The Cub fan in me was supposed to watch their game with Houston last night; instead I watched Mark Buehrle figuring I should watch to see how long he could keep getting batters out. Buehrle didn’t disappoint – cruising through five innings as if he’d never allow a batter to reach base again. His streak reached 45 batters when he got the first two out in the sixth inning and suddenly people were wondering if he’d throw a second straight perfect game, Then, Buehrle he got up 0 – 2 to Alexi Casilla and I was thinking, “grounder to short.” Instead, Casilla coaxed a walk, followed by Denard Span’s liner into center for a single. When Scott Podsednik misplayed Joe Mauer’s fly ball into a ground rule double, the magic was over. (They only give errors when you get a glove or body part on the ball, but never when you slow up or short arm the reach. It clearly should have been caught.)
Still – 45 straight! The record of 41 was first set in 1972 by Jim Barr of the Giants, and later tied by Bobby Jenks (Buehrle’s teammate) a couple of years ago. I was listening to SportsCenter this morning, and the comment about Barr and Jenks was “these guys were relievers…” as if it was easier for a reliever to get that many outs in a row. As I see it, they got it wrong on both counts. At that time in his career, Barr was a starter. He got the last 21 in a row in a complete game shutout of Pittsburgh on August 23, 1972, and then got the first twenty out before allowing a double to Bernie Carbo of the Cardinals in his second complete game shutout six days later… Barr threw a perfect game in the middle there – but it didn’t count. Later in his career, with a burned out arm, Barr was a reliever. As for what Jenks did – working one inning at a time, he didn’t allow a hit for over a month in the 9th inning protecting a lead. How is that any easier?
Buehrle got roughed up in the seventh and took the loss to Minnesota – which is what happens when you are coming off of perfect games. Too much magic needed to win two consecutive games when so much is spent on the first game…
On to Other News…
Chien-Ming Wang’s season is over – shoulder surgery is next. [ESPN]
Randy Johnson’s season, and possibly his career, may be over as he learned he has a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. Johnson laughed that his days of doing an instructional hitting video are over. The Big Unit hopes to return in September. [ESPN]
Houston pitchers are running into back problems… Roy Oswalt left last night’s start against the Cubs in the second inning and will have his strained back looked at. For Latroy Hawkins, he heads to the DL with shingles in his back. Yuck.
Oswalt’s injury (and, for that matter, Hawkins’) opens the door for prospect Bud Norris to join the Astros. Norris has great stats – big strikeout numbers, even in the PCL, and occasionally fights his control. Baseball America says he’s the #2 prospect in the Astros organization. If there is a “but…”, it’s his minor league W-L record, which stands at 12 – 25. You’d like for your top prospects to have winning records – even on bad minor league teams.
Ian Kinsler strained his left hammy running out a grounder and is day-to-day for now. This is a tough loss for the contending Texas Rangers.
The latest blockbuster trade? Boston sent Mark Kotsay to the White Sox for outfielder Brian Anderson. Kotsay used to be a good fielding outfielder, but his back has taken away that mobility. Anderson’s reputation is that of being a good outfielder, but at 27 he’s never had the stats to back that up and his bat reminds you of someone who might never get out of AA – heck, he had just been sent back to AAA. Kotsay is a good pinch hitter and can play first a little – so the White Sox would seem to have gotten some value out of the deal. [SI]
Welcome Back! A bunch of guys came off the DL in the last 24 hours… Houston reliever Doug Brocail, Blue Jays pitcher Scott Richmond, Cubs starter Ryan Dempster (looked rusty last night), Arizona catcher Chris Snyder, Padres catcher Henry Blanco and infielder David Eckstein…
Make it Work! Andy Marte was called up by Cleveland… Three years ago, he was a top prospect, but it hasn’t worked in more than 500 MLB at bats – hitting all of .211 with nine hommers. It’s time for Marte to make his mark in the majors or he’ll be an afterthought before long.