This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together with the most recent and decent major league happenings. Today's cranapple-blended AL/NL roll call starts in the Valley of the Sun, where Arizona 2-way phenom Micah Owings (right, while winning with Tulane a few years back) makes a great argument for the abolition of the designated hitter — an otherwise silly notion, of course.
Game of the Day : D-backs 4, Giants 2
Chuck Bednarik 3000: Granted, he didn't face the '54 Giants, or even the '02 Giants. Micah Owings merely had another workmanlike ballgame, doing what few others do, even when they get a chance. He helped win a game on offense and defense. The right-hander improved to 4-0 by pitching 5-hit ball over 6 1/3 innings and...and...AND... he went 2-for-3 with a run scored. Owings pitched pretty well as a rookie in '07, but it was his .683 slugging percentage that made you go "hmm." He's not hitting with that kind of power yet this year — 4 homers and 8 other extra-base hits — but then again, there' plenty of time left in the season and he's there to get people out with his arm. Mostly.
Brooks Kieschnick, but good: Owings is part of a slowly dying breed. Back in the day — and that's back... back... way back — pitchers were better hitters, as this story at hardballtimes.com reports. But, like humans who lost hair, dropped tails and gained mortgage payments in evolution, pitchers have lost some of the lead in their pencils. A few holdouts, such as Dontrelle Willis, Jason Marquis, Carlos Zambrano, Jeff Suppan, C.C. Sabathia, remain. And there's Rick Ankiel, who transcended into the outfield. Mike Hampton, before he donated his body to science. Most pitchers tend to hit like Brett Myers, which is why it's OK there's a DH in one of the leagues.
La Russa would bat him 5th: Here is a ridiculous prediction. Owings someday will break Wes Farrell's record for home runs by a pitcher (38). See him now, so you can say you saw him then. Here's Owings going deep in college, which won't count against the record, but his parents don't care.
Feelin' Rundown (Monday's other games)
Phillies 9, Rockies 5 — Faster than a speeding Lenny Dykstra. More powerful than Mike Schmidt against the Cubs. Able to leap John Kruk buying tobacco in a single bound. Look, over at 2nd base! It's Ryne Sandberg! It's Napoleon Lajoie! It's Chase Utley! Yes, it's Chase Utley, All-Star infielder from UCLA who came to the Phillies with powers far beyond those of mortal men. Chase Utley, who can change the course of pennant races, crack home runs with his gloved hands and who, disguised as Luis Aguayo, mild-mannered utility infielder for a great World Series champion of 1980, fights a never-ending battle for Taguchi, J-Roll, and the Philly Phanatic's way. Utley homered in his fifth straight game on Tuesday night while the rest of us say, "What else is new?"
Cubs 7, Mets 1 — Reports say Wrigley Field could be heard from a mile away as the Cubs used the likes of bench guys Ronny Cedeno and Felix Pie to put away the Metropolitans. Jose Reyes, one of the Mets 2 best players, made a big error to kickstart the Cubs' 5-run 8th, which included a two-run single by Cedeno and a three-run blast from the Pieman. Fukudome returned from having a cyst drained near his right eye. How do you say, "gross!" in Japanese?
Red Sox 8, Rangers 3 — Boston seems to have a lineup full of Micah Owingses. Even Julio Lugo went 4-for-4 with a stolen base, which won't get mentioned again in Fantasy Freaks because it was already mentioned here, OK? We're not gonna kill more trees, or electrons, just because Julio Lugo went 4-for-4 with a stolen base. It's just repetitive to mention in Freaks that Julio Lugo went 4-for-4 with a stolen base, so this single mention will have to suffice for fans of Julio, who went 4-for-4 with a stolen base.
Tigers 5, Blue Jays 1 — No, Armando Galarraga is not the son of Andres Galarraga. They're not even related, unless you buy the "we're all brothers under the skin," line of thinking (which I DO). Galarraga IS 2-0, though nobody here is going to be knee-jerk and advise you to pick him up for your fantasy team like they would might with Scott Olsen. Galarraga was 25-35 in the minors coming in with a 4.13 ERA, but he had a very good K/BB ratio and he didn't give up many homers. He's 26. So, keep an eye on him. Is that too knee-jerk? "Keep an eye on him"? If you're really into flying off the handle, you could browse an autographed rookie card of his.
