I woke up this morning, which is always a great way to start my day. I managed to shower and shave without causing grievous bodily harm to myself. I cooked some stuff that started out looking like bacon and, shortly thereafter, tasted like bacon and called it a success. I played a game of rock/paper/scissors with myself and fought to a tie, which is better than I usually do.
Oh, and when I went searching for stuff about baseball I found this pic to the right.
When I got on the train there were two, smoking hot, women who insisted and rubbing up and down on each other.
I heartily approved of this PDA and somehow managed to maintain self control.
All in all my morning has been rocking.
It was in that state of mind that I reviewed yesterday’s baseball games. The Cubs won a series for the first time this year and the Sox guaranteed a winning road trip, also, for the first time this year.
Paul Sullivan, an all around nice guy who’s kind to kittens, had this to say about that.
Tony Campana, the smallest Cub, was caught up in a pile of celebrating players Tuesday night after scoring the winning run in a stirring, 3-2, 10-inning victory over the Cardinals.
Even though he may have to file for workman’s comp, Campana enjoyed the pounding.
“It was awesome,” Campana said. “I actually got tackled by (Joe) Mather behind home plate. He dominated me pretty good. I may have to take an ice bath tomorrow.”
After all the heartbreak and anguish of the first few weeks of the season, there was a feeling of hope and relief. It wasn’t so much the victory, which assured the Cubs their first series triumph of the season, as the way they got it done, with guts and guile.
Bryan LaHair tied the game with a leadoff home run in the ninth and Alfonso Soriano drove Campana home from second in the 10th with a sharp RBI single off second baseman Tyler Greene.
It was their second straight comeback, after Carlos Marmol’s second blown save spoiled Jeff Samardzija’s dominant outing.
No one was happier than Soriano, the old man on the team who had been struggling at the plate, failing to get an extra-base hit until Tuesday night.
The Cubs haven’t exactly discovered the fountain of youth, but Soriano felt like Ponce de Leon on Tuesday.
“It makes me young,” he said. “Hanging out with these young guys and playing with them, it makes me happy. I know I’m 36 and have 11 years in the game, but I feel like this is my first year in the big leagues too.”
After Samardzija pitched 62/3 shutout innings and Shawn Camp ended the seventh with a flyout, Marmol served up a two-run homer to Matt Holliday in the eighth, putting the Cubs in a 2-1 hole. Marmol was booed loudly again, but manager Dale Sveum said afterward he was still his closer.
LaHair got Marmol off the hook, taking the first pitch from lefty Marc Rzepczynski in the ninth and depositing it into the left-field bleachers.
Campana started the 10th-inning rally with a one-out single off Fernando Salas and stole second on a controversial call that got Cardinals manager Mike Matheny ejected.
Was he safe?
“I’m not going to look at (the replay),” Campana said. “It was really close, so I’m not going to look at it.”
One out later, Salas intentionally walked LaHair to put two on and face Soriano. With a full count, Soriano slashed a sharp drive that Greene couldn’t handle, setting off another wild walk-off celebration on the field.
“One of the best teams in the league and the defending World Series champions, to win our first series against them is huge,” Sveum said. “And to do it in that fashion gives those guys in the locker room a lot of confidence.”
Carlos Marmol: Professional Bench Warmer. He serves no other purpose for this team.
And, yes, I am being serious. The Cubs would have four more wins if it weren’t for the Marmol led pen. Instead of 6-12 they could be 10-8 and in a happy place. Specifically, they would be in 2nd place with a piece of 1st place on the line with today’s game.
Yes, I am talking about the Cubs. So, sit him or prepare for a season of unnecessary pain.
On the Southside, Gavin Floyd took the mound and dueled his ass off only to suffer a loss. But, and this is the important part, he put the team in a position to actually sweep a road trip.
Darryl Van Schouwen was there and has the whole story.
Aside from a few more tickets sold, what more could the White Sox ask for 18 days into the season?
Jake Peavy is throwing shutouts, Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski are hitting like they’re in the prime of their careers and Adam Dunn is hitting home runs again — although he couldn’t get one when asked to Tuesday night.
Alex Rios, who didn’t get booed as much as Dunn did last year but probably could have, also has joined Dunn and Peavy in the Sox’ crowded bounce-back room.
Oh, yeah, and the Sox’ fifth starter pitched a perfect game Saturday.
What else could go right? Gavin Floyd, despite being on the losing end of a 2-0 decision to the Oakland Athletics, lowered the staff’s ERA to 2.58 in the last 12 games. Rookies Nate Jones and Addison Reed haven’t given up a run, and Hector Santiago has saved four games in five opportunities.
The Sox fell to 10-7 but not before taking it to the final out. Dunn, pinch-hitting for Rios, struck out against closer Grant Balfour (five saves) with Kosuke Fukudome on third.
“We were looking to tie it up,’’ manager Robin Ventura said of his decision to pull Rios, whose 11-game hitting streak came to an end. “That was probably our best shot at tying it.’’
Floyd (1-3) and A’s lefty Tommy Milone (3-1) were locked in a scoreless matchup into the eighth inning. Floyd walked Daric Barton to open the inning, and Barton scored on Kurt Suzuki’s double down the left-field line against reliever Matt Thornton. Suzuki scored on Eric Sogard’s single for the first run against Thornton this season.
Ventura took no solace in knowing Floyd pitched well enough to win after two shaky starts.
“This stings because he pitched a good game,’’ Ventura said. “You don’t like to see anybody pitch like that and not win.’’
The Sox close their road trip Wednesday afternoon with a chance to win five of six out West. Focus on the task at hand — today’s game — is what Ventura is selling and what the players have bought into.
