Houston at 10 Wins in a Row; Tigers and Cubs Also Sweep; Player/broadcaster Jimmy Piersall deat at 87

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Monday, June 5.

The brooms were out for Tigers, Cubs’ and Astros fans this weekend.  The winning streak for the Astros is up to 10 for the team which has reached 40 wins before any other major league team.  The Cubs may be regaining their form having swept a weekend series at Wrigley from the Cardinals while the Tigers just swept a plain old bad ball club, the White Sox.

The Astros haven’t slowed down since sweeping the Orioles, then demolishing the Twins in Minnesota. At that point they were on a 7-game winning streak and had beaten a team that was one of baseball’s worst in 2016.  Now they’ve swept the Rangers in Arlington for the second  time in this relatively young season and have won 10 in a row. George Springer hit 2 of the Astros’ 4 home runs as they beat the Rangers 7-2. Joining Springer were Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel launching balls out of the Ballpark at Arlington.  The Rangers had taken 15 of 19 from the Astros a year ago, while it looks like this year the Rangers will be hunting and fishing in early October rather than playing postseason baseball. They can hope to temporarily get well starting tomorrow night when the Mets come to town.  The Rangers send out ex-Met Dillon Gee to face the team which signed his pay checks from 2010–2015.   As for good_ baseball, Who were The last team this hot through 57 games?  Try the 2001 Mariners who were 45-12 and finished the regular season with 116 wins.

The Cubs finished a weekend sweep beating the Cardinals 7-6 in the Sunday night ESPN game last night. Rookie Ian Happ hit two home runs and drove in 4 runs to spark the Cubs. He hit a solo home run in the third and launched a 3-run shot an inning later. Neither starter, Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs nor the Cardinals’ Michael Wacha went 5 innings leaving the game to the bull pens. As for the Tigers, Justin Upton ended the game at Comerica Park with a 3-run home run giving the Tigers a 7-4 walk-off win over the White Sox who have now lost 5 in a row. Facing closer David Robertson in a tie game, Robertson hit Nicholas Castellanos.  Miguel Cabrera grounded out putting Castellanos on second.  Robertson next walked J.D. Martinez to bring Upton to the dish. It may have seemed like a good idea at the time.  After all, Martinez had launched a solo blast earlier in the day. But the plan  didn’t work out for Robertson and the Pale Hose.

It’s always difficult to write a farewell to a well-known baseball player, even one who isn’t a Hall of Famer.  While Jimmy Piersall, who died yesterday at 87 was nobody’s Hall of Famer, he was a fine player.  He was an All-Star twice-in 1954 and 1956-and won two Gold Gloves later-one in 1958 and the other in 1961. He was traded after the 1958 season from the Red Sox to the Indians for whom he won his second Gold Glove.  With no baseball draft, it was simple enough for the Red Sox to sign Piersall, a local from Waterbury, CT. He remained with the Red Sox through 1958, then spent 3 years with the Indians, then joined the second incarnation of the Senators, then the Mets and finally the Angels. As early as 1952 he spent time in a mental hospital. While his battles with what we now know of as “Bipolar disorder” are the most famous part of his character, (see the book and movie “Fear Strikes Out,”  I like to focus on the funny side of Piersall. In a 1963 game with the Mets he hit his 100th major-league home run and ran the bases backwards.  My brother-in-law, an avid Mets’ fan heard that game broadcast on the radio. Piersall hit the home run off the Phillies’ Dallas Green who passed away earlier this year.   A month later Casey Stengel released Piersall.  With the Angels he once stepped to the plate wearing a Beatles wig and using his bat to play air guitar. I don’t know when this event happened but at least once he was described as “talking to Babe Ruth” behind the monuments at Yankee Stadium.  Considering the godlike status Ruth had in baseball before Hank Aaron broke his record I can well imagine Piersall doing such a thing. He broadcast games for the Rangers in 1974 and later for the White Sox between 1977 and 1981.  Sadly only one game with Piersall broadcasting is known to exist. Piersall’s second book “The Truth Hurts” tells of the end of his White sox broadcasting career. As unpleasant as his parting from the White Sox may have been he lived in the city until his death.  R I P

The Cardinals hope to snap out of their lethargy against the Reds tonight in Cincinnati.   Carlos Martinez might be the man to do it considering his last 7 starts have all been quality starts. The Phillies send rookie Nick Pivetta to the hill against Bartolo Colon of the Braves in Atlanta. Pivetta is 24.  He was born the year Colon inked his first minor league contract with the Indians.  Colon could have signed 4 years earlier, at age 16.  Why he didn’t may never be known. The Giants meet the Brewers in Milwaukee tonight. The Marlins face the Cubs at Wrigley following the home team’s weekend sweep of the Cardinals. If the Marlins have a shot, it’s with tonight’s starter Dan Straley who has won his last 3 starts. The Astros take their 10-game winning streak into Kansas City to face the Royals. Houston sends out Mike Fiers while the Royals hand the ball to Ian Kennedy.  Kennedy hasn’t lasted 5 innings in any of his 3 starts since coming off the DL. Much later tonight the Blue Jays face Oakland in a 10 PM start. Down the coast the Nationals meet the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine. If I didn’t mention your team, they’re off tonight.

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