Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Sunday, April 23.
In the Southern League of AA ball in Montgomery, Alabama there’s actually a team called the Montgomery Biscuits. They are the AA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays but that could change. Teams change their minor league affiliations as often as Taylor Swift changes boyfriends.
I just have to ask, if the Biscuits have a charter airplane is it called “Air Biscuit?”
The jokes notwithstanding, Last night the Biscuits hosted the Mississippi Braves in arguably the night’s best minor league game. The visitors took an 8-4 win but it required 13 innings to do it. The Braves put up a run in the first, one in the third, then nothing until they scored 2 in the 9th to tie the game at 4. The Biscuits had put up one in the fifth, two in the 6th and one in the 7th to build a 4-2 lead which their bull pen didn’t hold. With the score 5-4 in the top of the 13th, Adam Walker making his first AA start launched a 3-run home run to crush any hopes the Biscuits may have had of making a comeback. That game was more compelling than most of the ones on the major league slate yesterday.
One big league game from last night worth mentioning is the Phillies’ 4-3 10-inning win over the Braves. Until the top of the 9th it looked like a routine 2-1 win by Philadelphia over Atlanta. What happened next? Was it a full moon in Philly? I don’t know but I know the Braves tied the game on a home run by Brandon Phillips with two out. An inning later the visitors took a 3-2 lead as Adonis Garcia singled home the go-ahead run. The Phillies, who had scored 2 in the 6th counterattacked against the Braves’ Jim Johnson. With one out Brock Stassy, Cesar Hernandez and Aaron Altherr all singled loading the bags. Johnson managed to strike out Odubal Herrera but Maikel Franco was another matter. Franco who found his stroke against the Mets earlier this week tallied a two-run walk-off single for the victory. Don’t look now, Phillies fans but Ryan Howard is in AAA with the Braves. In his first AAA game he picked up two hits, a walk and was hit by a pitch. He’s a heartbeat away from a spot on a very bad Atlanta ball club which has now lost 5 straight games.
In today’s earliest game the Cubs face the Reds at 1 PM. The Cubs send out John Lackey against Bronson Arroyo in a battle of two real veterans. Lackey was the rookie starter and winner of the 2002 World Series. Yes, I said 2002.
I have 8 grand-nieces/nephews none of whom were born then. Arroyo at age 40 won his first MLB game in more than 3 years the last time he took the hill.
The Yankees rebounded from being man-handled by the Pirates on Friday night. The visitors won 11-5 yesterday in a game that featured an insanely long home run by rookie Aaron Judge. Today when the teams square off at 1:35 in Pittsburgh, rookie Jordan Montgomery hopes to continue his unexpected early success for the Yankees. He faces Ivan Nova who has pitched like a different man from the Nova the Yankees were so eager to unload a year ago. He’s been more of a super Nova for the Pirates which makes Yankee fans wonder if he was just another guy who can pitch everywhere but in New York. Nova threw all of 78 pitches in a complete game loss last week, so don’t expect the usual slow-moving baseball game. The pace at which Nova works puts fans in mind of Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton and more recently Greg Maddux. The late game is the Nationals against the Mets at 8 PM on ESPN. If the network had the power they might pull the plug on this matchup considering the state of the Mets. Their leadoff hitter Jose Reyes has been an unmitigated disaster both at the plate and with the glove. Yoenis Cespedes, secure in a new 4-year contract is out with a hamstring problem. Those can nag, especially in the case of older players. Two pitchers the Mets counted on-Steven Matz and Seth Lugo-are out indefinitely. Their closer Jeurys Familia is just back off a suspension and hasn’t pitched like the Familia of the last two seasons. The Mets who have played haven’t done it well-winning just once since a 16-inning win on April 13. Gio Gonzalez carried a no-hitter into the 6th yesterday afternoon as the Nats won 3-1. Tonight they send out Max Scherzer who has already pitched a no-hitter against the Mets in his career. He faces Zack Wheeler who needed 99 pitches to survive 5 innings Tuesday and hasn’t finished the 6th in any start to date.0