Archive for the ‘Live Blog’ Category

Live Blog: Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins

September 20, 2009

Despite not having one of the best players in baseball for the remainder of the year in Justin Morneau, the Minnesota Twins are making serious late-season push towards the playoffs.

Yesterday, the Twins cut the Detroit Tigers lead in the AL Central to just three games. With the AL Central race heating up, I thought I would do a live blog of today’s game between the two AL Central rivals.

Game: Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins

Date: 9/19/09

Starting Lineups:

Detroit Tigers

1. Curtis Granderson, CF

2. Placido Polanco, 2B

3. Carlos Guillen, LF

4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

5. Aubrey Huff, DH

6. Magglio Ordonez, RF

7. Brandon Inge, 3B

8. Gerald Laird, C

9. Adam Everett, SS

Justin Verlander, P

Minnesota Twins

1. Denard Span, CF

2. Orlando Cabrera, SS

3. Joe Mauer, C

4. Jason Kubel, RF

5. Michael Cuddyer, 1B

6. Delmon Young, LF

7. Jose Morales, DH

8. Brian Buscher, 3B

9. Nick Punto, 2B

Carl Pavano, P

Top 1st

Dick Bramer and Rod Allen calling the game for Fox today. Glad to see Fox has their D team doing the game today. On the mound for the Twins is Carl Pavano who is 4-0 lifetime versus the Tigers.

Every New York Yankee fan just threw their remote at the TV.

First pitch of the game to Granderson is fouled off out of play. Granderson’s average is down to .250. He really needs to pick up here.

Maybe some other time as Granderson strikes out looking on three pitches.

Polanco rips a single up the middle. One on and nobody out for Guillen. Guillen has been hampered all year by injuries.

Jim Leyland, trying to create some offense put on a hit and run, but Guillen fouls the ball off. Polanco gets to second base anyway as Pavano throws a wild pitch.

Guillen goes down swinging as Pavano throws a nasty changeup to get Guillen. Two outs now.

On an 0-2 pitch, Cabrera bloops one to center. Polanco, running all the way with two outs — scores easily. Tigers take an early lead, 1-0.

Big two-out RBI for Cabrera.

Huff pops out to short to end the inning.

The Tigers push across a run and lead 1-0 heading to the bottom of the first.

Bottom 1st

Cy Young award candidate Justin Verlander on the mound for the Tigers. He gets Span to ground out weakly to first for the first out of the inning.

Verlander pacing himself with 96 mph fastballs to Cabrera. Verlander gets Cabrera to pop up to second for the second out.

Now comes up the 2009 AL MVP and one of the nicest athletes I have ever met, Joe Mauer.

My lord Mauer is awesome. Mauer just turns on a 96 mph fastball and launches one into the upper deck in rightfield. That ball was freakin’ crushed.

Game tied at one.

Kubel rips one, but right to Cabrera to end the inning.

But the Twins pull even, and after one in Minnesota, we are tied at one.

Top 2nd

I gotta tell ya, Ordonez’s bat looks slower than Gary Carter’s did at the end of his career. The Tigers are so pleased to be paying Ordonez $18 million next year. Worst contract in baseball next year, hands down.

Ordonez grounds out to third for the first out.

Ouch! Inge gets hit right on the elbow. That’s going to leave a mark in the morning.

Laird bloops one to right for a single. Inge stops at second. First and second with one out for Everett.

Everett hits a groundball in the hole between first and second, but Punto cuts the ball off and gets Everett at first. Inge and Laird move up a base.

Granderson, not wasting any time, swings at the first pitch and lines one deep to center, but Span tracks it down to make the catch. Granderson has had two AB’s and has seen four pitches. Way to work the count Curtis.

Bottom 2nd

Awesome crowd on hand at the Metrodome. It looks like there is a sellout.

Cuddyer flies out to deep center for the first out.

The ever-so-disappointing Young hits a seeing eye single up the middle.

If I were in the Twins dugout, I would say just sit on the fastball. Verlander’s curve is all over the place and he has yet to throw it for a strike.

Verlander can’t locate his fastball either as he walks Morales. First and second with one out for Buscher.

The Twins really could use a third baseman next year. Maybe Garrett Atkins makes sense for them. Verlander just overpowers Buscher and strikes him out on three pitches.

Wow, Punto is really battling Verlander. He has fouled off pitch after pitch.

Punto hits a grounder in the hole, but is robbed by a great defensive play by Cabrera. He dove to right, caught the ball, and then made a perfect throw to Everett to force out Morales.

After two complete, it’s the Tigers one and the Twins one

Top 3rd

Pavano is a first-pitch strike throwing machine. First-pitch strikes to nine of the 11 batters he has faced so far. Yankee fans are just fuming right now.

Polanco is such a professional hitter. Pavano throws an outside fastball and Polanco just goes with the pitch and serves it to rightfield for a single.

Guillen just looks like a shell of his former self. He pops up to third for the first out. My take on the Tigers so far is that they just look like an old team.

Cabrera rips one to rightfield for a single. Polanco stops at second.

Up is Huff who is sporting a nice beard. He kind of looks like a young Bert Blyleven. Ironically, Huff isn’t going to the Hall of Fame either.

Huff becomes the third Tigers batter this inning to go to the opposite field for a single. Huff’s single brings home Polanco and the Tigers lead 2-1. Cabrera stops at second.

It’s kind of weird. Pavano appears to be pitching well, but he has given up six hits in just 2.1 innings so far.

Ordonez really does stink. He taps one back to the mound and Pavano gets the force at second. That ball was hit so slowly that the Twins couldn’t turn two on the play.

Pavano escapes further damage as Inge hits a can-of-corn to center.

But the Tigers take a 2-1 heading into the bottom of the third.

Bottom 3rd

Fox just showed Ernie Harwell’s speech from Wednesday night. What a class act he is. He looks healthier at 91 than I do at 32.

Span starts off the inning with a single to left.

On an 0-1 count, Span tries to steal second and is gunned down by Laird. Laird threw a pea to second base. Span was out by a good foot.

Verlander throws his best offspead pitch of the day and strikes out Cabrera on a wicked changeup. Two outs.

Wow, Verlander’s curve isn’t working today, but his changeup is. He strikes out Mauer on a sweet changeup down and away.

After three, it’s still 2-1 Tigers

Top 4th

Just saw a commercial for Bud Light Golden Wheat. I bet that tastes awful. If regular Bud Light runs right through you, I can only imagine what Golden Wheat will do.

Laird flies out to shallow right for the first out.

Kick save and a beauty by Pavano. Everett hits one up the middle, the ball kicks off Pavano’s cleat to third, and Buscher gets Everett at first. Pavano wins that battle of former over-hyped Red Sox prospects.

Granderson singles to left. It seems the Tigers are taking an opposite field approach to hitting Pavano.

With Granderson running, Polanco just flicks his bat on a low and outside pitch and bloops one to right for a single. Granderson continues running and gets to third.

Another opposite field hit for the Tigers. The Tigers have eight hits and all of them are either up the middle or to the opposite field.

Guillen strikes out looking to end the inning. Not sure what Guillen was looking at or for. That pitch was right down the middle.

Bottom 4th

Fox just showed a view of the new Target Field. Can’t wait till Opening Day 2010 when it’s 25 degrees at game time.

Kubel grounds out to second for the first out.

Cuddyer swings at the first pitch and flies out to center for the second out.

Verlander pumps one up to 97 mph and strikes out Young. Hey look at that. Our first one-two-three inning of the day.

Top 5th

I have no idea what just happened. Cabrera hits a little flare to rightfield and Punto actually out-ran the ball, tried to turn around to catch it, and dropped the ball.

It goes down as a hit and another opposite field hit for the Tigers.

Huff chops one to short, but the ball is hit to slowly to turn two. Cabrera is forced at second for the first out.

Ordonez hits one sharply through the hole between short and third for a single. Huff stops at second. That is now 10 hits for the Tigers — all singles.

Inge bloops one down the rightfield line for a single. Good job by Kubel of trapping that ball. If that got by him, it might have gone for a triple.

Bases loaded for Laird. Pavano will try to get a double play ball from the slow footed Tigers’ catcher.

And right on cue, Laird hits into a tailor made six-four-three double play.

Pavano dances out of trouble again. It’s still 2-1 Tigers going into the bottom of the fifth.

Bottom 5th

Jose Morales leading it off for the Tigers. Morales loops one to left for a single.

Fox just showed Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants highlights. Brad Penny is getting rocked in LA. Not surprised. It was bound to happen.

Buscher has seen six pitches and six strikes. Again, he was overmatched and struck out. One out.

Punto hits a lazy fly ball to center for the second out.

Span swings at the first pitch and flies out to rightcenter for the third out. Verlander without his best stuff is shutting down the Twins.

2-1 Tigers after five.

Top 6th

Everett swings at the first pitch and pops it up to short.

Granderson hits one sharply to second, but Punto is all over it and gets Granderson at first. Two outs.

Let’s see if Pavano can get his first one-two-three inning. He does. Polanco grounds to third to end the inning.

If the Tigers lose this game they will be really kicking themselves in the but. They have had tons of chances to blow this game open.

Bottom 6th

I love Orlando Cabrera. I wish the Red Sox resigned him. He is just a winning player.

Cabrera, right on cue, singles to right.

Every time Mauer comes to the plate, there is an electricity in the air. That is how good he is right now. Every time he is up, you expect something to happen.

Good battle here between Mauer and Verlander. 3-2 count and Mauer has fouled off a couple of 97 mph fastballs from Verlander.

Another nice play by Miguel Cabrera. Mauer hit one into the hole, but Cabrera makes another diving stop. Since Orlando Cabrera was running, Cabrera just stepped on first for the out.

Great pitching by Verlander. Knowing Kubel is looking for a fastball, Verlander pulls the string and gets Kubel out in front and Kubel grounds weakly up the middle. Everett gets Kubel at first for the second out.

Cuddyer hits a two-hopper to second for the third out. The Twins strand a runner at third. This is where not having Morneau in the lineup kills the Twins

Top 7th

I can’t believe this John Mellencamp “This is our country” commercial is still playing. It’s sooooo 2007.

Pavano still in there for the Twins. Despite giving up what seems like 20 singles, he has pitched well today.

Guillen flies to Span for the first out of the inning.

Young makes a nice diving catch to rob Cabrera of a hit. Young has the fatest face with a body that doesn’t match. He is like the anti-Kirby Puckett.

Pavano gets Huff looking for strike three. That was a sweet slider that got the inside corner. So after not having a one-two-three inning through the first five — Pavano has retired six in a row.

Pavano’s day is probably done. Who do you think Yankees fans hate more? Pavano or Jaret Wright?

Bottom 7th

Holy shnikies! What a play by Inge. He extends to rob Young of a double, but Young beats Inge’s throw to first. Still, what a great play by Inge. That ball was ticketed for at least a double.

Carlos Gomez comes on to pinch run for Young. Speaking of Gomez, how bad has that Johan Santana trade been for the Twins?

Look for Gomez to steal at some point.

Morales flies out to left for the first out.

