We start today with two examples of why baseball is a fascinating game:
13) Baseball strategy, Exhibit A: Twins-Angels are tied in late innings; Angels have game-winning run on 3rd with two out. Minnesota walks Pujols/Simmons intentionally, to bring up Marte, putting lot of pressure on their pitcher to throw strikes. I’ve never seen a team walk two hitters intentionally to load the bases with two outs, especially with the batter coming up not being a pitcher.
Twins escape the jam, win the game 5-3 in 12 innings.
12) Baseball strategy, Exhibit B: San Diego was tied with the Cardinals in late innings; Padres had men on first and second, no one out, and pinch-hit Spangenberg for Villanueva so he could bunt the runners over.
Spangenberg fouls off two bunts, count is 2-2, and then he fouls off another bunt and strikes out. What are you telling a position player when you have him bunt with two strikes? Especially on the day you brought him back from AAA.
Padres wound up with a walk-off win in the 13th inning, despite all that.
Two teams use unusual strategy, and both win their game.
11) Charlotte Knights, AAA farm team of the White Sox, drew 10,512 fans Saturday, their 8th sellout this season. Would Charlotte be a good city for a major league team?
10) Nick Markakis is hitting .346 this year, having a terrific year; he is 34 years old, has 2,105 career hits, but has never played in an All-Star Game. Hopefully that’ll change this year, and if it does, it’ll be the best moment at the All-Star Game, when he is introduced before the game.
9) Bad news for the Seattle Mariners; Robinson Cano was hit by a pitch Sunday, broke a bone in his right hand.
8) Odubel Herrera has reached base in 41 straight games; the all-time record is 84, held by Ted Williams.
7) Phillies 4, Mets 2— Jacob deGrom threw 45 pitches in the first inning; Phillies fouled off 20 of the 45 pitches- they didn’t get a hit or score a run. A very unusual inning, and then deGrom was lifted from the game.
Mets said that deGrom wasn’t hurt; they just were cautious because of the rain delay before the game and the 45 pitches he threw in the first inning. Plus, it was his first start in 11 days.
6) By way of reference, Angels’ Jaime Barria threw 49 pitches in a scoreless first inning against the Giants April 22; that was the night of the 21-pitch AB to Brandon Belt. Those two starts are the most pitches this season thrown in a scoreless inning.
5) Atlanta Braves’ 3B prospect Austin Riley was 4-for-5 Sunday with three HR’s, 8 RBIs for AAA Gwinnett; he’ll be in Atlanta pretty soon.
4) Richmond-Albany college lacrosse game drew 4,800 fans Saturday here in the capital city of New York State. Albany doesn’t draw crowds like that for football, but they’re ranked #2 in the country in lacrosse, so the bandwagon is pretty crowded these days. Good for the Great Danes.
3) Texas Rangers brought up lefty reliever Brandon Mann from AAA Sunday; the 34-year old Mann was originally drafted in 2002, and has played both in Japan and in independent leagues. What a journey he must’ve had; congrats on making the big leagues.
2) Major Leagues need to identify who the replay umpires are for each game; they make calls that change games, but they’re hunkered down in Manhattan and are fairly anonymous. It’d be interesting to know who is making a particular call, for better or worse.
1) RIP Coach Chuck Knox, the man who won five straight division title for the Rams in the 70’s, and went to coach the Seahawks/Bills. Coach Knox was 186-147-1 in his NFL career; he won Coach of the Year for all three teams that he coached. RIP, sir.