Every Thursday, the Getting Blanked crew makes a prop bet of sorts with one another having something to do with baseball games over the weekend. Of the three competitors, whoever wins the prop bet is able to dole out a punishment on the colleague of their choice. This week’s punishment was watching and recapping Monday night’s San Diego Padres and Houston Astros game. We call this #PropHate.

The Narrative

I imagine a late June game between the Houston Astros and San Diego Padres to be something like an off Broadway play that everyone is aware of, but still wouldn’t bother going to see. It’s not wholly or completely unbelievable to learn that the production was entertaining, but it’s an entertainment that you’re willing to pass up given the likelihood that it stars no one you’ve heard of and will take longer to complete than you’d prefer.

As such, let’s look at last night’s game as though it was a play.

Dramatis Personae

Brian Bixler, Houston Astros, 2B: A young middle infielder attempting to make a name for himself as lead off hitter.

Wandy Rodriguez, Houston Astros, SP: A pitcher who is likely to be traded to another team, and is desperate to impress potential scouts watching him perform.

Ross Ohlendorf, San Diego Padres, SP: An enemy to well pitched games who sweats profusely in hot weather.

Jason Castro, Houston Astros, C: An underrated young player who receives little attention playing in Houston.

Carlos Quentin, San Diego Padres, OF: Another potential trade target and a foil to Rodriguez. He is likely the best player in the evening’s game.

Huston Street, San Diego Padres, CP: A veteran reliever who is single handedly raising his stock by  his own initiative.

Prologue

Two teams, both alike in dignity,
In hot Houston, where we lay our scene,
From expansion grudge break to new mutiny,
Where too much sweat makes multiple jerseys unclean.

From forth the rosters of these two foes
Only a pair of recognizable players give their season life;
As trade targets to answer other teams’ woes
So that improvement might triumph over present strife.

Act I

Brian Bixler leads off the bottom of the first inning with a solo home run on the second pitch from starter Ross Ohlendorf. This unexpected display of power from the Astros second baseman acts as foreshadowing for the tremendous amount of shitty pitching to come.

Act II

The Astros go on to add balance to the shitty pitching by leaving 13 men on base, compared to just four left by the Padres. Houston has the bases loaded in the second, third and fourth innings, yet only manages to get a single run out of it. Meanwhile, San Diego capitalizes on every chance it gets until Wandy Rodriguez gets comfortable on the mound and shuts the Padres down from the fourth to seventh inning, at which time the teams find themselves in a 5-5 tie.

Act III

After Rodriguez exits the game, the Padres bats get to reliever Fernando Rodriguez, who is a real Major League Baseball player. He allows two runs on a Jesus Guzman home run that scores Cameron Maybin. The game appears all but over for the Astros until a Jason Castro home run with two out in the eighth inning ties the game. Then, in extra innings, Chase Headley takes a walk from Brandon Lyon, steals second base, and then scores on a Carlos Quentin double with one out in the tenth inning.

Act IV

Padres closer Huston Street then comes into the game to slay the remaining hopes of the Astros in the bottom half of the inning and ensure victory for San Diego.

Act V

At the conclusion of the game, Houston finds itself a most likely insurmountable 10.5 games back of the National League Central Division leading Cincinnati Reds, and the Padres are in a similar boat in their National League West Division, 16 games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Epilogue

A glooming peace this morning with it brings;
The sun for sorrow will not show his head.
Go hence to have more said of these sad things,
Some shall be pardoned, and some punished,
For never was pitching more likened to shit
Than when Quentin got his game winning hit.

Climax And Denoument


Source: FanGraphs
The Most Important Play Of The Game

Jesus Guzman’s eighth inning home run increased his team’s probability of winning more than any other offensive play from the Padres, even what came to be the game winning double in the tenth inning. Clutch, much?

The Shamsky Award

Named after Art Shamsky, who single handedly increased the Cincinnati Reds’ chances of winning by 150.3% in a losing effort during a game in 1966, The Shamsky Award is given to the player on the losing team who contributes the most to them winning.

The talented Jason Castro was last night’s Shamsky winner, going 2 for 3 with two walks and two extra base hits in a losing effort. He increased his team’s win probability added by 43% with his offense.

Stage Notes

Cameron Maybin struck out swinging on a curve ball from Wandy Rodriguez to end the second inning. The San Diego Padres broadcast crew brought this fact up three times throughout the game, and each time they referred to Maybin having trouble with Rodriguez’s deuce.

Maybin’s pitiful at bat went like this:

  1. Foul ball.
  2. Foul ball.
  3. Taken ball.
  4. Swing and a miss.

The curve ball has several different different nicknames: bender, hook, Uncle Charlie, yellow hammer, yakker and public enemy. Is it really necessary to use a term shared with feces?

The Interesting Thing You Probably Didn’t Know

On December 28, 1994, the San Diego Padres traded Derek Bell, Doug Brocail, Ricky Gutierrez, Pedro Martinez, Phil Plantier and Craig Shipley to the Houston Astros for a player to be named later, Ken Caminiti, Andujar Cedeno, Steve Finley, Roberto Petagine and Brian Williams. A little more than four months later, the Astros completed the trade by sending Sean Fesh to San Diego. It was a twelve player deal between two teams.

Two years later, Brocail, the current Astros pitching coach, was traded as part of a nine player swap between the Astros and the Detroit Tigers. After four years with the Tigers, he was again traded, this time as part of a six player swap that brought him back to Houston.

Phil Plantier, who was traded with Brocail in the twelve player deal is currently the Padres hitting coach. So, two men involved with the massive trade were present at last night’s game.

The Misleading Photograph Of The Game

If you were to look at this picture, you’d most likely assume that San Diego Padres outfielder Chris Denorfia made a valiant attempt on Brian Bixler’s lead off home run for the Astros.

Unfortunately, this picture literally only shows half the story. The reality of the situation is that Denorfia’s glove and the home run ball were farther apart than Democrats and Republicans are further apart.

Stray Observations

Brian Bixler has hit two home runs so far this season, both came in the first innings of games that I watched on purpose.

The Padres used three shortstops in last night’s game: Everth Cabrera, Andy Parrino and Alexi Amarista. Coming into the game, I had heard of one of those guys before. The two I knew nothing about made two incredible plays that might have saved the game for San Diego. Parrino made a great diving catch on a Jed Lowrie line drive that looked like it was going to fall into left field in the seventh inning. Two innings later, Amarista dove to get to a Jordan Schafer grounder that should’ve been a lead off single.

Despite the terrible pitching, I rather enjoyed last night’s back and forth battle.

Comments (12)

  1. Haha, Parkes, this is your best PropHate writeup yet. I’m starting to feel bad for you though. Do you never win at PropHate? Does Drew ever lose?

  2. This is damned poetic. May you never win at PropHate again, Parkes.

  3. Hilarious! You’re killing it today parkes

  4. This is simply the best thing ever.

  5. Fuck yes. This was the best thing I read today.

  6. Reminds me of Wayne and Shuster’s Shakespearian Baseball
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhQ9aeCE8Oo

  7. Great Post. I think we can all agree that baseball is a seris of indivdual matchups with the sole objective of getting more runners safely past home plate then the other team. It really is a microcosim of life. Gotta say Dustin Parkes fine job sir.

  8. Bravo! Bravo! BRAVO!

    [clap, clap, clap, clap]

  9. Baseball writing in the pantheon of Roger Kahn, George F. Will and Jose Canseco.

  10. Its a shame you actually have to watch these games, but your write ups have me reading each and every week, good stuff

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