Tagged: Live Game Logs

Live Blog: Yankees vs. Red Sox (7/25)


10:11 p.m.
So fitting.

J.D. Drew just struck out LOOKING to end the game and give the Bronx Bombers (although they weren’t in this game) a 1-0 victory.

The Red Sox struck out 12 times.

And cried almost as many times.

I, on the other hand, couldn’t be any happier. I don’t have to do this live-blog anymore.

And it only took three hours!

10:09 p.m. Somebody has a temper.

Yikes.

Somebody REALLY has a temper.

Mike Lowell…grow up, please.

Lowell struck out looking in the 7th and wasn’t happy. He just struck out looking in the ninth (it did appear inside) and really really wasn’t happy.

And he just acted like a little baby. I guess Mariano Rivera has that affect on opposing hitters.

10:05 p.m. Youkilis singles to left on a 1-2 pitch. Mariano’s cutter has clearly lost its luster and effectiveness.

10:02 p.m. Mariano’s cut fastball = good. Ortiz is jammed and flies out. One down.

10:00 p.m.
Hideki Okajima gets the Yankees to go in order in the top of the 9th. Mariano needs just three more outs for the save and a two-game deficit in the AL East.

David Ortiz will lead things off for the Sox.

Who thinks that Manny Ramirez in the lineup tonight would have been helpful?

9:53 p.m.
Ellsbury K’s. Two out. Pedroia weakly grounds out. Three out. Mariano Rivera is good.

9:50 p.m.
Mariano is 25-for-25 in save opportunities. So I’m an idiot for that prediction a minute ago.

9:46 p.m. Sometimes the swinging bunt is the deadliest play in baseball.

Coco Crisp hit a slow dribbler down the first-base line, and Farnsworth tried to scoop up the ball and tag Crisp. Bad idea. He’s too tall and goofy to pull off such a complex maneuver.

And that’s it for Kyle. With runners on first and second and one out, Mariano Rivera is coming in.

FEARLESS PREDICTION: The Red Sox score at least once in this inning. I can just feel it.

9:40 p.m. Joba: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K (103 pitches).

So guess what happened just seconds after Joba was lifted in favor of Kyle Farnsworth.

The Red Sox actually got a baserunner!

9:33 p.m. How many pitchers does it take to get three outs in the 8th inning of a scoreless game?

Any team (not Boston or New York) vs. Any team (not Boston or New York)…ONE.

Boston vs. New York…THREE.

9:24 p.m. Beckett pitched a gem, but he’s out of the game now in the 8th and can only lose it.

9:20 p.m. And ANOTHER strikeout for Joba. That’s nine now. This is getting fun. And Joba has a shutout now through seven.

9:16 p.m.
Oh boy.

Now THAT is what I’m talking about!

Joba just threw a heater in the vicinity of Youkilis’ head. Man, those two don’t like each other. I love it.

But this couldn’t have been intentional. It’s a 1-0 game in the 7th, and the count is 2-0. The LAST thing he wants is to put the leadoff man on base in a crucial spot, in a crucial game.

The ball came EXTREMELY close to hitting Youkilis in the head, but instead it hit the handle of the bat. Warnings were issued to both sides.

Youkilis ended up striking out. And as he walked back the dugout he said “that’s ******* horse***”

How can you NOT like Yankees-Red Sox games?

9:12 p.m. I love pitchers’ duels. But this game has been a bit boring and uneventful.

Yanks up 1-0 after 6 1/2 innings.

9:02 p.m.
Joba’s on cruise control out there, but his pitch count is quite high also. He’s gone for six shutout innings, but has thrown 89 pitches to get there.

8:54 p.m.
A-Rod is stranded in scoring position in the sixth. Beckett pitching very well, but not enough as Chamberlain has been even better.

But we’ll see how long he can stay out there — in his nine career starts, he hasn’t pitched seven full innings once.

Beckett won’t last much longer…he’s thrown 94 pitches through six.

8:48 p.m.
A-Rod falls behind 0-2, but works the count full and leads off the 6th with a single.
Beckett gets ahead of Giambi 0-2, as well, but throws a wild pitch, which moves A-Rod to second. But he doesn’t lose the Giambino, striking him out.

8:42 p.m.
That was a big trade.

Yanks still lead, 1-0, after five. Joba and Beckett turning this one into the duel we expected. Both pitchers have thrown 75 pitches, with Joba striking out six and Beckett with five.

8:27 p.m. Forget the game for a second, BREAKING NEWS for Yankees fans.

The Yankees just traded for outfielder Xavier Nady and left-handed reliever Damaso Marte in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Pirates will receive four players, most notably current Yankees reliever Ross Ohlendorf and outfield prospect Jose Tabata. Disregard his poor numbers somewhat, as he is still very-highly thought of.

Interesting move. I gave New York my full endorsement for Barry Bonds, but they chose to go a different way.

Go figure.

Two additional thoughts: Nady, a right fielder, is going to play where for New York? Must be left field.

Also, for PIT fans (if there are any), this undoubtedly means the arrival of top-prospect Andrew McCutchen to the big-club.

UPDATE: the two other prospects are pitcher George Kontos (doing well) and Phil Coke (also, doing well).

8:20 p.m.
Shame on you, Robinson.

The shift was on for Ortiz and he hit a grounder to second to Cano — who was standing in the outfield, a good distance from the infield dirt.

The ball hit the lip of the grass/dirt and took a big hop and Cano mishandled it. And the BELLIGERENTLY DRUNK official scorer ruled it a hit.

Jerry Remy agreed it was a hit, saying it was a tough play because it hit the lip. Fine, but Cano had PLENTY of time to adjust, as he was standing quite far back.

Come on, people. These are major leaguers. That play should be made EVERY-SINGLE-TIME. No excuses. Would that have been a great play if he had made it? Heck NO. So it’s an error. That simple. ‘Embarrassing’ is the only word to describe the quality of official scoring in baseball today.

8:17 p.m. After three complete, the Yankees lead 1-0.

Pitchers’ duel and we STILL won’t get this game over within three hours. Of course not. I’ll be happy if it lasts shorter than 3 hours, 45 minutes.

8:12 p.m.
Apparently Melky is a frequent reader of ‘The “Next” Peter Gammons’, because he just got a single just to spite me for what I wrote about earlier in the game about his hitting “prowess” (or lack there of).

…And now I have something new to say about Melky. He can’t run the bases well, either.

He just got gunned down. But hey, he can field well!

8:09 p.m. Joba goes for a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom half of the third inning. Surprised it still didn’t take 30 minutes.

8:02 p.m.
It typically takes longer than 2 1/2 innings for this to happen, but Don Orsillo is annoying me immensely. I think I would rather list
en to the Spice Girls.

Where’s the MUTE button?

Anyway, Beckett evades further damage in the third.

7:59 p.m.
I stand corrected. A-Rod singled Abreu over to third, and Giambi got the biggest gift of a single I have ever seen, hitting a little dribbler to where a shortstop SHOULD be playing.

Shift = not a good decision in that instance.

Yankees now lead 1-0.

7:56 p.m.
Nothing is happening, and the game is still moving slower than (plug in clever joke here).

I hate Yankees-Red Sox games.

7:46 p.m. Melky Cabrera can’t hit a lick, but he sure can “go get it” in center field. A great diving catch by him is followed up by a beautiful 4-6-3 DP started by Cano to end the inning.

Scoreless after two.

7:44 p.m.
Yes, Fenway Park is awesome. It’s unique. It’s fun. It’s creative. It’s historic.

But sometimes I hate it. Mike Lowell just drilled a line-drive that would have been a home run just about anywhere else, and the stupid Green Monster limited it to a single. That’s just lame.

But I suppose the Monster “takeith” and “giveth” away. I totally spelled that incorrectly, didn’t I?

7:40 p.m.
Robinson Cano continues his torrid hitting with a leadoff single, but no problem for Beckett as he gets the next three guys out in order.

The Yankees’ offense just isn’t as good as it usually is. What could they possibly do to improve it?

Hmm.

I wonder.

7:30 p.m. On the Ortiz punchout, Pedroia looked dead on a steal attempt but made a beautiful slide to avoid Jeter’s tag on a throw that beat him to the bag my a MILE. But Youkilis (who just gets along so well with Joba) ended the inning by whiffing (and it was quite ugly I might add).

On the plus side for Kevin, it was just the first time in six plate appearances that Joba has retired him. See, that’s what happens when you don’t throw the ball at his head and throw it in the strike zone.

Scoreless after one, but both starters had to throw a lot of pitches in the inning (24 for Beckett, 20 for Joba). Both struck out two.

7:28 p.m.
David Ortiz is back!!!!! You may have heard!!!!

His first at-bat back was everything it could have been and (less). He struck out. Clearly he’s not ready. Send him back down to AA.

7:24 p.m.
And what else is new, Dustin Pedroia just got a single. Does he ever make an out?

7:23 p.m.
Jacoby Ellsbury’s struggles continue. He grounds out. He was originally slated to bat ninth today to take some of the pressure off of him, but Manny decided to fake being hurt again tonight, and the lineup was changed.

7:19 p.m. Jason Giambi and his ‘stache strikes out, as well. If only the Yankees had Barry Bonds…

No, seriously. They should sign him. That guy would help that team IMMENSELY. And let’s fact it folks, they need help.

7:16 p.m. Next time maybe A-Rod should play ‘Like a Prayer’ by Madonna for his at-bat song to pump himself up. No way he strikes out just now if he had.

7:12 p.m. Consecutive singles (Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu) bring up Alex Rodriguez with runners on first and second and just one out. If A-Rod gets out, it’s Madonna’s fault.

7:08 p.m. When is an out, not really an out?

When the leadoff man makes the starter throw 10 pitches in the first at-bat of the game. Johnny Damon grounded out, but at this rate Josh Beckett will pitch four perfect innings but get taken out due to a really high pitch count (120).

6:45 p.m. Live-blogging a Yankees-Red Sox game is not a good decision.

Why not, you ask?

Because as much as I love doing this, sometimes sitting here for four-plus hours, documenting every little thing I find interesting is more than a little draining. And this game WILL take more than four hours. They always do. Pitchers’ duel tonight or not (and it will be), it will somehow find a way to last 4+ hours.

But hey, it won’t take more than six hours and 15 innings to end, will it? God, I hope not. Because I can’t do THIS again. No!

But hey, tonight’s game between the Sox and the Yanks is simply too good to pass up.

Joba vs. Beckett.

The return of David Ortiz to the lineup.

The talk of Barry Bonds potentially wearing pinstripes.

Manny still being Manny. Sorry, no links for that one. Just too many idiotic Manny moments to pick any specific link. Maybe someone should start a “Manny being Manny” Web site to fully document this.

Well, actually, here’s a link. The cry-baby Prima Donna is being a (wuss) and not playing tonight. Go figure.

But perhaps more important than any of this, the Yankees are charging in a very-intriguing AL East race, and are now just three games back from both Boston and Tampa Bay in the standings.

A sweep would sure be interesting, wouldn’t it?

Check back here throughout the night to see if the Yankees can get that sweep started with a Game 1 victory.

Live Blog: 2008 All-Star Game

1:37 a.m. INCREDIBLE!

Michael Young again! He’s an all-star beast!

An incredibly-close play at home plate, but his sac-fly to right was JUST deep enough to beat the good throw by Corey Hart and win it for the AL, 4-3 in 15 innings!

And the AL wins, AGAIN! Anyone surprised? That’s like 1,500,000 wins in a row for the AL in the Midsummer Classic.

A fitting way to end the game, with a thrilling play at home plate.

Incredible.

The game took 4 hours, 50 minutes.

I kept this live-game-blog for approximately six hours! Six!

And when it all started, I predicted that this game would end in a tie.

I was close.

Yuck…I wrote almost 4,500 words on this live-blog

I think I’m sick.

And if you read every single one of those words…I think you’re sick.

I need sleep, too.

More to come tomorrow. I can’t process anymore.

I can’t.

Last thought: Best all-star game ever? Maybe. Probably at least in my lifetime (although I’m only 22).

1:35 a.m. J.D. Drew has walked! Bases loaded, one out.

For?

Michael Young!

1:33 a.m. Oh boy, again.

