That Last Out is the Hardest; Frazier lands KO Punch on Mariners

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Friday, August 26.

Last night, Well past midnight in the east, Matt Moore was as close as he could get to putting his name in the record books.  He had gotten 26 outs without giving up a base hit to the Dodgers in Los Angeles. It took a single to right by Corey Seager to break it up. At that, the Giants still won the game 4-0 and are just 2 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. Moore’s record is a pedestrian 8-10 and I had written in this space that his high water mark might be facing the Cuban Nationals in Havana this past March. Not anymore. He was that close to pitching the first no-hitter by the Giants against the Dodgers in 101 years. Rube Marquard of the New York Giants no-hit the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1915. After the base hit Moore was pulled, considering he had thrown a career-high 133 pitches up to then. He had walked 3 men.  Santiago Casilla closed the door on the Dodgers with only one pitch, a pop foul by Justin Turner. On the funny side, last night was Corey Seager Bobblehead Night, and on that night he broke up the bid for the no-no. Denard Span did his bit to protect Moore’s gem making two excellent catches, one of them in the 9th inning. Buster Posey has already caught 3 no-hitters since 2012 and almost caught a fourth to join  Carlos Ruiz in that category.

In Chicago the Mariners thought they might get a rare win at Comiskey Park II  where they have gone 7–26 since 2008.  But White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier sent them to another defeat on the south side of Chicago, which the Mariners and their fans agree is the baddest part of town, as Jim Croce famously sang.     First Frazier  tied the game with a two-run base knock in the 7th, then he singled home the winning run in the home 9th for a  7-6 win. Mariners’ shortstop Ketel Marte lit a fire under the White Sox by making an error to start the 7th. The Sox were down 6-3 at the time but put up 3 to even the score. Their game could well be the pitching matchup  of the night tonight. The Mariners send out the King, Felix Hernandez who hasn’t lost since coming off the DL. Meantime it’s Chris Sale, the White Sox’ ace taking the hill for his team.

Although baseball fans and media know the trade deadline passed on August 1, the owners have always been able to cut corners in order not to enforce their own rules.  Thus, Dodgers’ catcher A.J. Ellis was sent to Philadelphia yesterday in exchange for Carlos Ruiz, the Phillies’ longtime receiver.  He had 11 years under his belt, and as mentioned above 4 no-hitters.  Ellis had caught for 9 seasons at Chavez Ravine. During that time he had become best friends with injured star Clayton Kershaw, but that means nothing to Dodgers’ ownership. Neither does the fact that Ruiz has little left in the tank at 36.

With the Cubs on the road, all the games on the schedule are under the lights.  The Yankees return from a successful west coast trip to face the Orioles this weekend. The Bronx Bombers aren’t telling who their pitcher will be as they face Yovani Gallardo of the Birds who has won only one game since the end of June. Steven Wright faces the Royals in Boston tonight. He hasn’t pitched in 3 weeks with shoulder inflammation, an unusual situation for a knuckleballer to deal with. Ricky Nolasco still hasn’t won since joining the Angels at the trade deadline. Good luck to him tonight, since he’s facing Justin Verlander who has looked like the Verlander of years past in his recent outings.

The Phillies’ third baseman Maikel Franco (pronounced  Michael,) is 24 today. The Phillies signed him in 2010, and he got his first taste of the bigs at the end of 2014. He spent much of 2015 and all of this year in the show as the Phillies have tried to get younger. With Carlos Ruiz gone, Ryan Howard is the last survivor  of the 2008 Phillies who won the World Series.

Rangers’ shortstop Elvis Andrus is 28 today. He’s been with the Rangers since April 2009. He’s been an All-Star twice, the last time in 2012. His parents and all his siblings have names starting with E. His dad died young and his mom wouldn’t tell her son if he were in fact named for Elvis Presley. The Braves signed him at age 16, the minimum allowed  age for an international player. In 2007, he and 4 others went to the Rangers for Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay. In the last game of last year’s ALDS in Toronto, the Rangers made 3 errors in the 7th inning which ended up costing them the game. Two were  by Andrus.

David Price of the Red Sox is 31 today. The Nashville native played college ball at Vanderbilt, in his home town and was a Rays’ draftee in 2007. He was in fact the first overall pick in the country that year. While this hasn’t been his best year and his postseason results have been brutal, his record is 116-64 since his first call-up in late 2008. He has been traded to the Tigers in 2014, then to Toronto in 2015 before signing as a free agent with the Red Sox. He’s been an All-Star 5 times and won a Cy  Young award in 2012 after finishing second for the award two years earlier. He also finished second in Cy Young voting in 2015.   He has the same unfortunate middle name as I have, (Taylor.)  The Red Sox have him under contract through 2022. Twice in college he struck out 17 men in a game.

Former player and coach Billy DeMars is 91 today.  His playing career was brief indeed, between 1948 and 1951. He broke in with Connie Mack’s Athletics and finished with the St. Louis Browns. He then played 4 years with AAA Toronto. Starting in 1958 he began his next  career as a minor league manager in the Orioles’ system. He would do this for 11 seasons during which his colleagues were Earl Weaver, Cal Ripken SR., Billy Hunter and Darrell Johnson among others. He coached with the Phillies from 1969-81, including their 3 National League pennant seasons, 1976–78 and their first World Series winner in 1980.  After leaving the Phillies he coached with the Expos and Reds for a total of six more seasons. The Reds’ Pete Rose called DeMars “The best hitting coach I ever worked with.”



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