Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Tuesday, July 18. Last night’s best games around the majors both featured extra inning heroics. In Miami, after 3 home runs early on it took a Dee Gordon single in the 10th to propel the Marlins to a 6-5 win over the Phillies. Meantime in Houston, the Mariners rode a pair of back-to-back blasts in the 10th inning to a 9-7 win over the Astros, who’ve been playing like the league’s best team.
In Miami, Two of the 3 Marlins’ home runs were by Giancarlo Stanton, who unlike Aaron Judge has maintained his game after the home run derby last week. His first shot, good for two runs came in the home first inning before most Miami fans arrived. It smashed off the auxiliary scoreboard in left field. The other was a high towering blast also to left. Both his bombs came before the Phillies could get Jerad Eicckhoff off the mound. His pair of dingers brings him to 28, more than any man in his league. His second blast rescued the Marlins after the Phillies had put up 4 runs making it 4-2 as the last of the fifth began. Not to be outdone Justin Bour (pronounced Bore) launched one of his own. The Phillies tied it in the 7th and it stayed 5-5 until Gordon’s game-ending single.
Stanton had impacted the scoreboard with a home run before. He unleashed a grand slam that knocked out some of the lights on the scoreboard back in 2012.
The other game of note happened in Houston where the Astros, only 4 seasons removed from 1962 Mets’ status have all but clinched their division barring catastrophic injuries. But for a night at least the Mariners could enjoy a win over the Astros behind 10th-inning home runs by Kyle Seager and Danny Valencia. The game might not have seen the 10th inning without Jean Segura’s dazzling glove work at shortstop. The Mariners had not managed to hit extra-inning back-to-back home runs in 15 years. Even after last night the Astros are 62-31 and only the Dodgers can claim that good a record. Edwin Diaz, the Mariners’ closer was a major factor as he claimed his 4th save in as many days. The team pulled to 47-47 after its fifth win in a row. While the M’s built a 5-1 lead the Astros briefly led in the 6th by putting up 4 in their half. The game was then tied in the 7th on a shot by Nelson Cruz. An inning later the M’s catcher mike Zunino took one out of the lot to make it 7-6. But on their mettle the Astros tied it at 7 on George Springer’s scoring fly ball. Tony Sipp took the ball in the 10th when the Mariners unloaded their two blasts. The game featured the league’s two top hitters-Seattle’s Segura and Jose Altuve of the Astros at .347 to Segura’s .349.
As I write this, two minor league games have begun and 3 more matinees are scheduled. The full MLB slate is under the lights. The Rangers’ Tyson Ross faces Dylan Bundy in Baltimore. With 8 wins Bundy leads the staff, a afact that would set Earl Weaver to rolling over in his grave. He managed the 1971 Orioles who had 4, yes 4 20-game winners-Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar and Pat Dobson. The Phillies hope Vince Velasquez, who is fresh off the DL looks like the pitcher who struck out 16 men in a game a year ago. He faces Adam Conley, back after making a dozen AAA starts. With Robert Gsellman on the DL, the Mets appear to have no choice but to start Rafael Montero who nearly walks 6 batters per 9 innings. Tonight at home he faces the Cardinals’ Michael Wacha. The Braves’ hotshot rookie Sean Newcomb faces John Lackey who he probably saw on a baseball card, considering Lackey’s been around the game since 2002, when Newcomb was a boy of 9. I wonder if he knows his number 51 is also the year of the famous Bobby Thomson Shot Heard Round the World. The Dodgers break out Clayton Kershaw and his 14-2 record when they face the White Sox in Chicago. His last loss was on May 1 and he has followed that with 10 winning decisions. The Yankees’ struggling Luis Cessa can lift the entire team after losing the first game in the series last night. They’re facing the man Mets’ fans called “Big Sexy,” Bartolo Colon who the Twins recently claimed off waivers. The Yankees’ rookie Aaron Judge will get a night off to think on the wisdom of wasting his talent in the home run derby. Like others before him he has gone all to pieces since the derby. The Padres trot out Dinelson Lamet to face the Rockies in the rarified atmosphere in Denver. When the Rays face Oakland, the Athletics turn to 36-year-old Chris Smith in his second start. He didn’t get a decision in his first MLB start against the Mariners. When he pitched with Oakland a year ago he’d been out of the bigs for 6 years. He once was a Highlander for the University of California Riverside. He had been a 4th-round draftee by the Red Sox in 2002. He played in two different independent leagues before finding the bigs again with Oakland. The Nationals face the Angels in another late night game along with the Indians meeting the Giants.