Storm Chasers Chasing the Dream at AAA; Yanks at Wrigley this PM

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Friday, May 5.

At AAA, ball players are a heartbeat away from the majors.  A tweak here and a tweak there and the big league club is on the phone or texting the AAA management looking for another player to come to the big league team-sometimes to stay.  Like that elusive dream, the Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals) chased and almost caught victory last night before falling shy, 12-9 in 10 innings to the Memphis RedBirds (Cardinals.) Through 7, Omaha was down 9-3, having scored a run in the third and a pair an inning later.  But the Storm Chasers hadn’t sent their bats back to the clubhouse for the evening.  Like a prairie tornado they suddenly roared back with 4 in the 8th and a pair in the 9th.  The tying run came on a  two-run home run smashed by Ryan O’Hearn. Spearheading the comeback was Garin Cecchini, the Omaha first baseman with 3 RBIs. Raul Mondesi, who briefly appeared in the 2015 World Series doubled home a pair to make it 9-7 Memphis.  Considering the small dimensions of Werner Park it s urprises me that O’Hearn’s bomb was Omaha’s first pinch-hit home run in a dozen years. O’Hearn leads his team in long balls with 6. At 23, O’Hearn has more of a chance of getting the big call than some men a decade older who still chase the dream  in AAA. The Royals took him in round 8 3 years back.  He played ball where Dan Rather went to school, Sam Houston State in Texas.    With Memphis up 12-9, it turned out there was a new Sherriff in town-Ryan Sherriff-to restore law and order and quiet the Omaha bats which he did.  His services were badly needed.  Pitchers Zach Phillips and Josh Lucas gave up the 6 Omaha runs to tie the game.  Considering he’s a 28th-round draft choice in 2011 he’s probably already heard those word plays a thousand times. Meantime for Omaha, Al Alburquerque who has MLB experience gave up the 3 runs in the 10th that gave Memphis the win.  As a result of their efforts the Memphis squad has a 17-11 mark while Omaha is an even 13-13.

You can call me a fossilized fud (I double dog dare you) but I can’t think of the Yankees and Cubs at Wrigley without thinking of the 1938 World Series when the Yankees wiped out the Cubs in 4 straight.  Game 2 of that classic was particularly special.  Dizzy Dean had the Yankees down 3-2 after 7 innings.  Ol’ Diz had hurt his arm but was living on his “Nothin’ ball” and all the courage a fan could ask.  Ol’ Diz hit for himself in the 7th, which would be unthinkable today.  He would be  praised for his 7 innings of guts and the bull pen would take over.  Not so in Grandpa’s time.  In the 8th Frankie Crosetti hit a 2-run home run, and in the 9th Joe DiMaggio did the same.  Only then did Ol’ Diz leave the hill in defeat.  The two teams meet again today at Wrigley in the only matinee game of the day.  The Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi did some catching behind the plate at Wrigley. His second baseman Starlin Castro and closer Aroldis Chapman helped the Cubs win the last World series. A lot of the modern players have no clue about the Yankees-Cubs World Series that happened almost 80 years ago.  They may have heard of the alleged called shot by Babe Ruth in the same stadium in 1932.  But not the 4 games in 1938 in which the Bombers dominated. Today the Cubs come in following a 13-inning win over Philadelphia last night.  The Yankees were off, having taken 2 of 3 from Toronto. They are 17-9 largely due to the emergence of Aaron Judge and his 13 long balls.  Don’t forget Jordan Montgomery’s unexpected contribution to the pitching staff. The Cubs are no slouch at 16-12 and on top of the NL Central division.  Their series ends with the ESPN Sunday night game. Chris Bryant has hit a shot of 495 feet at Wrigley, the longest bomb that wasn’t hit at Coors Field.  The question is can Judge beat 495 feet? Gary Sanchez returns from a strained biceps. The huge question is, how effective can he be after his 20 home runs in 53 games a year ago. These Wrigley matches are rare-the Yanks have been on the north side just twice since interleague play began.  Those were in 2003 and 2011. Today Michael Pineda toes the rubber for the Yankees. He faces Kyle Hendricks, last year’s Cubs’ surprise pitching star.

Other than the Yankees game in Chicago, everything will be at night.  The Reds and Giants are due to start at 6:40, the earliest matchup under the lights. Games threatened by poor weather include the White Sox in Baltimore, the Mets game against the Marlins, and the Nationals’ game in Philly. Out west, the Tigers face Oakland, the Astros meet the Angels and the Dodgers and Padres meet in San Diego.

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