What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? The riddle that has caused philosophical and scientific debate for thousands of years was solved once and for all last night in Tampa Bay when the Boston Red Sox came to town to face James Shields and the Rays. The answer: Shields shuts out Sox 4-0.

Coming into last night, Boston had won nine games in a row, sweeping three straight series against the Oakland A’s, New York Yankees and of course the Toronto Blue Jays, in which they outscored their opponents by a total of 83-36. Meanwhile, Shields entered last night’s ballgame with the fourth lowest ERA, the fourth highest strikeouts per nine innings and tied for the most complete games and shutouts in the American League.

Shields emerged the victor, accumulating a game score of 79 while pitching nine innings of shut out baseball, allowing five hits and walking three batters. His fourth complete game and third shutout of the season means that he has more of both categories than over half the teams in baseball. In fact, only three teams other than his own have as many or more shutouts.

Surprisingly, Shields didn’t even have the highest game score of the night. That honour belonged to Tigers starter Justin Verlander whose no hit bid against the Cleveland Indians in front of a Detroit crowd lasted into the eighth inning when Orlando Cabrera hit a line drive single to center field to break it up. Verlander accumulated a game score of 94, striking out 12 batters, allowing only two hits and walking one as the Tigers shut out the rapidly fading Indians 4-0.

These weren’t the only 4-0 complete game shutout wins in baseball last night as Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim starter Jered Weaver accumulated a game score of 82 while allowing five hits and only a single walk en route to shutting down the Seattle Mariners by that same score.

Of the fourteen games that were played last night, half finished with a team scoring four runs. Cue the X-Files theme music.

And The Rest

I seem to remember the Chicago White Sox doing this in the 1993 ALCS, but hadn’t really heard of it since: the Atlanta Braves were purposely watering down their dirt infield to slow down Jose Reyes and the New York Mets. Funny enough, the Braves and Mets have both been caught stealing eighteen times this season. However, Atlanta has only nineteen stolen bases while New York has sixty four.

All of these complaints about Wrigley Field makes me wonder why more people don’t say something about the goddamn hole in the wall that is Fenway Park.

Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche will have season ending shoulder surgery.

Maybe Nats reliever Chris Ray could help him drown his sorrows.

Mitch Williams says you should use common sense while trying to throw a round object at another man.

The New York Yankees are so desperate for pitching help that they signed a Minor Leaguer in the Phillies system to start this week.

Is the new Houston Astros owner the most controversial in baseball?

A modest proposal on replay from Tom Tango.

Jose Bautista may be the first player to reach three million votes this year, but the real news is that Adrian Gonzalez has passed Mark Teixeira in balloting. Meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter are watching their leads slip away to Adrian Beltre and Asdrubal Cabrera, respectively.

Speaking of Jeter, the Yankees shortstops pursuit of 3,000 hits is officially stalled, as the Captain has been placed on the Disabled List with a calf strain.

Is Dillon Gee for real?

Baseball players as volcanoes. Why not?

Big League Stew shows us why Brandon Crawford is called the Professor. Hint: It’s not because of his math skills.

Baltimore Orioles pitching coach Mark Connor has resigned for personal reasons.

Former Barry Bonds trainer Greg Anderson has been barred from coaching his son’s baseball team because of his history with steroids. This makes total sense because anyone who has ever touched performance enhancing drugs is an absolute monster who shouldn’t be near children.

Finally, the Buck Showalter Showalter will not talk about his nickname.

Comments (14)

  1. When was the last time you were at Fenway. It was a total trash heap a decade ago but I was there last summer and its in much better shape now. Doesn’t even smell like piss anymore!

  2. lost in the shuffle in the Ana-Sea game is Doug Fister. 4 er in the 1st on 42 pitches, but was downright nasty after that

  3. Buck Martinez’s favourite pitcher.

    Good point on Fenway.

  4. I’m starting to get a feeling that things like Game Score and FIP put too much emphasis on strikeouts. Yes, strikeouts are nice, and you can’t get a bloop hit on a strikeout, but when you give up many hits, it doesn’t matter if you struck out 27. A strikeout is still just one out. I say this in thinking of Brandon Morrow and his excellent FIP.

  5. Unrelated, but Sportsnet’s promo for tonight’s Ricky Romero start opens with him throwing a pickoff. Really?

  6. Like Some Dude said, the difference between Wrigley and Fenway is the amount of improvement the latter has received over the last couple of years. They figured out renovating the concourse and washrooms doesn’t take anything away from the ambiance of the park – it helps! I really liked going to both stadiums, but if you venture out of your seat at Wrigley for whatever reason, you’ll lose that “happy-shiny-tradition-soaked-I’m-so-happy” feeling real quick. And the personel in Chicago is not terribly nice, whereas they are quite friendly in Boston (I’m still surprised about that – I wasn’t expecting that at all).

  7. Fenway is still 100 times better than the fucking Skydome, though.

  8. How come no mention of Tesh-era doing his AJ Purrzynski imitation with the fake hit by pitch on the foot from last night. Maxim LaPierre marvels at Tesh’s acting skills.

  9. The reason it emphasizes strike out is that it’s absolutely the pitcher doing it. And that’s what we want to use stats for, to measure and predict what a pitcher actually does. There’s way too much dependency on luck and fielding with hits other than home runs, and a pitcher has no control over where his pitches are being hit to. It’s not perfect, but FIP is by far the best predictor and game score is a nice way of looking at how well a pitcher dominated the game.

  10. Chicks dig the pick off Dustin.

  11. Because you can never get enough links in a Linkin’ Ballpark column, how about one more:


    The best article I’ve seen yet on Jose Bautista by one of the best baseball writers out there: Jeff Passan. Fantastic stuff.

  12. The staff at Fenway are not friendly at all, and I wouldn’t expect it any other way. It has a hell of a lot more character than the Rogers Centre, but it is undeniably a shit hole.

  13. Fister? I hardly know ‘er!

    I’ll show myself out.

  14. I’m not saying strikeouts AREN’T important. I’m just saying some pitchers are strikeout or get hit hard pitchers (See Morrow, Brandon recent vintage). I’m not saying ERA is better than FIP. I don’t get FIP fully. I’m just saying that saying Morrow’s FIP is proof he’s pitching better than his other stats indicate isn’t fully indicative, and FIP needs other stats as much as ERA does.

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