The Seattle Mariners flailed at balls high and low, watched called third strikes and checked their swings too late against CC Sabathia...Sabathia did not allow a baserunner until Brendan Ryan(notes) singled with one out in the seventh inning in beating Seattle for the seventh consecutive start. He struck out a career-high 14 of the 25 batters he faced, seven in a row at one point.
Sabathia was sick nasty awesome, but the Mariners don't look like a major league ballclub right now. Their hitters are truly brutal.
What else happened on Ace Day?
Justin Verlander's fastball was still popping as he finished up the eighth inning...Verlander (14-5), allowed four runs and seven hits in eight innings, including two-run homers to Adam Dunn in the first and Paul Konerko in the sixth. Verlander, who threw 125 pitches, came back to strike out Konerko and Dunn with a runner on in the eighth.
"If your horse says he's OK, you leave him in there. That's just the way it is," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said.
Somewhere out there, Grady Little nods knowingly.
Jered Weaver again was masterful while youngsters Mark Trumbo and Jordan Walden bounced back from adversity for the Los Angeles Angels...
Weaver gave up one run over seven innings -- a home run by Matt LaPorta in the seventh -- and lowered his ERA to 1.79, best in the majors. In going 8-0 in 12 starts since May 23, he has a 1.27 ERA over 92 1/3 innings.
Somewhere out there, Jeff Weaver is huffing paint.
Clayton Kershaw labored through 6 2/3 innings, throwing a career-high 125 pitches without retiring the side in order at any point in the game. Yet he was able to make the right pitches at the right time and grind out another impressive victory..."I think pitching with guys on base and battling is more fatiguing than going 1-2-3 and throwing 150 pitches," Kershaw said.
Somewhere out there, Tim McCarver can't quite work out that logic.
Oh, also, there was pretty much the worst call of all time at the end of the 19 inning Braves/Pirates marathon. Yeesh.
Happy Birthday to:
Shea Hillenbrand: In the era of Carl Everett, Carlos Zambrano, and Milton Bradley, Shea Hillenbrand is a really underrated member of the crazy train. He had a couple of inexplicable All-Star team selections. His "similar batters" on Baseball Reference include the great Marty Cordova, Todd Hollandsworth and Ben Grieve, that great triumvirate of Rookies of the Year who were never heard from again. He started out promisingly enough for the Sox, but he didn't quite understand that there was a strike zone and he thought defense was some sort of conceptual performance art. So beloved nerd Theo Epstein signed Bill Mueller, prompting Shea to allegedly challenge his GM, "Trade me, [archaic term for a bundle of sticks.]" A couple of years later, after bouncing around to Toronto, he publicly called out his team for not playing him every day. Oh, also, they didn't congratulate him enough on adopting a child. This offense was enough to get into fisticuffs with Manager John Gibbons. (Though to be fair, taking 90 extra seconds in the hot tub is enough to get clocked by Gibbons.) Next stop was the California Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, where he thoughtfully remarked, "If I'm not going to play here, give me enough respect to trade me or get rid of me." They obliged. He didn't last in MLB much longer, and now apparently owns a bunch of dogs. Last week he told the IRS, "Audit me, dicknose," and told his doctor, "If you can't finish this check-up in less than five minutes, at least have the decency to kill me."
Alex Emmanuel Rodriguez: Now from a guy who thinks he's A-Rod to a guy who is A-Rod. He's got the homers, the Yankeeness, the ego, the girlfriends, the HGH, and everything else you already know going on. However, I know where he had his 5th birthday party. I work for a park conservancy here in NYC, and at one point last year, I met with A-Rod's older half brother. Very nice guy, even if he did look EXACTLY like a short, fat A-Rod. (I call him "Bridge Troll A-Rod.") But amongst other things, I learned that A-Rod had his 5th birthday party at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. One wold assume he rocked the hell out of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, although to be fair his blindfold was a little loose.
Enrique Wilson: Very solid bench player for the Indians and Yankees. Solid fielder in multiple positions, decent contact, some pop. We Yankees fans remember him primarily for three things.
Thing the first: For some reason, dude just owned Pedro Martinez. When Pedro was pitching, it wasn't rare for Jeter or Soriano to sit so that Enrique could get his reps.
Thing the second: Speaking of Red Sox Hall of Famers, Enrique was partying it up with Manny Ramirez at a hotel while Manny was sitting out with a "sore throat." An underrated incident in Manny being Manny lore.
Thing the third: A jealous Zeus temporarily stole Mariano Rivera's power for an inning in November, 2001. When the Yankees lost that World Series and there was no victory parade to attend, Enrique canceled his original flight reservation and flew home to the D.R. a few days early. That original flight, American Airlines 587, crashed into Belle Harbor, Queens shortly after takeoff, killing all on board (including my next-door neighbors). A close call.
On that somber note, what do you want to talk about today? That call last night, which is up there with Gallaraga and Knoblauch's phantom tag as the worst in recent memory? Lincecum day? Something else? Play nice.