This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together with the most recent and decent major league happenings. Today's Major League Roll Call — one Juice to rule them all — starts in the Land of Ichiro, where the Mariners were looking for an excuse — anything at all, really — to bust out of the gloominess of last place. Take that, Kason Gabbard!
Game of the Day: Rangers 4, Mariners 0
When in doubt, fight: The Mariners are headed for 14-22. Need a spark, need a spark. Something, anything. ... I know! Let's keep playing like crap and start a fight. It worked in "Slap Shot!"
Tall drink of water: Richie Sexson stands 6-foot-8, which means he has a big strike zone. It also means he has his head in the clouds sometimes. With the Mariners and Rangers feeling themselves on the brink of a fight, Sexson started it by charging the mound and throwing his helmet at pitcher Kason Gabbard. Benches cleared. Sexson appeared to be the only guy who got in any punches, too. Guess here is that he'll be seeing the Commish someday.
Impaired: The only problem with Sexson's timing was, Gabbard threw a pitch up, up, way up, that would have been a strike were it 2 feet lower. Sexson, channeling an above-average Kevin Nealon skit and using the judgment that has produced his 1,200-plus career strikeouts, thought the ball was at his head. Yeah, if his head were the size of Mr. Met's, OK. But Sexson's head was safely inside the batter's box. Later, Sexson called his own actions — relating to throwing the helmet — "chicken [bleep]." At least he recognized that. Now, if he could just tell a ball from a strike to his head.
PPV: You can watch the fight in this YouTube posted below. Well, at least until MLB stops hunting down the scoundrel who posted the Mr. Redlegs video and turns their attention toward this guy. (Update: It's no longer on YouTube, but, courtesy of The Sporting Blog, here it is on RedLasso.)
NL Game of the Day: Braves 5, Padres 4
Uno: Well, colorize Yankee Doodle Dandy. The Braves won a 1-run game, after dropping their first 9, thanks to Matt Diaz's RBI single in the 9th. Manny Acosta picked up a win a day after someone tattled on him and the commissioner took away a save. Seems Mr. Acosta entered Turner Field on Wednesday with a 3-run lead and attempted perpetrate a FRAUD. He recorded the final 2 outs and was awarded a save by the official scorer. Turns out, you need to record 3 outs to qualify for a save with a 3-run lead — or come in with the tying run on base, at bat or on deck. Oh-for-3, Mr. Acosta. Please come with us, sir.
Duo: After starter Jo-Jo Reyes excused himself because of a forming blister, NASCAR star Buddy Carlyle hurt his neck tagging a fella. The Braves bullpen pieced together 4 1/3 more solid innings to get them to the finish line.
Chipper Jones chasin' .400 update: 1-5, .419.***
Feelin' Rundown (other NL games)
Pirates 5, Giants 4 — Pat Lackey of Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke? points out Wednesday that Adam LaRoche might be poised for a breakout; he usually hits poorly through the first week of May before putting up his usual decent numbers. In fact, LaRoche is .333/.385/.625 this month. Baseball-Reference.com shows the 10 most-comparable players; LaRoche gets guys such as Reggie Jefferson, Ben Broussard, Justin Morneau, Nick Johnson and, at the top, a fellow named Luke Easter. He played in the Negro Leagues and, after Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby came along, the Cleveland Indians. What's odd is Easter's wiki bio refers to him being regarded as a practical joker. So is LaRoche, though the Atlanta Braves would just call him a vandal.
Rockies 9, Cardinals 3 — Here come the Rockies ... maybe. They rallied late on Wednesday and pounded Kyle Lohse and Fredbird on Thursday, despite 2 dingers from Ryan, Ryan, Ryan — not Eric — Ludwick. A nice 4-for-5 from Matt Holiday, more goodies from Garrett Atkins and 2 more ribs from Chris Iannetta, who is slugging .655 — only .245 points above his career average.