Single by Navarro. First and second, one out.

J.D. Drew has his 35th chance to win MVP here…

1:31 a.m. You have got to be kidding me!

GREAT catch by Ryan Ludwick to temporarily, at least, save the day for the NL.

One out, and a man on first.

Up comes Dioner Navarro.

1:30 a.m. Justin Morneau leads off the inning with a single. Oh boy.

1:28 a.m. And the NL has a new pitcher (Brad Lidge) and a new catcher (Brian McCann).

Let’s see how this pans out.

1:24 a.m. Kazmir looked dominant to the first two batters (both outs) but he just walked David Wright on four pitches. 

But then he got the next guy to ground out.

To the bottom of the 15th!

1:22 a.m. UPDATE: Dan Uggla tonight – 0-4 (3K, DP, 6 LOB) and three errors.

Double ouch!

1:20 a.m. Dan Uggla tonight: 0-3 (2 K’s and a DP) and three errors.

OUCH.

1:19 a.m. Statistics update: The NL has struck out 16 times, the AL 17 times.

The NL has left 10 men on base, 15 for the AL.

1:18 a.m.
And Longoria just ruined his (and I’m not lying) 1,742nd chance of winning MVP in this game.

To the 15th we go!

1:14 a.m.
Words cannot explain how good and exciting this game is.

Brandon Webb comes in and gets a great play from Tejada at short for the first out — robbing Carlos Guillen’s liner.

And now Sizemore just struck out. Two outs. That didn’t take long.

1:11 a.m.
This game goes into the bottom of the 14th, STILL tied at 3-3.

WAIT.

WAIT.

Let’s say this game DOES end in a tie…how is home-field for the World Series determined?

Anyone know??

1:09 a.m. And ANOTHER deep fly (this time, by Martin) but not deep enough to right. Two outs. And up comes Mr. I-am-200-years-old Miguel Tejada.

1:07 a.m.
Oh. My. God.

I thought — and so did everyone else — that Nate McLouth just hit a go-ahead home run.

But it was not to be. Warning-track power for Mr. McLouth.

Amazing.

1:06 a.m. And if they do win, it’s going to have to be in inning No. 14 or later, because Carlos Quentin just struck out to end the 13th.

I need a nap.

1:04 a.m.
If the AL wins this game…Dan Uggla should win the MVP.

Yes, you heard me right.

1:03 a.m. Michael Young strikes out looking, but Drew steals second base. Two outs.

12:58 a.m.
Carlos Marmol comes in (finally, someone NOT named Aaron Cook) and immediately gets Navarro out.

J.D. Drew up next. MVP? Maybe, but he’ll have to earn it later, because he just reached on…get this…Dan Uggla’s THIRD ERROR! Third! All in extra innings! He had six all year coming into this game!

12:53 a.m.
Corey Hart strikes out. Two out. Ludwick up, and he is retired.

Bottom of the 13th we go!

Hey Clint…pitch someone NOT named Aaron Cook.

12:49 a.m. Leadoff bloop single for David Wright off of Sherrill.

And oh WOW. Guzman bunts, but Sherrill gets the force out at second base.

12:46 a.m.
I can’t take this any longer.

We’re going to the 13th.

How does Aaron Cook keep getting out of these jams??

How?

How?

How?

12:45 a.m. Imagine if this game was in an NL park…this would be brutal. I know I don’t want to see pitchers bat here.

Although the way things are going, maybe they are the only ones who COULD get a hit.

12:42 a.m. Close call on a foul ball. And oh my! Longoria struck out! Two outs.

And Morneau is being intentionally walked right now.

First and third, two outs. Kinsler coming up…

I predict a game-winning hit…

12:41 a.m.
My lord! The AL is 3-19 with runners in scoring positionand the NL is 0-6. Yikes!

12:39 a.m.
Leadoff double by Carlos Guillen (man, he can hit) to start the bottom of the 12th.

Hey Clint…take out Cook! Put in someone else. Please. Jeezes.

And Sizemore rips it to second, effectively bunting over Guillen to third.

One out. Bringing up Evan Longoria.

12:38 a.m.
I need a math major to help me figure out how many men both teams have left on base in these last few innings.

And seriously, every player has had like three chances to win this game and win MVP honors.

Does anyone want it?

12:36 a.m. Three pitches! That’s all he needed to strike out Adrian Gonzalez.

Yikes! Does anyone want to score.

p.s, I know I’m using too many exclamation points…but my god! What a game!

12:34 a.m.
Boy, did I pick a good game to live-blog.

I can’t handle this much longer.

George Sherrill is coming in for Soria with two outs and the bases loaded in the 12th…

12:31 a.m.
Can Uggla atone for his Uggla-ness from earlier??

Umm…NO!

Uggla looks foolish as Soria just dropped a FILTHY curveball. And I do mean, FILTHY!

Credit to ‘Uggla-ness’ goes to my buddy Jeff.

12:29 a.m. What are you doing Justin Morneau??

McLouth (who is seconds away from winning MVP), just bunted Ludwick over to second…but wait! Morneau nonchalantly shovels it over to first and everyone is SAFE!

And now Martin bunts, and Morneau messed up again! Looked like it was going to go foul if he let it go.

Second and third, one out now.

Intentional pass to Tejada, setting bases loaded and one out for…Dan Uggla!

He could seriously redeem himself here.

12:28 a.m. Soria still in, and he starts things off vicariously by walking Ryan Ludwick.

12:22 a.m. Wrong call again!!!!!!!!

Live-blog can’t do this justice right now.

I hope you just saw that.

I really do.

Nate McLouth just gunned down Navarro at the plate for the second out after Michael Young singled.

This is incredible. It appears to have been the wrong call, as it looked like Navarro got under the tag.

And Carlos Quentin grounded out to third (nice play by Guzman, who isn’t a third baseman) to end the inning.

This is insane! To the 12th we go!

12:20 a.m.
J.D. Drew singles. First and second, one out. Bringing up Michael Young, who certainly has some experience being the h
ero in an all-star game.

12:18 a.m.
Never tagged him!

Again, the umpire gets the call wrong at second base.

Kinsler gunned down at second on the steal attempt, albeit, it was the wrong call. Nice pitchout, though! Hey, Clint Hurdle did something right!

Navarro walks after all that. Guy still on first, but now one out.

12:15 a.m. Ian Kinsler leads off with a single in the bottom of the 11th off of Cook.

Hello!

Clint Hurdle, are you there?

Brad Lidge is waiting in the bullpen.

Put him in!

12:11 a.m.
Cristian Guzman flies out to center for the second out. Corey Hart flies out as well.

Again, the AL has a chance to take this one, before, dare I saw it, we end in another tie. Ha!

12:10 a.m. David Wright strikes out for the first out.

12:08 a.m. Leadoff single by Adrian Gonzalez in the 11th off of Joakim Soria.

12:04 a.m.
Aren’t we glad that we stayed up past our bedtimes??

Bases loaded, no outs.

Grady Sizemore? Can’t get it done.

Evan Longoria? Can’t get it done.

Justin Morneau? Can’t get it done.

Dan Uggla made two errors in the inning, Two. And somehow, no one scores off of arguably the worst pitcher in the game and arguably the worst managing decision of the night (not putting in a strikeout artist like Brad Lidge into the game).

This is special.

We go to the 11th!

I smell a tie…

12:03 a.m. Evan Longoria with a chance to play hero???

Grounds out for the force play at home!

AMAZING.

Two outs. Bases still loaded.

Up comes Justin Morneau.

12:02 a.m.
Man, this game isn’t lacking for drama, is it?

Sizemore grounds out for a force play at home. Uggla made the play! No errors! Look mom!

12:00 a.m.
Infield in. Outfield in. Bases loaded, no out after an intentional walk.

Up comes Grady Sizemore.

11:59 p.m. AHHHHH! Put in Brad Lidge!

You NEED a strikeout, and you NEED it badly.

Aaron Cook is NOT going to get it,

NOT.

NOT.

11:56 p.m. And the downfall of Dan Uggla’s career has begun.

Kidding.

But he is costing his team the all-star game.

He makes an error on Michael Young’s grounder, to lead off the inning. And that comes after he hit into an inning-ending double play in the 10th with runners on first and third and one out off of Rivera.

And OH MY GOSH, he does it AGAIN!

This time, off the bat of Carlos Quentin. First and third, no out!

Blame Uggla, blame Hurdle. Why isn’t Lidge pitching>>

11:53 p.m. Speaking of incredible, Mariano gets a nice 4-6-3 DP off the bat of Dan Uggla.

Still tied! We head to the bottom of the 10th, as the AL has its second chance to win it.

11:50 p.m. Incredible. We all knew it’s been like 1,567 years since the NL has won one of these games, but the last time was during the first year of Joe Torre’s tenure as Yankees skipper.

Crazy.

And speaking of crazy, someone actually got a hit off of Rivera!

Oh my.

Make that two hits.

First and third, one out after a lucky hit-and-run by Tejada-Martin,

11:47 p.m.
FILTHY. Mariano paints the corner to Nate McLouth, for strike three and the first out. So filthy.

11:44 p.m. Nobody loves stats more than me, but sometimes they mean absolutely NOTHING.

The NL is 9-0-1 all-time in all-star games that go into extra-innings.

Take it for what it’s worth…which is nothing.

11:43 p.m. I predicted before the game started (and I was serious) that this game would result in a tie.

Who’s crazy now?

Looking more likely by the second,

11:42 p.m. Alright. I am wrong from time-to-time (although, quite rare) and an apology from me to both Ryan Dempster and Clint Hurdle are in order.

I’m sorry.

11:39 p.m. Ian Kinsler strikes out to start the inning, while Dioner Navarro strikes out as well. Two outs. And up comes…J.D. Drew. Hmm.

11:36 p.m.
For the 100th time tonight, I am going to question Clint Hurdle.

It’s nothing personal, I swear.

I just think Brad Lidge is the MUCH better option here than Ryan Dempster.

11:32 p.m.  I love baseball.

Classic Mariano: the batter knew EXACTLY what was coming…and STILL couldn’t hit it. NO chance.

And Navarro makes up a bit for his prior mistake and throws out the runner for the strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play.

We head to the last of the ninth inning…tied 3-3 at Yankee Stadium.

Doesn’t get much better than this, does it?
 
11:27 p.m. Well, I was close. Enter Sandman…except with one out in the ninth, not two.

Half-credit?

11:23 p.m. Hmm. In comes Francisco Rodriguez. Now, does Terry Francona put in Mariano Rivera in this inning? Because if he doesn’t…this game could end in the bottom of the ninth without him pitching at all.

My guess? Rivera comes in with two outs in the ninth so he has a chance of winning the ball game.

Because he can’t save the game now. That would be impossible.

11:16 p.m. Grady Sizemore singled off of Wagner and then stole second, and the rookie, Evan Longoria (who needs Eva??) comes up with a big, two-out, two-strike double down the left field line to tie the score at 3-3.

Looks like the fans correctly voted him in as the 32nd man to the AL roster. And looks like I was right…Billy Wagner is stinking up the joint these last few weeks and it continues in the all-star game.

We head to the ninth, all tied

This is awesome!

11:12 p.m. Absolute GAS from Wilson. Blew it right past Carlos Guillen for the second out of the inning.

He certainly did HIS job.

(Cut to my buddy eating crow now…)

In comes Billy Wagner now. And the way he’s been pitching lately, there still may be a crooked number on that scoreboard this half-inning.

11:08 p.m.
My buddy Jeff got his wish. He wants the AL to win, and he thinks it’s a lock that they will assuming Hurdle inserts Brian Wilson into the game.

And lo and behold, in comes Wilson.

And a crooked number on the scoreboard, my friend firmly believes.

We shall see.

11:03 p.m.
A single, stolen base and a throwing error by Navarro has set up the NL with a runner on third and one out. And Adrian Gonzalez promptly drives him in with a sac-fly to left.

NL back in front, 3-2.

10:59 p.m.
As Jonathan Papelbon comes in, let’s check out a few stories…

And now Papelbon, is getting berated by the Yankees fans. Love it. Hate New York, Hate Boston.

There. I said it.

Sue me.

