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Friday, July 27, 2012

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-27-2012

Milwaukee Journal, July 27, 1912:

Rudd Held, umpire in the Connecticut Baseball league, has discovered an umpire is regarded by life and accident insurance companies as an undesirable risk. His employment ranks with that of the aviator as a dangerous calling, the insurance men say. Held tried nearly every company in the country without results until this week, when an eastern company, at a special rate, took his risk.

Kill the umpire!

Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: July 27, 2012 at 05:15 AM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, history

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   1. Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: July 27, 2012 at 05:19 AM (#4193425)
Also 100 years ago today, the Pittsburgh Press reports that the Carlisle (PA) Elks Lodge beat Harrisburg's Elks 10-0, in part because Harrisburg's catcher got a phone call in the middle of the game saying his wife was giving birth. The catcher left, missed the birth anyway, and the team fell apart in his absence.

I imagine he was sleeping on the couch for a few weeks after that.
   2. Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: July 27, 2012 at 05:31 AM (#4193426)
Infielders (and, more specifically, shortstops) out the wazoo on today's Birthday Team. The pitching is uniformly reasonably decent; nobody's really good and nobody's really terrible.

C: Zack Taylor
1B: Ray Boone
2B/Manager: Leo Durocher
3B: Alex Rodriguez
SS: Joe Tinker
LF: Larry Biittner
CF: Tom Goodwin
RF: Don Lock

SP: Rube Walberg
SP: Shane Rawley
SP: Len Barker
SP: Johnny Kucks
SP: Max Scherzer
RP: Charley Hall

General Managers: Ed Short, Dave Dombrowski
Umpire: Harry Wendelstedt
Negro Leagues Great: Biz Mackey
Other Infielders of Note: Rich Dauer, Davy Force, Shea Hillenbrand, Floyd Rayford, Enrique Wilson, Bump Wills
Shot while wearing Go-Go Boots: Kyle Denney
Pioneer: Welday Walker
Losing Pitcher: Brian Kingman
   3. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: July 27, 2012 at 09:02 AM (#4193451)
Today also marks 5,000 days since the Giles-Rincon trade. That was a great move for Pittsburgh and a regrettable move for the Indians.
   4. Rennie's Tenet Posted: July 27, 2012 at 09:19 AM (#4193460)
Birthday boy Johnny Kucks has one of the very best baseball names in the eyes of eight year boys.
   5. FrankM Posted: July 27, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4193495)
I guess Harrisburg had a lot of passed balls that game.
   6. TerpNats Posted: July 27, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4193573)
Don Lock had several walk-off home runs for the Senators in their D.C./RFK Stadium days. Hard to believe, but Frank Howard didn't have any.
   7. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 27, 2012 at 03:44 PM (#4193950)
So last night one of my co-coaches on the 11 year old travel team I coach got ejected in the sixth inning. By tournament rule he is not suspended for tonight's game but will watch the game sitting behind the fence in left field so he can see his son play. We are arranging to have all the kids sign a "We Miss You" card and have the left fielder deliver it to him in the first inning of tonight's game.
   8. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 27, 2012 at 06:51 PM (#4194114)
Game of the day (yesterday): Indians 5, Tigers 3. Cleveland starter Zach McAllister scuffled a bit in the top of the first. Austin Jackson led off with an infield hit, taking second on a throwing error by third baseman Jose Lopez. McAllister struck out each of the next two Tigers, but Prince Fielder drove Jackson in with a two-out single. After issuing a walk to Delmon Young, McAllister induced an inning-ending groundout by Brennan Boesch, escaping the inning having allowed only one run.

No big deal, right? We can get one run back. Who's the pitcher for the other team?

Justin Verlander.

Naturally, the Indians immediately did get the one run back. Shin-Soo Choo led off with a double, and advanced a base on each of two outs to tie the score. McAllister continued to work through a few baserunners, giving up two hits in the second and one more in the third, before the Tigers recaptured the lead in the fourth. Alex Avila led off with a single, moved to second on a grounder, and with two outs, was singled home by Jackson; Jackson was thrown out at second to end the inning. Verlander put the first two Clevelanders on base in the bottom of the inning with a walk and a single, but a double play ball from Carlos Santana helped him escape the jam. The Tigers tacked on another run in the sixth when Delmon Young led off with a homer; they aded a one-out walk and single in the seventh to chase McAllister, but Joe Smith coaxed a double play ball from Miguel Cabrera to end the inning. Still, up 3-1 through six and a half with one of the best pitchers in the world on the mound, you figure they liked their odds.

