fashion all season, but no more. Rather than play a rad right field, Bautista will play his quietly competent third. I get the defensive spectrum stuff, fine, but I want to see this guy gunning dudes out from right on the reg. On the reg. But it is not to be. Once a utility guy, always a utility guy, I guess, even if your line is .328/.472/.668 with 23 HR. Even then. 


Friday, June 24, 2011


Feelin' Fine - Mets 4, A's 1

Ok, so the Mets won yesterday, in what looked like the definition of a "get out of town" game for the A's, who lost a 13-inning rain-delayed game the night before, and had to wait out another delay of more than two hours to play the rubber game of the series.  Good job, Mets!  

It's been fun to watch the press coverage of the team for the first portion of this season, as the reporters have been quick to kneejerk.  Every losing streak means a fire sale is just around the corner, and every winning streak means THE METS ARE BACK BABY.  

Now it seems that the ups and downs are coming hourly instead of daily or weekly.  Every piece of bad news is quickly followed by a piece of good news.  Or is it the other way around?  Mike Pelfrey throws his best start of the season on Saturday, then Niese falters Sunday and Gee gets knocked around for the first time this year on Tuesday.  

Reyes says he's not going to negotiate with the Mets during the season, and then his mini-slump ends with a key triple on Wednesday and another multi-hit game on Thursday. 

Chris Capuano keeps up his string of great starts with six scoreless innings, but has to leave with abdominal discomfort.  

Ike Davis is shut down again, with Sandy Alderson not ruling out season-ending surgery, and then we hear that David Wright could be back on the field within three weeks.  But, and see if you can follow this logic, if Wright comes back and the Mets contend for the wild-card that's BAD for the team because you see.... 
And on it goes. Here's hoping that the pendulum is going the Mets way for the next few weeks, as they've come to one of the toughest portions of their schedule, a three-game series in Texas followed by three in Detroit, home against the Yankees, then out west for their annual "WELP" road trip against the Dodgers and Giants.  

Mets have Pelfrey, Niese and Gee going against the powerful Rangers lineup, and it will be interesting to see if the young pitchers are unimpressed enough to...oh God, they're going to get swept aren't they.  

Since a few of these upcoming series feature games against other Baseball Feelings contributors' favorite teams, I look forward to following the action with some lively discourse on this blog, peppered with intellect and respect as we discuss the outcomes.  Or pictures of Dillon Gee getting eaten by a tiger.  It, like the Mets, could go either way!  

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Braves 5, Blue Jays 1: Again.

Yeah, he got most of that one.
As the Atlanta Braves continued to exact their horrible revenge for the 1992 World Series yesterday, I totally got to a point where I didn't even care, particularly, that the Blue Jays loaded the bases in the eighth inning. They could have tied the game with but single swing of J. P. Arencibia's reasonably mighty bat, but I was so sure it wasn't going to happen that I didn't even break vegetable preparation stride (getaway day; afternoon game; it was wrapping up right around meal time; there you go). I take a small measure of consolation in Jose Bautista's home run, and his leaping catch at the wall to rob Jordan Schafer of a home run in the seventh. The previous batter, Brooks Conrad (note: I know none of these players at all), hit a ball pretty much the same place, but Bautista didn't play it quite as brilliantly and it was initially ruled to have been a ball in play and a triple but was rightly overturned for a home run. It was all pretty neat.

Also it is perhaps worth noting in closing that Jose Bautista, despite yesterday's awesomeness, has come back to the pack. According to FanGraphs, Bautista still sits comfortably atop the WAR leader board ahead of Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Reyes, and Matt Kemp, but according to the slightly different formulas employed by the keepers of Baseball Reference, Bautista is now neck and neck with Gonzalez and slightly behind Matt Kemp, who it must be said is dealing with a post-Rihanna life better than anyone could have anticipated. And so I salute him. 


Mets Win Unnecessarily Long Affair, 3-2 (13)

At least he didn't thank God this time.  

What could have been a nice, easy (and much-needed win) for the Mets turned into another frustrating affair, as K-Rod blew his second straight save and Terry Collins needed to use almost his entire bullpen to put it away in 13 innings.  

Because there was an hour-long rain delay prior to the first pitch, the game was finished after midnight, which is just what you want the night before an afternoon game and a flight to Texas.  

