Hi all. First and foremost I hope everybody had a happy and safe holiday weekend. Now, here’s how I see baseball as we end May.
Coming into yesterday’s game, Mets fans had every reason to be concerned about the rest of their season. Lucas Duda, their first baseman is on the DL with a fracture in his back and David Wright may be headed there with a herniated disk in his neck. Saturday their best pitcher was ejected by a AAA umpire who had been called up and for some reason was assigned a major series. Sunday their closer had flamed out for the second outing in a row. And up until yesterday Matt Harvey, the Dark Knight had had as bad a year as a pitcher can imagine. But hopefully his 1-0 win over the White Sox yesterday is the start of a resurgence for him. Harvey went 7 and Jeurys Familia got the save, bouncing back from two dreadful outings against the Dodgers this weekend. The Mets scored their only run in the 7th which was Harvey’s final inning on the hill. This allowed him to gain his 4th win against 7 losses so far.
Meantime, the Mets’ most recent opponent had their own troubles in Chicago. The Dodgers, playing a day game after a Sunday night game in New York got just one hit as they lost 2-0. The Cubs lost starter Jason Hamel to cramping in his right hamstring after just 2 innings of work. Their response? No Problem. Travis Wood pitched 4 perfect innings and the rest of the bull pen followed suit. Along with Hamel getting the last 4 he saw, the Cubs retired the last 25 Dodgers on their way to victory before some 41,000 at Wrigley.
In Philadelphia, the first-place Nationals showed why they’re in first place, putting up a 3-run 8th to take a 4-2 win against the homestanding Phillies. Daniel Murphy hit a solo home run early on and collected the game-winning two-run hit in the pivotal 8th inning. Murphy, who made a splash hitting home runs for the Mets in the last postseason now stands at .395, the 9th-highest average any man has had at this point of the season since 1980. And the Mets, knowing their third baseman was a liability didn’t make Murphy an offer last September. If I had eyes I’d be rolling them. The last major leaguer this hot at the end of May was Chipper Jones, hitting .409 for the 2008 Braves.
One of Today’s matinees is in Arizona. The Astros go with Lance McCullers, whose dad of the same name was a big leaguer some 30 years ago. His son faces Patrick Corbin, one of the D-Backs’ better hurlers. The younger McCullers put up 10 K’s against the Orioles in his last outing, something his dad rarely if ever did. Another daylight game is in Seattle where the Padres visit the Mariners. Later tonight, The Yankees send CC Sabathia to the hill in Toronto. He has to face the potent Blue jays’ offense for the second time in as many outings, but he’s done well his last two times out. He faces J. A. Happ of the Jays. If you want an old-fashioned pitching duel, set your computer or TV to get you the Miami-Pittsburgh game. Gerritt Cole of the Pirates faces Jose Fernandez of the Marlins, and short of Kershaw and Arrieta you’re talking about two of the best you’ll find. Jake Peavy of the Giants pitches on his 35th birthday against Matt Wisler, who is all of 23 and presumably had a Jake Peavy baseball card in his collection. The aforementioned Jake Arrieta faces the Dodgers. The last time he did, he fired a no-hitter at them on a Sunday night ESPN game.
As mentioned above, Giants’ starting pitcher Jake Peavy is 35 today. The Padres drafted the Alabama native in round 15 back in 1999. He reached the show in June 2002, a meteoric rise for a high school pitcher. Up to now he’s put up a 148-121 mark. As awful as the Padres tend to be, he lasted with them until 2009. From then until 2013 he toiled for the White Sox. From there he donned the Boston uniform and then on to the Giants where he pitches today. His luck has been good of late-he was with the Red Sox when they won the World Series of 2013 and the Giants who won it in 2014. He won the Cy Young and led his league in wins in 2007 as a Padre, giving his opponents the last rights. He’s been an All-Star 3 times. Until joining the Giants, he wore 44-Henry Aaron’s old number. Aaron, like Peavy is from Mobile, Alabama. In San Francisco that number is retired for Willie McCovey, so after struggling wearing 43 Peavy cut 44 in half and chose 22.
Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts is 44 today. He bounced around the bigs for a decade including a stint with the team he presently manages. He had coached the Padres since 2011, but grabbed the Dodgers’ job when Don Mattingly committed career suicide by joining the Marlins. He was with the Red Sox when they won the 2004 World Series. He is the son of a retired Marine, and might have played quarterback at the Air Force Academy had he not declined their offer. Instead he played as a walkon at UCLA. Walkon or not, he was good enough to be drafted in the 28th round in 1994 by the Tigers. In 1996 he stole 65 bases, leading all minor league baseball. Stealing a base played a critical role in his one Sports Center moment. This was the scene: game 4, 2004 ALCS, Yanks up 3 games to None and 4-3 in the game. Roberts, a pinch-runner stole second off Mariano Rivera and scored the tying run on a Bill Mueller single. The Sox won that game, 3 more from the Yanks and 4 in a row from Colorado to take the World Series. Roberts did some broadcasting with NESN on Red Sox games in 2009 but traded his mike for a coach’s job, leading to where he is now, managing the boys that bleed Dodger blue.
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