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Monday, April 08, 2013

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-8-2013

Pittsburgh Press, April 8, 1913:

Handcuff baseball is the latest wrinkle that Coach Rickey has introduced into the training camp of the [University of] Michigan ball players.
The game is played in the ordinary way, except the man at bat is handcuffed by tying two ropes to his wrists and attaching them to his belt. Then the coach tells him to bunt the ball and woe betide him if the heave is high and he attempts to put the bat up into it. The ball simply whizzes by and the batter has his wrists properly jerked.

Say, this Branch Rickey guy seems pretty smart. He might just have a future in running baseball teams.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 08, 2013 at 05:56 AM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: branch rickey, dugout, history

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 08, 2013 at 06:04 AM (#4407247)
   2. Dag Nabbit at Posted: April 08, 2013 at 08:47 AM (#4407279)
Baseball-only TDiH notes that today is the 50th anniversary of the MLB debut of one of baseball's most famous players. Can you guess who it is before checking the link?
   3. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: April 08, 2013 at 11:00 AM (#4407372)
Game of the day (Friday): Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 4. Jacoby Ellsbury opened the game with a walk against Toronto's Josh Johnson, with Daniel Nava singling him to second; the rally was cut short there, as Boston's 3-4-5 hitters all made outs. Jose Reyes led off the bottom of the first with a double against Felix Doubront, and advanced to third on a wild pitch, but after Melky Cabrera reached on a grounder that didn't allow Reyes to score, Edwin Encarnacion defused the rally by hitting into a double play. Despite the lack of scoring, the first inning established the trend of the game - runners not only getting into scoring position, but doing so early enough in the inning to give their teammates multiple chances to bring them in.

With one out in the second, Shane Victorino and Jackie Bradley Jr. both singled, and Jose Iglesias was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Ellsbury singled to bring home the game's first run, but Nava hit into a double play to end the threat with no further scoring. The Jays countered in the bottom of the inning, as Rajai Davis singled with one out, Colby Rasmus followed with a double, and Mark DeRosa hit a foul fly to right that was long enough to bring Davis home.

Reyes was the only runner to reach in the third, leading off with a single and later being forced at second. The fourth should have been equally tame, but Boston got two runners on back-to-back one-out errors by second baseman Emilio Bonifacio, which allowed Pedro Ciriaco (who pinch hit for Iglesias - that's got to be one of the earliest times pinch hitting for a position player in several years) to single in the go-ahead run. The Sox extended their lead in the fifth when Dustin Pedroia led off with a single and Mike Napoli followed with a two-run homer; the Jays picked up their own pair of runs in the bottom of the inning on a DeRosa home run, a Maicer Izturis single, and a Reyes double. Bonifacio followed with a single, which might have brought home the tying run had Reyes not been thrown out trying to stretch the previous hit into a triple.

Ciriaco led off the sixth with a double, but the top of the order failed to advance him from second. JP Arencibia doubled as well to start the latter half of the inning, chasing Doubront from the mound; Koji Uehara got two strikeouts and a flyout from the subsequent hitters, maintaining Boston's slim advantage. Brett Cecil replaced Johnson in the seventh and quickly got himself into trouble, walking Jarrod Saltalamacchia and serving up a double to Will Middlebrooks, but he turned things around rather authoritatively by striking out Victorino, Bradley, and Ciriaco. That turned out to be rather important, because Reyes homered off of Junichi Tazawa in the bottom of the inning, and Cecil's escape allowed that solo shot to tie the game. Cabrera would triple with two outs, but Encarnacion flied out to leave him at third.

Cecil fanned Ellsbury to start the eighth; naturally, having struck out four consecutive hitters, he was removed. Esmil Rogers walked pinch hitter Jonny Gomes, Pedroia followed with a double, and Napoli brought in the go-ahead run with a groundout. Toronto got a one-out double from Davis against Andrew Bailey in the eighth; a walk to Rasmus and a flyout by Adam Lind put runners at the corners, but Izturis flied out as well to leave the tying run at third.

Middlebrooks homered to open the ninth, giving the game its final 6-4 margin. Jeremy Jeffress and the Red Sox then managed to combine on as long a scoreless sequence as I've seen in some time. Victorino struck out. Bradley walked and stole second. Ciriaco reached on Bonifacio's third error of the game. Ellsbury also grounded to Bonifacio, who made partial amends by throwing Bradley out at home. Ciriaco and Ellsbury pulled off a double steal, moving to second and third. Gomes walked to load the bases, and Pedroia flied out to left, ending the inning. Joel Hanrahan closed out the game, allowing only a two-out walk to Cabrera.