”I’ve got so much confidence in [Ventura and his staff’s] ability to communicate the message to the players as to how we want to go about our business in a professional way,’’ general manager Ken Williams said before the game. “Have a little fun along the way … as well as having conversations amongst themselves about the little things that can make you a better team and win games.
“I’ve seen a lot of little things that have made the difference, whether it would be holding runners to a greater degree, giving catchers a chance to throw people out. I’ve seen double plays turned because now some runners are taking a step back and a step closer to the base. I’ve seen a variety of bunt plays … and good solid jumps in the field. There are a lot of positives, and the attention to detail that I told you guys about at the start of spring training is starting to result in better overall consistent play that’s nice to see.’’
Williams is pleased that his surprise managerial hire — the previously inexperienced Ventura — is working out.
Ventura couldn’t be more pleased with the way his players are approaching their jobs.
“Early on in spring training we were all getting used to each other. Toward the latter part of the spring they started feeling it. It’s just something that happens. It’s how they care about it each other, and the work they do and what they feel during a game. You hope it can always be like that and you try to ride that out as long as you can because it’s a long season.’’
On Dunn’s last at bat, when he was pinch-hitting, he tried a bunt. It went foul, but it was stunning to see anyway. If Ventura can get Dunn to even think about, let alone try, bunting, then this team truly is all in.
And if they are, then they are going to scare the hell out of a lot of people this year.
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The Blackhawks went out last night and finally, mercifully, ended it. A friend of mine called them the Mitt Romnies of hockey, although he’s a republican it wasn’t a compliment. I know what he meant. You never knew which team would show up. Would it be the tough minded defensive team that gave opponents fits or would it be the ice dancing prima-donnas that caused opponents to have fits of laughter. Essentially, I did not know you could skate on flip flops.
And, now that their season is done, what do they do now? Trade Kane for depth? Send Toews to Winnepeg so he can end his career in obscurity in return for a couple of defensive studs? All or none of the above?
I don’t know. But something tells me that this is going to be a very interesting offseason for them.
Nevertheless, their season is done.
Slim will be getting us a preview of the NBA playoffs so I don’t want to step on those toes.
Insiders are saying that the Bears appear to have an actual plan this year going into the draft tonight. No one knows if it’s a good plan or not, but the fact that they have one and seem to have the people around to execute it is an exciting revelation.
On to the real world. Both of Chicago’s baseball teams went out and played baseball yesterday. Carrie Muskat says that, at least for one day, this team looked like the team fans were promised.
Joe Mather delivered the game-winning hit, but it was pinch-hitter Bryan LaHair’s patient at-bat in the ninth inning that may have won the game Monday night for the Cubs over the defending-champion Cardinals.
Mather cracked a two-run walk-off single with two outs in the ninth to lift the Cubs to a 3-2 victory.
With one out in the inning and Chicago trailing, 2-1, Cardinals closer Jason Motte walked both LaHair and Geovany Soto. LaHair, who was pinch-hitting for Jeff Baker, fouled off six straight pitches in a 12-pitch at-bat before drawing the free pass. One out later, Mather drove a 2-2 pitch up the middle to plate both runners.
“LaHair’s at-bat was unbelievable,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “To battle that kind of velocity and work a walk out of it, and Geo, too. They were great at-bats. They weren’t going up there just hacking. Obviously, Super Joe came through as he did in Spring Training all the time.”
Mather delivered key hits this spring, but those games don’t count. Plus, he was able to come through against the team that drafted him in 2001 and employed him through 2010. That justified a postgame shaving cream pie to the face.
“I have a lot of good friends over there,” Mather said of the Cardinals. “It does feel good. When it comes down to it, we won a big league game and the self satisfaction is secondary. The win is first, but it felt good to do it against those guys.”
Mather connected on Motte’s 31st pitch of the inning.
“Closers usually don’t throw that many pitches,” Mather said. “They’re usually so electric, it’s hard to stay in the at-bat. Bryan fouled off [six pitches]. That’s way more work than [Motte] is used to doing. If Bryan doesn’t have that at-bat and same with Geo, we don’t get to that point.”
LaHair, who had faced Motte in the Cubs’ series in St. Louis and grounded out, knew Motte had the edge.
“He’s one of the best there is,” LaHair said. “He’s got great stuff, he throws really hard. I faced him the other day, and I was in and out of there quick and didn’t have much of a chance. I did my homework and tried to focus on certain things.”
Said Motte: “I made some really good pitches, and he just did a good job of fouling them off and keeping himself in the at-bat. ... It’s one of those things where you kind of have to tip your cap to him because he went up there and battled through that at-bat just like I was battling out there and staying alive long enough for me to throw ball four.”
Rookie Rafael Dolis (1-1) picked up his first Major League win in relief of Matt Garza, who deserved better, but Jamie Garcia stymied the Cubs for much of the night.
The Cubs outhit the Cardinals, but couldn’t string them together, leaving Garza in danger of a hard-luck loss. The right-hander now has given up three or fewer earned runs in his last 14 starts at Wrigley Field and has a 5-3 record and 1.84 ERA over that stretch. It’s the 10th time in those 14 games that he’s served up two runs or fewer.
“Garza pitched a great game again, and it’s another start with nothing to show for it,” Sveum said.
The right-hander wasn’t sure he was going to be able to go deep after a 23-pitch first inning.
“My job is to go out there and take my team as deep as I can and tonight, I didn’t think I was going to get to the fifth,” Garza said.
“We just couldn’t stack a lot against Garza,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “We knew he was a good pitcher, knew we had our hands full going into this thing and we thought we had enough room right there.”
Sveum loaded his lineup with right-handers against Garcia, who gave up six hits, walked one and struck out four over 7 2/3 innings. Entering Monday’s game, left-handed hitters were 7-for-13 against Garcia, while right-handers were batting .291 (16-for-55).
