Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Thursday, April 19.
No individual team turned a triple play that I know of yesterday. Instead, MLB as a whole provided us 3 amazing games, each worthy of their own treatise. Early on, the A’s spent the early innings trying to dig out of a hole and ended up with a 14-inning, 12-11 win over the hapless White Sox. The visitors’ bull pen was spent and only Friday’s starter James Shields was available to take one for his team. Then in two games that started at the same hour, you almost had to click back and forth because both provided compelling baseball. The Twins and Indians battled without a score into extra innings, then went back and forth until the Indians won in 16 by a 2-1 score. Back on the mainland, the Mets had fallen behind 3-0 in the first, causing me to change my listening plans for the evening. Wrong move on my part. Still behind 4-2 in the last of the 8th, the Mets put up 9 runs in their half, with the climax being a grand slam by Yoenis Cespedes.
In Oakland, the A’s and White Sox exchanged heavy blows for nearly 6 hours before the homestanding Athletics scored a 14th-inning run for the win. James Shields got the first two men out before Marcus Semien singled and swiped second. Shields then walked Jed Lowery and Kris Davis. Matt Olson slammed a shot off the wall bringing home the winner and breaking out the brooms for Oakland against Chicago. Incredibly, with 556 pitches thrown there were no errors committed behind the pitchers. The White Sox’ Yoan Moncada slugged a grand slam early, making it 6-1 for the visitors. Oakland cut it to 6-4 in the second, chasing Sox’ starter Carson Fulmer before he could retire a man in the second inning. the Sox made it 9-4 and so on and on until the score was tied at 11 through 8. Nobody blinked until the 14th.
In New York, it looked like the Nationals would sweep the Mets and obliterate their best start in team history. The Nats jumped all over Steven Matz to the tune of 4 runs in 4 innings and in the 8th it was still 4–2. But the kind of bull pen implosion that happened to the Mets on Monday night can work both ways. This time it was the Nationals’ giving away their lead and the game. I tuned in seconds before Yoenis Cespedes crashed a grand slam. There were 23,000 at Citi Field but as the ball flew over the fence they tried to make the noise of a hundred thousand British soccer rooters. Before I became a professional broadcaster I would put my voice at risk by shrieking when Don Mattingly or Steve Balboni would hit a game-winning bomb for the Yanks. My brother-in-law is the kind of Mets’ fan who, had he been there last night wouldn’t be able to speak above a whisper this morning and would be happy as he could be. Todd Frazier and Juan Lagares each had two-run hits before Cespedes delivered the coup de grace.
On Monday night the Mets wasted a fabulous outing by Jacob DeGrom. Last night it was the Nationals’ turn. Tanner Roark couldn’t have been much better if he were the character Roark in the Eve Dallas mystery books. Only two Mets got hits off him. But almost nobody throws a complete game, and the fact that Roark couldn’t do so was his downfall. Ryan Madson, a reclamation project a few years back entered the game in the 8th and gave up 5 earned runs with the help of his mates in the Washington bull pen.
Then there was the second and last game in Puerto Rico which probably left the fans wishing more games could be played in their quaint little park. As fate would have it, the sons of Puerto Rico on the Twins led their side to victory in a 2-1, 16-inning thriller. Native son Jose Berrios pitched 7 scoreless innings for the Twins while neither team scored. The game continued to be a scoreless chess match through 13. Then the bats began to work. The Indians’ Edwin Encarnacion hit a home run in the top of the 14th, only to have Miguel Sano tie it for the Twins who were acting as the home team. The Twins’ Eddie Rosario led off with a single, and in spite of a cramp in one thigh he managed to score the winning run when Ryan LaMarre singled. The game, which began in balmy 80-degree temperatures lasted past Midnight and into early this morning in Puerto Rico before the Twins’ victory was sealed. Each team won a game in the two-game Puerto Rico series. Now it’s back to frigid reality, particularly for the Twins who had an entire 3-game series cancelled as almost 30 inches of snow inundated the twin cities.
It’s utterly impossible that today’s action can better yesterday’s trifecta, but the schedule goes on. I’m writing this after my weekly grocery run, so some of today’s action is already going on. The Orioles and Tigers have begun at Comerica Park in Detroit. Neither starter Alex Cobb nor Jordan Zimmerman did well out of the gate. The Cards and Cubs will soon start at Wrigley with Luke Weaver and John Lester dueling on the hill. This is a makeup of one of the Cardinals’ many postponements up to now. Houston visits Seattle at 3:30. The rest of the schedule will be played under what Stan Lomax used to call “the sodium arc lamps.” The blue Jays face the Yankees in the Bronx. The Jays’ Aaron Sanchez faces CC Sabathia who is coming off a stint on the DL with a hip problem. The Pirates’ Jameson Taillon and the Phillies’ Jake Arrieta could, and I repeat could_ provide the pitching matchup of the night. Both men have to bring their A-game which didn’t happen the last time I highlighted a game of the night. The Mets will send Matt Harvey against either Lucas Sims or Matt Wisler of the Braves. It should have been Anibal Sanchez, but he pulled up lame with a hip problem while running before the game. Does his manager think the old guy has to run_ the ball towards the hitters? Check your web site of choice for any games I haven’t highlighted.0