Big League Stew - MLB

Gather 'round, because it's time to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts in the Bronx (Hey, weren't we just here?) where the Boston Red Sox made a major comeback against the New York Yankees, only to watch Jonathan Papelbon(notes) give it all back in one of the worst games of his career.

Game of the Day
Yankees 11, Red Sox 9

Two outs from a second straight excruciating loss at home, the Yankees rallied for four runs — all of them coming on a pair of two-run Papelbombs, one by Alex Rodriguez(notes) to tie and the other by Marcus Thames(notes) to win. Both guys hit the first pitch and — Why not? — all Paps was throwing was 93-mph center-cut heaters.

"Flat fastballs, poorly executed pitches on my behalf," Papelbon said. "Usually in those situations bad things happen."

Say, remember when folks complained A-Rod wasn't "clutch"?

It was the eighth consecutive loss in New York for the Red Sox, who had climbed back from an early 6-1 deficit. Daisuke Matsuzaka(notes) was terrible again, but after David Ortiz(notes), J.D. Drew(notes), Kevin Youkilis(notes) and Victor Martinez(notes) (twice) went deep against Phil Hughes(notes) and the Yankees pen, the Bostons were in position to move above .500 overall.

Especially with Papelbon standing by.

He never had allowed two homers in relief (over 282 appearances), never had allowed a game-ending homer and hadn't blown a save in 22 opportunities since July. But, like Mariano Rivera(notes) did on Sunday against the Twins, Papelbon had an imperfect moment.

Javier Vazquez(notes), who seems quite confused by his role right now, picked up the victory by getting one out in the ninth. Joba Chamberlain(notes) and Rivera sat this one out.

Nobody whines anymore about A-Rod's ability to come through at the plate. But we still notice his peculiar behavior. Who else saw him waiting at home plate for Thames? He cleared out Robinson Cano(notes) and others to get good position, then he vigorously reminded Thames to throw his batting helmet. OK.

Then he locked in on the helmet and followed its flight, chasing after it like an unmarried bridesmaid at her 27th wedding chases a bouquet. I guess if you catch the helmet, you'll be the guy to hit the next game-ending homer? Is that a thing now? A-Rod will make a wonderful June bride. Just don't wear white, Mr. Centaur. You're not fooling anyone.

* * *

They Also Played

Padres 3, Giants 1: Adrian Gonzalez(notes) (right) hit a home run for the Padres, who totally pwn the Giants, having won all seven meetings so far. San Fran has scored nine runs — nine! — against the Friars. Twice in the ninth inning, a fan ran onto the field at PETCO Park. It was the best chance the Giants had at scoring against Heath Bell(notes), but they couldn't take advantage. Some fans called for the taser, but it apparently was not necessary.

Twins 8, Blue Jays 3: So, Justin Morneau(notes) likes visiting his native Canada so he can pick up potato chips, a cookies-and-cream bar and other snacks he can't get in the United States. Look, I can handle cracks about how our beer and our cigarettes don't match up to those in Canada, but when you tell me that America can't make the right kind of potato chips and ice cream, I'm tempted to just hand it all back to the Hekawis and say the hell with it.

D-backs 5, Marlins 1: Edwin Jackson(notes) was his most effective so far, striking out 12. But the real star of the game was Fish manager Fredi Gonzalez, who benched star Hanley Ramirez(notes) for lacking what the French call hustle. Oh, Hanley. Well you came and you booted the ball to Tampa. Then you chased it so slowly, oh, Hanley. Well, you kicked it and stopped it eventually, then Fredi kicked you out of the game, oh, Hanley.

Dodgers 6, Astros 2: Eight in a row for the Trolley Dodgers thanks to John Ely(notes), who has thrown three straight no-walkers. He's in control — he's never gonna stop. Control — to get what he wants. Control — he's got to have a lot. Control — now he's all grown up.

Rays 4, Indians 3 (11 inn.): Jason Bartlett(notes) squared a walk-off bunt, but the Indians might have had a better chance in regulation of Jhonny Peralta(notes) hadn't run into Asdrubal Cabrera(notes) and broken his left arm. That's not good teamwork.

Mets 3, Braves 2: We're at the point where every false move seems like it's going to lead to Jerry Manuel being fired.

Rangers 4, Angels 3: The difference was made by a couple of former Angels, geezers Darren Oliver(notes) and Vladimir Guerrero(notes). Old people are people too.

Phillies 12, Pirates 2: Charlie Morton(notes) turns it around again, this time into the path of an oncoming train.

Reds 6, Brewers 3: Jonny Gomes(notes) (almost) made a Tour de France reference: "We're wearing the first-place jersey now." Oui, oui, señor!

White Sox at Tigers, ppd. (rain): Really, it's like a win for the White Sox.

Cardinals 6, Nationals 2:  So Tony La Russa moved Albert Pujols(notes) to cleanup for the first time in seven years and says, "It's who plays, not where they hit. The lineup wasn’t anything magical or special, it’s how they played."

I agree. But then why change it in the first place? Why hit the pitcher eighth? Why obsess? 

Athletics 8, Mariners 4: After scoring five runs in their past five games, it was like the A's struck lotto. I think Ryan-Rowland-Smith might have to go back to Class-AAA-Tacoma.

Royals 4, Orioles 3: Maybe the O's can fire Dave Trembley and replace him with Ned Yost, too.

Cubs 4, Rockies 2 (11 inn.): The Cubs are moving Carlos Zambrano(notes) ($91 million) to middle relief. What is your greatest extravagance?

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