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I Saw A Game At Wrigley: The Weekend’s Scores That Matter [WMQ]
Jun 21st, 2010 by Dan

The Chicago Bean

I wasn't at the Bean, but it's also in Chicago. My photos aren't uploaded yet.

Lots of action this weekend, including a game I attended in the Friendly Confines that will not be mentioned because I don’t cover the Cubs or the Angels.

18 June

NPB
Yakult Swallows at Hiroshima Carp. Rain delayed.

Rakuten Eagles at Chiba Lotte Marines. Rain delayed.

MLB
Chicago White Sox (2) at Washington Nationals (1). Strasburg went out for his second home outing and pitched another stellar game, allowing only one over seven innings and striking out another 10. This kid is insane. The game is lost on a bad throw in the 11th, and Strasburg gets his first no decision.

Tampa Bay Rays (4) at Florida Marlins (7). I turn off my Rays switch again to root for another great Marlins game. I’m super bummed I missed it, but this game had Mike Stanton’s first home run and boy was it a doozy. First homers don’t get any better than grand slams.

Baltimore Orioles (2) at San Diego Padres (3). The Padres are the biggest surprise this year. The Orioles, not so much.

19 June

NPB
Swallows (1) at Carp (5). The Carp have to wait a day to kick off non-interleague play, but they come out with a bang. It’s no surprise Yakult’s score is so low, it was a Kenta Maeda start. That guy is a monster.

Eagles (3) at Marines (0). Iwakuma returns to form against the PL as he blanks the hard-hitting Marines.

MLB
White Sox (1) at Nationals (0). Jake Peavy throws an incredible game and the Nats just keep on losing and sliding down.

Rays (9) at Marlins (8). A wild game that went into extras was blown by Jorge Sosa walking in two in the 11th. The Marlins came within one, but couldn’t tack that final one down.

Orioles (5) at Padres (4). Stop the presses, Kevin Milwood FINALLY got his first win of the season. Congrats, buddy, you didn’t deserve to go this long without one.

20 June

NPB
Eagles (1) at Marines (3). Rakuten went through with its plan to separate Tanaka and Iwakuma, but that means they won’t be winning back-to-back almost every Saturday and Sunday. Rakuten closes the weekend in fifth with a 30-34-1 record.

Swallows (4) at Carp (2). I hate losing to the Swallows. A lot. It’s especially bad when it’s all thanks to the bullpen. The Carp are now 26-35-2 in fourth

MLB
Rays (1) at Marlins (4). Price vs. Johnson was one of the best matchups of the weekend, but David was no match for the Fish while the Rays struggled against the Marlins ace. Way to go Florida, you’re now 33-36 in fourth while Tampa drops to 42-27, tied with Boston for second.

White Sox (6) at Nationals (3). The losing streak continues. It’s starting to get really ugly in Washington again. They are now 31-39 in last. Do they have any other rookie phenoms to call up?

Orioles (4) at Padres (9). 19-50. Yikes. Enough said.

Strasburg Pitches Again: The Weekend’s Scores That Matter [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Jun 14th, 2010 by Dan

Strasburg lineup card at Nationals Park

Strasburg pitched again and it wasn’t quite as magical, but part of that was due to a bad mound. He still has a sub 3.00 ERA (2.19) and struck out another eight. Rock on Strasburg.

11 June

NPB
Nada.

MLB
New York Mets (5) at Baltimore Orioles (1). Back-to-back series against the two New York teams can’t be good for Baltimore. R.A. Dickey brings the knuckleball back to confound the Orioles hitters.

Washington Nationals (2) at Cleveland Indians (7). Throwback jersey night does not go well for Luis Atilano. I bet that Atilano gets optioned soon (or goes when Chien-Ming Wang comes back up).

Florida Marlins (14) at Tampa Bay Rays (9). I hate it when the Rays lose, yet I love it when the Marlins win. I can tell that I’m a huge Marlins fan, because I was ecstatic to see them crushing the Rays. Tampa definitely has a potent offense to catch up, but the Fish proved to be too much. I think it’s great that Florida seems to have Tampa’s number a good portion of the time. I think this could develop into a real rivalry.

12 June

NPB
Hiroshima Carp (6) at Saitama Seibu Lions (2). There’s nothing better than having your team beat one of the best in the Pacific League. Kan Otake notches his first win for the season and the Carp actually see some power without Kurihara.

