One of the values of knowing history is that you can recognize repeat situations when they arise. We humans are pretty creative, but somehow every generation has to work itself into some scrape that a previous class already tried out. Sometimes it’s a historical blunder on the scale of invading Russia from the west with winter coming on; other times, it’s just hiring Raul Mondesi.
The benefit to recognizing a repeat situation as it manifests is that you can call it off before, say, you trade this year’s Jay Buhner for this year’s Ken Phelps, or your Iraq becomes your Vietnam, and consequently someone else’s problem. In some cases, it’s just fun to know that even if you missed something the first time around, chances are it will come up again so you can see it for yourself. For example, it’s safe to say that none of our readers were in attendance at Game Six of the 1917 World Series between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants, and so they didn’t see the controversial play that iced the championship for the American League. Fortunately, Monday’s Angels-Blue Jays game was just as good as a time machine–and not just any time machine, but the deluxe model with the cruise control, the heated mirrors, and the side mirrors that fold down when passing through a dangerously narrow aperture, handy for automotive proctological exams and navigating the capillaries of longtime smokers.
The score was tied 5-5 with two out in the bottom of the 10th at Toronto and two runners on. Chris Gomez was standing on second. He had reached on a fielder’s choice, then was pushed into scoring position by Eric Hinske’s walk. Simon Pond came to the plate. Pond grounded to first baseman Casey Kotchman, who dove for the ball and knocked it down. Pitcher Ben Weber stood at first, waiting to receive the ball for the 3-1 put out. Gomez rounded third, trying to score. Second baseman Adam Kennedy picked up the ball and fired it to catcher Ben Molina. Gomez was now in a rundown. Molina chased him up the line, then threw the ball to third baseman Alfredo Amezaga. Gomez reversed field and headed back towards home. Amezaga threw the ball to…he didn’t throw it to anyone, because there was no one to throw it to. Gomez scored. Game over.
Even after losing their last two games to the Florida Marlins, the Cincinnati
Reds still have the best record in the National League, now tied with those
same Marlins. They hold a half-game lead over the Astros in an NL Central that
is separated by just 4.5 games from top to bottom.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve been here before. The six teams in
the Central have been playing this game almost since realignment. For example,
a year ago today, the top four teams were just 3.5 games apart, with the whole
division showing just a nine-game spread. It took until the second week of
June, when the Reds and Brewers started collapsing, for the division to
separate. On May 27, 2001, the top four teams in the division were within four
games of each other.
The NL Central just hasn’t had exceptional teams, so the early part of the
season has often been spent beating up each other, and getting beat up by
whichever of the East or West is up in a particular year.
There’s a lot of fog in every report on Andy Pettitte, but while some would like you to believe that you can’t get good info, I just say they don’t know where to look. Most of the key to analyzing Pettitte’s injury lies in the description of the injury. We noted that Pettitte was holding his elbow, not his forearm, and that was a good clue. Most reports, including this good one in the Houston Chronicle, indicate that the team is waiting 48 hours to evaluate the injury. The reason is likely that there’s swelling in the area, which could make some imaging more difficult. While the team is putting a happy face on it by saying Pettitte might not miss his next start–which is possible–the injury appears to be as serious as the elbow injury that landed him on the DL in April.
Forearm problems appear to be in vogue in the league, at least among good Southern pitchers. Jake Peavy was near his Mobile home testing his arm (after his wife gave birth–congrats) and the flexor tendinitis was enough to push him to the DL. It’s not considered a severe injury, but just enough to keep the Pads ace off the mound as a precaution. Expect him to be out the minimum and to come back without much problem. With the staff also missing DL’d David Wells, suffering through sub-par seasons by Adam Eaton and Brian Lawrence as well as the flailings of Ismael Valdez, it’s shocking to see the Pads atop the NL West. Thanks, Dodger losing streak!