I have to tell you. I have been beyond impressed with Laird in this game. Gomez tried to steal second and Laird gunned him down. Laird has such a quick release.

Buscher grounds to second to end the inning. On a positive note, Buscher actually made contact against Verlander.

Top 8th

Jesse Crain comes in to replace Pavano. A solid effort from Pavano. Seven innings and only two runs. I think the Twins will take that every time.

Crain gets Ordonez and his beyond slow swing to ground to first for the first out.

Inge flies to Kubel in right for the second out. Crain throwing heat. He has been in the upper-90’s all inning.

Easy inning for Crain as Laird grounds out to second.

Bottom 8th

Verlander still on the mound for the Tigers. He has thrown 110 pitches so far. My guess is Leyland let’s him throw 160 pitches today if it means a Tigers win.

Verlander still has it as he blows away Punto for the first out.

Span gets the Twins going with a single down the leftfield line. Nice play by Don Kelly, who replaced Guillen in left to cut the ball off and hold Span to a single.

I am going to admit, I have no idea who Don Kelly is.

3-2 count now to Cabrera. Do you send Span? I would.

If I didn’t know who Kelly was before, I do know. Cabrera hits a routine flyball to left, but Kelly last the ball in the roof. The ball drops and Span ends up at third and Cabrera ends up with a double.

Leyland is going to ring this kid’s neck. Poor sap.

Mauer is being intentionally walked to load the bases for Kubel.

Big spot her for Kubel. Bases loaded with one out. This is Verlander’s game. He is pumping it up to 98 on the gun.

Kubel bloops one to left for a single and what great baserunning by Cabrera. He got an outstanding jump and scored behind Span to give the Twins a 3-2 lead.

And with that hit, Verlander exits the game.

Brandon Lyon comes on to replace Verlander. I don’t care what his numbers are — he stinks.

BOOM!!! Who needs Morneau? Cuddyer just crushes one to leftcenter field. 6-2 Twins. I can’t believe there are people out there who think Lyon is good.

Gomez flies to rightcenter and Clete Thomas, who replaced Ordonez for defense makes a nice running catch for the second out.

This is the problem if the Tigers even make the playoffs. Even if Verlander gives you seven, solid innings, who is going to pitch the eighth? Lyon is going to pitch the eigth in Yankee Stadium? No thank you.

Lyon gets Morales swinging to end the inning. But the damage was done.

The Twins score five big runs and take a 6-2 lead into the ninth inning.

Bottom 9th

Jose Mijares on to close out the game for the Twins. Mijares looks like a left-handed Juan Berenguer.

Mijares makes quick work of Everett, as Everett flies out to Span for the first out.

Boy, someone needs to talke to Granderson. His team is down by four runs and he goes up there swinging at the first pitch. He pops up to second for the second out.

Polanco keeps the Tigers alive as he doubles to leftcenter field.

With Ryan Raburn announced as the pinch-hitter for Don Kelly, Ron Gardenhire is going to make an unneccessary pitching change. He will bring in Matt Guerrier to face Raburn.

Can Mijares not get out Raburn? I mean come on.

Well, what I think doesn’t matter as Raburn grounds back to the mound to end the game.

Twins win 6-2 and now they are just two games back of the Tigers. The Twins won this three-game series and they will go for the sweep tomorrow.

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Live Blog: MLB All-Star Game…

July 15, 2009

It’s been awhile since I have done a live blog, so what better time to do one than the 80th All-Star game in St. Louis. I have always been a big fan of the All-Star game, so this should be fun. I am just praying this game does not go deep into extra innings like last year’s game.

Game – American League vs. National League

Date – 7/14/09

Starting Lineups

American League

1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF

2. Derek Jeter, SS

3. Joe Mauer, C

4. Mark Teixeira, 1B

5. Jason Bay, LF

6. Josh Hamilton, CF

7. Michael Young, 3B

8. Aaron Hill, 2B

9. Roy Halladay, P

National League

1. Hanley Ramirez, SS

2. Chase Utley, 2B

3. Albert Pujols, 1B

4. Ryan Braun, RF

5. Raul Ibanez, LF

6. David Wright, 3B

7. Shane Victorino, CF

8. Yadier Molina, C

9. Tim Lincecum, P

Top 1st

Tim Lincecum deals the first pitch of the 80th All-Star game at 8:50 est time and it is ripped by Ichiro down the rightfield line, but foul.

Starting this game at 8:50 est. pretty much eliminates anyone under the age of 15 who lives on the east coast from seeing the end of this game – good job Bud Selig

Ichiro rips a single to right. He is such a good hitter. Being down 0-2 in the count didn’t phase Ichiro one bit.

OUCH!!! With two strikes, Derek Jeter gets hit in the hand with a changeup. Every Yankee fan just took a deep breath. Jeter appears okay.

Lincecumis really all over the place in this inning. He quickly falls behind Mauer 3-1.

Wow, what a quick play by Molina. Mauer hits a ball a foot infront of home plate, Molina pounced on it, and got Ichiro at third. Wright made a terrible throw to first, which pulled Pujols off the bag. Mauer would have been out with a good throw.

Teixeira hits a slow groundball that hits off of Pujols’ glove and goes into short rightfield. Jeter scores to make 1-0 American League.

That was a potential double play ball that Pujols mishandled. Some bad defense by the NL in the first inning. They should be out of this inning.

First and second with one out for Jason Bay.

Bay singles to center. Bases loaded.

Boy, the NL is really asleep on defense. Hamilton gets a hard groundball to first, Pujols gets Bay at second, but Lincecum is late covering first, and the run scores.

2-0 American League. We can eliminate Tim Lincecum from winning the MVP award tonight.

Michael Young grounds to Wright for the third out.

Not a very good start for the NL.

Bottom 1st

Hanley Ramirez leading off for the NL, hits a rope, but right to Aaron Hill. One out.

How many recruiting talks do you think Roy Halladay has gotten in the past two days? 40? 50?

Halladay gets Chase Utley to ground out to Teixeira. Two quick outs here in the bottom of the first.

Now here comes Pujols. Maybe he will make up for that terrible error he made in the top of the first.

Pujols hitting, Mauer catching, and Halladay pitching – it doesn’t get any better than that.

Michael Young is the man. Pujols hits a frozen rope to third. I mean a real screamer. Young snags it and casually throws to first to get Pujols. Now that is how you play defense.

After one it’s 2-0 American League

Top 2nd

Hill grounds to Ramirez for the first out.

Roy Halladay is hitting. I don’t think he planned on this happening. With the luck the Blue Jays have been having with injuries, Halladay will get clocked in the hand here.

He doesn’t and Halladay K’s for the second out.

A much better start to the second inning for Lincecum.

Ichiro hits a linedrive, but right at Braun in rightfield for the third out.

Bottom 2nd

Braun flies out to center for the first out.

President Obama is in the booth with McCarver and Buck. Obama is neck and neck with Bill Clinton as the president you would most want to hang out with.

Ibanez grounds to Hill for the second out. Halladay is making this look easy.

Even when Halladay gives up hits, he splinters bats. Wright bloops one to rightcenter for a hit. His bat shattered in a 100 pieces.

Victorino singles to right. First and second with two outs for Molina.

How about this. Molina singles to center, Wright scores, and Hamilton trying to throw out Victorino at third – hits him in the back and the ball rolls into foul territory.

Victorino scores andwe are tied at two. Molina goes to second on the throw.

Last night’s HR Derby champion Prince Fielder will hit for Lincecum.

Amazing how quickly things change in an inning. Halladay was crusing and a broken bat got a rally started.

Fielder smokes one down the leftfield line for a ground rule double. Molina scores and it is now 3-2 NL.

Ramirez grounds to Hill for the third out.

What an inning for the NL. Three runs with two outs.

After two complete in St. Louis, it’s 3-2 National League

Top 3rd

This is odd, Cardinals’ closer Ryan Franklin is in the game for the NL. I don’t think I have ever seen a closer come into an All-Star game this early before.

Jeter grounds to Utley for the first out.

Mauer lines to Pujolsfor the second out.

Teixeira grounds weakly to Pujols for the third out.

Well that was easy for Franklin. A very impressive inning.

Bottom 4th

Chicago White Sox lefty, Mark Buehrle into the game for the AL. With Buehrle pitching, this inning might last five minutes.

Utley hits a can of corn to center. One down.

Man, does Buerhle work quickly.

Pujols grounds to Teixeira for the second out. Teixeira showed his range on that groundball, as he played that way off the bag at first.

Braun grounds to Jeter at short and in less than five minutes the inning is over.

I wish more pitchers worked like Buerhle.

It’s still 3-2 NL after three.

Top 4th

We start the fourth and McCarver and Buck have been very tolerable tonight. It must be a full moon.

Dan Haren from the Arizona Diamondbacks is now in the game for the NL.

One pitch, one out. Bay flies out to Braun in right.

Hamilton flies out to semi-deep center.

Young singles to left. Michael Young loves playing in All-Star games.

Aaron Hill up. Every kid outside of Toronto just asked their dad “who is that?”

Hill grounds hard to Hanley Ramirez, but Ramirez gobbles it up, and gets Hill to end the inning.

Bottom 4th

Just saw a commercial for the new GI Joe movie. It looks terrible. I was a HUGE GI Joe fan growing up, so I hope the movie is better than it looks. I am not optimistic.

The Kansas City Royals’ Zack Greinke is in for the AL.

One pitch, one out. Ibanez pops up to Young at third.

I hope Greinke goes two innings tonight. It will let the world see who he is.

And this is why – Greinke throws a wicked slider to Wright to strike him out. That was nasty.

Greinke just toyed with Victorino. Got him to swing at a pitch in the dirt and two feet out of the strike zone.

One-two-three for Greinke

This game is moving rather quickly. Still 3-2

Top 5th

The next pitcher for the NL is the Dodgers’ Chad Billingsley.

Carl Crawford hitting for Greinke.

Crawford hits a single to center. With Crawford at first and Molina behind the plate, this should be interesting.

What a great play by Chase Utley. Ichiro hits a ball between first and second, Utley gets the ball, pivots, andgets the lead runner in Crawford at second.

What a great play. Ichiro now at first with one out and Jeter up.

My roommate from college Odie just sent me a text “Ichiro is a dope, let crawford steal.” I agree. The fastest man in baseball is on first and Ichiro is up there hacking.

The NL is flashing some leather. Jeter hits on his classic inside-out balls to the right side, but Pujols dives andgets the lead runner at second.

The first inning must have been a wake up call for the NL.

This brings up Mauer with Jeter on first and now two outs.

Is Joe Mauer the best hitter in the game right now or what? Billingsley throws a curve on the outer half and instead of trying to pull the ball, Mauer goes with the pitch and laces it down the leftfield line.

Jeter running all the way, scores from first. We are now tied at three.

Pujols really wants to make up for that first inning error. He makes another diving stop off of a Teixeira groundball and flips to Billingsley for the third out.

Pujols saves a run, but the AL ties the game heading into the bottom of the 5th.