Yakult Swallows (4) at Rakuten Eagles (1). My two least favorite teams are the Swallows and the Lions. Hirohima did its part and beat Saitama, but Rakuten falls on an uncharacteristically bad night for Iwakuma, who gives up two earned runs.

MLB
Mets (3) at Orioles (1). I’m really starting to get fond of Hisanori Takahashi, even if he was a Giant back in Japan. He hurls seven innings and only gives up one. Nice work.

Nationals (1) at Indians (7). Fausto Carmona is having a real resurgence this year. He completely blanks the potent Washington offense while enjoying another seven-run game.

Marlins (5) at Rays (6). A real close one that came down to the wire, but Carlos Peña’s offense the past week has been red hot. Tough loss for Florida.

13 June

NPB
Carp (4) at Lions (2). Giancarlo Alvorado does his job over six to earn yet another win. Justin Huber, Kurihara’s DL replacement, even goes yard in Kenta’s honor. The Carp end the weekend at 25-34-2, good enough for fourth by 3.5.

Swallows (3) at Eagles (1). Tanaka gives up two in another uncharacteristically bad game to a team whose new manager is paying dividends. Rakuten’s record drops to 29-33-1, good enough for fifth.

MLB
Nationals (9) at Indians (4). If the Nationals bats awaken every time Strasburg comes out to toss, his record is going to balloon. He tosses 5.1 innings and ends up walking five, but I put part of the blame there on his super-shaky mound. The Nats record improves to 31-33, which is only good enough for last in the competitive NL East.

Mets (11) at Orioles (4). The Orioles get brutalized by the Mets, giving up four home runs, two of which went to David Wright. Their record is a miserable 17-46.

Marlins (6) at Rays (1). Chris Volstad and the Marlins serve up Jeff Niemann’s first loss of the season and I love it. Mike Stanton still hasn’t hit any home runs, but since he came up last week he’s been hitting a solid 0.368 with an OPS of 0.981. Not too bad. The power is definitely coming. Florida’s record improves to 31-32, barely edging out the Nats for fourth, while the Rays drop into a tie with the Yankees with their 40-23 record.

Swept By the Mets: The Weekend’s Scores That Matter [WMQ]
Jun 7th, 2010 by Dan

Shea Home Run Apple

The old Shea home run apple. I hate this thing.

My friend Lee has somehow got his girlfriend into baseball, probably by pure force of will. This would be great, except she’s a Mets fan now and she loves to trash talk each time the Mets beat the Marlins. Thanks, Lee.

4 June

NPB
Softbank Hawks (4) at Hiroshima Carp (5). A huge fourth inning, including two RBIs by Eric Stults, puts Hiroshima just far enough ahead to win the game.

Rakuten Eagles (12) at Yokohama BayStars (0). Rakuten’s bats awoke in a BIG way, with four home runs, three of which were solo shots, off of Yokohama.

MLB
Boston Red Sox (11) at Baltimore Orioles (0). Didn’t I already recap this game? Oh yeah, this is an MLB game. Juan Samuel’s managerial debut didn’t seem to go very well at all.

Cincinnati Reds (2) at Washington Nationals (4). Liván Hernández pitches what should have been a win, but the offense doesn’t pick up the pace until the 7th.

Florida Marlins (3) at New York Mets (4). Anibal gives up one too many and that was all the Mets needed.

Tampa Bay Rays (6) at Texas Rangers (9). Seems like every time Wade Davis gets above 0.500 with his record, he’s gotta lose one to make up for it. It’s not all that bad, though. Longo homered.

5 June

NPB
Hawks (9) at Carp (3). Takahiro Aoki had a tough day, giving up five in 3.2, dooming the Carp.

Eagles (5) at BayStars (4). A much more respectable effort by Yokohama. Also a surprisingly weak start by Iwakuma that is won thanks to a Randy Ruiz blast in the 9th.

MLB
Marlins (1) at Mets (6). The less said about this start the better. I wish Nate Robertson could only pitch against the Phillies.

Rays (1) at Rangers (6). The Rays slide continues. Lucky them that New York is having some difficulties too, but Boston is playing Baltimore. They need to step it up.

Red Sox (8) at Orioles (2). I’m only upset about this because it helps the Sox look respectable against the Rays.

Reds (5) at Nationals (1). Man, everyone had trouble today, didn’t they. It’s just a guess, but I think Atilano isn’t long for this rotation starting Tuesday when Strasburg comes up.

