Big League Stew - MLB

This and every weekday morning let's rise and shine together with the latest happenings in the major league world of baseball. Today's Roll Call starts with evidence that there is a God and that He has a wicked sense of humor and irony. 

Yes, on the very day that Rob Iracane and Camp Tiger Claw of Walkoff Walk start their relief appearance on the Juice, the Rays take the opportunity to welcome them by winning a game via an actual walkoff walk.

Somewhere on the North American continent, David Brown tries to say the above headline five times fast and ends up wishing he had never gone on vacation. 

Game Of The Day: Rays 6, Tigers 5 (10 inn.)

The Preferred Nomenclature, Dude: I know how your regular morning guy feels about the phrase, but you can't just go around renaming stuff. It's not good for morale. It's called a walkoff. More specifically, a walkoff walk. It happened in the 10th inning and frankly, it was sublime.

Things Fall Apart: The Tigers had a 5-4 lead going into the bottom of ten. Unfortunately, Fernando Rodney was wilder than a 5-year-old speed freak. He walked Wee Willie Aybar to start the fateful inning. Jason Bartlett was next up, and when squaring to bunt, stuck his right finger (that's the one you use to point at items on the Wendy's menu) between bat and ball. Oopsie! He left the game, and Rodney promptly drilled his replacement, Shawn Riggans, right on the letters. Akinora Iwomura bunted everyone over, and then Rodney walked BJ Upton to load 'em up. Carl Crawford then tied the thing up with an RBI single and then Carlos Pena came to bat. In a marriage of excitement and anti-climax rarely seen anywhere else, Mr. Pena took a 3-2 ball to walk and force in the winning run.

Cue that beautiful shrimp! (A WoW tradition unlike any other.)

Whaa Happened?: Everything was going well for the Tigers early. Armando Gallaraga pitched seven strong innings. Sheffield, Granderson and Cabrera each hit a ding dong, with the last one putting Detroit ahead in the top of the tenth. But when the dust finally settled, Rodney had blown his fourth save in five opportunities. That's going to be a problem.

Still Not Cute, Even When He's Angry: The loss gave Jim Leyland (that meanie) occasion to lash out at his team and the media in what I believe is 27th "We Don't Care Enough" tirade. Look!

"You've got to step it up if you want to be in the hunt," Leyland said before the game. "You don't want to be in the hunt, go home. Take an early vacation. Come back for spring training. We'll bring some kids up to play. We should be embarrassed. I'm not sure enough people are."

Yes, and I'm sure this will finally be the time they listen and snap out of it, you master motivator.

On The Other Hand: The Rays have now won 7-of-10 and kept the Red Sox at bay despite their weekend sweep of the A's. Joe Maddon lived up to his emo glasses by calling the win both "emotional" and "inspiring." Was he watching the game or Dr. Phil? Both of Rodney's HBP victims are expected to be okay.

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Feelin' Rundown (Sunday's other games):

Red Sox 5, Athletics 2: The A's aren't very good at baseball anymore. The Sox swept 'em up and threw 'em out. Daisuke Matsuzaka had one of his most efficient starts of the season surrendering just four hits and two walks. The A's used six different pitchers, including a curious 7th inning appearance by Huston Street. But, hey, Daric Barton hit a tater tot and didn't swan dive into any kiddie pools so there was some good news for the A's.

Yankees 14, Angels 9: The Yankees salvaged a split with the previously white hot Halos. Xavier Nady had six RBI including a 3-run funny bone. HE'S A TRUE YANKEE NOW, BRO. The Angels had a season high four errors and the Yankees scored 10 unearned runs.

Twins 6, Indians 2: Francisco Liriano's first 2008 stint in the majors, was an unmitigated disaster but after hitting the minors and working out the kinks, the young fireballer submitted a brilliant start in his first game back. Kid threw 96 strong pitches over 6 scoreless innings. He struck out 5 and only allowed six baserunners. Five Twins drove in runs including an 8th inning Denard Span ding dong. Minnesota finally finally finally gets over the hump and takes over first place because ...

Royals 14, White Sox 3: ...the Pale Hose got their SouthSidey butts handed to them, and not just in the box score. Continuing a recent outbreak of White Sox-related violence, the game included a bout of spirited bench clearing fisticuffs in the fifth inning. Hey, it involved AJ Pierzynski! Who would have guessed? 5 were ejected. Miguel Olivo and a gentleman named Mike Aviles each had 3 RBI. Zach Grienke abstained from fighting and instead let his 6.1 innings of quality do the punching. Well, that and the fastball he threw into Nick Swisher's buttcheek. He was also ejected.

