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Morning Juice: Mets-D'Backs a NLCS preview? Not quite

David Brown
Big League Stew

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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 Roll Call starts at the 2008 NLCS — or so some of us thought — where the New York Mets and Arizona Diamondbacks are one step away from the World Series. OK, maybe both teams are many, many steps away from the Series, or even being a factor in the playoffs, because neither is postseason material right now.

Game of the Day: D'backs 9, Mets 5

October baseball: Possible playoff preview — for me to poop on!

New York state of panic: Howard Johnson was right, and so is David Wright; the Mets will get through this and contend. Sure, it might be with a different manager, or with 16 new players, or next year sometime, and in a Central Park amateur rugby league, but they will contend.

Deserted: The Diamondbacks seemed pleased to have won the Tom Trebelhorn '87 Brewers Trophy (for being the best team in the majors for the first six weeks of the season) but it's time to wakey-wakey. Arizona is 15-22 outside its stinky division and has five victories in its past 18 road games. They seem like pretenders right now. And not the brass-in-pocket, middle-of-the-road, Ohio kind, either.

Feelin' Rundown (Tuesday's other games):

Cubs 10, Braves 5 — Sure, we're all informed about how Tom Glavine and John Smoltz have done and are doing (they're probably going to the Hall of Fame and they're hurt right now), but where are the reports on the rest of the young Braves of the late '80s? What's Derek Lilliquist up to? Pete Smith, I thought you'd be better than Smoltz. Tommy Greene, you were gonna be better than 'em all, except for Steve Avery. He was gonna be better than everyone, ever, of all time. Kevin Coffman, you just stunk! Charlie Puleo, get out of here, you're not part of this group! That Charlie, always a joker.

Lilliquist: Pitching coordinator for the Cardinals spring training complex in Jupiter, Fla.

Smith: Recently signed autographs at Turner Field.

Greene: Was the GM of the Monroe Channel Cats of the Southern Collegiate Baseball League.

Avery: Has been inducted into the Taylor, Mich. Hall of Fame.

Coffman: This is not him.

Puleo: Ex-coach in high school. And not a young Brave. He came up with the Mets and Reds. Get out of here, you old sassafras.

Cardinals 7, Reds 2Albert Pujols injured for the Cards. The Justice League minus Superman. The James Gang robbing trains without Jesse. The Heartbreakers are singing, but Tom Petty is just sitting there. Go get the story, Woodward and Bernstein, but one of you stay here. Fredo's running the Corleone Family. "Hello, welcome to Starbucks! Sorry, we aren't serving coffee today." Alice don't work for the Bradys no more. You have to shoot, Scottie, because Michael's playing baseball.

Astros 6, Brewers 1Julian Tavarez went all Luis Tiant on Lance Berkman, and Lance Berkman went all Boog Powell (1.138 OPS vs. Tiant) on Julian. This play is just funny looking all the way.

Rockies 10, Giants 5Matt Holliday is off the DL. Garrett Atkins went deep and played the hot corner like Brooksie. Todd Helton went oppo. The Rox win. Maybe today is the first day of the rest of their lives. They're only 9 1/2 back. Stranger things have happened.

Nationals 7, Pirates 6 — I was a fan of the Montreal Expos as a kid. Tim Wallach was awesome. Tim Raines should be in the Hall of Fame. I don't like how the franchise was treated with the whole Puerto Rico thing. I'm mildly bitter that I missed my chances to see them play in Olympic Stadium before baseball hijacked them and moved the team, eventually — man, it took forever — to D.C. Les Expos are the French-Canadian pappy of the Nationals, so there's some linkage, but there's as much Expos DNA in the Florida Marlins as there is in the Nats. And they're unwelcome in my home. It's not their fault. They don't deserve it. It's not fair. But that's how it is. They are the red-headed stepchild of the Expos, and I banish thee! Also, Ryan Doumit is a BEAST.

Marlins 5, Phillies 4Brett Myers has one win in his past 10 starts. He had a no-hit bid in his previous start, so he can't be that far away. Maybe he's like the Hulk and just needs to get angry. I'd like to see him when he gets angry.

Dodgers 7, Padres 2 — The Padres lost this one in the lights.

Orioles 10, Red Sox 6Aubrey Huff went 4-for-5 and then ripped Boston because it's not a good college town.

Indians 1, Twins 0 — Country Joe West told Ron Gardenhire it was the best he'd seen Sabathia pitch in 2-3 years. Joe West also said "You can't throw an umpire out of the game!" in "The Naked Gun," the best baseball movie of all time with O.J. Simpson in it.

Tigers 6, White Sox 4 — A star of the game for Detroit was a guy named Clevlen, whose name sounds like "Cleveland." He threw out a guy at home, scored a run, drove in another, sold a package of season tickets to a family of four from Livonia, went gambling with Leyland. If there's a Clevlan on Detroit, there also should be a guy on Cleveland named DeTroy, and until there is, I say we boycott.

Blue Jays 3, Mariners 1Dustin McGowan has been performing more like Shooter McGavin since getting Troy Glaus' glasses in the mail. Now he can see at night, like all Canadians.

Rangers 6, Royals 5John Buck said, "After 7 2-3 (innings), we just quit. That's basically what it was." Wish the Royals had done so in the late '80s, when they became unwatchable.

Angels 6, Rays 1 — In his first start since Coco Crisp tried his kung fu, James Shields allowed six runs — four in the first. He completed the game, which was strange, and had nine strikeouts with no walks. Unusual line. He did it in front of friends and family. He grew up nearby, so Gramma came to watch. Aww, cutie.

Yankees 3, Athletics 1 — Headline: Yankees' Wang gets back on track. Joe Girardi called the bullpen and talked to Mariano Rivera directly. He said, "Patches, I'm depending on ya' son." Rivera responded with the save.

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Photo of the Day: Died on the vines

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Cubs botanists have planted a new species of ivy — Hedera gregnortonicus — at Wrigley Field this season. Note the unusual leaf shape, the contrasting blue and gray coloring, and the cleats.

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Fantasy Freaks

C.C. (Indians) 9 IP, 5 H, 5 K, Win

Ryan Doumit (Pirates) 4-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI

Dustin McGowan (Blue Jays) 9 IP, 5 H, ER, 2 BB, 7 K, win

Ryan Ludwick (Cardinals) 4-5, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI

Lance Berkman (Astros) 3-4, HR, 5 RBI

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Fantasy Flakes

Jose Contreras (White Sox) 6 IP, 13 H, 6 ER, BB, K, Loss

Matt Capps (Pirates) IP, 2 H, 2 ER, K, BS, Loss

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Big Mouth

"Based on what I saw — and I'm not a doctor — it was pretty bad." Cardinals GM John Mozeliak on Pujols injury.
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