6 June

NPB
Eagles (10) at Yomiuri Giants (4). I always take great pleasure in seeing the Giants stomped, even if Ma-kun gave up an unprecedented three runs. This win streak is also great for a team that needs to start winning if it doesn’t want the NPB to fire all of its American coaches. Their record improves to 25-29-1. I can almost smell 0.500!

Orix Buffaloes (6) at Carp (1). So much for capitalizing on opportunities when the Giants lose. This disappointing loss puts their record at 21-31-1. 0.500 baseball is a long way off.

MLB
Marlins (6) at Mets (7). The Fish manage to screw up yet another Ricky Nolasco start and give the Mets a sweep and Yin something to goad about to me. Nice work, Marlins. You are now 28-30 in fourth.

Red Sox (3) at Orioles (4). Nick Markakis gets the walk-off win to salvage this series for Baltimore whose abysmal record improves to 16-41.

Reds (5) at Nationals (4). An extra innings loss. The Nats normally get much better relief work from Capps, but he’s been human the past few starts. They are in last with a 27-31 record.

Rays (9) at Rangers (5). Not Garza’s best stuff, but it gets the job done. Their record improves to 37-20, but New York and Boston are knocking on their door if they can’t hold it together.

Memorial Day: The Holiday Weekend’s Scores That Matter [WMQ]
Jun 1st, 2010 by Dan

leave the BBQing to the Aussies

I’m gonna blame Memorial Day weekend for making me forget that I was supposed to do this yesterday. All those barbecues were so good!

28 May

NPB
No games (with the Carp or Eagles)

MLB
Baltimore Orioles (0) at Toronto Blue Jays (5). Division rival mega match! Ok, I can’t keep a straight face on that one. The AL East’s two least interesting teams (to me) start a series that will inevitably bore me to death.

Philadelphia Phillies (3) at Florida Marlins (2). A close one that could have gone either way, really. Volstad gets the hard-luck loss.

Chicago White Sox (4) at Tampa Bay Rays (2). I’m so used to David Price being so amazing that it catches me by surprise when he loses. After the Alex Rios home run in the fourth the Rays couldn’t quite catch up.

Washington Nationals (5) at San Diego Padres (3). What should have been an unimportant series suddenly becomes an interesting one about two teams far outperforming expectations. Lannan notches the win and Capps notches another save.

29 May

NPB
Hiroshima Carp (2) at Rakuten Eagles (3). My teams face off yet again. Katsuhiro Nagakawa, fresh off the DL, gets the loss in a walk-off in the 10th. Hiroshima should still be proud after scoring two on Iwakuma.

MLB
Orioles (2) at Blue Jays (5). You know, the Jays are actually a really good team this year. It’s too bad that there are already three other good teams in the AL East.

Phillies (1) at Marlins (0). Oh my god, how did I miss this? Roy Halladay threw a perfect game and Josh Johnson served up a magnificent effort himself allowing only one unearned run. Why are Florida teams surrendering so many perfect games?!

White Sox (5) at Rays (8). Wade Davis finally gets himself another win. Way to go, rookie. PS: I hate the White Sox.

Nationals (2) at Padres (4). J.D. Martin takes the loss to a Padres team that’s hitting pretty well.

30 May

NPB
Carp (2) at Eagles (4). I love Ma-kun (Masahiro Tanaka) as much as the next guy, just not when he’s beating my team. Oh well. Hiroshima’s record is now 20-31-0 in fifth while Rakuten sports a 24-28-1 mark.

MLB
Orioles (1) at Blue Jays (6). The battle of the birds comes to a close with the Orioles (predictably) getting the series loss. The Orange Birds end the weekend at 15-36, but get a breather before moving on to the Yankees.

Phillies (0) at Marlins (1). After the Phillies blank the Fish, Florida comes back and blanks the Phils, but not with a perfect game like the night before. Anibal Sanchez was in his dominant form and the Fish struggled to put just one on the board against Jamie Moyer, as usual.

White Sox (8) at Rays (5). The Sox return the favor against Shields. Sad.

Nationals (2) at Padres (3). 11th inning walk-off loss. They can go either way at that point. Tough break for Washington.

31 May – Memorial Day

NPB
Nada.

MLB
Milwaukee Brewers (5) at Marlins (13). The Fish return to their hitting ways, and how! Cody Ross and Cameron Maybin both knock in some mashers and plenty of RBIs are scored. The Fish record sits at 26-26 in a three-way tie for third with the Mets and Nats.

