July 30, 2022

Jack Kerouac's Writing/Batting Average

By the time Jack Kerouac was 11 years old, he had invented a fantasy baseball game involving a toothpick and a marble. His invention evolved to a card-based game that he played for his entire life, inventing teams and rosters, keeping play-by-play box scores and seasonal statistics in a series of notebooks.

The teams were named after cars (St. Louis Cadillacs, Pittsburgh Plymouths, Washington Chryslers) or colors (Boston Grays, Chicago Blues, New York Greens). Kerouac wrote descriptions of games, trades, and contract disputes in league newsletters. He described one player, Buck Barbara of the Philadelphia Pontiacs as

big, stocky . . . and he swings toward his left, or turns on the ball, like a vicious bull; and when he connects, there is a sharp, hard crack, and those third basemen start hopping around. He almost drove Charley Fiskell, Boston's hot corner man, into a shambled heap in the last game with his sizzling drives through the grass.

Kerouac would bring the game with him on his cross-country drives.

Jack Kerouac: Windblown World contains excerpts from Kerouac's journals from 1947-1954. There is no mention of his baseball game hobby in these entries, but in 1948, as he was writing and revising The Town and the City, his first published novel, he often mentioned a "batting average" of his writing progress, which would go up or down depending on how his work was progressing.

The first entry in Windblown World that mentions a batting average is June 3, 1948. Kerouac, 26 years old in the summer of 1948, says the average is "an intricate mathematical thing" and "too complicated and mad to explain".

Thursday, June 3

Still sick as a dog but working. Did 24 pages today. I worked out an intricate mathematical thing which determines how assiduously I'm getting my novel typed and revised day after the day. It's too complicated and mad to explain, but suffice it to say that yesterday I was batting .246, and after today's work my "batting average" rose to .306. The point is, I've got to hit like a champion, I've got to catch up and stay with Ted Williams (currently hitting .392 in baseball).* If I can catch him, and stay with him, the month of June will be the final month of work on Town & City. But the absorbing thing is that I can't possibly bat that high (.392) without toiling like a fiend (and that's the whole point of my little game.) So it's .306 for now, and depend on it that I'll suffer a batting slump over the weekends, because the days themselves figure in the formula (30 days of June), and during the weeks I'll always fatten my figure. To stay over .300 is of course essential in the big leagues ... so I'm doing O.K. as of now, anyway ... (for an outfielder.)

(* Footnote from Windblown World's editor Douglas Brinkley: "Ted Williams would end up hitting .349 in 1948." After June 2, 1948, Williams's batting average was actually .384, not .392. And TSW finished the season at .369. not .349. I can perhaps give Kerouac a pass for recording the wrong average in his personal diary, but Brinkley and Viking's editors, factcheckers, and proofreaders have no excuse.)

Friday, June 4

Woke up with my .306 average. Worked hard, brought it up to .324.

Saturday, June 5

And today brought it up to the respectable figure of .345 . . .

Monday, June 14

I cleared a lot of business today – at the bank, etc., and called up my 'connections.' Then I fell back on the typing. My average is where it was when I unavoidably lost a week – at .345. I must, I must be successful. [Jack and his mother went to North Carolina because his sister became "gravely ill" after giving birth to a three-pound infant after only seven months of pregnancy. Both his sister and baby recovered.]

Tuesday, June 15

Last night's sweating, plodding work left me with a .340 average for today to match. This is nowhere near Ted Williams' current .398. I typed and revised – maintained a .327 mark – and went into town to bring Tony's coat.

Wednesday, June 16

I typed all day, revised carefully, and maintained a .343 average, climbing 16 points over yesterday. These figures don't imply the tremendous strain of keeping up and on that way. To reach .390, and to stay there, that's almost incredible now as I see how rough it is. There's grave doubt even that I can keep up a pace over .300.

Thursday, June 17

Went to bed, after irritating work with a faulty typewriter-hand, with a .350 average.

Friday, June 18

Worked all day, slugged my average up to. 353, the highest yet. Tomorrow is an official day off . . . I was irritated today because my manuscript is not as "good" as it should be, but this is an Olympian sense of perfection and not human. It would take me another year, maybe longer, to 'perfect' T & C, and that is senseless (It wouldn't be any better anyway, according to human workaday standards.) Allen Ginsberg insists I 'perfect' it, but he's a poet, and a verse-writer is like that.

