How Long Can You Tread Water? Jays and Nats Win Best MLBGames of the Night; Another Perfecto in the Minors? Are You Kidding Me?

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Hi all.  This is how I see baseball on this Wednesday, april 25.

The weather man had been calling for heavy rain in a large part of the country, and yesterday his call was right on the money, to the sorrow of baseball team owners and their fans. 3 games in the majors were postponed-in Boston, New York and Philadelphia. Baltimore got their game in, losing to Tampa Bay 2-0 but I don’t know how they managed it. The foul weather really played hell with  minor league games in the northeastern part of the country.

10 games were already postponed by 5 PM. Doubleheaders in Hagerstown and Norfolk were washed out. Single games were washed out in Pawtucket, Manchester NH, Portland, Harrisburg, Salisbury MD, Woodbridge VA and Winston-Salem. When a single game is rained out, that’s one thing.  When a doubleheader goes by the boards you’re looking at a real problem.  No team would dream of putting a doubleheader on the schedule, so if there is one it happens because of a previous rainout.  Washing out a doubleheader could lead to cancellations especially in leagues where a split season is played.  This is the case throughout most of the minor leagues.
Among the major league games that were played, a few were notable, and yes a second perfecto in the minors was pitched.  Toronto beat St. Louis 6-5 in 11 innings in a duel of two teams that have gotten off to poor starts.  The Tigers swamped the Mariners 19-9 in a rare high-scoring game in Detroit. The Nats defeated the Rockies 15-12 in an old-fashioned Colorado shootout, the kind that ruled baseball during the steroid era.

There’s a lot to talk about concerning the game in St. Louis but the talk of the league will be Chris Coghlan going vertical to elude Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.  There are all manner of slides but even his teammates were amazed by Coghlan’s leap over Molina. The Cardinals rallied 3 times to tie but the visiting Jays won in the 11th.  With no position players available, pitcher Marcus Stroman doubled to start the rally and scored the winning run.

In Detroit, it didn’t help the Mariners’ cause when King Felix Hernandez left after 2 innings with a tight right shoulder. He had been 9–3 against the Tigers so when they got to him it was cause for widespread panic.  The Mariners actually had a 2-0 lead before the Tigers got  a run in the first and 3 in the second. The fun really began for the Tigers when they put up 3 in the 4th and 9 in the 5th to turn a reasonably close 7-4 game into a demolition. The Bengals had 24 hits including 4 home runs.  The most runs they have scored in a game is 21 and their franchise high for hits is 28. Both records were approached last night. Ian Kinsler had 4 hits to lead the charge. James McCann hit a 2-run home run off Hernandez who was done after 48 pitches and is heading home to see a doctor. Rookie Mitch Haniger left in the third with a strained oblique muscle in his right side.  Mariners’ pitcher Chris Heston, (yes Mets fans, that Chris Heston) gave up back-to-back bombs to Justin Upton and Alex Avila in the 4th.

The M’s Jean Segura and Danny Valencia went back-to-back in the 5th off starter Jordan Zimmerman to make it 7-4.  This seemed more like a game from old Tiger Stadium which was much more hitter-friendly than the current Tigers’ den. Zimmerman got through the 5th and the 9-run barrage in the home half secured a win for him. The Tigers registered 8 hits and 2 walks off Heston and Evan Marshall. The Tigers hadn’t known a 9-run inning in 9 years.             In Colorado the Nationals put up 5 runs each in the 2nd and 7th innings.  Trea Turner hit for the cycle and Daniel Murphy drove in 5 runs for the winners.  Colorado was behind from the start and never made it close.

Minor league games too numerous to mention will be played this morning and afternoon.  The earliest start is at 10 AM in Lexington, Kentucky of the South Atlantic League.  In the bigs, the earliest start is at 1:40 when the Brewers host the Reds. Eric Thames hit his 11th home run last night breaking the Brewers’ record for April bombs.  The major league mark is 14.  Please remember though, 8 of the 11 have been hit off Reds’ pitching.  I wonder what he’ll do against major-league caliber opposition. Today’s game is a duel of two men with regrettable first names.  The Reds’ Rookie Davis will need a name change when he’s not a rookie anymore.  The Brewers’ Wily Peralta has to wonder why he has the same name as a cartoon coyote. The Royals and White Sox meet at 2:10 Eastern Time in Chicago. From there on, it’s all night baseball in the bigs. The Indians’ Trevor Bauer has never lost to the Astros who are his foes tonight.  He has 5 wins against them with a tiny 1.97 ERA. None of last night’s postponements will be made up tonight.  Management in Philadelphia, Boston and New York will need to set makeup dates when the opposition returns to their city. The Mets benefit by the postponement as they can go to their stud, Noah Syndergaard and skip Robert gsellman who was due to pitch last night. Stud or not, the Phillies got to Syndergaard for 5 runs in the first 3 innings last time out and the Mets’ offense wasn’t up to the task. The Nats’ Tanner Roark has never started a game at coors Field, but tonight it’s his turn in the barrel. No pitcher looked good last night.  Joe Ross didn’t last the needed 5 innings to pick up what would have been an easy win. The worst performance by Washington pitching was turned in by Joe Blanton who gave up 4 hits to the only 4 men he saw, all of whom scored. The Rockies’ starter German Marquez, just up from AAA got a rude welcome as he gave up 8 runs on 9 hits in 4 innings. Reliever Scott Oberg did the Rockies no favors giving up 5 runs on 2 hits and 3 walks in the 5-run 7th. The Nats’ Roark hopes to give his bull pen needed length in his start tonight

As for the minor league perfecto, it was a legit 9-inning job, the second since Saturday.  This time it was thrown by Domenic Mazza, a Giants’ farm hand with the Augusta GreenJackets of the South Atlantic League. The deed was done in Lexington, KY. where Augusta won 9-0 over the Lexington Legends, the Royals’ low A-ball team.  Mazza needed just 85 pitches to get 27 outs. Mazza, who gave up a home run to Tim Tebow in Tim’s first pro AB isn’t considered a hot prospect, as he was taken in round 22 of the 2015 draft.  But the South Atlantic League goes back to 1904.  Ty Cobb played there in the league’s first year.  The league as it is now configured began in 1980.  I broadcast in Charleston of the South Atlantic League from 2000-2002. Never in all the years the historic league has been around has a 9-inning perfecto been thrown there-until last night. Here are some pretty good pitchers who never threw a perfecto in the South Atlantic League and made the long climb to the top.

Nolan Ryan
Steve Carlton
Bob Gibson
Hoyt Wilhelm
Phil Niekro
Len Barker (who threw an MLB Perfecto for the Indians in 1981
Curt Schilling

David Cone (who threw a major-league perfecto for the Yankees in 1999.)

Domenic Mazza can tell his grandchildren about that Tuesday night in April, 2017 even if he never reaches the show.

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