So, of course, in the bottom of the seventh, Santana and Travis Hafner hit each of Verlander's first two pitches over the fence to tie the game. And Cleveland wasn't done yet - Lopez singled, and two outs later, so did Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Jason Kipnis, the last two of those hits driving in a run each to turn the two-run deficit on its head.

Vinnie Pestano worked a perfect eighth. Chris Perez allowed a double and a walk in the ninth, which put the tying runs on base, but worked out of it without any scoring.

The NFL likes to play up its upset-prone nature with the Any Given Sunday motto. But baseball does that better, because in baseball, this kind of stuff happens All. The. Time.
   9. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 27, 2012 at 09:04 PM (#4194215)
Game of the day (last year): The one where Julio Lugo was probably out at home... err, that is, Braves 4, Pirates 3 (19).

The game matched up Atlanta's Tommy Hanson and Pittsburgh's Jeff Karstens. But like most (modern) 19 inning games, it's not really about the starters.

Hanson allowed a leadoff single and steal of second to Xavier Paul in the first. One out later, Neil Walker tripled to right, bringing Paul home, and after a second out, Pedro Alvarez singled Walker in to put Pittsburgh ahead by two. The Bucs added a third run on a second-inning solo homer by Michael McKenry.

Atlanta rallied with two outs in the third. Brian McCann, Freddie Freeman, and Dan Uggla hit consecutive singles to bring in one run. Eric Hinske walked to load the bases, and Jason Heyward grounded a game-tying two-run single up the middle.

And nobody scored again for fifteen innings. But then, I'm getting ahead of myself, because these 15 innings are a big part of what makes the game what it is.

Ronny Cedeno singled and stole second in the top of the fourth. Walker singled and Andrew McCutchen walked with two outs in the fifth. In the sixth, facing Pirate reliever Tony Watson, Hinske was hit by a pitch and Heyward hit an infield single; a Pedro Alvarez throwing error put the runners on second and third with nobody out. Julio Lugo flied out, pinch hitter Brooks Conrad was intentionally walked, and Watson retired Nate McLouth and Martin Prado to leave all three runners on.

Nobody else reached scoring position until the ninth. After Craig Kimbrel retired the first Pirate hitter, McKenry reached on an infield hit, then took third when pinch hitter Brandon Wood also singled. With Paul at the plate, Pittsburgh called the squeeze; the Braves saw it coming, calling a pitchout and easily catching McKenry off of third to defuse the threat.

Hey, we're almost half done! In the tenth, Atlanta's Scott Linebrink allowed a one-out hit and steal to Walker, then intentionally walked McCutchen before being pulled for George Sherrill, who worked out of the situation. Lugo singled with one out in the eleventh against Jason Grilli, moved to second when Jordan Schafer was hit by a pitch, and advanced to third on a sac bunt by pitcher Cristhian Martinez, but Prado grounded out to leave both runners in scoring position.

Grilli wasn't done getting into and out of trouble. In the twelfth, he began the inning by walking David Ross,then gave up a single to Freeman. Uggla lined out, and Alex Gonzalez hit a short grounder that acted as a sac bunt, moving the runners to second and third. Heyward was then intentionally walked, but Lugo ended the inning by hitting into a force at third. Martinez saw McCutchen reach second after an error by Gonzalez and a sac bunt in the thirteenth, but stranded him there. In the bottom of the inning, Grilli was less adventurous than usual, only allowing a single and a walk and not allowing the winning run past second. Unsurprisingly, this was his last inning.

Pittsburgh's Daniel McCutchen traded zeroes with Martinez for a while, with neither hurler allowing multiple baserunners in an inning through the sixteenth (the only runner to reach scoring position was Schafer in the fifteenth; he reached on a one-out bunt hit and moved up on Martinez's second one-out sacrifice of the day. For what it's worth, Martinez's other at bat was a hit.)