Sunday, June 20

Went to Dodger game in Brooklyn with Tony, and then to a massive Italian dinner at his sister's house, and then home.

Thursday, June 24

Typed 30 pages today, using a new kind of self-discipline. That many pages each day, according to last week's batting average discipline, would give me a .600 average.

Monday, June 28

Hot disgusting day ... dead and pasty, no wind, nothing, misty, sullen, incredibly stupid. Started late, did 18 pages.

Wednesday, June 30

Another disguster, fourth in a row. Give me the cool fogs of Frisco. For the month of June I did approximately – well, with tonight's vast 40 pages, (!) I did, in all, about 320 pages in June ... for a batting average, according to early standards, of .291: – which is enough for the big leagues, but not great.

Thursday, July 1

I'm never satisfied with the progress of my work. I won't rest, I won't rest till it's complete complete ... and what a pain in the eye that is.

Wednesday, July 7

A beautiful cool, clear day. Got letters from Neal, Ed, Allen. . . . Went to the library, got books. Shook off the weekend's cobwebs. . . . Batting .315 anyway (over that .291.)

Monday, July 12

Did 27 pages ... batting .328. Working along in casual daze of sorts ... resting.

Tuesday, July 13

Did 19 pages and began totally revising the Francis-Engels chapter ... This great deadwood will ruin my .330 batting average. I now have well over 800 pages done on the ms., with some 200 more to go. And the novel will be done forever, and the devil can then shove it up.

Friday, July 16

These must be some of the worst days of my life, I don't know. I feel old and finished ... just working with the most alone sense I've ever had. . . . Also, lately, I feel like a newspaperman: – I've no brains. It's the most empty feeling in the world to feel like a newspaperman racking his head for words, the most superficially-meant words. Batting .309.

Monday, July 19

The nearer I get to the final end of the work, the more work there seems to be. My 1946 material is not generally worth the paper it's on. Wearing glasses now, my eyes seem perfect. . . . Now shot up bat. ave. to .327.

Tuesday, July 20

Did 22 pages, batting .330 again. . . . had a lot of happy, healthy feelings and thoughts for the first time in weeks, it seems.

Wednesday, July 21

Did 17 pages, batting .329 -- and I swear to God that I'll never be finished with this thing.

Tuesday, July 27

Wearied by ragged literary work in the heat ... did 34 pages, batting .329.

Saturday, July 31

Today I worked hard on those 22 pages and at night I couldn't see my way through the sea-chapter at all. Batting .331.

Friday, August 6

. . . a big night's work left me a nervous wreck. Batting .336 . . .

Thursday, August 12

Still beautifully cool – it's been so for 13 days now. Tonight did 23 pages, all carefully revised . . . Batting .345 . . .

Tuesday, August 17

Babe Ruth died yesterday, and I ask myself: "'Where is the foundling's father hidden?' – where is Babe Ruth's father?"* Who was it who spawned this Bunyan? – what man, where, what thoughts did he have? Nobody knows. And this is an American mystery, the foundling becomes the king, and the foundling's father is hidden ... and there's greatness in America that this does always happen.

(* Editor's footnote: "The search for Babe Ruth's father notion was later used, to great effect, in On the Road, the search for Dean Moriarty's (Neal Cassidy's) father.")

* * *

Specific Baseball Games Mentioned In Windblown World

Saturday, May 15, 1948: Athletics at Yankees
Kerouac writes: "went to a Yankee-Athletics game with Tony [Monacchio], rained out". However, those teams played a doubleheader on the 15th (Philadelphia won 3-1 and 8-6); Sunday's game (May 16) was washed out by rain after only an inning and a half.

Saturday, May 22, 1948: Giants 11, Cubs 0 (Polo Grounds)
"(Meanwhile I saw a ballgame, Giants-Cubs, at Polo Grounds with good Tony.)"

Sunday, June 20, 1948: Cubs 6, Dodgers 3 (Ebbets Field)
"Went to Dodger game in Brooklyn with Tony, and then to a massive Italian dinner at his sister's house, and then home."

Monday, May 3, 1949: Giants 11, Pirates 4 (Polo Grounds)
"Saw a ballgame at night in Polo Grounds – a big delightful spectacle, and good game. Slept at [John Clellon] Holmes' – talked, drank beer."

Wednesday, October 5, 1949: Yankees 1, Dodgers 0 (Yankee Stadium)
"Heard great Newcombe-Reynolds pitching duel in 1st game of Series, on radio."

