Sean O'Sullivan again

    Sunday, July 25, 2010, 11:44 AM [General]

    "This is like deja vu all over again."

    Yogi Berra once said that and in the case of Sean O'Sullivan, he's right.  O'Sullivan beat the Yankees Tuesday wearing the road greys and red hats of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and today he will be wearing the hat for the Kansas City Royals.

    It wouldn't have been deja vu all over again but at about 6:30 Thursday night, the Royals acquired O'Sullivan for third baseman Alberto Callaspo.

    When the Royals announced he would start today, that put into motion two big questions?

    A - Who was the last pitcher to make consecutive starts against the same club in different uniforms in a span of six days?

    B - Who was the last pitcher to start against the Yankees in different uniforms in a span of six days?

    According to Elias Sports Bureau, the answer to A was originally Lidle, but now it is Carl Pavano, who did it last year.

    In 2004, Lidle was traded by the Reds to the Phillies.  He beat Colorado on August 8, 2004 and four days later made his Phillies' debut.  He did not win both, losing to the Rockies 3-1.  Facing Shawn Estes, Lidle allowed two runs and three hits in five innings.  One of those hits was a two-run home run to Royce Clayton.

    According to Elias the answer to B is George Brunet. 

    In 1969, Brunet started for the Angels on July 27 and then for the Seattle Pilots on August 2.  On July 27, in Angels Stadium, he opposed Bill Burbach and allowed two runs and four hits in just 1 2/3 innings.  He did not get a decision in a game the Angels won 5-4.  Four days later he was sold to Seattle, which became the fourth team to purchase him during a 15-year career.  In his debut for the Pilots at Sicks Stadium, he was the losing pitcher in a 5-4 loss. 

    He opposed Al Downing and allowed four runs and 11 hits in six-plus innings.  He gave up a three-run blast to Joe Pepitone and a solo shot to Frank Fernandez.

    If O'Sullivan wins, he becomes the first pitcher to win against the same team in consecutive starts for two different teams since Andy Ashby in 2000.  Ashby beat the Orioles 13-4 by allowing three runs and seven hits in eight innings.   Four days later on July 12, he was traded for Bruce Chen and made his debut for the Braves by firing a seven-hitter in Camden Yards.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Mets - road to nowhere

    Friday, July 23, 2010, 1:50 PM [General]

    When you look at the yearly game logs of the Mets, especially in their losing seasons, there always seems to be a negative turning point when an already fragile team goes overboard.  Presently, we might be seeing it based on their 1-7 start after the All-Star break.

    To prove that theory I am looking at their game logs from previous seasons to see where it went wrong in the second half:

     

    2009 - entered break at 42-45 and 6 1/2 out of first and wild card. started out of the break 2-6 and fell to 10 1/2 out of first and 7 1/2 out in the wild card.  stemmed it a little with a five-game winning streak that brought the deficit to 4 1/2 in the wild card but lost 23 of the next 33 and fell out of it.

    2004 - Frequently when the losing comes it occurs in bunches and 2004 was one of those years. They won 15 of 24 to reach 45-43 on July 15.  Then they lost 12 of 16 and went from one game to nine games out.  They won 10 of 17 and lost a half-game in the NL East and were nine games out in the wild card race.  Then the roof caved in: 2 wins in 21 games and from the looks of things it was quite the lifeless run as they were outscored 123-62 and lost by three runs or more nine times.  This stretch doesn't quite look like that, at least not yet.

    2002 - This was a doozy and also led to Steve Phillips firing, though some might have prefferred he went instead of Bobby Valentine.  Phillips constructed a team with Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar among others and it went 75-86. It kind of staggered through the first three months, taking a 40-40 record into July which was 24-30 after a 16-10 start.  The stretch out of the break didn't kill them though and was actually pretty good (12 wins in 19 games) that brought them to 55-51 and brought them to 4 1/2 out in the wild card race.  The next time they won a home game was 9/3/02 when a 15-game home losing streak was snapped.  Unilke 2004, the Mets lost 13 games by three runs or less during the overall 6-23 stretch.

    Runs like this also took place in 1996, 1992 and 1991.  To me as a baseball follower the 1991 run was the most shocking.  This was right after the Mets completed 1984-1990 and as a 12-year-old the last time they had a losing season would have made me a four-year-old who remembers little.  I knew the Mets of that year would be different without Darryl Strawberry, but it seemed like enough members of those 1980s teams still remained that they would not totally tank like they did on an 11-game road trip through Pittsburgh, Chicago and St. Louis.

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    A-Rod and the Royals

    Friday, July 23, 2010, 1:50 AM [General]

    Alex Rodriguez never played for the Kansas City Royals. 

    The only link to the Royals is a few of his home runs of significance or that have moved him to the brink of a milestone have occurred against their pitchers.

    Rodriguez has 41 lifetime home runs off Kansas City pitching and a few are of significant variety.

    His first home run was 1995 against future teammate Tom Gordon, his 10th was 11 months later against Doug Linton.  That was sandwiched around shots off ex-Mariner teammate Tim Belcher and Hipolito Pichardo.

    The significant numbers did not come into play against the Royals for another 11 years.

    He hit 499 off Gil Meche, a man who was 12-8 in two seasons as a Mariner teammate.  That was in Kansas City and he had two series to get it before facing the Royals again.

    Rodriguez was 0-for-19 over the next six games against the Royals, Orioles and White Sox.  He heated up with two hits in a 13-9 win over the White Sox and one more the following night against the Royals.

