Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Saturday, Sept. 17.
While the Yankees continue their collapse, the Orioles did what the good teams do. In spite of the Rays getting ahead 4-0 they chipped away and, with a run in the 7th and 2 in the 8th secured the win at Camden Yards. The O’s are still tied with the Blue Jays for the first wild card spot, while the O’s are two games behind Boston who took a highly predictable win from the Yankees considering the implosion of the Yankees’ bull pen the night before. The O’s Zach Britton still is unblemished, 44 saves in 44 tries although the Rays had their chance. With two out in the visiting 9th Alexei Ramirez hit a hard liner to left for a two-bagger. Runner Mikie Mahtook took a chance he shouldn’t have. He was gunned down at the plate to end the game in spite of an attempt by the Rays to have the call overturned.
The Orioles’ starting pitcher Ubaldo Jinenez gave up two-run home runs in each of the first two innings to put the home team at a 4-0 disadvantage. The first shot was hit by Evan Longoria, his 34th of the year which is a career high. In the next inning Richie Shaffer hit his first of the year. The O’s Chris “Crush” Davis and Pedro Alvarez supplied home runs to trim the deficit and set up the late rally. With the score 4-3 in the 8th and the bases full, an infield hit by J.J. Hardy and a scoring fly ball off the bat of Michael Bourn provided the margin of victory for the home team.
After clinching the NL Central in defeat, the Cubs celebrated following a 5-4 walk-off win in 10 innings over the Brewers yesterday afternoon. Miguel Montero homered to start the home 10th and end the game. Aroldis Chapman struck out all 3 men he saw in the 10th setting up Montero’s shot off the Brewers’ Blaine Boyer. The Brewers had a 4-2 lead in the home 9th, thanks to a home run by Scooter Gennett two innings earlier. The home team tied it in the 9th on singles by Chris Coghlan and Addison Russell who was coming off the bench. The Brewers lost their center fielder Keon Broxton to a broken wrist suffered when he slammed into the wall. It was a home run derby at Wrigley. The Brewers’ Orlando Arcia and Ryan Braun hit solo dingers in the second and third innings. The Cubs tied it on a two-run shot by Albert Almora off Brewers’ starter Chase Anderson.
The Pirates and Reds, who had a 10-inning battle last night play the earliest game today just after Noon. They’ll also have an evening game. The Pirates won last night’s series opener with 2 in the visiting 10th. In a 1:05 start the Yankees offer up Bryan Mitchell, who was slaughtered by the Dodgers last week as a sacrificial lamb to David Price, who’s 7–0 in his last 7 outings. The Nats and Braves also have a 1:05 game today. From there the games move to 4:05 PM. The Mets continue their unlikely charge against the Twins in a night game in New York. Rookie Seth Lugo faces the Twins’ Ervin Santana.
The Mets’ longtime closer John Franco is 56 today. As a college freshman he pitched two no-hitters. The Brooklynite and St. Johns alum was in the show from 1984 to 2005. He appeared in 1119 games, a National league record with 424 saves. Though he was a Dodgers’ draftee in 1981, He beganhis major league career with the Reds from 1984-89, then pitched for the Mets for more than a dozen seasons and played briefly for the Astros. As I’m a big fan of the book “The Godfather,” I called Franco “The Sicilian,” in homage to his courage when I would do a re-created broadcast into a tape machine at Shea Stadium. He was an All-Star 4 times, all before 1991. He led his league in saves 3 times. After playing the theme to “The Godfather” as he came into one game, the Mets’ P.A. operator switched Franco’s song to Chuck Berry’s “Johnny Be Good.”
Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda is 79 today. He broke in at age 20 with the Giants in April, 1958. That was their first year in San Francisco, and he won Rookie of the Year honors. He hit .297 between his debut and 1974 when his career ended with the Royals. He was an All-Star 11 times, the last in 1967 when he won the MVP. His Cardinals won that World Series. He had been in one before, losing with the Giants in 1962 to the Yankees. He was with the cardinals as they lost the 1968 World Series, then was sent to Atlanta whose Braves lost the first NLCS to the Mets.