10:53 p.m.
Who needs a sac-fly when you have J.D. Drew to hit a two-run home run in his first career all-star at-bat?

And my god, the crowd erupted when he hit it!

Drew plays for Boston.

I repeat, Boston. Not New York.

Wow. 

Score is tied, 2-2, after seven.

I’m telling you. We’re going to have a tie…

10:51 p.m. FILTHY pitch to Dioner Navarro for a called third strike. Which is big, because the AL will have
to get a hit off of Volquez if they hope to score in the 7th. Navarro blew the chance for a sac-fly to cut the lead to one.

10:46 p.m. Rude awakening for Edinson Volquez by Justin Morneau, who laced a leadoff double to open the bottom of the 7th inning.

This wouldn’t have happened it someone had listened to me in the 6th…

I’m talking to YOU Clint Hurdle!

10:40 p.m. Honestly…good luck scoring again, NL.

The AL can trump out Joe Nathan, Francisco Rodriguez, Jonathan Papelbon and Mariano Rivera in the final three innings.

That’s a joke.

Enter Sandman x 4.

10:37 p.m. Joe Nathan is on the mound for the AL in the 7th. They just said his 90% conversion rate for saves is 2nd all-time (with at least 200 save opportunities).

Who the heck is first? How do they NOT tell us?

That angers me greatly.

10:33 p.m. Well maybe Hurdle knew what he was doing, Once again, the AL fails to score. Haren works around Hamilton’s leadoff single and his stolen base a batter later.

But we’re still in a fight, Clint.

10:29 p.m. Dammit, Clint Hurdle. You just jipped the American People. How do you NOT pitch Edinson Volquez against Josh Hamilton to lead off the 6th inning??

Why does Dan Haren need to pitch another inning? There are a bunch of pitchers that need to get in here.

But forget about that…I want to see Hamilton vs. Volquez!

10:28 p.m. Fine. Texas, you don’t need to send Josh Hamilton to AAA. He just got a hit. About time.

10:24 p.m.
Justin Duchscherer –way too many letters there, although I’m really not one to talk…my last name is longer — just got out of the jam, NL leads, 2-0, as we head to the bottom of the 6th.

10:21 p.m. Derek Jeter was just interviewed by Kevin Kennedy, and they talked about George Steinbrenner. Jeter said something about when you think of the Yankees, you think of Steinbrenner, and you don’t think of many owners like that in baseball.

All true.

But a year from now, when I think of the Chicago Cubs…I want to think of Mark Cuban.

Please, MLB, let that man buy the Cubs. Please.

10:20 p.m. Deep fly off the bat of Lance “Big Puma” Berkman, good for a sac-fly and a 2-0 lead for the NL.

10:18 p.m.
OK, good pitching beats all good hitting, except for when that hitter is named Hanley Ramirez and Chase Utley. First and third, no out.

10:14 p.m.
Honestly, if anyone can help me keep track of all these changes to the lineups, your services are sorely needed.

My head hurts.

10:11 p.m. A single, stolen base and a walk, but once again, no runs for the AL. The NL still leads, 1-0, after five complete at Yankee Stadium.

10:03 p.m. When you’re struggling to get hits that badly, you take what you can get.

Joe Mauer is taking that gift of a single.

10:01 p.m. Dan Haren started for the AL in the all-star game last year. Now he’s pitching for the NL in the 5th inning the following season. You don’t see that often.

Memo to GM’s: don’t trade him.

Which reminds me, that Rich Harden trade was ABOMINABLE on the A’s part. Billy Beane is basically never wrong, but I can’t defend him on this one.
Embarrassing.

9:53 p.m.
Before the start of the 5th inning, my buddy Jeff said “This will be the inning for the NL.”

Looks like he’s correct; 1-0 NL after Matt Holliday smokes a home run to right.

9:49 p.m. WOW. Who does Milton Bradley think he is? Rickey Henderson? Lou Brock? Ichiro?

He just got leaning towards second (presumably to steal another base) and Big Z had other ideas.

Through four innings, 0-0.

9:48 p.m. You gotta hand it to Manny sometimes. He sure knows how to have fun.

And apparently, so does Carlos Zambrano, who just threw a 60 MPH curveball that intentionally went over the head of Manny.

Both had laughs, and so did I watching on TV. Love it.

9:39 p.m.
I may be in the minority here, but I’ll take a pitchers’ duel, and a great defensive play (or throw, like we just got from Ichiro in right field…what else is new?) ANY day over a high-scorer.

Although games like THESE certainly are fun, aren’t they?

By the way, Albert Pujols was safe on that play. But the throw beat the runner, and that’s all the umpire ever seems to care about…

9:34 p.m.
Ichiro leads off with a single, but Jeter hits into a double play and Hamilton grounds out. Scoreless after three.

9:27 p.m. Hanley Ramirez takes a look back at the home plate umpire after a borderline 2-0 pitch is called a strike on the outside corner.

I want to see a player get thrown out in an all-star game.

My money is on Milton Bradley!

Which brings me to my next point…if your last name is Bradley…you CANNOT name your kid Milton!

And we wonder why he randomly goes crazy sometimes!?

9:25 p.m. It may be a bit difficult to understand him, but listening to Yogi Berra (and his Yogi-isms) is a treat.

9:22 p.m. Need something to read during innings?

Look no further than the man who inspired the title of this blog, and well, inspired me…

Mr. Peter Gammons

STILL the man.

9:20 p.m. Sheets walks two, but no damage is done as the score remains 0-0 after two. Well done by both Cliff Lee and Sheets.

Moral of the story?

Good pitching beats good hitting EVERY SINGLE TIME!

9:11 p,m. I can guarantee that Ben Sheets’ curveball on strike three to Manny Ramirez will be featured on the “That’s Nasty” segment on baseball tonight after the game.

9:03 p.m. He’s not going to hit .400 (nor will anyone anytime soon) but Chipper Jones is still really good. Too bad that single up the middle doesn’t count (because the slacker is only hitting .378 right now).

9:00 p.m. One inning complete, 0-0.

I love watching good pitching and we got plenty of that tonight.

While we’re waiting for the second inning, take a look at Bud Selig trying to take away the spotlight tonight from the all-star game and the special pre-game ceremony with all the hall-of-famers.

8:57 p.m. Hamilton just struck out!? He should be benched. He can’t hit a lick.

8:56 p.m. Derek Jeter just singled the other way at Yankee Stadium.

Like he’s never done that before.

And he just stole second.

The man knows how to play baseball.

8:54 p.m. Ichiro just flew out to right for the first out.

Which got me to thinking…

Who doesn’t want to see Ichiro in a home run derby? Tell me he wouldn’t hit at LEAST five in every round. I’m serious.

He would have murdered the short porch in right field last night, Maybe not Josh Hamilton-esque, but it would have been impressive and fun to watch.

8:50 p.m. Hmm. Chase Utley strikes out on four pitches, as well. AL must have a better lineup. This game is over.

Berkman flies out to end the inning, and Lee didn’t strike out the side. What a slacker.

8:48 p.m. Hanley Ramirez struck out on four pitches to start the game…maybe that lineup isn’t as good as we thought…

8:46 p.m. Advantage already for the NL: Ryan Braun is hitting SEVENTH! I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s a pretty good lineup the NL has this year.

8:45 p.m. And the answer is…

NOBODY!

Gotta love Bud Selig!

8:44
p.m.
While we wait for the game to start, let’s have a trivia question: Who won the all-star game MVP in 2002?

Answer shortly, and no cheating!

8:34 p.m. Love him or hate him, you have to appreciate a moment like this as George “The Boss” Steinbrenner is carted onto the field to deliver the ball to the five Yankees hall-of-famers to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

My buddy Jeff (an avid Red Sox fan, and Steinbrenner hater…how original!) just said the following: “Chuck Knoblauch should have thrown out the first pitch and knocked someone out in the stands.”

He may be biased, but that’s funny (and probably true).

8:32 p.m. All the hall-of-famers on the field tonight just converged on the pitchers’ mound…how would you like to be a photographer there at that moment?

8:24 p.m. As the starting lineups are being announced, let’s take a look at who SHOULD be starting for both the AL and the NL.

And it should have been ME, not 1,000,000,000 fans that decided this…

8:14 p.m. Now THIS is special…

Major League Baseball just honored a laundry list of living hall-of-famers. That is one talented ball field.

This has to be a special moment for all involved: the fans, the current players and the hall-of-famers. This is what baseball and the history of the game is all about. Perfect night to be doing this.

If you didn’t get goosebumps when they introduced guys like Willie Mays and Hank Aaron…than there is something vastly wrong with you.

Pitchers: Steve Carlton, Dennis Eckersley, Bob Feller, Rollie Fingers, Bob Gibson, Ferguson Jenkins, Juan Marichal, Phil Niekro, Jim Palmer, Gaylord Perry, Robin Roberts, Bruce Sutter, Don Sutton, Goose Gossage, Whitey Ford

First base: Orlando Cepeda, Harmon Killebrew, Eddie Murray, Tony Perez, Willie McCovey

Second base: Rod Carew, Bill Mazeroski, Ryne Sandberg

Third base: Brooks Robinson, Mike Schmidt, George Brett, Wade Boggs

Shortstop: Luis Aparacio, Ozzie Smith, Robin Yount, Ernie Banks, Cal Ripken, Jr.

Designated hitter: Paul Molitor

Catcher: Gary Carter, Yogi Berra

Outfield: Lou Brock, Billy Williams, Ralph Kiner, Willie Mays, Tony Gwynn, Al Kaline, Frank Robinson, Dave Winfield, Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson

Managers: Earl Weaver, Tommy Lasorda, Dick Williams

Front office: Lee McPhail 

8:11 p.m. For more on All-Star Game history, click HERE.

8:09 p.m. There are a lot of storylines in this all-star game, but the one that sticks out in my mind most is the recent futility — and I do mean futility — of the National League in these games.

Take a look…

2007: AL wins
2006: AL wins
2005: AL wins
2004: AL wins
2003: AL wins
2002: TIE (SO stupid…thanks Bud)
2001: AL wins
2000: AL wins
1999: AL wins
1998: AL wins
1997: AL wins

…Sense a theme here?

WAIT! There IS a pattern: AL wins five years in a row; a tie; AL wins five years in a row; a tie???

Predicted final score: 5-5 (hey, yiu heard it here first!)

Good thing Selig is still the commissioner, because he can make it happen.

8:00 p.m. Unless Josh Hamilton hits for the cycle AND hits a
walk-off grand slam in the ninth inning, this All-Star Game can’t
possibly top last night.

Ask me.

Ask Jayson Stark (the best baseball writer on this planet).

Ask anyone.

What Hamilton did in the home run derby is something that I will NEVER forget.

If
the 2008 All-Star Game is just 1/10 as good, we’re in for a treat. And
in case we are — or even if we aren’t — I’ll be here the whole way to
provide commentary, analysis, thoughts and other useless tidbits.

Check back in a second for all-star links, lineups and more…

Live Game Blog: Chicago vs. Chicago (June 22)


11:10 p.m.
Although brooms aren’t allowed at Wrigley Field, the sweep is on for the Cubs over the South Siders. Cubs win, 7-1. Dempster is now 9-0 in 10 starts at home this season. Who knew?

Amazingly, the Cubs have won 14 straight home games — the first time they’ve done so in 72 years.

BUT, there’s a certain something they haven’t done in 100 years…

I don’t need to say it.

OK, OK, I PROMISE that was the last time.

Because I am DONE.

11:01 p.m. When you’re struggling, you need to get a hit any way you can. And Nick Swisher will certainly take that little squibber down the 3B line that hit the bag while Ramirez was trying to let it go foul.

And that will do it for Dempster…who gets a huge ovation.

Former White Sox Bobby Howry will come in with runners on 1st and 2nd and nobody out.

11:00 p.m. Dye leads off a single. Dempster could use another one of those trusty double play balls to help him complete this game.

10:53 p.m. Eric Patterson continues to make me look bad — granted, that’s not all that tough to do — he now has two hits and two walks. He showed off his blazing speed with that infield hit…and now around the bases as D-Lee ropes a double into the gap.

Cubs now lead 7-1.

10:49 p.m. You know it’s a good night when you ground out weakly to shortstop and STILL get a resounding ovation from the crowd.