Martinez was finally pulled at the beginning of the seventeenth, having worked through six 2-hit, 0-walk, 6-K extra innings. Scott Proctor replaced him, and the game coincidentally picked up again. Paul led off with a walk, and moved to second on a sac bunt. Walker was intentionally passed, and McCutchen (Andrew) grounded to first, advancing the runners to second and third, where Alvarez left them. The eighteenth was nearly identical; Lyle Overbay led off with a single, and moved up on Cedeno's groundout. McKenry was walked on purpose, and McCutchen (Daniel) bunted the runners to second and third, but Paul lined to first to end the inning. McCutchen (Daniel) started to show signs of wear in the eighteenth, walking Freeman and Uggla with two outs before rallying to keep them where they were.

Finally, after a perfect nineteenth from Proctor, the Braves broke the drought. Lugo drew a one-out, eight-pitch walk. Schafer singled, moving Lugo to third, and Schafer took second on defensive indifference. The next batter was, of course, Scott Proctor. He grounded to third (and faceplanted hilariously on his way to first), Lugo came home, so did the throw, and then... this happened.

Naturally, the only thing anyone remembers is the call. And obviously, the call was huge, even if I'm still not 100% sure McKenry gets the leg (hey, 95 and 100 are different numbers). But it's worth pointing out how good the rest of the game was. The Pirates stranded 16 runners; the Braves, 23. They combined to leave 22 in scoring position, almost all of those in a tie game and a significant fraction of them in extras. On balance, it grades out as not just a really good game, but the best of 2011 so far, and #2 in the database overall.

Also, the call.
   10. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 28, 2012 at 07:38 PM (#4194755)
Game of the day (yesterday): A's 14, Orioles 9. The game started with a bang. Baltimore's Zach Britton issued a one-out walk to Jonny Gomes, then allowed a triple to Josh Reddick, who later came home on a wild pitch. Yoenis Cespedes singled, and Chris Carter homered, making the inning-ending score 4-0. The teams traded solo homers in the second, with Oakland's coming from Brandon Hicks and Baltimore's from Chris Davis; the O's added a second run against Jarrod Parker in the third when Nick Markakis walked and JJ Hardy doubled him in.

From there, Britton and Parker combined for three consecutive scoreless half-innings, which qualifies as a feat on this particular day. The string ended in the bottom of the fifth. Taylor Teagarden, Markakis, and Hardy hit consecutive one-out singles to bring Baltimore within 5-3. Jim Thome struck out, but Adam Jones hoisted a three-run homer to left, giving Baltimore its first lead of the day at 6-5.

That advantage was rather short-lived; with two out in the sixth, Britton walked Hicks. He was pulled for Miguel Socolovich, who proceeded to walk both Jemile Weeks and Coco Crisp, then gave up a three-run double to Seth Smith that put the A's back in the lead. Jordan Norberto allowed just a two-out single in the sixth, and Baltimore's Matt Lindstrom did the same in the seventh. The O's loaded the bases on three Grant Balfour walks in the bottom of the seventh, but didn't score, and Oakland stranded runners at second and third in the eighth against Troy Paton.

In the bottom of the eighth, Sean Doolittle walked Mark Reynolds and gave up a two-out single to Markakis. All-Star Ryan Cook entered in relief, and promptly allowed consecutive singles to Hardy and Thome, the second of which tied the game. He then hit Jones with a pitch to load the bases, and gave up another hit to Davis, bringing Hardy home with the go-ahead run, although it also got Thome thrown out at home to end the inning.

Once again, Oakland rallied with remarkable immediacy. With Jim Johnson on the mound, Carter, Brandon Inge, and Derek Norris hit back-to-back-to-back one-out singles to even the score. Brandon Moss drew a base-loading walk, and Weeks and Crisp followed with singles of their own, bringing in three runs between them. Johnson was yanked for Luis Ayala, who allowed a nail-in-coffin two run double to Smith before ending the inning. Jerry Blevins put two runners on in the ninth, which would have been a lot more exciting in a one-run game than in a five-run game.

