Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Saturday, June 3.
Is this what fans are paying their hard-earned dollars to see? In the Dodgers-Brewers game yesterday, you had guys either standing at the plate like they were waiting for a bus, or swinging at anything in the neighborhood and bringing futility to a new level. In the Dodgers’ 2-1 win in 12 innings the two teams combined for 42 strikeouts, setting a new National League record. Think of that-71 men were retired between the two teams, only 29 of those 71 put the bat on the ball. What happened to fundamentals? Assuming they played Little League, did their coaches never say “Meet the ball?”
Admittedly the Brewers had a daunting task as they faced Clayton Kershaw. They knew he wouldn’t serve them up meatballs like the Mets did over the last 4 games (and continued to do against the Pirates last night.) Kershaw did indeed strike out 14 Brewers in his 7 innings but they should have at least made contact with the pitches of his successors (Pedro Baez, GranT Dayton and Kenley Jansen) instead of striking out another dozen times. Yes, The Brewers struck out 26 times-almost a full game right there. Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers’ closer made some history of his own. He now has 39 strikeouts without a single walk, something no closer has managed.
The Dodgers struck out 16 times against such notables as Jimmy Nelson and a cast of thousands from the Milwaukee bull pen. Nelson notched 11 K’s in his 8 innings and his mates put 5 strikeouts on the board before the Dodgers broke the tie and won. They were down 1-0 until a 9th-inning home un by Yasmani Grandal off the Brewers’ closer Corey Knebel. Cody Bellinger homered in the 12th with what would prove to be the winning run. By coincidence it was also his 12th dinger in his rookie year. The Brewers’ Domingo Santana drove in their only run by launcing a Clayton Kershaw pitch in the 7th. But a game with 3 home runs and 42 strikeouts is hardly interesting baseball in 2017. 42 is not baseball’s answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. (take 10 points if you know what that reference means.)
As we’re preparing to start today’s ration of baseball games, this column will be shorter than usual. I’m hoping to see the St. John’s pitcher Belge who has gotten some ink in this space but didn’t appear in their 13-4 playoff loss to Vanderbilt. He also isn’t their starter against UNC Greensboro in a do-or-die game for the Red Storm (Formerly RedMen in a better time.) Alll the NCAA regionals are double elimination. One wing of the tournament was washed out by rain yesterday, so the 4 teams involved have a distinct disadvantage. As for the major leagues The Yankees and Blue Jays will be ready to go by the time I finish this piece. The Yankees want to leap back into the fray after a beatdown last night on Michael Pineda’s watch. Their rookie Jordan Montgomery gets his first start north of the border. After a good start to his rookie year he didn’t survive 5 innings in his last outing. Two games start in the 2:00 hour-the Indians in Kansas City and the Cardinals against the Cubs on Chicago’s north side. At 4 PM the Giants send out Johnny Cueto against the Phillies’ Ben Lively who makes his major league debut. You could say he has “Ben Lively” at AAA with a 6-1 record and a 2.40 ERA. At 25, he may never have pitched in a bandbox like Citizen’s Bank Park. His given name is Edward Bennett Lively, the same name as former Orioles’ and Redskins’ owner Edward Bennett Williams. Lively was a 4th-round draftee by the Reds who traded him for Marlon Byrd, a man of 38 who didn’t last a season in the Queen City. The Nationals face Oakland in another 4 PM Eastern time start, this one in the East Bay. Nationals’ starter Joe Ross went to high school less than 4 miles from the Coliseum where today’s game will be played. The D-backs and Marlins meet in a 4:10 PM tilt, as do the Braves and Reds. The White Sox and Tigers meet at 4:10, as do the Rockies and Padres in San Diego. The last game in daylight will be the Dodgers and the Brewers who hope to at least hit the ball today. The rest of the action is under the lights. The Twins and Angels meet at 10 PM, as do the Rays and Mariners in the night’s only two late games.0