Return of the Bear

Preacher Roe, the spitballing son of a country doctor from Ash Flat, Arkansas, once got knocked out of a game early. When queried by the press afterward, the Preacher said, “sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you.”

The phrase has been softened over the years, with “gets” often substituted for “eats,” but the veracity of Preacher’s words rings true today. I’m sure it’s how Carlos Carrasco felt after facing the Detroit Tigers for the second time in September.

Carrasco had an august August, mowing down all in his path, winning four games, giving up only three runs, etc. On September 2, he had a Houdini-like escape from the Tigers’ 21st-century Murderers’ Row, surrendering 10 hits to a lineup laden with his fellow Venezuelans but also striking out 10 Tigers. After 5 innings, he exited with no decision, and must have felt relieved.

Friday night, the proverbial Bear (in the guise of a Tiger) got Carlos. Truth be told, he gave up only 4 runs in 7.1 innings, but he was up against a bigger, stronger bear named David Price, who gave up only one. J.D. Martinez, who’s not from Venezuela but sharpened his batting eye there last winter, tagged Carlos for a two-run homer. Voila, in one outing he’d given up more earned runs than he had in the past month.

Baseball’ll make an Honest Injun (or Indian) out of you. Carlos, the Bear gotcha this time.

And even as we root for the Venezuelans to win each and every game, the cards don’t always fall this way. Henderson Alvarez pitched a wonderful 7 innings of 1-run ball against the Phillies on Friday, but left with the game tied. Miami lost in 10 innings. Henderson continued a fine, fine season, however, lowering his ERA to 2.81. His return from injury was not spotless: he ‘scattered’ 7 hits across those seven frames and also hit two batters; sometimes it’s good luck to face a bad team. Henderson’s been on the shelf briefly twice this season, and his 10-6 record could be even better. But certainly it’s a breakout season for the Valencia righty–his first winning season at age 24, to boot.

As we sign off for today, hats off to another 24-year-old star, Jose Altuve. The mite-y second baseman from Maracay got his 200th hit this week against Seattle. That’s a milestone that any MLB hitter would be proud of, and he’s got two weeks to add to his total.  The last Venezuelan to do it? Also from Maracay, the fabulous Miguel Cabrera had 205 hits in 2012.


About vzbaseball

Writer, Musician, Baseball Fanatic. Lonely Planet, Fodor's, scouring the nation and globe for stories. Big fish, small pond.
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