Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Watched: Smorgasbord Live - 6/25/08

6:02 (Central Time) - I'm going to try something a little different tonight and live blog the various games. There are some interesting pitchers starting tonight, so I'll be flipping around to get a glimpse of as much as I can.

6:06 - Skip Schumaker led off with a homerun on the first pitch of the game from Armando Galarraga. Galarraga is 7-2 with a 3.03 ERA so far on the season and has been a very pleasant surprise for the Tigers. Oops, Rick Ankiel just crushed another Galarraga offering and the Cardinals are up 2-0.

6:15 - Roy Halliday is impressive - he's got filthy stuff that he locates well. He struck out the first two batters of the game before walking Brandon Phillips and then giving up a homerun to Ken Griffey, Jr. on a good pitch - a low changeup that Halliday might have left a little bit too far inside. I'm off to a good start on this live blog: as soon as I start praising a pitcher he gives up a homerun before I finish typing the sentence.

6:20 - The Yankees spotted Joba Chamberlain a 2 run lead before he'd thrown a pitch. Reports from New York are that the Yankees are removing any pitch restrictions for Joba for the rest of the season. I am interested to see if he can reign in his pitch count to stay effective later into games. He certainly has electric stuff - getting his fastball up to 96 in the first inning. Joba is not cursed by this blog - he puts the Pirates down 1-2-3 in the first.

6:30 - Has Barry Zito returned from the edge of oblivion? He struck out the first two batters of the game against the Indians and got the third on a groundout to thirdbase. He has looked terrible this season (and last season) and his statistics seemed to indicate that he was over-valued a bit before he signed his big contract in free agency, but he went from being an overrated, but still above average pitcher to being one of the worst pitchers in the major leagues awfully quickly. I think he may be in for a bit of a bounceback in the second half of this season.

6:38 - There are currently eight games available to me to watch and at seven o'clock there will be another three. The Extra Innings package is the best investment of the year for me every year. Currently pitching: Joba Chamberlain, Roy Halliday, James Shields, Barry Zito, and Aaron Harang, among others.

6:43 - Well, in my last entry I missed Randy Johnson pitching for the Diamondbacks at Fenway Park. Johnson is not nearly the pitcher he was a few years ago, but he still looks deadly against lefthanded hitters. I am really surprised at Johnson's longevity - I never thought that he would be the type of pitcher that would be effective into his 40's. His injuries haven't been surprising with his size and high-effort delivery, but his ability to come back from those injuries has surpassed my expectations.

6:45 - David Wright just hit his second homerun of the night - in only the second inning against Seattle.

6:55 - The Tigers tied the Cardinals at two, going into the third inning and then Galarraga gave up a single and then a two-base error on Marcus Thames put runners on second and third with none out and Rick Ankiel coming to the plate. I was surprised that the Tigers did not walk Ankiel to load the bases in that situation, especially since Galarraga is more effective against righthanders (and Troy Glaus was on deck). Galarraga threw a 92 mph fastball over the outside portion of the plate and Ankiel just missed his second homer of the night - driving Curtis Granderson to the warning track and driving in a run with a Sac Fly.

7:05 - Joba just threw a really nice sequence of pitches to get the final out of the third inning: a 95 mph fastball on the inside corner, a 78 mph curveball that froze the hitter, a 96 mph fastball outside for a ball, and an 85 mph slider that broke the hitter's bat causing a groundout to shortstop. The hitter really had no chance.

7:12 - David Wright is coming up for his third at bat in the first three innings. Seattle's Miguel Batista will leave to go take a shower first, though. Jose Reyes just hit a three-run homer and Batista then walked Jose Castillo to bring up Wright. The Mariners are already down 8-0 and relief pitcher Roy Corcoran's job is just to keep this game respectable. He gets off to a good start by walking David Wright (hey, it's better than a homer, right?).

7:28 - Detroit traded Denny Bautista to Pittsburgh today for a minor league pitcher. I remember when Bautista came up with the Royals a few years ago - I watched him pitch a masterful game at Kaufman Stadium his rookie year and I thought for sure that he was going to be a star. He has great stuff, throwing in the mid-90's with his fastball and his slider is virtually unhittable. But Bautista could never harness his stuff and be consistent with his location. The Royals, Rockies, Tigers and now Pirates have all been seduced by the potential, but at this point it is clear that Bautista will never live up to what he could have been.

7:33 - In one of the games that started at 7:00, the Cubs are all over Baltimore in the first inning. They've already got one run across and the bases are loaded with one out and Geovany Soto at the plate. Matt Albers got the start for the Orioles, but only lasted a third of an inning and now Lance Cormier just gave up a two run single to Soto and a one run single from Mark DeRosa and the Cubs are up 4-0 with runners on the corners and still only one out. This one is getting ugly quick.

7:42 - Joba Chamberlain has now gone five scoreless innings, giving up three hits and a walk. His pitch count is in the upper 80's, which means that he probably has no more than one more inning in him. He qualifies for the win, but I'm sure the Yankees would love to see him get a little deeper into the game to reduce the stress on the bullpen.

8:09 - Barry Zito has continued his (one-night?) revival. He has gone 6.2 scoreless innings while giving up four hits (including a double to the Indians catcher moments ago) and striking out four. And, in fact, Zito is being pulled from the game with a three run lead after throwing 108 pitches.

8:15 - A game I haven't been keeping a very close eye on has gotten out of hand: the Rays are beating the Marlins 14-0 in the sixth inning after putting up a ten spot in the fifth inning. James Shields has gone the whole way for Tampa, giving up three hits and striking out four. And, of course, just as I type that last sentence, Mike Jacobs takes Shields deep for the Marlins first run. Make that four hits and four strikeouts. Shields gets the next hitter to ground out easily to short to end the sixth.

8:26 - And Joba comes out to start the seventh after throwing 98 pitches, proving me wrong as always. He gets the first two Pirates in the seventh and then gives up consecutive hits before getting pulled for a reliever. His final line is 6.2 innings pitched, six hits and one walk allowed, and seven strikeouts. He was so close to finishing the seventh, but he clearly started to tire. He threw 114 pitches on the night.

8:43 - And that's about it. It's time for me to start working on my other blog post of the evening, the Daily Farm Report for Future Redbirds.

BallHype: hype it up!

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