Mariners 8, Orioles 4: The Mariners used a big seventh inning, including a 2-run ribby from Raul Ibanez and the Mariners pulled themselves out of the dustpan. If you had any emotional attachement to this series, I'm sorry for how your 2008 season is going.

Rockies 3, Marlins 2 — Hey, remember 2007 NL Rookie of the Year Troy Tulowitzki? He's back from his second DL trip of 2008! And his RBI single helped Colorado split a four-gamer with Florida, keeping the Rox a tidy seven games back in the mediocre NL West. Marlins pitcher Scott Olsen's six shutout innings went for naught.

Rangers 8, Blue Jays 4: Gerald Laird, one head of the Rangers' Young Catcher Hydra, had two ding dongs and 4 RBI. Dude's Yahoo headshot is priceless. He looks like a five-year-old speed freak.

Astros 4, Mets 0 — Maybe this Ed Wade character was right about something for once. Newest Astros acquisition Randy Wolf hurled five shutout innings as Houston swept the Mets for the first time since the wacky film Mrs. Doubtfire was sweeping the nation. The Mets scored but seven runs in the three game series; things are hitting the dumps at the wrong time for New York as John Maine and Billy Wagner are both dealing with ouchies.

Dodgers 9, Diamondbacks 3 — Manny-mania motivates many more men to visit Dodger Stadium and cheer on the newest L.A. slugger. Manny Ramirez hit a 436-foot homer to bring the Dodgers one game over .500 and within one game of Arizona in the NL West. Fella had three RBI to support an otherwise mediocre outing from fifth starter Jason Johnson. Heck, get Brad Penny back in this rotation and the Dodgers might even make two games over .500!

Cubs 8, Pirates 5 — New Pirates Brandon Moss and Andy LaRoche thought their homers had done enough damage offensively to carry the team to a series win over the Cubbies. Not so fast, said new
Pirate reliever Craig Hansen, who walked Geovany Soto with two outs in the eighth inning, setting up the winning homer by Reed Johnson and and insurance blast by Alfonso Soriano. Pittsburgh starter Ian Snell continues his nightmare season on the road by allowing four runs in four innings.

Braves 5, Brewers 0 — Well if nothing else goes right for the Braves this season, and trust me, nothing much has gone right for this baseball team-turned-mash unit, they can at least rest on their
laurels knowing that Jorge Campillo is nearly unhittable ... at home. Heck, if the Braves could play every game in Atlanta, they'd be worldbeaters. And without all that pesky travel, they wouldn't have to purchase carbon offsets.

Nationals 4, Reds 2Corey Patterson did all he could, really folks. Cincinnati's true superstar outfielder stroked a ninth inning ding-dong to deep right field off Washington closer Joel Hanrahan but it just wasn't enough to stave off the sweep at the hands of the Nats. Yes, Jim Bowden's collection of scrappy...scraps may possess the majors' worst record but they also own sweeps of the Reds and the Mariners in aught-eight. Support Corey all you can.

Padres 4, Giants 1 — If Greg Maddux can't get some consarned run support out of these darned kids in San Diego, Greg Maddux is just going to have to drive in Greg Maddux' own consarned runs. The aforementioned oldster knocked in a run to offset the only run he allowed in six efficient innings as he picked up career win No. 352. As a comparison, loser Kevin Correia has 13 wins in six seasons. At that rate, he'll hit 352 around the same time Greg Maddux' grandkid is winning the World Series MVP for the Chinchillas.

Phillies 5, Cardinals 4Shane Victorino's 3-run blast provided the offense and closer Brad Lidge's wild ninth inning ride provided the excitement. Still, his four baserunners and one run allowed weren't enough to break his perfect save streak in '08; fella's got 28 saves on the year now and zero oopsies.

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Photo of the Day: 'Taint No Mistakin'

Yankees outfielder Justin Christian makes a new friend while searching for his lost contact lens.

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Fantasy Freaks

Xavier Nady (Yankees) 4-for-5, 1 HR, 6 RBI

Manny Ramirez (Dodgers) 4-for-5, 1 HR, 3 RBI

Mike Aviles (Royals) 4-for-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI

Jorge Campillo (Braves) 7 IP, 0 ER, 6 K, Win

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Fantasy Flakes

Kyle Farnsworth (Tigers) 1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, BS

Doug Davis (Diamondbacks) 1.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, Loss

Jason Kendall (Brewers) 0-for-4, 1 K, 4 LOB

Gary Matthews Jr. (Angels) 0-for-5, 2 K, 3 LOB, error

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Words of Mouth

"That's baseball. You don't show up on time and you miss the whole game." — Dusty Baker, on Johnny Cueto giving up four first-inning runs in a 4-2 loss.

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