Marlins 10, Pirates 4 — Not sure if anyone out there has ever bumped into Matt Morris. A really nice guy, far as I could tell. But if your grandpa rounded up 8 healthy (or infirm) friends to play Morris and the Pirates right now, and I had to make a bet on the game, I'm not sure what I'd do. Yeeeeargh! These be tough times for the Buccos, laddies. If "tough times" means 1993-present.
Dodgers 9, Reds 3 — Andruw Jones down to .159. Only 14,446 attended, on a 70-degree night in Cincy. Not that either of these teams are so hot, especially right now, and the Reds haven't drawn like they used to. And it's a Monday. But it's still the Dodgers — even if most of the stars on the team aren't stars yet, or aren't anymore. And it's still the Reds — Junior's in the lineup and healthy. Maybe you see a couple, three Hall-of-Famers. Griffey, Torre. Jeff Kent, Marty Brennaman. Get a glimpse of Johnny Cueto. Grab some Skyline chili before or after. Listen for Schottzie's ghost to bark. There's really no excuse for staying home if Micah Owings pitches for Arizona. "Reds baseball. It's OK to go there." Pure marketing genius.
Braves 7, Nationals 3 — Tim Hudson makes like Micah Owings, drives in 2 and pitches solid (not gaseous) 6 2/3. Chipper, strained quad and all, drops to .453 after disappointing 1-for-3 with RBI. Kidding about it being disappointing.
Astros 10, Padres 3 — OK, Justin Germano owners. Don't look at his line score in Fantasy Flakes because you need to hold down your Cheerios. It's the most important meal of the day. Meanwhile, Roy Oswalt hopped on his tractor and pitched a strong 7 innings and Miguel Tejada must feel like a new man again, or at least a newer one.
Cardinals 4, Brewers 3 — Skip Schumaker back in the day must have known Wally, the Beav, Whitey, Lumpy and Eddie Haskell. Meanwhile, nobody in Milwaukee knows Derrick Turnbow anymore. He's still throwing in the mid-90s, which would mean something if the Cardinals were all 16-year-old American Legion players. It really would mean something if they were French Foreign Legion players.
Photo of the Day: Cubbies Got Back
The Ron Santo "Cubs win" heel click of yesteryear gives way to the Felix Pie-Kosuke Fukudome rump click of 2008. (AP photo)
“I had a lot of faith in today. I had a lot of positive thoughts. To get out on the rubber and have one of the worst games I’ve ever pitched …” — Matt Morris
David Ortiz (Red Sox) 2-4, 3 RBI
Julio Lugo (Red Sox) see above
Clay Buchholz (Red Sox) 6 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 6 K, Win
Ivan Rodriguez (Tigers) 4-5, RBI
Dan Uggla (Marlins) 3-5, HR
Mark Hendrickson (Marlins) 8 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, BB, 5 K, Win
John Maine (Mets) 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, Loss
Carlos Zambrano (Cubs) 7 IP, 5 H, ER, 2 BB, 4 K, Win
Nomar (Dodgers) 2-5, HR, 2 RBI
Brad Penny (Dodgers) 6 IP, 6 H, ER, 2 BB, 4 K, Win
Matt Diaz (Braves) 3-4, 2 R, SB
Tim Hudson (Braves) 6 2/3 IP, 10 H, ER, 2 BB, 3 K, Win
Miguel Tejada (Astros) 4-5, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, SB
Roy Oswalt (Astros) 7 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, Win
Adam Wainwright (Cardinals) 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 K
Pat Burrell (Phillies) 3-4, HR, 2 RBI
Yorvit Torrealba (Rockies) 2-4, HR, 3 RBI
Micah Owings (D-backs) 6 1/3 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 4 K, Win; 2-3,
Matt Morris (Pirates) 4 IP, 9 H, 8 ER, BB, 2 K, Loss, 9.15 ERA
Justin Germano (Padres) 3 1/3 IP, 10 H, 10 ER, 3 BB, K, Loss