Thursday, April 4, 2013

What Happened Last Night?

In honor of MLB's first 15-game day, and as we did in June of '09, we present our brief notes from perusing the box scores, attempting to answer 'What happened last night?'

Cubs 0 at Pirates 3
Caught much of this game on TV, and my Opening Week eyes liked what they saw from Edwin Jackson. He gave up two runs through five innings, but missed some bats early in the game. I didn't see Hector Rondon pitch, although he's a guy I want to keep an eye on. One of his two walks was an intentional pass of Neal Walker before getting Russel Martin to ground out. I've seen about enough of Michael Bowden, who gave up a run in the 7th.

The better pitching performance came from the Pirates. Wandy Rodriguez limited the Cubs to two hits and one walk through six and two-thirds. Pittsburgh's bullpen closed the game out with steel curtain perfection. Southpaw Tony Watson bridged the gap to closer Jason Grilli in the 9th by making mincemeat of Alberto Gonzalez, David DeJesus, pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro, and Starlin Castro. Protecting a 3-0 lead, Grilli needed only 9 pitches to get a groundout from Anthony Rizzo and game ending strikeouts by Alfonso Soriano and Nate Schierholtz.

Rangers 4 at Astros 0
Lance Berkman is still an Astro
In another shutout, this remained a tense 1-0 game, where the only run scored on a double play, until a 3-run 8th inning engineered by the heart of the Rangers order. Alexi Ogando had good results, striking out ten in six and a third. Big Puma, Lance Berkman, had a successful first series as a Ranger, going 6-for-10 with 3 walks.

Marlins 0 at Nationals 3
Our last shutout of the evening happened to the always shutoutable Miami Marlins. This time, it was Gio Gonzalez's turn to allow only four base runners through six innings. Kevin Slowey didn't pitch badly, but a lineup with Polanco/Ruggiano/Olivo in its 4/5/6 slots leaves a pitcher no room for error.

Royals 2 at White Sox 5
It's great to see Jake Peavy competing in the American League with a sub-3.50 ERA. He had a bad injury for power pitchers and has rebounded to give his career arc a pleasantly surprising bump. Ervin Santana, on the other hand, gave up a home run in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings. Robin Ventura did his best Tony La Russa imporesonation, as four relievers earned Holds before Addison Reed came on to earn his 2nd save of the year with a perfect 9th.

Phillies 2 at Braves 9
Freeman leads the NL in
Batting Avg and OBP
The demise of Roy Halladay took another abrupt tumble in the 1st and 4th innings yesterday, punctuated by Justin Upton's 2nd homer of the year, Evan Gattis's first home run of his career, and a 3-run double by Freddie Freeman.

Tigers 2 at Twins 3
Saw the end of this game as it happened. The Tigers were victimized by their bullpen and outfield defense. Jim Leyland used Joaquin Benoit for the eight inning and tried extending him for the leadoff hitter in the 9th. As the Tigers' TV guy noted, this was mainly due to Phil Coke's platoon split. So, Benoit stays in to face the right-handed Trevor Plouffe and promptly walks him. Enter Phil Coke who gets a flyout before giving up a single to Brian Dozier and and game-winning 2-run double to Eduardo Escobar. Not much was made of the fact that Escobar's fly ball should have been caught, but it should have been caught. Wilkin Ramirez had a pinch-hit RBI double in the 7th, but he came up even bigger in the postgame interview, as Eduardo Escobar's translator. Ramirez is a great translator because he's not even that easy to understand in English. Go Twins!

Padres 4 at Mets 8
The main story for the game last night has to do with Mets' young gun Matt Harvey and can be summed up by this authentic tweet from @ManganTime:

The other thing about the Mets is to take note of their offense. They've scored 19 runs in 2 games. Two games is such a a ridiculously small sample size that this next stat is more for comedy than statistical significance. For all the ridicule we've heard of the Mets outfield, only the Mets and the Rockies have three outfielders ranked in the Top 20 National League Outfielders in wOBA, wRC+, and WAR. They are doing this in 2013 with Marlon Byrd.

