I love the smell of baseball in the morning. It smells like victory.
Could I have demeaned a classic movie quote any more? Maybe. I’ll try again later.
Quick side note; this week I have heard several people say “I don’t do it for the money/fame, I do it ........”
If you were telling the truth you would keep that crap to yourself. But you don’t. You post it online, look for galleries to show your stuff or clubs to let you play your stuff or whatever the case may be. The fact is that you put it out hoping people will like it and the best way for people to show their appreciation is a combination of applause and money. Although I keep this site relatively ad free, by using it as a server, my other site is festooned with them. Why? Because people are willing to pay to be associated with what I do. I take that as a compliment. When my short stories get published people send me checks. Why? To acknowledge that my efforts have worth. That they have value. Not just to me but to the company that buys them and the people who read them. I take that as a very high compliment.
Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do. But it’s not like 3 AM sex. I don’t give it away for free.
Okay, back to the smell of baseball.
Yesterday Adam Dunn christened Kevin Youklis’ last game jersey from the Red Sox by taking it out onto the field and sweating in it. Because, as you well know, nothing says “Hail & Well Met” like making someone else wear your sweat.
Since we’re talking about the Sox, the White ones, let’s start with them today. Jordan Garretson watched as the Sox faced the Twins at The Dome and notes that Minnesota is boring.
Call Tuesday night a step toward exorcising Gavin Floyd’s Minnesota demons.
Twins hitters had owned Floyd throughout his career. On this night, Floyd turned the tables. The right-hander threw seven shutout innings and Alex Rios homered and scored two runs to help power the White Sox to a 3-2 victory in front of 35,102. It marked the South Siders’ seventh win in their last nine tries at Target Field.
Floyd (6-7) yielded five hits while tying a season high with nine strikeouts to earn his first road win of the season. He had been 0-8 with an 8.86 ERA in his last eight starts against Minnesota.
The victory was his first against the Twins since July 11, 2009. The slump marked the longest losing streak by a starting pitcher against one team since Jamey Wright lost nine in a row against Houston between 2000 and 2005.
“Curveball, slider, fastball,” Floyd said. “I just felt like I had pretty good command on both sides of the plate with pretty much everything.”
Rios broke a scoreless duel in the fourth with a two-run homer off Twins starter Liam Hendriks (0-5). Paul Konerko registered a one-out walk before Rios’ shot to the second deck in left field, his ninth home run.
Rios also scored an insurance run in the seventh, coming around on a single from Alexei Ramirez. Rios opened the inning with an infield single and advanced to second on a steal before Ramirez’s bloop hit to right. Ramirez is hitting .382 over his last 16 games (21-for-55).
The output felt like a lot more than just three after being held to one run or less in four of their last six games.
“Any time you can score a run, it’s a big thing,” Rios said of his homer. “Lately, we haven’t been scoring so many runs. It’s good to put the team on the board and the way Gavin pitched, that’s all we needed.”
Floyd controlled Minnesota’s hitters for most of the night after allowing a leadoff double to Denard Span in the first inning.
“Everything was working for him,” Ben Revere said of Floyd’s performance. “His curveball, his slider and he was going inside and outside with his fastball and his changeup. If you do that—and with the home run by Rios—it’s tough to score runs against him.”
Floyd also escaped jams in the second and seventh innings.
He hit Ryan Doumit with two outs in the second, and then allowed a single to Alexi Casilla. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, but Floyd covered first to finish the ending with a 3-1 groundout from Jamey Carroll.
Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham tagged back-to-back one-out singles in the sixth, but Floyd then induced a strikeout and a flyout from Justin Morneau and Trevor Plouffe, respectively.
Before allowing no runs Tuesday and in 6 1/3 innings in his last start against the Cubs, Floyd had given up 35 earned runs in his previous six outings.
“A guy that has his stuff, it’s [about] spotting it better,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I think just having better command and not getting balls in the middle of the plate. Tonight he was able to stay away from the middle of the plate and work his way out of innings.”
Matt Thornton pitched a clean eighth, but closer Addison Reed’s appearance in the ninth included some drama.
Reed sandwiched strikeouts of Willingham and Plouffe around a walk to Morneau. Doumit doubled to left and Chris Parmelee was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Carroll’s single drove in Minnesota’s two runs before Reed ended the rally by getting Span to ground out to second.
“This is the way we play,” Ventura said. “It seems like we have a lot of close games. Tonight, you’re able to wiggle out of it.”
An umpire’s review confirmed a foul call on Span’s deep drive down the right-field line in the third.
Third baseman Kevin Youkilis went 1-for-4 for the second straight night with the White Sox.
I’m glad for Floyd. Being known as an automatic loss every time you faced Minnesota is not a good thing. And now that Youklis has gone 2-8 since joining the Sox I’m hoping that Kenny can trade him before the deadline and ...... oh, hell. Never mind. Obviously he’s going to need a couple of days to settle in and knock off some rust. All in all he’s looked good. I haven’t seen one guy average 9 pitches per at bat in a long time. He starts straightening some of those fouls out he’s going to be a great addition.
Just FYI, thanks to Cleveland and Detroit both sucking wind last night the Sox are now 1 1/2 games up in first.
