Morning Juice: Gavin Floyd leaves Twins dazed and confused

David Brown
May 7, 2008
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This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together with the most recent and decent major league happenings. Today's Major League Roll Call — one Juice to rule them all — starts at 35th St. and Shields Ave. on the South Side of Chicago, where the White Sox returned home from a road trip with six losses, two naked blow-up dolls, another Ozzie rant and a lot of doubt as to their ability to outscore anyone anymore. Luckily, that's where Gavin Floyd, possible cousin of legendary Lee High hurler Randall "Pink" Floyd, came in ...

AL Game of the Day: White Sox 7, Twins 1

Gavin McCloud 9 (8 1/3 anyway): If only outfielder Nick Swisher had arms that stretched 4 feet longer, he would have caught Joe Mauer's liner into the gap that turned into the only hit Floyd allowed all night. (Swisher also would walk on all fours.) Floyd, the 4th pick in the 2001 draft who never turned into the Phillies ace, has taken two no-hitters into the 8th inning and beyond this season. The other was broken up by Detroit's Edgar Renteria on April 12.

Philadelphia freedom: No longer burdened by whatever bothered him elsewhere (I think it was the Philly fans booing Santa Claus; Floyd must be descended from Elfin stock), Floyd's sweeping curveball and cutty von cutterson cutter has hitters shaking their heads and/or wildly swinging their bats. Floyd, by the way, once pitched a no-hitter in the minors and lost the game. And was booed by Philly fans, who did so by mail.

Mink Floyd: His numbers to the second: 3-1, 2.50 ERA, 39 2/3 IP, 20 H! The 19-18 K-BB ratio is, of course, kind of alarming. But if nobody's hitting you, nobody's hitting you. And nobody's hitting him.

Tit-for-tat at-bats: Someone brought a couple of inflatable hotties into the clubhouse in Toronto to try a slump-busting ritual — something as old as baseball itself. All it got the Sox was more grief. In unrelated events, they actually scored some runs against the Twins — thanks Jermaine Dye (2-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI), Carlos Quentin (2-4, R, 2 RBI), Joe Crede and Juan Uribe (2 hits, RBI apiece). See? We're nice to Juan Uribe.

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NL Game of the Day: Marlins 3, Brewers 0

Olie, Olie Olsen free: No naked dolls here. But, keeping to the theme of young pitchers finding their voice, Scott Olsen came within a strike of a 2-hitter for what would have been his first career complete game. Olsen walked 4, struck out 8, improving to 4-1 and lowering his ERA to 2.22. Given his struggles on the mound and off since coming to the Fish out of Crystal Lake South High School in suburban Chicago in 2002, it's neat to see a guy just doing his thing. "He pitched a great game, man," Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. "It was one of those nights where you matched up against a guy who was really on top of his game."

Hey, we played, too: Luis Gonzalez (yes, he's still going) went 4-for-4 with an RBI and Mike Jacobs slugged his 9th homer.

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Feelin' Rundown (Tuesday's other AL games)

Indians 5, Yankees 3 — Filling the gaping void John Vander Wal no longer cares to because — quite frankly — he's busy doing other things, David Dellucci now makes like Gates Brown, Del Unser, Jerry Hairston and Lenny Harris all by his lonesome. Tuesday's victim: Jawbuh. If you prick him, does he not bleed? Yes. Trailing by a run with 2 outs and 2 aboard in the 8th, the Indians sent a man to do Franklin Gutierrez's job, and Dellucci took Chamberlain into the Jeffrey Maier seats for a 3-run homer and a 5-3 lead. It is Dellucci's 10th career pinch homer, which is kind of a double-edged compliment. The guy probably wishes he could start.

Red Sox 5, Tigers 0 — Yes, just what the Tigers needed right now; a knuckleballer on his game. Tim Wakefield allows 2 hits, no walks and strikes out 6 over 8 against a revamped Detroit lineup that still does not have enough '84 Tigers for them to make a run. Wakefield turns 42 this August, but it's more like 32 in knuckleball years. Phil Niekro's hair turned white, blond and then white again, he went so long in this game. Get ready for another decade of Tim Wakefield's hair turning colors, Boston!

Rays 5, Blue Jays 4Andy Sonnanstine wriggled through 6 innings, allowing 4 runs and 10 hits. He is 10-3 in his past 16 starts going back to 2007— good, and apparently enough of a record to have developed a style, manager Joe Maddon says: "That's typical Sonnanstine right there; a little bit of a bending but no breaking." You know the Rays have broken through when we get phrases like "Typical Sonnanstine." Pretty soon, "You really got Hinskeed on that one, dude," will become the preferred teen-age catchphrase of the Southeast.

Angels 5, Royals 3Garret Anderson drove in each of the Halos' runs. He has 7 RBIs in the past two games and has boosted his batting average .237. What has keyed Anderson's turnaround? Anderson's lips weren't sealed, but they weren't letting much out, either, when reporters repeatedly asked for his secret recipe. "You just wouldn't understand," Anderson said. "It would be very hard to explain. But there was an adjustment, yeah. It would be very hard to explain it. You wouldn't understand. You just wouldn't understand. It's not a personal attack." No, but this is!