     By then he was ready and 500 came off Kyle Davies on August 4, 2007.  So how is that relevant?

     In case you missed it, he hit 599 against the Royals, sending a pitch from Robinson Tejeda over the right field wall.

     That hardly means he’ll hit 600 against the Royals though it is interesting to note that he will be facing Davies Saturday afternoon.

     And if you’re so inclined the following pitchers have served up home runs to Rodriguez wearing a Royals uniform:

     

    1 – Tom Gordon 6/12/95

    9 – Tim Belcher 5/11/96

    10 – Doug Linton 5/12/96

    11 – Hipolito Pichardo 5/12/96

    32 – Rick Huisman 8/12/96

    71 – Chris Haney 4/20/98

    72 – Scott Service 4/21/98

    92 – Glendon Rusch 7/17/98

    93 – Scott Service 7/18/98

    94 – Tim Belcher – 7/19/98

    107 – Jeff Suppan – 5/14/99

    129 – Jeff Suppan – 7/29/99

    146 – Dan Murray 9/21/99

    147 – Brad Rigby – 9/21/99

    155 – Jason Rakers – 4/28/00

    156 – Jeff Suppan – 4/29/00

    230 – Jeff Austin – 9/2/01

    232 – Kris Wilson – 9/7/01

    233 – Chris George – 9/8/01

    254 – Jeff Suppan – 5/25/2002

    255 – Miguel Asencio – 5/26/02

    257 – Jeff Suppan – 5/31/02

    258 – Jeff Suppan – 5/31/02

    259 – Brad Voyles – 6/2/02

    336 – Curtis Leskanic – 8/28/03

    337 – Mike MacDougal – 8/28/03

    419 – Mike Wood – 8/26/05

    441 – Jeremy Affeldt – 5/27/06

    442 – Jeremy Affeldt – 5/27/06

    513 – Gil Meche – 9/7/07

    514 – Brian Bannister – 9/8/07

    515 – Brian Bannister – 9/8/07

    516 – Zach Greinke – 9/9/07

    520 – Hideo Nomo – 4/10/08

    527 – Brett Tomko – 6/7/08

    528 – Luke Hochevar – 6/8/08

    546 – Brian Bannister – 8/17/08

    

    0 (0 Ratings)

    From cancer to the majors - Colin Curtis' big day

    Thursday, July 22, 2010, 12:15 PM [General]

    Can you imagine what it's like to stare down cancer as a 15-year-old?  Thankfully I can't, but one of the newest Yankees knows.

    That would be Colin Curtis.

    It was 10 years ago when testicular cancer struck and spread to his stomach veins and around the lymph nodes.  Surgery removed the cancer and Curtis has been free of it since.

    But it still reasonates, especially in tight spots.  In baseball pressure is coming up with the bases loaded in a tie game, but it is not life threatening.

    So just by reading various pieces from writers who get a lot of space to detail it, you get the sense that the situation Curtis faced yesterday is pressure but not a big deal.

     “It’s definitely a part of my identity,” Curtis said. “I’ve been cancer-free so it doesn’t affect my day-to-day life that much anymore. But it’s important to carry the message.

     “Cancer makes you more open-minded to the ups and downs. There’s a lot of failure in baseball, and it helps you get over them. It makes you grateful that you’re playing. You realize there’s always another day.”

    That situation was after Brett Gardner was ejected by Paul Emmel for arguing strike two. Curtis was watching the at-bat and drinking some Gatorade.  Once the ejection occurred, he kind of knew he was going to bat but still how do you prepare?  They don't necessarily simulate that scenario in batting practice.

    The answer is you go up there and look for a pitch to hit.  If there's anything close you swing, so when a 3-2 fastball by Scot Shields seemed hittable, Curtis swung and seconds later it was gone.

    Many people have hit their first home run, but it's doubtful there were anything like that. 

    And just as importantly for the Yankees, it gave them some breathing room.  You can get the sense of dread when Joba Chamberlain's music started and a five-run lead is a lot more comfortable than a one-run lead.

    By now, you've probably read most of the stories and columns on Curtis, but chances are you haven't seen this video I found from his college days at Arizona State.

     

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    The Ring never left New York

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010, 5:22 PM [General]

    Somewhere in Hideki Matsui's New York-area apartment, there are two World Series championship rings.  One is the fake one that the Yankees presented to him on Opening Day and another is the actual ring that he earned by driving in six runs in the deciding sixth game.

    This year the schedule gave the Angels two trips to New York and five games for Matsui here.  The first time he was here Matsui went 2-for-9 with a home run off Phil Hughes.  He left New York with a .316 average but is hitting .249 entering Tuesday's game.

    "It's been good. It's been bad.  It's been up and down."

    That is how Matsui described his first season with the Angels.  And he's right. 

    Matsui batted .273 in April, .184 in May, .318 in June and .190 this month.  He has just four hits in 28 at-bats but despite the slump remains dangerous.

    With runners in scoring position, he is batting .291 (25-for-86) and 16 of his 37 RBI have given the Angels a lead and finally 20 have occurred with two outs.

    Since he is here a week after George Steinbrenner's death, Matsui discussed his memories of "The Boss":

    "Prior to signing with the Yankees, I remember him expressing his desire for me to part of the Yankee organization and the day I arrived for the press conference he came to my hotel."

    "He said that I'm sure there will be a lot of changes and adjustments but I look forward to you being a part of the Yankees.

    As for other memories of Steinbrenner, Matsui recalled other encounters being nothing but pleasant and described him being very nice and encouraging when he visited the clubouse.

     

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

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