Fine game though this was, it would have been even better if Reyes had made it safely to third in the fifth inning. First, it would have put the tying run at third with nobody out. And second, if the rest of the game had played out the same, it would have given Reyes the cycle.
   4. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: April 08, 2013 at 11:15 AM (#4407395)
I got an odd book at the antique mall yesterday, called "Players' Choice" by Eugene and Roger McCaffrey, published in 1987 (by Facts On File, of all things). It gives the results of a survey the authors sent out to 5000 major-league veterans of all eras, asking them to name the all-time best players at each position, and the #2 best player, and the best defensive player, and a few other things. Does anyone else have this book?

Anyway, it's very interesting to look at the results, particularly the individual ballots. About 650 of the players filled out the ballot and returned it to them. I thought I'd post some factoids from the book in some of the Dugout threads. For example, Pete Donohue's mind was lodged firmly in the past, putting such men as Travis Jackson and Bubbles Hargrave among the best 2 players of all time at their positions. (and it doesn't seem that he read the instructions as "best players of your era", since he does mention Hank Aaron.)

The book is at home right now. One thing I remember is that top second baseman was a statistical tie between Charlie Gehringer and Joe Morgan.
   5. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: April 08, 2013 at 12:06 PM (#4407450)
Game of the day (Saturday): Nats 7, Reds 6 (11). Cincinnati's Mike Leake set the Nationals down in order in the top of the first; Ross Detwiler hit Joey Votto with a pitch in the bottom of the inning, but didn't put any other runners on. The second was rather more adventurous for Leake, as he allowed a single to Chad Tracy with one out, then a two-out Danny Espinosa double. Tracy was held up at third on the play, Wilson Ramos was intentionally walked after it, and Dewiler inevitably struck out to leave the bases loaded.

Washington put the game's first runs on the board in the third when Jayson Werth doubled with one out and Bryce Harper followed with a two-run homer. The Reds started the bottom of the inning with singles by Leake and Shin-Soo Choo, but Chris Heisey hit into a force and Joey Votto followed with a double play ball, allowing Detwiler to extract himself from the inning. The bottom of the fourth went less smoothly, as an Ian Desmond error put Brandon Phillips on and a Todd Frazier double brought him home, cutting Cincinnati's deficit in half.

The Reds put their first two hitters on in the fifth, as Choo was plunked and Heisey singled, but Votto flied out and Phillips hit into a 4-6-3 DP. The Nationals' first two hitters fanned in the top of the sixth, but Espinosa worked a two-out walk and Ramos cashed it in with a two-run homer, stretching the lead to 4-1. Werth added a leadoff shot in the seventh against new reliever Sam LeCure, giving Washington a four-run lead, and Tyler Clippard replaced Detwiler and was perfect in the bottom of the inning.

Cincinnati trimmed the lead in the eighth. Drew Storen started the inning by whiffing Votto, but Phillips doubled and Jay Bruce singled to put runners on the corners. Frazier singled as well, bringing Phillips home, and after Zack Cozart popped up, Devin Mesoraco reached on Desmond's second error of the day, scoring Bruce. Storen struck out pich hitter Xavier Paul to leave the tying runs in scoring position, but Jonathan Broxton's perfect top of the ninth gave the Reds another shot. They quickly took advantage, as Choo greeted Rafael Soriano with a home run, and Votto tripled and scored the tying run on a wild pitch one out later.

Aroldis Chapman opened the extra frames by pitching Cincinnati's third consecutive perfect inning, striking out Washington's 3-4-5 hitters in order. Craig Stammen allowed a Frazier single to start the home portion of the tenth, but stranded him at second by striking out Jack Hannahan, who was pinch hitting for Chapman. The Reds were therefore required to bring in a new pitcher, and Desmond hit JJ Hoover's fifth pitch of the day over the left field wall for a tiebreaking home run, which was duplicated one out later by Ramos. Stammen struck out the first two batters he faced in the eleventh. Votto then walked, took second on defensive indifference, and scored on a Phillips double, but Bruce fanned on three pitches, leaving the tying run at second.