So, what do we have in this game? 23 runs, with the A's starting with a big inning and finishing with a bigger one. More significantly, we have the most batting-dominated game of the year so far (measured by total WPA for all hitters in the game - +2.399 in this one). This is partly because of the multiple lead changes, but also because of the fact that despite the back-and-forth nature of the game, there was not a single half-inning that ended with the score tied, or with the pitching team having preserved a one-run lead. Since those are the two highest-leverage pitching performances available, it rather makes sense that the pitchers don't grade out well in this one.
   11. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 28, 2012 at 08:04 PM (#4194781)
Game of the day (last year): Angels 3, Indians 1.

Cleveland scored without a hit in the first inning. Ezequiel Carrera started the inning by reaching on an Erick Aybar error. Carrera stole second, and moved to third on a grounder that resulted in the inning's second out. On a 1-2 pitch to Travis Hafner, LA starter Ervin Santana unleashed a wild pitch that allowed Carrera to scamper home.

Fielding mayhem would become a theme in this one. The Angels had two runners reach in the third, both of them on Cleveland errors. They finally tied the game in the fifth when Peter Bourjos tripled against David Huff and came home on a Mike Trout sac fly. In the sixth, Torii Hunter led off with a double, and moved to third on Howie Kendrick's one-out single. After Mark Trumbo fanned for the second out, Huff was replaced by Joe Smith, and Smith's third pitch became a passed ball that allowed Hunter to score the go-ahead run.

Santana put the tying run on in the eighth with a one-out walk to Lonnie Chisenhall, but struck out the other three Indians he faced in the inning. In the ninth, Kendrick led off with a walk, then stole second and took third on a Carlos Santana throwing error, Cleveland's fourth of the game. Bourjos singled him home, then stole second himself and later took third on a Matt LaPorta throwing error before being left there. But Santana retired Cleveland's hitters in order in the ninth to preserve the win.

This was a pretty solid game - it's the unusual outing in which the total number of errors was exactly equal to the number of hits (6). It has an early comeback.

Oh, and it was a no-hitter. Not only that, it was a no-hitter that wasn't a shutout, and in which the pitcher who threw the no-hitter was behind for a while. That's not something you see too terribly often.

As a side note, I have no memory of this game having occurred, which confuses and alarms me.
   12. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: July 29, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4195139)
Lew ford is getting called up by Baltimore. Yes, that Lew ford.
   13. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 29, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4195143)
Game of the day (yesterday): Pirates 4, Astros 3. Facing quasi-perfect-game thrower Armando Galarraga, the Pirates picked up an Alex Presley solo homer to take a quick lead in the top of the first. Ex-Astro Wandy Rodriguez started for Pittsburgh and worked around a walk in the bottom of the first; that would be a theme for him. In the second, Rodriguez started the inning with two more walks. Brian Bixler bunted the runners over, and Carlos Corporan singled one of them home to tie the game.

Both starters issued two-out walks in the third, but the score remained even until Neil Walker's solo homer in the fourth put Pittsburgh back in the lead. Rodriguez walked his fifth Astro of the day in the fourth, but preserved the lead until the fifth. Jose Altuve and Matt Downs started the inning with back-to-back singles, and with two outs, Justin Maxwell tripled them both home to put Houston ahead.

Galarraga allowed a leadoff hit to Andrew McCutchen to start the sixth. From there, the inning devolved into a contest to see which team could blow the game more efficiently. Garret Jones grounded to Downs at first; Downs made a throwing error in going for the force at second, allowing both runners to reach safely. Galarraga was removed in favor of Wesley Wright, who worked an 0-2 count on Walker, then hit him with a pitch to load the bases with nobody out. That brought Pedro Alvarez to the plate, and Alvarez squibbed the ball just in front of home, where Corporan fielded it and started a 2-3 double play. But on the next pitch, Corporan eliminated any goodwill he might have earned on that play, allowing a passed ball that brought Jones in to tie the game.

Houston picked up a pair of two-out singles in the bottom of the sixth, but didn't score. The Pirates got a leadoff single from Clint Barmes in the seventh, eventually leaving him at second. Chris Resop threw a perfect bottom of the seventh, bringing Chuckie Fick back to the mound to work the eighth for the Astros. McCutchen led off with a walk, and Jones followed with a single, sending the go-ahead run to third and Fick to the dugout. Fernando Rodriguez retired Walker on a popup and Alvarez on a strikeout, but Rod Barajas singled to left, bringing McCutchen home. Jones was also thrown out at third on the play to end the inning.