July 29, 2022

It's Odd Stats Time!
Featuring: Ohtani, 28-5, And A POOP Game

Angels scoreboard, July 28, 2022

Red Sox Players With HR, 2 BB, 2 SB In Same Game

Larry Gardner, July 29, 1911 (G2) vs Browns (L 4-5 (10))
John Valentin, June 13, 1995 at Blue Jays (W 11-7)
Julio Lugo, April 27, 2007 at Yankees (W 11-4)
Xander Bogaerts, July 28, 2022 vs Guardians (W 4-2)

In the first game of that 1911 doubleheader, Smoky Joe Wood pitched a no-hitter (9-0-0-2-12). Also, Gardner tripled, singled, stole a base, scored a run, and knocked in a run. Boston won 5-0.

Garrett Whitlock recorded a pair of two-inning saves in the just-completed series against the Guardians (July 25 and 28, 2022). He's the first Red Sox pitcher to do that since Greg Harris (September 13 and 15, 1993, against the Orioles; Harris went 2.2 innings on the 13th).

Shohei Ohtani leads all major league pitchers this season with nine games of 10+ strikeouts. (All other Angels pitchers combined have one game with 10+ K in 2022.)

Shohei Ohtani has struck out 11+ strikeouts seven times, the first pitcher in 20 years to do that in his team's first 99 games.

Ohtani has struck out 10+ in each of his last six starts. The only pitchers in history with longer streaks?
Gerrit Cole (nine games), Chris Sale (eight games (twice)), Pedro Martinez (eight games, seven games), Justin Verlander (seven games), Randy Johnson (seven games), and Nolan Ryan (seven games).

Ohtani currently leads all pitchers in K/9 (13.1) and all batters in intentional walks (nine).

Different eras and all that . . . but still  . . . Through his first 50 career starts as a pitcher and 500 games as a hitter, Shohei Ohtani has

-More strikeouts than Jacob deGrom
-Lower ERA than Gerrit Cole
-More home runs than Ted Williams
-More RBI than Ken Griffey Jr.

Jayson Stark unloaded a bushel full of factoids about the Blue Jays' 28-5 win at Fenway last Friday. I'll try to sum them up.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was only the second opposing player to get six hits (or more) in a nine-inning game against the Red Sox in the last 60 years. (I checked Stathead and learned that other guy was C.J. Cron, on July 2, 2016. Before that, it was Floyd Robinson of the White Sox, on July 22, 1962.) Only five players have ever had six hits in a nine-inning game at Fenway; none of them have played for the Red Sox.

From the opening of Fenway in 1912 until two months ago, the Red Sox had never allowed a home run cycle [grand slam, three-run homer, two-run homer, solo homer] to an opposing team. But they've allowed two of them this season — May 17 and July 22.

Kevin Gausman became only the fourth starting pitcher in the last 74 seasons years to pitch with a 22+-run lead. The others are:
Chuck Stobbs, Red Sox, June 8, 1950. Pitched a complete game (Stark: "because 1950") against the Browns, led 29-3 in the ninth.

John Candelaria, Pirates, September 16, 1975. Up 22-0 in the seventh at Wrigley Field.

Dave Frost, Angels, August 25, 1979. Complete game against Oakland, 24-2.
No starting pitcher had ever been up by 22 runs as early as the fifth inning.

Toronto became the first team to score 11 runs in an inning after its first two batters had been retired. 

Gurriel had a run-scoring single and a two-run double in that 11-run fifth inning. He's the third player in the last 60 years to have two two-out, run-scoring hits in the same inning.

Six Blue Jays scored at least three runs, but none of them batted in the lineup's top three spots. That had never happened before in major league history.

In addition to his inside-the-park grand slam, Tapia hit a bases-loaded triple against the Red Sox the next day. He's the first player to have two such hits in the same series. In fact, in the last 79 years, only two other players have done it in the same season. Overall, it's been done in the same season a total of 11 times, including by two players within a two-week span: Whispering Bill Barrett (13 days apart, 1926 White Sox) and Aaron Altherr (nine days, 2015 Phillies).

The Blue Jays had not scored 28 runs in any of their previous 29 series before rolling into Fenway and racking up 28 runs in one game.

The Red Sox bullpen gave up 19 runs. The Red Sox bullpen allowed 21 runs in the entire 2018 postseason (14 games).

