Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball today.
No doubt Arizona’s Jake Lamb has endured “Silence of the Lambs” references ever since he broke into baseball, where that gruesome movie is just one of hundreds that players devour with an insatiable appetite. I’ve taken those interminable bus rides on which as many as 4 movies containing the players’ twin favorites-sex and violence-are seen and heard, at full blast i might add. Lamb has been a pro since he was taken in round 6 of 2012 by the D-Backs. He played for the Washington Huskies in college and times being what they are, he probably saw Silence of the Lambs and heard the jokes even then as they ventured to Arizona and California. Last night, Lamb was not in the least bit silent, as he crashed a game-tying home run with two strikes and two outs in the top of the 9th in San Francisco. Two innings later, Jean Segura got his third hit of the night, a single driving home the tie-breaker, then Lamb roared again by doubling home Segura on a rifle shot off the Giants’ Chris Heston. The giants had a 6-2 lead in the fifth when Angel Pagan singled home Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford. Bit by bit the D-Backs crept closer and finally tied the game at 6 on a pair of scoring fly balls. It looked like the Giants had it won when Denard Span scored on a wild pitch uncorked by the D-Backs Daniel Hudson. But when the chips were down the Seattle native Lamb leveled the game, setting the stage for his team’s victory in extra innings.
Yesterday featured a morning Red Sox game, a tradition in Boston on Patriots’ Day. The holiday was proclaimed in 1894 in Massachusetts and Maine (which was part of Massachusetts until 1820.) The holiday was April 19 until 1969 when it was moved to the third Monday in April. It commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord. The Red Sox have been scheduled at home every year on that day since 1959, and the early start of the games began in 1968. Yesterday’s morning tussle resulted in a win for the visiting Toronto Blue Jays, 4-3. The jays were down 1-0 until the top of the 8th when they put up 4 runs, highlighted by a 2-run single from catcher Russell Martin. In the last of the 9th their closer Drew Storen gave up two Red Sox runs but caught David Ortiz looking to end the game.
The Mets, like most major league teams see Citizens’ Bank Park in Philadelphia as a health spa for ailing bats. Last night was no different. David Wright, the second batter of the game gave Mets’ starter Noah Syndergaard an early 1-0 lead with his first home run. With the score 2-1 in the top of the 8th Lucas Duda and Neil Alvarez went back-to-back making it 4-1. An inning later Wright hit his second of the night providing the final margin of victory.
Meantime the soap opera of Trevor Story continues in Denver. He put up his 8th home run in his first 13 major league games, something no man has ever done. His blast broke up a 1-1 game in the 8th. After a walk and a hit, Jumbo Diaz came in from the Reds’ bull pen and served up a jumbo meat ball to Ben Paulson who sent it soaring into the Colorado night. The Rockies beat the Reds 5-1.
Bryan Mitchell, the Yankees’ injured pitcher is 25 today. His troubles have been well-documented; a broken nose last August and a broken toe in spring training which needed surgery and will put him on the shelf until at the very least August. He hails from the Rockingham, NC area, best known for its NASCAR track. The Yankees drafted him in 2009 out of high school and made him an offer which he chose instead of a career at University of North Carolina. Along with his travails, he hasn’t won a major league game to date.
Jackie Bradley JR is 26 today. He plays for the Red Sox, which by itself is forgivable, but my former wife had a none-too-secret crush on him ever since she saw him in a spring training game several years ago. The Virginian has a .216 career batting average up to now, hardly what the Red Sox hoped for when they took him in the first round in 2011. As a South Carolina Gamecock he was named Most Outstanding Player of the 2010 College World series.
Joe Mauer is 33 today. It seems like he’s been around forever. In fact he was the overall first pick in the country in 2001 by the Twins. Had they not done this, he would have played football for the Seminoles of Florida State. He’s a local from St. Paul who sports a .313 lifetime average, having played since 2004. He was the league MVP in 2009, and an All-Star 6 times over, the last time being 2013. He has 3 batting titles, which no catcher has done, and once hit .365-an unheard of average for a man wearing the tools of ignorance. Now he’s a first baseman in an effort to keep his bat in the lineup and keep his body intact.
Frank Viola is 56. He was called Sweet Music in his playing days starting with the cleverness of a Minnesota sports writer. Before going pro he and John Franco were teammates on the St. Johns’ Redmen of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Viola faced Ron Darling of Yale, who would later be his teammate in an NCAA regional game considered the best in college baseball history. He put up a 176-150 record between 1982 and 1996. He was an All-Star 3 times between 1988 and 1991 as a Twin and a Met. His Twins won the 1987 World Series with Viola as the series’ MVP. He took home the Cy Young Award and led the league in wins a year later. Since 2011 he’s been a pitching coach in the Mets’ minor league system, getting as high as AAA Las Vegas.0