Red Sox 7 at Yankees 4
Hiroki Kuroda failed to get out of the second inning, in part from taking a line drive off the fingers, and the Red Sox bombarded the Yankees with eighteen base runners. Clay Buchholz got through 7 innings with a tidy 94 pitches. Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells hit their first home runs as Yankees. Good times.

Rockies 7 at Brewers 3
One of our favorite fantasy sleepers, Wily Peralta, failed to impress. He really needs to improve his first-strike percentage. Peralta threw a strike on the first pitch to a batter only 23% of the time last night, while the league average is 60%. Last year, he was at 61%, so there's still hope.

There are red flags everywhere surrounding John Axford. If you own him in fantasy, you should be considering a contingency plan.

Indians 3 at Blue Jays 2
Saw a bit of this game, watching Brandon Morrow, we still expect great things from him. The first run that Cleveland scored, on a Michael Brantley single between shortstop and 3rd base looked like something Jose Ryes could have at least kept in the infield to save the run. Maybe it was an odd camera angle, or my Opening Week eyes are failing me again, but it looked like Reyes might have Roger Dorn'd it a bit. Mark Reynolds won the game with an 11th inning home run off Sergio Santos.

Cardinals 9 at Diamondbacks 10
The most talked about game was this 16-inning epic in the desert. Neither starter had it in this game, but the bullpens were pretty good. The day after throwing 24 pitches through one and a third innings, Josh Collmenter entered in the 12th inning, and fought through five innings on 78 pitches to earn the Win.

Orioles 7 at Rays 8
Perhaps the most entertaining game of the night, Chris Davis got the action started with a 3-run home run off Jeremy Hellickson in the first inning. Davis would go 4-for-4 on the night. I sawa bit of this game, too, and Wei-Yin Chen did that thing where he throws pitches that look hittable until you swing at them. Batters were shaking their heads or sheepishly smiling after making outs. The Orioles bullpen let Chen down by allowing six earned runs in two and a third innings. It was an entertaining game with scores of 3-0, 4-0, 4-4, 5-4, 5-7, 6-7, 7-7, and the final after a Matt Joyce walk-off home run in the 9th.

Here's the Win Probability Chart for the game:

Source: FanGraphs

Giants 5 at Dodgers 3
Lincecum was effectively wild
Brandon Belt has been out with a stomach virus, but the Giants made due without him. The defending world champions survived a 5-inning performance from Tim Lincecum that included 7 walks because he gave up only 3 hits and the combination of George Kontos, Javier Lopez, Chad Gaudin, and Sergio Romo threw four shutout innings. Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence homered for the Giants. Carl Crawford went 3-for-4 in a losing effort.

Mariners 2 at Athletics 6
The Mariners got off to a hot start, with their leadoff and cleanup hitters hitting solo homeruns in the top of the first. Unfortunately for Seattle, their scoring ended there. The A's avoided a season opening sweep with a strong starting performance by Tom Milone (7 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 1 BB) and timely hitting. Jed Lowrie went 3-for-3 with a HR. Nate Freiman, making his Major League debut, got the A's scoring started with an RBI single in the 2nd. Chris Young, making his A's debut, hit a solo home run when the team was already up 5-2.

Reds 5 at Angels 4
I keep forgetting that the Astros/Rangers series is not the inter-league game going on right now. As most fans know, there will be an inter-league series going on at all times this year because we now have 15 teams in each league. The takeaways from this game include the insignificant fact that Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton are still hitless. Brandon Phillips was responsible for much of the offense, hitting a 3-run home run in the 4th inning. Zach Cozart is still hitless. Aroldis Chapman came in for the top of the 9th of a tie game, allowed a walk in a hitless 9th, and earned the Win. The Reds won in walkoff fashion as reliever Scott Downs started the bottom of the 9th with a hit batsmen. Shin-Soo Choo now leads the league with two HBP. Number two hitter, Chris Heisey, sacrificed Choo over to second base. Joey Votto knocked Choo in on a single, and they were dancing on the banks of the Ohio river.

In this, the season of the GIF, we got another winner last night from the Angels game.

Hey, look at that, we're about an hour from first pitch in Pittsburgh. Thanks for reading; enjoy the games!

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