July 26, 2022

One (Big) Reason David Ortiz Will Always Be *The Man*

David Ortiz was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.

Before Big Papi's big day, everyone was asking him about his speech.

My agent, everybody was asking me about the speech, and this and that, like I've never talked before. I'm like, "All I'm going to talk about is what I know. Relax." It was fine. It was good that I was left for last. That made it a little easier . . .

Ortiz spent the final 14 years of his 20-year career with the Red Sox. It's a bit weird to think that his first year in Boston (2003) was already his seventh major league season.

Some of his career numbers: 541 home runs (17th all time), 632 doubles (12th all time), 1,768 RBIs (23rd all time), 1,319 walks (T-41st all time), and 2,472 hits. He drove in 100+ runs ten times. For five straight seasons (2003-07), Ortiz finished in the top five of the American League MVP voting (5, 4, 2, 3, 4). 

He went out on top. In his final season, at age 40, he led the major leagues in slugging (.620), OPS (1.021), and doubles (48). He tied for the AL lead in both RBI (127) and intentional walks (15). And he hit .315, the second-highest full season average of his career.

No one who witnessed his postseason heroics -- most of all in 2004, but also 2007 and 2013 -- will ever forget them. To paraphrase Lester Bangs: "We will never agree on anything as we agreed on David Ortiz."

The Large Father's ability to deliver in walkoff situations was uncanny. Here's one bit of evidence:

From the 2004 postseason through July 2006, there were 13 games in which Ortiz batted with a chance for a walkoff win. In 19 plate appearances, he reached base 16 times! He batted .786 (11-for-14) with 7 HR and 20 RBI.

Flo came through with the game-winning hit in 11 of those 13 games. In the other two, he walked. (In other words, the three outs he made over that span all came in games he later won with a hit.

Here are the 13 games and Ortiz's 19 plate appearances:

October 8 (ALDS 3)  - Game-winning home run
October 17 (ALCS 4) - Popped up, game-winning home run
October 18 (ALCS 5) - Struck out, walked, 
game-winning single

June 2       - 
Game-winning home run
August 30    - Walked
September 6  - 
Game-winning home run
September 16 - Intentionally walked
September 29 - 
Game-winning single

June 11      - 
Game-winning home run
June 24      - 
Game-winning home run
June 26      - Grounded out, walked intentionally, 
game-winning single
July 29      - Walked intentionally, 
game-winning single
July 31      - 
Game-winning home run

I watched every one of those games live, and yet as I'm typing this out, I'm still having a hard time believing this actually happened. It was an jaw-dropping stretch of clutch hitting we will absolutely never see again.

July 22, 2022

The Red Sox Have Allowed 55 Runs In Their Last Three Games
Boston's -47 Run Differential In Three-Game Span Is MLB's Worst In 128 Years

The Red Sox have been outscored 55-8 in their last three games.
July 16: Yankees 14, Red Sox 1 July 17: Yankees 13, Red Sox 2 July 22: Blue Jays 28, Red Sox 5
That -47 run differential is the worst over a three-game span by any major league team since the Louisville Colonels allowed 60 runs over three games in 1894 (August 15-17: 4-14, 3-17, 4-29).

56 - 1950 Browns
55 - 2022 Red Sox
54 - 1999 Cubs
54 - 1950 Browns (overlapping with above span)
52 - 1936 Philadelphia Athletics
Friday's pasting featured the most runs ever allowed by the Red Sox and the most runs ever scored by the Blue Jays.

The Red Sox had not lost a game by more than 20 runs in almost a century (since September 28, 1923).
Blue Jays - 127 4(11)2 001 - 28 29  2
Red Sox - 000 3 0 1 100 -  5 10  2
The Blue Jays scored 25 runs in the first five innings, tying a major league record set by the Cubs almost exactly 100 years ago, on August 25, 1922; they scored 25 runs in the first four innings (1-10-0-14) and nearly lost the game, before hanging on and winning 26-23. They beat the Phillies, who used only two pitchers!

About Toronto's 11-run fifth inning . . . Kaleb Ort retired the first two batters!
Ort pitching, Blue Jays lead 14-3.
Guerrero struck out.
Kirk grounded out to first unassisted.
Bichette singled to right.
Hernandez singled to right.
Gurriel singled to center (15-3).
Chapman singled to pitcher (16-3).
Espinal walked.
Jansen singled to right (17-3).
Tapia doubled to center (19-3).
Mound visit.
Guerrero singled to left (21-3).
Hernandez relieved Ort.
Kirk walked.
Bichette singled to right (22-3).
Hernandez singled to right (23-3).
Gurriel doubled to center (25-3).
Chapman struck out.
The Blue Jays tied a major league record by having seven players with 3+ hits. This was the 11th occurrence.