All of the goodwill that Rodriguez earned while accumulated 19 straight saves this season has evaporated, as the closer has allowed 11 runs in 9+ innings.  If the plan was to showcase him and deal him to a contender before he could reach the magical plateau of 55 games finished (when his $17 million option for next season automatically kicks in), it might be too late.  Even during his saves streak, he's been walking a tightrope all season, allowing runners at an alarming rate (his 1.46 WHIP is the highest in his career)  and his strikeouts are down, to the point that the K-Rod nickname is a joke.  

Of course, if he keeps blowing saves, he won't accumulate finished games, so there's that.  

It was nice to see the Mets win in HBP fashion, so soon after the embarrassing balkoff last week, and while Reyes has been cooling off, (usually when he starts hitting flies to center, he's pressing) the triple in the eighth was clutch.  

I was actually at Citi Field for Saturday's 6-1 victory against the Angels, my first trip to the park since my self-imposed boycott, when I promised I'd never set foot in the building until Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo were off the team.  
Our seats were in the nosebleeds behind home plate, but my friend and I never made it there, preferring to eat our way around the various establishments located behind Citi Field's mammoth center field scoreboard.  We waited two innings for Shake Shack alone...
We wound up watching most of the action from the Shea Bridge between center and right field.  
And Carlos Beltran let me know how much he missed me by depositing a bomb just about 20 feet from me, and Mike Pelfrey (Mike Pelfrey!) threw a complete game.  It was good to be back. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011



Braves 5, Blue Jays 1: Nobody Is Any Good

Note Jose Molina, a fat man.
Zach Stewart got pounded, basically, and nobody is hitting right now with the exception of Adam Lind, so that's your ball game. And how are things on the farm, you might ask? Well, Kyle Drabek is walking everybody and getting hit hard, whilst Travis Snider was hit in the head by a pitch and has to go see a neurologist. Things are really shaping up. Shaping up like the least shapely butt.  


Tuesday, June 21, 2011


The Incredible Hulk, cured at last (not really), makes up for lost time with his sweetie!

Braves 2, Blue Jays 0: Run Support King Ricky Romero At It Again

This is Ricky Romero's run support face.
"I’m sure those guys are not trying to get out," Ricky Romero said after last night's game. "They’re all trying. I’m not singling anyone out or anything like that. We’re all trying." What if they're not, though? What if everybody else is just coasting? I think we have to at least entertain the possibility. Adam Lind has been tremendous, Jose Bautista has fallen off but is still obviously going hard to the fullest out there, but who knows? Maybe everybody else is just jerks. The only guy who kind of actually actively looks like he's not trying is Yunel Escobar, but I firmly believe he is in fact trying but lacks the gene that makes it look like you're trying even when you are. On that note, I am entirely pleased with Alex Anthopolous' decision to extend Escobar for two seasons at $5 million a year with a couple of club options at the same rate. This is entirely sensible, and I like it. The eighth-best shortstop in either league this year according to Wins Above Replacement, he has been excellent. 

Last night's game, however, was not excellent, and was, on the contrary, a butt. Tim Hudson threw a two-hitter, and I hated it.



Monday, June 20, 2011

Blue Jays 4, Reds 0 and Reds 2, Blue Jays 1: And Yet . . .

I'm with you, Carlos Villanueva.
Saturday's 4-0 Blue Jays win over the Reds was perfectly excellent. Jose Molina, who is fatter than ever, hit a massive home run and a double, which, surprisingly, is only like the fifth time in his entire career that he has had two extra base hits in the same game. Isn't that crazy? Not that he is noted for his unstoppable power or anything, but that's kind of remarkable all the same. Also, in case I have not  mentioned this mere sentences ago, you would not believe how fat he is right now. It's awesome. Three things, and only three things, are way more awesome when they are fat: cats, babies, and baseball players. I am aware that it would be best for members of all three groups that they never grow fat, and I do not wish fatness on anyone or anything because there is obviously huge downside, but with cats, babies, and baseball players, the upside of being fat is that they are hilarious. Also Brandon Morrow pitched a hell of a game, which he kind of hasn't been doing this year, so add in some solid work from the pen and the fact that (have I mentioned?) Jose Molina is really fat, and I thoroughly enjoyed Saturday's contest.

