Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Friday, August 12.
The Cubs won their 10th in a row last night, their longest winning streak in 15 years. It took 11 innings to beat the Cards 4-3 in last night’s feature game on the MLB network. Anthony Rizzo drew a walk with the bases full to end things. The Cardinals had their chance with the bases full in the top half and the game-winning walk was controversial. However, balls and strikes are perhaps the only things that can’t be reviewed in 2016 baseball. The next game I go to, if the hot dog roll is stale I’ll challenge it and try to get another. In today’s early game the teams’ two aces match up. The Cardinals turn to Adam Wainwright and the Cubs to Jake Arrieta.
Rockies’ rookie David Dahl has equaled a record from 1941. He hit safely in his 17th straight game to open his career, the most for a man beginning in the majors since the year America was drawn into World War II. In that famous season where Joe DiMaggio hit in 56 straight and Ted Williams hit .406, a rookie named Chuck Aleno of the Reds also hit in 17 straight to begin his brief MLB career. After his streak the pitchers adjusted and he couldn’t adjust back, meaning Aleno didn’t amount to much in the bigs. Then again, there were only 7 teams of pitchers to see in 1941 as opposed to 29 additional teams today. Dahl begins a series against the Phillies tonight, and their pitchers are a health spa for the ailing bat. Just ask the Dodgers who took 2 out of 3 from the Phillies and battered Phillies’ pitchers in doing so.
Other than the Cubs-Cards game today, the Yankees host the Rays and are making the mistake of having a ceremony for A.Rod in his final game. The man has disrespected his body and his God-given talent, disgraced himself by lying for years if not decades about his sins and dishonored the game he played as callously as Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose. And yet he will be honored instead of slinking away like the outlaw he is. The game itself will be delayed half an hour for this preposterous ceremony. Fittingly, CC Sabathia pitches for the Yankees, and last call can’t come soon enough for him considering his 1–5 record and 6.62 ERA since June 22. Meantime, Joe Musgrove of the Astros makes his second MLB start and faces Francisco Liriano, a pitcher he doubtless saw on a baseball card growing up. Also today, regional coverage continues as the best Little League teams in this country jockey for positions in Williamsport, where their World Series starts August 18. There will be a certain amount of coverage of that World Series in this space, though I can’t say how much at this time.
The Atlanta Braves are giving Akeel Morris a second chance in the bigs. Last season he was called up by the Mets from their low A farm club when they were in dire need of reenforcements in the bull pen. He pitched once, poorly and was sent back, then traded to the Braves this season for Kelly Johnson. Morris had been with the Braves’ AA team in Mississippi.
The Dodgers’ Julio Urias is 20 today. The native of Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico made his first MLB appearance on May 27 against the Mets and was battered by their pathetic lineup. But as of now he’s 2-2 with a 4.66 ERA. He was signed at 16 from a team with the wonderful name of the Mexico City Red Devils. Take that, Devil Rays-somebody kept the Devil in their name. Two years later he got to play for a team with an equally wonderful name, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.
This weekend will feature ceremonies for the 1996 Yankees. However, one of their least remembered players has his birthday today. Dave Pavlas is 54 today. He hails from Frankfurt, West Germany and played briefly for the Cubs in 1990. He stayed in the minors through 1992, then spent 2 years in the Mexican league. He joined the Yankees as a replacement player before the end of the strike in 1995. He was not on the roster for the playoffs in 1996. After that he played a year in Japan and stayed in the minors until 2001.