The Blue Jays tied a major league record by having four players with 4+ RBI. This was the 7th occurrence (and only the second time in the AL).

The Blue Jays had six players with 3+ runs scored. The MLB record is seven (it's happened twice).

The Blue Jays three players with 4+ runs scored. The MLB record is four (it's happened five times).

More odds and ends, from Doug Kern:

Red Sox, Most Runs Allowed
28 - July 22, 2022 vs Blue Jays (5-28)
27 - July 7, 1923 at Cleveland (G1) (3-27)
24 - September 28, 1923 vs Yankees (4-24)
24 - May 1, 1929 vs Philadelphia Athletics (6-24)
22 - July 8, 1902 vs Philadelphia Athletics (9-22)
22 - May 31, 1970 vs White Sox (13-22)
22 - June 19, 2000 vs Yankees (1-22)
Blue Jays, Most Runs Scored
28 - July 22, 2022 at Red Sox (28-5)
24 - June 26, 1978 vs Orioles (24-10)
22 - September 12, 2021 at Orioles (22-7)
20 - June 25, 2002 at Devil Rays (20-11)
Most Runs Scored By Single Team (Live-Ball Era (Since 1920)
30 - Texas, August 22, 2007 at Orioles (30-3)
29 - Red Sox, June 8, 1950 vs Browns (29-4)
29 - White Sox, April 23, 1955 at Kansas City Athletics (29-6)
29 - Atlanta, September 9, 2020 vs Marlins (29-9)
28 - Browns, July 6, 1929 at Philadelphia Athletics (28-6)
28 - Blue Jays, July 22, 2022 at Red Sox (28-5)
There has been only one other 28-5 game in MLB history. On August 25, 1891, the Chicago Colts beat the Brooklyn Grooms 28-5. (The Colts are now known as the Cubs; the Grooms are the Los Angeles Dodgers.)

The Blue Jays are the second team since 1900 to have all nine starters with multiple hits and multiple runs scored in the same game. The other game had Toronto on the losing side, a 24-2 loss to the Angels on August 25, 1979.

Kern tweeted that the Red Sox were the fifth team since 1900 to have four different pitchers allow 5+ runs in fewer than 3 IP. . . . I believe they are actually the 10th team.

Red Sox - Allowing 8+ Runs While Recording 2 Or Fewer Outs
Marv Grissom - June 25, 1953 vs Cleveland (0.2-6-8-1-0)
Rob Stanifer - June 19, 2000 vs Yankees   (0.2-7-9-1-0, 33)
Kaleb Ort    - July 22, 2022 vs Blue Jays (0.2-7-8-1-1, 34)
Nate Eovaldi (2.2-8-9-2-3, 63) also gave up nine runs in under three innings back on May 17. The only other pitchers to have two such games in their Red Sox careers: Luis Tiant (1974 and 1976) and Doug Bird (both in 1983).

Raimel Tapia and Danny Jansen are the first #1 and #9 batters in MLB history to each have 6 RBI for the same team in the same game. (However: For most of that time, pitchers batted #9. Two teammates each knocking in six runs has now happened 27 times.)

Inside-The-Park Grand Slams (MLB, Since 2001)
Aaron Altherr, Phillies, September 25, 2015 at Nationals
Michael Taylor, Nationals, September 8, 2017 vs Phillies
Raimel Tapia, Blue Jays, July 22, 2022 at Red Sox

July 19, 2022

Dogs On the Pitch

Two truisms:
There are few things as wonderful watching a dog run around and be happy.
You cannot catch a dog unless she wants to be caught. 
I saw the first clip on Twitter and then, of course, ended up watching many more dogs-on-the-field videos.

2022, Chile versus Venezuela at La Granja in Spain:

2014, Club Atlético Belgrano versus Quilmes Atlético Club, in Argentinia:

2017, San Lorenzo de Amalgro versus Arsenal de Sarandí, Argentina:

2018, Gori, Georgia:


2020, Turkish professional football club, Karagümrü, Istanbul



2021, Bosnian Premier League

2014, St. John's versus Central Connecticut State

The best (and longest) clip in this compilation is #6

They think they are so smart, luring the dog off the field by waiving a big red bag like a toy. It's working, it's working . . . until they get close to the gate off the field . . . and the dog stops dead in his tracks. Ears down, looks over the situation . . .  and turns around and runs off again! Wheeeeeeeeeeee!

