Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Friday, August 10. Twins’ fans may have thought they were sitting through a replay yesterday afternoon. Wednesday night, behind a Francisco Lindor 3-run bomb in the 9th the Indians walked off the Twins. Then yesterday afternoon, with Michael Brantley driving in the winning run the Indians again walked off the Twins, 5–4.
Replaying baseball games was unthinkable for the first 6 decades the sport was being broadcast. When it became possible to record a game, radio stations went off the air shortly after Midnight. The same was true with TV in its early years. The earliest TV replays of games were done by the Phillies when they were on channel 29 in the early ’80’s. Now, local cable channels like SNY and YES in New York, NESN in New England and others across the country often show replays in the afternoon of games that were played the night before. It isn’t just baseball. Basketball and hockey games get a second and sometimes a third glance on local pay cable. Early in its life, ESPN lived and died by replays. They have become less frequent as more and better programming has become available to the ESPN family of networks.
Yesterday afternoon’s game in Cleveland was live. It was getaway day for the Twins who wanted nothing more than to get away from Cleveland and on to Detroit. The Indians meantime were preparing to leave for Chicago where the White Sox have just been swept by the Yankees. The Twins did nothing on offense until they scored a run in the fifth. Meantime the home team had put up 3 in the second and another in the 4th. Down 4-1, Jorge Polanco hit a 3-run home run to tie it in the visitors’ half of the 6th. In the 9th, Brantley singled home the winning run off Addison Reed. For the Indians, Andrew Miller claimed the win by pitching a scoreless 9th inning.
The last time the Indians put up two back-to-back walk-off wins was in August, 2016-the year they came that close to winning the World Series. The Twins have to be fed up with walk-offs. It has happened to them a dozen times this season, the most of any team in the bigs. The Indians’ Brantley has been here before-on Opening Day 2017 he put up a walk-off hit to beat the White Sox. It was a rare chance for the Twins to score off Corey Kluber, the Tribe’s Cy Young award winner. Afternoon game or not, the Indians still drew almost 26,000 to the game. Besides losing the game, the Twins lost Fernando Rodney who was sent to Oakland. While not the closer he once was, apparently the A’s plan to give the ageless Rodney a little respect. He has a unique distinction. He has been an All-Star 3 times-all of which were after age 35. If there’s another man who can say that, I’d like to know about him. Rodney was also his league’s comeback player of the year in 2012, the year he turned 35. His career goes back to 2002 when Barry Bonds’ name was on every lip along with Enron and its CEO Kenneth Lay.
Today’s only day game is in Chicago, where the Cubs face the struggling Nationals. Boston will continue its quest for 116 or more wins against the Orioles who might yet lose more than 120 games and better the 1962 Mets’ record. The Yankees hope to continue pounding Texas as they did last night. Since the debacle in Boston the Yanks have vented on the White Sox and Rangers. They don’t vent in spectacular fashion, like the Nationals did when they beat the Mets 25–4. You’ll never see the Yankees score 25 runs, not even against the Orioles. They’re more plodding and methodical, like Marvin Hagler was 40 years ago when he demolished one middleweight after another especially once he won the world title. The Yankees could be accused of abusing a minor when they face Kevin Minor tonight. He’s put up a 6.50 ERA away from Texas. Against him the Yankees send Masahiro Tanaka who pitched well enough to win Sunday night when his team so badly needed a win. Their vaunted bull pen was their undoing that night. Tanaka has a 1.78 ERA in 5 starts since returning from the DL a month ago. The Mets’ Zack Wheeler has won his last 4 starts and hopes to continue that run in Miami. The Marlins send Jose Urena to try to prevent Wheeler and the Mets from winning. The Mariners have been losing ground in their battle for the second wild card spot and things don’t get any easier. They face Houston tonight on the road, and if that wasn’t trouble enough, Gerrit Cole goes for Houston. The Dodgers face the Rockies in Denver. Kenta Maeda has collected a 6.88 ERA since the All-Star break including 4 home runs given up. That isn’t good news, considering he’s starting tonight at Coors Canaveral. The Padres have prospect Jacob Nix making his MLB debut tonight at home against the Phillies. When the Giants host the Pirates in San Francisco, the Pirates have young Clay Holmes in his third MLB start. He faces Derek Holland, whose time in baseball goes back to 2009 with the Rangers.