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And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

Apr 8, 2011, 5:30 AM EDT

Ian Desmond, Wes Helms

Nationals 5, Marlins 3: So I decided I needed to get my life in order a couple of weeks ago. I sit in front of a computer all day and, due to the strange circumstance of having a job I actually love, all of the “free time” I thought I’d have to exercise and stuff when I started working at home has just sort of disappeared. I haven’t gained any weight since I started this gig — I’ve actually lost about five pounds because I’m not eating office donuts and restaurant lunches —  but I feel even unhealthier than I did before due to the sloth. I mean, at least at the law firm I used to have to walk a block or three for some reason a couple times a day. Here? Nothing.

So I bought I treadmill. And I figured that I’d do it up right and proper, so I got a TV and a Roku player to sit in front of the thing so I can watch MLB.tv. So far: it’s awesome. I use the treadmill every day and aside from some extra creak in my knees I feel fabulous. And watching baseball has never been better. Last year it was a pain to switch back and forth between the game and what I was doing (i.e. typing up these recaps), but now I pay way more attention to the games. I added a second TV and Roku next to the computer here so I can continue watching whatever game I get into once the jogging is over.

But there are some parts of my dysfunctional self-maintenance that I can’t shake. Like, given a choice of games, I always pick crappy ones, no matter what I do. Last night is a great example. Only two games were going on: the  Tigers vs. the Orioles and the Nats vs. the Marlins. Easy choice, right? Wrong! Something in my addled skull compelled me to watch the Nats-Marlins game.  A National League affinity? Maybe. A dirty, secret love of ugly baseball in front of small crowds, drilled into my psyche by watching, like, 700 horrifyingly bad Braves games between 1985 and 1990? That might be it actually. So I watched several innings of this thing as I, appropriately enough, got nowhere fast on my new treadmill.

And it was kind of ugly. Josh Johnson‘s defense betrayed him. He gave up the homer to Werth, but the other two runs that scored on his watch were thanks to Hanley Ramirez and John Buck screwing up. With good defense Johnson and the Fish get the win. Of course, Nats’ pitchers had bad luck too, as the run that tied things up in the bottom of the sixth was helped along by Rick Ankiel muffing one in center, even though it was ruled a double. Eventually this one went extra innings with Adam LaRoche winning it on a two-run jack in the 11th.

Bad D. Low energy. Four miles on the treadmill. My kind of game! It’s gonna be a great season.

Indians 1, Red Sox 0:  I wrote this one up yesterday, and I still maintain that the Sox will be competitive in the AL East sooner rather than later. But let us at least acknowledge that there will come a point — and it could come by Sunday evening if this weekend series against the Yankees is disastrous — where it will not be panicky to write off the Red Sox.  Because yes, “losses at the beginning of the year” is something of an artificial construct. But if the losing streak gets much worse it will become the kind of streak that can kill a season no matter when it happens.

Yankees 4, Twins 3: Chamberlain in the seventh, Soriano in the eighth, Rivera in the ninth and everyone giving postgame quotes afterward. Just like nothin’ ever happened! For Minnesota things were terrible. Tsuyoshi Nishioka’s broken leg is not only bad for his health and playing time, but it likely bummed out his parents, who were flying in from Japan to see his home debut this weekend. Now what? “Look mom, it’s Minnehaha Park! The American Swedish Musuem! Mom! Wait! Don’t go!”

Phillies 11, Mets 0:  The Mets were shut down on offense and beat up on D. The only downside I see in this game for Phillies fans (or Roy Halladay fans, which I am) is if the Cy Young race is close in the fall and someone says “well, Halladay got X runs support a game!” in an effort to discredit his case. Of course, if he keeps shutting people out, I suppose that’s not going to really be a problem.

Rockies 7, Pirates 1: Troy Tulowitzki goes yard again, his third on the season. Not bad considering he only has five hits in all. Esmil Rogers was fantastic on the mound. Putatively a number five starter, he had ace stuff yesterday, allowing hits to the first two batters and retiring 22 of the last 23 he faced while striking out seven.

