Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Wednesday, August 17.
I owe this item to broadcaster Harris Allen of WFAN radio in New York, considering there was nothing about it in the “News” section of MLB.com. The finish in Arlington, Texas last night was as wild and woolly a finish as you could ask for, even in the most lawless frontier town where the expression comes from. The Rangers were up 2-1 as they went to the 9th. However, Oakland tied it in the 9th and put up a deuce in the 10th to make it 4-2. In today’s world that would set off a stampede for the exits in most parks. Whoever didn’t leave saw a garrison finish by the home team. With one out in the last of the 10th the Rangers worked 3 walks, then Carlos Beltran did what he had done for the Yankees until being traded-put up a clutch hit to drive the tying runs across. After an intentional walk to load the bases, Rougned Odour was hit by a pitch and the Rangers were winners. Both Beltran’s base hit and Odour’s plunking were on the first pitch they saw. The Rangers had to call on their bull pen early. Newly acquired starter Lucas Herrell left after two innings with a right groin strain. How bad it is will have an impact on the Rangers’ drive for the playoffs. They remain 5.5 games ahead of the field in the AL West.
At the far end of that division the Angels at long last broke an 11-game losing skid. They did it with a 7-6 win over the Mariners by putting up 2 runs in the 8th. Jefry Marte tied it with a two-out home run, then Cliff Pennington trippled home the game winner. Pennington had been the forgotten man of last year’s Bluejays, left off the roster as they faced the Rangers and Royals. Albert Pujols had hit a 3-run home run early on, and the Angels also got a solo blast from Jett Bandy. The shot by Pujols was number 582 for him, one behind his old teammate Mark McGwire.
It’s a duel of lefties in today’s matinee game in the Bronx. J. A. Happ of the Jays with his 16 wins faces CC Sabathia who’s just waiting for his last call, considering how many older Yankees have been dealt, released or have retired. The Yankees blew a 6-0 lead after a rain delay and ended up being slaughtered by the Jays 12-6. The Padres and Rays play at 1:10 in St. Pete. The Rays’ Chris Archer has 16 losses, so he’s on a pace to lose 20 for the first time in 13 years. The Rays’ record is 18, held by Tanyon Sturtze in 2002. The Tigers’ Mike Maroth lost 21 in 2003 and nobody has approached that mark since. The Cards and Astros meet just after 2 PM Eastern in Houston. Last night Jose Altuve got to 1,000 hits for the Astros. No Astro has reached 1,000 that fast. At 3:10 the Nats face the Rockies at Coors Canaveral. Stephen Strasburg gets to pitch, after not getting his 16th win last time out against the lowly Braves. The Giants host the Pirates at 3:45. Ivan Nova is 2-0 for the Pirates, and Yankee fans have to wonder where is the Nova they saw for the last few years.
The Little League World Series begins tomorrow. At 1 PM the Latin American team faces Mexico, followed by a 3 PM contest between the MidAtlantic regional champion and the New England regional champ. I’m writing this now in case tomorrow’s edition is delayed and you plan to watch the early games, as I do.
Dustin Pedroya is 33 today. I was surprised he’s that young, since it seems like he’s been with the Red Sox forever. He was their second-round draft choice in 2004, out of Arizona State where he teamed with Ian Kinsler. He reached the show in a little over 2 years. He’s been on two of the 3 recent World Series winners, in 2007 and 2013. He was the league MVP in 2008 and has been an All-Star 4 times, the last in 2013. The Old Town Team has him under contract through 2021, when he’ll be 38. He is kindly listed at five-nine, when in fact he may be as short as five-seven.
Mike Maroth, who was already mentioned in this space for his 21 losses in 2003 is 39 today. He finished with a 50-67 record overall, starting in 2002 and lasting until 2007. The bulk of his career was spent with the Tigers except for a few games in 2007 with the Cardinals. The Red Sox drafted him out of UCF in Orlando in 1998 in the third round. He was traded before the 2000 season to the Tigers. In 2003 he was their leading winner with 9 wins as the team went 43–119. They had to rally like gangbusters in the closing weeks to avoid breaking the 1962 Mets’ record of 120 losses. He missed the 2006 World Series, and in fact missed more than half the season with bone chips in his elbow. He pitched in the minors early in 2008, then had a shoulder operation. After an elbow operation in 2010 he turned to coaching.
Jorge Posada is 45 today. The Yankees drafted him at age 18, in round 24 of the 1990 draft. He made the show by late 1995 and appeared in the first ALDS as the Yankees lost to the Mariners. Then he was their catcher during their dynasty years of 1998-2001. He also played on their most recent World Series winner in 2009. His career lasted until 2011, by which time he was mostly a DH. He has over 1500 hits, a .273 average and 275 home runs. He was an All-Star 5 times between 2000 and 2007. He was almost traded 3 times, including once for David Wells. It turned out the Yankees got Wells without trading Posada, who caught the lefty’s perfect game in May 1998.
Butch Hobson is 65 today. He was a September call-up with the Red Sox in 1975, and played through 1982 when his career ended with the Yankees. He managed the Red Sox between 1992 and 1994. His given name is Clell LaVern Hobson JR. He hails from Tuscaloosa, and played baseball and football for the University of Alabama. The Red Sox took him in round 8 of the 1973 draft. While managing Scranton, then a Phillies farm team in 1996 he was arrested for possession of cocaine. When he managed again it was in 2000 in independent ball, where he still is. He now manages Lancaster of the Atlantic League. His son K.C. plays for him there.
John “Boog” Powell is 75 today. The Lakeland, Florida native first appeared at age 20 in late September 1961 with the Orioles. He stayed an Oriole through 1974, then had brief stints with the Indians and Dodgers. He hit 339 home runs in a time when they weren’t easy to come by. He was an All-Star 4 times, between 1968 and 1971. His team won the 1966 and 1970 World Series but lost in 1969 and 1971. In 1969 the Mets’ public address announcer insisted on calling him John Powell, not using his nickname. Powell had played in the 1954 Little League World Series for his home town team from Lakeland. At this time he owns two barbecue places, one at Oriole Park and one in Ocean City, MD.0