You’ve seen those daytime TV talk shows where a baby’s paternity is in dispute, and the host, milking the drama for all his talent will permit says, “Freddie, YOU ARE NOT!!!!!_ The Father!” Well, somebody should tell the Mets that the Jonathan Niese who threw 7 shutout innings yesterday for the Pirates is not their Niese. Theirs might have deone better out of the bull pen, as he could go an inning or two without coming unglued but he could never manage as a starter. The Niese who pitched for the Pirates yesterday is the sort of pitcher the Mets wished they had in Matt Harvey who got shelled for the third time in 3 starts as the Mets’ bad start to the season continued. Harvey gave up 5 runs to the Indians in less than 5 innings and a Mets’ rally fell shy as they lost 7-5 in Cleveland. Meantime the Pirates shut out the Brewers 5-0 with Niese going the first 7 scoreless innings.
Clearly the game of the night happened in San Diego, where the Padres won their first home game in 5 tries. Melvin Upton JR. (or is he B J Upton?) hit a 2-run walkoff shot in the last of the 14th for a 5-3 Padres win over Arizona. Remember how excited the D-Backs were to get Shelby Miller, the 17-game loser from last year’s Braves? He didn’t get out of the second inning against the Padres. True enough he left with two cut knuckles on his pitching fingers but he was already well on his way to giving the Padres two runs that inning and had 3 walks against one strikeout to a poor hitting team. This is the record of a guy who’s afraid to trust his stuff. I don’t know what he’ll do against the Giants, Rockies or Cardinals just for example and I can’t even guess when he’ll return to the hill. A pitcher’s fingers are as vital as those of a surgeon in their own way. He got hurt throwing ball 4 to pitcher Andrew Kashner loading the bases. He tried to continue and fired 3 balls out of the zone against John Jay and that was that. His successor walked Jay, with the run going against Miller’s record. After his 3 walks the D-Backs walked all of two men in the remaining 12 atbats the Padres would have. In the home third Matt Kemp launched one out of gigantic Petco Park to make it 3-0 for the home team. But inch by inch and row by row the D-Backs tied the game without dramatics. A grounder in the fifth, a scoring fly in the 7th and a run on a wild pitch by Brandon Maurer in the 8th tied things up until Upton ended the 5-hour plus game. Ruby de la Rosa, the 9th Arizona pitcher took his third loss of the year.
The Yankees lost to the Mariners 3-2 in spite of getting 6 walks from King Felix Hernandez. That ties a career record for him and is comparable to Scrooge giving Bob Cratchet a large pay raise before_ being visited by the 3 spirits. The Yankees squandered their unexpected gift going 0 for 12 with men in scoring position.
The Reds who had been demolished 14-3 by the Cardinals Friday night came back for a 9-8 win yesterday afternoon. Early on the Cardinals got ahead 4-0 and the average Reds fan must have thought “Here we go again,” as he opened his next can of Natty Light. Stephen Piscotty hit a 3-run home run to make it 4-0 and seemingly continue the barrage that began with 6 Cardinals home runs Friday night. But in the fifth with the score 4-2 the Reds began their own assault-9 doubles all told, tying a franchise record. And remember this franchise goes back to the very beginning of the game itself, the RedStockings of 1869. Zack Cozart and Brandon Phillips hit the first 2 of the 9 two-baggers tying the game. Rather than one of the doubles it was a solo home run by Jay Bruce that insured the Reds’ win. They were up 8-6 when he took one over the Busch Stadium fence. In the home half Brandon Moss hit a two-run blast to make it 9-8 but that was as near as the RedBirds would get in this contest.
It’s an all-Japanese matchup at Yankee Stadium in today’s earliest contest. The Mariners’ Hasashi Iwakuma, who hurled a no-hitter last August will face the Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka, who was signed with the hopes of a no-hitter or two and after a stellar first year has been nothing but disappointment and dread while we wait for his elbow to blow out entirely which, if it happens now will disqualify him until 2018. The Mets’ must hope Steven Matz can only get better after giving up 7 runs in less than 2 innings against the Marlins in his first start this year. He’ll need to be better, as the Mets face reigning Cy Young winner Corey Kluber of the Indians in Cleveland. The Phillies’ have their most experienced, if not their most capable starter Charlie Morton going against Gio Gonzales, arguably the best the Nationals can offer after Max Scherzer, with Jordan Zimmerman gone to Detroit. Another costly Japanese import is on view in the late game on ESPN at 8 PM Eastern. The Dodgers’ Kenta Maeda faces the Giants at Dodger Stadium.
Marquis Grisom is 49 today. Between 1989 and 2005 he put up a .272 lifetime batting average. His longest stretch with any team was with the Expos, from 1988 to 1994. They had drafted him in the third round out of Florida A&M in Tallahassee. He was an All-Star in 1993 and 1994, was a World Series winner with the Braves in 1995 and played in the Series the following year when they lost in 6 to the Yankees. With the Indians a year later he copped the MVP of the ALCS, where they beat Baltimore after shocking the world by beating Mariano Rivera and the Yankees. The Indians lost that World Series in 7 games with the final game going 11 innings. In his salad days he led the league in steals twice and caught the final out of Dennis Martinez’ perfect game in 1991.