Brewers 4, Braves 2: Tommy Hanson‘s velocity is down in his first couple of starts, so that’s scary. Even more scary is the fact that the Braves can’t score any runs right now and they get to face Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels in the next three games.  This trendy pick in the NL East is not looking so trendy right now, is it?

Athletics 2, Blue Jays 1: Oakland salvages one behind a great game from Trevor Cahill. Efficient (105 pitches in eight innings) and effective (one run on three hits with no walks), Cahill talked after the game about how his curve ball — previously just a show-me pitch for him — was key. In his first start he struck out eight guys in four and two-thirds. In this one he struck out seven guys in eight innings. For a guy whose K-rates haven’t been fabulous, this could be a major, major step forward for him.

White Sox 5, Rays 1I hit this one up yesterday too. The Rays have not held a lead all year. They’ve scored 1 run in five of their six games.  Given the decade of futility they endured after the launch of the franchise, it’s amazing that this is their worst start in team history, but yep, it is.

Astros 3, Reds 2: Houston gets its first win — they have more than Boston and Tampa Bay combined! Oh noes! — and Cincinnati gets its first loss. The Astros got the winning run on a Matt Downs double off Nick Masset in the top of the ninth.

Orioles 9, Tigers 5: Just like there must come a time when we consider the Red Sox to be in serious trouble, there must come a time when we acknowledge that maybe — just possibly — the Orioles are for real. Not saying they’re fabulous, but they’re legit. They’ve shown that their young pitchers are capable of good things. In this one they showed that they can bash the ball around a bit.  I sense a very frisky team that, even if it won’t be in it at the end, is going to be a gigantic pain in the ass for a lot of people this year.

  1. kiwicricket - Apr 8, 2011 at 7:03 AM

    “Before I let you know what happened in the Nats-Marlins game, I’d like to tell you about my treadmill”
    Basically, that caption alone was responsible for me clicking on this link. Brilliant.

    • kiwicricket - Apr 8, 2011 at 7:09 AM

      BTW…Can we get some sort of time zone adjustment thingy on here??? It’s early Friday evening and I have spent all afternoon drinking my ass off at various wineries. It just makes me feel a bit self conscience about my drinking and physical state when I see ‘7.03am’ on the post. Regards.

  2. yankeesfanlen - Apr 8, 2011 at 7:36 AM

    Potential Backpage Headline Averted! Can you imagine if Nick Swisher DIDN’T try to break up a double play? Looked to me to be a clean, if necessarily ungraceful play, and that Nick had a look of regretful concern in the dugout.
    Whatcha watching between 2 and 7PM this afternoon? Might be good for 12 miles or so.

    • uyf1950 - Apr 8, 2011 at 8:26 AM

      My Friend, that play or plays very, very similar to that slide are repeated game after game by every ML team during the season. Taking out the 2nd baseman in a double play is part of baseball. Hopefully fans don’t make more out of it then there is. Besides after the game Swisher went to check on and apologized to the Twins player. The play and what happened is part of the game.

      On another note. I’m looking forward to the Yankee/Red Sox series. Not because of there records but because they are always good and interesting games and sub-plots to every game…and always long term (season) implications. That’s just my opinion. Enjoy

      • Craig Calcaterra - Apr 8, 2011 at 8:27 AM

        I don’t believe I’ve seen anyone suggest it was a bad play. Hard but clean combined with a guy not as familiar with playing second base as short. Life sucks sometimes.

      • yankeesfanlen - Apr 8, 2011 at 8:31 AM

        Nice to see you back, UYF. Your pals here in Yankeeland missed your comments. We even exiled Purdy-Boy in your absence.
        I hope our bats are hot for the weekend. The pitching will be what the pitching will be.

      • uyf1950 - Apr 8, 2011 at 8:52 AM

        Yankeesfanlen, thanks my friend. I’ve been here but not posted much. I have read many of the comments. I’ve noticed also that “beantownsports247″ the self professed all knowing poster has been absent for a while. I guess he didn’t know as much as he thought about the Sox, what players want, pitching rotations the Yankees and all things in between. I guess he got a little touch of humility with the Boston season so far.
        Anyway, thanks again. Enjoy the series my friend. It should be a lot of fun.

