Monday, July 18th, 2005
11:57 am - Rivalries  
Two bizarre series this weekend featuring the game's two best rivalries, Dodgers-Giants and Sox-Yankees, teams who all had high expectations going into the season, and none of whom have really met them. Even the Sox, though recently in first place, seem about as comfortable there as a cat perched atop a wobbly flagpole. All four teams have been beset by injuries and malaise. If you combined the season's DLs for the four teams, you could put together a pretty fair line up. Bonds, Bradley, Drew, and Alou in the outfield, Izturis, Perez, Valentin, Alfonzo in the infield, Mirabelli behind the plate, and a starting rotation of Schilling, Schmidt, Wells, Pavano, and Wang, with Foulke, Benitez, Alvarez, and Gagne out in the pen.

The Giants took three of four in LA. The Dodgers continue to be inconsistently awful. Thursday night they were getting a good effort from Brad Penny, when he got ejected in the third inning for arguing a base running call at first base. He'd just laid down a miserable attempt at a sacrifice bunt. The pitcher threw to second in plenty of time to start a double play, but the throw pulled Vizquel off the bag. Omar's throw back to first was muffed by Durham, so everybody was safe on the comedy of errors. Except Penny flinched slightly towards second before returning to the bag (no doubt out of surprise at being safe), so when Durham tagged him as he walked back, the ump called him out. Bush league call, but what are you gonna do? Penny argued, then walked back across the field toward the dugout. As he got near the dugout, he apparently said something to no one in particular (accounts vary on exactly what he said, but clearly he was just letting off steam), and hummed his helmet on the ground towards the dugout. The home plate umpire, a vacation replacement just up from AAA, heaved him. The call at first was arguable. The ejection was completely out of line with what appeared to happen on the field. After that Houlton came on, giving up four runs in four innings, which was all the Jints needed to beat the Dodgers' anemic offense. To paraphrase Harry Doyle in Major League, at least they didn't spike themselves.

Friday, Derek Lowe continued his quest to destroy his personal high in home runs allowed, losing 6-0. He gave up two more, which brings him to seventeen, tying his all-time high. Saturday, the Dodgers won their first game in ten days, coming back from a run behind with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Sunday, the Giants returned the favor, scoring three with two outs in the top of the ninth off Yhency to win 4-1. The good news in all of this? No Dodgers were added to the DL this week.

Meanwhile, up at Fenway, ARod was the hero, and Schilling the goat in his first appearance as a closer on Thursday. Friday, Joe Torre sent out two total imposters out to pitch, picked up for some peanuts and an autographed Bob Uecker baseball card from the Padres (think about that), and the Sox exposed them, 17-1. ARod again led the way on Saturday as the Yanks won, and then last night, Al Leiter, just called up from the scrap heap in utter desperation, threw a brilliant game, completely handcuffing the Sox bats for six and a third. The Yanks tried desperately to give it back in the bottom of the nine, bases loaded,no outs, down two, but old friend Alex Cora hit into a double play, then Damon grounded out to end it. Lost amidst Leiter's performance was that of Tim Wakefield, who threw an efficient 109-pitch complete game in a losing effort, saving much wear and tear on the Sox pen. Unfortunately, he threw three pitches that didn't knuckle, all of which went for homers, including one by ARod that was last seen bouncing around on Landsdowne Street.

In other news, Hideo Nomo was designated for assignment by Tampa Bay, which is akin to him seeing his own obituary in the paper. He's had a decent career, and proved that Asian players could compete at the major league level, leading the way for the current influx of Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese players, but this year he's 1-7 with a 10.32 ERA. It seems that even the DRays have minimum standards.
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deborah gdebg on July 18th, 2005 - 09:19 am
Heh. Rooting for the Giants, of course, but I'm with you. Penney was safe at first; that was a crap call.

OTOH, the frickin' umps handed the Dodgers their only win of the series with a blown call the other way, so it all comes out in the wash.

And anyway, there's no crying in baseball.

I want Barry back. I have had a look at baseball without Barry, and all I can say is, bring on the Raiders! And the Sharks!
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Veejaneveejane on July 18th, 2005 - 11:47 am
How irritating is it that Wakefield can pitch so well and still lose? Very. Against the D-Rays, that would be a complete-game shutout.
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DXMachinadxmachina on July 18th, 2005 - 12:05 pm
Yup. He and Roger Clemens are probably on the phone trading complaints.
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