Sunday, though, was the worst, and here's why: Carlos Villanueva, who has been way better than anyone could have reasonably expected this year, pitched a heck yes a heck of a game, allowing only two runs through his seven innings. Bronson Arroyo was totally getting it done for the Reds, too, until the fifth, when Aaron Hill led off the inning with a home run. Rivera and Arencibia followed with a pair of singles, so we are talking runners on first and third with nobody out, the makings of a big inning, right? Except John Farrell continues to get in his own (and everybody's, although chiefly my) way with his insistence on making things happen out there and so it was time for yet another god damn squeeze play. John McDonald lined the bunt foul to Joey Votto, who fired it over to Miguel Cairo to double Juan Rivera off third. Unbelievable nonsense.  Unbelievable. Nonsense


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Blue Jays 3, Reds 2: Kind of a Hell of a Game, Actually

Such a might wallop.
What's up, Cincinnati Reds? I have not really thought about you in a serious way since 1990 when you had Chris Sabo and Paul O'Neil and Norm Charlton and Eric Davis and Terry Hatcher and Rob Dibble and Barry Larkin and Jose Rijo, and I'm not saying that's about to change, but I will enjoy watching Joey Votto hit this weekend and I think your ballpark is beautiful, so what it do

You know who else is pretty great to watch is that Brandon Phillips! Such plays! A good defensive second basemen is, I think, one of the best things in baseball from an aesthetic perspective. They do cool things like all the time! And Phillips made a couple of great plays last night. He's super quick and has a strong arm. I like him.

But I am getting ahead of myself. For the story of the game begins on the mound, where Mike Leake and dear sweet Jo-Jo Reyes dueled through five-and-a-half scoreless innings before Drew Stubbs (a totally underrated name qua name in my view) lofted one to right-centre that really and truly was Corey Patterson's ball, but, playing out of position (he usually plays left but Rajai needs couple of days to collect himself, basically) it didn't look like he was being particularly decisive, so you've got Jose Bautista drifting over then they both start to put their gloves up, and it seemed like each perceived the other putting their gloves up, and at the same moment decided "oh ok cool he's got it" but no, the ball fell to the ground and rolled to the wall whilst Drew Stubbs (seriously that is a handle) rounded the bases for an inside-the-park home run. Guys, guys, guys: Yo la tengo was invented for precisely this reason. You can't where it out. Just go ahead and use it. I think you'll find it totally useful. And fun!

Anyway, given Jo-Jo's baffling, Beckettian existence, I figured that this meant the game was going to end 1-0 with Jo-Jo going the distance and losing on that inside-the-park home run, because of course that is how it would happen. Also the post-game totals would be spoken by Jessica Tandy's mouth illuminated against a black back drop and raised like ten feet off the ground. But no! Patterson and Bautista quickly made amends for their shenanigans as Patterson was grazed by a pitch, stole second, and came home on Bautista's double to the wall in centre. Then Adam Lind, who is absolutely monstrous right now -- seriously, he is as hot as Bautista was to start the year, except this is just happening in the middle of the season so it is easier to miss, despite hitting .431 with 8 HR since coming off the DL -- homered for the fourth consecutive game, which was really and truly awesome of him. And totally necessary, as it turned out, as Scott Rolen, who continues to be extremely tall, hit a solo shot of his own. The Toronto bullpen decided not to be assholes; 3-2 final. Loved it!

Also Alan Ashby has been back on the radio for a little while now and I don't ever want that to change. Alan Ashby forever; Gregg Zaun never. 



Thursday, June 16, 2011

This Agonizing Loss Brought To You By Lucas Duda: Braves 9, Mets 8 (10)

Hey guys, you made the Agony today.  (alt. text:  charliebrownwalk.gif)

Not content with just losing 6-2 and getting it over with, the Mets out-Metsed even themselves tonight.   

They fought back from a subpar R.A. Dickey performance, including a three-run shot by Chipper that had them trailing 6-2, WHAT A SHOCK, and got a bomb from their own future Hall-of-Famer Scott Hairston to tie it in the fifth before taking an 8-6 lead thanks to runs in the seventh and eighth courtesy of a passed ball and a Dan Uggla special.  