The Cubs struck in the first, scoring in the first on Alfonso Soriano’s sacrifice fly. Skip Schumaker singled to open the Cardinals fourth, reached third on Matt Holliday’s double and scored on Carlos Beltran’s groundout. The Cardinals got a minor scare when David Freese, who missed time last season with a broken left hand, was hit on the right hand by a pitch. He stayed in the game and Yadier Molina followed with a sacrifice fly to take a 2-1 lead.
This was the Cubs’ first victory after trailing entering the ninth since last Sept. 10 against the Mets.
“I think it was a little more growth there for our young club,” Garza said. “That’s a huge step for us.”
It will be a big step if they do it again ... and again and so on. They’ve proven that they can.
On the Southside ...... well, all I can say is this, 2 days after Phil Humber pitched a perfect game, Jake Peavy ptiched a 3 hit, complete game, shut out. Scott Merkin, who usually avoids road trips, was sent to Oakland to see what the hell is going on with this team.
Allow Jake Peavy to present one of the numerous good news morsels to come from Monday’s 4-0 whitewash of the A’s at The Coliseum, marking Peavy’s first shutout since May 18, 2011, against Cleveland.
“I feel like I can get better. I really do,” said Peavy, who threw 71 of his 107 pitches for strikes in the White Sox fourth straight victory. “I feel like I’ve got some room to grow.
“My arm is going to get a little bit stronger, once I can get my legs under me and get after it in the weight room between starts. I feel like I’ll get stronger.”
That’s right, the 2007 National League Cy Young winner and the man who earned the Triple Crown of pitching that season, once again possesses the confidence to think he can get better even after a three-hit shutout. Peavy (3-0) was not perfect in the White Sox series opener against the A’s (8-10), but he was pretty darn close.
After setting down the first nine in a row, Peavy yielded Jemile Weeks’ single back up the middle and a walk to Coco Crisp to start the fourth. Josh Reddick’s double-play grounder immediately snuffed out Oakland’s rally, and Peavy yielded Yoenis Cespedes’ seventh-inning double and Coco Crisp’s single in the ninth the rest of the way.
By the time he finished his five-strikeout, two-walk performance, Peavy had extended his scoreless innings streak to 14 and lowered his ERA to 1.88. And Peavy is finding this success with a little less velocity than his Padres’ days but more pitchability and resourcefulness.
“It looked like a little bit of everything—both sides of the plate, especially fastball away, strike one,” said Oakland manager Bob Melvin of what was working for Peavy against his team. “All the stuff that he does when he’s pitching well.”
“You see him kind of controlling the strike zone and jumping ahead and intensity,” said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of his ace. “He’s going with everything right now. It’s not just a stuff thing. He’s not just blowing people away. He’s pitching and guys are playing defense.”
Two-time former White Sox hurler Bartolo Colon (3-2) pretty much matched Peavy pitch-for-pitch, aside from a fourth-inning blip. Adam Dunn homered on the first pitch, giving him four for the season, and Paul Konerko followed three pitchers later on an 0-2 count with a mammoth blast to center for his third homer.
Dunn moved into a tie with Ralph Kiner for 71st place at 369 homers, but it’s Konerko who fast approaches a long-ball milestone. Now sitting at 399 homers for his illustrious career, Konerko is tied with Andres Galarraga and Al Kaline for 48th place.
Konerko’s also getting the job done with a sore right foot, pushing him into the designated hitter’s role for the last two games.
“Probably going to sit him for a couple of days,” said Ventura with a wry smiling, joking about saving Konerko’s 400th for the home faithful.
“He’s just swinging it, not only with power but he’s just consistent,” Ventura continued of Konerko. “That’s one of the things I watch, a lot of his at-bats, and he has the most consistent at-bats day in and day out—probably of any guy in the league really. That’s how good he has been so far.”
Monday’s victory raised the White Sox record to 9-6 in their last 15 games at The Coliseum, compared to 6-28 in their previous 34. At 10-6 overall, the White Sox also forged a tie atop the American League Central with idle division-favorite Detroit.
Yes, the mantra of ‘It’s still early’ probably will play out until sometime around June, and the White Sox aren’t beating World Series contenders in the Mariners and A’s. But if Peavy continues to pitch as he did on Monday and really over his four quality starts this season, that hope gradually should become more of a reality.
Here’s another piece of good news from Peavy in regard to his stellar performance. He accomplished the shutout without feeling his best on the mound.
“Tonight I didn’t feel as good as I have in the couple of other starts,” Peavy said. “I still felt plenty good enough. I just didn’t have great stuff tonight. I was able to pitch and compete and keep guys off balance.
“That was nice to keep the streak rolling. We are going to grind it out as a team. I have the same mentality and most guys in here have the same mentality. If we stay healthy, we’ll be all right.”
Two runs scored by the White Sox in the ninth gave Peavy a little extra cushion to complete the shutout. But Ventura made it clear postgame that this was Peavy’s start to complete.
“You’re always going to want to finish what you start,” Peavy said. “It’s a blessing to keep the pitch count in decent enough shape to go out and finish it off. It’s a good feeling.”
“One of the things is he has to be pretty honest with me about how he’s feeling,” Ventura said. “I told him there are times where we will let him go like this, pitching like this, to go out and extend it a little bit. But you do kind of look at it. I want to make sure he’s there in August and September.”
No, Robin, we want him, and all the others, pitching in October.
But August and September are a good start.
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We here at Jay the Joke do our best to present you with timely information. Readers of the blog here knew about Dempster gong on the DL hours before the media broke the story. We have had similar breaks with other sports. When the whole thing with Kobe Bryant wasn’t happening, we had a person on the inside keeping us up to date. You’d be amazed at how close that came to actually happening.