July 16, 2022

Devers Hits First-Inning Home Run Against Yankees In Back-To-Back Games
First Red Sox Player To Do That In 55 Years (Yaz, April 1967)

Rafael Devers, the second batter of Saturday's Red Sox/Yankees game, hit the first pitch he saw for his 22nd home run of the season. He also went deep in the opening frame on Friday and thus is the first Red Sox batter to hit a first-inning home run in back-to-back games against the Yankees since Carl Yastrzemski (April 22-23, 1967).

It was Devers's fifth dong against the MFY this season and the 18th of his career. The only player to hit more home runs against the Yankees before turning 26 is Ted Williams (20). Devers's 26th birthday is October 24, so he has 10 more games against New York to get past TSW. Starting today . . .

Devers is also the first Red Sox player to hit 20+ HR before the All-Star Break in consecutive seasons since David Ortiz (2004-06) and Manny Ramirez (2003-06).

After Devers's shot, Xander Bogaerts singled. . . . And then Jameson Taillon and Ryan Weber retired the next 22 Boston batters. By the time the Red Sox had another man on base – Jackie Bradley's two-out walk in the eighth – they trailed 10-1. The final score was 14-1. It was the Red Sox's worst loss in New York since 1952.

I probably can live without Bogaerts, but that rich motherfucker (John Henry) better fuckin sign Devers, who could be a free agent after the 2023 season. (Flo: "100 percent, when I see Devers, it's like I never left . . . He looks invincible out there. . . . Devers might be one of the top-three pure hitters in the game right now. . . . I hope the Red Sox make sense of the decision they need to make with him . . . We've got to keep him. He's the face of the organization.") . . . In his second (or maybe even third) big league season, Devers was still younger than everyone on Boston's AA team. The dude is 25. Don't make me watch his prime years in another uniform.

Weber's three-inning save was the MFY's first at home against the Red Sox since Bob "Don't Call Me" Shirley got one on Saturday, September 13, 1986. That's really slicing things a bit too thin to be worth mentioning, but I bring it up to point out that was my first game at Yankee Stadium. I flew down from Burlington, Vermont, for the weekend and Laura had bought tickets (upper deck, third base side). I apparently discouraged the guy sitting behind me from keeping a scorecard when he saw me pull out a pen to write in the lineups. (Man, fuck those stubby pencils that aren't even sharp to begin with.) That was also the Rice-Goes-Into-The-Stands-To-Fight-For-His-Purloined-Cap game, which bit of nutzo entertainment I missed because I was out in the concourse waiting in a beer line. Tom Seaver started for the Red Sox and the MFY won 11-6.

After the game, Intimidated Scorer, his friend, and Laura and I went to some bar in the Village (? – my post-game memory is decidedly blurry) and we got drunk(er) and I stole two shot glasses that reminded me of test tubes. We called them our George Jetson shot glasses. And here they are . . . missing from wherever for nearly 47 years . . .

The Jetsons was the first series to be broadcast in colour on ABC. At the time (1962), only 3% of the general public owned colour sets. Don Messick, who did Rastro's roice, also did Scooby-Doo's voice, which makes sense now that I know.

Matt Carpenter drove in seven runs. He also had seven RBI in G1 on June 12. Only four Yankees have had multiple 7+ RBI games in the same season: 

Babe Ruth      (1929)
Lou Gehrig     (1930, 1934)
Joe DiMaggio   (1940)
Matt Carpenter (2022)

One of these things is not (even remotely) like the others.

In two of Saturday's four shutouts, the final score was 10-0 and each winning team had innings in which they scored 2, 3, and 5 runs. The losing teams each had five hits. Winning teams hit totals almost matched.

Phillies  - 000 203 050 - 10 15  0
Marlins   - 000 000 000 -  0  5  0
Tigers    - 000 000 000 -  0  5  0
Guardians - 350 200 00x - 10 13  0
In Toronto, the Blue Jays matched the Royals run for run and then added an extra for the win at home.
Royals - 001 200 000 2 - 5 9 0 Blue Jays - 001 200 000 3 - 6 12 0
Saturday's Post

July 15, 2022

July 15: All Five AL East Teams Over .500

After being swept in four games by the Rays, the Red Sox got up and beat the Yankees 5-4 in 11 innings at YSIII on Friday. A wild pitch - with two outs and an 0-2 count on the batter - brought in the go-ahead run.

