A Visit from Nicholas Sparks Tigers’ Victory;

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Tuesday, April 11.

He’s no saint but Nicholas Castellanos pulled a timely hit out of his bag of tricks as the Tigers beat the Red Sox 2-1.  The pitching duel was all you could have hoped for.  Justin Verlander left after 7 great innings with no decision. The only run he allowed was on a bases-loaded walk in the second.    Chris Sale was sailing along until an Ian Kinsler home run in the 6th. He came out to the hill in the 8th but gave up a double to Andrew Romine and walked Kinsler before Castellanos singled home what proved to be the game-winning run. Sale had struck him out twice earlier in the game.

With the Tigers struggling as they have, they’re not a team with a lot of recognizable names other than Verlander.  Castellanos, who turned 25 in March hails from the Ft. Lauderdale area in South Florida and was ready to play for the University of Miami when the Tigers drafted him in 2010. He’s been their third baseman for a while now.  He lost a good chunk of last season with a broken hand when he was hit by a pitch from logan Verrett, then of the Mets. Yesterday’s game-winner resulted in the Tigers taking 3 out of 4 against the Red Sox.

I don’t know how or why this is, but when the Mets and  Phillies get it on, particularly in Philadelphia where it’s always supposed to be sunny, you never get a dull game. The two teams  tried to make it boring as the Mets won 4-3 last night.  The game was dull until the visiting 8th.  The Phillies had broken out to a 2-0 lead off Jacob DeGrom in the first inning.  Jay Bruce had homered in the 4th to make it 2-1 and there things stayed until the visiting 8th. It looked like another night of futility for the Mets’ offense, one of many so far this year.  Things got interesting in the Mets’ 8th when Phillies’ reliever Edubray Ramos threw a pitch over the head of the Mets’ shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. The speculation was, Ramos was evening the score for Cabrera’s bat flip last September following a walkoff home run.  Whatever the reason both managers drew a warning.  The Phillies’ manager Pete Mackanin objected to the warning and found himself ejected from the game.  Cabrera drew a walk, and Bruce hit his second home run of the night off reliever Joely Rodriguez for the win. Phillies’ rookie Brock Stassi got his first big league hit-a home run-in the 9th to make it 4-3 but his team got no closer. Stassi, a rookie at age 27 has had a long road to travel to reach Philadelphia.  Few men drafted in the 33rd round get to the top with the team that drafted them but Stassi is one who has done it.   He was drafted from University of Nevada in 2011. His younger brother Max Is a catcher in the Astros’ minor league system. This is a four-generation baseball family though the first 3 generations never reached the top as Brock has done. While he has just the one hit in 8 tries so far, the Phillies expect a lot out of him as he replaces Ryan Howard at first base.

Tuesday’s early game features the Tigers hosting the Twins at 1 PM. 3 hours later the Indians face the White Sox in the Indians’ home opener.  James Shields goes for the PaleHose, hoping he still has anything left after a 6–19 record a year ago. His opponent is Carlos Carrasco coming off a broken hand that ended his season in September and caused him to miss the World Series.

The rest of the action will all be at night. The Reds start William Theron Davis, who chooses to be called Rookie Davis.  What he’ll be called if he becomes a veteran is an open question.  Rookie will be 24 at the end of this month and is making his second start.  His first went badly as he only lasted 3 innings against the Phillies. Davis was an 11th-round choice of the Yankees.  He took that job rather than study at East Carolina University in his native North Carolina. He and Caleb Cotham along with 2 others were traded to the Reds for Aroldis Chapman late in 2015. He faces Jameson Taillon who is nobody’s veteran either. He’s 25 and broke into the bigs last summer. As of now he’s 5-4 with a respectable 3.16 ERA. He lost 2014 with Tommy John surgery and 2015 with a sports hernia. He kept a potent Boston offense quiet in his first start. The Mets’ Matt Harvey starts against Clay Buccholz tonight in Philadelphia.  Harvey looked  like the Harvey of old in his first outing against the Braves. Buchholz on the other hand pitched poorly giving up 4 runs to the Reds in 5 innings. The Cardinals need length from Lance Lynn as they face the Nationals tonight.  Last night they were demolished 14-6 by the Nats raising concerns about the capability of Adam Wainwright. He yielded a staggering 11 hits and 6 runs in only 4 innings on the hill. His relievers Kevin Siegrist (why do I keep wanting to call him Ryan?) and John Broxton did Wainwright no favors giving up 7 runs between them in the 8th inning.    The Nats counter with Gio Gonzalez, no easy task for a struggling team.

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