General Baseball

Cage Match: O’s-Rangers Gamer ONLY ONE SHALL SURVIVE

Yu Darvish lost his last start, giving up three earned against the Halos. Prior to that, the rookie sensation has been one of the hottest pitchers in baseball through the end of the season, stringing five starts where opponents “hit” .138/.189/.179. He has stopped walking batters lately, which was his Achilles. Joe Saunders is a mediocre contact pitcher with a wretched record against the Rangers, but Buck says Saunders is rested and adds, “You can make numbers look anyway you want to,” Showalter said. “If you’re looking for pitchers with good numbers against the Texas Rangers, they’re hard to find.”

Fair enough. Comment away on your wildcard Friday night action.

31 replies on “Cage Match: O’s-Rangers Gamer ONLY ONE SHALL SURVIVE”

The last 30 minutes of this game has been a bizarre embarrassment for the umpires and Atlanta fans alike. That call was hideous and absolutely killed an implausible rally at a critical late moment in the game. Unreal.

When people who don’t like the one-game format explain that ‘anything can happen in one game’ and that a 3-game series would be preferable, they will have horrid umpiring in this game to point to as a perfect case study. I don’t care about either of these teams, but if I were an Atlanta fan I would be livid.

And that’s how Chipper Jones reaches base for probably the last time in his career. The utter weirdness of this game continues. He also should have been hussling and if that starts a rally, he is very lucky he got there in time. And now a ground-rule double makes it 2nd and 3rd, 2 outs, with the tying run at the plate. Not dead yet…

Unless you are a die-hard Cards fan you have to be rooting for Atlanta now. Clearly they dug themselves their own hole with the 3 errors tonight, but nothing makes up for that call in my view.

Game. No words to describe this carnival of a game. And the Cards sprint off the field, some of them zig-zagging to avoid the bottles and other assorted debris raining down.

OK, last comment on this before turning to Baltimore/Texas. The crazy thing about that call is that 1. it was a real lapse in judgment to call the infield fly rule on a pop-up for which the SS had to range that far out into the outfield. But then you add to that the fact that the umpire is supposed to make that call, if at all, pretty much right away. In this case, he made it a split second before that high pop-up fell to the ground. It is just bizarre. By protesting that call, the Atlanta manager has to protest a mis-application of a rule and not a lapse in judgment, which is not reversible via protest, so I have to assume that what he protested specifically was not the call itself (as horrible as it was), but the fact that it was called much too late. I don’t know. Just horrible.

Anyway, switching to the O’s vs. the formidable Darvish, and they somehow tagged him for a run already. I think I’m rooting for the O’s – not because I think they’ll be easier to bounce than the Rangers (though i think they probably would be), but because I think they deserve to have a shot at a real playoff series after the year they had.

And Buck had Johnson loosening in the bullpen in the 1st inning, but Saunders gets out of it giving up just one run. Tie game.

I haven’t watched Darvish pitch this year. He seems to have 18 different pitches.

The Baltimore Orioles are a wonder. And if this stays a one-run game, they seem to have Texas right where they want them, as moronic as that sounds. Best record in one-run games in over 50 years. Crazy.

3-1 O’s. Oh my goodness. They might actually do this. Still three innings. Though if there were ever a bullpen used to protecting small leads, it is Baltimore’s.

Showalter will bring a different pitcher in for every single pitch if he has to. This would be a gut-punching finale to a stunning collapse for Texas if the O’s keep them at bay here. In first place most of the season, including every day over the last several weeks until game 162.

Baltimore is 74-0 when leading after 7 innings?!?!?! I knew they were running some pretty impressive streaks, but this is especially surprising given the number of close games they’ve played. That’s really amazing to me frankly.

Texas trying to rally in the 8th. With one out Kinsler is on 1st, Andrus is up, and Hamilton is on deck. If they can’t do this with the meat of their order, the will have to face Johnson with the bottom of their lineup in the 9th.

O’s throw the ball away trying to hold Kinsler on 1st. Foolish, esp when you have a 2-run lead.

Groundout that would have been a GIDP without the previous screw-up. Instead, they bring up Hamilton representing the tying run. in comes the lefty.

