Uh Uh, Don’t Touch That Dial; down a run in the 14th, Giants Win

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Sunday, April 8.

I know modern radios don’t have dials, but the old admonition “Don’t touch that dial” still seemed applicable following the Giants’ 7-5 win in 14 innings over the Dodgers.  The visitors from LaLaLand  had gone up 5-4 with a run in the 14th.  At that point I bailed out and hit the sack.  I assumed the Giants would do the same.  Heaven knows they did it enough last year.  They were one of baseball’s worst teams and the Dodgers were the class of the National League in 2017.  Last year  it would have been the time to turn the game off. This time, that was the wrong move.  Andrew McCutchen, who already had 5 hits on the night launched a 3-run home run for a Giants’ win in their half of the 14th.

The Giants signed McCutchen in one of the relatively few free agent deals that wend down during the off-season. His dramatic home run doomed the Dodgers to their 4th loss in a row.

Trailing 5-4, reserve Kelby Tomlinson who had joined the game in the top of the inning led off with a base knock. Joe Panik, who could have won the game a few innings earlier, slapped a single that sent Tomlinson to third and setting the table for McCutchen to play the role of mighty Casey at the bat.  But unlike the batter in the poem from the 1880’s, McCutchen didn’t strike out.  Dodger reliever Wilmer Font tried his level best to make that happen, but McCutchen got the better of his foe. 7 times he fouled off Font’s offerings with two strikes on him.  On the 12th pitch of the atbat he took one out of the lot, sending the fans home and igniting a clubhouse party normally seen during the postseason. Since 1900 only two men have hit a game-winning home run with their 6th hit of the game.  One was the Tigers’ Jim Northrup, doing the unlikely deed against Oakland in 1969.  McCutchen was the second.

The Phillies didn’t break their record for runs scored in a game, but they gave it a good try.  The record stands at 26, as the Phillies had beaten the Mets 26-7 in 1985.  Last night the Phillies reached 17 by the 4th inning and finished with a 20–1 rout over Derek Jeter’s Miami Marlins. The Fish actually took a 1-0 lead before the Phillies went to work.  They scored 5 runs in the first, 4 in the third and 8 in the 4th causing the scribes to hunt down Phillies’ scoring records. Maikel Franco hit the first grand slam of the evening in the home half of the first. Aaron Altherr would hit the other grand slam for the home team in the third.  Carlos Santana hit a 3-run jack, Jorge Alfaro went deep and Franco doubled home 2 runs, giving him 6 driven in for the night. Vince Velasquez was the lucky Phillies’ pitcher, going 6 innings and getting a ton of run support, something a Phillies’ starter always needs but seldom gets.  On the other side of the ledger, Dillon Peters was the unfortunate Marlins’ starter, getting gaffed for 9 runs on 9 hits and not even finishing the third inning. Jacob Turner was pounded for all 8 runs in the 4th inning. Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly had to summon catcher Brian Holladay to pitch the 8th, which he did without any damage.  Mattingly needed to hold back somebody to relieve when the two teams meet again later today.  For the first time, Phillies’ fans will get to see Jake Arrieta, the former Cub who signed very late in spring training.

It had been 9 years since the Phillies hit 2 grand slams in a game. They collected 20 hits, 2 of them going to starting pitcher Velasquez. When I think of Phillies’ scoring records I think of their 23-22, 10-inning win over the Cubs.  I had to dig into the archives to find out that the record was actually 26 runs scored 6 years after the memorable game at Wrigley Field. Before last night’s demolition of the Marlins, the Phillies had scored  19 runs combined during their first 6 games. In April, when pitchers are supposed to be ahead of the hitters, the Phillies were the first team to score 20 in one of their first 10 games since the Giants tallied 20 against the Cubs in 1954.

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