Bottom 5th

Edwin Jackson the new pitcher for the AL

What is the story with hitters swinging at the first pitch when there is a new pitcher in the game?

Molina on the first pitch grounds to short for out No. one.

Ryan Zimmerman up at the plate. Zimmerman replaced Wright in the top half of the inning and is batting in the pitchers spot.

Zimmerman just missed one. He flies out to deep centerfield.

Ramirez on the first pitch grounds out to Young at third.

Wow what an inning for Jackson. Four pitches and three outs. Not a bad day’s work.

3-3 still as we head to the bottom of the sixth

Bottom 6th

The all-time saves leader, Trevor Hoffman into the game

The first batter he will face is the Orioles’ Adam Jones. Right now every Mariners’ fan is saying “I can’t believe we got rid of this guy.” Jones is hitting in Jason Bay’s spot in the lineup.

Jones hits a rocket to right, but Hawpe tracks it down at the warning track. One out.

Hoffman is not fooling anyone. Hamilton jumps all over the first pitch and singles to right.

Young hits a hard groundball, but right at Utley. After a brief bobble, Utley and Tejada are able to turn the four-six-three double play.

I was a little surprised Hoffman was used so early. I would have thought because he is the all-time saves leader, he would have been used to close out the game.

Bottom 6th

The Seattle Mariners’ ace Felix Hernandez has been called upon to pitch for the AL.

Orlando Hudson will hit for Utley andmost likely come into the game to play second.

Okay, once again we are first pitch swinging. This game counts right Bud?

Hudson hits one deep to right but Adam Jones is there for the first out.

Pujolsgrounds to short for the second out.

Not too many people on the east coast get to see “King Felix” pitch, but he is a dandy. He really can become a legit ace. He has no-hit stuff every time he goes to the mound.

Justin Upton is now hitting for Ryan Braun. A great matchup here of two of the best young players in the game.

Another groundball to short. The sure-handed Jason Bartlett gets Upton to end the inning.

We are getting down to the nitty gritty as Gorilla Monsoon used to say.

Top 7th

Classy move by Charlie Manuel as he lets Pujols go out to take warmups andthen replaces him with Gonzalez so he can get a standing ovation from the Cardinal fans.

Francisco Cordero is the new pitcher in the game for the NL. He is the Cincinnati Reds’ lone representative for tonight.

Aaron Hill up for the third time and he flies out to Upton in in left.

Crawford up for the second time. On the first pitch he grounds to Tejada at short. Two outs.

Justin Morneau up for the AL. He replaced Teixeira at first and is hitting Ichiro’s spot.

That was a quick inning for Cordero. He gets Morneau to line weakly to Zimmerman at third.

Bottom 8th

My buddy Tom just sent me a text “Close game and these idiot managers are using pitchers for one inning each.” Kind of agree. With a lot of the pitchers having pitched on Sunday and after last year’s marathon, I am surprised pitchers aren’t going more than one inning.

A new inning, a new pitcher for the AL. Jonathan Papelbon is in the game for the AL.

OH WOW!!! Carl Crawford makes the play of the game so far. Brad Hawpe on Papelbon’s first pitch (of course) hit a fly ball deep to left and Crawford leaped over the wall to make the catch and rob Hawpe of a HR. Great catch.

Two pitches and two bombs off of Papelbon. Miguel Tejada flies out to deep right but Adam Jones is there to make the catch.

Papelbon is pitching to Victor Martinez. A sign of the future?

Papelbon is throwing his fastball at 89 mph. Someone should tell him this game counts.

Papelbon strikes out Jayson Werth to end the inning. That fastball was 94 mph, so Papelbon got into the groove towards the end of the AB.

It’s still 3-3 heading into the eigth and this game has extra innings written all over it. Lovely

Top 8th

Heath Bell is into the game for the National League.

The first pitch he throws is over the head of Jason Bartlett. Nice pitch.

Bell does better on his second pitch as he gets Bartlett to ground to short.

Curtis Granderson up for the AL. He crushes one to left and the ball  hits off the base of the wall. Granderson digs for third and he makes it.

Grandersonat third with one out and the infield comes in.

Victor Martinez is up and he is getting intentionally walked. That stinks for Martinez. Manuel is walking Martinez to get to Adam Jones.

HeathBell looks like his heart is racing a million beats per second.

Well, Manuel’s strategy backfires as Jones hits one to the warning track in right. Granderson scores to make it 4-3.

Kevin Youkilis is up for the first time and he promptly singles to center.

First and second with two outs for the Rays’ Ben Zobrist.

Bell gets Zobrist swinging, but the damage was done. One run on two hits and two runners left on base.

At the end of seven and a half, it’s the American League four and the National League three

Bottom 8th

New York native Joe Nathan in the game for the American League. The AL is going to go with Nathan for the eighth andthen Mariano Rivera for the ninth. The NL is in trouble.

The Braves and Ron Kittle impersonator, Brian McCann up at the plate to face Nathan.

McCannon a 2-1 pitch pops up to Martinez behindthe plate. One down here in the bottom of the eighth.

Zimmerman swinging at the first pitch, flies to right for the second out.

Here is the best player that nobody knows about – Adrian Gonzalez

FOX just showed Bud Selig with George Will. And there is your reason for a baseball team in Washington.

Good AB by Gonzalez. Down in the count 1-2 and he works a walk.

Another two out rally by the NL. Hudson singles up the middle and now we have first andthird with two outs.

Ryan Howard is coming up to pinch hit. Manuel was picking his spot for Howard and this is it. Very similar to the 2003 All-Star game in Chicago where Mike Scioscia was picking his spot for Hank Blalock in the late innings.

Blalock hit a pinch hit two-run HR off of Eric Gagne to give the AL the win.

They just showed Brian Fuentes warming up. Well, if he is not in the game to face Howard why on earth is he warming up?

Howard is swinging for the downs. Two fastballs, two Ruthian cuts, and now it is 0-2.

Hudson steals second. That’s kind of a good and bad move. Good in that it eliminates the double play and now a single scores two runs. Bad in that this might take the bat out of Howard’s hands.

No 2003 moment here as Howard swings at a pitch in the dirt for strike three.

We head to the ninth with the AL still clinging to a 4-3 lead

Top 9th

The next pitcher up for the National League is the New York Mets’ Francisco Rodriguez.

His first batter will be the Tigers’ Brandon Inge. Of course Inge swings at the first pitch and grounds to short.

Carl Crawford up. He is 1-2. With his catch and with nobody else really standing out tonight, he might win the MVP.

Striking out won’t help his cause. That was a great changeup by Krod.

Morneau rips one into the left-centerfield gap, Werth tracks it down, and makes the catch. What a catch by a guy who is normally not a centerfielder.

This is it. We head to the bottom of the ninth with the AL leading 4-3

Bottom 9th

If the NL is going to come back, they are going to have to do it against the best in the business in Mariano Rivera

Justin Upton will try to get things started for the National League.

Barlettis silky smooth at short. He made a tough, back-handed play look very easy. He gets Upton for the first out

Brad Hawpe, who was robbed of a HR by Carl Crawford will try to hit one a little further against Rivera.

Joe Buck just said Brad Hawpe is a very good defensive rightfielder. I am guessing Buck hasn’t seen Hawpe’s UZR lately.

Hawpe goes down looking on a perfect pitch on the outside corner.

Now it’s up to Miguel Tejada to keep it alive. He doesn’t.

Tejada pops up to Zobrist at second to end the game.

That’s a wrap. The American League wins again 4-3. The American League will have homefield advantage in the World Series.

Like I suspected, Carl Crawford wins the MVP award. This might be the first time in All-Star game history that a guy won the award for a catch.

It was a good game, well played, and it only took 2:31 to play. A little disappointed that Tim Wakefield didn’t get to pitch, but what can you do.

Over 3,000 words later, I am calling it a night. Good night everyone!!!

Live Blog: Dustin Ackley Vs. Arizona State…

June 15, 2009

11 days, 8 of the top college baseball teams in the country, a great setting for baseball in Omaha, NE and the unmistakable “ping” make the College World Series one of the great and vastly underrated sporting events. It’s truly an event that everyone should watch and probably attend if you love baseball.

One of the more interesting matchups on the second day of the College World Series is the University North Carolina vs. Arizona State University. Not only is this a matchup of two of the top teams in the country, but this matchup features prospects galore.

Of those prospects, I am most interested in is UNC first baseman Dustin Ackley. Ackley was the No. 2 overall pick by the Seattle Mariners in the 2009 MLB Draft. Ackley is also my pick to be the best player that comes out this year’s draft.

Let’s see how Ackley did in today’s game.

Game – North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Arizona State Sun Devils

Date – 6/14/09

Bottom 1st

Ackley is facing LHP Josh Spence, who was drafted in the third round in the 2009 Draft by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Pitch #1 – A 70 mph change up taken for strike one.

Pitch #2 – a 78 mph pitch taken outside for ball one. I will assume that was Spence’s fastball.

Pitch #3 – 72 mph, I guess changeup was taken low and away for ball three. It looks like Spence is trying to stay away from Ackley.

Pitch #4 – Ackley gets a low fastball, that he punches through the hole between first and second for a single. Good swing with nice extension.

Ackley now has a 20 game postseason hitting streak working.

UNC's Dustin Ackley

UNC's Dustin Ackley

Bottom 3rd

Ackley steps to the plate with one out and nobody on.

Pitch #1 – Ackley takes a wicked breaking ball for srike one. Spence dropped down on that one. Nothing he could do with that pitch.

Pitch #2 – Spence, doing the smart thing, dropped down again with the same pitch. Ackley flies out to RF, just short of the warning track. Ackley was a little out in front.

Ackley is now 1-2 on the afternoon.

Bottom 5th

Ackley leads off the bottom of the fifth inning.

Pitch #1 – Spence is really dropping down when faces Ackley. Ackley takes a 78 mph fastball for strike one.

That drop delievery by Spence is a killer on lefties.

Pitch #2 – Spence drops in a sweet curve for stirke two. Spence is not only doing a great job of changing speeds to Ackley, but arm angles as well.

Pitch #3 – Ackley takes a fastball outside for ball one.

Pitch #4 – Spence tried to get Ackley with another curve, but Ackley does a good job of staying on it and again shoots it through the hole between first and second.

Ackley is now 2-3 on the day with two singles.

Bottom 7th

Ackley again comes to the plate with one out and nobody on.

Pitch #1 – Ackley squares to bunt and fouls it off. If you lead your team in batting avg., HR’s and RBI you should not be bunting. That didn’t make sense to me.

Pitch #2 – On a 74 mph, Ackley just misses one and flies out to the warning track in CF. The wind is slightly blowing in to center, which knocked that ball down a little.

If that pitch was just maybe two inches more insides, Ackley would have gotten all of it.

Ackley is now 2-4.

Bottom 9th

With two out, a runner on first and the score tied at one, Ackley steps to the plate against LHP Mitchell Lambson.

Ackley can win it with one swing of the bat.

