The Atlanta Braves are currently navigating through a logjam at catcher. Evan Gattis swatted his way into an every day gig through the first month of the season, and his .540 slugging percentage has to play. Gattis is making his third straight start in left field today with Gerald Laird handling the catching duties and Brian McCann taking a rest.
The 26-year old demonstrated his throwing prowess in the second inning of today’s game versus the Reds.
Gattis played 74 games in the outfield through various stops in the minors, so we shouldn’t be all that surprised that he can toss a strike from shallow left. Nevertheless, El Oso Blanco added a short chapter to his own legend this afternoon by nailing Brandon Phillips at home to complete a double play.
It can be difficult to watch the decline of once great athletes. I often recall what it was like to witness the transformation of Mario Lemieux from the most dominant hockey player in the world into a player who was, as Swedish television analyst Curre Lundmark described during the 2002 Olympics, “skating like an old tractor”. Those magnificent hands and flawless decision making remained, but he was just a giant body trudging around the ice.
Unlike Lemieux, Roy Halladay‘s career was never interrupted by premature retirement, or a foray into a role of player-owner. For those who watched Lemieux play and appreciated his greatness, we knew what life was like without him before it became permanent. A demotion to remake himself early in his career aside, Roy Halladay was among the most dominant pitchers in baseball for the bulk of his 16-year career. So it stings like so much salt in a wound that Halladay has hit the disabled list with what appears to be a severe shoulder issue at the age of 35. There will be no masquerading as a point-per-game player while harvesting some of the game’s future stars, so to speak.
Instead, we will point to a massacre at the hands of the lowly Miami Marlins as a potential end until we’re given reason to believe otherwise.
There’s currently an air of retrospection with a smattering of prognostication milling about in the baseball blogosphere when it comes to Roy Halladay. We’ve gathered some samples from various sites to help us manage expectations moving forward and appreciate the career of Roy Halladay.
The New York Rangers have themselves a good luck charm of sorts in the New York Mets’ Matt Harvey. The Rangers have not lost at home in games which Harvey has attended. The 24-year old stud was in attendance for the Rangers’ 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals, the team’s first win of the 2013 playoffs. Lucky for the Rangers that the Mets had Monday off.
So what now for the Rangers? The Mets are reportedly willing to allow Harvey to skip their Tuesday night contest versus the Chicago White Sox… or are they?
Matt Harvey has Mets permission to skip game tomorrow and be at MSG to root on Rangers. Matt has not seen Rangers lose at home. 6-0.
The Detroit Tigers really beat up on the Houston Astros over the course of their four game set beginning on Thursday and wrapping up on Sunday. The Tigers scored a total of 37 runs, while the Astros plated eight. The final score of Saturday’s game was 17-2. Ouch.
Torii Hunter took advantage of the Astros’ woefulness in the second inning of that game by stealing second base while no one paid him any attention at first. Lucas Harrell got caught napping on this one, but Hunter’s theft mattered little as Miguel Cabrera homered to left field shortly after the sly swipe of second.
The only blemish on the Chicago Cubs’ side of the May 6th, 1998 boxscore of game versus the Houston Astros was a infield single off the bat of Ricky Gutierrez. Although Kerry Wood threw a one-hitter against the Astros that afternoon, the amount of hits surrendered, or lack thereof, was secondary to number of batters rung up by the 21-year old right-hander. Kerry Wood tied a Major League record with 20 strikeouts in a 9-inning game that day, and it still stands as one of the most dominant pitching performances of the modern era.
Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeout game took place 15 years ago today. If you watched the iconic performance live, then this serves as your weekly dose of “hey, you’re getting old”. Wood threw 122 pitches to a Houston Astros lineup that featured the likes of Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Moises Alou, and pre-worthless Derek Bell. This was an Astros team that won 102 games. This was not a case of < insert elite pitcher of the day > tuning the 2013 Houston Astros.
Miami Marlins’ 20-year old phenom Jose Fernandez has made just six Major League starts, but he’s establishing himself as a worthy crush object. Fernandez pitched seven scoreless innings versus the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday night, striking out nine while surrendering just one hit and one walk. He might be pretty good at throwing the baseball, and yes, I will mention again that he’s just 20.
As you can see in the .gif above, Fernandez made Chase Utley look like Ryan Howard with a nasty curveball. Ryan Howard did a pretty good job of looking like Ryan Howard on Saturday, too, as he struck out three times in as many at-bats against Fernandez. Consider this an announcement of further Jose Ferandez themed posts throughout the summer of 2013 and beyond.