The Nationals out-homered the Reds by 4 (all of their runs scored via the longball), and still only won by 1. On the other hand, their fifth started pitched well against a good offense, and they overcame an impressive bullpen meltdown and three errors. On the other other hand... it's one game in April, and both teams have positives and negatives they can take from it. Also, it had a game-tying run scored in the ninth on a triple and a wild pitch, and went 11 with the losing team getting the winning run to the plate in the bottom of the inning. Which is fun.
   6. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: April 08, 2013 at 01:33 PM (#4407538)
Game of the day (yesterday): D'Backs 8, Brewers 7 (11).

Yovani Gallardo and Ian Kennedy faced off, starting the second time through the rotation for both teams. Both aces were perfect in the first. The second was a different story for Gallardo, as Miguel Montero, Paul Goldschmidt, and Jason Kubel all singled to load the bases with no outs. Eric Chavez then flied to left, and Montero was thrown out trying to score, taking a significant bite out of the rally. Cliff Pennington finished it off by grounding out.

Arizona opened the scoring in the third. Gerardo Parra singled with one out, Martin Prado hit into a force, Aaron Hill singled and Montero walked to load the bases, and Goldschmidt singled in a pair of runs. The Brewers struck back promptly, however. Yuniesky Betancourt led off the bottom of the third with a single, Martin Maldonado doubled him to third, and after Gallardo struck out, Norichika Aoki doubled both runners home to tie the game. Gallardo worked a spotless fourth, and in the bottom of the inning, #5 hitter Alex Gonzalez shockingly lived up to his title, hitting a solo homer to put Milwaukee in front.

The score remained 3-2 until the sixth. Montero led off with a single, and Goldschmidt doubled him to third. Kubel followed with a fly ball deep into the left field corner that evaded Logan Schafer, dropping in for a double; Montero scored the tying run, but Goldschmidt was forced to hold up at third on the play, making him the rare runner not to score from second on a double. Chavez walked to load the bases, and Pennington's sac fly brought Goldschmidt home and put the Diamodbacks back in the lead.

Carlos Gomez led off the bottom of the sixth with a single and took second on a wild pitch. Kennedy then hit Jonathan Lucroy (who came in as part of an elaborate series of defensive maneuvers in the fifth) and walked Rickie Weeks to load the bases with nobody out. Gonzalez lined into a double play, with Gomez getting caught off of third, and Schafer flied out to bring the inning to a close.

Burke Badenhop took Gallardo's place on the mound in the seventh. He worked through the 4-5-6 hitters who'd tormented Gallardo throughout the game, but before he got to them, Prado singled and Hill homered to make Arizona's lead 6-3. Kennedy allowed a Betancourt single and plunked Maldonado before Brad Ziegler relieved him in the bottom of the seventh; Ziegler struck out pinch hitter Khristopher (seriously?) Davis, but an Aoki single loaded the bases and a Gomez groundout brought home a run, cutting the Diamondback lead to two.

Tom Gorzelanny worked a scoreless eighth for Milwaukee; David Hernandez allowed one-out singles by Gonzalez and Schafer, but stranded them at the corners. The maintenance of the lead brought JJ Putz from the pen for the ninth. Pinch hitter Josh Prince greeted him with a ground-rule double, which was also his first major league hit. Aoki singled Prince home, then stole second; Gomez grounded out, but Lucroy's single brought Aoki around to tie the game. Putz then fanned Weeks and Gonzalez to send the game to extras.

John Axford and Tony Sipp were both perfect in the tenth. In the eleventh, Pennington doubled, and Eric Hinske followed that with a pinch hit, two-run homer that sent Axford to the showers. Mike Gonzalez got a strikeout, a lineout, and a single/caught stealing out of the next three hitters, keeping Milwaukee within striking distance.

Prince flied out against Heath Bell to start the bottom of the eleventh, but Aoki, Gomez, and Lucroy followed with three consecutive singles, scoring one run and moving the tying run to third with one out. Weeks took strike 3 for the second out, and the Brewers had depleted their bench sufficiently that their remaining pinch hitter was Kyle Lohse, who also struck out looking to end the game.

Two lead changes in regulation, a game-tying rally in the ninth, and an excellent attempt at a second such rally in the eleventh. Throw in not one but two bases-loaded, no-outs, no-runs-score innings, and you've got the second-best game of the first week of the season. And since it came from a team that also participated in the best one, the Diamondbacks are officially your early leaders for most exciting team of the year.