Pitch #1 – Ackley takes a meaty, 82 mph fastball for strike one. Lampson it appears is going to come right at Ackley

Pitch #2 – Ackley takes another 82 mph, but this time it is a little high. The count is now 1-1

Pitch #3 – Lambson throws a perfect pitch for strike two. An 82 mph fastball right on the outside corner. Ackley is down in the count 1-2.

Pitch #4 – Ackley stays alive and fouls off a fastball. It’s been all fastballs from Lambson so far and all at the same speed. At this point, Ackley should have his fastball timed.

Pitch #5 – Another fastball, but this is low and away for ball two. The count is even now at 2-2.

Pitch #6 – Ackley fouls off another fastball. If Lambson throws anything offspeed, Ackley would be three feet out in front of the pitch.

Pitch #7 – I really should have been a pitching coach. Lambson takes something off and freezes Ackley for the strike out.

Ackley is now 2-5 and with the score tied at one, we head into extra innings. There is a good chance Ackley will get another crack at Arizona State.

Maybe not. Arizona State scores three in the top of the 10th and took a 5-1 lead. The Tar Heels rallied for a run in the bottom of the 10th but couldn’t get anything else going. Arizona State wins 5-2.

Ackley ends the day an uneventful 2-5. But I still like what I saw from Ackley.

A couple of other observations from this game.

  1. Someone needs to sit Josh Spence in a room and show him tapes of John Tudor. That is who he reminds me of. I don’t think he threw a pitch faster than 78 mph.
  2. Alex White was the real star of this game. White was drafted by the Indians in the first round (No. 15 overall) in this year’s draft. I can’t imagine White not being in the majors in two years
  3. I don’t regret my decision to go to UMass at all. However, Arizona State is home to some to some of the hottest girls in the country. My lord.

Wieters Debuts….

May 30, 2009

In honor of Matt Wieters’ debut in the major leagues, I have decided to do a live blog of Wieters’ AB’s against the Detroit Tigers. I have never seen a prospect with this much hype in my life. Wieters has more hype surrounding him than Mark Prior, Joe Mauer and even Gregg Jefferies. Yes, Gregg Jefferies. Jefferies was labeled as the “next Mickey Mantle” so that should tell you what kind of hype Jefferies was getting before he reached the majors.

Game – Detroit Tigers vs Baltimore Orioles

Date – 5/29/09

Bottom 2nd

It’s Wieters’ first official AB in the big leagues. He comes to the plate with runners on 1st and 2nd with nobody out. He will face Dontrelle Willis, who looks less than stellar so far.

Wieters gets a standing ovation as he comes to the plate and has AC DC’s Hells Bells playing in the background. This guy better save this franchise, my lord.

Pitch #1 – 88 mph fastball which Wieters fouls off between first and home. Wieters had a good rip at that one.

Pitch #2 – Takes a 79 mph curve for a ball. That pitch was about two feet outside.

Pitch #3 – Wieters swings and misses at a 90 mph on the outside corner

Pitch #4 – Wieters hits a 90 mph fastball to short RF. Clete Thomas makes the catch and makes a great throw to nail Melvin Mora trying to tag up at 2nd base. Double Play. Not the way I am sure Wieters drew that one up.

Wieters – 0-1 

Bottom 3rd

Three innings and already two AB’s for Wieters. Luke Scott just hit a grand slam (is there anyone hotter in the majors than Scott right now?) and Wieters comes up with two outs and nobody on base. Dontrelle Willis is still in there.

Pitch #1 – Takes an 81 mph change up for ball 1

Pitch #2 – Swings and misses at an 89 mph fastball that was probably a ball. Count now 1-1

Pitch #3 – Wieters hits a 90 mph fastball up the middle, but Willis makes a nice play to knock the ball down and throws Wieters out at first base.

Wieters – 0-2

Bottom 5th

Luke Scott just went yard again. This is ridiculous already. Wieters comes to the plate for his third AB. Again, thanks to Luke Scott with nobody on and two outs.

Pitch #1 – Wieters takes a 79 mph curve low for ball 1

Pitch #2 – Takes a 81 mph change just low for ball 2. Pitch could have been called a strike.

Pitch #3 – Wieters hits a slow roller on a 89 mph fastball to Brandon Inge at third. Inge makes the play and throws out Wieters to end the inning.

Wieters – 0-3

Bottom 8th

With the Orioles up 7-2 in the 8th, Wieters comes up for his fourth and perhaps final AB. Luke Scott, who drew a walk to lead off the inning is on first. Nate Robertson is pitching for the Tigers, so Wieters will continue to bat right handed.

Pitch #1 – Takes an 83 mph slider outside and low for ball 1. Though it’s only four AB’s, you can tell Wieters has a good eye at the plate and a good sense of ths strike zone.

Pitch #2 – Wieters just swong out of his shoes on a low and in 82 mph slider. He was trying to hit that into the upper deck at Camden Yards. The count now 1-1.

Pitch #3 – Wieters gets a good swing at an 88 mph fastball and fouls it back to the screen for strike 2. 1-2 the count.

Pitch #4 – Wieters looks at a 88 mph fastball for strike 3. Wieters must have been looking offspeed because that pitch was meaty.

Wieters – 0-4

Well, it was a disappointed debut for Matt Wieters. 0-4 with a strikeout. He did however, show a good eye at the plate (saw 14 pitches in 4 AB’s) and showed the ability to call a good game behind the plate. We will be hearing a lot more about Wieters in the future.

Cubs vs Brewers…

May 10, 2009

Today’s live game blog is between NL Central rivals, the Chicago Cubs vs the Milwaukee Brewers. We should get a good pitching matchup tonight as Ryan Dempster (2-1, 4.86 era) squares off against Brewers’ ace Yovani Gallardo (3-1, 3.02era). This will be the Cubs first game without Aramis Ramirez who suffered a dislocated left shoulder in Friday night’s game against the Brewers.

Game – Chicago Cubs vs Milwaukee Brewers

Date – 5/9/09

Starting Lineups

Cubs

1. Soriano, LF

2. Theriot, SS

3. Fukudome, CF

4. Bradley, RF

5. Hoffpauir, 1B

6. Soto, C

7. Fontenot, 2B

8. Scales, 3B

9. Dempster, P

Brewers

1. Weeks, 2B

2. Counsell, 3B

3. Braun, LF

4. Fielder, 1B

5. Hardy, SS

6. Hart, RF

7. Duffy, CF

8. Kendell, C

9. Gallardo, P

Top 1st

First pitch of the game to Soriano is a curveball high for ball 1. Looks to be a pretty good atmosphere in Milwaukee as the stadium is sold out for this one. This Cubs’ lineup looks really weak without Ramirez and Lee.

On a 3-2 count, Gallardo paints the black with a fastball to strike out Soriano. Perfect pitch.

Gallardo gets back to back K’s as Theriot strikes out on a curveball in the dirt. Gallardo has thrown 5 curves so far this game and none of them have been for strikes. Theriot should have been sitting on a fastball and should have been laying off the curve.

Fukudome works a walk. Again, 2 curveballs thrown and still none for a strike.

Bradley grounds weakly to Weeks to end the inning.

Bottom 1st

One of the great things about the baseball package is that you get to see commercials from other cities. Apparently the Piggly Wiggly is a big sponsor of the Brewers. That is just funny to me.

Weeks K’s on a slider about 2 feet outside the strike zone.

Counsell, who it seems like has been in the majors since 1980 ropes an opposite field single to left.

Braun is a beast!!! Braun rips a mediocre fastball into the gap in left center and Counsell scores all the way from 1st. 1-0 Brewers. If the relay throw from SS had been on the money, Counsell would have been out at home.

On the very next pitch, Braun attempts to steal 3rd and Soto throws the ball into LF. Braun scores to make it 2-0. If the Cubs make 2 good throws, they are out of the inning with no damage.

Fielder K’s on just a terrible AB.

Hardy K’s as well to end the inning.

So despite striking out the side, Dempster gives up 2 runs on 2 hits.

After 1, 2-0 Brewers.

Top 2nd

Hoffpauir starts off the inning with a double to right. That ball was smoked. Hoffpauir really needs to learn how to play the OF. When Lee comes back, Hoffpauir will sit on the bench and he has too good a bat to be sitting on the bench.

Soto singles to left and now it is 1st and3rd with nobody out for Fontenot.

Gallardo paints the black again as he strikes out Fontenot on a 94 mph fastball. Another perfect pitch from Gallardo.

Up comes Bobby Scales who spent 11 years in the minors. Wow, that is a lot of bus rides. Scales didn’t see fastballs like the one he just saw from Gallardo. 94 at his eyes. Scales K’s to make it 2 outs. Big out right there because now the pitcher is up.

Dempster flies out to center and despite having 1st and 3rd with nobody out, the Cubs don’t score.

Still 2-0 nothing Brewers heading into the bottom of the 2nd.

Bottom 2nd

The Brewers’ sideline reporter is named Telly Hughes. If that isn’t a perfect name for a reporter, I don’t know what is. It sounds like he should have been a character in Anchorman.

Hart goes down looking on strikes. This game has been a strikeout fest so far.

Duffy hits one back to the mound and now there are 2 outs.

Kendell strikes out but because the pitch he swung at was 3 feet outside and in the dirt, the ball got by Soto. Kendell is on at 1st. Big play there because it clears the pitcher for next inning. However, Gallardo is not a joke at the plate. He is the anti-Al Leiter.

Gallardo strikes out to end the inning. That is 6 K’s now for Dempster.

After 2, it is still 2-0 Brewers

Top 3rd

Gallardo finally has got his curve working as he throws a wicked one to Soriano to strike him out. 5 K’s for Gallardo.

Gallardo walks Theriot. Those are the types of walks that anger managers. Throw strikes to guys like Theriot. What is the worst he can do? Single to left? Can’t walk a guy like that. Have to let him beat you with the bat.

Fukudome flies to left and now there are 2 outs.

Ok, do you know want to know why pitchers no longer throw complete games? It’s because the strike zone is the size of a shoe box. Gallardo just threw 2 pitches to Bradley that were right down the middle and called balls. All these things like K-Zone and Questech have hurt the game. Umpires are scared to call strikes because they are graded by these stupid machines.

Instead of being out of the inning, Gallardo is now forced to throw more pitches adding to his pitch count. RIDICULOUS.

However, no damage was done as Hoffpauir flies out to center.

Bottom 3rd

Weeks leads off the inning with a single in the hole between SS and 3B. Weeks is looking like he is finally coming into his own this year.

Dempster just threw a 2-1 splitter to Counsell. Are you kidding me? CHALLENGE HIM!!! I really wonder what is going threw the head of pitchers and catchers sometimes. Counsell walks and now it is 1st and 2nd with nobody out for Braun. Dempster is digging himself a nice hole here.

Braun walks on a pitch that was probably a strike. Got to love Questech.

Fielder hits a HIGH fly ball to center that is deep enough to score Weeks from 3rd. 3-0 Brewers.

Hardy pops one up and Soto reaches into the stands to make the catch. Way to help your team out Brewers fans.

Wow, what a play!!! Hart rips one off of Dempster’s shoulder, the ball goes over 2B, Fontenot gets to the ball and makes an off balance throw to get Hart. Really great play. Saved a run

That inning could have been a lot worse for Dempster. 3-0 Brewers after 3.