      • uyf1950 - Apr 8, 2011 at 8:56 AM

        Craig, I didn’t mean to imply anyone had suggested that. My comment was more of a preemptive comment. In anticipation should someone suggest it, as more posters read the article and weigh in on the subject. Thank you.

    • Utley's Hair - Apr 8, 2011 at 12:01 PM

      I don’t believe I’ve seen “necessarily ungraceful” before.

  3. Chris Fiorentino - Apr 8, 2011 at 7:53 AM

    I agree that the Swisher slide was 100% clean. The second baseman should have been behind or straddling the second base bag to avoid getting destroyed the way he did. He pretty much was a sitting duck. I’m not the biggest Aaron Boone fan but he and Larkin had a good segment showing the proper way to turn a DP for a second baseman and said since this guy played SS in Japan he wasn’t used to positioning as a 2B yet. It was good stuff.

  4. jstrizzle - Apr 8, 2011 at 8:22 AM

    Really a jab at Minneapolis/St. Paul? That is a beautiful city with tons to do. That said, as a person who looks for more reasons to hate Nick Swisher I can say the slide was clean and unfortunate.

    • sometogethernow - Apr 8, 2011 at 8:35 AM

      Ha, as a transplanted Mpls. native I read that line and thought “maann…now I miss it!”

    • Old Gator - Apr 8, 2011 at 8:58 AM

      Nishioka and Gardenhire both issues statements following the game using terms like “clean” and, in Nishioka’s case, “professional” to describe the play. No hard feelings, just a hard cast, no Geisha bathing for three months and the incredible nuisance of bagging the thing in waterproof plastic every time you want to take a shower. It’s a weird feeling to walk into the bathroom and see that cast bag hanging over the shower curtain rail like some huge…eh…well, you know…but at least it’s legitimately re-usable. As far as things to do in St. Paul, try going by Birchbark Books to see if Louise Erdrich is around. Buy yourself a copy of The Universal Baseball Association, J. Henry Waugh, Prop. Hell, I’d traverse a lot of ocean for that.

      Now then, the Gnats-Feesh fiasco. Speaking of cast bags, my wonderful wife crunched her footsie against the sill of the patio sliding glass door running to grab a phone call and that obviated my game option in a hurry. That foot looks like a cinder block fell on it now, but it’s not nearly as ugly as Hanley’s infield play so far this season. I had a quick phone conversation with my friend – a lawyer, still – who was on the way to the game last night and with whom I was originally supposed to go, and I made some snide comments about Los Manos de Piedra himself. My friend, with the sort of hauteur with which a lawyer bills you, dismissed my anxieties and bluntly informed me that Hanley was going to be fine. Right.

      Buck’s offensive production so far this season has been impressive enough that, despite some original misgivings about the size of the contract Scrooge McLoria gave him in the throes of a personal Tennis Court Oath, he may be forgiven for the error last night, domini domini domini.

      But the Feesh have also settled into one of their historically lethal stretches of futility with RISP. I don’t know what the numbers were exactly last night but the whiffs, popups, short fly balls and infield groundouts – plus Hanley padding his karma by telegraphing his intentions and being suckered by a pitchout to end the seventh – were coming thick and fast. Mujica served up that tater as if he were serving the last order of stone crab for this season which, thank Buddha, still has five weeks to go. You could drown your frustrations in worse, let me tell you.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Apr 8, 2011 at 9:03 AM

        “Buy yourself a copy of The Universal Baseball Association, J. Henry Waugh, Prop. Hell, I’d traverse a lot of ocean for that.”

        Indeed. And again, I thank you for sending me that last year, Gator. Um — need your copy back? :-)

      • Old Gator - Apr 8, 2011 at 12:16 PM

        Naaahhh. Got me a signed first edition in the fridge.

  5. Jonny 5 - Apr 8, 2011 at 8:36 AM

    BOOM!

    Ok Phills, Don’t blow all your “boom” early on and fall off the table offensively down the stretch like you did last season mmmkay. Premature boomjackulation effects many people in the Philadelphia area right now.

    One thing I have to say. When you get your lead off man on base 14 of your last 16 innings (Yesterday every inning) Well, that’s just very good baseball. Let’s see that against the Bravos this weekend Gentlemen.