10:47 p.m. Speaking of leaving Dempster in, he is hitting for himself to lead off the bottom of the 8th off of White Sox closer Bobby Jenks.

I love it. Dempster probably told Lou that he was staying in. He’s still only thrown 96 pitches. He should be allowed to finish what he started.

10:45 p.m. Thome leads off the inning with a pinch-hit double, but is stranded there as Dempster shuts the White Sox down once again.

Lou Piniella came out to the mound at one point, And Dempster just looked at him as if to say, “No way in hell are you taking me out right now.”

Piniella acquisced and left him in. Good decision.

10:35 p.m. On his 43rd pitch of the inning, Dotel gets out of the jam. Throwing 43 pitches and allowing only one run in an inning is NOT easy to pull off.

And now his arm is probably about to FALL off.

6-1 Cubs after seven complete.

10:32 p.m. Crede can’t handle the tough hop on a hard-hit grounder by DeRosa. Crede charged with the error (his 14th…which amazes because he’s easily one of the best fielding 3rd baseman in the AL).

The bases are loaded and Dotel has seemingly thrown more pitches in this one inning than Dempster has in seven.

10:31 p.m. Geovany Soto just missed hitting a three-run home run. At this point, it probably doesn’t even matter.

Holy moly,..Dotel has thrown over 30 pitches this inning, but has only given up the one run. So far, that is. That could change in a hurry.

10:26 p.m. The 7th inning stretch passed, and I forgot to say what I had for dinner. But nobody guessed, so it doesn’t matter.

(That Ramen tasted oh-so-good)

10:23 p.m. And Dotel is giving his best Vazquez impression…walking Derrek Lee and giving up an extra-base hit to Ramirez to score another (this time, just a double. Man is he slumping!) Cubs lead, 6-1.

And another walk! Although this time, Dotel was ordered to do so by manager Ozzie Guillen.

10:16 p.m. Octavio Dotel comes in for Vazquez to start the 7th.

If the Cubs prevail in this one, they will have won 8-of-9 from the White Sox in the last two seasons. These teams meet again next weekend in the South Side.

Entering THIS series, these teams were tied head-to-head in Interleague Play. Cubs now on top.

But still without a World Series title in 100 years. OK, I promise that was the last time.

10:13 p.m. Dye stays scorching hot with a double down the LF line to lead off the inning. Swisher just misses one down the RF line, barely foul. DeRosa then makes a diving stop to his right, robbing Swisher of a single, but moving the runner to 3rd.

Crede laces the first pitch up the middle — almost taking the head off of Dempster — to give the White Sox their first run of the night.

Wise jumps all over the first pitch, too, but hits it right to Edmonds in center.

Ramirez hits one a mile high to left, but Patterson camps under it for the third out, leaving Thome and his 500+ homers on deck.

10:04 p.m.
Vazquez does his best Dempster impression, setting down the opposing side in order. Cubs still ahead, 5-0, after six.

This look good one inning, look awful the next is really holding true in this one for Javier.

9:56 p.m. Aside from a great battle from Pierzynski, Dempster makes real quick work of the White Sox in the Top of the 6th.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before tonight: Dempster cruises through the inning, while Vazquez looks great for an inning then walks everyone and serves up the long ball.

9:49 p.m. Inning over, but the damage is done. 5-0 Cubs.

White Sox fans, don’t fret. The Cubs still haven’t won a World Series since 1908. Jeez, isn’t it tough that you haven’t won since…oh, 2005?

9:47 p.m. Or a walk. Yes, a walk. Only five now for Vazquez.

9:46 p.m. Edmonds strikes out for the second out. You know what that means? Soto is going to hit a home run here…

9:44 p.m. D-Lee strikes out.

Aramis Ramirez goes big-fly on the very next pitch. 5-0 Cubs. Just when you think Vazquez is back on track, think again…

Ramirez has four homers in the three-game series. Yikes.

9:42 p.m. Apparently Eric Patterson heard my criticisms earlier in this blog.

I was poking fun, saying he’d be no good just because his brother is Corey Patterson.

He just cranked a two-run shot off Vazquez to give the Cubs a 4-0 lead. 

9:39 p.m. Things just aren’t going Javier’s way, but he’s not helping himself with his lack of control and consistency.

He had Fukudome 1-2, but drilled him in the elbow on a 90+ MPH heater to start the inning.

First time Fukudome has been hit ALL SEASON in over 300 plate appearances. Welcome to the bigs!

9:35 p.m. Dewayne Wise is doing everything he can to spark the offense, but his teammates keep messing it up.

Wise leads off with a beautiful bunt single but Ramirez hits into yet ANOTHER — that’s three in five innings now — White Sox double play.

Vazquez couldn’t do much better at the dish, popping out to end Top of the 5th. The South Siders keep quelling their own rallies.

9:30 p.m. Vazquez allows just a single, and the score remains 2-0 after four.

9:25 p.m. Doesn’t matter how many jams Vazquez gets out of at this point if Dempster keeps dealin’. Dye gets robbed at third by Ramirez, Swisher struck out looking and Ramirez made another nice play to nab his third base counterpart in Joe Crede.

9:22 p.m. For those scoring at home, take a guess what I made for dinner.

Hint: I am a college student.

Answer to come during 7th inning stretch.

9:19 p.m. Vazquez works around the two walks in the third, score remains 2-0 after three innings. The White Sox almost messed up Edmonds’ easy popup, with Wise and Cabrera nearly colliding. Someone forgot to teach them to call for it.

9:17 p.m. With two out and nobody on, Vazquez walks Ramirez. He’s now walked four and has thrown 57 pitches in 2.2 innings. Not good.

9:16 p.m. And all those throws over paid off! Patterson thrown out at second on the steal attempt. He’s looking more and mo
re like his brother by the day!

9:14 p.m. Vazquez has thrown over to first about 50 times now in the last few minutes to check on Patterson. Which is great for me, because I’m trying to cook dinner right now and not miss anything.

9:11 p.m. Here we go again? Vazquez walks Patterson on four pitches to lead off the inning. The fourth pitch almost drilled Patterson. So much for the strong second inning from Vazquez…

9:05 p.m. I hate watching pitchers hit…it’s ugly. Vazquez K’s. Cabrera follows with his second single of the night, and Pierzynski narrowly misses hitting into the 3rd White Sox double play in three innings.

But it doesn’t matter, because Quentin makes the third out on a comebacker to Dempster.

9:00 p.m. Vazquez looked extrely sharp this time around, striking out Fukudome looking to end the 2nd inning. Still 2-0 Cubs.

8:56 p.m. Crede starts the inning with a nice play at third to rob DeRosa of at least a single. But Theriot counters with a broken-bat flair that nobody can come up with on a nasty 1-2 pitch.

On a side note, the error was changed from Wise to Cabrera as expected. One of the runs charged to Vazquez in the first inning was unearned.

8:48 p.m. Dewayne Wise is trying to get the inning started on his own. He singles up the middle and promptly steals second base on the first pitch to Ramirez. But Ramirez grounds out to end the inning.

8:46 p.m. But this time Swisher draws a leadoff walk…let’s see if the White Sox can capitalize on it like the Cubs did in the previous half inning.

And as I say that, it is now impossible that they do. Crede grounds into the second double play in as many innings for the South Siders.

8:43 p.m. Vazquez escapes further trouble, thanks to Swisher bailing out Cabrera with a nice stretch at first base. But the White Sox trail, 2-0, and Vazquez had to throw 30 pitches and exert a lot of energy in the first.

Swisher sure as heck hasn’t bailed out his team this year at the plate (hitting .235).

8:38 p.m. D-Lee steals 2nd base. Cubs now have two steals, and scored two on the hit-and-run on Lee’s base hit. They are certainly aggressive tonight, trying to jump on the struggling Vazquez and get that series sweep.

8:36 p.m. Vazquez gets the first out, almost 10 minutes into the bottom of the first. Never a good sign.

8:32 p.m. Wow. Walks come back to kill every time, and this instance is no different. D-Lee lines it into center on a 1-2 pitch (with the runners going) and both score — with the second run scoring on a cutoff throw that Cabrera could not handle from Wise in center field.

Inexplicably, they charged Wise with the error. Cabrera just flat dropped the ball. This ruling will probably get changed when the official scorer takes another look.

Cubs lead 2-0.

8:30 p.m. Six straight balls to start the game now for Javier. Make that seven. Uhh, make that eight.

Where’s Bob Eucker to call this game when you need him?

8:29 p.m. Vazquez all over the place to start the game, a four-pitch walk.

Eric Patterson steps up to the plate now, and I know for a fact he’s getting out (probably going to strike out). How do I know, you ask?

He’s related to Corey Patterson.

8:24 p.m. Always works out that way…after singing Dye’s praises, he hits into an inning-ending double play (4-6-3). He’s cold as ice now.

8:23 p.m. Quentin is heating up, much like Cabrera. He laces one up the middle a la Cabrera to lead off the game. Speaking of heating up…Jermaine Dye is up. He has 15 RBI in his last six games, hitting .478! Now THAT is hot.

8:22 p.m. The early foul bunt puts A.J. behind early and he strikes out on a nasty splitter down and in. Now we know why he has all those strikeouts. And strike one swinging to Quentin on another nasty splitter.

8:19 p.m. Orlando Cabrera hits a single up the middle to start things off for the Pale Hose. He is really starting to pick it up offensively after a really slow start.

And right on cue, Pierzynski stands in and gets booed. No surprise there, I bet he gets booed at dinner by his family (joking…well, maybe) He tried to bunt, but it goes foul. Now they try a hit and run, but A.J. fouls it off. OC had a great jump too.

8:18 p.m. First pitch from Dempster (81 strikeouts and just 66 hits allowed in 94.2 innings pitched. Amazing. First pitch is a called strike.

8:15 p.m. The tarp comes off, and the game will begin just a few minutes late.

Wow. If you’re watching on ESPN right now, they showed a spectacular rainbow. If the Cubs lose this game, I’m sure the rainbow will be a new “curse” in Cubs’ lore.

8:10 p.m. In case you’re from Chicago and only pay attention to the Cubs (Don’t act like you don’t do it), you may not have noticed the White Sox have the best team ERA (3.44) in all of baseball.

A good stat to lead in. This team is for real.

8:05 p.m.
Before the first pitch, I got to thinking…with Carlos Zambrano now on the DL, the Cubs sure could use Rich Hill. Ya, remember him? He went 11-8 with a 3.92 ERA with 183 strikeouts in 195 IP in 2007.

This year? Not so much. He had control problems to start the season, and was sent down in AAA.

Based on his stats thus far there, he probably should be been sent to AA, at best.

7:57 p.m. LINEUPS

  • Chicago White Sox lineup:
  1. Orlando Cabrera (SS)
  2. A.J. Pierzynski (C)
  3. Carlos Quentin (LF)
  4. Jermaine Dye (RF)
  5. Nick Swisher (1B)
  6. Joe Crede (3B)
  7. Dewayne Wise (CF)
  8. Alexei Ramirez (2B)
  9. Javier Vazquez (P)
  • Chicago Cubs lineup:
  1. Kosuke Fukudome (RF)
  2. Eric Patterson (LF)
  3. Derrek Lee (1B)
  4. Aramis Ramirez (3B)
  5. Jim Edmonds (CF)
  6. Geovany Soto (C)
  7. Mark DeRosa (2B)
  8. Ryan Theriot (SS)
  9. Ryan Dempster (P)

7:50 p.m. Chicago vs. Chicago.

North Side vs. South Side.

White Sox vs. Cubs.

Always fun.

Especially when you consider that both teams are in first place in their respective divisions. And especially when you consider the bad blood between these teams. And the Cubs (they haven’t won a World Series in a while or something right?) look to sweep the White Sox at Wrigley Field despite trailing in each of the first two games of the series.

