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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-29-2012

Bobby Wallace quoted in the El Paso Herald, August 29, 1912:

Probably Ed [Walsh] would be jarred out of his spiked shoes if he knew that in April 1912, there was one man, right in the big leagues, who didn’t even know that Walsh existed, and, for that matter, didn’t know that the American league was a large, independent, national agreement body!

This remarkable man was pitcher Baumgardner, of the St. Louis Browns, a kid hurler who came up from the Mountain league.

‘Say,’ [said Baumgardner], ‘who’s the big fellow warming up for the White Sox?’
‘Him,’ I answered, ‘Why, that’s Ed Walsh.’
‘I never heard of him. Who is the guy, anyway?’
‘In short, my boy, you are gazing up one of the most wonderful pitchers in the history of the game!’
‘I don’t think he can be so much of a much,’ negatived Mr. Baumgardner, firmly. ‘If he was such a wonder, the National league would have drafted him.’

Looks like the conversation in question took place on April 14, 1912, and Baumgardner did outpitch Walsh that day. (By the way, I should note that I edited the conversation for the sake of brevity.)

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: August 29, 2012 at 05:28 AM | 5 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, ed walsh, george baumgardner, history

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   1. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: August 29, 2012 at 05:32 AM (#4220895)
It's a damn shame today's Birthday Team isn't an actual baseball team. Listening to Joe Schultz talk about this roster would be amazing.

C: Henry Blanco
1B: Ryan Shealy
2B: Pep Young
3B: Doug DeCinces
SS: Billy Cox
LF: Ford Garrison
CF: Aaron Rowand
RF: Dave Nicholson

SP: Roy Oswalt
SP: Elmer Stricklett
SP: Orval Grove
SP: Marc Rzepczynski
SP: Dave Cole
RP: John Riedling

Manager: Joe Schultz
Umpire: Jeff Kellogg
   2. God Posted: August 29, 2012 at 05:54 AM (#4220898)
I love that so many of these come from the (dearly departed) El Paso Herald, a newspaper I used to work for.
   3. Honkie Kong Posted: August 29, 2012 at 08:12 AM (#4220917)
for that matter, didn’t know that the American league was a large, independent, national agreement body


That is a shortstop talking like that?!
   4. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 29, 2012 at 06:32 PM (#4221746)
Game of the day (yesterday): Royals 9, Tigers 8. Detroit struck early, scoring three in the top of the first on an Austin Jackson single, an Andy Dirks double, and (after Luis Mendoza retired both Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder) a Delmon Young two-run homer. Then, Justin Verlander took the mound. Win expectancy gives the Tigers 74% odds after the top of the first. With Verlander pitching, you’d have to think KC’s chances would be at best half of that. And indeed, Verlander struck out the first two Royal hitters he faced.

Then, Alex Gordon doubled, Billy Butler singled, Salvador Perez doubled, and Mike Moustakas singled, and the game was tied. Mendoza recorded a 1-2-3 second, and after the first out in the bottom of the inning, the Royals got singles from Johnny Giovatella, Jarrod Dyson, and Alcides Escobar, another double from Gordon, and another single by Butler, and just like that, it was 7-3. The game was not yet over, of course, but that’s got to be one of the earliest shocking turnarounds of the year.

Jackson singled to lead off the third. One out later, Cabrera matched him, and Fielder then doubled both runners home. After a groundout moved him to third, Fielder came in on Alex Avila’s single, bringing the Tigers to within one. Kansas City put two runners on in the third, but didn’t score, and Mendoza and Verlander traded a pair of hitless innings after that. Kelvin Herrera replaced Mendoza in the sixth and set the Tigers down in order. In the bottom of the inning, Dyson drew a leadoff walk, and moved to second on a groundout. After Gordon struck out and Butler was intentionally walked, Perez doubled to left, bringing Dyson home, chasing Verlander from the game, and doubling the size of the Royal lead.

Detroit got the run back in the seventh, as Jackson singled with one out, stole second, and took third on a wild pitch before scoring on Cabrera’s two-out single. Tim Collins replaced Herrera and walked Fielder, but Aaron Crow then came on to strike out Young and strand the pair of Tiger baserunners. In the eighth, however, Crow served up a game-tying homer to Jhonny Peralta.

Having worked a scoreless seventh, Brayan Villarreal remained in to start the bottom of the eighth. Butler singled with one out, and was replaced by pinch runner Lorenzo Cain. Cain stole second, and watched from there as Perez fouled out. Phil Coke then replaced Villarreal, and Moustakas hit his second pitch of the day for a double to right, bringing Cain in from second with the go-ahead run.

Greg Holland came in to work the ninth for the Royals, and promptly walked Jackson. Dirks’s groundout moved Jackson to second, and a wild pitch advanced him to third with one out and Cabrera at the plate. Cabrera struck out, however, and after an intentional walk to Fielder, Young flied to left to end the game.

Sometimes I have to hunt around for a hook when writing about these games. This one, however, is pretty easy, because it contains so much of baseball in it. Sometimes, Justin Verlander gets hit around by a bad team. Sometimes, Miguel Cabrera strikes out with the tying run on third in the ninth. And those times are what make you appreciate all the times they do come through, because they remind you just how hard it is to be that good.
   5. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 29, 2012 at 07:50 PM (#4221790)
Game of the day (last year): Reds 5, Nationals 4 (14). Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto struck out the first two batters he faced. Rick Ankiel then singled, Mike Morse walked, and Danny Espinosa singled as well; Ankiel scored on the play, but Morse was thrown out trying for third, which ended the inning. And in the bottom of the first, Joey Votto took Jordan Zimmermann deep to tie the score.