    • nps6724 - Apr 8, 2011 at 9:44 AM

      “When you get your lead off man on base 14 of your last 16 innings (Yesterday every inning)”

      Damn, I’d say that is a recipe for success.

      Should be a good series this weekend. I’m half-happy/half-sad we miss Doc. Happy because who wants to face Doc? Sad because who doesn’t want to watch Doc?

      • Jonny 5 - Apr 8, 2011 at 12:53 PM

        Ahhh, Cliffy is just as entertaining if not more. Not “as” good imo, but definitely entertaining. But who’s “as” good as Roy anyway? He’s even good when he’s bad.

    • Utley's Hair - Apr 8, 2011 at 11:53 AM

      Jonny, one good thing is that there hasn’t been a whole lot of jack so far—it’s been a whole helluva lot of small ball. Craig’s decontextualizing quotes and all are not dampening my season yet. LET’S GO PHIGHTINS!!!!!!!! (Though maybe you could go across the street to talk to the Flyboys and get them to get their heads out of their a$$es.)

      • Jonny 5 - Apr 8, 2011 at 12:47 PM

        The Flyers get their heads up tonight. I predict it. Don’t EFF with Holmgrem, he’s the baddest a$$ boss in pro sports, he will literally whip peoples a$$e$ if they don’t .

        And yeah, the Phills are working on an OBP% for a team that I don’t remember seeing before. From any other team. It is only 6 games in so we’ll see as the season wears down. But hell yeah!

  6. levistahl - Apr 8, 2011 at 9:15 AM

    You’re part of a trend, Craig! Well, okay, you’re two-and-a-half years behind the trend, but these things take a long time to reach Ohio, no?

    Seriously, though: I would love to turn my office desk into a standing desk. A treadmill would be a bit much for office life, but the standing desk would be awesome. I already spend a lot of my workday lying on my belly on the floor as I proofread, so it’s not like anyone would think I was any weirder than they already do.

    • nps6724 - Apr 8, 2011 at 9:45 AM

      Screw that, give me Quad Desk!

  7. Lukehart80 - Apr 8, 2011 at 9:24 AM

    Craig, I’m often drawn to those kinds of games too (though I would consider both of last night’s options to be “those kinds” if games). For me, I think it has more to do with wanting to see teams I don’t ordinarily get to see. I live in Chicago, so I get all the Cubs and White Sox I want and I have ESPN so I get more New York and Boston than I need. Now that the free preview of the MLB package has ended, I will hardly ever be able to see the Orioles or Mariners or Pirates again all season.

  8. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Apr 8, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    God, I f@cking love ATH!

    • Utley's Hair - Apr 8, 2011 at 12:35 PM

      Wow…this is kinda awkward now….

  9. Joe - Apr 8, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    I can’t believe you’re hating on the Phillies for scoring too many runs now. You just love to hate on the Phillies, don’t you, you hateful, hating Phillie-hater?

    • phukyouk - Apr 8, 2011 at 11:16 AM

      YUP!

  10. APBA Guy - Apr 8, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    The A’s best game so far this year isn’t carried by the inestimable Comcast CA. Thank you Dolans. That rerun of of the Albertson’s Petaluma Club Pro Invitational almost had me turning off the radio broadcast of the beloved A’s.

    That said, and I feel better now, thanks, the REAL White Rabbit emerged and justified his # 1 starter role with his effort yesterday. Not that the A’s should get too excited. At 2-4 and heading to outdoor play in MN their parkas and snowshoes might get more use than their bats. Still, this is the kind of game the A’s have to have more of, even though expecting results like 8 innings of 4 hits, no walks, your basic 0.50 WHIP, would be beyond the projections of even Philadelphia’s staff.

    So realistically, great game, and who’s the hitting coach this week?

  11. tribester - Apr 8, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    I’m really starting to wonder what the Yankees did to Austin Kearns. 0 for 9 on the season may not be too bad yet, but it is curious.

  12. atribecalledtwolves - Apr 8, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    Swisher’s slide was still poorly executed. Yeah, you’re supposed to try to break up a DP, but don’t swing your swing out and elevate them. As I type, I just saw Delmon Young of all people make a 10X better slide than that.

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