That's when things got Mets.  Francisco Rodriguez gave up a two-run homer to Brooks Conrad in the bottom of the ninth to blow his first save in over two months (although he's within one of the league lead in saves, he's been shaky all year, and just atrocious against the Braves), and what could have been one of the best wins of the season went straight to Hell.  

D.J. Carrasco walked the leadoff hitter in the 10th, but then after two failed bunts, Alex Gonzalez grounded into a double play.  Things looked ok, but then Hernandez doubled down the line and Jordan Schafer moved him to third thanks to his fifth hit of the game, an infield single that was completely and totally legitimate, and could in no way be the fault of Lucas Duda.  First basemen always range until they're almost in front of the second baseman on a grounder before thinking 'lol nope' and moving so that nobody gets the ball and the runner is safe, right?  Even Gary Cohen, usually so diplomatic and tactful couldn't hide the sarcasm in his voice as he said "Congratulations to Jordan Schafer on your first five-hit game,"  Now I don't care if the Atlanta organist plays Camptown Races all damn game whenever Duda's on the field.  

Then came the balk and a potential 7-3 road trip, which included a sweep against the Wild Card leader became a 6-4 one where they only picked up one game.  Baseballlll.


Gee Whiz Pun, .500 Mention, We're Done Here. Mets 4, Braves 0

Angel Pagan made it rain

This was a hard game to keep track of, since it was delayed at the start due to rain, and had a delay right after the 4th, so thankfully it was just one of those nice, easy wins that you can just kind of keep on in the background without a lot of tension.  

Because of the delay, and my ability to only watch games on the computer, I missed the Mets jumping right out to the 1-0 lead in the first thanks to the Reyes double and Heyward error, but I did see Pagan's towering home run just inside the right field foul pole to give them the 3-0 lead that they carried into the delay.  

The delay was a shame, since Dillon Gee looked like he had some of his best stuff of the season, and it cost him his opportunity to go to 8-0, but he has certainly been one of the biggest stories for the Mets this season.  They've won all 10 of his starts and now there's some serious All-Star talk, which is always nice.  

Also encouraging was the bullpen effort put forth by Carrasco, Parnell, and Rodriguez, who combined for five innings of one-hit ball.  The pen still has a long way to go, but this was a nice first step.   

Orioles 4, Blue Jays 3: God Damn It, Blue Jays.

Way to waste an awesome start by Zach Stewart in his big league debut, you assholes. Stewart allowed only two runs on seven hits and a walk over seven innings, and Frasor pitched a fine eighth only for Jon Rauch and to a lesser extent Luis Perez to put together this absolute horror show in a 2-2 tie in the ninth (both Blue Jays' runs came in the sixth on a single by Jose Bautista, by the way, haters):

  • Pitcher Change: Jon Rauch replaces Jason Frasor.

  • 1.Vladimir Guerrero singles on a ground ball to center fielder Corey Patterson.

  • Offensive Substitution: Pinch runner Nolan Reimold replaces Vladimir Guerrero.

  • 2.Luke Scott singles on a sharp ground ball to right fielder Jose Bautista. Nolan Reimold to 3rd.

  • 3.Derrek Lee reaches on a fielder's choice, fielded by third baseman Jayson Nix. Nolan Reimold scores. Luke Scott to 2nd.

  • Coaching visit to mound.

  • Pitcher Change: Luis Perez replaces Jon Rauch.

  • Offensive Substitution: Pinch runner Felix Pie replaces Luke Scott.

  • 4.Mark Reynolds walks. Felix Pie to 3rd. Derrek Lee to 2nd.

  • 5.Ryan Adams singles on a sharp ground ball to left fielder Juan Rivera. Felix Pie scores. Derrek Lee to 3rd. Mark Reynolds to 2nd.

  • Coaching visit to mound.

  • Pitcher Change: Shawn Camp replaces Luis Perez.

  • Offensive Substitution: Pinch hitter Matt Wieters replaces Craig Tatum.

  • 6.Matt Wieters pops out to shortstop Yunel Escobar.

  • 7.J. Hardy strikes out swinging.

  • 8.Nick Markakis grounds out, second baseman Aaron Hill to first baseman Adam Lind.

God damn it.

In the bottom of the ninth, Kevin Gregg, who is newly a Baltimore Oriole but still awful, gave up a home run off the foul poll to Adam Lind, who continues to rake, bless him. But it was not enough. Because right now the bullpen are assholes.