Speaking of additions, the Cubs quietly promoted a young kid, no one has ever heard of, named Anthony Rizzo. Oh, who am I kidding? They had those Roman turmpeteers, scantily clad young women tossing flowers at his feet and a manager wearing knee pads to welcome him. They didn’t want to go overboard. Carrie Muskat was there and, whether she meant to or not, put the kid’s entire career in the past tense.
Anthony Rizzo lived up to the hype.
The Cubs top prospect collected two hits in his Chicago debut, including a tie-breaking RBI double in the fourth, to contribute big time in a 5-3 victory Tuesday night over the Mets.
“He didn’t act like much of a kid tonight,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Rizzo. “That was pretty impressive. You can’t teach the way he is at first base, the mannerisms he has and all that. It’s pretty impressive. You can’t teach ‘no panic.’”
Promoted from Triple-A Iowa after hitting 23 home runs and batting .342, Rizzo reached on an infield single in his first at-bat, although it was first ruled an error on shortstop Ruben Tejada, then changed to a hit by the official scorer.
Rizzo did not seem bothered by the hoopla surrounding his arrival. He was happy to get a groundball in the first to settle his nerves, and handled first base cleanly, snaring Lucas Duda’s liner to open the Mets’ second. But he couldn’t stop Josh Thole’s single with two on and two out that inning. One run scored on Thole’s hit, and Dillon Gee followed with an RBI single.
The Cubs had two on and none out in the third when Rizzo grounded to first to advance both runners. Even that is a huge plus.
“It’s something we struggle with sometimes,” Sveum said. “We not only don’t get a hit, we strike out and don’t move anybody along. You’d like hits, but obviously to have contact, or you can have deep fly balls to move guys, and sometimes unfortunately, too, you hit groundballs and get double plays in those situations.”
Rizzo’s at-bat wasn’t wasted as a run scored on Alfonso Soriano’s broken-bat groundout. After Bryan LaHair walked, Luis Valbuena hit an RBI double to tie the game. Darwin Barney followed with an RBI single, but Valbuena ended the inning when he overran third and was tagged out.
“I don’t know if it’s fatigue, I don’t know what it is,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “We didn’t run the bases, we didn’t play good defense, we didn’t drive the runs in we needed to drive in. It was a combination of a lot of things.”
The Mets loaded the bases in the fourth and tied the game at 3 on David Wright’s sacrifice fly. That was their last highlight. Chicago starter Randy Wells, subbing for injured Ryan Dempster, was fortunate there wasn’t more damage. He was pulled after three-plus innings, giving up three runs on six hits and four walks. Before the game, Sveum said Wells needed to get back on track.
“This is one where we need him to step up and do what he can do and throw strikes and keep the ball down,” Sveum said. “That’s basically all he has to do.”
But Wells didn’t, and may be skipped. The Cubs do have an off day Thursday.
“I was continuously making dumb pitches that were getting me in bad counts and having to work that much harder to squeeze by innings,” Wells said. “It’s easy to sit here and dwell on the negatives and obviously, it wasn’t a good start—it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that. We scratched out a win, Rizzo had a big night, Scott Maine got his first win, and [Carlos] Marmol got his 100th save.
“I’m not going to sit here and beat myself up or dwell on the negatives,” Wells said. “It’s pretty obvious, any time you walk four guys and walk the pitcher trying to sacrifice, it’s trying to do too much and trying to be too fine and not trusting your stuff.”
Maine can celebrate as can Marmol, now the fourth Cubs pitcher to reach the century mark in saves, joining Lee Smith (180 saves), Bruce Sutter (133) and Randy Myers (112). Marmol had the game ball in his locker. He wasn’t giving it to Maine or Rizzo or anyone else.
“It’s big for me,” Marmol said. “It took a long time. Finally, I got it.”
He got it because Rizzo delivered in the fourth. The Cubs had runners at the corners with two outs, and Gee tried to pound Rizzo inside with fastballs. Rizzo didn’t panic, and delivered an RBI double to center to go ahead, 4-3, and most likely boost sales of his No. 44 jersey.
Rizzo might have been given the key to the city if he homered, and the 34,064 at Wrigley Field thought he did when he flied out to the warning track in right in the seventh.
“It’s a lot of fun winning in the big leagues,” Rizzo said.
He did look very comfortable on the field, although Rizzo admitted to taking some deep breaths before the game.
“That’s how I play the game, I play really relaxed,” he said. “Everyone tells me, ‘It looks like you’re not even trying.’ I like hearing that. I just try not to hype myself up or get too wild up. Once I get out there, I knew my adrenaline would take over.”
The 22-year-old said it was “awesome” to be playing at Wrigley Field and “awesome” to hear the crowd cheer when he was first introduced and “awesome” when he hit the RBI double.
“I think it’s great to be this excited,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. “I hope it comes with the understanding that there will be ups and downs. It’s hard to find players who come up and never struggle. When they do that, they’re in the Hall of Fame.”
Yep, he’s done. 2-4 with an RBI, that’s all they needed. Call Cooperstown and get this kid packed.
Wait? Seriously? He “lived up to the hype”? Are things that freaking bad on the northside? Folks you need to calm down. You’re starting to sound like her.
Also, Mr. Rizzo, buy a freaking thesaurus. If I hear you say “Awesome” one more time I am going to have to assume you’re dain bramaged.
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