Brad Lincoln came in for the home half of the eighth; he allowed a two-out single to Corporan and a steal to pinch runner Jordan Schafer before stranding Schafer at second. Both halves of the ninth went 1-2-3, courtesy of Wilton Lopez and Jason Grilli (not Joel Hanrahan - is he hurt, or had he already pitched on consecutive days, or were the Pirates just trying to give themselves a degree of difficulty in beating a team that hasn't won in about 2 weeks?)

The highlight from this one is Pittsburgh's demonstration of the dramatically perfect rally. In both the sixth and the eighth, the Pirates put multiple runners on with nobody out, moving the graph solidly in their direction. Then, they made two outs without scoring, moving it back toward Houston. And after the second out, they finally brought the run home, spiking things back toward them again. This is how you do the exciting inning in baseball, and the fact that this game has two of them is probably the reason it beats a couple of other solid efforts today.
   14. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 29, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4195170)
Game of the day (last year): Mets 10, Reds 9. Facing Cincinnati's Homer Bailey, the Mets took an early lead in the first. Daniel Murphy singled, stole second, and scored on a hit by David Wright, who later in the play was thrown out 9-3-6-4-3. Cincinnati countered against Chris Capuano, bringing across two runs on a walk to Drew Stubbs and doubles by Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips. A double by Jason Bay and a hit by Lucas Duda put Mets on the corners with one out in the third, but Josh Thole hit into an inning-ending double play, and the game quieted down until the fourth.

At that point, however, the noise picked up considerably. Murphy led off with a walk, then moved around to third on singles by Wright and Angel Pagan. Bay whiffed for the first out, but Duda lined a base-clearing double to right to put New York on top, and Thole added a single to bring Duda in. Cincy countered with a fourth-inning run, courtesy of a Todd Frazier double and a two-out RBI single by Bailey himself, but Bailey had to come back to the mound after that, and his return there went less well than his hitting: Josh Turner singled, Murphy walked, Wright singled to load the bases, Pagan singled in one run, and Bay doubled in three more. Unsurprisingly, Bailey was pulled at that point, and Sam LeCure escaped the inning without any further runs scoring; still, the Mets were ahead 9-3 at this point.

Capuano was perfect in the fifth, as was LeCure in the sixth. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Jay Bruce singled, Ramon Hernandez doubled him in, and Frazier drew a walk to chase Capuano. Manny Acosta came in to pitch, and Miguel Cairo pinch hit for LeCure. On Acosta's first pitch, Cairo launched a three-run homer to left, bringing the Reds within two runs.

Jose Arredondo worked a scoreless seventh; Pedro Beato did not, giving up consecutive doubles to Chris Heisey and Bruce to cut New York's lead to one. Jose Reyes walked and moved to second on an errant eighth-inning pickoff throw from Aroldis Chapman, but didn't score from there, while Bobby Parnell worked a flawless bottom of the inning.

Logan Ondrusek pitched the ninth for the Reds. Pagan singled with one out, stole second, and watched as Bay was walked behind him. Duda fouled out, but Thole drew a walk to load the bases with two away. With pinch hitter Willie Harris at the plate, Ondrusek uncorked a wild pitch, allowing New York to bring home an insurance run.

That run loomed large when Votto hit Jason Isringhausen's first pitch of the ninth inning over the center field wall for what otherwise would have been a game-tying homer. With the lead still in existence, Isringhausen retired the next three Reds in order to preserve the victory.

By the standards of 10-9 games, this one isn't all that great; there were a couple of early lead changs, but the Mets then built a big advantage and the Reds never caught up. But by the standards of all baseball games, it's still really good.

Also, Homer Bailey may have an unfortunate name for a pitcher, but his name and his struggles in this game were unrelated; he gave up 9 runs in 4+ innings, but didn't allow a single home run.
   15. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 29, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4195173)
DBacks get 3B Chris Johnson from Houston for 3B Bobby Borchering and OF Marc Krauss. Seems like a nice haul for Houston.

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