Game of the Day: Braves 8, Brewers 1
Performance-enhancing goo: The Braves need to convert all of their pitchers into relievers — an idea that Tony La Russa actually might embrace someday. First up, John Smoltz, with a cranky right shoulder, is slated to go back to closer after he completes a rehab assignment. And now, Jorge Campillo, Jair Jurjjens and Jo-Jo Reyes all have blisters. Campillo's situation is chronic (yo) and requires the balm known as Stan's Rodeo Cream, which Josh Beckett made famous a few years ago. See, foreign substances can be useful and helpful in baseball and no one calls it cheating.
Topical: Some of the key foreign substances in major league history: Vaseline, Bardol, Vagisil, pine tar, fishing line oil, snot and Moises Alou's urine. Any one of 'em will give you another two to three inches drop on your curveball — or make blisters disappear — Eddie Harris once told me.
Chipper: 2-4, .420. Can he get to .500, or is that the exclusive domain of Howie Kendrick?
Monkey business: More importantly: A rodeo in Georgia? I think it might go something like this.
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Feelin' rundown (Thursday's other games)
Padres 5, Nationals 2 — Albert Pujols really messed up Chris Young. He's got a small fracture in his skull and he probably will need surgery to fix a deviated septum. Happy news, though, that the Pads won a series for a second time this month, thanks to Jody Gerut's three-run homer. A few years ago, my roommates and I had a PlayStation game — MLB2K'04 or something. And the announcer in it pronounced Gerut's last name "Ja-roo." What a horrendous diss in our video game culture.
Pirates 7, Reds 2 — Finally, revenge for the '90 NLCS. Does anyone remember the Phil Dumatrait era in Cincinnati? Dumatrait does; he went 0-4 with a 15.00 ERA in six starts (nice APBA card!) with the Redlegs before hitting waivers. He actually pitched great in this game; 7 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 9 K! He also hit a batter and thankfully it was Jay Bruuuuuuuuuuce, who keeps intact the possibility that he reaches base in every game he'll ever play. The streak is at three and holding! The Pirates have the best hitting outfield in the majors.
Mets 8, Dodgers 4 — Finally, revenge for the '88 NLCS. Joe Torre gets a standing "O" from Mets crowd in his return to Gotham. Things might be turning for the Mets; they rallied last night starting on a catcher's interference with the pitcher batting. It's a good sign from the baseball gods. Jeff Kent: Back into the groove with his 370th career homer. A probable Hall of Famer and one of the most underappreciated players of our time. Yes, this is our time, Mr. Hand.
Cubs 8, Rockies 4 — We're coming up on a year since Carlos Zambrano fought Michael Barrett in the dugout (and continued to fight into the clubhouse). The 2007 season started to turn around at that point for the Cubs, who traded Barrett and played well enough the rest of the way to get swept by the D-backs in the playoffs. Right now, they have the best record in the majors. The previous time they had the majors best record at the end of the season: 1945, when they made the World Series. And now you know ... the rest of the story.
Cardinals 3, Astros 2 — Commonly held biggest upsets in sports history: Miracle on Ice in '80; Buster Douglas whoops Mike Tyson in '90; Broadway Joe in Super Bowl III; Man O' War loses '19 Sanford Memorial to 100-1 shot; Villanova beats Georgetown in '85 NCAA final. Add the Cardinals beating Roy Oswalt to the list! Oswalt fell to the Cards for the first time in 11 starts since mid-July, 2005. Gotta hand it to Ryan Ludwick, who called the upset sitting around the Holidome pool yesterday morning.
Giants 4, D-backs 3 — Randy Johnson is pitching pretty amazingly for a 44-year-old near 7-footer with a bad back. Ties Clemens/McNamee for No. 2 on strikeout list, but still sitting on 288 career wins because the D's are in an S(lump).
Twins 5, Royals 1 — KC put down for lucky 11th time in a row. At least they didn't drag the game into extras before getting their entrails eaten this time.
White Sox 5, Rays 1 — Trying to hide the game down here so no one knows we lost. You don't need any details, right? Good. Here's a 20, now scram.
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Photo of the Day: "The best Italian manager in L.A.? Well, Mike's pretty good, too."
Dodgers skipper Joe Torre ponders a reporter's question as he enjoys what looks like an Eskimo Pie (what IS that in his hand?) in the visitor's dugout at Shea Stadium.
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Mark Teixeira (Braves) 2-4, HR, 4 RBI
Jesse Litsch (Blue Jays) 7 IP, 7 H, BB, 3 K, Win
David Wright (Mets) 2-4, 2 HR, 4 RB
Phil Dumatrait (Pirates) 7 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 9 K, Win
Carlos Gomez (Twins) 4-5, R, 2 RBI,
Kevin Slowey (Twins) 9 IP, 6 H, ER, 6 K, Win
Randy Winn (Giants) 3-5, 2 HR, SB
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Seth Mc "Iron" Clung (Brewers) 4 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 6 BB, K, Loss
Dana Eveland (Athletics) 4 1/3 IP, 11 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, K, Loss
Aaron Harang (Reds) 4 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 2 K, Loss
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"He's throwing the invis-a-ball up there." - Larry Wayne Jones, on Jorge Campillo's mysterious out pitch.