Top 4th

Soto down looking on K’s. Home plate umpire Jerry Crawford’s strike zone is all over the place.

Fontenot hits one past Fielder and down the RF line. Fontenot at 2B with a double. Hart got to that ball quickly and made the play at 2B a lot closer than it should have been.

Both teams are giving Jerry Crawford a piece of their mind. I know Crawford is a very good umpire, but tonight he is having a bad night.

Scales pops out to Counsell in foul territory for the 2nd out.

On a 1-1 count, Gallardo threw Dempster a curveball. My head is going to explode. Wow, Gallardo just walked Dempster. That is a no-no.

Gallardo strikes out Soriano to end the threat. It wasn’t a very good AB by Soriano as he went up there swinging at everything.

Bottom 4th

Dempster strikes out Duffy to start the inning.

Dempster won’t be winning the Gold Glove anytime soon. Kendell hits a ground ball back to him, the ball pops off his glove, he panics and then throws the ball into RF. Kendell on 2nd.

Gallardo ropes the ball, but right to Theriot at SS for the 2nd out. No chance of a double play.

Weeks, showing great patience at the plate draws a walk. Again, Dempster finds himself in trouble.

Dempster is dodging bullets as Counsell flies out to Fukudome in CF

We head to the 5th with the Brewers leading the Cubs, 3-0

Top 5th

Gallardo has thrown 89 pitches so far so he needs a quick inning in order to stay in the game longer

Theriot grounds out to Counsell at 3B for the 1st out.

Fukudome lines one to Hardy for the 2nd out. The Cubs are doing Gallardo and the Brewers a favor right now.

Bradley bloops one between Duffy and Hart for a single.

Hoffpauir blasts one over the RF fence for a 2-run HR. If you wanted the definition of a “bloop and a blast” that was it. The Cubs need to find a way to get Hoffpauir’s bat in the lineup everyday. He can flat out hit.

Gallardo bounces back and strikes out Soto to end the inning.

The Cubs get back in the game and it is now 3-2 Brewers.

Bottom 5th

Braun gets hit in the helmet with a Dempster changeup. That might have been the least scary player hit in the head moment in baseball. Braun got hit in the head and acted like nothing happened.

For some odd reason Braun tries to steal 2nd with Fielder at the plate and he gets throw out by 5 feet. I think Braun is a great player, but that was a bad baseball play. To say Ken Macha looks displeased would be the understatement of the century.

Fielder strikes out for the 2nd out of the inning.

Hardy pops out to Fukudome in CF to end the inning.

Dempster keeps dodging bullets and after 5 it is 3-2 Brewers.

Top 6th

I am getting the sense that this is one of those games where the Brewers keep the Cubs in the game by stranding runner after runner and the Cubs find a way to steal it in the end. I am getting that feeling.

Seth McClung comes into the game to replace Gallardo. Gallardo walked 4 and struck out 7 in 5 innings. Not Gallardo’s best performance but he does leave with a lead.

McClung gets Fontenot swinging for the 1st out.

Scales flies out to Hart in right for the 2nd out of the inning.

McClung makes quick work of Dempster and strikes him out on 3 pitches.

A nice inning by McClung.

Bottom 6th

Hart pops up to Hoffpauir in foul territory for the 1st out.

Duffy lines out to Fukudome in center for the 2nd out.

Kendell grounds one off of a diving Hoffpauir’s glove for a single.

McClung strikes out to end the inning.

After 6 in the books, it is still 3-2 Brewers.

Top 7th

It was just announced that this game is the Brewers’ 7th shutout of the season. The Brewers are starting to become the success model for small market teams.

McClung still in there and gets Soriano to ground to Counsell for the 1st out.

Theriot works a walk and is on 1st with Fukudome coming to the plate. As my summer league coach used to say….”Oh those bases on balls.”

Fukudome gets a broken bat single to right. Theriot goes to 3rd. The Cubs are set up now with 1st and 3rd with 1 out and Bradley coming to the plate.

Bradley walks and Macha is gonna make the call to the pen.

Lefty specialist, Mitch Stetter comes in to face Hoffpauir. Talk about being thrown into the fire.

Good morning, good afternoon and good night to Hoffpauir. 3 pitches and Hoffpauir is done. Macha comes out again to make another pitching change. Not a bad day at the office for Stetter. 1 batter faced, 3 strikes and 1 out.

Carlos Villanueva is summoned out of the pen to face Soto. Big spot here.

On a 2-2 pitch, Villanueva throws a perfect curve on the outside corner but thanks to Jerry Crawford’s ever shrinking strike zone it is called a ball. Just terrible.

Thankfully for the Brewers, Crawford’s terrible call didn’t cost them because Soto grounds to 3rd to end the inning.

Bottom 7th

Dempster still in there despite throwing 110 pitches. I like it. Old school baseball. I was watching Game 4 of the 1983 ALCS between the Orioles and White Sox on the MLB Network this morning and Brit Burns threw 150 pitches in that game. The legendary Brit Burns was throwing 150 pitches back in the day. Amazing how much the game has changed. 

Braun was a beast on Saturday

Braun was a beast on Saturday

Weeks flies out to Fukudome for the first out.

Craig Counsell turns on a fastball and hits it out for a HR. That ball barely made it over the right field fence. That was his first HR since June 17th of last year. Counsell now has more HR’s than David Ortiz. I am just sayin’.

It’s back to back at Miller Park as Braun crushes one to LF. I guess that was payback for getting hit in the head. 5-2 Brewers.  

Neal Cotts comes in to replace Dempster and promptly walks Fielder on 5 pitches. I already see the fumes coming out of Piniella’s ears.

Hardy smacks one up the middle for a base hit. Theriot got a glove on it but was only able to knock the ball down. 1st and 2nd and still only 1 out.

Cotts night is done. Piniella looks like he wants to punch Cotts as he approaches the mound to take the ball.

David Patton gets the call from the pen to face Hart and is greeting by a single up the middle scoring Fielder. 6-2 Brewers. I thought the Cubs’ bullpen was supposed to be a strength this year? Guess not.

Duffy grounds to Hoffpauir and Hoffpauir gets the force at 2nd. 1st and 3rd with 2 outs now.

Kendell bloops one to left for a single and Hardy scores to make it 7-2 Brewers.

Brad Nelson is called upon to pinch hit for the pitcher. He looks like a poor man’s Matt Stairs. Nelson came into the AB 0-20 on the season and on a 3-2 count, Patton throws him a curveball. What??? The guy is 0-20!!! Throw him a fastball. Makes zero sense.

Bases loaded now for Weeks. I have Weeks on one of my fantasy teams, so I am hoping for a big fly here. I will settle for a single. Duffy scores to make it 8-2 Brewers. This has turned into a route.

9-2 Brewers as Patton throws one that gets by Soto. I guess my feeling that the Cubs might win this game was a little off.

Scales makes a nice play on Counsell to end the inning.

But the damage was done. 6 runs on 6 hits and after 7 it is now 9-2 Brewers

Top 8th

If anyone is in the Milwaukee area this weekend, the Piggly Wiggly has a sale on Tombstone Pizza. 4 for $10. I think that is a pretty good deal.

Jorge Julio is on to pitch for the Brewers so this game isn’t over yet.

That’s what you want to see from your reliever if you are Ken Macha. Up 9-2 and Julio walks the first batter. Good times if you are Macha. Fontenot on 1st.

Julio redeems himself by stricking out Scales.

Aaron Miles comes up to bat for Patton. Miles hits a ball up the middle but Weeks slides to his right, backhands the ball and flips to Hardy for the force out. Great play by Weeks.

Soriano gets a broken bat single down the left field line. Miles goes to 3rd and it’s 1st and3rd with 2 outs.

Julio drills Theriot right in the ribs. That is going to leave a mark in the morning. Bases loaded now for the Cubs.

Julio throws a 55 ft slider in the dirt that gets by Kendell. Fontenot scores to make it 9-3 Brewers.

Like I said, this game isn’t over yet. Fukudome crushes one to center for a 2 run double. It is now 9-5 Brewers. I am sorry, but if you can’t protect a 9-2 lead, you shouldn’t be pitching in the major leagues.

Big Todd Coffey is on to pitch. Well this is strange. The lights just went out at Miller Park. Half the stadium lights went off. Great, only when I am blogging does stuff like this happen.

Right now the game is delayed. Faaaaaaaaaaantastic.

Well, that wasn’t so bad. We are back and so are the Cubs’ bats. Bradley hits one to deeeeeeeeep center for a double. Fukudome scores to make it 9-6.

Coffey strikes out Hoffpauir to end the inning.

The Cubs are trying to make a comeback as they score 4 runs to make it a 9-6 game

Bottom 8th

Chad Fox is the next pitcher out for the Cubs. Really? Chad Fox? These are desperate times for the Cubs.

Glallardo got the win on Saturday

Gallardo got the win on Saturday

Braun walks to lead off the inning. Your team just scores 4 runs to make it 9-6 and you walk the first batter of the inning. Unreal. A wild pitch advances Braun to 2nd.

Fox, who is coming back from 2 Tommy John surgeries, throws 3 pitches to Fielder and has to come out of the game. Looks like he hurt his arm again. Perhaps that was the last pitch in Fox’s career. 

Aaron Heilman will take over for Fox. Right now every Met’s fan reading this just cringed. Heilman coming in with a 3-0 count walks Fielder. That walk will be charged to Fox.

Hardy walks and now the bases are loaded. Piniella looks about as happy as Mets’ fans looked when they saw Heilman enter the game.

Oh boy. Heilman just walked Hart to force in a run. Braun scores to make the score 10-6. Still nobody out.

Duffy single to center and Fielder scores to make it 11-6 Brewers. I don’t think Heilman is winning any brownie points with Piniella at this point.

Kendell hits a sacrafice fly to right that scores Hardy. 12-6 Brewers.

Coffey down on strikes. 2 outs

Weeks strikes out to thankfully end this inning. That was brutal to watch.

The Brewers tack on 3 more to make it 12-6 after 8.

Top 9th

Soto starts the 9th with a single to left. This game is now 4 hours long. Good times.

Fontenot grounds into a 4-6-3 double play. Nicely turned by Weeks and Hardy. 2 outs.

Scales lines one to center that Duffy dives for and traps. A single for Scales. This game will never end.

Reed Johnson enters the game as a pinch hitter. Braun makes a diving catch in left to end the game.

The Brewers win this marathon 12-6. With this win the Brewers improve to 18-13, while the Cubs fall to 16-14. If the Cubs want to win the NL Central or even compete for a wild card they better get their bullpen in order because right now it’s terrible.

I would also like to wish all the mothers out there a Happy Mother’s Day!!! Or to take a page out of Ralph Kiner’s book….On mother’s day, I again wish you a happy birthday.

Diamondbacks vs Giants…

April 20, 2009

With the news that Randy Johnson is working on a 3rd no-hitter, I thought I would jump in and do a live blog of the Big Unit’s attempt at making history yet again. We pick up the game with the Giants leading 1-0 in the top of the 7th inning.

