Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Wednesday, June 7.
Stan Freberg wherever you are, thank you. Without a line from a sketch you did on your radio show, I wouldn’t have had a headline for the night Scooter Gennett of the Reds made history. He’s the 17th man to hit 4 home runs in a game, and his 4 4-baggers and 10 RBIs led the Reds to a 13-1 demolition of the Cardinals.
In all their years at Redlands Park, then Crosley Field, Riverfront Stadium and now Great American Ballpark, no member of the Reds from the beginning had powered 4 balls out of the yard. Ryan Joseph Gennett, a 27-year-old native of Cincinnati is lucky to be play ing ball at all, much less putting on the show he did last night where he hit a grand slam and that was his opening act. He had been a 16th-round draft choice by the Brewers back in 2009 which isn’t a golden ticket to instant stardom. His first home run in the bigs came in his home town off a man who is now his teammate, Bronson arroyo. Of the 17 men with 4 home runs, Gennett is just the 7th to manage it on 4 straight atbats. He launched the grand slam off Adam Wainwright in the third inning. An inning later the beleaguered Wainwright was gone after a bases-loaded triple by Eugenio Suarez. Reliever John Gant was Scooter’s next victim as Gennett unloaded a 2-run home run. Gant was still on hand in the 6th inning and Gennett again took him out of the lot. When he hit his final blast in the 8th he became the first man with 4 circuit clouts in a game since the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton did it in 2012. Nobody has come closer to hitting 5 than the Yankees’ Lou Gehrig did in 1932. In a game in Philadelphia where the Athletics played then, he had his 4 home runs, then hit the hardest, longest shot of the day-only to have it caught in dead center field against the fence. That’s baseball.
The Astros’ 11-game winning streak is over following a 9-7 Royals’ victory in Kansas City. While it had to end, at least the Royals showed a flash of their 2015 panache that won them the World Series. Whit Merrifield hit a bases-loaded double to tie the game in the 8th and Mike Moustakas ended things in the 9th with a walk-off home run. Early on it looked like a Houston rout as the visitors took a 7-1 lead into the 4th inning. Closer Ken Giles gave up both huge hits-the Merrifield double and the Moustakas 4-bagger an inning later. Astros’ prospect David Paulino didn’t do badly as a starter lasting into the 6th and giving up 3 runs but he has nothing to show for it. Giles, late of the Phillies pitched like one of their bull pen last night.
When you go to an 11 AM ball game you figure to be home relatively quickly. The seats are filled with screaming kids and the teams play at a rapid clip more often than not. But yesterday was at least the second time a morning game nearly reached the evening hours. It happened earlier this year in Kane County, Illinois when their team won a 17-inning morning game. Yesterday Kannapolis of the South Atlantic League got their turn, beating home standing Lakewood 2-1 in 16 innings. Lakewood is the Phillies’ South Atlantic League farm team and Kannapolis is the White Sox’ entry in that league. The visitors broke the tie in the top of the 16th and Mike Morrison, who spent last June in Omaha with the national champion Coastal Carolina Chanticleers got the save. It was his 9th save this season. Much like the major leaguers they hope to be, the two teams traded K’s-a toal of 38 strikeouts in the 16-inning affair much like the Yankees-Cubs game last month that featured 48 K’s in 18 innings. The only Lakewood run happened to score on one of those strikeouts when the third strike got away from the visitors’ catcher in the 7th.
A dozen minor league games will be played in daylight today. One will be half of a day-night doubleheader )in the minor leagues?) as the Oklahoma City Didgers face the Iowa Cubs. The dodgers trot out Chris Heston (yes Mets’ fans, that Chris Heston) whose career has gone nowhere since his no-hitter over the Orange and Blue not quite 2 years ago to the day. As for the majors the earliest start is at 3:10 in Denver when the Indians and Rockies meet. The Dodgers and Nationals have an unheard-of day game in Los Angeles and what a matchup it is. Stephen Strasburg and Clayton Kershaw take to the hill. It should have happened last season but Strasburg was pulled out of a matchup against the league’s best as he had back pain. The Blue Jays and A’s have an afternoon start in Oakland. The rest of the slate takes place under the lights. Last year’s Cy Young winner Rick Porcello faces a Cy Young winner of years past, CC Sabathia who made a monkey out of me by beating the Blue Jays and winning his 4th straight. The Rays will turn to Jacob Faria, the organization’s 9th-rated prospect and give him a chance to make his MLB debut against the White Sox and Mike Pelfrey. Faria will turn 24 at the end of July. As a high schooler in Cerritos, California the Jays took him in round 10 of the 2011 draft and 6 years later he gets his chance. What could possibly be better than his moment on the big stage? Well, just possibly an event last month. He and his girlfriend Jessica became engaged. I can imagine her eyes growing bigger as she imagines a larger diamond thanks to his larger salary as a big leaguer. The Mets’ train wreck continues in Texas. Neither their lead radio play-by-play man Howie Rose nor their lead TV commentator Gary Cohen can stomach what the Mets have been serving up and both have bailed out for the foreseeable future. Wayne Randazzo, a familiar voice on the Mets’ pregame and postgame fills in for Howie Rose while someone named Scott Braun does play-by-play on the TV side. Neither Rose nor Cohen are as old as Vin Scully or John Sterling, and while Scully wouldn’t travel in his final years John Sterling still covers every game without fail. After another brutal outing by their supposed stopper Jacob DeGrom, the Mets turn to Zack Wheeler against the Rangers’ Yu Darvish.