Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Sunday, April 30.
Since it opened in 1962, Dodger Stadium has been known as a pitcher’s park. This was particularly true in the years of Koufax and Drysdale. The folklore was that the ball particularly never carried at night. The Dodgers put this to their advantage scheduling as many night games as possible. Last night was the exception, and even the exception played to the Dodgers’ advantage. The Phillies took a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the 9th. Following 3 solo home runs and 3 singles the Phillies walked away losers and Los Angeles was riotous with joy.
Your average Phillies’ fan went to sleep before the Dodgers came to the plate in the last of the 9th. All seemed well for the visitors with a lead of 5-2. Yasiel Puig homered in the 9th. Well, he’ll do that. Cody Bellinger launched his second dinger of the game to make it 5-4. This guy’s a major Dodgers’ prospect. He’s two months shy of turning 22 and, with a bat at least Yasiel Puig would be a good guy to emulate. So it was 5-4 at that point. You can call it beginner’s luck, a bad bull pen or both. But a third consecutive home run by Justin Turner? That flipped the script and tied the game. Hector Neris gave up all 3 back-to-back jacks in a span of 4 pitches. After retiring a man, the shell-shocked Neris allowed a single by Austin Barnes. At long last the night was over for Neris. Joely Rodriguez didn’t do much better. The first man he saw, Corey Seager singled to left. With men at first and second, a ground single into left field by Adrian Gonzalez capped the comeback. The Dodgers hit 3 consecutive home runs in the 9th inning of a game in 1956 when they played in Brooklyn. The Los Angeles Dodgers went one better, hitting 4 in a row in the 9th of a game in late 2006. The Phillies haven’t given up 3 bombs in a row since 1974 when of all teams the Padres pulled it off. Back when Richard Nixon was about to resign his presidency Nate Colbert, Willie McCovey and Dave Winfield made Padres’ history. The Dodgers’ Andrew Toles launched the game’s second pitch over the center field fence for the first of what would be 5 Dodger taters last night. On the other side of the coin, 2 home runs led to 4 of the 5 Phillies’ runs. Their young hopeful Brock Stassi connected for a 3-run clout in the 4th. Andrew Knapp went yard in the 8th inning for his first major league four-bagger.
By popular demand, today we have a theme on an especially exciting minor league game that took place last night. For the third time in this forum we’re featuring a game of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the AA Reds. On the 22nd their own Greg Mahle (pronounced MayLee) threw a 9-inning perfecto against Mobile. 3 days later the same two teams played 17 innings before Mobile won a 2-1 decision. Last night, the Biloxi Shuckers (AA Brewers) took a 5-3 win over Pensacola but it took 15 innings to do it. The home standing Wahoos who started the season at 13-3 now find themselves 14-9. They put up a run in the third and two in the fifth and that was that. They got all of 10 hits in 15 innings. The visiting Shuckers who have a 10-13 record scored single runs in the third, fifth and sixth, then put up a deuce in the 15th for the win. For their part they only collected 9 hits. Winning pitcher Bubba Derby who pitched the last 5 innings put up one of the team’s few hits, an RBI-single in the top of the 15th after the go-ahead run had scored on a walk with the bases full.
Bubba Derby was in his first AA game and made it memorable. His given name is Bowdien Henry Asa Derby, but he’ll be Bubba as long as he chases the baseball dream. At 23 he’s still on the morning side of the mountain, only two years removed from San Diego State. He hadn’t thrown a pitch with intent for any team in 2017 until last night. In 2016 he had a 6–13 record in the Florida State League and started all but one game. Whatever his future holds in Biloxi and beyond he’s got a tale to tell forever.
Today’s first games will be just moments away when this piece is finished. The earliest starters are the Orioles and Yankees in the Bronx. The Yankees’ Aaron Judge hit his 10th April home run, which no Yankee has done. It’s a chance for Yankees’ rookie Jordan Montgomery to test his stuff against the Orioles’ potent hitters who put 11 runs up in a 14-11 10-inning loss Friday night. The Jays have activated Aaron Sanchez and hope a good start by him can lead to a third straight win at home against the Rays. The Mariners are cutting to the chase, as Chase De Jong, age 23 makes his first ever start with King Felix Hernandez out of action. In his third ever big league game he only faces the team that barely lost the World Series, the Indians. The Mets look for the sweep against the Nationals who swept them last weekend in New York. Noah Syndergaard starts and the Mets’ ownership and fans pray. The long, tall Texan showed cowboy pride by refusing to take an MRI two days ago. A normal man, told by his employer to take an MRI would bite down real hard and do it. Not Noah. His foe, Joe Ross hopes for a much easier outing than his last start in Colorado. He didn’t last long enough to collect what should have been an easy win. He’s not the only pitcher to pitch at one level everywhere else and get destroyed in Denver. This is the last day in April, so it’s the last chance for Eric Thames to hit an April home run. He has 11, 8 of which came off Cincinnati pitching so insert an asterisk at your own risk. Today he faces the Braves in Milwaukee. Oakland’s Jesse Hahn faces Houston’s Dallas Keuchel (pronounced KyKal,) who has looked like the excellent 2015 Keuchel up to now. The question is, if Jesse Hahn throws a complete game, is it a Hahn Solo? (rimshot.) Coming off a brutal loss last night, the Phillies turn to MLB debutante nick Pivetta. At 24, he’s the logical choice to fill in for an injured Aaron Nola. A Canadian, Pivetta went to college in this country and was a 4th-round draft choice of the Nationals in 2013. The Phillies got him in exchange for Jonathan Popelban in late July, 2015. He’s lucky enough not to be facing Clayton Kershaw. Instead his foe is Hyun-Jin Ryu who is 0–4 following 2 years on the shelf with injuries. The night game on ESPN features the Cubs and Red Sox from Fenway. Both Cubs’ starter Kyle Hendricks and his mound opponent Eduardo Rodriguez got wins their last time out of the gate.0
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