Here is more on tonight’s matchup:

Records: White Sox 41-33 (17-22 on road), Cubs 47-28 (31-8 @ home)

Pitching matchup – Javier Vazquez (7-5, 4.13 ERA) vs. Ryan Dempster (8-2, 2.76 ERA)

  • Interesting notes: Dempster is 8-0 at home this season, with a 2.93 ERA. So of course, he is 0-2 with a better ERA (2.48) on the road. The Cubs are 9-0 when Dempster starts at Wrigley Field this season.
  • Vazquez ranks 2nd in the AL with 93 strikeouts, but has struggled in his last three outings (ERA has climbed from 3.43 to 4.13) However, he won two of those three starts, despite allowing at least four earned runs without making it to the 7th inning in any of them.
  • The Cubs are trying to win their 14th straight game at Wrigley Field for the first time in 70+ years. Wow.

Links:

  • A few weeks ago, I wrote about how the Cubs are NOT the only team playing in Chicago. I think the Cubs may have been offended by that, because they never lose anymore…
  • The last live game blog that I did, turned out to be a doozie of a ballgame. Let’s hope history repeats itself.

Live game log: Yankees vs. Indians (May 7)


(Editors note: I am live blogging tonight’s Cleveland Indians vs. New York Yankees game. Recent posts will be at the top. Be sure to check out the preview at the bottom of the page.)


10:13 p.m.
I’m out.

10:12 p.m. Chien-Ming Wang falls to 6-1. Clearly, he’s terrible. Send him down to AAA. He’s no Cliff Lee.

Did I mention that he’s pretty good right now?

By the way, if you’re a Yankees fan and read my preview to this game at the bottom of the page…I’m sorry. The jinx holds up. It’s worse than the Madden Cover Jinx or the Curse of the Billy Goat or the SI Cover Jinx. 

10:11 p.m. Game over. 3-0 Cleveland victory. Lee goes for seven shutout innings, lowering his ERA to 0.81. He now has 39 K and 2 BB on the season. That is insane.

What’s more insane is that it took 14 minutes to finish the bottom of the ninth. NOBODY reached base. Why does this always happen in Yankees games?

10:07 p.m.
Two outs. New York misses Posada and A-Rod, but I don’t think they — or anyone else — could have done anything against Cliff Lee.

10:03 p.m. Matsui grounds out to third. One out. This is all but over, but that was the case when Lee’s name was put on that lineup card.

10:01 p.m. Seriously, why does a 3-0 game take this long. There is no reason a pitchers’ duel like this should take three hours. I miss the good ol’ days. Alright, I’m only 22, so I wasn’t alive back then. But still. Come on.

9:58 p.m. I don’t know who the official closer is for Cleveland, but I’m willing to bet putting Rafael Betancourt in right now is a smart move.

9:55 p.m. Wow. One of the stangest double plays I have ever seen. A tapper to the catcher, who steps on home for the force out and then over to first to get Hafner. And his struggles continue, We go to the bottom of the ninth, still 3-0 Cleveland.

9:52 p.m. Another walk. Bases loaded and one out for pinch hitter…Travis Hafner. This is going to be fun. Oh by the way, he has NINE career grand slams.

9:45 p.m. Damn. I step out for one minute and I miss a single and a walk and a pitcher come in for the Yankees that I can’t even spell, let alone pronounce. Glad I’m doing a blog and not announcing, I can get away with it.

9:39 p.m. Inning over. Yankees aren’t scoring tonight.

9:37 p.m. Jeter strikes out, but Abreu doubles down the LF line on a slowly-hit ball. Where’s Lee when you need him?

9:35 p,m. Even more reason to keep Lee in: Damon is 0-for-14 lifetime off of Lee. But hey, what do I know? Because Perez just retired him.

9:34 p.m. Oh, come on! They just took Lee out. And for another lefty, no less. I know Rafael Perez is one of the better left-handed relievers in basebal, but he’s struggled a bit so far this season. Lee? Not so much.

9:31 p.m. Farnsworth works around the leadoff single, and we head to the bottom of the 8th. It will be interesting to see if Lee and his 103 pitches goes out there for it.

If you ask me: Eric Wedge has to run him out there. He’s the best pitcher on the entire planet right now. And who better than that to face Damon, Jeter and Abreu in a key spot?

9:24 p.m. Kyle Farnsworth in for Wang to start the 8th. And the leadoff man gets a single.

9:19 p.m. Swinging-bunt single by Morgan Ensberg. That’s all they can get. Lee then gets the third out via the K.

9:16 p.m. “How big is Lance Bass?” asks Dave O’Brien. Just thought I’d relay that info to those not watching the telecast.

9:09 p.m. Quick inning. Two straight nice plays by Cabrera and Cano. Bottom seven we go.

9:04 p.m.
And Lee is good, striking out Matsui, the second leading hitter in the AL right now. Yankees still scoreless after six.

9:02 p.m. Yikes. Abreu beats out an easy weak grounder to first base. The flip by Casey Blake to Lee covering first was way too non-chalant. And now a double down the LF line by Duncan. Runners on second and third and two outs. This is New York’s chance, they have to take advantage.

8:56 p.m. Two outs.

8:55 p.m. One out.

8:51 p,m. Wang looked good in the sixth, Yankees will try to get to Lee in the bottom of the inning. Good luck.

8:45 p.m. Cliff Lee has not allowed a run in over 29 innings on the road this season. Strange, but this time after they show the stat on the screen the next hitter didn’t jinx it. He struck out. And the next guy flew out to end the 2-on, 1-out threat. A 0.84 ERA is pretty decent, but that must mean he’s really awful at home, huh? Ha.

8:40 p.m. What is going on with Robinson Cano? He’s hitting just .157. And right on cue (just like it has all night), Cano gets a hit. Hooray .163 batting average!

8:38 p.m. Breaking news: a hit off of Lee! Only a single by Melky, but hey, they’ll take anything they can get right now.

8:30 p.m.
He got his fourth strikeout instead, but Dellucci followed with an RBI single ripped up the middle. Now 3-0. Lee probably doesn’t need any more, but he may very well get it…WOW, Sizemore just got caught stealing third base with one out. Oops. And the Yankees get out of it with Martinez grounding out to end the threat.

8:27 p.m. Cleveland has runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs. Chien-Ming Wang is a double play artist, but he could use a triple play here.

8:19 p.m. Cliff Lee pitched the 4th, you know what happened already…

8:10 p.m. And right as I say that, Cleveland scored another run on an RBI single. 2-0 now, heading into the bottom of the 4th.

8:09 p.m. Chicks dig the longball. But give me a good pitchers’ duel anytime. This is good stuff.

8:02 p.m. As mentioned before, Travis Hafner has a day off tonight. But he’s been “off” for a full year now…hitting .245 since May 1 of last year, which is the sixth lowest in the Major Leagues. He does have 22 HR and 101 RBI since then, nothing to scoff at.

He’s going to turn it around soon. Bank on it.

7:59 p.m.
Victor Martinez is leading the AL in batting at almost .350. And of course, he has exactly ZERO home runs. Makes total sense.

7:55 p.m. 1-2-3 inning for Lee, Ho-hum.

7:48 p.m. You know, much was made last year about Wang’s low strikeout rate. But nobody seems to be talking about how it’s gone up a good deal this season. He entered tonight’s game with 32 strikeouts in 45 innings. Last year he had just 104 in 199.1 innings.

Make that 34 K’s in 46 innings now. Wang is dealing tonight, as usual.

7:43 p.m. I know this has nothing to do with this game, but I hate myself for benching Joey Votto today in ALL FOUR OF MY FANTASY LEAGUES. He only hit three home runs. Great. By the way, Lee is good. Only a bloop single allowed in the second. 1-0 CLE after two complete.

7:35 p.m. Wow. Wang has the highest winning percentage (52-18, .743 %) in MLB history for someone with 50+ starts. It helps to be in Pinstripes, doesn’t it?

7:33 p.m. Andy Marte, I’m sorry. But you’re never going to be good. Now 1-for-17 (.059) to start the season. He’s still young at 24, but I’ve thought for a while now he will never pan out. He looked awful in that at-bat before striking out.

7:28 p.m. Asdrubal Cabrera walks to lead off the inning. We know what happened the last time Wang did that: he’s scoring.

7:25 p.m. Jeez. Can anyone hit this guy? 1-2-3 inning for Lee. Jeter and Abreu fanned and just looked silly. The way he is pitching this season, that one run is all he will need.

7:21 p.m. Here comes Lee to the mound. Two walks and 32 strikeouts in 37.2 innings so far. That’s not too bad.
7:17 p.m. Victor Martinez hits a sacrifice fly to right, 1-0 Indians after the top of the first. And who said this would be a pitcher’s duel?? And by the way, leadoff walks kill pitchers EVERY TIME!

7:16 p.m. Tough luck for David Dellucci…he ropes a single to right, only to see Francisco get thrown out at second for a fielder’s choice. (He had to hold up because it looked like it may get caught).

7:15 p.m. ESPN shows a graphic that opponents are 0-21 in the last two games against Wang with a runner on base. Right on cue, that ends with a Francisco single. Always happens.

7:12 p.m. It doesn’t need to be said, but Grady Sizemore is a good leadoff hitter. He draws an eight-pitch walk. That’s exactly what you want from a leadoff hitter in the first inning. Cleveland wants to get to that bullpen and chase Wang early.

7:10 p.m. Delivery of first pitch FINALLY ends, ball one. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but that windup takes quite a long time, doesn’t it?

7:08 p.m. Chien-Ming Wang winds up for the first pitch

7:05 p.m. Tonight’s game will be called by Dave O’Brien and Buck Showalter. Unfortunately for them and those watching, there will be no Alex Rodriguez or Jorge Posada at-bats to announce, as both are currently on the DL. I’m sure their respective names will come up about 200 times anyways.

Both DH’s, Jason Giambi and Travis Hafner both have days off. Same goes for Ryan Garko. Hafner is 1-for-8 lifetime with four walks off of Wang.

6:53 p.m. LINEUPS

  • Cleveland Indians lineup:
  1. Grady Sizemore (CF)
  2. Ben Francisco (RF)
  3. David Delucci (LF)
  4. Victor Martinez (DH)
  5. Johnny Peralta (SS)
  6. Asdrubal Cabrera (2B)
  7. Casey Blake (1B)
  8. Kelly Shoppach (C)
  9. Andy Marte (3B)
  • New York Yankees lineup:
  1. Johnny Damon (LF)
  2. Derek Jeter (SS)
  3. Bobby Abreu (RF)
  4. Shelley Duncan (1B)
  5. Hideki Matsui (DH)
  6. Melky Cabrera (CF)
  7. Robinson Cano (2B)
  8. Morgan Ensberg (3B)
  9. Jose Molina (C)

6:43 p.m. It’s such a cliche to have the Yankees or the Red Sox on ESPN’s Wednesday Night Baseball. I’m sick of it, personally. How about showing a different team for a change?

But you won’t see my complaining tonight that the Bronx Bombers are on once again. Because the pitching matchup for tonight’s game with the Indians is terrific: Chien-Ming Wang (6-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (5-0, 0.96 ERA). Only the 10th time in Major League history with two pitchers to face off with 5-0 records or better. Check here for a full preview.

Two of the hottest pitchers in all of baseball going at it in fabled Yankee Stadium. Should be another pitchers’ duel, but sometimes it turns out to be the complete opposite. Will be interesting to see.

With that said, this seems to be the perfect opportunity to do my first live game log of the season. So be sure to check here during the game for frequent updates. And for those Yankees fans looking on, one of the last live game logs I did could be a bad omen for you tonight…

Wednesday Night Baseball Live Blog

On August 9, 2006 the New York Yankees squared off against the Chicago White Sox in what turned out to be a great ballgame on ESPN’s Wednesday Night Baseball.  I just so happened to take notes during the game.  The following is what I wrote while watching on TV…

8:05 PM:  The Announcers mention the fact that today’s starter for New York has not struck out an opposing hitter in the last 52 plate appearances.  That easily outdistances his longest such stretch in his long career by 16.  So its obvious he hasn’t had his best stuff of late right?  We shall see tonight if it continues.

8:08 PM:  Today’s starter for the Pale Hose is Jon Garland who sports a 4.99 ERA entering tonight’s contest.  It may not look good but he is 8-0 in his last nine starts and his ERA has gone down to 4.99 from 6.20.  He hasn’t lost since June 8th.

