Dodgers Rebound, Claim First in NL West for Now;

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Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Tuesday, Sept. 18. After being shut out 5-0 Sunday night, the Dodgers returned home and their offense went back to work. Their 8–2 win over the Rockies put them in first for the moment with two more in the series with the second place Rockies. Meantime, where nothing mattered but pride, the Pirates put up 2 in the 8th and one in the 9th to walk off the Royals, 7-6.
The Dodgers’ bats had been stymied by Adam Wainwright’s splendid pitching on Sunday night after pounding out 17 runs the night before. Last night, back at Chavez Ravine the bats returned to their Saturday night form against the Rockies. Joc Pederson led the charge with two home runs with Max Muncy adding a 3-run blast. The Dodgers remain tied with St. Louis, both with 83-68 records, in a race for the second wild card slot if the Dodgers don’t happen to win the division as they have done every season starting in 2013.
Pederson set the tone even before the Dodger Stadium crowd had gotten settled. He hit his first home run leading off the home half of the first inning. He doubled to spark a 4-run rally in the third, the inning in which Muncy launched his shot. Pederson’s second big fly, which was his 23rd of the year left the lot an inning later. Muncy’s long ball was number 33 for him. Hyun-Jin Ryu kept the Rockies scoreless through 7 innings and 93 pitches, his longest start since coming off the DL a month ago.
Hitting for the cycle is an oddity that rarely gets mentioned in this forum. Only 4 men had hit for the cycle twice in the same season. Last night, the Brewers’ Christian Yelich became the fifth. He found his way into this space by hitting for the cycle … twice … against the same team! On August 29, not even 3 weeks ago he hit for the cycle in a game where the Brewers beat the Reds 13–12 in 10 innings. Last night he singled, doubled, tripled and homered as the Brewers pounded the Reds 8–0 in Milwaukee. Both times around, the triple was the last hit he needed, and in the 6th inning this time he pulled it off. The first 3 men to hit for the cycle twice in a season did it before 1932. The one modern player to do it hit for the cycle twice in 2012. That was Aaron Hill with the D-Backs. While 9 Brewers have hit for the cycle, only Chad Moeller in 2004 got it done at home. Yelich began his evening’s work with a single in the first and a double two innings later. In the fifth he went yard, good for two runs, then tripled in the sixth. The Brewers put up 4 in the 6th inning with his 3-bagger in the midst of the rally. Yelich now has 31 home runs, 10 more than his previous high. The Reds have had quite enough of him, considering he has 7 home runs off their pitchers.
The Orioles are planning a special event tonight, weather permitting. The event celebrates 40 years since the National Federation of the Blind set up headquarters in Baltimore. The Orioles will wear braille lettering spelling their names on their uniform jerseys, an event that has caused quite a stir in the blind community. I’ve been a member of the NFB off and on since 1989, and I met the love of my life through a Federationist. Today, as it has done since 1978 the NFB consists of small chapters around the country where blind people meet to socialize and discuss issues that effect us locally and on a national level. The Orioles aren’t the first team to make an effort where blind fans are concerned. Before Twitter, Facebook or even the Internet, the Marlins brought my broadcast partner Jim Lucas and myself to the microphone on June 23, 1994. Jim did play-by-play and I did color during the third, fifth and 7th innings as the Cubs flattened the Marlins 11-0. In that game, where baseball-shaped radios were given to the fans, I became the first blind man to broadcast in the majors. The second was Enrique Oliu, who has broadcast Rays’ games in Spanish from their inception as the Devil Rays. According to a Baltimore Sun article earlier this month, no pro sports team has used braille lettering on their game gear up to now. The O’s hope this raises awareness and welcomes more blind fans. Baltimore and cities like it are far better equipped to assist blind fans than small towns and cities which have either the minor leagues or no baseball at all. As early as 1989 I attended two games at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore with my Seeing Eye dog Gizmo and enjoyed the weekend mightily. Now, while I like tonight’s idea, I hope the team has a contingency plan if bad weather either limits the crowd or cancels the game entirely. If the game goes forward, the Orioles will send out Dylan Bundy against the Jays’ Aaron Sanchez.
Today’s original plan was for the Yankees and Red Sox to start at 1:05 PM. That plan was scrapped as the remnants of hurricane Florence reached the area. Very tentatively, in pencil the game is scheduled at 7:05 PM. Considering every game counts for the Yankees if they hope to lock down a wild card spot, every possible measure will be taken to play the game either today or tomorrow. The Red Sox figure to go with Nathan Eovaldi, who stuck it to his former team on August 4 at Fenway. He gave up just 3 hits and no runs in 8 innings, which probably had Yankee fans wondering why the team which is desperate for pitching let Eovaldi go. For their part, the home team will go with J.A. Happ who has left the league scratching their heads this season, especially since the trade with Toronto. Happ is 6-0 with a 2.70 over 8 starts, 7 of which the Yankees have won. The Mets are up against Aaron Nola, who has a 9–2 record and a 2.46 ERA in his home park in Philadelphia, which takes talent. It takes tremendous ability to build a Cy Young award resume at Coors Field East, and Nola has done it. He’s not facing one of his Cy Young rivals in Jacob DeGrom tonight. Instead, Nola is up against Steven Matz who’s just trying to finish the season healthy. For the Rays, Blake Snell is hoping to win 20 which has only happened once in franchise history. He’s facing the Rangers who he beat the only time he faced them. He’s 19–5 for the year.

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2 Comments
  • Tom Thomas
    September 18, 2018

    I used to attend Low-A Mets games at run-down Waconah Park in Pittsfield. Two locals I saw there were a blind man and his sighted friend. His friend sat him immediately behind a pole supporting the roof, a terrible seat for other fans, but a gret one for him.

  • Hdpape
    September 28, 2018

    Overall, the Dodgers have a one-sided, 457-391-1 edge in the rivalry, including Monday night s 8-2 victory in the opener of a four-game series at Petco Park. Last season, the Dodgers were 13-6 against the Padres en route to a 104-58 record and the National League West title.

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