While Don Mattingly didn’t get a lot of love from the Los Angeles media during his five-year run as Dodgers’ manager, I don’t think he would have blundered as badly as his replacement did last night against the Giants. Dave Roberts, the new Dodgers’ boss had a rookie pitcher in his big-league debut firing a no-hitter at the Giants. Insanely, he removed rookie Ross Stripling with one out in the 8th and not a single hit on the scoreboard for the Giants. Stripling’s crime He walked Angel Pagan, his fourth free pass of the night. None of the first 3 had come back to haunt him, and the Dodgers had a 2-0 lead. As Roberts saw it, his pitcher had thrown his 100th pitch. His top output since having Tommy John surgery had been 93 pitches. So, in spite of the 0 in the hit column for the Giants, Stripling’s night was done. His replacement, Chris Hatcher must have put in time at Olive Garden. He served up a meat ball to Giants’ rookie Trevor Brown who tied the game with a two-run home run. In the last of the 10th Brandon Crawford won it for the Giants with a home run off Joe Blanton. No pitcher had thrown a no-hitter in his MLB debut since 1892 and thanks to Roberts’ idiocy the record continues. Stripling, a 26-year-old rookie from just outside Philadelphia has been here before. With Texas A&M he threw a no-hitter against San Diego State 4 years ago. The Dodgers took him in round 5 of the draft a month after his nono. He hadn’t pitched above AA until last night. At least, the Dodgers have a better than even chance to rebound today. Their unquestioned ace Clayton Kershaw takes the hill against the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner late this afternoon.
The injury to Cubs’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber is much worse than at first thought. The original word was he had sprained an ankle. AN MRI revealed two torn knee ligaments requiring surgery. His 2016 is over before it began. The disaster happened when he and fellow outfielder Dexter Fowler collided on what would become an inside-the-park home run. The Cubs’ have been here before. They had two can’t-miss prospects at the same time-Kerry Wood and Mark Pryor-ruin their arms in the ’90s. Ask any Chicagoan about Steve Bartman or Don Young. Older ones may go back as far as Dick the Hummer Drott, a fireballer who was also lost to a catastrophic arm injury in the 1950’s. This team might just be cursed after all. Of the four ligaments a person has in their knee, Schwarber tore two of them. He hadn’t suffered a major injury before now. The Ohio native had turned 23 in March. He’ll never be confused with a gold glove outfielder but he hit 16 home runs last season. He was the Cubs’ first-round draft choice in 2014 from Indiana. There are almost as many possible scenarios following this injury as there are young men and women who have suffered it. I know one man who was on crutches a year after the injury. I can name another who was walking freely within six months. As a huge follower of women’s college basketball, where knee ligament injuries are pandemic, I’ve known players to recover fully and others who were nothing but a liability to their teams following the surgery. So what may happen with Schwarber going forward is anybody’s guess. It’s my idea that if he can come back at all, a move to the American League would be wise for his future, in exchange for much-needed pitching help.
Every now and then, the MLB Network cherry-picks a certain game and sends their A-team of Bob Costas and Jim Kaat to cover it. Last night they got lucky. Their game featured 2 grand slams and a late rally as Boston came back from a 7-2 deficit to win 8-7. Josh Donaldson had hit a bases-loaded round-tripper in the home 4th to make it 7-2 Toronto. But the Sox put 4 up in the 6th on Brock Holt’s bases-loaded bomb and scored two more an inning later for the win. Drew Storen took the defeat for the Blue Jays. Hopefully he’ll be more philosophical this time, and not punch a locker like he did last September, breaking his pitching hand and insuring he’d be leaving the nation’s capital with only slightly more dignity than Richard Nixon.
I think the biggest miracle of yesterday was that no games across MLB were called off. I make no promises for today or tonight, as the forecast looks grim-particularly in the New York area where the Mets are to play the Phillies just after 7 PM. A mix of rain and snow was in this morning’s weather forecast for this part of the country. That being said the Orioles game is also in question. They are set to play the Tampa Bay Rays at 7 PM in Baltimore.
Eric Campbell is 29 today. While he’s listed as an outfielder he was tagged to replace David Wright when the Mets’ captain and third baseman went out with spinal stenosis. Campbell’s performance, particularly at the plate was brutal-a .197 average fir a corner infielder is just plain unacceptable. At different points he was demoted to make room for JohnnyMonell and Michael Cuddyer, which to Mets’ fans says all you need to say. He’s a native of Norwich, CT and played his college ball at Boston College. The Mets took him in round 8 in 2008 but even with his college background it took six years in the minors for him to reach the bigs, which he did at age 27.
Graeme Lloyd is 49 today. While he played 10 years with many teams he’s best remembered by Yankee fans as a lefty relief specialist who was with the Yankees for their 1996 and 1998 World Series championship runs. No Australian had gotten a World Series ring before he took one in 1996, and none has since. He went to the Blue Jays with David Wells when the Yankees got Roger Clemens. In 2000, when Lloyd was 33 and recovering from surgery his wife Cindy, age 26 passed away from Crohn’s Disease which she had battled for more than half of her life. For the two years which followed he was a spokesman for a foundation in her name. For many years he’s been pitching coach for the Perth Heat of the Australian Baseball League.
Nate Colbert is 70 today. He was the best known player of the early San Diego Padres, with whom he played from 1969 to 1974. In their uniform he was an All-Star 3 times in a row between 1971 and 1973. On August 1, 1972 he hit 5 home runs driving in 13 runs in a doubleheader (anybody remember what those were?) Before that the RBI record for a double-dip was 11, set by Stan Musial at a game Colbert attended in 1954. Stan the Man also had 5 home runs the day he drove in 11.
Our last birthday man is Claude Passeau who was born this day in 1909 and passed away in 2003 at 94. Outside of baseball He lived his life in Mississippi. He was an All-Star 5 times between 1941–46 all with the Cubs. The oldest Boston fans will remember Passeau for a pitch he threw in the 1941 All-Star game at Briggs Stadium in Detroit. In the last of the 9th, with two men on and the American League behind 5-4 Passeau threw a fat one that Ted Williams nearly hit entirely out of the stadium. It was the first walkoff home run to end an All-Star game. Only two have been hit since-by Stan Musial in 1955 and Johnny Callison in 1964. On the positive side of the ledger, Cubs’ fans might remember Passeau for game 3 of the 1945 World Series, the last Series the Cubs were in. He one-hit the Tigers. Their only hit was a second-inning single by Rudy York. Passeau started game 6 but hurt his pitching hand and had to leave in the sixth. The Cubs’ ended up winning that game in 12 but lost the next day and haven’t attended a Fall Classic since.0