Other times I will share some personal tid bit from my life to encourage others to do the same. Some do, some don’t and life goes on for all.
The admins do other stuff as well. All in the name of keeping this site fun and entertaining.
Granted, since one of Toko’s personalities began takig his meds the amount of porn has decreased dramatically, but some of our members have been sharing from their personal collections so Deep Tunnel’s become a must see destination for those interested in home made fun.
Yesterday, I took a more direct, and interactive approach to this philosophy. First, I went with some friends to watch the Cubs game. They decided to do a shot for every error or stranded runner. I did not participate, which will be shown to be a very good thing later in this blog. Here’s the stat you need to know; 25-5. The first number is combined stranded runners from both teams and the latter is the total number of charged errors.
The umps were being kind.
Carrie Muskat has the depressing story.
The Cubs’ season has been tough enough that they didn’t need to see Starlin Castro lying on the ground at home plate in pain after being hit by a pitch.
Castro recovered—and hit a triple in the ninth and scored—but the Cubs came up short, 4-3, to the Reds, who took the series. Chicago stranded 12, while Johnny Cueto struck out seven, Joey Votto hit an RBI double and Cincinnati took advantage of botched plays in the sixth inning to score the go-ahead runs.
“That’s what you call an ugly win,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “Just sort of which team played worse today, and we’re fortunate enough to come away with the win.”
The Cubs’ miscues came in the sixth. With the game tied at 2, Rodrigo Lopez (0-1) walked Ryan Hanigan and Cueto was safe on a throwing error by catcher Geovany Soto, who hit the pitcher in the back with his throw. Zack Cozart was safe on another error by Soto, whose throw pulled Blake DeWitt off first. Hanigan scored when Drew Stubbs hit into a fielder’s choice. Scott Maine took over for Lopez and hit Ryan Ludwick with a pitch to load the bases, then walked Jay Bruce to drive in a run.
“Walking the leadoff guy, it snowballed the whole inning as well as the bunts,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “They were giving us outs and we didn’t get outs on the bunts.”
“They were good bunts, but that bunt play has got to be made, it’s got to be made,” Soto said.
What may have contributed to the problem was that Joe Mather was at first, not Bryan LaHair, in the sixth.
“We’re supposed to charge, but I think [Mather] may not have read it properly where he thought Geo was going to be able to get there easily,” LaHair said of the plays. “Sometimes when you don’t play over there enough it’s hard to be perfect. He can handle the position. He’s going to be fine.”
Randy Wells got a no-decision in his substitute start in place of Ryan Dempster, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right quad. A candidate for the Cubs’ rotation this spring, Wells opened the season at Triple-A Iowa, where he was 1-0 with a 9.42 ERA in three games. On Sunday, he gave up two runs on six hits and five walks over five innings.
“It’s always tough to watch your teammates on TV, but we were down there [with Iowa] and it was what had to happen and you can’t sit there and dwell on it,” Wells said. “You have to do what you can do down there to help your team win. It’s good to be back up. The circumstances are rough. Hopefully I can pitch better the next time out and we’ll see what happens.”
Dempster’s DL time was backdated to April 18 and he’s expected to miss two starts.
“He got some big outs when he had to,” Sveum said of Wells. “He made some pitches and did a good job for five innings and did a good job getting out of some jams.”
The Reds took a 2-0 lead in the third, and the Cubs tied the game in the fifth, taking advantage of an error by Cincinnati. Chicago had runners at the corners with two outs when Cueto tried to pick off Castro at first. Votto was unable to catch the ball and Mather, running at third, scored on the error. LaHair then hit an RBI single to tie the game.
Castro was Cueto’s last batter in the seventh when he was hit on the left elbow. The shortstop fell to the ground in pain.
“I felt like it broke my whole arm the first time he hit me,” Castro said. “But after I laid down [on the dirt] and ran the bases, the hurt was gone and I felt pretty good.”
Castro stayed in the game and wore a protective brace on his elbow in the ninth when he tripled off Sean Marshall.
“I think [Castro] was more shocked [after he was hit],” Sveum said. “I don’t think it got him on the bone—it got him more on the flesh, thank God.”
Indeed. Castro has been one of the few bright spots for the Cubs this season, reaching base safely in 55 of his last 56 games since last Aug. 15. He has a 10-game hitting streak and was batting .425 in that stretch.
“I’ll be ready for tomorrow,” Castro said. “If it’s up to me, I won’t [get hit again] ever.”
Chicago and Cincinnati combined for 14 errors in the three-game series. That’s the most in a Cubs’ three-game set since April 28-30, 1989, when Chicago and San Diego committed 15. The weather hasn’t helped either. No excuses, Soto said.
“Everybody’s cold, so it doesn’t matter,” he said.
Let’s go back to 25-5 for a moment. Your nephew’s T-ball team plays better baseball than that. The one thing fans were promised was that this would be a team built around pitching and defense. Those are things any team can control.
As my drunk, Cubs fan, buddy said after the game, “They’re an insult to clown cars.”
Now, here’s why you’re going to be happy I didn’t go shot for shot with the Cubs dudes. During that bizarre 6th inning a couple of young ladies walked in. It soon became clear that they were warm for each other’s forms. After the Cubs game was over the channel was switched so that the rest of us could watch the Sox. It was the 5th inning and the Sox were down 4-2. Since one of the young ladies was wearing a Mariner’s T I decided to see if I could kill a few birds with one stone. I made the following offer; if the Sox were up at the end of the 6th inning the two young ladies would have to provide the bar with a public display of affection that would rival a decent porn. If they weren’t I would buy their drinks for the rest of the day.
It was mutually agreed that I was/am a dirty old man and then the bet was agreed to as well.