Nationals (14) at Houston Astros (4). The Nats also got in a hitting mood. What a showing! As stated before, their record is 26-26.

Rays (2) at Blue Jays (3). Garza just couldn’t keep the Jays low enough to keep the win. The Rays are still in first with their 34-18 record, 4.5 up on the Yanks.

Feeling Kind of Sick Today: Yesterday’s Scores That Mattered [WMQ]
Apr 22nd, 2010 by Dan

Unrelated picture of Hanley Ramirez and his sweet glove.

I don’t feel very good today, but that won’t keep me from posting scores.

21 April

NPB
Hiroshima Carp (2) at Hanshin Tigers (1). I love seeing the Carp win the close ones. Hiroshima is 10-12-0 and only half a game away from third.

Chiba Lotte Marines (6) at Rakuten Eagles (0). Rakuten seems to only be able to put together solid performances a few times a week (notably when Iwakuma and Tanaka pitch). They won’t make the Climax Series this way. Rakuten falls to 9-16-0 and I’m quite frankly surprised that the Fighters are still doing worse.

MLB
Colorado Rockies (4) at Washington Nationals (6). Another game I was there for and the first Nats win I’ve seen in person this year. The Nats are now 8-7 and tied with Florida for third.

Florida Marlins (4) at Houson Astros (5). I thought this would be a much easier series for the Marlins, but they seem to keep dropping games to one of the worst teams in baseball. Pull it together Florida, you’re already tied with Washington with your 8-7 record.

Tampa Bay Rays (12) at Chicago White Sox (0). A nice drumming of my least favorite AL Central team. Tampa Bay rises to 11-4, half a game back from the first place Yankees.

Baltimore Orioles (1) at Seattle Mariners (4). As I predicted, King Felix held them down. Baltimore is down to 2-14 and still looking awful.

A Cold Night in Philadelphia: The Weekend’s Scores That Matter [WMQ]
Apr 19th, 2010 by Dan

The Phanatic likes to mess around with everyone, including reporters.

I spent a far-too-cold night at Citizens Bank Park freezing my butt off, but enjoying a Marlins victory over Fish-killer Jamie Moyer. A review of the park should be hitting soon, but I’ve got to finish writing it first.

16 April

NPB
Chunichi Dragons (3) at Hiroshima Carp (4). If I’m not mistaken, this one was won in extra innings. A thrilling victory for the Carp.

Rakuten Eagles (1) at Softbank Hawks (9). The losing streak continues

MLB
Florida Marlins (6) at Philadelphia Phillies (8). Roy Halladay throws 8 innings of 2-run baseball that’s almost ruined by his relief in the 9th. Florida doesn’t have enough to get the last two, but they make it interesting.

Milwaukee Brewers (3) at Washington Nationals (5). Is this a two-game win streak I smell?

Baltimore Orioles (2) at Oakland Athletics (4). It just gets uglier and uglier for the Os.

17 April

NPB
Dragons (7) at Carp (8). It’s always refreshing to see my other Fish manage so many runs. More late-inning heroics push Hiroshima up and give them the series win.

Eagles (8) at Hawks (3). The Golden Eagles have tons of run-scoring potential, but they’re often unable to get it done. When you’ve got Iwakuma and Ma-kun pitching Saturday and Sunday, respectively, you’d better score runs to capitalize on good pitching performances.

MLB
Brewers (0) at Nationals (8). Liván Hernández shows, once again, that he is still an amazing pitcher. I’ll never forget his performance for the Fish in 1997 and it makes me happy that he’s still going so strong. 3-game win streak for the Nats.

Orioles (3) at Athletics (4). More ugliness. How much longer will Dave Trembley have a job if things continue like this? Is there some unspoken Baltimore-Washington rule that one of the teams must be terrible?

Marlins (5) at Phillies (1). The game I was at. What a beauty. Good thing the Fish got to Jamie Moyer early, because the bats were mostly silent after the first inning.

Tampa Bay Rays (3) at Boston Red Sox (1). This game started on Friday, but was rain-delayed in the 9th inning at a 1-1 tie. It resumed and went for 12 before finally getting resolved in Tampa Bay’s favor.

Rays (6) at Red Sox (5). Should have been more of a blow-out for the Rays than it was, but Longoria’s home run turned out to be the difference.

