June 12, 2008
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 where Wilbert Harrison said he was going to — Kansas City, Mo. — where Rangers rookie David Murphy hit two home runs and drove in ... wait ... what's that racket? Is it a cyclone? An earthquake? Someone's running up the stairs. Now they're pounding on the door. Who? Wait, it's Milton Bradley and he's upset. He wants to see one of the Royals TV broadcasters. One of them said something bad about Milton, who is not going to take it anymore. No, we shouldn't let him in! Oh, boy. Yogi Berra was wrong. Sometimes, it ain't over even when it's over.
Game of the Day: Rangers 11, Royals 5
"I saw your broadcast, and I heard what you said!": Between at-bats in the clubhouse, the Rangers' DH heard Royals talker Ryan Lefebvre (son of Jim) make a comparison between Bradley and teammate Josh Hamilton — both of whom have troubled pasts. Bradley interpreted Lefebvre as being negatively judgmental toward him. Bradley, who has a history of losing his temper (but not of taking off his shirt), lost it again.
The race is on!: With manager Ron Washington and GM Jon Daniels in close pursuit, Bradley charged up the stairs, four floors, in an effort to confront Lefebvre. Bradley reached the press box (bastion of security no more!) but Washington and Daniels stopped him short of finding his tormentor. "I wouldn't hurt anybody," Bradley told the Kansas City Star. "I just wanted to introduce myself. Maybe he doesn't know who I am."
Hoo-ah!: Wasn't it Col. Frank Slade in "Scent of a Woman" who said he was such good friends with Jack Daniel's that he was allowed to call him "Jon"? So, if Jon Daniels needs a stiff drink after a tough day at work, does he go back to the hotel minibar and hit a bottle of himself?
Fears to tears: Bradley's rage turned to sadness back in the clubhouse. Tears welling up, he told a quiet room, "I'm tired of people breaking me down. All I want to do is play baseball, that's it. Raise my family, raise my sons, so they've got a better life than me. I'm strong but I'm not that strong, you know? It wears on me."
Games: Bradley has been a tremendous addition to the Rangers, batting .338 with a .638 slugging percentage, and being what Daniels called "a tremendous teammate." Injuries and attitude problems — as Lefebvre probably noted on-air — have plagued his career; His 2007 season ended because he tore his ACL while being restrained by his own manager during an argument with Bradley's nemesis, umpire Mike Winters.
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Feelin' Rundown (Wednesday's other games):
Cubs 7, Braves 2 — Sweet Georgia Brown, the Cubs are 18 games over .500 and it's not even midway through June. Ryan Dempster has been shockingly good, even great, in the rotation. Complete game, 11 Ks. He's on track to make the All-Star team. Some of you might be shocked to read that, while there's always general worry about the Cubs (est. 1876), there's not much panic in Cicero over Soriano breaking his hand and landing on the DL. He might be the most disposable superstar in baseball, possibly in sports. Though he's well-liked, Soriano doesn't fit the lineup all that well, he's a hopping heart attack in left field and he's generally unreliable for one reason or another. And I like him! You should hear the haters. It's a small sample and certainly flukish, but the Cubs went 10-5 the previous time the Fonz went on the DL this season. They averaged — get this — 8.1 runs without Soriano, including a 19-run thumping of the Brewers. Breaking news: I just watched the start of SportsCenter, and Steve Phillips pretty much agreed with my analysis, so I'm changing my mind. The Cubs are screwed.
Cardinals 10, Reds 0 — Braden Looper was a real pro jock with his first complete game, and three balls left the yard despite the Albert Void. Credit Tony La Russa and his lineup of atomic supermen. The Cards would do well on Top Chef. "Here, make a Latvian Orthodox pot roast dinner with only these ingredients," and the ingredients are spam, a lug wrench and stale fig newtons, and they somehow make the damn roast. Jay Bruce made an error; this guy's becoming more human every day and it's p*ssing me off. Johnny Cueto, go to your room.
Padres 4, Dodgers 1 — L.A. continues to make use of the D'backs down time by taking over in the NL West. Oh, sorry. Wrong dimension.
Pirates 3, Nationals 1 — Matt Capps recovered some of his kung fu against Elijah Dukes, who grounded into a walk-off double play (wink, wink) without making any annoying, unnecessary and silly gyrations — and without trying to beat Capps in a staring contest. That's how the game is played, son. Is Ryan Doumit a highly evolved human from the future? Because he gets into these streaks where he seems to know what's coming. The third eye really helps, too. Not so much the gills.
