Urias Bombs; Granderson Bails Out Familia as Mets Top Dodgers;

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Saturday.

Sometimes a team brings up a teenage prospect and his results are spectacular-Don Gullet, Gary Nolan and Dwight Gooden come to mind.  Sometimes they’re mediocre-David Clyde on the 1973 Rangers pitched a couple of good games but instead of then being sent to the minors remained on the Rangers to his sorrow.  And then you have the kind of debut Julio Urias made last night for the Dodgers.  The 19-year-old from the jungles of deep Mexico made his first start last night in New  York-on the grandest stage of all-and flopped. He had called his father Carlos in Sinaloa to tell him of the callup which his father had dreamed of since his son Julio was 5 years old. His parents and two older siblings flew to New York.  His parents got to speak with iconic Dodgers’ Spanish language broadcaster Jaime Jarrin, a Ford C. Frick Award winner and boxing broadcaster. Up to now it was all a dream come true for the Urias family.  Then,  The dream for one outing at least turned into a nightmare.  Urias  was gone before the third inning and was lucky to only give up 3 runs, all of which the Mets scored in the first.

It didn’t take long for Urias to look like the novice he is.  While he struck out his first hitter Curtis Granderson looking, the next hitter Asdrubal Cabrera hit a booming double and quickly advanced to third on a wild pitch.  Though David Wright struck out, Urias walked Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker doubled home Cabrera. Juan Lagares then singled home both runners to make it 3-0. The teen prodigy  escaped the second inning only walking one man. In the visiting third Chase Utley hit a scoring fly ball making it 3-1 to chants of “Utley sucks,” his just desserts after breaking Ruben Tejada’s leg during the last NLDS. In the home third, with two out Lagares singled.  At that point Urias showed his youth by walking both_ Kevin Plawecki and Eric Campbell, neither of whom hit their weight at the major league level.  That was more than enough for Dodgers’ skipper Dave Roberts. Urias was gone and Chris Hatcher was summoned to keep it at 3-1 which he did for the moment. In the home fourth David Wright hit the longest of the Mets’ home runs of the evening at 429 feet. An inning later Lagares hit a solo blast off reliever Joe Blanton making it 5-1 Mets where it would stay until the 9th.

In came Jeurys Familia, the closer with the unblemished record-16 saves in 16 chances.  But we all have our off nights and this was his. When he was through all Jacob DeGrom’s excellent starting work would go for naught.   He was in trouble from the outset.  Both Adrian Gonzalez and Howie Kendrick singled to start the inning.  After Joc Peterson struck out, Yasiel Puig singled to load the bases. Familia then walked light-hitting Yasmani Grandal to force home a run.  Next up was Chase Utley who had heard it from the 43,000 in attendance on every atbat, much as Pete Rose heard it at Shea in 1973 after decking Bud Harrelson during that year’s NLCS.   Channeling his inner Pete Rose, Utley doubled  clearing the bases and tying the game.  The perfect way to give it right back to the Flushing faithful. But in the home 9th, almost before you could blink the game was over on a home run by Curtis Granderson off Pedro Baez.  Talk about high dramatics on the world’s biggest stage. It had a playoff feel even if neither team makes this year’s playoffs.

Any team is eager to welcome back a star following a major injury.  Tonight  it’s the Rangers’ turn.   Yu Darvish hasn’t thrown a pitch with intent since August, 2014 when he had Tommy John surgery.  Today he takes the hill for the first time since the injury as his team hosts the Pirates. Word is The Pirates  mean to let him throw 85-90 pitches if he can go that far. in another night game, Noah Syndergaard, or Thor as he is known on the 7 line faces Kenta Maeda of the Dodgers.

One of the game’s better closers-Craig Kimbrel of the Red Sox-is 28 today. He’s only been in the game 6 years and already has 237 saves. He broke in with the Braves in 2010 and was traded  in a shocking move to San Diego just before last season opened. He joined Boston via another trade.   He’s already been an All-Star 4 times, 2011-14. In the same 4 years he led his league in saves. He was NL Rookie of the Year for 2011 setting a record for saves by a rookie with 46.

Kirk Gibson is 59. today.  He has perhaps the ultimate Sports Center moment in all baseball, if it isn’t Carlton Fisk’s home run in game 6 of the 1975 World Series.  Gibson, who the world had been told couldn’t play in the 1988 World Series due to a bad leg somehow forced himself to the dish in a pinch-hitting role in the last of the 9th of game 1.  The score was 4-3 Oakland thanks to an earlier grand slam by Jose Canseco.  Against Dennis Eckersely, on a 3-2 count Gibson hit a mighty home run that won the game and set the tone for the World Series.  The unheralded Dodgers beat the A’s in 5.  Gibson, of Pontiac, Michigan was a first round draftee of the Tigers in 1978. Me made his first appearance in late 1979 and lasted until 1995. His 1988 Dodgers’ season was his first away from Trumbull Avenue in Detroit. He made brief stops in Kansas City and Pittsburgh before playing his final 3 years back in Detroit. In 1984 he was ALCS MVP and in 1988 he was the league’s MVP with the Dodgers. He hit a series-clinching home run in game 5 of the 1984 World Series off the Padres’ Rich Gossage. Gibson is on his second stint doing color commentary on Tigers games, this time with Jack Morris.  He managed Arizona from  mid-2010 to the end of 2014.

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