They Might Not_ be Giants; Marlins-Scratch Stanton, Again!_

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Monday, August 15.

While I live in a state where betting is legal, I haven’t laid my money down in years.  If I were to do so, at the All-Star break I would have bet the ranch on the Giants.  Nobody seemed close to challenging them in the NL West and I would have bet on them to upset the Cubs who have found ways to lose every time they’ve been even near the playoffs.  But since the All-Star break the Giants are only 9-18, worst in MLB and all told their bull pen has blown 24 saves.  The most recent was yesterday.  The Giants were up 7-1 in their home park against the Orioles, who should have just wanted to get on their plane out of Frisco.  But the Orioles rallied in the last 3  innings to score a surprise 8-7 win over the Giants. While Matt Wieters went 5 for 5, the real hero of the day was Jonatan Schoop (pronounced Scope,) who hit a 3-run home run with two out in the 9th.  He unloaded one into the left field bleachers off  the Giants’ closer Santiago Casilla. Manny Machado had started the trouble with a hit and Mark Trumbo had walked setting the scene for Schoop. For the Giants, backup catcher Trevor Brown had 2 hits and 3 RBIS. For the O’s, Zach Britton did what the Giants couldn’t do-close the deal. He collected his 37th save keeping his side on the  heels of the Blue Jays who are still in first in the AL East. With the score 7-3 Giants, Mark Trumbo hit his 34th home run, leading all of MLB in circuit clouts. That made it 7-4.  He’s had homers in 3 of his last 4 games and home run hitters are notoriously streaky. Look out, Red Sox. You’re coming into TrumboTown when he’s hot.

This is all too familiar for the Marlins.  In 2014  GianCarlo Stanton saw his season curtailed early when he was hit in the face by a pitch.  In 2015 he broke his hand less than halfway through the season  and was done for the year.  Now, a grade 3 groin strain has him on the shelf for the duration and puts any hopes the Marlins had in jeopardy.  As it is, if they made the playoffs they’d have to do it without Dee Gordon, who lost 80 games for a drug indiscretion earlier in the year.  Said penalty automatically disqualifies him from the playoffs.  Now they probably have to live without Stanton owing to an unspeakably painful injury. He got hurt on the last play of Saturday’s game which the Fish lost to the White Sox 8-7. He was trying to stretch a single into a double with disastrous consequences. This will put a lot more strain on the creaky body of Ichiro Suzuki, unless the Marlins acquire the equally creaky Carlos Gomez or Alex Rodriguez.  None of the above have been in boundless good health the last few seasons.  Gomez didn’t get traded to the Mets because of a hip issue and Alex’s health issues are almost as well known as his drug sins and his attempt to sue his former employer. While Stanton was only hitting .244, he had 25 home runs which isn’t easy to do in the palpable atmosphere of Miami in summer. Heaven only knows what he’d do in Toronto or Philadelphia, just to name two hitter’s havens.   The Marlins are  already doing without Justin Bour (pronounced Bore,) who sprained his ankle on July 2 and isn’t due back until September. he had 15 home runs before the injury.

Surprisingly, there’s a matinee today in Cleveland between the Red Sox and Indians at 1:10 PM Eastern. Drew Pomeranz, who the Sox got from the Padres hopes to win one after leaving twice with the lead and having his bull pen blow it. The Red Sox are coming off a 16-2 walloping of the D-Backs yesterday. In that game Mookie Betts hit 3 home runs for the second time this season. Only one other Red Sox player had done it, the Splendid Splinter.  Ted Williams twice hit 3 home runs in a game in 1957.  Betts’ feat must have brought the usually screechy Red Sox broadcaster Joe Castiglione to the brink of apoplexy. Betts also put up 8 RBIS, which no member of the Old Town Team had done in 13 years. All the other games are under the lights.  The Yankees, coming off  a 12-3 thrashing by the Rays face the ageless R. A. Dickey and his knuckleball.  Their hurler will be Chad Green, just up from AAA. He’s been here before, considering he has almost a 5 ERA in 8 outings.  Max Scherzer gets the challenge of pitching at Coors Canaveral for the Nats. Bartolo Colon pitches for the Mets against the D-Backs in Phoenix. They’re the only team he hasn’t beaten. He’s bettered all the other MLB teams and a few Federal League teams. King Felix Hernandez looked like the old King his last time out, and he faces the Angels tonight. The last remaining Little League regional is today at Noon, as Kentucky faces Michigan.  I can only surmise this regional was held up by rain, as ideally the League  wouldn’t want teams to play so close to the start of the World Series itself on Thursday. This puts today’s winner at a disadvantage to the teams whose tickets have already been punched.

