Don’t Angels Descend from Above? These Come from Behind! Astros’ Springer Walks like a Man

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Monday, April 10.

The Mariners were well on their way to victory, a rarity on their season-opening road trip.  They had a 9-3 lead over the Angels in Anaheim and figured after getting 3 quick outs they could be on the plane back to Seattle having salvaged a game in the series.  Sadly for Robinson Cano and the boys, the Angels didn’t get the memo.  Cano himself had hit a 3-run home run and all told drove in 5 runs propeling his team to a 9-3 win. … or maybe not?

Cano’s big day didn’t salvage the series as the Angels put up 7 in their half of the 9th for an astounding 10-9 win.  Albert Pujols hit his first home run of the season to start the rally off Casey Fien.  3 batters later Fien was gone in favor of Edwin Diaz but it was too late.  Pujols drove home two more runs on a single to tie the game at 9.  That done, utility man Cliff Pennington singled home the winning run.  Yes, the same Cliff Pennington the Blue Jays left off the roster a year ago when it came time for the postseason. All told, 11 Angels batted with 7 scoring. Andrelton Simmons had hit a home run for the Halos early in the game but it seemed in vain until the home 9th. He and Cole Calhoun had the only two hits in the first 6 innings before the Mariners turned to their bull pen. Matt Shoemaker was the Angels’ starter.  Last time he started against the Mariners he landed in a Seattle hospital undergoing life-or-death surgery after being hit in the head by a Kyle Seager line drive.  Yesterday he physically survived but pitched badly giving up 7 earned runs without lasting 5 innings.

The Mariners have been here before.  In a memorable game at Fenway on April 10, 1998 Randy Johnson struck out 15 Red Sox and the Mariners were up 7-2 in the last of the 9th. Enter the bull pen.  With a Mo Vaughn grand slam delivering the coup de gras the BoSox scored 7 to beat the Mariners 9–7 that freezing day in Beantown.

Meantime in Houston, the Astros hadn’t won since a 13-inning win last Wednesday night on my birthday.  That night George Spring, late of UConn’s flourishing baseball program hit a 3-run walk–off home run.  He led off today’s game with his 4th home run-his third to lead off a game-but when it mattered he scored from third on a walk in the 12th with the bases full for the win.  Evan Gaddis who had two hits and two walks up to that point drew the free pass with the bases full to end things. The Astros took the game 5-4 from the Royals who had won the first two in the series.   Kansas City briefly led the game at 4-3 in the 9th. Brandon Moss hit a home run in the top of the frame only to have the Astros’ Jake Marisnick answer the challenge and deliver his own four-bagger to tie it. Springer’s leadoff shot in the home first was on the very first pitch he saw from Royals’ starter Nathan Karns.  He now has a dozen leadoff blasts in his short career. He was the Astros’ first-round pick in 2011 from UConn, having grown up in New Britain, some 30 miles from the UConn campus in Storrs, CT. To this day his home runs are chronicled on the UConn twitter feed. He was the earliest draftee in Connecticut history to be selected since the draft began in 1966.  And just by the way, this morning the UConn baseball team cracked the top 25 for the first time since 2011 when they were anchored by, who else but George Springer.  Well done Coach Penders.

From the “for what it’s worth” department, the Nats didn’t waste any time dealing with starter Jeremy Guthrie who gave up 10 of the 12 runs the team allowed in the first inning Saturday night.  The lefty has been designated for assignment, which means they have 10 days to deal him, send him to AAA or release him outright.

Two notable ball parks open for business today.  The Yankees play their first home game of 2017 against the Rays.  The visitors send out Alex Cobb against Michael Pineda who turned in an awful performance in St. Pete.  He didn’t last 4 innings against the Rays who certainly aren’t world-beaters offensively. The other special opener is at Wrigley Field where the World Series win will be celebrated. Sadly the game is a night affair at a park best known for its day games.  The Dodgers face the Cubs tonight in a rematch of the last NLCS.

Maybe the best pitching duel of the day takes place in Detroit as Chris Sale takes the hill for the Red Sox against Justin Verlander. Another good mound duel takes place in Washington.  The Nats will go with Tanner Roark who made his name a year ago.  He faces the Cardinals’ Adam wainwright. What more needs to be said?

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