Athletics 4, Orioles 2Justin Duchscherer keeps on improving, which means he also will continue to challenge sportswriters everywhere to spell "Duchscherer" without resorting to violating the laws of physics.

Rangers 10, Mariners 1 — The R's and M's played in front of the smallest crowd in Safeco history - 15,818. Although, for some perspective, the '83 Mariners averaged 10,044 inside the Kingdome. As for what they saw, Sidney Ponson was at it again. He has a 1.33 ERA over 3 starts since his recall from Triple-A. Michael Young, Josh Hamilton (AL RBIs leader) and David Murphy drove in 3 runs apiece.

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Photo of the Day: Melts in his hands, too, probably

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"And I'm fielding the ball and OH MY GOD THERE'S A GIANT RED ROUND CHOCOLATE MAN WITH NO PANTS AND GYM SHOES, WHAT IS HAPPENING? OH MY GOD, LOU! LOU DID YOU SEE THE GIANT CHOCOLATE MAN EAT THE BALL, LOU?"

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Feelin' Rundown (Tuesday's other NL games)

Cardinals 6, Rockies 5 — Great lead by Pat Graham of the AP: "Rick Ankiel was throwing strikes again. Only this time it wasn't from the mound, but from deep center. Ankiel threw out two runners at third and Braden Looper pitched into the ninth inning in the longest outing of his career, helping the St. Louis Cardinals hold on for a 6-5 win over the slumping Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night."

The second throw was from the deepest part of Coors Field, which actually is in Montana. Ankiel's story (except for his subscription to the HGH catalog — can we just lose those tapes, president Nixon?) continues to be one of wonder. He also hit his 6th homer. He can be a curmudgeon's curmudgeon, but Tony La Russa said he was impressed with the throws hours later. "I don't believe he did it," La Russa said. "I want to see the replays. I can't remember a dugout getting a bigger kick out of something. Who could believe it?"

Braves 5, Padres 3Jair Jurrjens improves to 4-2, 2.84 with 6 solid innings. Chipper (.426) and Kotsay each homer. Atlanta hopes that 41-year-old John Smoltz can come back, and soon, as closer. He is 46 saves shy of 200 for his career. Another one-plus seasons of closing, and he could get it.

Pirates 12, Giants 6Nate McLouth goes deep twice, giving him 9 homers. He's also batting .333, which gets me wondering, as per our Santana (Ervin/Johan) debate of yesterday. Who is the best McLouth right now? Some might disagree, but I have to believe it's Nate and not this guy or even this guy. ... Barry Zito's finished doing time in the bullpen, which is all he did — he never pitched in relief. He is scheduled to start today.

Cubs 3, Reds 0Carlos Zambrano won his 4th straight decision and lowered his ERA to 1.80. Kerry Wood, who 10 years ago to the day struck out 20 against the Astros, picked up his 5th save in 8 chances. Wood was incredibly unlucky to have blown 3 saves. His secondary numbers are sick; 17 IP, 11 H, 1 HR, 3 BB, 16 K. The Cubs improved to 3-13 when scoring 3 or fewer runs. Aaron Harang pitched well enough to win many games, but the Reds stink, which kills such dreaming.

Astros 6, Nationals 5 Lance Berkman is on one of those high-school tears. In his past 5 games, he's batting .590 with 2 homers, 4 doubles and 9 RBIs. And he kissed Cara Baker under the east stairwell before biology class. ... Carlos Lee made Roger Dorn look like a genius by hitting a ball in front of Austin Kearns, who foolishly dived for it and had the ball get behind him, allowing Houston to take the lead in the 8th.

D-backs 6, Phillies — A 5-run 4th inning helps Randy Johnson pick up career victory No. 286 and prevents Arizona from losing a 3rd straight game for the 1st time this season. Johnson also picked up his first RBI since 2004, when I think he turned 65.

Dodgers 5, Mets 4 - Blake DeWitt provided fans with the most exciting play in sports. No, not Morganna the Kissing Bandit running onto the field.The inside-the-park home run, which came in the 5th after Ryan Church lost his balance and then lost where he was in global positioning terms. Also, Hong-Chih Kuo has the best relief outing since Max Scherzer — 3 2/3 IP, BB, 8 K.

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Fantasy Freaks

Lance Berkman (Astros) 5-5, 4 R, RBI, 2 SB

Tim Wakefield (Red Sox) 8 IP, 2 H, 6 K, Win

Nate McLouth (Pirates) 3-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI

Carlos Zambrano (Cubs) 8 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 3 K, Win

Scott Olsen (Marlins) 8 IP, 2 H, 4 BB, 8 K, Win

Gavin Floyd (White Sox) 8 1/3 IP, 1 H, 3 BB, 4 K, Win

Garret Anderson (Angels) 3-5, HR, 5 RBI

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Fantasy Flakes

Gary Sheffield (Tigers) 0-3, 2 K, .176 BA

Richie Sexson (Indians ... or at least M's fans wish) 0-4, 2 K, .209 BA

Felipe Lopez (Nationals) 0-5, 4 K

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Big Talker

"I never would have dreamed I would have gotten an inside-the-park home run. I mean, it's hard enough for me to get a triple. So that was fun. I have to say I was pretty shocked that Larry [Bowa, the third-base coach] was waving me around. It took everything I had to get from third to home." — Blake DeWit