Like most things in life, the walk-off celebration at home
plate will run its course.
Yesterday afternoon LA Angels’ first baseman Kendry Morales broke
a bone in his leg while leaping onto home plate after hitting a walk-off grand
slam to beat the Seattle Mariners.
There will always be the spontaneous eruptions of emotion
after winning an important game (see Bobby Thompson). But I think we have just
seen the beginning of the end of the contrived “showtime” celebrations (see
To my mind, this recent fad of tossing off your helmet
between third and home and jumping up and down started in 2004 when David Ortiz
hit a walk-off home run off Paul Quantrill of the Yankees during the playoffs.
It was real and exciting and genuine. And it might have ended right there.
Except the next night Ortiz got a walk-off single to win the game in the bottom
of the 14th. A huge victory in a win-or-go-home game, no doubt. And baseball players being the superstitious
group they are, they celebrated the same way. Papi tossed the helmet and they
got together for the group jump around.
After those two nights, Ortiz became a nationwide star. And
if someone becomes famous for something, you can bet that people will follow in
those footsteps. And the footpath will grow, widen and accommodate more people
until it becomes worn out, then someone falls and breaks an ankle.
Time to find the new path.
6 batters, 6 hits, 16 pitches and 5 earned runs later the
Cubs and Randy Wells were done for the day.
To tell you the truth, I was a little shocked to see Lou get
the bullpen up after just four batters. I know they all got hits, but it was
just the start of the game and it was only four batters. But then hit number 5,
then hit number 6 came and Wells was gone.
At the time I thought it was a bad move. I know the Cubs
were already down 5 runs, but to bring a reliever in at that point with no outs
in the first inning was going to force the bullpen into all-day action. Luckily
for the Cubs, James Russell did a wonderful job. He pitched 4 scoreless innings
and gave the Cubs a chance to save some of the arms in the pen. Other than the usual two runs allowed by
Grabow (9.00era), the Cubs bullpen held the Cardinals in check the remainder of
Unfortunately; Chris Carpenter was solid for St. Louis and
the Cubs never got the offense going. With the wind blowing in yesterday, the
only way to score runs was to put multiple hits together like the Cardinals
did. That’s not the Cubs game. Chicago ranks ninth in the NL in double digit
hit games with 18 (they are 12-6 in those games).
Fantasy Impact: Good or Bad, expect Carlos Silva to go at least six innings today to give
the bullpen some rest. This is his first career start vs the Cardinals.
Like many of you, I play fantasy baseball. The element of
fantasy baseball that I find to be the most frustrating is saves.
Get a closer……get two closers……dump saves and go with
No matter which way you go, at some point during the season
you will wish you had done something different. But probably the most
frustrating thing is when a closer blows a win for your starter.
Matt Lindstrom, closer for Houston had successfully
converted 22 straight saves until he just blew a save this afternoon against
the Brewers. If you haven’t guessed
already; I have Brett Myers, the guy Lindstrom blew the save for.
I need this with me when I watch a game.
A downed power line knocked the lights out at Wrigley Field
last night. During the top of the fourth on a 3-1 pitch from Tom Gorzlanny to
Blake DeWitt the lights went out. First a few, then all.
The Dodgers were leading 5-2 at the time and went on to win
8-5 after the 18 minute delay, ending the Cubs 3 game win streak.
There shouldn’t be any problems with the lights today as the
Cubs and Dodgers play an afternoon game. Ted Lilly makes his 7th
start of the year against rookie and Chicago native John Ely. Ely is 3-1 with a
3.41 era in 6 starts.
The “I didn’t know that” stat – Lights were to be installed
at Wrigley Field in 1942. But after the U.S. entered WWII, P.K. Wrigley donated
the materials for the war effort. Stadium lighting finally took place in 1988.
Ryan Dempster rolled over the Dodgers last night. He went 8
innings on 104 pitches collecting 7 K’s and the win. The Dodgers never really had any scoring
opportunities and Carlos Marmol closed out the game with a 1-2-3 ninth.
The LA Dodgers rank 13th in the NL in team
defense and played like a sieve last night. They had 3 errors that directly led
to the Cubs three runs.