Game – Diamondbacks vs Giants

Date – 4/19/09

Starting Lineups

Diamondbacks

1. Ojeda, SS

2. Byrnes, LF

3. Lopez, 2B

4. T. Clark, 1B

5. C. Young, CF

6. J. Upton, RF

7. Roberts, 3B

8. Snyder, C

9. Scherzer, P

Giants

1. Lewis, LF

2. Burriss, 2B

3. Winn, RF

4. Molina, C

5. Rowand, CF

6. Sandoval, 3B

7. Ishikawa, 1B

8. Renteria, SS

9. Johnson, P

Top 7th

So we pick up the game in the top of the 7th. Johnson has thrown 65 pitches threw 6.

Can you freakin believe this?? The first pitch Johnson throws to Augie Ojeda, Ojeda hits a double down the left field line. Unreal, talk about a jinx.

Byrnes lays down a beautiful bunt down the third base line but Sandoval is there to throw him out. The bunt moves Ojeda to third.

With the infield playing in, Lopez hits a sharp grounder to Renteria. Renteria holds the runner a 3B and gets the out at first.

After falling behind 2-0, Johnson throws 3 wicked sliders to Clark and strikes him out.

I really can’t believe as soon as I start to cover this game, Johnson loses the no-hitter.

Johnson was going for no-hitter #3 on Sunday

Johnson was going for no-hitter #3 on Sunday

Bottom 7th

Fred Lewis goes down on strikes. Giants still lead 1-0. I feel every game they have is either 2-1 or 1-0. I guess that should be expected when your cleanup hitter is Bengie Molina and your home ballpark has a CF fence that is 600 ft away from home plate.

Burriss lines out to right, 2 outs. That brings up Randy Winn. I have always liked Winn, one of the more underrated players in the game. I am on point today because just as I write this, Winn whiffs on 3 pitches.

I am definitely not playing the Lotto today.

After 7, it is still 1-0 Giants

Top 8th

I just flipped on the Royals vs Rangers game and Kyle Farnsworth blows another one for the Royals. Someone should just punch Trey Hillman in the face when he says “warm up Farnsworth.”

Bobby Howry in to replace the Big Unit. The Dbacks must be thrilled that Johnson is out of the game. 7 innings, 1 hit and 7 K’s for Johnson. Not a bad day at the office

Chris Young pops up to Renteria at short. 1 out

Howry just threw a wicked slider to Upton, 1-2. Upton works the count to 3-2. They just showed a panoramic view of AT&T Park. Man, is that stadium beautiful. Upton whiffs on a 3-2 fastball on the outside corner. 2 outs.

Chad Tracy comes to the plate as a pinch hitter for the pitcher Rodriguez. Tracy pops up to 3rd to end the inning.

3 up, 3 down and we head to the bottom of the 8th with the Giants still leading 1-0.

Bottom 8th

Jon Rauch is in to the game for the Dbacks and is promptly greeting by a Molina single to left.

2 batters faced by Rauch, 2 singles as Rowand singles to left. Bob Melvin makes the signal to the pen to bring in the lefty Schoeneweiss. Every Mets is laughing right now.

Up comes Pablo Sandoval and he comes to the plate with “Shipping up to Boston” playing in the background. Huh? Sandoval rips a single to left. Bases loaded with nobody out. 3 batters and 3 singles to left.

Bob Melvin out again to make another pitching change. Shocker games last 3 and a half hours now a days.

Tony Pena comes into the game. Kind of begs the question why didn’t Pena start the inning?

Aurillia who was pinch hitting for Ishikawa hits into a 6-4-3 double play. Molina scores and makes it 2-0. That ball was hit hard enough where Ojeda, even though he was playing back,  could have gotten Molina at home.

Well Pena does his job as Renteria grounds out to Ojeda to end the inning.

But the Giants do add a run to make 2-0 heading into the 9th inning.

Top 9th

Brian Wilson is on to close the game for the Giants. This is Wilson’s 3rd game in a row so it wouldn’t shock me if Wilson wasn’t sharp today.

Wilson strikes out Snyder and a great fastball on the inside corner. Nothing Snyder could do there, just a perfect pitch.

Mark Reynolds flies out weakly to right. 2 outs

Ojeda grounds to SS to end the game. Well, Wilson was anything but not sharp. He just mowed down the dbacks hitters in the 9th.

So the Giants win 2-0 and improve to 4-8 and the Diamondbacks fall to 4-8. But the story of the game was Randy Johnson and his attempt at a 3rd no-hitter. Johnson pitched 6 innings of no-hit baseball but gave up a hit to Ojeda in the 7th. Johnson settles for the win and this is win #296 in the career of Randy Johnson.

Red Sox vs Angels…

April 12, 2009

With the rain coming down in the Big Apple and me stuck inside the apartment, I thought it would be a good time to do another live game blog. Today’s game blog will cover the Red Sox vs Angels.

Game – Red Sox vs Angels

Date – 4/11/09

Starting Lineups

Red Sox

1. Ellsbury, CF

2. Pedroia, 2B

3. Ortiz, DH

4. Youkilis, 1B

5. Baldelli, RF

6. Bay, LF

7. Lowell, 3B

8. Lowrie, SS

9. Varitek, C

Starting Pitcher – Penny

Angels

1. Figgins, 3B

2. Kendrick, 2B

3. Abreu, RF

4. Vlad, DH

5. Hunter, CF

6. Morales, 1B

7. Rivera, LF

8. Napoli, C

9. Aybar, SS

Starting Pitcher – Saunders

Top 1st

First pitch of the game on a gorgeous day in Anaheim, ball 1. The Sox are going with their new road jerseys. They look like the road jerseys from 86 except there is a Red Sox sock logo patch on the sleeve and the player’s names are on the back.

Ellsbury ropes a 3-2 fastball for a single to CF. With the Sox offense struggling they need Ellsbury to get going. On the first pitch to Pedroia, Ellsbury steals second.

Saunders has fallen behind 2-0 to both Ellsbury and Pedroia. Never good when you throw 85 mph. Pedroia, on a 3-1 pitch flies weakly to Abreu in RF. Not a very good AB to be honest. Need to get that runner over to 3rd.

Ellsbury gets picked off second base. I have no idea what Ellsbury was thinking? You have a lefty batter at the plate and you try to steal 3rd?

So after the Sox have a runner on 2nd with nobody out, they fail to push a run across as Ortiz grounds out to 1st. Inning over.

0-0 with the Angels coming to the plate.

Bottom 1st

Penny making his Red Sox debut takes the mound. I think the Sox will be happy if they can get 5 out of Penny today. Good start to his Red Sox career as he walks Figgins on 5 pitches.

Right off the bat Figgins steals 2nd. Runner on 2nd with nobody out. Kendrick playing great team baseball, hits a grounder to 2nd which pushes Figgins to 3rd. That is why year in and year out the Angels are so tough. They always do the little things.

Abreu grounds to 2nd and Figgins scores. 1-0 Angels. So the leadoff walk comes back to haunt Penny.

Vlad smokes one to 3rd but Lowell, showing he still can field with the best of them, smothers the ball and throws a bullet to 1st to get Vlad. 3 outs.

So after 1 full inning it is the Angels 1 and the Red Sox 0.

Top 2nd

Youkilis draws a leadoff walk to start the 2nd. For the 2nd inning in a row the Sox have their leadoff hitter on base. Baldelli batting 5th in the Sox lineup, not sure why he is hitting before Bay.

Baldelli bloops one to right and it is 1st and 2nd with nobody out.

Bay hits a lazy fly ball to CF and Hunter catches it. 1 out. Terrible AB by Bay. Looked like he had no game plan at the plate.

Lowell grounds into a 6-4-3 double play. For the 2nd inning in a row the Sox have the runner on 2nd with nobody out and they don’t score. Someone needs to check Francona’s blood pressure.

Bottom 2nd

Penny hitting 94 on the gun K’s Hunter. Penny hit 91+ on all his fastballs to Hunter.

Penny throws what seemed like a wicked splitter to Morales and Morales grounds to 1B. Youkilis flips to Penny for the 2nd out.

Penny hit 95 on the gun on an 0-1 count to Rivera. Penny is getting in the groove. Rivera grounds out to Lowell and the inning is over.

After 2 in the books it’s 1-0 Angels.

Top 3rd

Lowrie who was up 3-1 in the count gets beat with a 90 mph and fouls it off. On a fastball count, you shouldn’t be beat with a mediocre fastball. Lowrie works a walk and for the 3rd inning in a row, the Sox have the leadoff runner on.

It’s Varitek’s 37th birthday today. That sound you hear is Scott Boras creating a war and peace sized binder of all the catchers who have had career years over the age of 37. And on that note, Varitek flies to 2nd. I just once wish Francona would bunt with Varitek.

Announcer Kenny Albert just pointed out the Red Sox have lost 9 straight regular season games to the Angels. Unfortunately for Angels fans, Mike Scioscia turns into a pumpkin come playoff time against them.

Ellsbury grounds into a double play to end the inning. Make it 3 innings in a row, the Red Sox get their leadoff hitter on and don’t score. You have to wonder how long Saunders can keep dodging bullets.

Bottom 3rd

On the 1st pitch of the inning, Mike Napoli crushes one to left-center for a HR. 2-0 Angels.

Aybar flies weakly to CF. 1 out. Figgins, attempting to bunt pops up to Varitek. 2 outs.

Kendrick bounces one up the middle for a 2 out hit. Penny should have caught that. I am going to guess and say Penny is not the best of fielders on the mound.

Penny on this AB to Abreu keeps looking at his finger. I wonder if he is starting to develop a blister. Abreu walks, 2 on with 2 out for Vlad.

Vlad hits a HIGH fly ball to center but Ellsbury is under it and the inning is over.

2-0 Angels after 3.

Top 4th

Pedroia grounds weakly to 2nd and there is 1 out. There is ZERO spark in this Red Sox lineup right now.

The Monster Formally Known As David Ortiz K’s on a pitch about 6 inches outside. When things are going bad, they are going bad.

Youkils lines out to Hunter and on just 7 pitches the inning is over. The Red Sox are really grinding out those ab’s today.

Bottom 4th

Oh my lord. Jason Bay just made an unbelievable catch. He went back to the wall, the ball bounces off his glove, juggles the ball and makes the catch. How the ball didn’t hit the wall is beyond me. Torri Hunter hit that by the way. 1 out.

Penny still throwing 95 in the 4th which is a good sign for the Red Sox. Only 51 pitches too. Morales ropes one to center for a single.

Rivera grounds into a pitcher’s best friend…A 4-6-3 double play.

2-0 Angels after complete at the Big A.

Top 5th

On a side note, I just mentioned the Big A in Anaheim. For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, check out the New K in Kansas City. The Royals made $250MM in renovations to Kaufmann Stadium and it looks amazing.

Baldelli flies out to right on the 1st pitch. Seriously, way to grind out those ab’s.