Jon Moscot of the Reds’ battered pitching staff is 25 today. The Reds took him in round 4 of the 2012 draft. He had played his college ball for the Wave of Pepperdine University. He was 7-1 with AAA Louisville before a June 5 call-up to the bigs. He made his first start at 23. He dislocated his left (non-throwing) shoulder in his third start and was through for 2015.

Oliver Perez, who seems like he’s been around forever is 35 today.  He’s a native of Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico. As of now he’s with the Nationals, but he broke into the show in 2002 with the Padres. His longest runs were with the Pirates and Mets. He pitched in AA during  all of 2011 but since then has been a Mariner, a D-Back, a proud Astro (does it still make a fellow proud to be an Astro? I hope so)  and a National. He has also pitched for his native Mexico in 3 World Baseball Classics. He pitched a game each in the NLDS and NLCS for the Mets in 2006.  His NLCS start was game 7 where he pitched well but the Mets lost. He calls home Paradise Valley, Arizona, the home of former wrestler Superstar Billy Graham and the late humorist Erma Bombeck.

Former Yankee Scott Brosius is 50 today. He played for Oakland from 1991-97, then joined the Yankees in 1998 with Wade Boggs gone to Tampa Bay. He was an All-Star in 1998 and played in 4 consecutive World Series, only losing in 2001. In 1998 he claimed the World Series MVP award and in 2001 he hit a two-run shot to tie game 5. Oakland took him in round 20 in 1987 from Linfield College in Oregon.  After baseball he was Linfield’s head coach until he got a job as hitting coach at AAA Tacoma which he holds today. He caught the final out of David Cone’s perfecto in 1999, a popup off the bat of the Expos’ Orlando Cabrera.

Duffy Dyer is 71 today. Mets’ fans don’t have to try hard to remember him.  He was the backup catcher behind Jerry Grote in their glory years. He broke in with the Mets in 1968 and lasted until 1981. After his Mets’ tenure he played for the Pirates, Expos and Tigers. His given name is Donald Robert Dyer and he hails from Dayton, Ohio. The nickname came from a famous radio show of the 1940’s, “Duffy’s Tavern.”  His mother was listening to the show when she went into labor, and on waking she asked “How’s Duffy?”  As of now he manages the Kenosha Kingfish of the North Woods League, a summer league where college players swing wooden bats. As a collegiate he was a teammate of Sal Bando and Rick Monday at Arizona State.  They both went to Oakland. Their college team won the College World Series in Omaha in 1965. He caught John Candelaria’s no-hitter on August  9, 1976.

Knuckleballer Barney Schulz was born this day in 1926 and died just last September. He hailed from Beverly, NJ, just a long line drive from where I write these pieces. He pitched for the Cardinals, Tigers, Cubs, then back to the Cardinals where his decade-long career ended in 1965. Later he coached for the Cubs and Cardinals. If George Warren “Barney” Schultz is remembered at all, it is for Mickey Mantle taking him way downtown to end the third game of the 1964 World Series.  It gave a win to Jim Bouton on a walk-off home run though that term hadn’t come into vogue yet. In the off-season he was a carpenter and sold shirts to make ends meet.

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