With Aramis Ramirez on the bench with a sore thumb, Derek
Lee needed to step up, and he did. Lee went 3 for 3 with 3 RBI including a huge
8th inning 2-run homer.
The Cubs are now 22-24, 4 games behind the Reds and
Tonight Tom Gorzelanny (2-4 3.09) faces Chad Billingsley (5-2 3.66). Win or Lose, this could be
Gorzelanny’s last start now that Carlos Zambrano will be returning to the
rotation next week.
“I didn’t know that” stat -
Since Jason Marquis pitched a 3 hit shutout on 5/9/2007, only one other Cub
has thrown a shutout at Wrigley Field. Ryan Dempster beat Pittsburgh 6-0 on
One quarter of the season in the books and the Cubs are 3
under .500 at 21-24.
Tonight they play the first of three against the Dodgers
before finishing up the six game home stand with three versus St Louis. I think
it’s fair to say that the next six days will go a long way to determine the
Ryan Dempster makes his 10th
start of the year and fifth at home tonight. He is winless in his last 5 starts
going 2-4 overall. The Dodgers will counter with 4-2 Clayton Kershaw.
Fantasy Impact: Not including the post season, no
Dodger regular has a home run or a career batting average over .250 vs
Dempster. The Dodgers as a team don’t strikeout a lot, but they are not hitting
homers either; which has been Ryan’s biggest problem this year. Look for a
solid outing from Dempster and a Cub victory.
In my last post I mentioned TaterTrotTracker. Well last night David Ortiz set a new high
(low). It took him a full 30+ seconds to get around the bases after his 2nd
Just for comparison. Here is the fastest non inside-the-park
homer hit by Adam Rosales at just under 16 seconds. BTW, Rosales’ “trot” is
faster than two inside-the-park homers hit this year. Again, this info comes from TaterTrotTracker.
I’m not a fan of pitchers hitting batters because the guy
hit a homer off you, but at some point David Ortiz is going to get one in the
ribs after his leisurely trots.
The “I didn’t know that” stat – David Ortiz has 326 career Home Runs. 283 as a DH, 42 as a
first baseman, and 1 as a Pinch Hitter.
There is a cool website that people should check out. It’s
called TaterTrotTracker.com. The guy that runs the site times the homerun trot
of every homerun hit each day.
David Ortiz has the slowest trot of the year so far at 29.81
Angel Pagan’s inside-the-park homer Thursday night is the
fastest at 14.48 sec.
I would love to see his timing on some historic homeruns.
Bobby Thompson, Kurt Gibson, Joe Carter.
I’d also like to see times on some players of the past. I’m talkin’ about you Barry……..
55 minutes into the game and we are already in the bottom of
the fifth. Of course when the two teams have combined for 5 hits and two runs
it can go fast. Both pitchers are getting the ball from the catcher and
delivering the next pitch within 15 seconds. This is the way it should always
Jose Contreras – 52 (number, not age?????) just finished off the Cubs 5-4.
The Cubs left Soriano stuck at third with no outs. Win streak down the drain after a 2:38 lose.
One bad 3-0 pitch from Dempster to Jimmy Rollins was the key to this game. Now it’s off to Arlington, Texas for a 3 game series with the Rangers.
Contreras pic from detnews.com
Last night Florida manager Fredie Gonzalez benched SS Hanley
Ramirez after the second inning. Gonzalez didn’t like the way Hanley jogged
after a baseball that Ramirez inadvertently kicked into the left field corner
after attempting an over-the-shoulder catch on a pop-up. Two runs scored on the
play and the batter went all the way to third.
For anyone that saw the play, it was clear that Hanley was
just taking a jog after the ball. The interesting thing is that Ramirez was hit
on the shin the inning before and did appear to be hurt.
My feelings are that if you can play; play. Hanley needed to
go all out for that ball and he clearly wasn’t doing so. If that was the best
effort that he could muster, then he should have come out of the game after the
first inning injury.
Today the situation has escalated. Gonzalez does not have
Hanley in the lineup and Ramirez has said that he has lost some respect for Fredie
Hanley Ramirez is the best and highest paid player on the
Marlins. Fredie Gonzalez has the Marlins one game over .500 and just two games
out of first. Hanley isn’t going anywhere, so this should be an interesting
week in south Florida.