Kenny Albert just mentioned that Bay has the 4th most HR’s of any Canadian born player. That is like having the 4th most goals as an American in soccer. Bay works a walk. That is one great thing about Bay, after usually looking clueless on his 1st ab, he does a great job of adjusting in his later ab’s.

Lowell just smokes one over the LF fence for a 2 run HR. Wow that was a frozen rope. Game tied at 2. Lowell definitely uses Just For Men. He was grayer than Jack’s dad on Lost last year and now there is no gray. Keith Hernandez would be proud.

Lowrie flies out to right for the 2nd out. Varitek singles off the glove of Aybar.

Ellsbury grounds to Kendrick to end the inning.

So Lowell’s HR ties it at 2 headed into the bottom of the 5th.

Bottom 5th

On the 9th pitch of the AB, Mike Napoli goes yard again!!! Man is Napoli strong. 3-2 Angels.

Napoli went yard twice

Napoli went yard twice

Aybar hit a one-hopper to Pedroia, Pedroia dives to his right, gets up and makes the play. That is why he is the MVP, great play. 1 out.

I think Penny might be on his last legs. Figgins doubles down the left field line. All 3 batter have hit the ball hard this inning.

Now Kendrick smokes one to right but Baldelli is there to make the catch. Figgins advances to 3rd with 2 outs.

Penny induces (dying to use that word) Abreu to ground to Lowrie to end the inning.

Figgins is stranded at 3rd but the Angels retake the lead on a Napoli HR. 3-2 Angels after 5.

Top 6th

Pedroia flies out to deep left center and there is 1 out. In Fenway that is a double but at Angels Stadium it is a long out.

Ortiz hits a rope to CF, but Hunter is there again to make the catch. 2 Torii Hunter catches, 2 outs.

Youkilis flies out to right and the Sox go down quietly in the 6th. That was a pretty pathetic inning. I don’t even think Saunders broke a sweat.

Bottom 6th

Wow, I can’t believe Penny is still in there. I would have 100% thought Penny was done after last inning.

Vlad pops out to Pedroia for the 1st out.

Amazing, the Angels have a guy coming off a shoulder injury who was laboring last inning and they go up there hacking. Hunter swings at the 1st pitch and grounds to Lowell for the 2nd out. 3 pitches as 2 outs. I know it is not the Angels philosophy to takes pitches, but this is ridiculous.

Penny whiffs Morales on a 95 mph fastball to end the inning. A very, very impressive inning for Penny.

6 innings, 5 hits and 3 runs given up by Penny. The Sox will take that any day of the week. Penny is still down however, 3-2.

Top 7th

Baldelli beats out an infield hit and has 2 singles on the day.

Bay hits a line drive 2 run HR, right over the fence in LF. Again, Bay always adjusts after the 1st ab. 4-3 Red Sox.

Lowell hits a hard 1-hopper to Figgins and despite the high throw, he throws out Lowell who was crawling to 1st.

Lowrie K’s and is now 1-17 on the season. Way to hold off Lugo Jed.

Fox just shows an Albert Pujols grand slam off of Roy Oswalt. I didn’t keep Oswalt in one of my Keeper League’s because of the WBC factor. Looks like a smart decision so far.

Varitek doubles down the LF line. Scott Boras is giddy. Ellsbury swings at ball 4 and pops to Figgins to end the inning.

But a Jason Bay 2 run HR gives the Sox a 4-3 lead.

Bottom 7th

Ramon Ramirez, who has been sharp as a razor so far this season comes in to replace Penny. What a debut by Penny. 6 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 3 K’s and a chance for a W.

Penny had a solid debut

Penny had a solid debut

Ramirez on a nasty change, gets Rivera to ground out to Lowell for 1 out.

Up comes Mike Napoli who has been a one-man-gang for the Angels today. Boy can Napoli rake. He rips one past Lowell, down the line for a double. Napoli is now 3-3 on the day and every fantasy owner is checking their league to see if he is available.

Aybar flies out to shallow CF for the 2nd out.

Figgins swings at a pitch in the dirt and K’s to end the inning. The-one-man-gang Napoli is stranded on 2nd.

After 7 it is 4-3 Red Sox.

Top 8th

Kevin Jepsen is in to relieve Joe Saunders. Jepsen has a healthy 16.50 era heading into today’s action.

Pedroia grounds out to Kendrick for the 1st out.

The Monster Formally Known As David Ortiz flies out to shallow LF. Not sure what to make of Ortiz at this point in the season. Is he in a slump or is he in a major decline? I guess only time will tell.

Youkilis hits one to DEEP CF, but Hunter is there like he always is to make the catch.

Bottom 8th

In the 2nd surprising move by Francona (leaving Penny in to start the 6th was the 1st), Ramon Ramirez is out for his 2nd inning of work.

Kendrick flies out to the warning track in CF for the 1st out. Kendrick just missed that one.

Ramirez is throwing gas. He just painted a 94 mph fastball on the outside corner to Abreu for strike 1. Wow, there is something you don’t see everyday. On a 3-1 count, Abreu goes outside the strike zone and swings and misses.

Abreu hits a hard grounder to first, Youkilis dives for it, off his glove and with Pedroia backing Youkilis up, flips to Ramirez to get the out. Just your routine 3-4-1 out.

Francona goes to the mound and it looks like it will be Papelbon to come in to get a 4 out save. A 4 out save, somewhere Goose Gossage is smiling.

Fox just showed that Pujols hit his 2nd HR of the game and now has 7 RBI today against the Astros. Patting myself on the back right now for taking him with my 1st pick in my draft.

Vlad flies out to Bay to end the inning. That Papelbon vs Vlad confrontation lasted all of 2 pitches.

Still 4-3 Red Sox heading into the 9th.

Top 9th

Justin Speier replaces Jepsen. Speier signed a 4 year $18MM contract with the Angels back in 2006. I will check that off as a bad signing by the Angels.

Baldelli flies to left for the 1st out of the inning.

Bay has done it again. Another HR for Jason Bay and another HR right over the left field fence. 5-3 Red Sox.

Bay is talking to Smoltz about that HR. Smoltz is like the zen master. No matter what he says, it just makes sense.

Lowell swings at one over his head and somehow grounds the ball to SS. Aybar can roll the ball to 1st and still get Lowell. 2 outs.

Lowrie flies to CF for the 3rd out. Lowrie is now 1-18 on the season. Julio Lugo is excited. I wonder if Lugo poisoned Lowrie’s 5 hour energy drink and made it into a 30 minute energy drink?

Bottom 9th

Bay’s HR looms large now because Hunter just crushes one to right CF for a HR. What was more impressive about that HR is that the ball wasn’t even close to being a strike. 5-4 Red Sox.

Morales rips a double to right on an 0-2 pitch. This was the 2nd batter Papelbon had an 0-2 count on and couldn’t put them away. Reggie Willits is now on to pinch run for Morales.

Terrible AB by Rivera. Rivera grounds out to SS which doesn’t advance Willits. 1 out.

Now the-one-man-gang Napoli comes up. On a 2-1 slider Napoli swings and misses out of his shoes and the count is now 2-2.  3-2 now to Napoli, with 1st base open I would throw him a slider, make him chase one. Papelbon is on the same wave length but the slider misses and Napoli walks.

2 on, 1 out for Erik Aybar. Papelbon clearly doesn’t have his best stuff today. This inning has been a battle so far and there is still only 1 out.

Aybar K’s on a wicked, I mean wicked splitter in the dirt. 2 outs and up comes the pesky Chone Figgins.

Papelbon is now down 3-0 to Figgins. A walk puts the potential winning run on 2nd for the Angels. Figgins walks on 4 pitches and they weren’t even close. I am not sure if Papelbon has anything left to get out Kendrick.

Papelbon has thrown 2 beautiful sliders on the outside corner to quickly go up 0-2. Kendrick is battling as he has fouled off 2 tough fastballs from Papelbon. Another foul on a fastball. 0-2, I would throw a slider on the outer-half of the plate. Slider on the outer-half and Kendrick fouls it off. My lord, another foul.

Papelbon up to 34 pitches now. 35 pitches has he fouls another off. 36 pitches on ANOTHER foul.

And on the 37th pitch of the inning, Kendrick flies out to Baldelli to end the game. What a battle. I am guessing we won’t be seeing Papelbon for a couple of days.

Penny gets his first win of the season and his 1st win as a member of the Boston Red Sox. Papelbon gets his 2nd save of the season and Red Sox end a 3 game losing streak to run their record to 2-3 on the season.

On the other side, Saunders gets the loss and drops his record to 1-1 on the young season. The loss drops the Angels to a 2-3 record as well.

Hope everyone enjoyed the live analysis and I just wanted to wish all who celebrate a Happy Easter!!!

USA vs Netherlands…

March 16, 2009

I would like to introduce a new category on The Ghost of Moonlight Graham called Inside The Lines. I am going to a do a running blog during select games and the idea is to give analysis of a game or games as they happen.

Since tonight is an elimination game for Team USA, I thought I would start the category off with tonight’s USA vs Netherlands tilt.

Starting Lineups

Netherlands

1. Kingsale, CF

2. Decaster, 2B

3. Simon, 1B

4. De Jong, DH

5. Engelhardt, LF

6, Rooi, 3B

7. Van’t Klooster, RF

8. Jansen, C

9. Schoop, SS

Van Den Hurk, P

USA

1. Rollins, SS

2. Roberts, 2B

3. Jeter, DH

4. Youkilis, 1B

5. Wright, 3B

6. Dunn, RF

7. Braun, LF

8. Iannetta, C

9. Granderson, CF

Oswalt, P

Top 1st

Oswalt comes out firing with 4 straight fastballs and K’s Kingsale to lead off the game. Solid start for Oswalt. Oswalt looks to have good velocity as all 4 pitches were in the mid-90’s.

Oswalt gets the Netherlands 1-2-3 as Braun makes a sliding catch to rob Simon of a base hit to end the first.

Bottom 1st

Not sure I get USA’s lineup. Jeter batting 3rd? Braun batting 7th? It appears Davey Johnson had to adjust his lineup due to a Chipper Jones injury. Jones will miss the rest of the WBC with an oblique strain.

After a Jimmy Rollins pop-up, the new man on the team, Brian Roberts ropes a single to right. With Jeter up maybe a hit and run right here.

Jeter walks, runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out for Youkilis. No hit and run which is not surprising since Davey Johnson is a wait for the 3 run HR manager. Van Den Hurk was clearly rattled by the threat of Roberts stealing 2nd. Van Den Hurk right now is all over the place. 2-0 to Youkilis and already up to 22 pitches for the inning. Van Den Hurk walks Youkilis. Bases loaded and 1 out for Wright.

On the first pitch Wright gets a sac fly to right. Roberts scores to make it 1-0 USA. Though Wright got a sac fly, I disagree with his approach. Van Den Hurk just walked 2 guys in a row and Wright goes up there and swings at the 1st pitch. A little baffling.

Dunn goes down swinging to end the 1st. Good 1st inning for Team USA.

Top 2nd

De Jong singles up the middle to get the inning started. Oh man what a great play by Rollins to start the double play. Dives to his left, backhand flips to Roberts and Roberts fired to Youkilis to turn the double play.