Three pitch strike-out of Hamilton, who has been quite the disappointment down the stretch here. The O’s rag-tag, patchwork, quilt of random pitchers pulled off scrap-heaps and promoted from the minors, is unbelievably effective. The Rangers are down to their final three outs.

The O’s make it 4-1. Good night Texas. No one has come back on the O’s and your team has been heading in the wrong direction fast for 2 weeks. What a job by Baltimore and what a collapse by Texas. This is exactly what I feared Baltimore would do to the Yanks as September wore on. They will have their shot at it in the ALDS. But to lose like this – losing 4 games in a row when, if they had just won one of them, they would have been through to the ALDS – has to be so hard to take for Texas.

Texas outscored Baltimore 56-24 and went 5-2 against them over the course of the season. The hard thing with Baltimore is it’s not like there are particular guys in the lineup or pen that you need to try to avoid. None of them is sterling on his own. They just have a team in which the whole FAR FAR FAR exceeds the sum of the parts. The Yanks better not be complacent against these guys. They’ll need to press the action, hold down the O’s running game, and keep the ball low in the zone or these guys will get early leads that will be hard as hell to overcome.

2 outs. Good night Texas. I’d love someone to make the case, as has been made here many times, that managers add little to a team’s performance. Showalter is a superb in-game tactical manager and has – again and again – shifted the culture of the teams he has taken over for the better, laying the groundwork for enduring success. I live playing in Baltimore more than in Texas as the Yanks are comfortable at Camden Yards. But like Oakland, this team deserves serious respect.

Johnson issues the inexcusable walk. 2 on, 19-year old September call-up comes up to hit. Wow – welcome to the majors kid.

And the kid comes through with a single! Bases loaded. Tying run up. Good for Texas — show some freaking fight!!! David Murphy up, a career 2-4 with a HR vs. Johnson.

my humble observations on the infield fly rule call in the braves/cards game: i don’t have an emotional stake in either of those teams…nor do i think that one play necessarily cost the braves the game, but it was painful to watch…was it really a bad call?…on the surface, it sure looked like it, but the rulebook appears to be designed to protect the umpires in just these kinds of circumstances…arguably questionable judgement by an umpire who normally wouldn’t be in that position, except for the post-season requirement to have 2 extra umps down the foul lines…supposedly to help avoid such controversy, particularly on fair/foul and home runs, ironically the 2 events, along with fan interference, that are reviewable…was it even that ump’s call to make?…supposedly any ump on the field can invoke the infield fly rule…if this had been a regular season game, i assume the 3rd or 2nd base ump would make the call…neither did from what i can see…as for the rule itself, the baseball rulebook is laced with ambiguity…i’d argue it’s so mlb can wiggle out of just this kind of controversy…call it the “umpire’s judgement defense”…torre wasted no time whipping out that copout after the game in his decision to deny the braves protest, well, because you can’t protest an umpires judgement…convenient…both fielders had an opportunity to reasonably make the catch, but it fell only because of miscommunication between the 2 the real question for me initially was where does the infield begin and the outfield end?…it’s about 127 feet from home plate to 2nd base, and 90 feet from home plate to 3rd base, though clearly the infield extends beyond the 2nd and 3rd bases…i read somewhere that the disputed popup landed about 225 feet from home plate…interestingly, the rule specifically doesn’t care about distances…it discusses the infielder being able to catch the ball with “ordinary effort”, regardless of where he is on the field…so, it comes down to that, in the ump holbrook’s judgement, cards ss kozma had a play on the ball that would have required “ordinary effort”, regardless of how out of position he was…exacerbating the dispute was that holbrook didn’t make the call until late in the play, though i’m not sure how exactly that would have affected decisions by either the fielders or the baserunners…bad call, i dunno, let’s just say i’ve watched a lot of baseball, and i’ve never seen the infield fly rule in play on a ball hit that deep into the outfield…oh well…

I don’t think it was a bad call either…just a strange and rare one…

The Braves were terrible in that game. They deserved to lose.

From Harold Reynolds’ commentary on the MLB Network and video footage from the regular season, it’s acttually neiither a bad nor a rare call. Some others disagreed with him, but as a former infielder he was pretty adamant. You just don’t reallize it’s called that much because guys don’t drop the ball like that frequesntly. I stand correccted.

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