David Brown

Morning Juice: Phrontrunnin' Phils complete phour-game sweep

David Brown
Big League Stew

View gallery

.
This and every weekday a.m., let's get ahead of the pack, as front-runners, by digesting results of the best sport in all the land, major league baseball. Today's Roll Call starts in the Brotherly City of Philadelphia, where a couple of guys the Phillies haven't always been able to count on — Brett Myers and Jimmy Rollins — keyed a victory against the Dodgers. It gave the Fightins a sweep and allowed them to keep pace with the first-place Mets, who just happen to be coming to town.

Game of the Day: Phillies 5, Dodgers 0

By example: Myers, the wannabe-ace, had eight Ks over seven innings. J-Roll, the absentee reigning MVP, went 3-for-3 with a walk, a triple and a pair of RBIs.

Ace freely: Since returning from the minors, Myers is 4-1 with a 1.66 ERA in seven starts. As the Inquirer's Todd Zolecki pointed out last week, Myers has been the Phils' own little CC Sabathia down the stretch and it's about time. Myers won a combined 50 games from 2003-2006, had a 200+ strikeout season in there, but has taken a circuitous route to becoming the ace the Phillies always hoped for. He was made a relief pitcher in 2007, was demoted to Triple-A earlier this season, and he also swept up after games. OK, no he didn't, but that was next!

You really like him: Rollins — it seems like years ago but was only a couple of weeks — called Phanatics "front-runners" in a TV interview and has been steadily booed on the Phils current homestand as he went 4-for-46. But he got a standing ovation from most of the Citizen Bankers after his two-out, two-run single put the Phils ahead in the second. So, they cheered him after a big hit? What a bunch of front-runners!

These go beyond 11: The Dodgers had 13 hits, and only two teams in history have had more hits without scoring in a nine-inning game. Both of the occurrences are older than Joe Torre, who said, "You draw it up and the law of averages says you're going to score some runs, but you can't depend on that." That's almost what Mick Shrimpton said shortly before becoming the next in a long line of Spinal Tap drummers to expire mid-career.

* * *

Feelin' rundown (Other action figures sold separately):

Orioles 4, White Sox 3 (14 inn.); White Sox 4, Orioles 3: This is going to blow your mind. Before the nightcap (no thanks, I don't wear them) the O's and Sox finished a game from U.S. Cellular Field that had been suspended in the 11th inning by rain and, no kidding, for nearly four months. The Sox on Monday night were, to begin, the home team, even though the teams played at Camden Yards. Carlos Quentin started the suspended game with five homers and finished it with 36. Despite losing the suspended game, the Sox actually have won two in a row, because they won the regularly scheduled games from Sunday and Monday. This is why Marty McFly couldn't have sex with Lea Thompson in "Back to the Future": because Jermaine Dye would be his own grandmother!

Mets 9, Astros 1: It's time for Mets fans to step up. Jerry Manuel said Mike Pelfrey was throwing "filthy stuff" and Cecil Cooper called Pelfrey "a monster." So, for his next start at Shea, someone should come to the game dressed as a Filthy Monster, a la the Cole Hamels pink ape beast. (OK, I'm going to warn everyone to not do a Google search for "filthy monster" because the results are, well, filthy.) ... A pair of three-run homers for Carlos Delgado. I can remember when he was hitting them off the Hard Rock Cafe at the former Skydome. By the time Delgado's done, he'll belong in the Hall of Fame, even if it doesn't seem like it.

View gallery

.
Mariners 4, Twins 2 (11 inn.): Eddie Guardado, acquired earlier in the day for two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions a sesame seed bun, provided a perfect bridge for closer Joe Nathan with a 1-2-3 eighth — just like the Twinkies wanted. Then Nathan BLEW IT in the ninth. Oh, first place was but three outs away! Adrian Beltre, making himself useful for once (or twice), hit a game-ending homer against Jesse Crain. Three losses in a row on the Twins' Forever Road Trip '08.

Cubs 12, Pirates 3: It's not a fair fight, with all of the Bucs good players traded, retired or dead, but the Cubs didn't lodge a protest. Fukudome, who had been in a deep slump and perhaps, sleep, has driven in six runs in five at-bats since a recent hitting session with Jedi master Piniella.

Padres 4, D-backs 2: Jody Gerut hitting a game-ending home run against Jon Rauch is not how anyone on opening day would have thought a Jake Peavy-Dan Haren matchup would end. This is why we don't just play the game out of a Strat-O-Matic box, people.

Rockies 4, Giants 2: The Rockies are seven games out with 29 to play. Don't encourage them!

Indians 4, Tigers 3 (10 inn.): A 30-30 season for Grady Sizemore, who went deep twice and is leading the Cleavelanders right past the Detroiters into third place. Not since Joe Carter in '87 has a member of the Tribe had 30-plus steals and homers in the same season. It's also been at least that long, if not 60 years, since the Indians won a World Series.

Athletics 2, Angels 1: Dallas Braden was stoked after this one. I saw this quote about the A's shutting down the Angels first-to-third baserunning machine and imagined Braden talking at 100 mph: "I mean, nobody wants to be in a hole right out of the gate, especially against these guys. What are they, 148-2, something like that? It's ridiculous. You know that when they get guys on, they're going to get them over and get them in. So you try to minimize that. It was real good getting out of that without a blemish."

Rangers 9, Royals 4: Feldman, the former Lost Boy, picks up the V. The Rangers set a major league record for most players used in a season, and we haven't even expanded rosters yet. They added minor league sluggaholic Nelson Cruz, who hit a three-run deep, and legendary Cardinals first baseman & league executive Bill White, who turns 75 in January.

* * *

Photo of the Day: Keep it still

View gallery

.

Edgar Renteria poses for the statue his mother hopes the Tigers will make of him someday.

* * *

Fantasy Freaks

Alexei Ramirez (White Sox) 4-5, 2 R

Myers (Phils) 7 IP, 9 H, 3 BB, 8 K, Win

Sizemore (Indians) 2-5, 2 HR

Fukudome (Cubs) 3-4, 4 RBI

Delgado (Mets) 2-4, 2 HR, 6 RBI

Pelfrey (Mets) 9 IP, 6 H, ER, 6 K, Win

Braden (A's) 7 IP, 7 H, ER, Win

* * *

Fantasy Flakes

Gil Meche (Royals) 6 1/3 IP, 14 H, 5 ER, BB, 4 K, Loss

A.J. Pierzynski (White Sox) 0-5

Mark Teixeira (Angels) 0-4

* * *

Words of Mouth

"As a staff, we really try to stress that and give us every opportunity to get outs any way we can. As a guy who's not going to light up the radar gun, you look for outs in other ways when you're struggling or even when you're going good. One of the facets of my game I like to practice is controlling the running game and giving [Kurt Suzuki] a chance to throw a guy out when he does decide to take off." — Dallas Braden (1000 RPM)


View Comments