All five American League East teams began Friday with records over .500! That includes the Orioles, who have finished the last three full seasons with 115, 108, and 110 losses. If Baltimore had that record in the AL Central, they'd be only three games out!
Yankees 62 27 Rays 49 40 Red Sox 47 43 Blue Jays 47 43 Orioles 45 44
It's the third season in the Wild Card Era (excluding 2020) that a division has had all of its teams above .500 on or after July 13:
2005 NL East (multiple days)
2012 AL East (July 15)
Most games with 10+ strikeouts AND 2+ RBI in single season (since RBI official, 1920)
1946 Hal Newhouser    3
1999 Kevin Millwood   3
2022 Shohei Ohtani    3
50+ strikeouts and one or zero earned runs allowed in a five-outing span (since ER official, 1913)
1997 Randy Johnson
2012 R.A. Dickey
2014 Clayton Kershaw
2015 Clayton Kershaw
2018 Chris Sale
2022 Shohei Ohtani

July 13, 2022

Royals Will Play Four Games In Toronto With A 16-Man Roster
(10 Unvaccinated Players Cannot Cross US-Canada Border)

The Kansas City Royals were forced to place more than one-third of their roster on the restricted list before a four-game series in Toronto. That's 10 players out of 26 (38%). The Royals, owners of the second-worst record in the AL and fourth-worst in MLB (34-53), will carry on with a 16-man roster against the Blue Jays on Thursday night.

Outfielders Andrew Benintendi, Michael A. Taylor, Kyle Isbel, infielder Whit Merrifield, catchers M.J. Melendez and Cam Gallagher, DH Hunter Dozier, and pitchers Brad Keller, Brady Singer, and Dylan Coleman were left behind -- because they refuse to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, which has killed well over one million Americans. Variants are currently infecting more than 100,000 Americans every day.

Benintendi currently has the 9th best OBP in MLB, and nine multi-hit games in his last 15 starts. Since June 27, he is batting .407 with an .939 OPS. But: "For me, it was a personal decision. And I'm going to leave it at that."

Ah, the cowardly response. Of course. If Benintendi is going to give the middle finger to his teammates  (and Royals fans) by refusing to help them win, he should at least have the guts to publicly say why and then accept responsbility for that decision like a mature adult.

July 11, 2022

But Other Than That, Mrs. Lincoln, Did You Enjoy The Play?

Here is a perfect item for my "mlb can't do anything right" tag.

Craig Calcaterra is writing about some MLB showcase event called "Home Run Derby X" that will be appearing in Seoul and Mexico City after debuting in London last weekend.
The idea: a snack-sized home run derby on a narrow, shorter field featuring some tweaked rules and a team-based competition. The teams are made up of some retired ballplayers such as Adrián González, Jonny Gomes, Geovany Soto, and Nick Swisher along with some softball players and amateurs. . . .

The idea, as far as I can tell, is for Home Run Derby X to be a nice little intro-to-baseball vehicle that could, quite conceivably, spur interest in the game among some folks who might not be into it or might not be too familiar with it. . . . As I wrote back in March, the idea actually sounded like a pretty good one.

On Saturday, however, Home Run Derby X debuted in London and, based on comments from many of the folks who went, the event was something of a disaster. The event apparently started an hour late and dragged on for something like nine hours. Visibility was poor with many attendees saying they could not see the field or the action unless they paid extra for a "VIP" section. The music pumped in was deafening. The concessions which were advertised — "ballpark food" — was reportedly very disappointing with far more limited selections than expected. The merchandise selection was paltry, with only items for the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, and Dodgers — the "teams" competing in the Derby — available. The lines were very, very long with most people saying they needed more concession stands. There is a heat wave going on in England right now and there the event was played in a shadeless, gravel-strewn lot. They gave out free water but it was warm or even hot.