The 6th inning ended with the Sox up 5-4 and a bar full of men needed to excuse themselves, one at a time, for a moment of quiet reflection in the men’s room, with the door securely locked.
Now, if you still care about the baseball end of things, here’s Josh Liebeskind with a recap.
When he arrived at Safeco Field on Friday for the series-opener against the Mariners, White Sox right fielder Alex Rios said the pitcher-friendly park could actually be to a batter’s advantage. That is, if a batter hit line drives to the expansive outfield.
With one swing of the bat on Sunday, Rios gave a first-hand example of how to take advantage of the spacious field.
Rios hit a game-tying, two-run triple in the sixth, scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly and the White Sox (9-6) went on to beat the Mariners (7-10), 7-4, on Sunday afternoon for a series sweep.
Rios tripled home Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski with one out in the sixth to tie the score at 4-4 and chase Seattle starter Kevin Millwood. He scored a play later on a sacrifice fly by Kosuke Fukudome to center, easily beating Chone Figgins’ throw home.
“He’s been doing that for the past four or five days—he’s been staying in the middle of the field, looks good at the plate,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Just covering a lot of different things, he’s not just hitting fastballs, but offspeed pitches. He’s kind of doing everything; pull the inside pitch, go the other way on something away, so it’s something he’s kind of been working on. He just looks very comfortable at the plate, and confident.”
“That was a big one there,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said of the triple. “But that’s where we’ve got to come right back and go get ‘em. You give it up like that, you’ve got to come right back and answer, and we didn’t do that.”
The White Sox added a couple of insurance runs in the eighth on a pair of RBI singles by Rios and Fukudome. Rios ran his hitting streak to 10 games with the 3-for-4 performance that also included three RBIs. Fukudome, getting a rare start in the outfield, picked up a pair of RBIs himself.
The Chicago three-run sixth came just two frames after the Mariners took their first lead of the series. Seattle scored twice in the fourth, capitalizing on an errant pickoff attempt by White Sox pitcher John Danks.
With one out and runners on first and second, Danks threw wide of White Sox first baseman Adam Dunn, who was standing in front of the bag, not expecting the throw. Before second baseman Gordon Beckham could corral the ball along the right-field fence, Miguel Olivo had scored from second and Casper Wells had advanced to third.
The Mariners extended their lead to 4-2 when Dustin Ackley scored Wells with a fielders choice grounder to second base. But Danks was able to induce Ichiro Suzuki into a groundout and retire Jesus Montero swinging to end the threat.
“He grinds—it’s the one thing, the kind of pitcher he is,” Ventura said. “Kind of battle it out with the other team; kind of keep them off balance.
“Going back and forth with his changeup and spotting his fastball, so sometimes it looks like a grind, but that’s just the way he pitches. He has a lot of guts when he goes out there.”
Danks (2-2) threw 94 pitches in six innings of work. He gave up seven hits, four walks and four runs, but was able to get out of jams in what seemed like every inning. In fact, he stranded at least one runner on base in each of the six innings he pitched.
More importantly, he kept Chicago in the game before handing it over to a bullpen that’s been lights out recently. Addison Reed, Matt Thornton and Hector Santiago each pitched a scoreless inning Sunday to stretch the White Sox bullpen’s streak to 12 2/3 innings without allowing a run.
“I’ve been saying this all along, this is a tough group of guys,” Danks said. “Even if we’re down late, we’re going to give a fight, and today we proved that again. Like I said, it’s a good win. Wasn’t pretty, but a win’s a win at the end of the day.”
The Danks error was pretty funny. He and A.J. clearly talked on the mound about the pick off play. They just forgot to let Dunn know. He was a good ten feet off the bag when the ball whizzed by.
It could have been worse. Also, Joe Mcewing is insane. 2 days after sending Paulie from first to home, he ran Dunn on a squeeze. Dunn was so out it should have counted as two against the Sox.
Although that would have cost me my bet so I’m glad it didn’t.
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The Cubs beat the Reds 6-1. Len & Bob yanked their puds on TV and Dan McNeil is a nice guy and sang the 7th inning stretch. That’s all you need to know about the, worst in the majors, 4-11 Cubs right now.
Let’s move on.
To a very exclusive club.
In fact, if you didn’t know me you couldn’t get in here today.
Yeah, I know, this is the first time you ever heard of any benefit from knowing me. Grab kneepads and get in line.
Lee Richmond - Boston Red Caps 1880
John “Monte” Ward - Providence Grays 1880
Cy Young - Cleveland Spiders 1904
Addie Joss - Cleveland Bluebirds 1908
Charlie Robertson - Chicago White Sox 1922
Don Larsen - New York Yankees 1956
Jim Bunnning - Philadelphia PhIllies 1964
sandy Koufax - Los Angeles Dodgers 1965
Catfish Hunter - Oaklnad Athletics 1968
Len Barker - Cleveland Indians 1981
Mike Witt - Caslifornia Angels 1984
Tom Browning - Cicinnati Reds 1968
Dennis Martinez - Montreal Expos 1991
Kenny Rogers - Texas Rangers 1994
David Wells - New York Yankees 1998
David Cone - New York Yankees 1999
Randy Johnson - Arizona Diamondbacks 2004
Mark Buehrle - Chicago White Sox 2009
Dallas Braden - Oaklnad A’s 2010
Roy Halladay - Philadelphia Phillies 2010
Drum roll please ......
Phil Humber - Chicago White Sox - yesterday bitches
There are good games, and there are great games. Then there are the perfect ones that stick with you for the rest of your life.iop
Philip Humber will never forget what he accomplished Saturday afternoon. What started with a harmless ground-ball out turned into another out, which turned into another, and another, and another. Twenty-seven outs later, Humber had the 4-0 win over the Mariners. More importantly, he had a perfect game, and his place in the record books.
