Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Wednesday, May 24.
For personal reasons it’s been a few days since I’ve written in this forum. But as I return to you it’s my guess that Dodgers’ and Braves’ fans are ordering breakfasts of coffee with extra coffee. For very different reasons, devotees of baseball’s Los Angeles and Atlanta franchises were kept up late if they wanted to see or hear their team win. The Dodgers, playing in their home city started the game at their usual late hour, 10 PM Eastern but it took them 13 innings to take care of the Cardinals 2-1. Meantime, the Braves’ game with the Pirates had begun at the normal starting time in Atlanta, 7:35 Eastern. But a 3-hour+ rain delay kept the Braves from winning 6-5 until almost 2 AM this morning. In fact, per the box score the game took 3 hours 3 minutes while the rain delay lasted 3 hours 12 minutes. The game had meandered into the top of the 7th before the rain fell. Both starters had gone 6 and probably would have been done anyway but the rain delay made it definite for starters Tyler Glasnow and R.A. Dickey. The restart came at 12:51 AM. The Braves held a 4-3 lead going to the top of the 9th when things became interesting for the perhaps 100 persons still there. Pittsburgh put up 2 runs off Atlanta closer Jim Johnson to take a 5-4 lead. Jordy Mercer, who homered before the rain delay brought home both 9th-inning runs with a single. But the Braves, whose 20-23 record is presently better than that of their 20-26 foe showed some gumption in the home 9th. Braves’ teams of the last few years would have mailed it in if their closer couldn’t get the job done. This morning the outcome was different. Nick Markakis doubled home the tying run and following an intentional walk to Matt Kemp, the newest Brave struck. Matt Adams, just acquired from the Cardinals to replace the injured Freddie Freeman singled home the game-winning run.
Before his late inning heroics Adams had homered twice since joining the Braves last Saturday. One of the four-baggers happened in the home 6th just moments before rain halted play. Tony Watson, the Pirates’ closer first blew the save, then lost the game. It’s just their good luck that the two teams don’t_ play in one of today’s afternoon games. It would have been beautiful baseball irony if they had a Noon game scheduled after a game where both teams may have hit the bed around 3:30 AM.
On the other coast, the Dodgers and Cardinals played late for a very different reason. Clayton Kershaw and Lance Lynn hooked up in an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel that ended with the Dodgers winning 2-1 in the last of the 13th. Logan Forsythe, fresh off the DL and having struck out 4 times earlier in the game drove home Enrique Hernandez for the game winner. With two outs in the last of the 13th it looked like we might have another 17- or 18-inning affair, both of which MLB has seen this month. But former Dodgers’ closer Jonathan Broxton walked Hernandez. Forsythe lined one into the right field corner where it got past the Cardinals’ Stephen Piscotty, allowing Hernandez to score.
The Dodgers struck out 19 times in the game’s 13 innings. On his mettle, Kershaw struck out 10 Cardinals and would have had a shutout except for the clumsiness of his catcher Yasmani Grandal. Randal Grichuk of the Cardinals had singled, then gone to second on a ground out. He scored on a wild pitch which Grandal somehow couldn’t find with the game on the line. Grichuk has been a thorn in Kershaw’s side, as well as being the one player whose name Vin Scully couldn’t pronounce. The first time Grichuk faced Kershaw in the NLDS a few years back, he homered off Kershaw while Scully was trying to figure out how to pronounce Grichuk. He’s not alone because the Ukranian name is difficult to say. Lynn had struck out 10 Dodgers in 8 innings which is great work considering he was making his 9th start following Tommy John surgery. The only run he gave up was a home run by Grandal in the first inning. Starting with the last of the 9th the bull pens took over.
Some 30 minor league games will be played in daylight. Many have already begun as I write this. Some of those are the first games of doubleheaders caused by recent bad weather in the South. As for the majors, the Twins and Orioles meet at 12:30 PM in the day’s earliest start. The Twins’ Jose Berrios has pitched brilliantly in his first two major league outings. Today he faces Chris Tillman, one of the O’s best when he’s healthy. That’s the snapper-he lost all of April on the DL. The Blue Jays face the Brewers in Milwaukee at 1 PM Eastern. Later in the afternoon the Marlins face the A’s in Oakland. The visiting Fish are coming off an 11-9 win last night. Edinson Volquez, who was signed to be their new ace has yet to win for the Marlins. His foe, Sonny Gray has just one win in a season shortened by injury. The White Sox and D-Backs meet in Phoenix in the NL’s one day game. The Mariners send out Sam Gaviglio who started his first major league game last week after being a 40th-round draft choice some years back. He faces the Nationals’ Tanner Roark. In spite of his last name, he’s hardly the superhero Roark of the Eve Dallas novels which are my guilty pleasure. This Roark has only reached the 7th inning twice all year and has been lucky his team has rescued him on numerous occasions. Chris Sale of the Red Sox faces the Rangers’ Martin Perez. Sale has struck out 10 men or more in his first 8 starts since setting sail in Boston. If he does it again he’ll be the first pitcher since 1913 to start 9 times and strike out 10 or more men in all 9 of those starts. Kyle Hendricks pitches tonight for the Cubs against the Giants. In his last 5 outings, he’s looked like the surprise Cy Young contender he was last year, pitching to a 1.82 ERA.