D-backs 8, Phillies 3 — If you somehow locked 8-0 Brandon Webb into a longterm contract for $12/season in your roto league, you know how Arizona feels. He makes $5.5 million annually in a deal that runs through 2010 — unless the DB's tear it up. It might make sense for them to do this and keep him away from free agency for as long as possible. The Yankees would give him $250 million in 2011 otherwise.
Marlins 7, Brewers 2 — Tallish lefty Mark Hendrickson actually said he was sorry for taking FOREVER to throw the @#$! ball: "I apologize to everybody for the pace of play. That was a long game (3:19). I wasn't trying to make it long." Aww, that's the 3rd-most adorable thing a ballplayer has ever said.
Photo of the Day: "Guys, it'll be OK. Zach Braff will still do movies."
Arizona's Conor Jackson (left) and Shane Victorino of the Phillies drown themselves in sorrow after watching the last episode of "Scrubs" on NBC. Rumors persist that the show might be picked up on ABC for next season. Jackson could be heard whimpering, "I'm no Superman," over and over. Victorino was mute.
Feeling Rundown (Other AL games)
Yankees 6, Indians 3— We might have a David Dellucci-Joba Chamberlain rivalry forming. Dellucci can't stand Joba's fist-pumping dance, which usually comes after a big K. Or at least it's supposed to be a big K. Chamberlain, who surrendered a go-ahead 3-run homer to Dellucci on Wednesday, struck him out in a less tense moment on Thursday. And he got excited, as a young man does. "It's May baseball," Dellucci said. "The home run was in a much bigger situation. I didn't dance and scream. If a hitter did something like that, it would be bush. It's kind of interesting how a pitcher gets away with it." Joe Girardi says Joba ain't tryin' to hurt nobody.
White Sox 6, Twins 2 — Hilarity ensues after the Twins become confused on a pitch to Paul Konerko — was it a strike, was it a ball? — and the Sox take advantage with a double steal. Matt Guerrier was tagging everyone in the ballpark. Looked like something out of "Benny Hill." Ron Gardenhire, upset because of the vagaries of the call by home umpire Paul Eddings (same guy when A.J. Pierzynski stole first against the Angels in the '05 playoffs) gets tossed. This kinda stuff doesn't happen in football, which is why baseball is better, George Carlin.
Red Sox 5, Tigers 1 — Justin Verlander, sheesh. Check his beard for cork: Kevin Youkilis has 3 homers in 2 games at Comerica. The Tigers need a comeback like Flint, Mich. needs a comeback. The likelihood of either grows dimmer by the day. Check the blog: Curt Schilling throws 25 balls from 60 feet away in a rehab game of long toss. Ring toss comes next.
Orioles 4, Royals 1 — Daniel Cabrera, one of the 6 major league Cabreras, went 9-18 a season ago. You call yourself a Cabrera? "Cabrera" is the new "Rodriguez" I can see Daniel waving good-bye to his career. OK, OK. Let's not impeach him yet. D-Cab is 3-1, 3.54 after going the distance.
Rays 8, Blue Jays 5 (13 inn.) — Morning Juice's favorite team pulls out another one. Troy Percival blows a save — allowing his first runs of the season — but the Jays can't bring home Alex Rios after he triples to lead off the 10th. Dioner Navarro's granny puts it away. Sounds like a championship recipe.
Matt Holliday (Rockies) 4-5, 3 R
Ryan "Don't Call Me Eric" Ludwick (Cardinals) 2-4, 2 HR
Dioner Navarro (Rays) 3-6, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI
Edwin Jackson (Rays) 8 IP, 6 H, BB, 3 K
Daniel Cabrera (Orioles) 9 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 7 K, Win
Richie Sexson (Mariners, Mariners, Mariners) 0-0, BB, .209 BA, ejection for dopey behavior
"Amen! Hallelujah!" — Chipper Jones, after the Braves finally won a 1-run game.