“I’m thankful—the team played awesome,” said Humber, a look of half-disbelief spread across his face. “The first thing you want to do is get a win, and it was nice to have that last run there, have that four-run lead going into the ninth.
“[Catcher] A.J. [Pierzynski] did a great job, couple of great plays in outfield and just awesome. I don’t even know what to say. I don’t know what Phil Humber is doing in this list. No idea what my name is doing there, but thankful it’s there.”
It is the first perfect game or no-hitter in the Major Leagues this season, and the 21st of all-time. The last perfect game was thrown by Roy Halladay on May 29, 2010. The last no-hitter was July 27, 2011, by Ervin Santana.
It is the 18th time a White Sox pitcher has thrown a no-hitter, and the third perfect game. Mark Buehrle last accomplished the feat July 23, 2009. It is the first time someone has thrown a perfect game against the Mariners. They were last no-hit May 14, 1996, by Dwight Gooden and the Yankees.
Humber made it look easy for the most part of eight innings, not once going to a three-ball count. But then the ninth came, and the right-hander’s perfect game was threatened a couple times.
Michael Saunders led off the final frame by drawing three straight balls, the crowd stirring with each miss of the strike zone. But Humber came right back at Saunders and got him to swing at strike three. After retiring pinch-hitter John Jaso on a fly ball to right, Brendan Ryan walked to the plate and worked the count full.
Humber went after Ryan with a slider, and although it missed the plate by a good margin, he was able to get the Mariners’ shortstop to offer at the pitch in the dirt. While Ryan argued with the umpire, Pierzynski scooped up the ball—which had squirted a few feet away, but was well-blocked by the Chicago catcher—and tossed to first base to set off a massive celebration on the mound.
“I’m not going to lie, it was really selfish, but no matter what, I at least wanted the no-hitter,” said Pierzynski, who also caught Buehrle’s no-hitter April 18, 2007. “If he walked him, he walked him. We had just thrown him a fastball; he had a good swing on it. That was his best pitch all day. We were going with his best pitch and we were going down with it.”
“It was, it was,” said Ryan of the last pitch being ball four. “But ... I don’t want to finish that. In that situation, you have to be a little more aggressive to anything around the plate.”
The closest the Mariners came to getting a hit was in the fourth, when Dustin Ackley lined a ball sharply to right. But Alex Rios made a nice running catch near the warning track, reaching up to snag the drive at the last minute.
“He hit that ball pretty hard and actually, as you probably saw, I had to jump a little to get that ball, but I never thought that it was going to be the closest to being a hit in that game,” Rios said.
Humber needed only 96 pitches to accomplish the feat, the fewest in a perfect game since David Cone’s 88 vs. the Expos on July 18, 1999. Humber needed just eight pitches to get through the fourth, and only six in both the fifth and sixth.
While Humber was plugging away on the mound, Paul Konerko gave him early run support. Konerko smashed career home run No. 398 over the White Sox bullpen in left field in the second inning.
Konerko missed his second home run in as many at-bats in the third, as he cranked a Blake Beavan offering off the top of the left-field wall. The long single scored Gordan Beckham from third, and Pierzynski followed with an RBI single, bringing home Brent Morel—who had advanced to third on Konerko’s base knock—to increase the White Sox lead to 3-0.
Chicago added one more insurance run in the ninth on an RBI single by Alejandro De Aza. That final run gave manager Robin Ventura the confidence that the game was “pretty much [Humber’s].” And Humber took care of the rest.
“When it’s the ninth, you’re standing on the mound and you’re like, ‘I’m standing here in the ninth inning with the chance to throw a perfect game,’” Humber said. “I guess a ton of credit goes to A.J.—he knew just what to call today, kept them off-balance all day.
“Honestly, I didn’t feel like I had great stuff up until maybe the sixth, seventh inning. I felt the ball was coming out of my hand a little better. A.J., we’ve worked well together since I’ve been here, and a lot of credit goes to him.”
Any pitcher who has even flirted with a no-no will tell you how important defense and pitch calling is to any chance of success. Many scouts I know actually will give more credit to the catcher rather than the pitcher.
Even so, Darryl Van Schouewen reports that Humber is thrilled to be in the Hall of Fame.
White Sox righty Philip Humber visited Cooperstown, looked around and was awed.
“I’ve been to the Hall of Fame,’’ Humber, 29, said. ‘‘I’ve seen the stuff that’s there. And now, to think that something of mine is going to be there? It’s pretty awesome. I don’t know what to say about it.’’
Humber artifacts are headed to baseball’s hallowed museum after he pitched the 21st perfect game in major-league history Saturday, beating the Seattle Mariners 4-0 before a national TV audience, an appreciative Pacific Northwest crowd and mentally drained teammates who hung on to every one of Humber’s pitches in the final innings.
“I have never been this exhausted after a game, and I didn’t even pitch,’’ said reliever Will Ohman, who joined a rush of charging pitchers from the left-field bullpen to pile on Humber and other teammates after the last out. “It could not have happened to a better person.’’
“I don’t know what Philip Humber is doing on this list,’’ Humber said. “I have no idea what my name is doing there. But I’m thankful it’s there.’’
It didn’t get there without heavy-duty drama during the last at-bat, a strikeout (Humber’s ninth) of pinch hitter Brendan Ryan. Humber, who threw 67 of 97 pitches for strikes, threw a 3-2 slider down and out of the strike zone. Ryan tried to check his swing but couldn’t. The ball got away from catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who tracked it down about halfway to the backstop and was able to throw Ryan out at first because Ryan questioned the swing call from plate umpire Brian Runge and didn’t run.
