Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Monday, May 29.
Yesterday morning, I assumed only one marathon athletic competition would take place, and that it would happen at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. While that event did turn out to be even more of a marathon than the 500-mile distance alone would justify, it was neither the longest nor the most action-packed event of the day. That event took place in Minneapolis, some 600 miles further west. The Tampa Bay Rays and the Minnesota Twins gave it their all over 15 innings with the Rays winning 8-6.
I’m not saying for a moment that the 500 was dull. No race where two men survive a horrific crash can exactly be described as dull. But even with the half-hour delay while the wreckage was removed and the catch fence repaired, the race was still done by 4 PM giving the multitude, some 300,000 of them time to pack up and begin their journey to all points of the compass. The Twins’ victory over the Rays took over 6 hours and almost the length of two normal baseball games for a winner to emerge. An Indianapolis 500 hasn’t taken 6 hours or more since the races before the Great Depression. So desperate were the Twins for pitching that starter Hector Santiago pitched the 15th and final inning, taking the loss. He had started Friday night which would normally have left him unavailable unless you’re talking about postseason play. The Rays put up a pair to tie the game in the 9th in spite of a challenge by the Twins’ manager Paul Molitor. Brandon Kintzler blew just his second save in 15 chances. The game was tied at 5 until each team scored in the 14th. However, Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison homered in the top of the 15th for the Rays’ margin of victory. The visitors had to resort to Monday’s scheduled starter Erasmo Ramirez to work the last of the 15th and claim the save.
The Twins hadn’t played such a long game since 1995 and that one was only 10 minutes longer than yesterday’s contest. It was the longest in the 8 seasons Target Field has been open for business. While MLB has given us an 18-inning affair (Yanks over Cubs on May 7) and a 17-inning Giants win over the Reds 5 days later, neither were as long by time of play. The Yanks and Cubs did crack the 6-hour barrier but this contest was still a matter of minutes longer. To prove there is no justice in baseball, the losing team-the Twins-are the team who have a day game today as they host Houston. The winning Rays have a night affair against the Rangers in Arlington.
Baseball has been a staple of Memorial Day going back to when it was still called Decoration Day and when it was still May 30 every year. Before night baseball, teams would play split doubleheaders with a morning and an afternoon game on the holiday. Now, the morning games are ancient history. In the minor leagues two games will start at Noon while the vast majority start in the early afternoon. In the majors the Yankees face the Orioles at 1 PM in the day’s earliest tilt. Jordan Montgomery, the Yankees’ rookie who has had trouble on the road faces a tough Orioles’ lineup in a notoriously hitter-friendly park in Baltimore. The Yanks get their first look this season at Dylan Bundy. The Sox are guaranteed to win today, but what color-Red or White is the question when they meet in Chicago. When they play at 2 PM the Red Sox get their first 2017 look at David Price who’s been hurt up to now. He hasn’t looked good during two rehab starts in AAA. The White Sox counter with David Holmberg who has worked from the bull pen all season. They had drafted Holmberg in round 2 back in 2009 but traded him in 2010. He’s been with the Reds and D-Backs since and has almost a 6 ERA in what little MLB time he has managed. The Astros’ Brad Peacock gets to face the exhausted Twins after their 15-inning loss yesterday. They’ll need innings from their starter Ervin Santana to hav any shot. He’s capable of giving them what they need, considering he’s thrown two shutouts this season. The Dodgers face the Cardinals in a 2:15 PM start this afternoon in St. Louis. An hour later the Mariners face the Rockies at Coors Canaveral in Denver. This is a rough town to pitch in even if you have a good_ pitching staff which the Mariners don’t. They’re giving Sam Gaviglio a third start. He’s one the Mets didn’t get when they were holding open tryouts that netted them Adam Wilk and Tommy Milone. The D-Backs face the Pirates in Pittsburgh in a 4 PM start. The Pirates saw a version of Matt Harvey last night who hasn’t been seen by Mets’ fans since game 5 of the 2015 World Series. The Nationals face the Giants in San Francisco in a 4 PM Eastern start. The Mets host the Brewers at 4 PM in New York. The fans certainly won’t forget the humiliation the Brewers gave the Mets in a 3-game sweep in Milwaukee. The trouble is, the Mets have most of the same pitchers the Brewers bludgeoned. Robert Gsellman is today’s victim of choice. He gave the Brewers 6 runs in 4 innings that awful weekend. Too bad the Mets won’t have Steven Matz who threw 5 perfect innings yesterday at AAA Las Vegas. They also won’t have Yoenis Cespedes who was injured in his first rehab start at Port St. Lucie. The Indians host Oakland in a 4 PM start. Half an hour after that, the Padres host the Cubs. If there’s one thing the Padres don’t need, it’s a matchup with Kyle Hendricks whose ERA has been under 2 in his last 6 outings. They counter with Jarred Cosart who didn’t last 3 innings against the Mets last Wednesday night. The Reds travel to Canada for one of the few night games on the slate. Canada does not observe Memorial Day and their own Victoria Day was last Monday, so this is an ordinary game there. As I write this, the Rays still plan to start Erasmo Ramirez when they play at Texas, though he pitched yesterday’s 15th and final inning picking up the save. While his foe Martin Perez is no world-beater, at least he’s had his full ration of rest. Ramirez not only had to get yesterday’s save, he and the Rays had to fly from Minneapolis to Dallas after the game. He may not be the only one sleepwalking in this game. The Braves and Angels meet at 9 PM in the night’s latest start.0