European history, as taught by whoever was responsible for the script of tonight's game:
- 146 BC: Greek Empire collapses under burden of shoddy architecture, lack of warm-water ports
- 400-750: fall of Rome ushers in Age of the Ostrogoths, known for its political stability and detailed keeping of records
- 1095: following three weeks of combat, Crusades come to peaceful conclusion
- 1291: Marco Polo rises to prominence as world's first outspoken political isolationist
- 1348: immaculate living conditions help mainland Italy avoid worst of bubonic plague
- 1492: indigenous people of Bahamas discover Portugal
- 1648: Peace of Westphalia unites individual German states, centralizes power
- 1765: British redcoats suppress colonial uprising, successfully enforce Stamp Act
- 1870: Franco-Prussian war not the least bit humiliating for France
- 1914: Archduke Ferdinand, wife survive trip to Sarajevo, return home
- 1940: French border defenses effectively thwart German military advances
- 1989: Milosevic, KLA officials attend team-building workshop
Biggest Contribution: Carlos Silva, +32.2%
Biggest Suckfest: Adrian Beltre, -6.2%
Most Important AB: Lopez funk blast, +21.9%
Most Important Pitch: Blalock DP, +9.6%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): +39.5%
Total Contribution by Hitters: +10.5%
Total Contribution by Opposition: 0.0%
(What is this chart?)
Generally speaking, while my game recaps are mostly just an extended stream of consciousness, they're not completely made up on the spot. I try to prepare for them a little bit ahead of time over the course of the day and think about the things that're most likely to happen, because it just isn't a good idea to try and come up with a trillion-word impromptu narrative when it's midnight and all you want to do is go to bed and snag that elusive seventh hour of sleep. That's how you end up with crazy, nonsensical jibber-jabber like this. So I do what I can to construct a few possible outlines in my head and then hope that the game at least somewhat follows along with one of my predicted storylines. That makes these things so much easier to write.
Today's game took all of my expectations, glued them together in a crude effigy of the guy who made them up, picked the effigy up by the hair, smashed it against its forehead, and drop-kicked it into space. Then it did a pelvic thrust and grunted while shotgunning a beer and flipping the effigy off and singing God Bless The USA. Everything I thought about today, all the different possibilities that ran through my brain...I couldn't have been more wrong if I tried. We're all familiar with the expression "that's why they play the games," and apparently the reason they play the games is to completely fuck me over. I'm naked without my predicted outlines, and when I'm left having to start over at 11:45 on a weekday, that can only mean one thing.
Bullet Point Format!
- In 2007, Carlos Silva's strikeout rate was the fourth-lowest among qualified starters in baseball. His walk rate was sixth. He had good success against righties, but came undone against lefties. Billed to us as a contact groundball pitcher with pinpoint control, we expected him to be decent, durable, and thoroughly boring. In other words, this was not a debut with a lot of pregame hype.
Then Silva went to work and looked absolutely nothing like the guy we thought we signed. Against a lefty-heavy lineup with a good deal of power, Silva went seven innings and picked up a nickel of strikeouts while struggling a little bit with his location. His pitches were diving all over the place, he wasn't giving up solid contact, and he actually ventured up in the zone more often than you'd expect from a sinkerballer. With only seven of his 68 strikes being missed swings the five strikeouts aren't sustainable, but even so this wasn't at all what we expected. He even earned himself some brownie points with a quick pace. And just for good measure, to cap off all the wackiness, the 116 pitches were a career high.
Since we've seen Washburn pull a start like this out of his patoot from time to time, I'm obviously not yet convinced that Silva's a new pitcher, but I'm damn sure going to watch his next appearance a lot closer than I ever thought I'd want to. This was a very well-pitched start.
- Holy shit the Giants just won
- To all of you who had Jose Vidro hitting the first funk blast (it's back!) of the season: congratulations, you're stupid. But stupid and accurate aren't mutually exclusive, and Vidro absolutely beat the living snot out of a belt-high floater in the second. (Fun aside: Gameday classified the 86mph meatball as a changeup, but considering Jennings' fastball was topping out at 87, the only thing we can say for sure is that Jennings' career is almost done.) To hit a ball beyond the vertex in right-center on a cool April night requires more power than I thought Vidro had in him. It's only 50% as many home runs as he hit against Brandon McCarthy, but it's also infinity% as many home runs as he hit against pretty much everyone else, so yeah, it was pretty terrific. Jose Vidro is now tied for the team lead in home runs and stolen bases.
- I know a lot of you guys oppose the urge to assign everybody nicknames, but while I usually agree with you, I think a good nickname for YuBet would be Mr. Whimsy.
- In 13 plate appearances so far, Jose Lopez has seen 58 pitches, with 26 balls and 22 swings. He has yet to swing at the first pitch of an at bat, and tonight after falling behind 0-1 in every trip to the plate he managed to work each count to at least two balls. Out of nowhere he's started showing the kind of patience we never thought possible, and he was rewarded for it in the fifth when he took a 3-2 fastball middle-in over the left field fence for a huge insurance home run. Although you could argue that the home run was no big accomplishment since it came off an early nominee for Worst Pitch Of The Season, the fact of the matter is that a year ago Lopez probably never would've lasted long enough to see that pitch in the first place. I won't let Lopez fool me again with another hot start, but this is an intriguing development. While the entire team's shown better discipline, Lopez has been perhaps the biggest and most pleasant surprise.
I won't try to read too much into it until we face a team with pitching, though. Which I guess will be a little while.
- First impression: Brad Wilkerson is the third base coach of hitters, where you only notice him if he messes up.
- First impression from the other side: Ranger fans don't much care for Ben Broussard. I wonder what it'd take to get him at the deadline.
- From the AP recap:
The Mariners’ bullpen was a mess after just two games. All-Star closer J.J. Putz had just gone on the disabled list with a ribcage injury.
And the fortune cookie Batista had to finish off his pregame dinner declared: "Someone will need your help this month."
When Batista showed John McLaren what fortune cookie he had drawn at dinner, the Mariners manager exclaimed: "Oh, no you didn’t!"
Rangers 9th inning: Hamilton (L), Blalock (L), Bradley (S), Catalanotto (L) [would be followed by Murphy (L)]
McLaren's solution: start the inning with a righty who can't throw strikes to lefties to save his life, then relieve him with another righty who has closing experience
Proper solution: RRS
I know it worked out, and I'm not going to expend too much energy complaining about how McLaren handled a situation I don't think he ever expected, but that was just putting way too much stock in experience and way too little in talent and matchups. With JJ sidelined, RRS is probably the best arm in the bullpen. Use him.
- Off tomorrow, Baltimore on Friday. In their second game of the season, the Orioles drew 10,505. We may be able to grab AJ and Sherrill without anyone noticing.