Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Thursday, June 22.
The Yankees have finally ended their 7-game losing streak, and as far as I know they haven’t any new injuries to concern fans in the Bronx. The Mets’ and Giants however keep singing the same sad song. The Mets lost their third straight noncompetitive game to the Dodgers 8-2 and put starting pitcher Zack Wheeler on the DL. It was inevitable since a pitcher with his talent shouldn’t pitch as badly as he did in his last two starts without an injury of some kind. he was a prime candidate for injury, considering he hadn’t thrown a pitch with intent in either 2015 or 2016. While the Giants were competitive, taking the Braves to extra innings their losing run continued.
The Yankees were more than happy to get their closer Aroldis Chapman back after a mercifully brief stint on the DL. The bull pen has been a big part of the brutal west coast road trip they recently returned from. In their 8-4 win over the Angels, Didi Gregorius launched one out of the lot, as did Matt Holliday. Austin Romine notched 3 safeties as he continues to fill in for injured Gary Sanchez. Last year’s phenom was last night’s DH. While the game wasn’t a save situation Chapman pitched part of the 9th and fired the season’s fastest pitch, coming in at 102.9 MPH. The Yankees hadn’t endured such a losing streak in 10 years. Aaron Hicks who was also injured in California contributed an RBI-single to the cause as the Yanks eased back into first place ahead of Boston who had passed them by while the Yanks were out west. Yankees’ rookie Jordan Montgomery lasted into the sixth giving up 2 runs and getting the win.
While the Braves, at 33-38 seem to be improving over past years, that can’t be said of their opponent last night, the Giants. Last year’s contender is now 27-47 and have lost 6 in a row as the Braves won 5-3 in 11 innings last night in Atlanta. Trailing 3-1 through 7, The Giants put up single runs in the 8th and 9th to level the game at 3-3 before the Braves’ Matt Kemp hit a two-run walk-off home run in the last of the 11th. Kemp is one of numerous players the Braves found on the scrap heap-Brandon Phillips, R.A. Dickey and Barrtolo Colon are just a few of the others. And while Colon has been a disaster the rest have raised the level of play in a vital year-the season their new stadium opened up. Last night’s game got started nearly an hour and a half late because of rain, then went extra innings into the bargain. Early on the Braves’ major find Matt Adams and Tyler Flowers homered bringing all 3 of the Braves’ early runs. Adams rescued the Braves when Freddie Freeman broke his wrist some weeks ago. Nobody could rescue the Braves’ bull pen as Jim Johnson blew the save-his fifth blown save out of 18 tries. He gave up a bomb to Hunter Pence to even the score at 3. Starter Sean Newcomb is still 0-2 after 3 major league starts in spite of a tiny 1.96 ERA. The Braves didn’t score a run in either of the rookie’s first two tries on the hill.
The Phillies, who have lost extra-inning games to the Cards the last two nights get no rest, as they play today’s earliest game in Philadelphia at 1 PM against the Cardinals. Last night the home town Phillies had a 5-0 lead, blew that, tied the game at 6 only to have the Cardinals win in the first extra inning. As fate would have it the Phillies have to face Carlos Martinez who’s hot as the weather in this area over his last 9 starts. The White Sox and Twins also have a 1 PM Eastern start in Minneapolis. Some genius in the MLB office finally wised up. Next April, the Twins and Indians will play a series in sunny San Juan instead of miserable Minneapolis or colder than cold Cleveland. I’ve said for decades that games in Arctic climes should be moved to warmer weather cities but that was too radical for MLB up to now. Admittedly, the stadium in San Juan has a limited capacity, somewhere between 15,000 and 18,000 but that’s about as much as you’d get in either Cleveland or Minneapolis in mid-April.
I’m more than willing to bet my last dollar the fans in San Juan will reach a passion level nobody ever reaches under Arctic weather conditions-and that will be before the first pitch is thrown. Once the game starts they’ll go ballistic beating drums, ringing bells and just generally raising the roof. I’ve listened to sports broadcasts from Latin American countries and it’s worth the effort to try and follow what the broadcasters are saying.
Getting back to today’s games, the Blue Jays and Rangers meet in Texas at 2:10 Eastern. The Pirates face the Brewers in Milwaukee at the same time. An hour later the D-Backs face the Rockies in Denver. Last night the visitors from the Valley of the Sun brutalized the Rockies 16–5. It was a rare loss for the Rockies these days. Zach Godley of the D-Backs makes his first career start in that ungodly ball park in Denver. While his home ball park in Phoenix is hitter-friendly (which he’s used to) it’s nothing compared to Coors Canaveral. The Astros and Athletics meet in today’s final afternoon game. Astros’ prospect David Paulino got his first MLB win in his 4th try in his last start, and beat Boston’s Rick Porcello in the bargain. That’s one to tell his kids about one of these days. He’ll face the A’s and Jesse Hahn today. Having broken their losing streak the Yankees will turn to Luis Severino to try and get a little momentum going as they face the Angels in the Bronx tonight. While he got knocked around in Oakland (who didn’t?) that game was actually a late loss. His last losing decision dates back to May 1. When the Mariners host the Tigers they’re hoping a transfusion of new blood will do the team good. Instead of aging Yovani Gallardo they are calling on the number 4 prospect Andrew Moore. He turned 23 as June began. His alma mater, Oregon State are the odds-on favorite to win the College World Series this year. He had gone 27-9 in college and was the Mariners’ second pick in the 2015 draft. With the Mariners it’s a short road from draftee to the bigs if you’re a pitcher with an ounce of talent. king Felix is still hurt, James Paxton is back but struggling while one of their starters just began a rehab stint and is still on the DL. The Mets and Dodgers are tonight’s latest game. Having lost all 3 games in Los Angeles and not been competitive in any, they look like the 1962 Mets facing the Dodgers of Koufax and Drysdale who almost won a pennant that year. They hope Steven Matz can get them one win after these 3 losses the team has suffered.0