8:09 PM:  Lead-off man Johnny Damon laces a triple over Brian Anderson’s head in center-field.  The former "Jesus" is now 8-17 lifetime of the 6’6 right-hander.

8:10 PM:  Derek Jeter is hitting .346, which is somehow over 30 points behind the ML leader in Twins’ catcher Joe Mauer.  But MY pick to win the batting title is still the Yankee captain.  Jeter is only 3-17 off Garland but is hitting at a .376 clip with runners in scoring position this season.  Jeter reaches on an infield single to third baseman Joe Crede, who makes a nice play to, at least temporarily, save a run.  You just knew that right after they show his poor numbers off Garland that he would get a hit.  Back to Crede for a minute…Will this guy please get some credit as a phenomenal defensive third baseman.  He is as the same level as Eric Chavez and Mike Lowell.

8:14 PM:  It’s been 42 games and 162 at-bats since newly-acquired Bobby Abreu has smacked a home run.  The longest dry spell of his career.  Garland could sure use a double play ball with his tremendous sinking fastball but Bobby wants nothing to do with that as he raps a single to right for a 1-0 lead. 

8:16 PM:  Last night A-Rod went 3-3 with 2 walks and a HR.  Almost on cue, Crede comes up with another gem taking away a hit from A-Rod, all the while turning a pretty double play by stepping on the bag for the force and firing a strike to Paul Konerko to complete the 5-3 DP.

8:18 PM:  Jorge Posada tried to make Garland pay for the three consecutive hits to start the game but fails to do so a he flies out to Jermaine Dye in right.  Amazingly the White Sox rank 9th out of 14 AL clubs in ERA and are 3rd to last in HR’s allowed.  A far cry from the pitching performances they had on a regular basis in their 2005 World Champion campaign.

8:24 PM:  Staked to an early 1-0 advantage, the Big Unit, and his 6’10 frame strolls to the hill.  And what of all things does the lead-off hitter, Pablo Ozuna, do to start the game?  He strikes out.  Randy’s 62 batter streak without recording a punch-out is finally over.  He didn’t waste any time tonight.  Maybe it’s a pre-cursor to the night the White Sox have in store.

8:26 PM:  Speaking of snapping streaks, White Sox second baseman Tadahito Iguchi would LOVE to break out of his recent funk.  He is 4 for his last 28 at the dish.  Unlike Randy’s trend, this would does continue as he flies out.  4 for his last 29 now.

8:27 PM:  The ever-dangerous Jim Thome steps in and grounds out to Robinson Cano who is recently back from his DL stint.  The Bronx Bombers lead 1-0 after the first frame just like they did last night when Mariano Rivera blew the save in the ninth inning when he gave up a solo home-run to Paulie.  I’m sure the Chi Sox wouldn’t mind a similar outcome/ending tonight.  But Rivera blowing two saves in a row?  Good luck with that. 

8:31 PM:  Cano picks up where he left off before getting hurt with a lead-off double.  Hitting above .330 now.

8:32 PM:  In for the injured Jason Giambi is Bernie Williams. Giambi got plunked in the elbow and Bernie is in as the DH.  Bernie gets the job done as usual and moves Cano over to third with less than two out with a grounder to the shortstop.

8:33 PM:  Craig Wilson rips it over to Crede at third who makes yet another splendid play on a tough hop.  He looks Cano back and gets the second out.

8:34 PM:  Melky Cabrera, still just 21 years old, steps in and fails to pick-up his teammate Wilson, stranding Cano and his lead-off double.  Just call Jon Garland Houdini.  This time Crede DOES save a run with the solid play at the hot corner.  Four hits through two for New York but only one run to show for it.

8:37 PM:  Konerko rips the first pitch he sees from Johnson but Jeter barely has to move to catch the liner at short.

8:38 PM:  Jermaine Dye is having a phenomenal season for Chicago and is a legitimate MVP candidate.  He’s hitting .322 with 30 HR and 86 RBI.  Last year’s MVP of the World Series led all ML right-fielders a season ago with 32 HR’s and will easily surpass that total in 2006.  Randy wins a long battle with Dye and gets the second out.

8:42 PM:  Crede becomes Chicago’s first base-runner of the game with a 2-out walk.

8:44 PM:  Lefties off Randy: .192 AVG, 1 HR.  Righties off Randy: .268 AVG, 21 HR’s.  Unfortunately for Chicago catcher AJ Pierzynski, who has never faced the Unit, he is a lefty.  AJ strikes out just like countless other guys have done in their first at bat against the future hall of famer.

8:51 PM:  Damon, Jeter, and Abreu quickly get out for a 1-2-3 inning from Garland, who finally has an easy inning.

8:54 PM:  Alex Cintron flies out weakly to center.

8:56 PM:  Brian Anderson, hitting just .214 is now due up.  Despite his poor average, the White Sox lead the major leagues in runs and homers and as long as he keeps playing a terrific center-field they don’t need him to hit.  Speaking of great D, Cano makes a nice over the shoulder catch, taking a hit away from someone who looks like he needs one.

8:57 PM:  Ozuna grounds out and Randy has held Chicago to only a walk through three innings.  Still 1-0.

9:01 PM:  A-Rod comes up with his .282 AVG, 23 HR, 80 RBI, and a .499 SLG %.  Rodriguez is not even the best third baseman in this game, this year.  A-Rod leads off with a bloop single.  (Crede is at .304 AVG, 24 HR, 75 RBI, and a .563 SLG % entering today.)

9:03 PM:  Great play by Konerko who dives to his left on Posada’s grounder and fires to second for the force.

9:06 PM:  After Cano flies out to center Bernie gets a single with two down.  Garland will have to wiggle his way out of his third jam in four innings.

9:07 PM:  On an 0-2 count, Wilson looks at a 4 seamer right on the outside corner, but it’s called for ball one.  If he’s going to look at a close pitch and not take the bat of his shoulder he deserves to get rung up.  With the base-runners moving on the 3-2 pitch and two out Wilson strikes out on a  great pitch and Garland gets out of it again.

9:13 PM:  Johnny Damon is removed from the game.  Not sure yet why.  Abreu moves to center (only played there once all season), Wilson to right, and Andy Phillips into the game at first base.  Iguchi almost breaks out of his slump with a shot to deep deep right.  White Sox still sans a base hit.

9:14 PM:  Thome goes down looking and has words for the home plate umpire for the second time in the at bat.

9:16 PM:  We now learn that Damon left the game with mild stiffness in his groin.  Ouch.  Konerko falls behind early in the count and he looks at a called third strike right down the pipe.  No argument here.  1-0 after four.

9:21 PM:  Melky takes Garland deep on a full count to make the score 2-0.  Seems as though Garland is much more comfortable tonight with runners on base throwing from the stretch than he is from the wind-up and the bases empty.

9:23 PM:  Phillips, hitting for Damon, strikes out.

9:25 PM:  Garland takes a tough no-call on a 1-2 pitch from the ump.  Jeter ends up working the walk.

9:28 PM:  Garland blows it right by Abreu to jump ahead 0-2.  With the count 2-2, Garland has thrown 24 pitches this inning and Abreu takes pitch 25 and deposits it over the wall in center for his first homer since mid-June to make the score 4-0.  Scratch Garland pitching better from the stretch.

9:34 PM: Garland recovers nicely by striking out Rodriguez and inducing Posada to hit a slow liner right back to the mound for the third out.

9:38 PM:  Dye grounds out on the first pitch.  Randy Johnson is only 49 K’s behind Roger Clemens for 2nd all time.

9:39 PM:  The only guy to reach base thus far for Chicago, Joe Crede, hits a slow roller to Jeter as he charges in nicely to make the play to record the second out.

9:41 PM:  AJ hits it hard to A-Rod, who bobbles it but still has time to throw out the catcher.  Randy has a no-no through five innings.  Of course Johnson is the last pitcher to throw a no-hitter (in fact, it was a perfect game against the Braves), but that was over two years ago.

9:44 PM:  Cano leads off with a HR after a long battle, just like Cabrera did the previous inning.  5-0.  A beautiful piece of hitting by Cano who adjusted to the pitch and sat back on the slow breaking ball.  Five out of six lead-off men have reached safely for NY.

9:49 PM:  Garland gets Williams and Wilson with two quick ground-outs.

9:50 PM:  The White Sox have had 33 sell out this season, most ever for the South Siders.  Melky flies out for the final out of the top half of the sixth.

9:52 PM:  Cintron tries to break through and get a hit for Chicago but he grounds out to first.

9:53 PM:  Anderson drills it to center but Abreu is there for the second out, again leaving Anderson thinking, "What do I have to do to get a hit."

9:54 PM:  This brings up Ozuna who is always a threat to drop a bunt down with his tremendous speed, but he decides not to do so here and grounds out for the final out of the sixth.

9:57 PM:  Another lead-off hit for New York as Phillips doubles down the line to start the seventh.  That brings up Ozzie from his perch in the dugout and that’s it for Garland.

10:00 PM:  David Riske in to face Jeter for Chicago.  A passed ball by AJ allows Phillips to get to third with nobody out.  Jeter walks again on a full count.  1st and third now for Abreu.

10:03 PM:  Jeter steals second base as Abreu goes down on strikes.  Despite AJ throwing down to second in an attempt to get Jeter, Andy Phillips decides not to run home.

10:06 PM:  Infield in for Chicago with runners at 2nd and 3rd and one down, with A-Rod up.  He hits an RBI single to make the score 6-0.  With the score at 5-0, the White Sox SHOULD have intentionally walked A-Rod to set up the double play.  Because if A-Rod comes around to score it’s 8-0 anyway and the game is basically out of reach.  You need to get out of the inning now, you don’t want to fall behind 6-0 this late in the game.

10:08 PM:  Posada RBI ground-out to make the score 7-0.

10:10 PM:  Cano flies out to deep left and Anderson and Ozuna almost collide in left-center.  Gotta talk out there.

10:15 PM:  The Unit has thrown just 71 pitches through six no-hit innings.  Iguchi, who has hit the ball real hard two straight times leads off.  Behind 0-2 Iguchi lines a clean single between short and third to break up the no-hit bid.  It only figures that Iguchi (4 for his last 30) is the one to get the hit.  The crowd gives a standing ovation (not quite if it’s for Iguchi for breaking up the no-no, or for Randy who is in the midst of a gem.  Either way you like to see that from the fans.)  Clearly the long layoff for Randy during the Yankees half of the 7th didn’t help.

10:18 PM:  Thome works a walk and all of the sudden Chicago has something brewing for the first time all game.

10:19 PM:  Five straight balls thrown by Randy as he falls behind Konerko 1-0.  Ron Guidry, Yankee pitching coach, pays his lefty a visit in an effort to calm his pitcher down.  Whatever he said didn’t particularly work all that well as Konerko rips a ground rule double to cut the lead to 7-1.  2nd and 3rd and still no one out.

10:23 PM:  Jermaine Dye cranks one real deep as it barely misses clearing the wall in right.  Konerko, who was at second, somehow doesn’t score on the hit by Dye. He clearly had to of thought it may be caught by Wilson in right.  How often do you see a runner fail to score from second on a double?  Especially on one hit 400 feet?

10:26 PM:  Torre comes out to the mound and pulls the Unit.  First six innings: 6 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 R.  Seventh inning: 0 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 2 R.

10:28 PM:  Ron Villone in for NY.  He walks Crede to load the bases.  The score at 7-2 and still no outs.

10:30 PM:  AJ up to face Villone.  Pierzynski is actually hitting over .300 against lefties on the year.  The first five White Sox batters have reached base after only one made it on during the first six innings.  Go figure.  AJ fails to get the job done against this lefty as he pops out.

10:33 PM:  Another pop out that fails to drive home the runner at third, this time the goat is Alex Cintron.

10:35 PM:  That brings up the guy who cant seem to buy a hit in Brian Anderson with two outs and the bases still loaded.  Anderson cranks out to left and it looks promising off the bat but is caught by Cabrera.  7-2 Yanks lead after seven complete.  Sox blow a real big opportunity.  After scoring two runs they load the bases with no out and can’t drive in a single additional run.

10:41 PM:  Riske sets down the Bronx Bombers 1-2-3 in the 8th.

