August 13, 2009
Before we get started, let's make two things perfectly clear: This blog does not endorse fan interference in any way, nor do we support the premature and unnecessary disposal of beer. In the photo over on the right, you'll find evidence of both offenses taking place at Wrigley Field.
Phillies centerfielder Shane Victorino(notes) somehow managed to hold onto that ball despite being doused by a beverage. The object passing in front of Victorino's glove is a plastic cup. It was thrown by a fan who, according to the Chicago Tribune, managed to avoid capture.
Victorino didn't dive or climb a wall to make the fifth inning grab, but, well … those things happen every night. We do not often see defensive gems involving beer. The degree of difficulty involved in Victorino's play is extreme. It might be the most impressive catch of a routine fly you'll ever witness. Video here via MLB.com.
During a televised postgame interview, Victorino graciously said, "I gotta tip my hat to the guy, he had perfect timing."
And yet the ball was caught. That's the sort of focus it takes to win a Gold Glove, kids. Go shag flies in the park while dad flings cups full of Old Style at your face. You'll thank the old man someday, perhaps while hosting a chat on Big League Stew.
We should note for the record that if Victorino had not held on, per MLB rule 3.16, "the ball shall be dead at the moment of interference and the umpire shall impose such penalties as in his opinion will nullify the act of interference." So there's nothing to be gained from the beer toss. Bad idea. Civic embarrassment. Legal action. Don't do it.
• As you no doubt know, Victorino made that play during Pedro Martinez's(notes) Phillies debut. The Cubs took all the drama out of the game by going to the kneel-down formation immediately: Jeff Samardzija(notes) was Chicago's starting pitcher. His ERA was 6.29 ERA coming in and 7.81 going out. Samardzija allowed two runs in the first, two more in the third, and he was responsible for three of the eight runs scored by Philadelphia in the fourth.
Pedro was much better, obviously. He earned the win, throwing 99 pitches over five innings. He struck out five Cubs, allowing seven hits and three earned runs. Was he dominant? No. But he was certainly good enough, and his fastball reached 92 mph. These were a few of Lou Piniella's thoughts: "He knows how to pitch. He threw with a little more velocity than I thought he would." Pedro's upcoming starts should work well for fantasy purposes (vs. ARI, at NYM); don't be afraid to test drive.
• After Tuesday's bench-clearer in Boston, it appeared that we might have another melee on our hands. San Francisco's Pablo Sandoval(notes) didn't appreciate being brushed back (probably hit) by James McDonald(notes) of the Dodgers, and he took a few steps toward the mound in order to express his displeasure (pictured). He was cutoff by the home plate ump and an angry Russell Martin(notes). Both benches emptied, though the Dodgers were a little slow to arrive (also pictured). Ultimately lots of posing, no combat.
Tim Lincecum(notes) was mostly brilliant (8.2 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 7 K), but a two-out ninth-inning single by Andre Ethier(notes) tied the game and resulted in a no-decision for the Giants starter. (Give an assist to first base ump Gary Darling). Closer Brian Wilson(notes) vultured a win in the tenth when Juan Uribe(notes) hit a game-ending shot off Guillermo Mota(notes).
• Oakland shortstop Cliff Pennington(notes) has been better than advertised. After Wednesday's 3-for-3 performance, he's hitting .326 with a homer and three stolen bases. His Triple-A average was just .264 through 99 games, but he did have 27 steals. Trust the speed, nothing else. Pennington is three percent owned in PLUS leagues.
• Adam LaRoche(notes) belted two homers against the Nats, driving in three runs. He's a notorious second-half hitter with a career OPS of .900 after the break. For those who need corner infield/Util help, he's just 37 percent owned.
• Toronto's Randy Ruiz(notes) is making the most of his post-Rios trade opportunity. He's gone 3-for-9 against the Yankees with a pair of homers. The 31-year-old DH was hitting .320 with 25 homers and 43 doubles at Triple-A Las Vegas, so the power is legit.
• It's tough to believe this Zito thing is even a serious question. The answer: Yes, yes,
a thousand times 126 million times, yes.
• Oliver Perez(notes) delivered another classic line on Wednesday: 5.1 IP, 6 BB, 7 Ks, 112 pitches, no-decision. Not his first such effort, and it won't be his last. Best not to watch his starts, because he'll usually do something to impress you. It's the Boof Bonser(notes) phenomenon.
• Tommy Hunter's(notes) impressive run continued with a 7.2-inning, five-K, no-run effort against the Tribe. The 23-year-old Texas righty has allowed three runs or fewer in eight of his nine starts. It's becoming trickier to build a case against him, but the BABIP is still awfully low (.255 entering Wednesday's start) and so is the K/9 (5.6). He's in line for two starts next week, the second of which seems particularly dangerous (vs. MIN, at TB). Proceed with caution.
• Matt Wieters(notes) and Howie Kendrick(notes) both went 2-for-3 on Wednesday. Kendrick homered. Boom. Wieters had a run-scoring single that was simply too beautiful for Rajai Davis(notes) to even field. There's still room for you on these bandwagons, friends. These are welcoming communities. We'll be here for you when you're ready.
• New arrival Alcides Escobar(notes) made a cameo appearance for the Brewers, stealing a base as a pinch runner in the ninth. We covered the prospect earlier today; he's primarily a speed add, with some dynasty upside.
• Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez(notes) has homered in back-to-back games, and he's nudged his average into the .280s. He now has four homers and eight steals in 47 games. The Rockies will be at home in the final weeks of September, when head-to-head championships are settled.
• Late addition: Commenters would like it known that the 98 percent owned Felix Hernandez(notes), the 96 percent owned Mark Buehrle(notes) and the 93 percent owned Ubaldo Jimenez(notes) all pitched very well. Go add 'em. Great pick-ups this late in the year.
Injuries for everyone: It was a pyrrhic victory for the Yanks over the Jays, as Alex Rodriguez(notes) (elbow/hand) and Derek Jeter(notes) (foot) both required X-rays (negative in each case), Jorge Posada(notes) took a foul off his right hand, and Mariano Rivera(notes) was unavailable due to a "sore right shoulder." There's a chance that all four will be off on Thursday. … Jordan Zimmermann(notes) will undergo reconstructive elbow surgery next week, so in most formats you won't be drafting him again until 2011. … Miguel Cabrera(notes) (hand) says, "Hopefully, I can play tomorrow." He did not play today. … Nelson Cruz(notes) (ankle) was out again on Wednesday, but he's hoping to DH on Thursday. … Lance Berkman(notes) (calf) was activated from the DL just in time to lead the Astros' mauling of Ricky Nolasco(notes). Puma doubled in both the first inning and the second, finishing 2-for-3 with two walks, two RBIs and two runs scored. … Ian Kinsler(notes) (hamstring) began his rehab assignment by going 0-for-2 with a walk. … Erik Bedard(notes) will have exploratory shoulder surgery on Friday, likely ending his season and his M's career. Looking back, that was really quite a trade.
Victorino photo via Getty Images, Hunter via AP
Elsewhere on the Yahoo! Sports Blogs:
• Madden '10 review: A big winner with just a few small complaints
• Hard Knocks: One episode down, and no Bengals have been arrested
• Angels' Trevor Bell proud to talk about clown grandfather
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