“Get the ball and get it to first base — as fast as possible because if I screw it up, I’m going to be a goat forever,’’ Pierzynski said, explaining his only thought at the moment.
Humber, the Sox’ fifth starter whose first turn was skipped because of a rainout in Cleveland, fell to his knees and was quickly engulfed by a team that improved to 8-6.
“I felt [pitcher Jake] Peavy on my back,’’ Humber said. “I couldn’t breathe, and I was like, ‘Let me up.’ I skinned my forehead on the ground. The best part was seeing my teammates excited. The rest of it was kind of a blur.’’
It was the first perfect game since the Phillies’ Roy Halladay threw one against the Marlins on May 29, 2010. It was the third in Sox history. Mark Buehrle’s against Tampa Bay on July 23, 2009, and Charlie Robertson’s against Detroit on April 30, 1922, were the others.
“I guarantee you, he was the calmest one in the dugout,’’ Peavy said. “It was the most exciting thing I’ve ever been a part of.’’
A No. 3 overall pick by the Mets, Humber never lived up to that status with a handful of organizations because of injuries, among other things. Claimed on waivers by the Sox before last season, he became the latest in a line of reclamation projects by pitching coach Don Cooper.
“It’s hard to put into words,’’ Cooper said. “He’s got good stuff, he commanded the heck out of it and everything fell into place. I was calm in Buehrle’s game, and I was calm in this one. Get up on the rail and watch Phil. His command was very good. It’s wonderful to see the joy and emotion of a guy who gets to achieve that. No. 21 on the planet.’’
Humber talked to his dad on his phone and to his first concern, his wife, Kristan, who’s nine months pregnant.
“I was making sure she didn’t give birth when I was pitching,’’ he said.
That might have been an issue in the ninth when Humber went to 3-0 on the first batter, Michael Saunders. It was his first three-ball count, but he came back to strike him out. John Jaso flied out, and Ryan couldn’t check his swing on the 27th out.
The only thing close to a hit was Kyle Seager’s line drive to left that Brent Lillibridge ran down and Dustin Ackley’s to right that Alex Rios caught over his shoulder.
“This was the biggest rush I have experienced in baseball,’’ Rios said.
Yep. That sums it up nicely.
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Top Ten Things That Sound Dirty At The Office But Aren’t:
10. I need to whip it out by 5!
9. Mind if I use your laptop?
8. Put it in my box before I leave.
7. If I have to lick one more, I’ll gag!
6. I want it on my desk NOW!!
5. Hmmm........I think it’s out of fluid.
4. My equipment is so old it takes forever to finish.
3. It’s an entry-level position.
2. When do you think you’ll be getting off today?
1. It’s not fair...I do all the work and he just sits there.
Top Ten Things That Sound Dirty In Golf But Aren’t
10. Nuts...my shaft is bent
9. After 18 holes I can barely walk
8. You really whacked the hell out of that sucker
7. Look at the size of his putter
6. Keep your head down and spread your legs a bit more
5. Mind if I join your threesome?
4. Stand with your back turned and drop it
3. My hands are so sweaty I can’t get a good grip
2. Nice stroke, but your follow through has a lot to be desired
1. Hold up...I need to wash my balls first
I offer the second one to our regular blogger Hino who hasn’t been around much lately. It also marks the first, and now last, time anything related to golf will grace our front page. Unless, or until, Tiger Woods gets caught banging the C.E.O. of IBM on the 14th hole of Pine Meadow. In which case all bets are off.
Until then though we still have baseball. And yesterday both of Chicago’s teams did bad things to balls. Bradford Doolittle was at the Cubs game and watched as the team bobbled and bounced their balls all over the field.
After a lean road trip, the Cubs were hoping for a happy return to the Friendly Confines, but instead found more misery on a windy, frigid afternoon that provided a bleak backdrop for Chicago’s sixth straight loss.
Three errors magnified a shaky start from Chris Volstad during Cincinnati’s 9-4 win over the Cubs on Friday, the club’s 10,000th victory in the history of its franchise. Volstad allowed four first-inning runs and lost his seventh straight decision dating back to last season. Volstad is winless in 14 starts since last year’s All-Star break.
“[I’ve pitched] some good games, some bad games,” Volstad said. “That’s the way the game is, I guess. I’ve just got to ... keep pitching. I was throwing well and ran up against some guys that were throwing well last year.”
Volstad didn’t get much help behind him during his 41-pitch first frame. Drew Stubbs singled and stole second, but ended up on third when Starlin Castro missed Geovany Soto’s throw. That was the first error.
Joey Votto and Jay Bruce singled to score the first run. Bruce advanced to second with another steal when Soto couldn’t field Volstad’s pitch cleanly. After a walk, Chris Heisey singled home two runs and moved to second when Marlon Byrd mishandled the grounder, the Cubs’ second error of the inning.
The damage: four runs, three earned, four singles, two steals, two errors and a four-run hole. The Cubs lost the last five games of their recent six-game road trip, not scoring more than three runs in any of the defeats. That made the early four-run deficit all the more daunting as the Cubs fell to 3-11, matching San Diego’s National League-worst record.
“After striking the first guy out, it kind of snowballed into an inning we didn’t need at that point,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “But [Volstad] settled down. He actually did alright, started throwing his breaking ball for a strike.”
The Cubs battled back on a couple of occasions, both times with help from the Reds. Castro crushed a ball in the third that would have gone out on most days, but not on a 42-degree afternoon, with the wind gusting at 27 mph. However, Heisey dropped the ball for a two-base error, scoring David DeJesus. Bryan LaHair singled in Castro, trimming the lead to 4-2.
“This park probably plays as different as any park I’ve ever seen,” Stubbs said. “If the wind’s blowing out, it’s hard to keep the ball in the yard. If it’s blowing in, you can give it all you got [and it won’t leave the park]. The ball Castro hit was absolutely crushed.”
