Hi all. This is how I see baseball on this Sunday, July 3.
The Indians’ franchise record 14-game winning streak is over thanks to the Blue Jays taking a 9-6 win yesterday. Friday, both teams exhausted their bull pens in a 19-inning marathon the Indians finally won 2-1 for their 14th consecutive win, breaking their records set in 1942 and 1951. But yesterday it was the Blue Jays’ turn. The Indians didn’t make it easy, particularly Rajai Davis who hit for the cycle. Only 7 Indians have done that since the team began play in 1901. The last time the Indians lost was June 15 to the Royals. Edwin Encarnacion, who had been ejected from Friday’s game in the first inning picked up two hits, one being a 3-run home run. The Indians led 6-5 going to the home 7th but Josh Donaldson hit a mighty blast to dead center to tie it and the Jays put up 3 in the 8th to win it.
The Blue Jays, who used two position players as pitchers in Friday’s marathon had an honest starting pitcher to go with. He was Marco Estrada. They would have liked something better than what they got from him considering he walked 7 men in 5 innings as well as giving up 5 hits. He gave up 3 earned runs before leaving. But they were able to piece things together with Jason Grilli getting the win and Roberto Ozuna his 16th save. The Indians had to use Saturday’s scheduled starter Trevor Bauer to pitch the last 5 innings Friday, so they were desperate. They had to turn to a stunt normally done in the minors or in college ball. All the bull pen pitchers worked from start to finish. Zach McAllister drew the short straw and started, giving up 3 earned runs on a home run by Encarnacion in his one inning on the hill. Jeff Manship was next, working a clean second. Then came Shawn Morimando in his major league debut. He had been summoned from AA Akron as an extra warm body in the bull pen. He gave up 6 hits in his 3.2 innings but only 2 runs and those on a home run by Troy Tulowitzki, and he could do that to any pitcher. The loss went to Dan Otero who was working in the 8th inning when the Jays got their 3 runs for the margin of victory.
Last night was a rare one for the Angels. In destroying the Red Sox 21-2, they put up their most runs in a game since August, 2004. The Red Sox hadn’t given up so many runs since 2012. C.J. Cron and Carlos Perez will be public enemies number 1 and 2 in Boston, as Cron got 6 hits and Perez 5 in last night’s game. Cron had 5 RBIS while Perez picked up 6. Cron had 2 home runs while Perez and Albert Pujols had 1 each. He also had 5 RBIS, which is a week’s output for the fading star. Only once since 1961 when the Angels began play did two of them have 5 hits or more in the same game, and that duo was Mo Vaughn and Randy Velarde in 1999. It was 9-0 Angels before the Sox scored, which occurred in the home fifth. The worst of the damage came during an 11-run 7th inning, the Angels’ biggest inning since May 1997. The Red Sox didn’t help themselves by making 4 errors leading to 7 unearned Angels’ tallies. Robbie Ross was on the hill as the 7th began. He got one man out but gave up 5 hits and a walk, all 6 of whom scored. Pat Light was next on the hill, but as Hank Williams famously said “There ain’t no light.” He hit a batter and gave up 4 booming hits before finally getting the last two men out. He gave up a thundering tripple and a run in the 8th. By the 9th the Red Sox went to outfielder Ryan LaMarre rather than burn another reliever. Though he gave up 2 hits, nobody scored on him. The teams go at it again this afternoon in Boston.
Tonight’s ESPN feature game is being held at Fort Bragg, NC in a new 12,500-seat stadium which after tonight will become a softball complex for the soldiers stationed there. The Braves and Marlins wil meet in the first regular season game held at an active military base. And active is the word-it’s the largest military base in any country. During World War II, exhibition games were played at military posts. Also until the 1960’s teams played exhibition games all through the South after leaving their bases in Florida. But no regular season game has ever been held in the state of North Carolina-until tonight. The soldiers won’t have to spend a penny of their hard-earned pay, as the game is free. Up to now, the last games held anywhere near Fort Bragg were those of the ill-fated Cape Fear Crocs, an Expos A-ball team in the South Atlantic League in 2000. Before that the Tigers had a team in the same league called the Fayetteville Generals. The ball park used then was in pitiful shape and was crawling with fire ants, the nasty bugs that are rarely seen north of the Mason Dixon line. As small as the new field is by major league standards, its 12,500 seats will hold 25 times the usual crowd for a minor league game played in nearby Fayetteville.
Owing to another commitment, I will dispense with the usual birthdays today. However, there are several exceptional birthdays tomorrow which will be featured in this space.