Among the reactions from attendees: people calling the event "an absolute scam," a "total ripoff," and "definitely not worth the entry fee." Another said, "hundreds of people have left early, including me. Lack of food and drink outlets, and no shady areas or good vantage points unless you paid extra for VIP tickets. A huge whiff by MLB." Another said "no shade, no seating, VERY poor accessibility for those less mobile . . . giant queues" and who gave MLB a grade of "D-." Another said "viewing positions were really poor, my 7yr old couldn't see a thing . . .Held on a dusty piece of waste ground with usual overpriced crap food." Another said "if you were a wheelchair user, lord help you. Main level inaccessible, path from entrance utterly treacherous, inadequate viewing platform, no Blue Badge parking, and very clear the organisers knew how crap it was well in advance."

Two Comeback Wins Give Red Sox A Split In Yankees Series

Yankees - 000 012 000 2 - 5 10 0 Red Sox - 010 001 010 3 - 6 10 0
Yankees - 222 000 000 - 6 11 1 Red Sox - 021 031 40x - 11 11 1
In the finale, Boston trailed 0-4 and 2-6, before scoring nine unanswered runs and winning handily. Trevor Story went 2-for-4, with three runs scored and three RBI. Christian Vázquez and J.D. Martinez each scored two runs and knocked in a pair.

Vázquez (battng #2) became the first catcher in Red Sox history to bat leadoff or second and hit a double and a home run . . . which is something. And Trevor Story's three-run double was the first one hit by the Red Sox against the MFY since Brock Holt cleared the bases against Matt Tracy on April 11, 2015 (JoS report and subsequent schandenfreude).

Nick Pivetta got shelled (3.1-8-6-2-5, 90) and has allowed 13 runs in his last nine innings (starts against the Rays and Yankees). A quartet of bullpenners  Kaleb Ort, Hirokazu Sawamura, Matt Strahm, and Ryan Brasier  held the line with a combined line of 5.2-3-0-0-3, 77.

I confess to not recognizing "Kaleb Ort". It was his second major league game. His debut came last September when he faced three Mariners in Seattle.

On Saturday, the Red Sox rallied from 1-3 and 3-5 to walkoff in ten innings. Kutter Crawford had a good start (5-4-1-2-6, 88) and Alex Verdugo had three hits and three RBI.

The Red Sox are in Tampa Bay this week for four games against the Rays before playing the Yankees three times in the Bronx. Brayan Bello makes his second career start tonight.
American League Wild Card
BOS  47  39  +2.5
TBR  45  40  +1.0
TOR  45  42   ---
SEA  45  42   ---
BAL  43  44   2.0
CLE  41  42   2.0
CWS  41  43   2.5
What in the hell are the Orioles doing in there?

The Red Sox's run differential is +51, which is actually better than the Twins (+50), who lead the AL Central by 4.5 games. Geography is destiny.

July 9, 2022

The Wild Card Standings Are The Only Standings That Matter
After A 19-4 Run, The Red Sox Have Lost 8 Of 11

The Red Sox lost two of three games to the Rays and have lost the first two games of a four-game series against the Yankees.

I tuned in last night, but did not last three innings. New York scored four runs in the top of the first and even though Boston got two back in its half, they trailed 7-2 as they batted in the third and lost 12-5. It was the most runs the MFY had scored at Fenway since September 2, 2015 (13-8).

Sad to say, it's "Wild Card Or Bust" this season. Friday night's loss dropped the third-place Red Sox a whopping 16 GB the Yankees in the AL East. A Reverse-78 ain't happening in '22. New York (61-23) is on pace to win 118 games, which would break the AL record of 116 set by the 2001 Mariners. Boston does hold the second WC spot, 0.5 GB the Rays and 0.5 GB the Blue Jays.

The Red Sox have lost four straight games and 8 of their last 11. In those 11 games, they are 18-for-101 (.178) with RATS. They are 9-20 against AL East teams (with a -36 run diff.), which is super-shitty; even the Orioles are 15-19. Boston also has a losing record against teams under .500 (19-21).

Things have not been right for nearly two weeks:
June 1-26:      19-4 
June 27-July 8:  3-8
Jackie Bradley pitched the ninth inning. He allowed a leadoff single, which came around to score because he also walked three batters. Of his 30 pitches, only 13 were strikes. But he actually changed speeds well and struck out D.J. LeMahieu — swinging!

JBJ was the first Boston position player to pitch against the Yankees since Mike Carp, who walked five of the seven batters he faced on April 24, 2014.

Also: Rob Refsnyder went 4-for-5 and J.D. Martinez and Christian Vázquez each had three hits.

French novelist and journalist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr must have had NESN on his mind back in 1849, when he wrote: "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose":