Phillies Comeback Try Thwarted by Stanton’s Bomb; Rare Poppy Meltdown; Gong Show Returnis in Pittsburgh

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The Phillies haven’t won since they got the shaft from the umpires in St. Louis Wednesday night.  At that time they were ahead 4-0 and lost to the Cardinals.  Last night the Phils fell behind 4-0 early, tied it but lost in the 8th on a 2-run home run by GianCarlo Stanton. Early on, Christian Yelich hit a monster shot some 468 feet to open the scoring. That brought two runs home and the Fish got two more in their half of the second.  But the Phillies put up a  run in the third, two in the fourth and tied it an inning later on a Mikael Franco home run.  The bomb Stanton hit was measured at 475 feet, the longest home run hit in 2016.

David Ortiz isn’t as flashy as Yasiel Puig.  His career has lasted entirely too long for Yankee fans’ taste but until last night he wasn’t the guy to throw a tantrum, or have a meltdown. That’s how his night ended last night in the Bronx. He had hit a two-run home run to start things off.  For him that’s business as usual, he’s hit 50 home runs against the Yankees. But from there Michael Pineda kept the Sox quiet through 6, giving the Yankees time to tie the game.  In the 7th Aaron Hicks hit his first home run in pinstripes making it 3-2.  That set the stage for the unexpected histrionics of a normally mild-mannered sluggger.  Andrew Miller filled the bases with one out and Big Poppy, as he is called in Red Sox Nation coming to the dish.  His manager Johhn Farrell argued vehemently on strike two, and was ejected as arguing balls and strikes is not allowed.  Then on strike 3 which Ortiz took, he went wild, by his standards and saw the umpire raise his thumb in a signal as old as the game itself.  It took his ejected manager and a coach to restrain Ortiz, so angry was he at the third strike call.  The next hitter Hanley Ramirez struck out swinging and the Yanks had their second win in their last 3 games.

The Gong Show is now a part of the Pirates’ daily routine.  Last September, their shortstop and third baseman Jung-Ho Kang (pronounced Gong) suffered a horrific injury to his left knee and leg.  In almost 2/3 of a calendar year he returned to the field and to his team.  His return last night in St. Louis was marked by his first two home runs as the Pirates bested the Cardinals 4-2. With Neil Walker gone to New York and Pedro Alvarez launching shots in Baltimore, the Buckos need all the power Kang can provide going forward.

The Red Sox send David Price to the hill early this afternoon against Nathan Eovaldi of the Yankees.  They matched up last Sunday in an 8-7 Red Sox win where neither pitcher looked good but Price survived long enough to win.  Bad weather in Baltimore postponed last night’s game and makes necessary a day-night doubleheader there.  The early game is at 1:05, the night game is at 7:05. Clayton Kershaw has an early start in Toronto against knuckleballer R. A. Dickey.  Kershaw struck out 14 Padres last time out, but the Blue Jays are one of the American league’s top hitting teams. In a night game, Shelby Miller is still looking for his first win.  As bad as the Braves are, Teheran is the best opponent they can throw at Miller and the D-Backs. They finally are getting their center fielder Ender Inciarte back off the DL.  To compensate they sent 31-year-old Cuban defector Adonis Garcia to AAA.  Garcia had done poorly with the glove at both third base and in left field. The Royals are up against it at third base, where Mike Moustakas has a broken left thumb and is on the DL now. Angels fans won’t see starter Garrett Richards any time this year or most of next.  He has a torn UCL in his elbow, the injury Kerry Wood suffered in  1999 and needs Tommy John Surgery.

Hall of Famer and Former Oakland manager Dick Williams was born this day in 1929 and died in July 2011. Until writing this piece I had no idea he was a player before turning to managing.  He hit .260 between 1951 and 1964. He was a utility man for the Dodgers among other teams. His final team, the Red Sox made him AAA manager in Toronto in 1965-his first year off the playing field, and promptly the team won 2 Governor’s Cups-the AAA version of a World Series.  He led the Sox to the very edge of a world series title only to be beaten by Bob Gibson and the Cardinals. After two unsuccessful seasons he left the friendly atmosphere of Tom Yawkey’s Red Sox for the always stormy waters of the East Bay and Charles O. Finley’s Athletics. Before him 10 managers had run the show in 10 years.  He led the team to the ALCS in 1971 and won the World Series the next two seasons.  Finley being who he was, Williams left in disgust  and the Athletics won their third straight World Series under Alvin Dark.  Williams landed with the Angels. From there it was on to Montreal in 1977.  By 1979 he guided his team to its first winning season. He was fired near the end of 1981 and joined the Padres the next season. By 1984 the Padres were a winner and World Series participant, losing in 5 to Kirk Gibson’s Tigers. His final stop as a manager was Seattle for almost two seasons.  He was inducted into  the Hall of Fame in 2008.

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