Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Memorable Tuesday Night Baseball

Matt Harvey was unstoppable tonight. The White Sox never had a chance against him. As just about anyone reading this knows, Harvey went 9 innings, facing 28 batters, retiring 27.


After 20-straight outs, Alex Rios ran out a measly infield single.


Unfortunately for fans of the Mets and pitcher wins, Matt Harvey earned a no-decision in the 10-inning, 1-0 Mets victory. The offense couldn't scrape together a run in nine innings against Hector Santiago, Matt Thornton, or the first inning of Nate Jones. Santiago, a local kid from Newark pitching in Flushing, extended himself to 111 pitches. After spending most of the season in the bullpen, his previous season high was 92 pitches. Santiago struck out 8, while giving up just 4 hits and 2 walks, in 7 innings.

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Scott Diamond, of the Minnesota Twins, had a less impressive but notable outing in Fenway Park, going 7 innings, no runs, no walks, and 3 hits (all singles). He outdueled Ryan Dempster in the Twins' 6-1 victory. Dempster and the Red Sox bullpen imploded in the 8th inning, tripling a 2-run deficit.

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Andrew McCutchen raised his OPS fifty points, from .738 to .788, by going 4-for-4 in the Pirates 4-1 win over the visiting Mariners.

Jason Grilli saved his 13 game in 13 chances. This season, he has pitched 14 innings, has given up 7 hits, 1 run, walked 4, and struck out 23. Grilli is legit. Since the start of last season, his strikeout numbers have him in elite company:

2012-13 MLB K% Leaders (min 10 ip)
Craig Kimbrel 48.4%
Grilli looks like an All-Star
(Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Aroldis Chapman 42.9%
Jason Grilli 37.6%
Kenley Jansen 37.5%

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In another pitchers' 1-0 duel, the Cleveland Indians and Zach McAllister defeated Tommy Milone and the Oakland A's. McAllister almost made it out of the eighth, but after a 2-out single by John Jaso, manager Terry Francona called on Rich Hill. Bob Melvin tapped Luke Montz to pinch hit for left-handed Seth Smith, but he flied out.

In the 9th, Chris Perez gave up a 1-out single to Yoenis Cespedes, but Yan Gomes gunned him down attempting to steal second. The last batter of the game, Brandon Moss, struck out swinging.

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Alex Gordon tied the game 3-3 in the 7th inning, with his 4th home run of the season, but the Orioles beat the Royals behind Matt Wieters's 2 doubles and 3 RBI.

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Photo: here
The Braves closer, Craig Kimbrel, surprisingly blew a 9th inning save by giving up back-to-back 2-out home runs. After Jack Hannahan and Corky Miller struck out, Devin Mesoraco tied the game with a pinch-hit home run, and Shin-Soo Choo won the game for the hometown Reds with his 2nd home run of the night.

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The most sobering split-second of the night occured between Desmond Jennings's bat and J.A. Happ's head. The sound of the impact off Happ's head was disturbingly loud. Thankfully, Happ appeared to be speaking and waved his hand to the crowd as the paramedics carried him off the field. We wish Happ a speedy recovery.

In terms of the ballgame, Kyle Farnsworth and Joel Peralta basically blew it for the hometown Rays The Blue Jays bullpen and defense were outstanding. In 7 and 2/3 innings, Brad Lincoln, Adam Loup, Steve Delabar, and Casey Janssen gave up no runs, 5 hits, and 2 walks, while only striking out 3 batters. Tampa's team batting BABIP must have gone down afterwards.

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Travis Wood of the Cubs continues to pitch way above his pay scale, giving up just one run to the Cardinals over 6 and 2/3 innings. He struck out 8 and only gave up a run on Allen Craig's 2nd inning home run. Lance Lynn also pitched well for the Cardinals. In the 4th inning, he struck out Starlin Castron, Anthony Rizzo, and Luis Valbuena. Unfortunately, for him, between Rizzo and Valbuena he gave up a bloop single to Alfonso Soriano and home run to Nate Schierholtz.

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Houston may lose over 110 games this year, and are at least two years away from relevance in the standings. On the bright side, their front office is built for success, and the Major League roster has a bunch of likable players. The Astros have been agressive with their 25-man roster, as they showed on Monday:



With a tremendous payroll disadvantage and vastly different expectations, the Astos find themselves only 2.5 games behind the Angels. In the 9th inning, with two out and the Astros up by 1, Jose Veras struck out Mike Trout swinging on a 3-2 curveball. Jose Veras now has 3 saves in 5 opportunities.

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Wily Peralta has now beaten the Dodgers, Cubs and Rangers. Justin Grimm spotted the Brewers 5 runs in the first inning, and Peralta cruised through 6 before giving way to Gorzelanny, Kintzler, and Henderson for an inning a piece. Jim Henderson certainly looks solidified in the Brewers' closer position. He has a deceptive delivery, good velocity on his pitches, and apparant command.

Is it too late for the Rangers to get Robbie Ross into the rotation?

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The rare Coors Field pitcher's duel ultimately ended in an even rarer Coors Field shutout, as the Rockies blanked the Yankees 2-0. This was the first time either team had shutout the other. The home teams have mostly won throughout their brief interleague history. The last time the Yankees won in Colorado was the time they beat the Rockies 20-10 on June 19, 2002.

Jorge De La Rosa threw the first 6 innings against the Bronx bombers. He's coming back from arm surgery and a difficult rehap, so it's great to see him have this kind of success.

Hiroki Kuroda's lethal error was throwing a 90 mph four-seamer to Carlos Gonzalez in the 6th inning. CarGo turned it into a 2-run line-drive homer.

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The punchless Marlins were baffled by Eric Stults through 6 1/3 ip, before getting shut down by Dale Thayer, Luke Gregerson, and Anthony Bass. That triumverate from the Padres bullpen closed out the game with a perfectly, retiring the only eight batters they saw.

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While he didn't get the win, it's nice to see Brandon McCarthy pitch better. Depending on how the flyballs were hit, the ballpark might have had something to do with McCarthy's success, but McCarthy had a healthy 11-to-3 GB-to-FB ratio.

The last-place Dodgers have lost 6 in a row and have the 2nd worst run differential in the National League (-34), which is 56 runs worse than the Diamondbacks and 61 runs worse than the first-place Rockies.

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Chase Utley hit a home run off Tim Lincecum in the 5th inning, his 7th of the season. If the Phillies don't get into the race, it would be thrilling to see where Utley could get traded. If the Dodgers got back in the race, they'd be interested. Cleveland is a potential suiter, as would be most potential playoff teams.

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