Mets 5, D-backs 3 (13 inn.) — This is the day the Mets get going. Billy Wagner — possessed by the reverse ghost of B.H. Kim — allowed a two-out, three-run, score-tying home run to Mark Reynolds in the ninth. Billy, just haul off and punch Willie Randolph in the jock next time, to eliminate the middle man. Despite the doom and gloom earlier, Carlos Beltran hit the game-ender in the 13th against Elian Gonzalez. Mark it down, dude, the Mets will rise, starting last night.
Marlins 6, Phillies 2 — Try saying "Dan 'You So' Uggla" with a Muhammad Ali accent for the maximum comedy experience. What a pitcher's duel this was — to a point — in a very "playoffy" game. Hamels strikes out 13 and allows three hits over eight innings, but two of the hits are solo jacks to Jorge Cantu. Andrew Miller was about as dominant through seven. The Phills get a stay from the governor with a run in the top of the ninth but Uggla unloads on Tom Gordon with the bases loaded in the bottom half.
Brewers 10, Astros 6 — Corey Hart (don't switch the blade on the man with the shades) hits two of the Breu Creu's five homers. That's the kind of offense we're paying for, guys. And when I say "we," I count myself, as someone who has bought food, gasoline and sausage T-shirts in Wisconsin this baseball season. Some of that money has to trickle over into Mike Cameron's bank account. So, I actually own part of the Brewers, is what I'm saying.
Rockies 1, Giants 0 — All the sudden, Coors turns into Dodger Stadium 1965. If only Ubaldo Jimenez were Sandy Koufax all of the time. Lincecum's ERA drops to 1.99, second-cheapest to Volquez's 1.56. Watch the reaction of the game-ending play by the Giants pitcher, AKA, Jack Taschner.
Angels 4, Rays 2 — Ace left-hander Scott Kazmir does not appreciate the plate judgment of grand umpirical emperor Derryl Cousins. Los Anaheim went ahead in the seventh with a pair of two-out runs after some close pitches — one in particular on a two-strike count — went to the Angels. "I mean, you come into the game and some of the veteran guys are talking about an umpire that doesn't like calling anybody out on strikes," Kazmir said. "They called him 'shoe box.' You shouldn't change your zone just because of the count." Attorneys will file an injunction if Cousins works an ALDS, one of which the Rays will take in five games.
Twins 8, Indians 5 — After one team's harrowing six-game journey into darkness and despair, the Twins teach us all that it's OK to win again. Next on the Lifetime Afternoon Movie.
Tigers 5, White Sox 1 — Justin Verlander, previously considered a lost boy, emerges from the jungle with the idol, the whip, and a win against the ChiSox. The Tigers could start what's called a "winning streak" if they can sweep this afternoon.
Athletics 8, Yankees 4 — Giambi hit his 15th to stake the Yankees to an early lead, but they fell back to .500.
JasonJustin Duchscherer, with his 72-mph breaking ball, is 6-4 with a 2.20 ERA. He also has way too many letters in his last name, which is pronounced "DUKE-sure" in case you don't pick up the West Coast feed.
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Photo of the Day: Dang helmet laws
"With the blast shield down, I can't even see; how am I supposed to fight?"
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Felix Hernandez (Mariners) 8 IP, 4 H, BB, 8 K, Win
Verlander (Tigers) 9 IP, 4 H, ER, 3 K, Win
Looper (Cardinals) 9 IP, 3 H, 4 K, Win
Dempster (Cubs) 9 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 11 K!, Win
Corey Hart (Brewers) 3-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI
Murphy (Rangers) 3-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI
Lincecum (Giants) 7 IP, 3 BB, 9 K
Jimenez (Rockies) 7 IP, 4 H, BB, 3 K
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Cueto (Reds) 5 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 8 BB!, 2 K, Loss, No supper
Soriano (Cubs) 0-1, broken hand (out at least six weeks)
Darrell Rasner (Yankees) 3 2/3 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, BB, 4 K, Loss
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"We were just looking for a sacrifice fly there. The ball just carried a little bit. Hate when that happens." — Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez on Uggla's game-ending homer.