Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Wednesday morning.
In Houston it took extra innings but Carlos Correa hit a walkoff single in the 13th to give the Astros a 3-2 win over the Orioles. Earlier in the evening in the nation’s capital Matt Harvey dropped to 3-7 and his ERA soared to 6.08 as the Nats hit 3 of their 5 home runs of the night against him. The game ended up 7-4 Nats.
The Mets gave Harvey a 1-0 lead to work with, as Asdrubal Cabrera hit a home run in the 4th. In their half of the frame the Nats grabbed the lead for keeps on back-to-back blasts by Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon. An inning later, after a scoring fly ball by Ben Revere, ex-Met Daniel Murphy launched a moon shot that finished Harvey’s night. After he was gone, Revere and Wilson Ramos homered to give the Nats insurance. Stephen Strasburg closed the gap with the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta as he improved to 8-0 and the team has won its last 14 games when he was the starter. As for Harvey, he could well be riding the pines on Memorial Day, when he is scheduled to make his next start. As if his performance wasn’t dreadful, and it was he then left the mound and the park like a sulky teenager. He left his media duties to his catcher, Kevin Plawecki who has been beleaguered since replacing Travis D’Arnaud last year behind the dish.
In the longest game of the night, Carlos Correa of the Astros, who had been hitless in his last 15 trips singled home Tony Kemp with the bases full as the Astros beat the Orioles 3-2 in 13 innings. Manny Machado had tied it at 2 in the 6th with a home run but the zeros piled up after that, which is unusual at hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park. Between 7 pitchers, 19 Birds went down on strikes. Houston had a 2-1 lead on a home run by Luis Valbuena before Machado evened the score.
A shorter but equally dramatic game took place in Seattle where Leonys Martin hit a two-run home run with two out in the 9th inning giving the Mariners a 6-5 walkoff win over the A’s. The Mariners had gotten behind 5-2 and it looked like 5 straight home losses for the Seattle 9. Robinson Cano had cut the lead from 5-2 to 5-4 with an 8th-inning two-run jack setting the stage for Martin’s heroics.
There’s more than enough baseball today on TV and the Internet. As if the college tournaments which have begun weren’t dramatic you have a lot of MLB action this afternoon. The Mets are trying to salvage something after last night’s fiasco as Steven Matz faces Tanner Roark, whose strikeout numbers rival his teammate Strasburg. The Royals face the Twins in a matinee in Minneapolis. The Phillies and Tigers meet in Detroit. When the Cubs and Cards meet early this PM in St. Louis, the two pitchers should_ be well matched. Jake Arrieta goes for the Cubs, Carlos Martinez for the home team. However Martinez hasn’t been on his mettle this season and he has to be at his very best to compete with the Cubs’ ace. The Angels face the Rangers in a rare day game in Arlington, while the Indians battle the White Sox in Chicago. James Shields faces Jake Peavy in San Francisco when the Padres and Giants meet. Peavy especailly appears to be past his sell-by date, while Shields keeps rolling at 34. If he had run support his record would be far better than it is. The Yankees have won 6 in a row as they face the Blue Jays under the lights in the Bronx. Ivan Nova has pitched sensational baseball since taking CC Sabathia’s place in the rotation when the giant lefty went on the DL. The Bombers’ latest win was a 6-0 whitewash of the Jays.
In a recent piece in this forum I said American League pitchers would be glad to see the back end of Cheslor Cuthbert when the Royals sent him back to Omaha. OOPS, spoke too soon. Their left fielder Alex Gordon broke his right wrist and is now on the DL, and Cuthbert has been called back to the Royals to fill his spot. Go figure-Ross Stripling won the 17-inning marathon the Dodgers played in San Diego Sunday. His reward-a ticket back to AAA Oklahoma City. The Mets had to put their first baseman Lucas Duda on the DL with a fracture in his lower back. Been there, done that. Athlete or no, that man is hurting now. Ty Kelly was brought in from AAA Las Vegas and faced the Nats last night.
I’ve been unwell and could only do a partial column Monday and nothing at all yesterday. For this reason I missed the anniversary of the birth of broadcaster Arch McDonald. They called him the Old Pine Tree in Washington, and before his broadcasts would come on the station would play a song “They Tore Down the Old Pine Tree.” Arch Linn McDonald of Hot Springs, Arkansas broadcast the Senators from 1934 to 1956 with one year off, during which he covered the Yankees and Giants in New York. He was one of the earliest announcers to use the term “ducks on the pond,” for runners on base. My broadcast partner Jim Lucas used that term often during our dozen years in the minors. McDonald branched out to football in the 1940’s doing the Redskins and some college games. The Redskins were returning to DC from New York after a game with the Giants in October, 1960. A poker game was underway in the railroad car. The hand was dealt, McDonald took his cards in hand-and fell dead of a heart attack. He was just 59. 4 decades later, he won the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame for broadcast excellence.
Se veral men we saw when we broadcast in the minors have birthdays today, starting with Todd Walker. The Bakersfield native is 43. He was one of the better players on our 1995 New Britain Rock Cats team, the Twins AA team. Angel Echevarria is 45. We saw him in AA New Haven in 1995-96. The Ravens played i the league’s best hitter’s park and he belted some long ones off our pitching. I remember him with the Rockies later on. Joey Eischen is 46. We saw him in both A ball and AA with the Expos’ teams in West Palm Beach and Harrisburg. He was Joe in the minors but became Joey when he reached the top. A better known man is 66 today. He has one of the great nicknames of all time and might have gotten it even if Chris Berman wasn’t around. His given name is John Montefusco but the baseball world knows him as the Count of Montefusco. He’s from Long Branch, New Jersey and has done a lot to try to keep younger baseball men away from drugs which tormented him when he left baseball. Troubled by a degenerative hip ailment that forced him out of the game, he still put up a 90-83 record in all or part of 13 years in the show. He won Rookie of the Year in 1975 and was an All-Star a year later, both with the Giants for whom he played until 1980. Also in the bicentennial year he threw a no-hitter against the Braves. No Giant would hurl a no-no again until 2009 when Jonathan Sanchez did.0
May 25, 2016
I well remember Todd Walker in New Britain. The pre-season word on him was that he was almost certain to make it to “the Show” due to his bat, but his fielding was questionable. For the year, he was scheduled to play secondbase while his hands were evaluated, the plan was to move him to thirdbase if second was not going to be his ultimate position. Eventually, he played both spots in the majors.
May 26, 2016
Hi Tom. Thank you for your insightful recollections.
I don’t think anybody thought Torii Hunter would outshine Todd Walker but look how long Hunter lasted in the bigs.