This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together with the achiest and breakiest in big league action. Today's Roll Call starts at Eric Chavez Ravine, where everyone's individual li'l M*A*S*H unit, Nomar Garciaparra, delivered the biggest hit of the Joe Torre-in-L.A. era so far, a game-ending, mind-bending home run to sink the Phillies. The blast not only created a pair of ties in the NL standings, but also reminded us that Nomah's still freakin' wicked pissah alive.
Game of the Day: Dodgers 7, Phillies 6
Where ya' been, boy-o?: He's a little off the pace to lead the Dodgers in appearances, but Nomar makes his 29th game of the season (which comes for most prominent contributors in, oh, May) count big time. The Dogs scratch across a pair of runs in the eighth on Jeff Kent's double, and Nomar completes the comeback from an early 6-1 hole with a winning shot against Clay Condrey, DDS.
Rap sheet long as his arm, which probably has multiple fractures: The first eight words of John Nadel's AP story tell Nomar's story: "Injuries have made it difficult for Nomar Garciaparra ...". It's like saying "control issues plagued Rick Ankiel in the 2000 playoffs," or "Oprah Viewers Patiently Awaiting Instructions." Well, no foolin', Dr. Watson.
Don't, he'll break! Teammates put everything in peril by hoisting Nomar off the ground after he crossed home plate. "That was pretty high, they didn't know my knee hurt," Nomar said. Oh, they knew, Nomar. They knew. But moving into a first-place tie with the mighty D-bax makes the guys a little foolish. Over on the other seaboard, the Phils and Mets are knotted, too. Speaking of knotted ...
Cross hairs: Two-run homer for ManRam, and Torre revealed that Manny will cut his dreadful locks sometime on the homestand. "That's what he told me," Torre said. "If he doesn't, I'll ask him again. I'm going to get booed out of town anyway.
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Feelin' Rundown (Wednesday's other excitement):
Rockies 6, D-backs 5: 'Zona cannot achieve escape velocity. Adam Dunn fails in his first big D-backs moment, grounding out with the sacks packed against Brian Fuentes in the ninth. Just as J.P. Ricciardi said he would in his quatrains.
Mets 12, Nationals 0 : Why couldn't this Expos Nationals team be made to play some of its schedule in Puerto Rico? It'd grow some hair on their collective chest. And it would get 'em out of our collective sight. Someone get Brian Stokes a Hungryman; he just got a four-inning save. That. Is. Old. School.
Mariners 10, Angels 7 (12 inn.): It's too bad the Angels weren't playing Milwaukee, because we could have a post about how Francisco Rodriguez totally lost his cool — pitching very un-Fonzie-like — in blowing a three-run lead in the ninth, being given the hook by Scioscia and getting ejected for the first time in his career. Never pass up a Happy Days reference, my old professors taught me at Blog U. Anyway, the Halos probably will respond with 10 straight wins, all saved by K-Rod and featuring multiple multiple-homer games by Mark Teixeireieieieireia, but if their season mysteriously falls apart and the closer gets all Ralph Malph, the Garmin will point to this-a-way.
Rays 3, Athletics 2: Andrew Friedman says that Carl Crawford might, just might, play in "a" regular-season game after returning from surgery on his hand. Friedman is not an ESPN fantasy analyst, as his name suggests, but is Tampa's exec VP for baseball operations. ... For full effect, say "Hinske" while pretending to sneeze. ... Hey, didn't we read on this blog a couple of days ago that everything would be OK with Ben Zobrist in the lineup? It was in the comments, but still. It takes a village.
Astros 6, Giants 2: Hilarity in the sixth. Four walks — including one of pitcher Randy Wolf — and three batters hit by a pitch (tying a major league record). Zito is such an artist. To be fair, two of the HBPs go to apprentice Billy Sadler. But it's always Batman's collar, even if Robin helps.
Red Sox 8, Rangers 4: Measly 12 runs. Disappointing.
Cubs 10-8, Braves 2-0: You don't have to be Alfonso Soriano to stand there and admire what the Cubs are doing. It would take a collapse like those in '03, '84, or '69 for the Cubs to blow the playoffs now. Thankfully for them, after a careful analysis, there seems to be no history of such collapses in team history. Seriously, what could possibly go wrong... could possibly go wrong ... possibly go wrong ... go wrong ... wrong?
Brewers 7, Padres 1: CC lowers his cholesterol ERA to 1.55 with Brewers.
Cardinals 6, Marlins 4: I hope Bud awards both of these clubs the home version of the MLB game, because they each played a spirited campaign. Now please get out of the way so the Cubs, Brewers, Phillies/Mets and someone from the NL West can play fast money.
Pirates 5, Reds 2: It would just be better for both franchises if they pretended it was 1979. I'll help them out: I can't wait for "Empire Strikes Back" to come out next summer. That Jimmy Carter, I tell ya'. I hope disco lasts forever. See how easy it is?
Twins 4, Yankees 2: The big money machine is warming up, ready to print bills for CC come free-agency time. The Twins, meanwhile, make the most of their spare change. A pair of 3-run deeps for Delmon Young in two games. See what happens when you hold on to the bat?
White Sox 4, Royals 0: No Carlos Quentin the past two nights — not that it's mattered, because Vazquez and Buehrle have been on — but Guillen sat CQ down, one might surmise, because Royals pitchers have a recent history of hitting White Sox batters. There's been some sniping on both sides about it. Maybe Quentin's just getting a break — he does have a tendency of getting hit — and maybe Guillen is just being careful. Makes ya' think, don't it? No? Well, it makes me think.
Orioles 6, Indians 1: So much for the Tribe's all-out charge for the Central crown. Jeremy Guthrie. If only Cleveland never placed him on waivers for the purpose of letting him get away to the Orioles.
Blue Jays 4, Tigers 3: Series always reminds me of the 1987 ALCS, which reminds me of two of the great trades in baseball history: John Smoltz of the Tigers system to the Braves for Doyle Alexander, and Dickie Noles of the Cubs to the Tigers for himself.
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Photo of the Day: Next up, limbo time!
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Geovany Soto (Cubs) 3-5, HR, 4 RBI
Guthrie (Orioles) 7 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, 4 K, Win
Paul Maholm (Bucs) 8 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 5 K, Win
Vernon Wells (Blue Jays) 1-4, HR, 4 RBI
Dave Purcey (Blue Jays) 6 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 4 K, Win
Troy Glaus (Cards) 4-4, R, RBI
Braden Looper (Cards) 7 IP, 5 H, ER, BB, 5 K, Win
Mark Buehrle (White Sox) 7 IP, 5 H, 5 K, Win
CC (Crew) 7 IP, 9 H, ER, BB, 8 K, Win
Raul Ibanez (M's) 4-5, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI
Mark Teixeira (Angels) 3-6, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Kent (Dodgers) 4-5, R, 2 RBI
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Luis Mendoza (Rangers) 4 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, Loss
Jason Bergmann (Nats) 3 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 6 BB, K, Loss
Ryan Ludwick (Cards) 0-5, 2 K
Zito (Giants) 5 2/3 IP, 4 H, 6 ER, 5 BB, HBP, 6 K, Loss (No. 15)
Ryan Braun (Brewers) DNP-back
Felix-Rod (Angels) 1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, BB, Blown Save
Brad Penny (Dodgers) 3 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
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Words of Mouth
"Let's not talk about that and just hope it continues." -- Cubs manager Lou Piniella, on his team being 26 games over .500 for the first time since 1984.