Is This Baseball or Soccer? 6 Shutouts Punctuate Low-Scoring Day

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Thursday, Sept. 15.

Yesterday, baseball stepped into its “way back” machine and went back to  the ’60s, when pitching dominated.  The Mets lost 1-0 to the Nationals, the Orioles beat the Red Sox 1-0 and the Dodgers shut the Yankees out 2-0. And these were just 3 of 6 shutouts fired across major league baseball yesterday.

In Boston, a second-inning home run by Mark Trumbo was the only run either team got. It was a rare defeat for 20-game-winner Rick Porcello of the Red Sox, the game’s only 20-game winner. Trumbo sent his 42nd home run of the season over the Green Monster and onto Lansdowne Street. The win puts the O’s a game behind Boston for the Eastern Division title, and a game ahead of the Blue Jays for the first wild card spot. The surprising Tigers are a game behind Toronto, who lost to the Rays.  All 11 games remaining to the Orioles  are at home.

In the Bronx, Clayton Kershaw was perfect through 4 until a rain delay happened.  Surprisingly he came out for the fifth after the rain. Not surprisingly he gave up a hit. He left after 5 and the game remained scoreless until the 9th, when Justin Turner doubled home Corey Seager. Seager had reached base on an error by Starlin Castro at second base.  Turner would score on a dreadful throw home by Dellin Betances. Luis Avilan got the win from the Dodgers’ bull pen with Kenley Jansen putting up a save.

Meantime in Washington, the Nats and Mets were also scoreless heading into the last of the 7th. At that point Wilson Ramos homered for the game’s only run. The Mets had their chance in the first, loading the bases with one out before Tanner Roark pitched his way out of it.  Roark only gave up 3 hits and 4 walks in 7 innings to earn the win. The loss went to Fernando Salas, a recent Mets’ acquisition from the Angels who had been brilliant since joining the Mets. Unheralded Robert Gsellman made another excellent start since becoming part of the Mets’ patchwork starting rotation with Seth Lugo, Bartolo Colon, Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero. Given the  pounding Montero got in his last start, who knows if Gabriel Ynoa may replace him in his next scheduled start.

3 other games ended with a goose egg for the losing side.  The Brewers blanked the Reds 7-0 as the Cubs also did to the Cardinals.  Oakland scored an 8-0 win over the Royals. all told there were 6 shoutouts in major league baseball yesterday, an unusual total in today’s game.

On a Thursday getaway day you can usually count on a matinee or two.  Today the Twins and Tigers meet again in Detroit at 1:10. The Twins head to Queens to play the Mets tomorrow night.  at 2:10 today the Indians face the White Sox in Chicago. The rest of the action is under the lights.  The Yankees face the Red Sox in Boston, and with the Yankees playing better and the Sox in first place the stakes are higher than at any time in the last few years when neither team was relevant. Masahiro Tanaka tries for his 14th win, facing Eduardo Rodriguez who carried a no-hitter deep into a recent start. The key National League game of the night is a late one in San Francisco, where Adam Wainwright of the Cards faces the Giants’ Johnny Cueto.

Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry is 78 today. He made his first appearance with the Giants in April 1962 and his career finally dried up at the end of  1983. He collected a 314-265 record in more than two decades in the bigs with over 3500 strikeouts. After a decade with the Giants and 4 seasons with the Indians he became a baseball vagabond for his final 7 seasons. He was an All-Star 5 times between 1966 and 1979. He won two Cy Young awards, once in 1972 with the Indians and again in 1978 with the Padres. With the Giants he pitched a no-hitter on Sept. 17, 1968 against the Cardinals.  The next day the Cards’ Ray Washburn returned the favor.   It took 3 ballots for Perry to reach the Hall of Fame, which he did in 1991. He began in the minors in 1958, at age 20. 4 years later he was left off the Giants’ World series roster as they lost to the Yankees. In 1971 he made the NLCS, winning 1 and losing 1 to the Pirates. Perry won the Cy Young in Cleveland in 1972, a feat that went unequalled in that city until CC Sabathia did it in 2007.  In 1974 Perry was the last 20-game winner for the Tribe until Cliff Lee in 2008. In San Francisco, his number 36 was  retired in 2005. After his career he admitted to doctoring the baseball, and even if he didn’t on a certain pitch the idea was in the batter’s mind that Perry might be up to something. This could prove a psychological advantage, like a good bluffer in poker.

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