Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Tuesday, Sept. 20.
The Giants may never have seen the TV show “Men Behaving Badly,” in the mid-1990’s. But after a long stretch of playing badly their frustration erupted in a bench-clearing incident last night in Los Angeles. When the dust had settled the Dodgers had won 2-1 on a pair of RBI-singles, one by Justin Turner, the other by Adrian Gonzalez. Since the Mets were humiliated by the Braves earlier in the evening the Giants stayed a game behind them for the first NL wild card position. This game makes 9 times the Giants have lost when they had the lead after 8 innings-and that’s no way to win in September and October.
Yasiel Puig and Madison Bumgarner were the two that started the pushy-pushy at the end of the 7th, and by a miracle neither was ejected. Bumgarner struck out 10 Dodgers in 7 innings. Clayton Kershaw got 7 Giants on strikes in 6 innings. This was just his third start after a herniated disk put him on the DL.
In the junior circuit, Texas lowered its magic number to 3 by winning 3-2 over the Angels. Ian Desmond provided the walkoff single that was the margin of victory. Elvis Andrus led off the inning with a base knock. Carlos Gomez, who was recently released by Houston beat out a bunt to put runners at first and second. That brought up Desmond who singled home Andrus-who had tied the game two innings earlier on a solo shot.
Raise a glass to Bill and Mike Veeck and Charles O. Finley. Without Eddie Gaedel, Herb Washington and other men who brought more publicity than anything else to baseball, Tim Tebow would be preparing for a SEC Network football broadcast today. Instead he practiced with the Mets’ instructional league team in Port St. Lucy, while fans wearing Tebow shirts looked on. Tebow shirts, at $120 a throw I might add, are outselling those of legitimate players with years of credentials like the Cubs’ Addison Russell and the Red Sox’ David Ortiz. Doing this all week and broadcasting Saturdays will leave Tebow less able to do either job, as no man can serve two masters. I don’t get the SEC Network where I live, so I have no idea if he’s any better at the mike than he would be facing Clayton Kershaw and Jake Arrieta.
Everything’s under the lights tonight. The Red Sox are in Baltimore for a meaningful game against the Orioles, which nobody could have predicted after the “Saux” finished dead last the previous two seasons. The Mets, who took a bad loss 7-3 to Atlanta last night face them again. They see the Braves’ best, Julio Teheran against Robert Gsellman, one of the no-name starting staff. Last night, their last remaining name-Noah Syndergaard-was soundly beaten by the lowly Braves. Hopefully it’s just a blip and not a sign of his troubled elbow worsening. Cleveland hosts Kansas City as the Tribe hopes to move closer to clinching their division. There’s an excellent pitching matchup in Miami. Tanner Roark who has tied his career best with 15 wins faces Jose Fernandez who has shocked the world in his first year back from Tommy John surgery. The Rangers host the Angels again with a magic number of 3 to clinch the AL West. The Cardinals hope to keep their fading playoff hope alive in Denver against the Rockies. The Giants send Johnny Cueto against the Dodgers’ Rich Hill in game 2 of their series at Chavez Ravine. The Jays’ J.A. Happ is trying to win his 20th which he has never done. In fact only one Toronto lefty has ever won 20-David Wells. Happ faces the Mariners in Seattle.
The Astros’ Ken Giles is 26 today. The Phillies took Giles in round 7 of the 2011 draft, then traded him last season to what was then a contending Houston team. He played part of two seasons for the Phillies. The idea was that he would be a closer but that hasn’t panned out on the Texas gulf coast.
Ian Desmond, mentioned earlier in this piece because of his walk-off hit last night is now 31 years old. He was taken in round 3 of the 2004 by the Montreal Expos. Anybody remember them? That was their final year in the draft before moving to Washington. The native of Sarasota reached the show with Washington in 2009. This is his first year with the Rangers. He was an All-Star in 2012 and again this season. He had been a shortstop through last season but made 27 errors at that arduous position in 2015, prompting the Rangers to move him to the outfield.
Former All-Star Jason Bay is 38 today. He hails from British Columbia, in far western Canada. His Little League team reached the World Series in 1990. He was an Expos’ draftee of an earlier vintage, taken in round 22 in 2000. At that time the Expos had no clue they would be in Washington within 5 years. Bay reached the bigs in 2003 with the Padres. His longest runs were with the Pirates (2003-08) and the Mets (2010–12.) Under the Jolly Roger, he won NL Rookie of the Year in 2004. His record of 26 home runs broke Ralph Kiner’s record of 23 from 1946 for Pirate rookies. He was an All-Star twice with the Pirates and once with Boston in 2009. He played in the 2008 postseason where the Red Sox lost to the Rays, who then lost to the Phillies in the World Series. He was unexpectedly disappointing with the Mets, and after a .165 average in 2012 they parted ways. He hit .204 in Seattle the next year and called it a career.
Former Yankee Mickey Klutts is 62. His given name is Gene Ellis Klutts, and he’s from California. He had been drafted in round 4 in 1972. I remember his first game. It was July 7, 1976 and I was at my grandmother’s house. I just couldn’t quit laughing about the name Mickey Klutts. It was announced early in the day that he would be available for that night’s game. Almost predictably he made an error to cost the team the game and live up to his name, even if it’s spelled differently. His career lasted until July 1983. He played under Billy Martin off and on in both New york and Oakland. He wasn’t on the roster for either of the Yankees’ two World Series winners in 1977 and 1978.0