10:45 PM:  Kyle Farnsworth gets the ball in the bottom of the 8th for New York.  Scott Podsednik hits for Ozuna and goes down by way of the K.

10:47 PM:  Iguchi continues his hot hitting (ok, just for today) with a homer to left.  7-3 lead for NY.

10:50 PM:  Buck Martinez, today’s color man, mentions how the White Sox offense has four guys with 70+ RBI’s.  The New York Mets are the only other team in baseball with three in their lineup.  Thome K’s.  Offense may win games, but it doesn’t win championships. 

10:57 PM:  After a Konerko walk with two down, Dye reaches on a swinging bunt infield single and the White Sox have two one with two out and down by four.

11:00 PM:  "Super Joe" Crede takes a disgusted Kyle Farnsworth deep and all of the sudden a 7-0 Yankees lead is cut down to 7-6.  25 HR’s now for Crede.

11:02 PM:  Farnsworth departs after giving up the 3-run bomb to the White Sox third baseman.  Enter Sandman; in comes Mariano Rivera.  Two blown saves in a row…?

11:05 PM:  AJ taps it back to Mariano for the third out of the 8th.  Despite the out, his teammates get a good laugh at his expense as AJ fell down as he swung.  To the ninth inning we go.

11:09 PM:  Flame-thrower Mike MacDougal in for Ozzie.  Needing just three pitches he gets Phillips and Jeter.

11:10 PM:  Abreu strikes out and it’s up to Rivera to hold on for three more outs.

11:14 PM:  Six saves of four or more outs this year for Mariano.  He’ll have to do it again tonight.  Two great cut-fastballs on the corner later and Cintron falls behind 0-2.  Only once in his career has Rivera blown saves on back to back days.  Cintron grounds out.

11:16 PM:  Anderson also falls behind 0-2 but amazingly Rivera plunks him with a 94 MPH cutter.  The LAST thing he wanted to do to a guy hitting barely over the Mendoza line.  It’s Mariano’s first HBP since May.

11:18 PM:  Pods comes to the plate.  Only 3 homers all season.  Wouldn’t that be a crazy ending to the game?  Not to be though as he strikes out for the second out.

11:21 PM:  With two out, the White Sox’ hottest hitter, Iguchi, comes up.  As always, Rivera starts off ahead in the count.  But Iguchi battles and drives a single in the gap, moving Anderson (the tying run) over to third.

11:24 PM:  Jim Thome.  1st and 3rd.  2 out.  7-6 game.  Bottom of the 9th.  Mariano Rivera.  Fastball right down the pipe and called a ball.  2-0 now to Thome and his 34 HR’s look scary now.  Thome hits a grounder to Cano’s right at second and he flips to Jeter to force out Iguchi to end the game. 

11:26 PM:  Game over as Chicago falls just short of finishing a terrific comeback, and in getting the better of Mariano Rivera for two straight games.

Thursday Night Baseball Journal

As I watched the Thursday Night Baseball telecast on ESPN at 7 PM between the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays, I thought I would take down notes on the game and post it as a journal here on my blog.  So, here we go…

7:02 PM    Pre-game.  Toronto has pounded out 130 HR’s this year, 19 more than the Bronx Bombers.  Toronto also has the best batting average in the majors at .292.  Yet despite all of this, the Yankees average more runs per game (5.6) than the Blue Jays do (5.3).  This is certainly attributed to the clutch hitting of Alex Rodriguez (just kidding).  In all seriousness, it’s about On Base Percentage and that explains how big Jason Giambi has been for New York.

7:04 PM    Toronto is on pace for 92 wins.  JP Ricciardi is doing a pretty good job as I suspected he would as a Billy Beane disciple.  However, those 92 wins would only put them in third place in their division if Boston and New York continue their pace. 

7:06 PM    The commentators for the game on ESPN discuss the Shea Hillenbrand controversy that is the talk of baseball.  Supposedly Toronto manager John Gibbons challenged Hillenbrand to a fist fight in the clubhouse.  Both sides are furious at each other and the Blue Jays cut Shea.  They have 10 days to trade him, release him outright, or send him down to the minor leagues (clearly not going to happen).  Gibbons said that if Hillenbrand was on the club, he would quit.  Shea was hitting well as the semi-regular DH (.301 AVG, 12 HR, 39 RBI).  Shea has now had some issues off the field with a few teams (Boston/Toronto) and one has to wonder what’s going on.  However, the guy can hit and help a team in the push for the playoffs.  Anaheim and San Diego could certainly use his services.  He would be a nice little pickup. 

7:08 PM    First pitch.  Johnny Damon leads off with a single on the second pitch of the game by former Cy Young Award Winner Roy Halladay (12-2, 3.06 ERA). 

7:09 PM    Derek Jeter follows the single with a sacrifice bunt.  You don’t see guys hitting .340 drop down too many sacrifice bunts.  But that’s what you have to do when you’re facing a pitcher like Roy Halladay.  You need every run you can get.  You have to play "small ball" and scrap for your runs.  Plus, the Yanks have an ace of their own on the bump (Mike Mussina: 11-3, 3.30 ERA) and they know they may only need a few runs for him to win.

7:10 PM    Jason Giambi is up next and he’s had quite a unique season.  He’s hitting only .256 but his OBP is an amazing .411.  It’s quite impressive when you consider how low that average is.  This guy draws a ton of walks.    He also has 28 HR’s which places him 3rd in the American League.  Amazingly, the 1-2-3 hitters for the Yankees (Damon, Jeter, Giambi) all entered the game hitting over .300 lifetime of Roy "Doc" Halladay.  Despite that, Halladay is a bit of a "Yankee Killer" going 9-4 in his career against them.  These two teams play 12 more times after this tilt and those games will go a long way in determining the AL East.  The 0-2 pitch on Giambi is a great one but called a ball.  I simply hate it when umpires don’t ring up hitters on close pitches when it’s 0-2 or 1-2.  Reward the pitcher.  If the hitter isn’t protecting that plate and is just standing there doing nothing they deserve to get rung up on a close pitch.  Maybe that’s the former pitcher talking in me but swing the bat and protect the plate.  Giambi strikes out anyway, so it’s a mute point here.

7:14 PM    Alex Rodriguez is up next.  As we all know, he has been booed mercifully of late and it’s quite unreasonable if you ask me.  Look, this guy has had a marvelous career, hitting home runs at a tremendous pace.  Remember, he was a terrific shortstop winning gold gloves before he came to New York.  How many players would agree to switch positions coming to a new place like that?  Consider Alfonso Soriano.  He was a horrible fielding second baseman and he created quite a little stir with the Nationals basically refusing to switch to the outfield.  He finally relented but the guy was terrible at second base.  Here we’re talking about a gifted shortstop who moved for the good of the team unselfishly.  You have to respect that.  And you know what, I don’t care he makes 25 million per season.  Would you have signed that contract?   Ya, I thought so too.  And don’t give me this "oh he’s not clutch thing."  How about this stat…A-Rod is 1st in the AL in game winning RBI’s and 2nd in go-ahead RBI’s.  And of course who could forget his walk off homer on June 28.  What do you people want from this guy?

7:18 PM    Reed Johnson leads off for Toronto against the Moose.  How many people realize he’s hitting .360 with a .445 OBP.  Not many.  That’s in over 200 at bats as well.  As he bats, the commentators discuss A-Rod’s recent fielding woes.  He entered the game with 16 errors (3 a few nights ago) which is 4 more than he had all of last season.  He leads in errors for AL 3rd baseman. 

7:20 PM    Batting second for the Jays is the vastly underrated Frank Catalanotto.  F-Cat is an astonishing 25-53 lifetime off Mussina.  That is domination.  This guy could hit .300 with his eyes closed if he wanted to. 

7:21 PM    Vernon Wells strolls to the plate.  He is absolutely tearing it up at the plate, as well as in the field.  He is hitting .311 with 23 HR and 73 RBI.  Not to mention a .600+ SLG %.  Yet nevertheless, General Manager JP Ricciardi said recently that the Blue Jays 3-4-5 hitters are "killing the team."  This is what I say to that…"Are you _____ kidding me?"

7:22 PM    Wells lines a foul down the left field line.  Why do I mention that?  Well because the ball boy lays out full extension and makes a Web-Gem.  Later in the at-bat A-Rod makes a nice diving stab but Wells beats it out.  A-Rod’s throw bounces twice on the ground.

7:23 PM    With Wells on first Mussina pitches from the stretch.  It’s so peculiar the routine Mussina goes through when he throws from the stretch. He bends down real low then picks himself up.  In fact, commentator Gary Thorne says something along the lines of, "the cameramen don’t like Mussina too much because of how he bends down.  They can’t see him."

7:27 PM    Moose strikes out Glaus to end the inning (what else is new?)

7:30 PM    Jorge Posada leads off.  Halladay has retired 70% of hitters leading off an inning this season and he does the same here, striking out the Yankee catcher.  Halladay is also second on the AL in walks allowed per nine innings.

7:32 PM    Bernie Williams jumps on the first pitch and lines a double the opposite way.  What a class act Bernie is.  He’s a classic Yankee who is such a good leader and is still a solid player. 

7:33 PM    Andy Phillips also jumps on the first pitch.  He makes an out though.  I’m a bit bewildered that they aren’t working Halladay at all.  They need to make him throw and work that pitch count.  But he throws so many strikes, the hitters don’t want to fall behind. 

7:33 PM    Melky Cabrera is first-pitch swinging as well.  He also gets out to Troy Glaus who makes a nice play.  The inning took three minutes, and that’s even with a hit. 

7:36 PM    Lyle Overbay steps in and the announcer mentions how he has a current eight game hit streak.  Then they mention how Aaron Hill and Reed Johnson also have eight game hit streaks while Bengie Molina has a five game streak and Wells has a six gamer.  Please Please Please stop mentioning any hit streaks under 10 games.  Overbay’s eight gamer is exactly 1/7 the way to Joe DiMaggio’s record.  Please only mention streaks that matter (i.e. 15+ gamers).  Overbay lines a foul into the stands and a fan appears to be injured.  I’m surprised fans don’t get hurt more often.  Foul balls come flying so fast into the stands all the time.  Fans have to pay attention.

7:39 PM    Molina rips it down the third base line and A-Rod makes a nice play.  They don’t call it the hot corner for nothing.

7:40 PM    Zaun is the DH today for the departed Shea Hillendbrand who used to fill that role in the Jays lineup.

7:44 PM    With the score still 0-0, the game enters the top of the third inning.  Cairo swings at the first pitch off Halladay (what is going on?)  Four hitters in a row have put the ball in play on the first pitch.  He gets a hit.

7:45 PM    On the first pitch Jeter doesn’t swing but Cairo swipes second base.  You have to love the aggressiveness by manager Joe Torre.  Damon jumps on the very next pitch and strokes a double making the game 1-0.  Maybe Halladay’s stuff isn’t that sharp and the Yankees are pouncing on him.

7:47 PM    Jeter only has 6 HR’s this year so far but he’s still having a superb season.  Perhaps the best of his career.  His average is at .347.  He grounds out on the second pitch.

7:48 PM    In Giambi you know he’s going to work the count.  And that’s exactly what he does in running the count full.  You have to appreciate guys who just get on base in a variety of ways.  He lines out to second and Damon is doubled off second base.

7:53 PM    We learn AGAIN that Hill has a 8 game hit streak (come on!).  He looks at strike 3 which was RIGHT DOWN THE PLATE.  How do you look at that?

7:54 PM    McDonald comes in and he’s 0 for his last 15.  And of course he promptly rips it up the middle for a hit.  That’s what happens when you fall behind in the count.

7:56 PM    Reed Johnson comes up.  Has anyone seen his goatee?  It’s crazy.  It reminds me of Billy Koch.  Haha were in the world is he now?  Johnson is a good player but you don’t want anything in common or be compared to Billy Koch.  Bad Karma.

7:57 PM    Speaking of karma…"Mussina induces the second most ground ball outs in the league," says Gary Thorne.  Two seconds later he grounds to short for a double play.

7:59 PM    Rodriguez steps to the plate for his second at bat.  He’s at .284 AVG, 20 HR, and 68 RBI.  He rips a double.  He holds the record for best batting average in Skydome/Rogers Centre history at over .350.  He now has 1,999 career hits.  Only seven players have ever had 2,000 before age of 31.  He’s got one week to get that next hit.