18 April

NPB
Eagles (0) at Hawks (1). Masahiro Tanaka throws a gem of a game that the Hawks win with in the bottom of the 9th while Ma-kun tried to get his 27th out. It’s a shame that he goes for so many and his offense does squat for him. Rakuten finishes the week in fifth with 8-15-0 with a huge 8.5 game deficit.

Dragons (2) at Carp (4). Was this what I think it was? A series sweep by the Carp! Could this mean fortune is beginning to favor Hiroshima? The Carp close the weekend 9-11-0 in fourth and only three games back from first.

MLB
Marlins (2) at Phillies (0). Lefty Nate Robertson does what he was hired to do: kill Phillies left-handed hitters. The Marlins win yet another series and raise their standing to 8-5 putting them half a game back on the Phils.

Rays (7) at Red Sox (1). An amazing performance by Matt Garza puts the Rays ahead of the Sox yet again. If Tampa Bay can manage one more win in this long series, they’ve got themselves a sweep on their hands. Should they manage said sweep, it would be the second sweep of the Sox at Fenway in Rays history. The Rays are 9-3 and tied for first with the Yankees.

Brewers (11) at Nationals (7). Jason Marquis has the ugliest performance of his career, giving up seven runs in the first inning without recording an out. He’s pulled and the Nats give up three more. They make a strong comeback effort, but it’s not quite enough. They’re playing 0.500 baseball, folks, with a 6-6 record that puts then in fourth, but only two games back from Philadelphia. Also great is that they’re two games above New York. Fantastic baseball being played so far.

Orioles (8) at Athletics (3). The skid ends for Baltimore, but the damage has been done. Baltimore is only 2-11 and a gigantic (for this point in the season) 7.5 games back. Ouch.

Postseason Progress [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Oct 21st, 2009 by Dan

It’s time for Wednesday Morning Quarterback, your weekly sports round-up.

Things aren’t looking good for the Dodgers. Their supposed strong point, their bullpen, is being totally trashed by the brutal Phillies offense. In fact, their starting pitching, Kuroda excluded, has been their most dominant factor and the only thing that’s been keeping them afloat most of these games. Still, you can only blow so many leads before I stop believing that your team can actually put wins on the board. In fact, the Dodgers are nice and down three games to one with little hope of winning tonight to actually make this a series. Padilla will be pitching against Cole Hamels and, since Vicente is responsible for the only Dodgers win, this is really their last chance.

In American League news, the Yankees are totally annihilating the Angels. The games have all been close, sure, but the relentless Yankees lineup just won’t cut the Angels any slack. It’s tough to play a team when you know that no matter what kind of lead you put up, no matter what inning it is, there’s always a chance for them to come back with the win. Yankees relief has been top notch while the Angels have all but given away the games that they’ve lost.

The big story of the playoffs this year has to be the rampant bad umpiring. Whether it’s the abysmal foul ball call on Mauer’s hit in the ALDS or the constant close plays that are being repeatedly missed. I have yet to see a game go by without some complaint by the announcers about the calling and a call for automated umpiring. While some of these calls are absolutely ridiculous, what would they do to fix them? Put sensors in the ball and along all the lines? It doesn’t seem like the right answer. I like the human element of baseball umpiring, but there’s also no glory or joy in seeing your team win or lose based on an incorrect call. Perhaps the proper thing to do, for now, would be to train these umpires better, because they’re doing a terrible job this year.

Besides, Bud Selig has made all the changes he needs/wants to make. Nothing more will happen along these lines until we have a new commissioner.

In other postseason baseball news, the NPB is ready to begin its semifinal round, the Climax Series. The best of three series between the Swallows and Dragons and the series between the Eagles and Hawks have resolved in precisely the way I’d want them to. Despite my hatred for DH baseball, I found myself quite fond of the Golden Eagles after seeing them play out in Japan. Darvish is still my favorite Pacific League player, but the Eagles have got to be my favorite team. They completely spanked the Hawks 11-4 in the first game and dispatched them with similar ease with great games from their starting pitching. Tanaka, Iwakumi, and the Eagles will go on to face the Fighters, sans Darvish, who is currently out with a back injury.

While my beloved Carp may not have made the playoffs, I’ve still got my second favorite Dragons to root for and they had an exciting series against the Swallows after losing the first and coming back with two wins to make it to the Climax against the Giants. Can they manage to beat the behemoths of the Central League? I certainly hope so.

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