Admire the beauty of two of the game's best young left-handers pitching exactly like two of the game's best young left-handers.
Memorial Day means many things to many people. For Major League Baseball, the holiday means a full slate of games, stretching from midday to midnight. Some games with no business being entertaining became just that (like the Cubs-Padres and Astros-Rockies games), but the day’s best pitching matchup happened at Tropicana Field. The White Sox and Chris Sale were in town to take on the Rays and Matt Moore. There’s nothing quite like two young, power-armed southpaws going at it, and Sale and Moore made it worth everyone’s while. Here were the lineups for both teams:
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The Orioles wrap up a bizarrely historic week with a start from Colby Lewis unlike any we've seen before.
The Orioles have had a bizarrely historic week. On Sunday, 1B/DH Chris Davis picked up the first pitching win by a position player in the American League since Rocky Colavito did it in 1968 against the Boston Red Sox. When the Sox sent Darnell McDonald (another former Oriole) to the mound after him in the top of the 17th inning, it was the first time both teams had used a position player as a reliever since 1925, and it was the first time two position players had gotten a decision since 1902. Until Davis's afternoon, a 0-8, 5K, GIDP day at the plate combined with a pitching win hadn't happened since 1905.
Bryce Harper may have been the lead story heading into last Saturday's game at Chavez Ravine, but there were plenty of other moments that made the night memorable.
Even though we’ve already had a pair of no-hitters, it could be argued that the most exciting—and certainly the most anticipated—game of the year was Saturday, when the Washington Nationals visited Chavez Ravine and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The most-hyped prospect of all-time, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, was making his debut. Harper’s teammate Stephen Strasburg, who wasn’t far removed from his own otherworldly hype, would be making his fifth start of the year. The advent of MLB.tv enabled fans from all over the country to tune in and hear Vin Scully describe the intricacies of Harper’s debut. Both teams were in first place. And, as the game grew late, Matt Kemp and the Nationals' depleted bullpen were rushing toward each other for an inevitable conclusion.
An evening with two of the best broadcast crews in the sport.
The three biggest factors in determining the appeal of a baseball game on television are the starting pitchers, the ballpark, and the announcers involved. I like games that feature at least one interesting starting pitcher, a clean-looking ballpark, and announcers with good chemistry, regardless of whether they excel in wit or insight. More often than not, a good blend of those three attributes leads to an engaging ballgame.
Jeremy Hellickson gets hit hard and Clay Buchholz impresses in the game of the week, plus thoughts about Tampa Bay's pitching and Bobby Valentine's way with words.
The night before Saturday’s game, the Red Sox scored eight runs against the Rays to turn a relatively normal game into a 12-2 laugher. Actually, there was something abnormal about it, even before the offensive explosion: Rays starter David Price lasted only three innings. He gave up three runs on four hits and three walks while running up an 83-pitch tab. Josh Beckett, meanwhile, suffocated Tampa Bay for eight innings, allowing just one run on five hits.
In the old days, we ran a feature called Prospectus Game of the Week. Started by Jonah Keri and later written by Derek Jacques, the column ran fewer than 40 times in total—most recently popping up more than five years ago. A rise in team-specific blogs offering game threads and recaps probably cut into the utility of the piece, but the timing was a shame, as it coincided with the rise of MLB.tv. No longer does a person have to record a game to access it later. Rather, you can do it online through myriad devices. Maybe it was decided people didn’t care to watch a game and then read a recap about it later on. Whatever the reason, Prospectus Game of the Week—which, actually, was rarely offered weekly—faded from memory; at least until now.
Derek takes in the Opening Day sights and captures the reigning mood among discontented fans in a packed Yankee Stadium.
Ever since they broke ground on the new Yankee Stadium-which is scheduled to open in April 2009-baseball fans have mentioned their desire to make a trip out to the old cathedral of baseball before its demise in two years. For those people, we'll start with a few guidelines for enjoying your Yankee Stadium experience.
Derek follows the Phillies' pursuit of the wild card as they try to shoot down the Rocket.
Voters indicated that the Astros game was appealing as much for the visiting team as for the living legend on the mound. Coming in, the Phillies are alive in the wild-card race, tied with the Giants and trailing the Padres by 2 1/2 games. Since they traded Bobby Abreu to the Yankees, the Phillies have posted a 25-17 record, Ryan Howard has hit 21 homers--one every other game--and driven in 51 runs. Since the All-Star break, Howard leads all batters with a 1320 OPS, head and shoulders above the next man on that leaderboard--Atlanta's Adam LaRoche, with an OPS of 1174. The Phillies have the top offense in the league by runs scored (773), are second in OBP (.344), and third in SLG (.445). They have hit the third-most home runs in the league (195), largely on the strength of Ryan Howard's 56 homers. Abreu or no Abreu, they're an offensive juggernaut.
Derek recaps a Santana-Bonderman duel with serious implications for the AL Central race.
The divisional race in the AL Central was thought to be over as recently as a month ago. On August 7, Detroit had a ten-game lead in the division. Since then, the Tigers have a 10-21 record. They've lost two out of their first three in a crucial four-game set against Minnesota. Meanwhile, in Chicago, the White Sox have taken two in a row from the extremely disappointing Cleveland Indians. Just like that, the AL Central race is now down to a three game lead, three and a half over the White Sox, the tightest race in the AL.
Something interesting occurred in a recent Marlins/Diamondbacks game. What happened? Derek has a special edition of Game of the Week to tell you.
Since Art wrote in, even Joe Sheehan has given up on Arizona's chances for the Wild Card, but Art's letter piqued my curiosity enough for me to record the final game of the Diamondbacks/Marlins series. As you may have heard, it was not an uneventful evening. And so, without further ado, we have an abbreviated edition of Game of the Week. We'll show you the starting lineups, without comment, and on to the action:
Pujols being Pujols makes this edition of Game of the Week a must-read.
That's what makes today's game so important for the Cards. Knowing that they will be without Mulder, and holding no illusions about their remaining starters, it is vital to the team that rookie Anthony Reyes step up and claim Mulder's place in the rotation. Reyes was sent down in mid-August, because after a fine start to the season (1-2, 2.16 ERA in his first four starts), he'd gotten roughed up a bit in July (1-3, 6.84 ERA) and August (2-1, 5.40 ERA). But in two Triple-A starts after being sent down, Reyes didn't allow a single run; meanwhile, Mulder's physical problems and general ineffectiveness (his -15.1 VORP is the lowest pitcher VORP in the NL this season) meant that there was an opening in the rotation. Reyes has a month in which to prove he can provide the kind of pitching the rotation needs.