Volstad (0-2) couldn’t take advantage of the support, giving up two runs to Cincinnati in the fourth on Stubbs’ two-run double.
“The big hit of the game was Stubbs [making it] 6-2 after we just scored,” Sveum said. “That was kind of a backbreaker to that whole deal.”
Volstad was done after five innings, allowing six runs—five earned—seven hits and two walks.
“Just one bad inning the last two starts,” Volstad said. “This one happened to be the first inning and put me, put the team, in a big hole.
“Half my pitch count was in the first inning,” Volstad added, shaking his head.
Chicago’s third error came on LaHair’s muffed grounder in the third, but it didn’t lead to any runs. The Cubs led the Majors with 134 errors last season.
The Cubs had a couple of other brief uprisings. Blake DeWitt led off the fifth with a pinch-hit double and scored on Darwin Barney’s groundout. LaHair, who was batting cleanup for the first time this season, led off the sixth with another double, also scoring on an out. However, the Cubs hit into hard luck for most of the afternoon.
“It was unbelievable,” LaHair said. “I think everybody hit about two balls hard. It’s a tough break, a tough game. We’ve just got to keep doing it.”
LaHair’s two hits were a bright spot, as was Castro’s first-inning single, which extended his hitting streak to eight games. Castro has now reached base in 53 of his last 54 games dating back to Aug. 11 of last season. Despite the losing streak, Sveum found hope in some improved swings, even if the luck has yet to turn around.
“That’s probably about the best we’ve swung the bat all year,” Sveum said. “We hit the heck out of the ball all day, right at people, and didn’t get anything to show for it.”
Okay, yeah, glass half full and all that. Still, there were two things I liked about this team during spring training; (1) they knew how to bunt and; (2), they could actually catch a ball. Both those skills seem to have been left in the Arizona sun. In fact this team is making the last couple years’ versions seem graceful.
On the Southside they headed out to Sushi City and Adam Dunn did some very bad things to the west coast balls. As Josh Liebeskind reports, he bruised them badly.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura thought playing at Safeco Field might help his team’s struggling offense because batters would be more inclined to try to hit line drives at the pitcher-friendly park.
The White Sox made their skipper appear prescient Friday night, as they jumped out to an early lead on the strength of line-drive hit after line-drive hit. But still, there was one player who refused to fall in line with just line-drive hits, although the White Sox will take what Adam Dunn gave them any night.
Behind two home runs and five RBIs, Dunn powered the White Sox to a 7-3 win over the Mariners.
“He’s staying positive and working, and I see that happening more often,” Ventura said. “He is going to have a few strikeouts, but he’s able to put that on the side and still come out and have quality at-bats.
“I think everybody wants to do well, so I think that’s part of the fight that he has, as far as just wanting to do well.”
Before Dunn could get to the Mariners with the long ball, he helped the White Sox jump all over Seattle starter Hector Noesi by slapping an RBI double to the left-field corner in the first inning, scoring Alejandro De Aza from second. The White Sox tacked on another first-inning run on a sacrifice fly by Alex Rios that scored Brent Morel and gave them a 2-0 lead.
By the time Dunn stepped to the plate in the second, Morel had already extended the advantage to 3-0 with an RBI single. Dunn made sure to add more cushion to the lead, though, raking a towering home run that easily cleared the right-center-field fence. The three-run shot extended the Chicago lead to 6-0 and chased Noesi after just 1 1/3 innings.
Operating with the lead from the moment he stepped on the mound, White Sox starter Chris Sale got into early trouble. But the lefty was able to escape jams in both the first and second innings unscathed.
The Mariners put runners on the corners with no outs in the first, but Sale was able to get Ichiro Suzuki swinging at strike three and Justin Smoak to ground into an inning-ending double play. In the second, Seattle had runners on second and third with two outs, but Sale struck out Brendan Ryan to escape unharmed.
“He’s got a lot of good stuff,” Ventura said of Sale. “He has quality pitches, but he’s just one of those guys you watch pitch and he’s not necessarily pinpoint with everything, but he has the velocity and change of speeds that make him difficult.”
“He’s got good offspeed stuff,” said Mariners outfielder Casper Wells, who had one of his two doubles off Sale. “His stuff is moving all over the place.”
The Mariners were finally able to get to the southpaw in the third, when Dustin Ackley walked and scored on a double by Ichiro. Then in the sixth, Jesus Montero cut the White Sox lead to 6-2 with a solo home run to dead center.
Sale was unable to get out of the seventh inning, though, leaving after 6 1/3 innings of seven-hit ball, 11 strikeouts and with a man on second. Matt Thornton came on in relief and gave up an RBI single to Ichiro to allow the Mariners to creep within 6-3, but was able record the last two outs without any more harm. Jesse Crain and Hector Santiago pitched scoreless innings to close out the game.
Dunn added his second home run in the eighth, a solo shot that gave him five RBIs on the night. It’s the first time Dunn’s recorded five RBIs since Sept. 24, 2010, while he was with the Washington Nationals. It’s also the first time he’s had three straight games with an RBI since May 18-20 of 2011.
It’s run support Sale is more than happy to receive, and the first-year starter was quick to pass credit to the offense.
“They say pitching wins ballgames,” he said, “but, today, that wasn’t the case the way they were swinging the bats today, the way they brought it.”
Well, Sale is a rookie so he can be forgiven for screwing up an age-old cliche. Pitching wins championships, hitting wins games. That’s okay, he’ll learn.
The fun part for me was sitting here in my boxers with a beer in my crotch watching Dunn just beat the snot out of the Mariners’ balls.
I also had nachos. You need balance in your diet, after all.
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