Fun side note: If I'm counting correctly, which is not at all guaranteed, the newly-grittified Diamondbacks managed to take a grand total of 0 extra bases on hits in yesterday's game. And that's not counting Goldschmidt not scoring from second on a double, which I suppose would make the actual total -1. Of course, they won anyway and are now 5-1.
   7. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: April 08, 2013 at 02:39 PM (#4407624)
That finishes off this year's entries. As mentioned previously, April 6 was opening day in 1977, so we've got two games to do from that year as well.

If the 1977 season were being played this year, the first game in Seattle Mariners history would have been the only one that started the season, which would have left me with no option but to write about the 7-0 beating put on the M's by Frank Tanana and the Angels. (Tanana pitched the CGShO, despite the 7-run lead and 9 hits allowed, because this was when pitchers were men or something.)

Fortunately, in 1977, baseball still respected its own grumble mumble traditions, so there was a second game that day.

Game of the day (4/6/77): Reds 5, Padres 3. Opening Day in Cincinnati probably wasn't a winner every year - but this time, it was the defending champs (and one of the best lineups in baseball history) facing the reigning Cy Young winner in Randy Jones.

Woodie Fryman (who seems like an odd Opening Day choice for the Reds) worked around a Gene Richards single and steal and a walk to George Hendrick, putting up a scoreless first; Jones matched him, despite a one-out infield hit by Ken Griffey and a balk that moved him to second. Fryman allowed a leadoff double to Mike Ivie in the second, but Ivie tried and failed to take third on Doug Rader's grounder back to the mound, helping the Reds escape the jam. Dave Concepcion also started the second with a double, and stole third; Dan Driessen, who was taking over first base for the departed Tony Perez, struck out (which I'm sure engendered some grumbling from Reds fans), but Bill Plummer (who was catching in place of Johnny Bench; not sure why, but Bench didn't start either of the Reds' first two games in '77) singled Concepcion home to put Cincinnati in front. Cesar Geronimo then reached on an error, but Plummer was thrown out stealing third, and Fryman grounded out to end the inning.

With one out in the third, the not-prophetically-named Mike Champion (career OPS+ 60) doubled. Dave Winfield and Hendrick drew walks to load the bases, and Gene Tenace singled in a pair of runs to give San Diego the lead. That advantage proved ephemeral, however, as a Griffey double and a George Foster triple in the bottom of the inning tied the game at 2.

The Padres threatened in the fourth. Jones drew a one-out walk, and was forced at second on a Richards grounder. Champion reached on an infield hit, and Winfield walked to load the bases, but Hendrick hit into a force to end the inning. The Reds also put a runner on with one out in the fourth, as Plummer singled; they followed their chance up much better with a two-run homer by Geronimo, giving them a 4-2 lead. Ivie narrowed the gap with a solo homer in the fifth, but Griffey singled to start the bottom of the inning, moved around to third on an errant pickoff attempt, and scored of a Foster sac fly.

Jones was lifted for pinch hitter Bobby Valentine in the top of the sixth, which is fairly amusing 36 years later. Valentine flied out, but Richards walked and Champion singled, driving Fryman from the mound. Pedro Borbon took his place; he coaxed a forceout from Winfield, allowed a base-loading single to Hendrick, and got Gene Tenace to end the inning by lining out. Dave Tomlin retired the Reds in order in the sixth; Rawly Eastwick yielded a leadoff hit to Ivie in the seventh but erased him on an inning-ending double play ball from Bill Almon. In the bottom of the seventh, a two-out Joe Morgan double prompted Victor Bernal's replacement of Tomlin; Bernal intentionally walked Foster and retired Concepcion to keep the Padres within two.

Eastwick worked around Richards's second walk of the game in the eighth. Rollie Fingers (who I did not recall as a Padre) was spotless in the eighth, but Eastwick matched him in the ninth to end the game with a three-inning save, which is something you really, really don't see any more with a two-run lead.

Pretty good start to the year - some solid work out of players I'm familiar with and one guy I'd never heard of, a couple of early lead changes, and an entry in the Things Sure Were Different Back Then file.
   8. Der-K: downgraded to lurker Posted: April 08, 2013 at 03:32 PM (#4407700)
robinson chirinos to texas for a ptbnl or $, will go to aaa. he missed last year w/ a concussion but it wasn't long ago that he looked like a potential super sub - a solid catcher (well, sans arm) with experience at every infield position and a good, (then) recent track record with the bat. beliveau dfa'd.

jays similarly picked up mauro gomez, dfa dave bush.
   9. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: April 08, 2013 at 03:33 PM (#4407701)
Game of the day (4/7/77): Indians 5, Red Sox 4 (11). This game starts with a fairly disorienting pitching matchup - Ferguson Jenkins for the Red Sox against Dennis Eckersley for the Indians, two very good pitchers starting the year for teams that weren't exactly the ones you picture them pitching for. (In fact, Eck would win 20 games a year later for the team he was pitching against in this one.)

