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May 3, 2012

What You Need to Know

Thursday, May 3

by Daniel Rathman

The Wednesday Takeaway
Trying to choose one takeaway from a night like last night is like being a 5-year-old at Baskin Robbins deciding between ice cream flavors. It might be doable, but whichever one you pick, you’ll be slighting other, equally worthy choices.

Two players over the age of 40 hit walk-off home runs last night.

Jason Giambi went first, pinch-hitting in the 10th inning of a wild matinee between the Dodgers and Rockies and sending the Coors Field crowd home happy with an 8-5 win. In addition to the walk-off and two Carlos Gonzalez homers off Clayton Kershaw, that game featured this strike zone and this “out” call at first.

Chipper Jones put an end to an even wilder nightcap between the Phillies and Braves, plating the 27th and 28th runs of a game started by Roy Halladay and Tommy Hanson. That’s right—the Phillies scored 13 runs in a game started by Roy Halladay and lost. Halladay was taken off the hook by a late rally, keeping his flawless 107-0 mark in outings where he’s given a four-run lead intact, but that was not much consolation to anyone in the visiting clubhouse.

If that wasn’t enough fun for one night, there was history made in Disneyland hours later. Dave Weaver went to a ballgame to watch his son pitch and sipped on a beer with his son’s team comfortably ahead 9-0 in the top of the ninth. That might have been reasonably normal—except that his son, Jered, is a major leaguer who was one out away from a no-hitter at the time. And as cool as his father looked in the stands, Weaver was even more relaxed on the mound as he finished off the Twins by getting Alexi Casilla to fly out to right on his 121st pitch of the night.

The Twins now have four days to regroup before the end of their West Coast trip. When they head back to Target Field on Monday, they’ll host the Angels in the first game of a nine-game homestand. Starting for Anaheim that night? You guessed it, Jered Weaver.

What to Watch for on Thursday

  • Ryan Dempster was off to an impressive start this season, fanning 23 batters in 20 1/3 innings over three starts before a quad strain sent him to the disabled list. He’ll return to the mound this afternoon (12:35 p.m. ET) to face the Reds at Great American Ballpark, one of the righty’s least favorite venues. Dempster is 1-8 with a 5.53 ERA and 61 walks allowed in 97 2/3 career innings at the bandbox in Cincinnati.
  • Two days ago, I wrote about Ricky Nolasco’s incredible history at AT&T Park, which included a 3-0 record and a sub-1.00 ERA heading into Tuesday night’s series opener. Well, this afternoon’s Florida starter, Anibal Sanchez, is right there with Nolasco in his ownage of the Giants: Sanchez has made two career starts by the Bay, and both of them have resulted in complete-game shutouts, with the home team notching just six combined hits in the two games. He’ll try to make it three this afternoon (3:45 p.m. ET) against Ryan Vogelsong.
  • Mark Teixeira has made 29 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers this season. In those 29 trips, he has managed just one extra-base hit (a homer off Boston’s Felix Doubront) and no walks, which adds up to a lowly triple slash of .207/.207/.310. His next chance to turn that around will come tonight (8:10 p.m. ET), with Danny Duffy toeing the rubber for the Royals.  

Daniel Rathman is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Daniel's other articles. You can contact Daniel by clicking here

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2012-05-03 - What You Need to Know: Thursday, May 3
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