Cueto allowed two singles in the second (one of them to Zimmermann) before stranding both runners; Zimmermann allowed hits to Todd Frazier and Ryan Hanigan in the bottom of the inning, but picked Frazier off of second and retired Paul Janish to strand the other runner. Cueto hit a batter in the third and allowed a single in the fourth, but the game remained knotted at 1 until the bottom of the fourth, when Jay Bruce’s solo homer gave Cincinnati its first lead of the day.

The Nats started the fifth with three consecutive singles by Ian Desmond, Jayson Werth, and Ankiel, tying the score at 2. Morse then hit into a double play, and Espinosa struck out to complete the defusing of the threat. In the bottom of the inning, Zimmermann allowed hits to Hanigan and Cueto, hit Brandon Phillips with a pitch, and with the bases loaded, walked Fred Lewis to force in a run. With the Reds’ 3-4 hitters coming up, Zimmermann was pulled in favor of Tom Gorzelanny, who induced Votto to hit into a 3-2 force at home and struck out Bruce to leave the bases loaded.

Washington amassed a single and a hit batter in the sixth, but Jonny Gomes and Desmond struck out to keep the runners from scoring. Todd Coffey allowed only a walk in the bottom of the inning, and Cueto responded with a perfect effort in the top of the seventh. With Sean Burnett on the mound, Cincinnati put up a serious threat in their half of the inning. Pinch hitting for Cueto, Miguel Cairo singled, and Phillips followed with a ground rule double to put runners on second and third with none out. Dave Sappelt grounded to third, keeping the runners in place. Burnett intentionally walked Votto to load the bases, and Bruce followed with a line drive just to the left of Espinosa at second. Espinosa snagged the ball and quickly doubled Votto off of first to end the inning.

Having kept his team close in the field, Espinosa then led off the eighth with a walk, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. With two outs (both recorded on strikeouts, which makes sense because Aroldis Chapman was pitching), Ryan Zimmerman came in as a pinch hitter, and lined a 1-0 pitch into center for a game-tying RBI single. Zimmerman took second on the throw home, but stayed there as Brian Bixler grounded out. Tyler Clippard worked around a one-out double by Drew Stubbs, striking out both Hanigan and Edgar Renteria and sending the game into the ninth still tied.

It didn’t stay tied long. Nick Masset gave up a single to Desmond, who promptly stole second. Werth followed with a single of his own to give the Nats a 4-3 lead. Werth would take second on a balk, but was later thrown out at third on a fielder’s choice, and Washington did not score again in the inning. The Reds did, however, as pinch hitter Yonder Alonso devastated Drew Storen’s second pitch well beyond the right-center field fence to retie the game. Cincinnati threatened to score again when Sappelt doubled with one out, but the threat was extinguished before the play ended, as Ankiel gunned Sappelt down trying for third.

Chris Marrero led off the tenth against Logan Ondrusek by grounding the ball into left for a single. Jesus Flores walked, bringing the pitcher’s spot to the plate. The Nats pinch hit with Livan Hernandez, who bunted the runners to second and third. Bixler was then intentionally walked to load the bases, and Desmond lined to Renteria, who stepped on second to complete the unassisted double play and retire the side. In the bottom of the inning, the Nats put human excitement machine Henry Rodriguez on the mound. Rodriguez retired the first two hitters he faced, then walked Stubbs, threw a wild pitch that moved the runner to second, walked Hanigan, allowed Stubbs to steal third, and got Renteria to hit into a force to end the inning.

With Jose Arredondo on the mound, Ankiel singled and Morse walked with one out, but a strikeout and lineout stranded them both. Rodriguez issued another pair of walks in the bottom of the eleventh, but at least one of them was intentional this time, and he too stranded both runners when Bruce flied out. Arredondo allowed only one runner in the twelfth, but it was on a two-out triple by Bixler. Collin Balester worked the bottom of the inning, serving as little more than a spectator as Stubbs reached on a one-out error, then was caught stealing before Hanigan’s single, which likely would have scored him if he’d made second safely. Washington picked up another extra-base hit in the thirteenth, this one a two-out double by Morse, but again failed to score; Balester allowed a single to Phillips before getting yet another line drive double play off of Sappelt’s bat to end the inning.

Bill Bray came on for the fourteenth; he allowed a hit to Marrero and a sac bunt to Balester before stranding the runner at second. Votto worked a full count against Balester, then took a tough pitch to the opposite field and just over the wall, and the game ended as it began: with the NL’s best hitter trotting around the bases.

The game went 14 innings, which is always a good start. But not every 14-inning game makes the top 10 of the year. So why does this one? First, it was close throughout – neither team led by more than one run (for that matter, neither team scored more than once in any inning). Second, there were always people on base – the Reds left 13, the Nats 17. To expand on that theme, there were three line drive double plays in the game, and two of them came with the bases loaded and one out.

The thing that jumps out to me most of all, though, is the fact that the Nats went 4/20 with runners in scoring position – and actually out-performed the Reds by that particular measure, as Cincinnati went 0/8. I’m sure they weren’t especially close to having a noteworthy number of runs scored without any RISP hits or anything, but still – not a single hit with a runner past first all day, and they scored five times in five separate innings. Their runs came on four solo homers and a bases-loaded walk. Compare that to Washington, which had only two extra-base hits in the game, neither of which came in the first 11 innings and neither of which resulted in any runs.

Yeah, that’s both a very good game and kind of a weird one. Which I find rather endearing. But then, I’m predisposed to like games that my system thinks are the seventh-best of the first five months of a baseball season.

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