8:01 PM    Posada singles in the gap.  Somehow A-Rod doesn’t score from second base on the play.  The ball was hit into center where Wells has 0 outfield assists all season.  Although he did have one in the all star game.  But he should have scored easily on that hit. 

8:02 PM    Bernie hits into a force out scoring A-Rod.  2-0 Yanks.  Not pretty but Bernie got the job done, like usual.

8:03 PM    Phillips jumps on the first offering and hits into a double play.  A four minute inning despite two hits and a run scoring.

8:06 PM    Catalanotto comes up in the bottom of the fourth.  He’s at .322 on the season.  The Moose throws the 3rd most first pitch strikes in the AL and does it here as well.  Cat pops out.  He’s thrown 8/11 first pitch strikes.

8:08 PM    First pitch strike to Wells.  He’s 9/12 now.  Easy out.  Get ahead in the count and you will get outs.

8:09 PM    0-1 to Glaus.  0-2 to Glaus.  0-3 to Glaus.  He struck out again.  10/13 for Doc.

8:12 PM   Melky Cabrera comes up to start the 5th inning.  He went 0-4 yesterday but who could forget his walk-off HR the other night.  Before yesterday’s 0-4, he had reached base successfully in 20 straight games.  He became the youngest Yankee to hit a walk off HR since 1953 when Mickey Mantle did it.  A side note…Hideki Matsui is almost set to take live BP and could come back in early August.  Melky hits a swinging bunt and beats it out on a close play.  Gibbons comes out to argue the call.  What’s the point?  They’re not going to change the call.  He was safe anyway.  Despite 70+ % of lead-off men getting out against Halladay, the lead-off men have been on for New York in every inning thus far except the second. 

8:16 PM    Hit and run is on with Cairo.  He misses but Melky takes second on a poor throw.  He advances to 3rd on the throwing error by Molina.  Once again, you have to love the aggression on the part of NY.  Cairo then smacks a deep fly ball to score the run on a sac fly.  3-0.  The error haunts.  Infield hit…stolen base…wild throw….fly ball…and a run scores.  Beautiful.

8:18 PM    Damon flies out.

8:20 PM    Wow.  Jeter has a 8 game streak.  Don’t care.  He grounds out.  Inning over and the run is earned.  Not quite sure how that run is earned though.  So Melky is credited with the steal.  If Molina doesn’t have a throwing error then Melky is still at second base.  He then wouldn’t score on Cairo’s sac-fly.  Oh well.

8:23 PM    Overbay K’s

8:25 PM    Molina K’s

8:27 PM    Another first pitch strike.  That’s 12/16.  He flies out.  Mussina is just one man over the minimum through 5.  That reminds me…I’ll never forget when Carl Everett broke up his perfect game with 2 outs and 2 strikes in the ninth inning against Boston.  Speaking of Everett, he doesn’t believe in Dinosaurs.  You know why?  Because he never saw them with his two eyes.  Yet, he believes in god.  Hey Carl, what does god look like?

8:31 PM    Giambi lines a ball up the middle on the first pitch.  But with the shift on it’s caught…by the third baseman right behind the 2nd base bag.

8:32 PM    A-Rod also makes an out on the first pitch.  2 pitches, 2 outs.  16 of the first 21 batters have swung on the first pitch!

8:32 PM    Posada gets a 2 out double.  Good thing too because it would have been a two minute inning for Halladay.  I think Mussina would like a bit more rest than that.

8:35 PM    Bernie hits a ball foul to Glaus who has to battle his OWN FANS for the ball.  The fans win the scuffle for the ball.  I know foul balls are nice but let your own guy make the play and help out your team.

8:39 PM    Hill extends his massive hitting streak (9 games) with a lead-off double.  First lead-off man to reach for Toronto.

8:40 PM    McDonald comes up.  Opposing batters are hitting .194 off Mussina from the windup and .302 from the stretch.  That is quite the stark contrast.  Maybe he should get rid of that annoying routine he has from the stretch.  The batter grounds out and Hill moves over to 3rd base.

8:42 PM    Reed Johnson comes up and oh boy.  1st pitch swinging.  Routine grounder to A-Rod and he decides to come home with it as Hill is running on contact.  Terrible throw.  17 errors now.  Even a fair throw gets the runner rather easily.  A-Rod had time.  Johnson gets to second on the wild throw.  He had the right idea but just didn’t execute. Is A-Rod turning into Chuck Knoblauch?  Steve Blass?  Rick Ankiel?

8:44 PM    Catalanotto singles on an 0-2 count to cut the lead to 3-2.  You just know Frank wouldn’t start the game 0-3 against a guy he’s 25-53 lifetime off of.  That error is really starting to hurt now.

8:45 PM    Vernon Wells singles.  Ya, he’s really killing Toronto let me tell you.  1st and second and only 1 out.  Back-to-back 0-2 singles.

8:47 PM   Maybe A-Rod’s error has rattled Mussina’s cage a bit.  Glaus delivers with the 4th hit of the inning.  It’s a double and it drives in two runs to give Toronto the lead 4-3.  If A-Rod makes the play at home it’s still 3-0 NY with 2 outs and a guy on first.  Even if he went to first it would have been 3-1 with 2 out and no one on.

8:48 PM    Somehow Mussina has only thrown 13 pitches so far in the inning.  Six batters have been up, 3 runs have scores, and there have been 4 hits and an error.  He gets Overbay for the 2nd out.

8:50 PM    Bengie ends the inning with a fly out.  4-3 Toronto lead after six.  This Blue Jays team is hitting .292 as a team, which is the highest average they’ve ever had as a team.  It’s actually 15 points higher at this point in the season than in 1002 when they won the World Series.  All 4 runs were earned according to the official scorer which is absurd.  The scorer says that Hill would have scored even if A-Rod had made a good throw.  I tell you, official scorers today are horrible.

8:57 PM    1-2-3 inning for Halladay as he gets Phillips, Cabrera, and Cairo.  Catcher Bengie Molina hears it from the home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez when he holds his glove in the same spot for 5 or so seconds on a 2 strike pitch telling the ump that he thought it should have been strike three.  The ump took some exception to that, probably thinking Molina was showing him up.

9:05 PM    The 7th inning ends as Mussina has a 1-2-3 inning much like Doc did.  He gets Zaun, Hill, and McDonald.  We learn that the Skydome sold out every game for the first 4 years when it first opened.  That’s 50,000+ each night.  Surprising.

9:10 PM   After a Damon pop out, Jeter lines out.  Nice leaping catch by Hill.  Pitching and defense.  Wins every time.  Halladay is taken out by Gibbons and BJ Ryan comes on to face Giambi.  Halladay only threw 93 pitches.  Giambi is 1-13 off Ryan with a HR and 7 K.  Giambi also only is hitting .212 off lefties. 

9:14 PM   With the shift on and nobody playing anywhere in the vicinity of the third base bag, Giambi pokes it to third for a hit.  He’s lifted for a pinch runner (Bubba Crosby).

9:15 PM    A-Rod draws a walk (only the first free pass of the night) and we have runners on 1st and second with 2 down.

9:18 PM    Broken bat bloop single by Posada ties things up at 4.  Blown save by Ryan.  The bat was busted so bad and it almost hit Glaus at third.  Three consecutive batters reach with two outs.  Halladay no longer in line for the win and he has to be thinking that he could have at least done what Ryan had.  The players play, but managers play a big role in many games.

9:19 PM    Inning over as Bernie K’s

9:23 PM    Scott Proctor comes in to pitch for New York.  I swear this guy pitches every game.  Proctor gasses him up the ladder with 97 MPH gas for the K.  Posada stood up almost entirely erect looking for the ball up and he got it.

9:26 PM    After Catalanotto lines out, Wells gets his 3rd hit of the game on a hanging 0-2 curve.

9:28 PM    We move to the ninth inning after Glaus flies out.  Clearly he’s not 100% healthy as he was noticeably limping after swinging.

9:33 PM    After striking out Andy Phillips,  Ryan walks Cabrera

9:36 PM    BJ attempts to pick off Cabrera four times.  He has a terrible move, and especially for a lefty.  He’s also balking because he’s not coming to a set.  Ryan has thrown 32 pitches in his 1 inning+ of work.  He strikes out Cairo.

9:41 PM    Despite the numerous throws over to first base Cabrera steals second base for the 2nd time.  Damon is 3-20 with 9 K lifetime off Ryan and that trend continues when he strikes out.  Ryan strikes out 4 batters in 1.1 innings.

9:45 PM    Overbay steps up as the Jays can win it with one swing of the bat in the bottom of the ninth inning.  Scott Proctor throws one pitch and gets the out.  They should be making Proctor throw since it is his second inning of work. 

9:46 PM    Molina strikes out on some serious heat.  Buck Martinez, the announcer says the following, "The Blue Jays have one walk-off HR this season…none other than Shea Hillendbrand."  I don’t think that will happen again anytime soon.

9:47 PM    The Blue Jays squander their opportunity to end the game as Zaun jumps on first pitch and flies out.  Proctor took care of the side in 5 pitches, and that includes getting a strikeout.

9:50 PM    New pitcher Justin Speier gets a big first out when he strikes Jeter out, who had been 4-9 off him lifetime. 

9:53 PM    Aaron Guiel pinch hits for Bubba Crosby who ran for Giambi in the 8th.  He strikes out as well and Speier looks terrific.

9:55 PM    A-Rod is up and I think New York will boo him no matter what unless he hits a home run.  A triple will not suffice.  Speier throws around him, running the count to 3-0.  But he battle’s back and A-Rod grounds out on a full count.

10:01 PM    The Jays have another chance to win the game but in comes Mariano Rivera.  Enter Sandman.  Buck Martinez comments on how he is surprised Torre would bring him to pitch in a tie ballgame.  Hello?  This is an important game in the 10th inning.  Of course you bring him in here.  Managers simply do not utilize their closers well enough.  It is not illegal to pitch them in non-save situations, especially if they have not thrown in a few days like Mariano in this case.  Closers are more often than not the best reliever you have and you got to put him out there in a big game.  If you have a guy like Mariano you have to utilize him. 

10:02 PM    The Jays are 5-0 in extra inning games while the Yankees are 6-1 so far this season.  Something’s gotta give.  McDonald grounds out.

10:04 PM    Reed Johnson shows bunt on 1st pitch.  That’s about the only way you’re going to reach base off Mariano and his cut-fastball.  He rips it to left but it’s caught.  We move to the 11th inning.

10:08 PM    Brian Tallet comes on for Toronto.  He’s got 18 walks in 26 1/3 IP so far.  Not the guy I would have brought in here.  You can’t afford to walk anyone.  Plus, his 5.47 ERA isn’t pretty either.  Posada flies out.

10:09 PM    Bernie Williams is up and he’s 3rd in the AL in road batting average at .346.  The guy still gets it done.  But not here, he flies out.

10:11 PM    Easy inning for Tallet as he gets Phillips on one pitch.  Tallet was the perfect man for the job.  What do I know?  Who am I to question a manager who challenges his players to fist fights?

10:14 PM    Frank Catalanotto steps in against Mo.  Yankee pitching has retired 14 of the last 17 batters and of course that means Mariano gives up a hit to Frank two seconds after the announcer mentions it.  Only the second lead-off man the Jays have had on in 11 innings.

10:15 PM    As Vernon takes ball one Catalanotto is thrown out trying to steal second.  That’s a gamble by Gibbons and it backfires.  Maybe Catalanotto will challenge Gibbons to a fist fight after-wards for hanging him out to dry.  Who knows.

10:16 PM   "What if Vernon pops a HR right here," I say.  "That throw by Posada would mean nothing and would completely deflate the Yanks in a tough loss."

10:17 PM    Next pitch…Back,back,back, GONE!  Home Run and GAME OVER.  That was the first homer allowed all season by Rivera. 

10:18 PM    That’s the second walk off homer this year for Toronto.  Who needs Shea Hillenbrand anyway?  Maybe after Vernon’s 4-5 day and walk off blast JP Ricciardi realizes that the 3-4-5 hitters are helping out a bit…