Jenkins worked around a two-out first-inning single by Jim Norris in his first MLB at bat. Eckersley also allowed a two-out hit, this one to a slightly more notable Jim (Rice). Rice then stole second and scored on a single by Carl Yastrzemski; Yaz stole second as well, but George Scott stranded him there by flying out. Andre Thornton singled against Jenkins in the second, as did Buddy Bell (who was playing left field while Bill Melton played third, which seems like an odd defensive alignment), but Ray Fosse and Frank Duffy flied out to leave them on. Bernie Carbo and Dwight Evans extended Boston's lead with back-to-back homers in the bottom of the inning, making it 3-0 Sox.

The starters settled down considerably from there. Eckersley hit Yaz with a pitch in the third, prompting Rick Miller to take his spot (Yaz didn't miss the team's next game, so he can't have been hurt too badly). Carbo doubled to start the fourth. Duffy drew a walk in the fifth, as did Rick Burleson. Norris reached on a sixth-inning infield hit; Carbo matched him with a single in the bottom of the inning, then stole second and saw Fisk intentionally walked behind him. But the score remained 3-0 until the seventh, when Cleveland finally broke through. Melton singled with one out and took second on a Jim Rice error; Bell followed that up with an RBI single. The Indians drew closer in the eighth as Rick Manning doubled, moved to third on a Duane Kuiper sac bunt, and scored on a two-out single by Rico Carty, after which Bill Campbell replaced Jenkins on the mound.

Eckersley was still pitching in the eighth. Miller led off with a single and stole second, and Carbo was intentionally walked behind him with one out. Evans struck out, but Carlton Fisk doubled, scoring Miller with Boston's fourth run of the game. They needed it, too, because Melton led off the top of the ninth with a single, and Bell followed with a game-tying two-run homer. Fosse then reached on an error, but pinch runner John Lowenstein ended the inning stranded at second. Eck threw a spotless ninth to send the game to extras, and was finally removed at that point.

Campbell (still pitching) started the tenth by getting Norris to ground out. Paul Dade (who'd pinch run for Carty in the eighth) then drew a walk, and Thornton reached on Burleson's second error in as many innings. Melton singled to load the bases with one out, bringing Bell back to the plate. Campbell (STILL pitching) coaxed a 5-4-3 double play from Bell, ending the threat.

Dave LaRoche allowed a one-out single to Scott, but still worked a pretty routine tenth. Campbell (STILL PITCHING) walked Duffy with one out in the eleventh, then gave up a single to Manning, moving Duffy to third; Kuiper then grounded to first. The play is scored as a fielder's choice with all the runners safe, which I assume means there was an unsuccessful throw home. Norris hit into a double play to end the inning, but Cleveland had taken its first lead of the game, and despite a leadoff hit by Fisk in the bottom of the inning, LaRoche preserved it to secure the win.

So... Things Sure Were Different Back Then, part 2. In 2013, if your closer blows a lead in the ninth, he's not pitching the tenth; if he loads the bases with one out in the tenth, he's pulled at that point, and he's definitely not pitching the eleventh. And Bill Campbell helpfully demonstrates why that particular change in pitcher usage might be a good idea.

Aside from that, it's an eleven-inning game with a game-tying homer from left fielder (!?) Buddy Bell and a game-winning RBI by Duane Kuiper, and Dennis Eckersley pitching 9 innings and Fergie Jenkins going 7.2 with one strikeout, and 37-year-old Yaz stealing second, which doesn't say much for the runner-holding abilities of the Cleveland battery.
   10. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 08, 2013 at 03:41 PM (#4407714)
I'm really digging the 1977 GOTD, Eric. Terrific stuff.
   11. Richard Gadsden Posted: April 08, 2013 at 04:10 PM (#4407743)
Thought I'd point people at this A two-hour BBC Radio documentary on the centenary of the Yankees.

It will probably be available to non-Brits as a free MP3 on the 5Live specials podcast feed - check, after the broadcast on Wednesday.

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