Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Tuesday, August 9.
A few Decades ago, the Bellamy Brothers sang a country song called “For All the Wrong Reasons.” Last night, I predicted the best match of the night would be the game in Miami between the Giants and Marlins. It was in fact the best game-for all the wrong reasons. The Giants’ 8-7 14-inning marathon win wasn’t at all the game I had forecast in this space yesterday. I felt Jose Fernandez, the Marlins’ starter facing Johnny Cueto of the Giants would make for a pitching duel that could only be bettered if Madison Bumgarner of the Giants were available. As it turned out, Cueto couldn’t get the job done and the Fish had a 5-1 lead through 6 innings with Fernandez doing what he does, especially at Marlins Park where he almost never loses. The Marlins put up 2 in the 4th and 3 in the fifth including back-to-back home runs by Martin Prado and Christian Yelich. But in the 7th with Fernandez gone, the Giants put up 5 runs making it a new game. The Marlins took a 7-6 lead on a two-run single by Yelich. But in the 8th and again in the 14th Brandon Crawford collected rbi-singles. All told he had 7 hits in 8 tries last night, the first man to do so in a game since Rennie Stennett in 1975 for the Pirates against the Cubs. Only 5 men have put up 7 hits in a game since 1913. Fernandez gave up 6 hits and 2 walks in his 6 innings. Over the next 8 innings the bull pen gave up 12 hits and walked 9 men, allowing 21 Giants base runners in 8 frames during which they had to get 24 outs.
As bad as the Reds’ bull pen has been all year, last night they may have hit their nadir, and I’m sure it was enough to make their fans ralph. Ahead 4-0 in St. Louis, the Reds gave up 5 in the 9th for a Cardinals’ walkoff win. Since the Marlins lost, the Cards are even with the Fish for the league’s second wild card spot. Through 8, the Cards had all of 5 hits and no runs. But in the 9th Matt Carpenter made it a 4-2 game with a single with the bases full. After an RBI single by Stephen Piscotty and a walk by Brandon Moss with the bases full the game was tied. It came to an end when reliever Ross Ohlendorf plunked Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina to let the winning run score.
We’re back to a full slate of games on this Tuesday. One is in the afternoon, as the Rangers face the Rockies in Denver at 3:10 Eastern. The Indians send Trevor Bauer against Max Scherzer in Washington. Bauer’s last win was in a 19-inning affair on July 1 while Scherzer has been as hot as DC weather in August tends to be. He’s only put up a 1.84 ERA since June 1. The Mets welcome Zack Greinke of the D-Backs in his return to the active list. He’s been on the DL since the end of June with a left oblique strain, and if you know what one of those is you work out a lot more than I do. If you want something fresher than the major league rota of games, there are Little League regionals at 3 and 8 PM on the road to Williamsport. Check your local listings for channel in your area.
Jason Heyward of the Cubs is 27 today. A native of Georgia, the Braves took him in round 1 in 2007. He was with them through 2014, then spent a year with the Cardinals before joining the Cubs for 2016. He was an All-Star in 2010 which was his Rookie year, and has 3 gold gloves.
Ted Simmons is 67 today. A rarity, he was a switch-hitting catcher during his playing career. He reached the majors late in 1968 with the Cardinals and lasted through 1988. He averaged .285 with nearly 2500 hits. He stayed with the Cardinals through 1980, then spent 5 years in Milwaukee and 3 in Atlanta. He was an All-Star 8 times between 1972 and 1983. He made one World Series, with the Brewers in 1982 losing to his former team the Cardinals. He has been a coach, manager or scout with various teams since 1992.
Tommie Agee was born this day in 1942 and died early in 2001. The pride of Magnolia, Alabama, Agee is still remembered well as the center fielder for the 1969 Miracle Mets. As a boy he had been a teammate of Cleon Jones who played by his side wearing orange and blue. He had broken in as early as 1962 with the Indians and played for the White Sox before joining the Mets in 1968. He had been an All-Star in 1966 and 1967 with the White Sox. In game 3 of the 1969 World Series, he led off the last of the first with a home run. In the third with the bases full he made a terrific catch on what could have been a bases-clearing double. In the 7th with two on he caught another long shot to end the inning.
Ralph Houk, known as the Major, was born this day in 1919 and died in 2010. The nickname comes from his decorated status as an Army ranger during World War II. He played with the Yankees from 1947-54 but catching behind Yogi Berra wasn’t a way to get a lot of playing time. He’s best remembered as the Yankees manager, first from 1961-63, then 1966-73, then manager of the Tigers and Red Sox over the next 8 years.0