On the very next pitch, Dunn tracks a ball down and runs into the bullpen wall to make the catch. USA flashing some leather in the 2nd. Through 2 innings Oswalt has thrown less than 20 pitches. Looking good.

Bottom 2nd

Braun starts off the inning with a solid single to left. ESPN just showed the crowd at Dolphin Stadium. It looks like there is maybe 10,000 in the stands. Pretty disappointing crowd. Besides the obvious answer of weather, I question why baseball would put games in Miami? The Marlins don’t draw so why would the WBC?

Braun gets gunned down trying to steal 2nd on a rediculous throw by Jansen. He threw out Braun from his knees. Great throw.

After an Iannetta strike out, Van’t Klooster misplays a ball in right and Granderson ends up on 2nd. Good hustle by Granderson.

Rollins just crushes one to right field. 3-0 USA. Van Den Hurk threw a mediocre 2-1 fastball down the middle and Rollins crushed it.

Roberts hits a frozen rope down the right field line. So far the addition of Roberts is paying off as he is 2-2.  Jeter grounds out to SS to end the inning.

3-0 USA after 2.

Top 3rd

Oswalt just made Van’t Klooster look really silly. Struck him out on 3 pitches. 1st an error in right and now a K on 3 pitches. Rough night so far for Van’t Klooster.

Netherlands SS, Schoop is 0-18 in the WBC. Do they not have a backup? Make it 0-19 as he strikes out on a nasty curve ball from Oswalt.

Kingsale singles and now it is 1st and 2nd with 2 outs for the Netherlands. Decaster singles sharply to right and now the bases are loaded with 2 outs.

Randall Simon is swinging out of his shoes right now. He is either going to hit one 450 ft or K. He does neither and pops up to Rollins. With the Netherlands offense struggling, that might have been their best opportunity to score.

Bottom 3rd

Juan Carlos Sulbaran replaces Van Den Hurk. This kid is 19 and will be facing Youkilis, Wright and Dunn. When I was 19, I was barely passing an accounting class.

After a Youkilis ground out, Wright rips a single to left. It looks like Wright has got his stroke down. Has hit the ball solid twice tonight.

Dunn hits a rare ground ball but is able to beat out the double play with some nice hustle. Dunn is proving JP Ricciardi wrong by the game.

Braun flies out to center and it is still 3-0 USA after 3.

Top 4th

De Jong hits a soft grounder to 3rd but for some reason Wright nonchalantly throws to first and throws the ball into the ground. Not sure why Wright did that…E5.

A little dribbler in front of home plate and Iannetta throw a pea to first to nail Engelhardt. De Jong advances to 2nd.

Van’t Klooster hits a squibber between 3rd and SS and beats out the throw from Wright. Runners on 1st and 3rd with 2 out. For the second straight inning the Netherlands is threatening. Oswalt is already up to 68 pitches, so if anything, at least they are making Oswalt work.

Oswalt throws a nasty curve to strike out Jansen to get out of the inning. Hawkins was warming up so I am wondering if Oswalt is done for the night. At 70 pitches, I am sure the Astros are hoping that Oswalt doesn’t push himself.

Bottom 4th

I love this Tim Lincecum commercial for 2K9 Baseball. Very well done.

Iannetta starts off the inning with a walk. He is slowly becoming one of my favorite players in the game.

Rollins is hitting the cover off the baseball as he triples to the gap in CF. Kingsale played that pretty poorly but none the less, a rocket by Rollins scores Iannetta. 4-0 USA. Rollins now has a triple and a HR, the 2 hardest parts of a cycle. I am just sayin.

Netherlands has the infield in with Roberts at the plate, who has hit 2 ropes tonight. Good luck with that Mr. Infielder. With the infield in, Roberts decides to hit over everyone with a 400 ft shot off the wall in CF. Roberts triple scores Rollins. 5-0 USA. Roberts now has a triple, double and a single. He needs a HR for the cycle. I am just sayin.

The Netherlands is going to the pen and it looks like the clock is going to strike midnight for this cinderella story. Michiel Van Kampen is now in for the Netherlands. This guy might have the most hurky-jerky delivery I have ever scene. He reminds me a little of Oakland A’s and Team USA pitcher, Brad Ziegler.

After a Jeter walk, Youkilis hits a soft grounder to SS but the Netherlands can’t turn two as Youkilis hustles down the line. Roberts comes in to score and it is 6-0 USA.

Wright grounds out to end the inning and after 4 it is 6-0 USA. USA is playing with a sense of urgency that I have not seen them play with before in this WBC.

Top 5th

LaTroy Hawkins comes in and replaces Oswalt. Good effort from Oswalt who grinded out 4 innings without his best stuff.

ESPN is interviewing Bert Blyleven who is the Netherlands pitching coach. I am sure at some point during this interview Blyleven is going to complain about not getting into the Hall of Fame.

Hawkins sets the Netherlands down 1-2-3. You know things are going well when Hawkins breezes through an inning.

Bottom 5th

David Bergman is now in for the Netherlands and is greeted by an Adam Dunn rope to RF.

Bergman is getting smoked as Braun rips a ball to left. My guy Iannetta bloops a single to left and now the bases are loaded. Netherlands right now is playing like they are a bunch of Triple-A players.

Just when I say that Randall Simon makes a great play to throw out Dunn at home. Simon threw the ball from his back and the ball rolled to home. The fact that he was able to get the ball to home was pretty remarkable.

Rollins hits a sac fly to CF to score Braun. 7-0 USA and Rollins now has 4 rbi on the night.

Diegomar Markwell is in for the Netherlands. Since Markwell is a lefty, that will force Roberts to turn it around and bat righty. With Roberts going for the cycle, Markwell throws 4 pitches out of the strike zone. Bases loaded with Jeter coming to the plate.

Jeter is really having a battle with Markwell. Fouling off pitch after pitch. After a long AB, Jeter grounds to 3rd and leaves the bases loaded.

7-0 USA after 5.

Top 6th

Scot Shields is in for Team USA. Dave O’Brien and Rick Sutcliffe were talking about how important Shields is to the Angels bullpen and Sufcliffe wonders who is going to close for the Angels now that Krod left. Umm memo to Sutcliffe, the Angels signed Brian Fuentes in the offseason.

Shields is getting roped. After 2 hard hit singles, Wright makes a diving play at 3rd and throws out the runner at 1st. That play probably saved a run.

2 outs now with runners on 1st and 2nd.

Shields is able to get out of the jam and the Netherlands can’t score again. You can start to see the look of defeat on the faces of Team Netherlands.

Bottom 6th

Leon Boyd is in the game for the Netherlands. He has been the Netherlands closer throughout the tournament but with the Netherlands down 7-0, there is no reason to save him for the 9th.

Adam Dunn is a horse!!! Dunn hits a big-fly over the CF fence to make it 8-0 USA. Man is Dunn strong. He just flicked his wrists and the ball went 400 ft.

Other than the Dunn moon shot, USA went down pretty quietly against Boyd. 8-0 USA after 6.

Top 7th

Brad Ziegler becomes the 4th pitcher for Team USA. Ziegler doesn’t throw hard (1st pitch 74 mph) but his sidearm delivery makes for a deceptive motion.

After getting the 1st out, Ziegler allows back to back singles. It seems like the Netherlands has gotten runners on every inning but has not been able to push anything through. Maybe they can push one through in this inning.

Decaster smacks a double to RF and the Netherlands finally pushes across a run. 8-1 now USA. Runners now on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. Ziegler just doesn’t look right out there. It almost seems like he is trying to push the ball instead of throw it.

Ziegler gets out of the inning without further damage due to the nice recovery by Rollins to throw out de Jong at 1st. Rollins bobbled the ball, stuck with it and fired a rocket to get the out. Nice play.

8-1 USA headed into the bottom of the 7th.

Bottom 7th

19 year old Dennis Neuman is in for the Netherlands. Neuman is property of the Boston Red Sox and seems to have a pretty live arm. For a kid in rookie ball, this must be a pretty amazing experience for Neuman.

With Granderson at 1st and 2 outs, Brian Roberts is coming to the plate with a chance to hit for the cycle. This will probably be his last chance. Roberts didn’t get anything he liked and took a walk. What a great night for Roberts, 3-3 with 2 walks, 2 runs scored and 1 rbi. Not a bad debut.

Jeter grounds to 3rd and after 7 it is 8-1 USA

Top 8th

Marlins pitcher, Matt Lindstrom is now in for Team USA and is promtly greeted by a HR by Engelhardt. 8-2 now USA.

WOW!! Lindstrom just threw one at 95 mph behind Rooi. The Netherlands is hot!!! That pitch was definetly on purpose.  I guess Lindstrom didn’t like the way Engelhardt admired his HR from home plate. I like this from the Netherlands. They won’t be bullied around by the USA and they won’t go down without a fight.

Both benches were warned which is a pretty dumb thing umpires do. I believe the team who is being thrown at should have a chance to retaliate with no repercussions. With a warning, that opportunity is taken away.

Lindstrom has really incited the Netherlands. They are all up on the bench and it wouldn’t surprise me if despite the warning, someone in the USA lineup gets plunked.

The Netherlands pushes across another run to make 8-3. All of a sudden, the Netherlands is learning how to hit.

Uh oh, Davey Johnson and the trainer come to the mound to check on Lindstrom. Apparently there is an injury. Such a weird outing for Lindstrom. He gives up a bomb, throws behind someone, gives up another run and now is being taken out of the game because of injury. 

John Grabow comes on to replace Lindstrom with 2 outs and a runner on 2nd. Grabow comes in and walks Kingsale. You are up by 5 runs, stop putzing around and just throw the ball down the middle.

Grabow gets out of the inning without further damage and after an eventful top of the 8th, USA leads 8-3.

Bottom 8th

Berry Van Driel is now pitching for the Netherlands. Let’s see if he throws at someone. It would shock me if he didn’t because right now he looks like a man possessed.

He didn’t throw at Youkilis, instead he threw 4 pitches nowhere near inside and walked him.

McCann pinch hitting for Braun doubles off the wall and scores Youkilis. 9-3 USA. Iannetta flies out to right and leaves McCann at 2nd.

So nobody was thrown at and we go to the top of the 9th with USA leading 9-3.

Bottom 9

Apparently Team USA is short of LF’s, so Brian McCann will stay in the game and play LF. According to Dave O’Brien, McCann has never played LF in either the minors or majors. I am sure the Braves are beyond thrilled McCann is doing this.

Jonathon Broxton is on to close the game for Team USA. Broxton is throwing heat. His last pitch was 98 mph. Another pitch at 99 mph. Another pitch at 99 mph. This is silly.

Broxton gets Engelhardt to ground to SS to end the game and Team USA wins 9-3 and stays off elimination for at least 1 more game.

Koudos to the Netherlands who nobody believed would make it this far. Outside of tonight, they pitched well, fielded well and really impressed me with how they played the game. The goal of this tournament is to increase the popularity of baseball across the world and in the Netherlands, the sport of baseball has never been more popular.