Hello fans and welcome back to the “second half.” Honestly, the teams play more than 90 games before the All-Star game, so it’s not exactly the halfway point. But I digress from the subject at hand: the first weekend of official baseball after the four-day break, which I suppose was welcomed by nearly everyone, bloggers included.
One guy who did NOT want a break was Garrett Richards of the California Angels (I’m going to take a sabbatical from calling a team that’s not even *near* the coast the “Los Angeles” Angels; New York Jets/Giants fans take note!). Richards was ticked off that he didn’t get selected for the All-Star game in the Great White North and apparently is using it to fuel his second half.
The anger worked against King Felix Hernandez on Saturday night; while Hernandez tossed seven innings of one-run ball with nine strikeouts, Richards went eight. Of course, neither one got the victory because the game went 12 innings and hey, folks, this is not 1963 and that was not Spahn and Marichal out there going mano-a-mano. (Which by the way, means “hand-to-hand” and not “man-to-man” in case you were wondering all these years.)
And who played a key role in the Mariners’ two-run 12th inning? None other than ageless Endy Chavez of Valencia, who dropped down a bunt single and stole second, two critical plays in pushing across the second run. That turned out to be huge when Seattle gave one back in the bottom of the frame on David Freese’s home run.
While the King’s ERA dropped still further and he was being compared to historical baseballers like Chief Bender (King, meet Chief), it was touching to hear Felix say he was disappointed only in that he could not get the win he promised to his daughter Mia, who spent the day–her birthday– in Anaheim’s Disneyland. Way to prioritize, papa.
For two of the other “Big Three” VZ pitchers, the news was even less happy than Felix’s broken promise to Mia. Anibal Sanchez got roughed up a bit by the Indians in an inter-divisional showdown on Friday night to drop to 6-4 (3.22 ERA). Anibal was great through 6 innings but ran out of gas, and the reliever with the longest name in baseball, Al Albuquerque, couldn’t seal the deal as Cleveland’s 7-run 7th frame was capped by an Asdrubal Cabrera home run.
And across the nation, editors grasped for clever headlines as Henderson Alvarez escaped serious injury after being struck by a Joe Panik ground ball in the third inning in San Francisco. Unluckily, the bruised Alvarez (6-5, 2.64) exited early and took the loss against the West-leading Giants.
Tonight, Monday, the big lefty from Los Llanos (Venezuela’s abundant southern marshlands) Franklin Morales, looks to keep his recent good form going for the Rockies in an oxygen-starved start against Doug Fister and the Nationals at Coors Field. Franklin is 5-4 in 13 starts for the Rockies in 2014, but with an almost mile-high 5.26 ERA.