“I usually take a two-hour nap from 1 to 4” – OR – “Pair up in threes” – #RIPYogi

It’s Deja-Vu all over again…

It is inevitable.  The older I get, the more heaven seems to load up on talent – it’s a helluva team up there.  Yogi, went from Northern Italy, to St.Louis, to New York, to one of the best catchers of all time.  For my money, it is him and Roy Campanella for the title, to quote Casey Stengel: “you can look it up.”  Need more proof – how many baseball players have a cartoon character named after them?

With that said, Yogi Berra passed at the age of 90, Tuesday evening. Yogi died 69 years to the day after he had made his major-league debut, on Sept. 22, 1946; against the Philadelphia Athletics, Yogi went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer in a 4-3 Yankees win. Yogi won 10 World Series titles as a player.  That is an all-time record, and one more than the great Joe DiMaggio.Logo_alt#2

Berra’s record of 75 World Series games played may never be threatened, much less actually broken. Consider Derek Jeter, who played 20 years for maybe the best team of his era, wound up playing 38 World Series games, barely half of Berra’s total. The only active players who have appeared in more than 15 World Series games are Yadier Molina (21), Matt Holliday (16), Buster Posey (16) and Albert Pujols (16). Furthermore, if the 28-year-old Posey (the only one of them not yet 30 years old) plays in the next eight World Series (through 2022), and all of them extend to seven games, he would still be three games shy of Berra’s record.

Not everyone makes the Hall of Fame, fewer still become icons – Lawrence Peter Berra’s legacy transcends baseball.  He was one of the greatest players, for one of the greatest teams, in all of sports, and for the lucky ones who knew him, they say he was a better person.  Beyond his success on the field, was the quality of the man.  So, when you come to the fork in the road, take it, because if the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.


In memoriam – more Baseball

Here is last night’s #DraftKings Perfect Lineup – 9-22-15…maybe I should have took the other side of the Mets v. Braves game for the #sleeper pick.

92215_perfectlineup

Baseball’s first 20-game winner

Jake Arrieta became baseball’s first 20-game winner and he did it with style, tossing a three-hit, complete-game shutout and striking out 11 in the Cubs’ 4-0 victory over the Brewers. He became the first major-leaguer whose 20th victory of a season was a shutout with double-digit strikeouts since 1993, when Jack McDowell’s 20th win met those parameters.

Arrieta became the first Cubs pitcher to become the majors’ first 20-game winner in a season, with all the victories coming for the Cubs, since Larry Jackson did that back in 1964. (In 1984, Rick Sutcliffnulle was the first big-leaguer to reach 20 wins, and he won his 20th while pitching for the Cubs; but Sut had won his first four games that season while pitching for the Indians.)

Arrieta lowered his season ERA to 1.88, second-lowest in the majors to Zack Greinke’s 1.65. But Arrieta is putting some pressure on the Dodgers’ right-hander: in each of Arrieta’s last five starts, he has thrown at least eight innings and has allowed no more than one run. The last major-league pitcher who strung together five straight games like that was Roger Clemens in 1997; the last to do so this late in a season was Orel Hershiser in 1988, when he tossed five straight shutouts and then a 10-inning scoreless outing in his last six starts of the season, fashioning the major-league -record 59-inning scoreless streak that Greinke had challenged earlier this season.

It’s a Bird in Toronto

Greg Bird’s line-drive three-run homer in the 10th inning cut through the tension at Rogers Centre and lifted the Yankees to a 6-4 victory over the Blue Jays. It was the 10th home run of the season for the Yankees rookie, who replaced the injured Mark Teixeira down the stretch. Bird became the first Yankees rookie to hit an extra-inning home run in a road victory since July 14, 1962, when Tom Tresh belted a two-run homer in the 10th inning off Angels rookie (and future Cy Young Award winner) Dean Chance in New York’s 9-8 win at nullDodger Stadium. (The Angels were the Dodgers tenants for four years in the early 1960s.) Tresh filled in for Tony Kubek that year when Kubek, the Yankees regular shortstop, spent most of the season in military service.

Bird has now hit eight home runs in September, tying Chris Davis for the highest total by any American League player this month. Bryce Harper leads the majors with 10, while Nolan Arenadoand Yoenis Cespedes have smashed nine.

Edwin Encarnacion homered in the bottom of the tenth, his 35th of the season, joining teammates Josh Donaldson (39) and Jose Bautista (36) at that level. Prior to this season, the last big-league team that featured three players with at least 35 home runs was the 2006 White Sox, with Jermaine Dye (44), Jim Thome (42) and Paul Konerko (35). The lone previous season in which a Toronto trio achieved that feat came in 1998; the three players were Jose Canseco(46), Carlos Delgado (38), and Shawn Green (35).

Crazy-ness in Detroit

Fans leaving Comerica Park on Tuesday night must have been thinking of that old adage: there’s a chance at the ballpark you’ll see something that you may not have seen before. Here’s the recap of the Tigers-White Sox game:

Detroit starter Daniel Norris, in his second game since returning from a recent injury, was removed from the game after he retired Chicago’s first 15 batters of the game. His was the first perfect-through-five start by a Tigers rookie since Armando Galarraga did it – no, not in his 8.2-perfect-innings effort against Cleveland in 2010 – but in 2008 against the Royals. The last major-leaguer to be taken out after at least five innings with a potential perfect game still intact was Houston’s Bob Knepper in the final game of the 1986 season, as the Astros readied their starters for that year’s postseason.single logo_small

After four relievers extended the potential no-hitter through one out in the ninth inning, Tyler Saladino ruined the bid with a triple. He became only the second major-leaguer in the last 20 years to spoil a potential no-hitter with a ninth-inning (or extra-inning) triple, the other being Baltimore’s Jerry Hairston, Jr., against the Rangers in 2002. The odd thing: Hairston’s blow leading off the ninth also ruined a potential combination no-hitter in a game in which Texas starter Aaron Myette was ejected after throwing two pitches, Todd Van Poppel pitched two innings, and then Joaquin Benoit threw no-hit ball until Hairston’s triple.

The Tigers won, 2-1, in the 10th inning, on a walkoff triple by Rajai Davis, the second walkoff triple in the majors this season (Pittsburgh’s Pedro Florimon had the other on August 18). The last Tigers player with a walkoff triple was Ramon Santiago in 2011, but prior to him you have to go back to Mickey Stanley in 1968.

Mike and Albert

Mike Trout and Albert Pujols hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning, in a gripping 4-3 victory in Houston. The home runs were the 40th of the season for Trout and the 36th for Pujols – it was the first time that baseball had seen back-to-back homers by a pair of players, each of whom had already belted 35 homers that season, since 2006 – when Jermaine Dye and Jim Thome of the White Sox did it.

Jimenez with the bat

Ubaldo Jimenez lifted his September record to 3-0 (he had previously beaten both the Blue Jays and the Yankees) and added a nice little cherry with an RBI single as the Orioles shut down the Nationals, 4-1, and, coupled with the Astros’ loss, shaved a game off Houston’s Wild Card lead. Jimenez’s single produced the first run of the game, and Baltimore never relinquished the lead. He became the second American League pitcher this season to be credited with both a victory and a game-winning RBI in the same game; back on July 21, Tampa Bay rookie Nathan Karns hit a home run for the game’s only run in his victory over the nullPhillies.

Jimenez became the 25th American League pitcher in 19 years of interleague play to achieve that daily double – but the amazing thing is that of the 25 pitchers who did it, seven of them have at least one Cy Young Award on their mantles: David Cone, CC Sabathia, Johan Santana,Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez, Max Scherzer and R.A. Dickey. Even more remarkably, among the other guys who did it was Jon Lester. As we all know, Lester didn’t get his first major-league hit until this season, but in a game at San Francisco in 2010, he was credited with the game-winning RBI in his victory for the Red Sox with a sacrifice fly.

The RBI was the second of the season for Jimenez, who knocked in a run in a game at Philadelphia on June 17. Since the designated-hitter rule was enacted in 1973, severely limiting their opportunities to hit, only eight other American League pitchers have driven in a run in two different games in the same season. But three of those eight others also pitched for the Orioles -Mike Mussina in 1999, Kris Benson in 2006 and Zach Britton in 2011.

Rangers perform sacrifices

Mitch Moreland hit a game-tying two-run homer in the sixth inning, but other than that, it was mostly a rat-a-tat-tat attack of sacrifice bunts (three), sacrifice flies (four) and heads-nullup base-running that allowed the Rangers to beat the A’s, 8-6. Sacrifice flies have been recorded as a category separate from sacrifice bunts since 1954, and over those 62 seasons, there have been only two other major-league games in which a team had at least three sacrifice bunts and at least four sacrifice flies. The Astros used that combination to help beat the Braves, 7-5, in 2009, while the Braves found that four sac flies and three sac bunts weren’t enough to win in a 12-inning contest that was won by the Padres, 11-10, in 1991.

Goldschmidt’s has 30 HRs include 7 vs. Dodgers

A. J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt hit back-to-back home runs off two different Dodgers pitchers in the seventh inning and the Diamondbacks went on to rout the Dodgers, 8-0. Pollock’s home run chased starter Alex Wood, and Goldy’s greeted reliever Chris nullHatcher. It was the 30th boundary belt of the season for Goldschmidt, who also has 21 steals. He became the fourth player in Arizona’s 18-year major-league history to be admitted into that 30/20 club, joining Chris Young(2007), Mark Reynolds (2009) and Justin Upton (2011). It was Goldschmidt’s seventh home run against the Dodgers this season, the most by any Dodgers opponent in a season since 2004, when Barry Bonds and Vinny Castilla each hit eight and Jeromy Burnitz seven. Still some distance away from the record of 13 home runs hit against the Dodgers, then in Brooklyn, by the Milwaukee Braves’ Joe Adcock in 1956.

Iwakuma brings it in K.C.

Hisashi Iwakuma blanked the Royals and struck out 10 batters over seven innings in the nullMariners’ 11-2 win at Kansas City. Iwakuma became the third different Mariners pitcher this season, joining Mike Montgomery and Vidal Nuno, to win a game in which he did not allow a run and had a double-digit strikeout total. Only two other major-league teams have had three different pitchers provide such victories this season-the Indians (Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco and Corey Kluber) and the Nationals (Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez).

Cardinals win another low-scoring game

The Cardinals took a 3-1 decision from the Reds on Tuesday, marking the 31st time this season that they have won a game in which they scored no more than three runs. Only one other major-league team in the last 20 seasons has won as many games of that type (the Giants won 31 such games four years ago). And in the long history of the Cardinals’ franchise, the only other year in which they won as many as 30 games in which they scored three-or-fewer runs was 1968. In that season – the one in which Bob Gibson fashioned his other-worldly 1.12 ERA – St. Louis won 41 games in which they scored no more than three runs (with Gibson having started 14 of those games).

Mahtook(LSU) blasts Fenway

Rookie Mikie Mahtook belted a two-run homer in the eighth inning to put the icing on the Rays’ 5-2 victory at Fenway Park. Mahtook has now hit five home runs this season; his previous blasts came in games at Toronto, Seattle, Chicago (against the White Sox) and nullDetroit. Mahtook, Washington’s Denard Span and San Francisco’s Gregor Blanco are the only players this season who have hit at least five home runs, all on the road.

By the way, among the players from the past whose first five major-league homers came away from home are Hall-of-Famers Eddie Mathews, Reggie Jackson, George Brett, Frank Thomas, Willie Stargell (first six) and Hank Aaron (nine). But none of those Hall-of-Famers holds a candle to the all-time major-league record-holder for home runs, all on the road, from the start of a career. That would be Johnny Hodapp, an infielder who, while playing with the Indians, hit 22 home runs, all on the road, from 1927 to 1931. The streak ended when, after being traded to the White Sox in 1932, his first home run with his new team was hit at Comiskey Park.

Marte + Ramirez and 75 RBIs

Starling Marte knocked in two runs and Aramis Ramirez one, lifting the season total of nullRBIs for each player to 75, in the Pirates’ 6-3 win over the Rockies in Denver.  Andrew McCutchen leads the Pirates with 95 RBIs, and though Ramirez has not produced all of his RBIs for the Pirates, Pittsburgh is one of the two National League teams that have at their disposal three players who have 75 RBIs this season. The other such team is Cincinnati, with Todd Frazier (88), Jay Bruce (83) and Joey Votto (75).

nullErvin = Johan

Ervin Santana came through again for the Twins on Tuesday night, holding the Indians to one run over seven innings and earning well-deserved credit for Minnesota’s 3-1 victory. Santana is now 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA over his last five starts, with 39 strikeouts in 36 innings.

Old minor-leaguer clocks home run, sends Mets to defeat

Hector Olivera clocked a three-run, go-ahead homer with two outs in the sixth inning and the Braves went on to defeat the Mets, 6-2. Olivera, a 30-year-old rookie, became the second 30-year-old rookie in the last 11 days to smash a home run against the Mets; on September 12, Olivera’s teammate Adonis Garcia connected. Prior to the last two weeks, only four rookies on the far side of 30 have homered against the Mets over their 54-year existence, the oldest being the Phillies’ Chris Coste, at 33, in 2006.

Madonna Steals the Souls of the Young and other Musings…

Dodging Bullets:

Houston we have a problem

We talked about it earlier this year, about Houston’s meteroic start and wondered if it could last.  It hasn’t, but it doesn’t mean that Houston is done.  It just means they are still on schedule and for that, it means more of how the young-uns respond to the pressure of a pennant race – it will be a fun 3 weeks.  Last Night, Mitch Moreland was the hero in Arlington, hitting a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Rangers defeated the Astros, 6-5. With the win, in its 144th game of the season, Texas moves into sole possession of first place in the AL West for the first time in 2015.

Over the last 30 years, there have been three other instances of a team standing alone in first place for the first time in a season in its 144th game or later. The 2006 Twins and 2012 Athletics both did this in their last game of the season, while the 2007 Phillies found themselves alone atop the NL East for the first time after their 160th game. These teams could not carry over that momentum into the playoffs, with each losing in the Divisional round (The Twins and Phillies were swept in three games, while the A’s lost in five games).

Strasburg lights up 14 and Harper jacks 2

It’s fun when you have Strasburg and Harper in your #DraftKings lineup to the tune of 85pts for the both of them – we did.  As for Bryce Harper, he went 3-for-3 with two homers and four RBIs in the Nationals’ 4-0 victory over the Phillies. Harper is now batting .413 with 26 home runs and 63 RBIs in games in which Washington won this season (70 games). In Nats’ losses in 2015, Harper is sporting a .261 average with 13 homers and 27 runs batted in (67 games). Over the Nats’ last six wins (since September 4), Harper is hitting .600 (12-for-20) with six homers and nine RBIs.

Harper, who turns 23 years old on October 16, has 10 games with two or more homers in his major-league career. Only three other players have had as many games of this type at 22 years old or younger: Eddie Mathews (13 games), Bob Horner (10), and Mel Ott (10).

Oakland A’s scored more than the Raiders

Did anyone see this stack happen last night? The Athletics collected 16 runs and 15 hits (including three hits each by Billy Butler and Mark Canha) over the first four innings of their 17-6 triumph over the White Sox. The last time a team had at least 16 runs and 15 hits over the first four innings of a game was on April 20, 2013, when the Indians had 18 runs and 18 hits at Minute Maid Park against the Astros. Jason Giambi(five RBIs) and Mark Reynolds (four RBIs) drove in half of those runs.

There was only one other game in A’s history in which they totaled at least 16 runs and 15 hits over the first four innings. That was on June 18, 2000 against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium, when they had 17 runs and 15 hits in the first four frames of a 21-3 victory. Jason Giambi also played in that game, collecting two hits and two runs batted in over those four innings; his brother Jeremy went 3-for-4 with three RBIs in that same four-inning span.

Two position players, Leury Garcia and Alexei Ramirez, came into pitch for the White Sox on Tuesday. That marked just the second time in Sox history in which multiple position players pitched in one game. The first came in the second game of a doubleheader on September 28, 1902 against the St. Louis Browns (and the last game of the season for the White Sox). Frank Isbell, who played 133 games at first base in 1902, was the starting pitcher in the game and pitched one inning. Sam Mertes, who played 120 games in the outfield that season, replaced Isbell; he pitched the remainder of the game, allowing just two runs and earning the win.

nullDee Gordon en fuego

Dee Gordon, who went 4-for-5 with a home run and two runs scored in the Marlins’ 9-3 victory at Citi Field on Tuesday, is 33-for-77 (.429) in 18 games against the Mets this season. Gordon’s 33 hits are the most for one player against a particular team this season as well as the most against the Mets in a single season. The previous high versus New York was Curt Flood’s 32 hits in 1963.

The last time a player had at least 33 hits against one team in a season was in 2011, when Jacoby Ellsbury (34 hits against Blue Jays) and Adrian Gonzalez (34 hits versus Orioles) accomplished this.

King Felix who?

David Murphy and Mike Trout each connected for home runs off Felix Hernandez in the Angels’ victory against the Mariners on Tuesday. It’s the fourth time that both Murphy and Trout have hit a homer against Hernandez; only Mark Teixeira (six) and Nelson Cruz (five) have hit more homers in their careers against King Felix.

Here’s last nights #DraftKings #Fantasybaseball perfect lineup:

91515_perfectlineup


I was sitting down at the ol’digital typewriter and I was transported back to college for a time because a Madonna tune came on the playlist, and it got me thinking about that girl that was obsessed with her.  Calling Madonna the penultimate female embodiment and how much she respected her and felt that all women should look up to her and liberate themselves from their sexual slavery, yada-yada – I really wasn’t paying that close attention but if she was intent on practicing her sexual liberation, then I was more than willing to help her out – it’s the least I could do…

So my point is, I wonder if she still thinks of Madonna as the Goddess of Feminism?  It seems kinda of odd picturing that girl, now in her 40’s strutting around with a pointy bra, rockin’ out to express yourself – or with an old pair of lace gloves crawling on the floor not wanting you to push her love over the borderline – it could happen…But it got me thinking about some other bat-sh!t-crazy things people still might do – like eat Cheez Whiz and go to Dinner Theater.  Did someone really think that while they were watching RENT or WEST-SIDE STORY, that the only thing that was missing from the production was some pork chops?  Cheez Whiz is what you’d see a doctor for, not eat.  Speaking of crazy…

It is only Wednesday and there is no football for another day – so if you’re feeling a little squirelly and really have nothing better to do then let’s make a drinking game out of the 2nd GOP debate, with a little side-action on who mentions “Kim Davis” first – and if someone compares her to Rosa Parks, it’s a shot – if anyone mentions Indiana is the size of ISIS, it’s a shot –  Matt Taibbi,  has come up with some other fun rules – So let’s pretend we are the Lizard King and we’ll all tap into our inner-Kennedy, for #Murica!

  • Drink THE FIRST TIME and the FIRST TIME only:
  • 1. A candidate invokes the memory of Saint Reagan.
  • 2. A candidate mentions Hillary’s emails.
  • Drink EVERY TIME:
  • 3. Hugh Hewitt hurls a douchey gotcha question at Trump.
  • 4. Trump – or any of the other candidates – insults or threatens one of the moderators. Beer chaser if it’s Tapper or Bash, and the candidate rips liberal-ass CNN in the process.
  • 5. Trump brags about his wealth or his poll numbers, or mocks the low poll numbers of an opponent.
  • 6. A candidate pledges to stand with Israel.
  • 7. Carly Fiorina makes a joke about her own face.
  • 8. A candidate claims a positive relationship with a minority. We’re keeping this rule in every debate. (So far we’re one-for-one: Kasich said he had a gay friend in the first debate.)
  • 9. Anyone mentions the “War on Christians.”
  • 10. A candidate says he’ll stand up to Putin.
  • 11. Trump derides someone for being a “lightweight” or having “low energy” or “low enthusiasm.”
  • 12. Anyone mentions Tom Brady or Deflategate.
  • 13. Anyone calls Black Lives Matter a “hate group,” argues that BLM or Barack Obama have endangered the lives of police, or pulls a “What about black-on-black crime?” line.
  • 14. A candidate mentions the founders. Double shot if it’s Rand Paul.
  • 15. Carson invokes the Bible as an authority for something that has nothing to do with the Bible, like tax policy.
  • 16. A candidate says, “I’m the only person on this stage who…” Double shot if it’s Carson saying something like, “I’m the only candidate who’s had his hands inside a human thorax.”
  • 17.  Anyone mentions Hitler, Nazis or Neville Chamberlain. Includes related imagery, e.g. “ovens.”
  • 18. Anyone mentions the Governator or makes a Terminator-themed joke, e.g. “To illegal immigrants, I say, Hasta La Vista.
  • Drink EVERY TIME you hear:
  • 19. “Anchor babies.”
  • 20. “Thug.”
  • 21. “Leading from behind.”
  • 22. “All lives matter.”
  • 23. “Apologize for America.”
  • Take a shot of JAGERMEISTER if:
  • 24. Any candidate is seen wearing a Blue Lives Matter bracelet.
  • 25. A candidate offers an insincere paean to departed Rick Perry. Double shot if someone references his “smart glasses.”

Friday Dregs

Iguodala comes through for Kerr and the Warriors

Andre Iguodala didn’t start a game during the 2014-15 regular season and he hadn’t started a game during this year’s playoffs until Steve Kerr sent him to the floor to begin Game 4 of the Finals. Iguodala proceeded to score 22 points and grab eight rebounds, both tied for the Warriors’ team high, as Golden State topped the Cavaliers, 103-82, to deadlock the series.

Over the last 45 years, the only other players who started an NBA Finals game without starting a game during either the preceding regular season or earlier in that year’s playoffs were Terry Teagle (1991 Lakers), Marcus Camby (1999 Knicks) and Manu Ginobili (2013 Spurs). Ginobili (24 points in Game 5) and Iguodala (on Thursday night) are the only players among them who either scored 20 or more points or pulled down as many as eight rebounds in their first start during that year’s Finals.

Convincing road victory for Golden State

The Warriors’ 21-point margin of victory in Game 4 was the largest for any road team in an NBA Finals game in which they entered the game trailing in the series. The previous high was 16 points by Miami in its 109-93 Game 4 victory at San Antonio in 2013.

Cleveland off the mark from downtown

The Cavaliers made only four of their 27 three-point field-goal attempts in Game 4 (14.8 percent). There have been 474 instances in NBA playoff history in which a team launched at least 25 shots from three-point range; only four other teams that took 25 or more three-point shots made as low a percentage of them as did the Cavaliers, with the last such team doing it 18 years ago, when the Bulls made four of 27 three-point shots (14.8%) in an 87-80 loss at Miami in Game 4 of the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals. The only other team to hit such a low three-point percentage (minimum: 25 shots) in a Finals game was the Bulls, who made only three of 26 three-point shots (11.5%) in losing Game 5 of the 1996 Finals at Seattle, 89-78.

Not many turnovers in Game 4

The Warriors (seven) and Cavaliers (nine) combined to commit only 16 turnovers in Game 4. That is the second-lowest total of turnovers in a NBA Finals game in any of the last 15 years. The only Finals game with fewer turnovers during that time (2001-2015) was the opener of the 2013 Finals, when the Spurs (four) and Heat (nine) combined to turn the ball over only 13 times.

Kazmir limits the Rangers to one hit, again

Scott Kazmir threw eight innings for the Athletics as they topped the Rangers, 7-0, and the only hit he allowed was a fifth-inning single by Elvis Andrus. It was the 11th major-league game this season in which a pitcher had a scoreless outing of seven or more innings without allowing more than one hit. Kazmir is the only pitcher who has had two such games and both were against the Rangers in Oakland. He pitched seven scoreless innings versus Texas on April 8, allowing one hit (a bunt single by Leonys Martin leading off the game).

nullCuddyer’s first walkoff RBI since 2006

Michael Cuddyer‘s second go-ahead RBI of the night came on a game-ending single in the bottom of the ninth inning and gave the Mets a 5-4 triumph over the Giants. Cuddyer, who hadn’t produced a game-ending RBI since he hit a walkoff homer for the Twins on April 19, 2006, played 1140 major-league games in the interim. Cuddyer entered Thursday’s game with the longest current streak of consecutive games without a walkoff RBI among active major-league players, a distinction that now belongs to San Diego’s Clint Barmes, who has played 1090 games since the only walkoff RBI of his career (a game-ending homer for the Rockies off Trevor Hoffman in the 2005 season opener).

Trout and Pujols both homer for the Angels

Mike Trout homered in the sixth inning and Albert Pujols hit a four-bagger in the ninth to help the Angels beat the Rays at Tropicana Field. It was the fifth game this season in which both Trout and Pujols homered, tying them with Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and Logan Morrison for the most such games for any major-league teammates this year.

nullMarcum tosses a gem

Shaun Marcum pitched seven innings and limited the Mariners to two hits in the Indians’ 6-0 shutout on Thursday afternoon. Marcum joined Trevor Bauer (April 9) and Corey Kluber (May 13) as Cleveland starters who have won games this season in which they had a scoreless outing of at least six innings without allowing more than two hits. The only other major-league teams that have had starts of that kind by three different pitchers this season are the Athletics (Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmirand Drew Pomeranz) and Giants (Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong and Chris Heston).

nullGonzalez allows a run

The Rangers’ Chi Chi Gonzalez saw his career ERA balloon to 0.42 by allowing one run in seven innings versus the Athletics as he suffered his first loss in his third major-league game. Fernando Valenzuela posted a 0.33 ERA through his first three starts in the majors (in 1981), but since then, the only other pitcher who accumulated at least 20 innings through his first three major-league starts while pitching to an ERA as low as Gonzalez’s is Pat Combs, who had a 0.41 ERA to that point of his career for the 1989 Phillies.

Dishin’ DiRT

This game was bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!  If you turned this game off when the Warriors were down 20 in the 4th, then shame on you – because we might be watching a season of legendary proportions with this smiling assassin, Steph Curry.  He salsas, he drains threes and each week does something that has us forgetting that basketball was ever played before him – it has, I’m just slathering hyperbole like extra-mayonnaise on a sandwich.  Just think about what we watched for a second last night, with under 6 minutes left, the Pelicans had a 99.8% probability of winning by INPREDICTABLE.

The Pelicans dominated the #1 seed, as if they had switched places for the first 42 minutes.  In the first three quarters, Anthony Davis was 10-17 with 13 rebounds and all night the wings for the Pelicans lived in the paint or had wide open shots – New Orleans made Norris Cole look like an all star last night – it was that kind of domination, for 42 minutes.  This is why the Warriors likely will win the West, there is no substitute for this kind of offensive explosion at any time and cold-blooded-ness.

You must consider the Warriors motivation; instead of giving the game away down 17 early in the 4th – as most coaches would have done – Steve Kerr put Steph Curry back into the game.  Probably because Ryan Anderson hit a few shots and talked trash to the bench.  From then on Draymond Green and the rest of the Warriors grabbed 10 offensive rebounds – Green 4 of them – repeatedly beat the Pelicans to the glass – making up for their poor shooting.  The biggest of the 10 was the last one.  But before that, look at the 3 Steph made to give the Warriors a shot at OT:

In every other instance with how games are ref’d in the NBA, how is that not a foul on Curry?!  That and-1, could have sealed it for the Warriors and no overtime – Curry gets crushed after the shot.  But to back up a bit – how do the Pelicans not foul before Curry shoots the ball – either the one that got them to within two – or the last one BEFORE he gets the ball?  Of course Monty Williams, the Pelicans HC, said he told his players to foul, they just didn’t execute his plan – but let’s be serious – Monty Williams has trouble telling anyone anything – anyone hear if he had a problem with the crowd tonight be too loud and illegal?

What should concern Monty more is, where was Davis in the 4th and especially in OT?  A talented kid like that, has to stop starting strong and tiring late.  If he ever wants to be a serious contender, he’s got to something other than what he has been doing.  Someone like Davis and that skill-set should dominate for all four quarters, not just 3 – remember he had 13 rebounds in 3 qtrs, only got two more the rest of the night.

So what did we learn?  We learned that coming back from 20 is a dubious distinction – no other team can give you that kind of magic, and yet it leaves you wondering how the best team puts itself in that position.  The Warriors have yet to play a full 48 minutes and as the playoffs go on, other teams will not make the same noob mistakes as the Pelicans have.  As a fan though, do we care?


 

On April 12th, this was Yordano Ventura having some words with the Millville Meteor after a line drive single, that Trout later scored on.  Yordano never thanked Catcher Salvador Perez for saving his life, thus keeping his Napoleon complex in tact – because on his next start he started another brawl with the Athletics for throwing at Brett Lawrie.  Ventura was not suspended, only fined, and so was available for his third start last night against the White Sox when he ignited this melee:

Five players were ejected: Ventura, Edinson Volquez, Lorenzo Cain, Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija.  I love the spunk Yordano has, but when your first three starts empty the benches, you have to wonder if it’s you – it is.  For the Royals, we get it – no one took you seriously and you’re out to prove last year was no fluke – April hasn’t finished yet and you guys are acting like a bunch of Jersey Shore goomba’s who feel slighted because someone is making fun of your uneven-spray-tan and height – like: what did more damage, SuperStorm Sandy or your fake tan and chlamydia, what, are you still upset your mom had to buy two car seats when she drove you to the store?  If we are going to assign blame, than it goes all the way back to 1973, and the Designated Hitter.  Ventura would have less Macho-Man if he had to swing a bat.  Or maybe it’s revenge for this in 2002, after-all it is the Chicago way.


 

Some strange facts for the 2015 season:

  • It is the first time ever that a team that won the World Series (SF Giants) had a 7 game losing streak in April and the team that lost the World Series (KC Royals) had a 7 game winning streak in April.
  • When the RedSox and the Yankees played a 19 inning game, it was the longest ever for the RedSox – but it was also the first time that a team had won (Yankees) after blowing multiple leads after the 15th inning.
  • Bernie Williams retires today after not playing since 2006 – he never filed the paperwork.  After hearing about that Paul O’Neil also announced his retirement, after not playing since 2001 – same reason.
  • Trevor Bauer (Indians) is the only man in a 100 years to start a season of 9 innings of hitless baseball and not throw a no hitter.
  • Every game Tampa Bay has played this year, the team that scored first, won the game.
  • Last Tuesday the A’s became the first team to win shutouts in 4 of their first 9 games since 1910!  Then on Wednesday, the Tigers became the first team to do it since Tuesday.

 

April 26th, 1995 – was the first official game at Coors Field (’94 strike being the reason for the late start) and was a 14 inning gem that saw the Rockies beat the Mets, 11-9, on Dante Bichette’s game winning HR – starting the magic that would continue that season, earning the first wild-card, post-season berth.  The Rockies would lose to the Braves 3-1 in their first playoff appearance.  But that Opening Day was a long cold one that was phenomenal to witness.  Besides my memories of that game and of that moment, I still have the ticket from that day, signed by Pete Coors – how cool is that.  It is also the moment I asked the man upstairs to make sure that every Opening Day from then on is at least 60 degrees and partly sunny.  That ’95 team was something special – Walker, Gallaraga, Burks, Castilla, Bichette, Leskanic, etc…and that Home Run was the beginning of the Blake Street Bombers – we’ve had other memories since – but this was the beginning of the love affair.  Here’s a look back…

…Let there be DiRT

Ball 1

To some, the story goes…In the beginning the Lord created the Heavens and the Earth…and said let there be light, and there was, and it was good…then he decided to create Tebow and made him a QB and it was, meh.  Tim is maybe, one of the greatest college football quarterbacks, based on results, that constantly willed his team to victory, more than his talent.  In the record books, Tim has one-less playoff victory with the Denver Broncos than does Peyton Williams Manning.  That’s were the legend was born for most non-football fans that follow his exploits like methed-out Grateful Dead fans – except instead of a dead-head-sticker on their Cadillac, they were their love around their necks.  We all have a friend or two, that adore this man like no other – someone who would sacrifice an entire Fantasy Football draft/season to give him a roster spot, just to say, they drafted Tim Tebow.  No denying, Tim moves the needle.

But beyond all that, the man himself is what you would want your son(s) to grow up like – if all that you could accomplish as a parent, was raise a son like Tim, you would be proud.  As you should be, but that’s were it ends, because Tim believes himself to be a quarterback – an NFL quarterback – in a league that exposes your flaws faster than a runway model does after eating a cheeseburger 4 months ago.  Any other profession outside of sports would likely succeed with Tim at the helm – but not as an NFL QB.  He requires to much beyond his actual ability; he needs a similar offense to the one he ran in college, or a coach that would risk everything to defy NFL convention and actually build a team to run that offense. The NFL is never easy on mavericks, or coaches who are all hat and no cattle – Bill Walsh and Jimmy Johnson types do not come around often.

But if you found that guy who could challenge the good ol-boy, same-as-it-ever-was standards, then wouldn’t Tim be the perfect fit, with Chip Kelly as the coach?  This off-season, Chip Kelly has already created an industry of fans parroting “what’s up with that?“, with a side of, huh?  Chip Kelly’s offense is designed to challenge you sideline-to-sideline, and ironically that is Tebow’s strength too.  You must wonder the risk Chip is taking, with back-to-back 10-6 seasons, bringing the circus to town for a guy that is a great person, but just hasn’t shown great NFL QB skills.  If ever there was a perfect match however, this might be it – it certainly is Tim’s last shot – the quintessential spread QB in the quintessential spread offense, that does not require a PHD in reading defenses.  Or maybe it’s nothing more than a ploy to quiet the Philly fans from having Sam Bradford.  Sort of like the George Bush Sr strategy of having Dan Quayle as your vice president – no one will ever think about assassinating George if Dan is the next guy up.

It moves the needle, it is an interesting dynamic that leaves you to wonder, what might happen.  It either anoints Chip as a genius or another snake-oil salesman from the college ranks.  The future of NFL offensive coordinators depends on Chip’s success – he has already showed the value of tempo to the league.  Spread concepts have been around for awhile, just not to Chip’s degree.  But with Sanchez, Bradford, Barkley and now Tebow, you wonder how it all takes shape and this is what the NFL does – keeps you talking about it, (I expect Bradford to be traded on game-day).  That is why I think this is nothing more than collusion between the Eagles and Hizzoner.  Because what better way to redirect the darkness of serial killers, and abusers than to bathe the entire league in the guiding light of Tim Tebow – the penultimate distraction.  His goodness, his wholesomeness is all encompassing and it will become the league manifesto – retiring the “No More” campaign because it’s the Tebow show.  Get your NFL prescriptions ready and go comatose, baby – Tebow will be with us, and also with you – in Tebow’s name, we’ll watch.


Ball 2

Remember this day?  If you read this site, you know what we thought about the Jon Lester signing and how it was money well-over spent.  It’s early still, but there’s enough data to have cause for concern on the Cubs‘ $150m investment.  In the 3 games Lester has started, (he is 0-2) the Cubs have only won one game, and Lester has given up 12 runs, with 6.89 ERA.  It’s early but it has prompted the announcement of support from the manager that he, and the organization are behind Lester – even if the team that plays behind him are giving him the honest truth as Catcher David Ross has said – sugar-free-honesty.

The Cubs were looking for the Lester that led Boston to the World Series in 2013 – but two years removed, is a lifetime for a pitcher who also suffered a “dead-arm” in spring training.  The point being is that the Cubs (over)paid for an Ace, on the other-side of 30 and a trade with Lester is handcuffed by that contract.  So the Cubs hope that Lester does find more consistency and goes longer in the game without high pitch counts, as he said, he feels like he is doing.  Either way, Lester will be nothing more than a expensive #3 starter and as the years go by, no better than a #5.  None of that will matter if the Cubs ever win a World Series.


Ball 3

If you have not met him, say hello to Mookie Betts!  He was a second baseman in a logjam for the Red Sox, with Pedroia and young-future-cuban-star Yoan Moncada, waiting in the wings – so he moved to centerfield.  All he has done with his chance is go off.  Take last week as an example, Mookie robbed Bryce Harper of a homerun, stole two-bases in one play and hit a 3-run homerun, all in the first two innings!  Mookie is 22 and ironically only 9 days older than Bryce Harper – however, it seems the game is having a renaissance of young talent in the game – it’s now up to Major League Baseball to promote all of these guys – not just Trout and Harper, etc…If you get a chance, watch.


Ball 4…take your base

Jay Hart, a failed professional soccer player who plays in the English semi-pro league, has been fired for putting the club in disrepute.  Only in soccer could a player be fired for celebrating a bit too much on Ladies night.  Now that doesn’t seem like much, until you consider that after a few drinks, and after Clitheroe (not making that name up) lost the match 4-1 – did he believe he was hidden away in the other team’s dugout, still wearing his jersey, while having coitus-interuptus with a fan.  Yup, as you see in the picture – this dude was caught having sex with a fan in the dugout of the other team after a loss, on ladies night.  You could say that the reason he could not crack the professional level is because of his decision making skills – not just the act itself but the selection of hand positions and choice of booty being #HighlyQuestionable.  Only in Europe.

Can O’DiRT

I like to introduce myself at parties as a guy who, when I played Baseball, I won as many Gold Gloves as Mike Trout.  It’s true so I can say it.  But how is that possible?  I demand an investigation and a Federal probe.  If we can do that for Iran’s-outline-for-a-possible-maybe-nuclear-handshake-framework-embargo-lift-o-rama-deal and other Congressional Inquiries, then this should be ok…Until then, my career, and that of the Millville Meteor are parallel – at least in golden gloves.

We are down to the final 6 days of the regular season and for your daily NBA fantasy tournaments as such, we are extending our invite to a complete breakdown that will included – specials – analysis  – projections set for you to win fresh-lettuce tonight – go to the current RotoCanon page for the week or click DiRTyPlays. Tonight features only 2 games so slim pickings, therefore you will need to be precise in your selections.  Use our DiRTyPlays, it helps you win.  We have placed the same information we send to members on our RotoCanon page for you and you will notice that it might be a good idea to look at Aaron Brooks tonight as he tops our list of #Sleepers.

It’s crunch time as the NBA is coming to a close in the coming weeks and we want you to win.  Join our FreeRoll on DraftKings as well as our beginners double up on Fan Duel.  Just click any of the links or pictures and be sure to take our poll on information provided in our DiRTyPlays segment as we look for you to tell us what level of information you are looking for.

 MLB Update

 

As the MLB season has kicked off, we are still in the process of testing theories, stats and information as it pertains to pertinent information, analysis, projections and subsequently lineup creation.  Over the coming weeks, we will be providing a daily set of players we have identified as having top matchups and/or hot streaks.  We will also provide you with a lineup for both Fan Duel & DraftKings that you might consider playing each night.  Just go to our DiRTyPlays page for the week and each day there will be a section for MLB.  We want your feedback, so contact us and as we release special contests, designed for our subscriber base, you can simply click any of the banners for each site to be taken directly there to enter the lineups we have prepared for you.

Blue Jays @ Yankees

Vegas has the MoneyLine at Toronto -123 with the Run total at 7.

Daniel Norris

Career vs Current Yankees Roster
Batting Avg: 0.500 [1 / 2], BABIP: 0.000, FIP: 143.200, K%: 33.33, BB%: 33.00
1 Walk, 1 Strikeout, 1 Home Run

CC Sabathia

Career vs Current Blue Jays Roster
Batting Avg: 0.228 [26 / 114], BABIP: 0.264, FIP: 3.567, K%: 16.67, BB%: 7.00
23 Groundout, 21 Strikeout, 21 Flyout, 18 Single, 9 Walk, 8 Pop Out, 7 Forceout, 6 Double, 5 Lineout, 2 Home Run, 2 Grounded Into DP, 2 Sac Fly, 1 Field Error, 1 Sac Bunt

Red Sox @ Phillies

Vegas has the Moneyline at Boston -135 with the run total at 7.5

Justin Masterson

Career vs Current Phillies Roster
Batting Avg: 0.270 [24 / 89], BABIP: 0.320, FIP: 2.200, K%: 15.05, BB%: 2.00
30 Groundout, 20 Single, 14 Strikeout, 7 Flyout, 5 Pop Out, 4 Double, 4 Forceout, 2 Walk, 2 Fielders Choice Out, 2 Grounded Into DP, 1 Runner Out, 1 Hit By Pitch, 1 Lineout

David Buchanan

Career vs Current Red Sox Roster
Batting Avg: 0.000 [0 / 6], BABIP: 0.000, FIP: 1.200, K%: 33.33, BB%: 0.00
3 Groundout, 2 Strikeout, 1 Lineout

Giants @ Padres

Vegas has the Moneyline at San Diego -130 with the run total at 7.

Tim Hudson

Career vs Current Padres Roster
Batting Avg: 0.259 [29 / 112], BABIP: 0.303, FIP: 2.832, K%: 18.10, BB%: 2.00
35 Groundout, 22 Single, 21 Strikeout, 10 Flyout, 8 Lineout, 6 Pop Out, 5 Double, 2 Home Run, 2 Walk, 2 Field Error, 1 Runner Out, 1 Fielders Choice Out, 1 Sac Fly

Ian Kennedy

Career vs Current Giants Roster
Batting Avg: 0.233 [48 / 206], BABIP: 0.289, FIP: 2.959, K%: 19.48, BB%: 7.00
45 Strikeout, 40 Flyout, 38 Groundout, 35 Single, 17 Walk, 15 Pop Out, 10 Lineout, 9 Double, 3 Forceout, 3 Sac Bunt, 2 Grounded Into DP, 2 Triple, 2 Bunt Groundout, 2 Sac Fly, 2 Home Run, 2 Intent Walk, 1 Bunt Pop Out, 1 Field Error, 1 Hit By Pitch, 1 Double Play

Balls in the DiRT

No. 715

Hank Aaron

April 8th, 1974

The Hammer! A few times and far less often than we hope, do our heroes maintain themselves thru the stains of time.  Too often, they seem to creatively find ways to shatter those illusions, like a soft-grip of a favorite snow-globe of our youth.  Those delusions are ours and not theirs.  Rare is a hero that sets off on a knight’s quest towards one of baseball’s Holy Grail’s, only to carry with him a quiet dignity of fotitude and stoicism that relies more on substance than of flash – and for that we must always give thanks to Henry “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron.  Give him the unconditional love he deserves.  Remember 715.  Remember a man that did not masquerade or exploit his talents to gain his seat at the table, he earned his place in the Pantheon.  Celebrate The Hammer!

He is a Saint and an example of all that is good within us and what we can achieve by just putting our head down and getting to work – regardless of outside distractions.  It is a shame, that on that night, in the 4th innning, what he felt after hitting Al Downing’s pitch over the left field wall, was not joy at the accomplishment, but relief.  Babe Ruth was larger than life, with larger appetites, and while he was gregarious and still maintains a popular place in the church of baseball – The Hammer was a contrast of muted poise.  Babe Ruth would have embraced it all, the energy, the party; where as Hank – under constant harassment by the media and fans, appeared as concerned with it all as a man does with a child asking for a new balloon.  There were more flamboyant superstars during Aaron’s 21 year career that shined brighter and preferred to hover in the spotlight –  while Hank comfortably went to work in the shadows that they’d cast.  He was just a man, doing his job and wanting to live a normal life, like anyone else.

Here it is, in his own words, from Hank Aaron’s autobiography, “I Had a Hammer” about that night:

When I was alone and the door was shut, I got down on my knees and closed my eyes and thanked God for pulling me through.  At that moment, I knew what the past twenty-five years of my life had been about.  I had done something that nobody else in the world had done, and with it came a feeling that nobody else has ever had – not exactly, anyway.  I didn’t feel a wild sense of joy.  I didn’t feel like celebrating.  But I probably felt closer to God at that moment than at any other in my life.  I felt a deep sense of gratitude and a wonderful surge of liberation all at the same time.  I also felt a stream of tears running down my face.

Aaron retired after the 1976 season with the Brewers and ended with 755 Home-Runs.  He is a sports hero we deserve, and we should remind him how much we appreciate all that he exemplifies, what is good within us.  It isn’t about shouting, asking where your 15 seconds of fame and notoriety are, despite being attached to the digital freeway, looking for instant gratification, and validation.  It’s about grace, quiet dignity, hard work and perseverance – that in time, we too have a shot at being exceptional – it may not mean we will be an all-timer – but it does mean we can walk with our head held high, knowing we gave it all we had – just like the Hammer!



 

Go Home Hostess, you’re drunk!

Baseball is back and this seamhead is pumped – at least for a while.  Meaning the Rockies, of course they are 2-0 and in first place, all by themselves – regardless if we have seen how this story usually ends in June.  It’s just 83 more W’s for my prediction to come true, as I wrote here back in February.  Just remember, Crazy is a term of Art – Insanity is term of Law, and I am still not insane – I have a sticker to prove it.

But what we have decided to do, is provide some help with your Daily Fantasy Baseball needs:  It will not be as full-blown as our NBA coverage until next year, but it will help you get an idea of who to consider – so without further ado….

Consider that 4 players for the Colorado Rockies have a batting average of .500 or better against Milwaukee’s Wily Peralta and that Tulo, in 14 plate appearances against Peralta has 3 singles and 4 walks.  The other 4 are Nolan Arenado, Nick Hundley, Justin Morneau and Corey Dickerson.  The issue being for some is the possibility of rest.  No Rest for these guys? Then we could look at a road sweep to start the year before welcoming the National League Champion Cubs (sarcasm) for the Home Opener Friday.

Consider staying away from Pujols and Trout against Iwakura of the Mariners.  In 26 and 27 at-bats, both Trout and Pujols hit below .200.  However, if they can get to him, it is usually for xtra-base-hits.  In Trout’s 5 hits he has 4 singles and 1 HR and Pujols’ 5 hits are for 2 singles and 3 doubles.  What you have to consider, is the price worth the performance?

Consider neither pitcher for the Orioles or the Rays are gonna stop anyone from htting the ball around the yard and consider that Oakland could shell Texas Rangers’ pitcher Ross Detwiler.

Consider Daniel Murphy and his excellent matchup against Jordan Zimmerman.  Murphy is 16 for 50 against Zimmerman with 5 doubles, 3 HR’s and only 2 strikeouts.  Others that have good matchups are both Mike (Giancarlo) Stanton and Christian Yellich against Shelby Miller – both are a combined 6-11 with 2 HR’s, 2 singles and a double.

Consider these guys by position, for your lineup today that have the best matchup and best potential:

1B

Daniel Murphy

Steve Pearce

Jose Abreu

Justin Morneau (if he plays, took a throw to the neck last night)

2B

Robinson Cano

Ian Kinsler

Adam Rosales

3B

Josh Harrison

Chris Johnson

Mike Moustakas

Nolan Arenado (if he plays)

SS

Hanley Ramirez

Juan Uribe

Tulo (if he plays)

C

Salvador Perez

Welington Castillo

Nick Hundley (if he plays)

OF

Lorenzo Cain

Andrew McCutchen

Mike (Giancarlo) Stanton

Desmond Jennings (4HR’s against M.Gonzales but strikes out 19.4% against him)

Shin-soo-choo

Ben Revere

Corey Dickerson

P

Carlos Carrasco

Anibal Sanchez

Brandon McCarthy