Thursday, April 23, 2009

Keeping Things Interesting: April 23, 2009

Let's try to keep this one short since I'm late at putting it together...

Yesterday's Most Interesting
Dan Haren had to know going into the game yesterday that he was going to need keep the Rockies off the board if he had a chance of getting the win. So that's what he did for seven innings, striking out 9. But when he sat down in the dugout after finishing the top of the seventh, he was still not assured of anything, since the Diamondbacks had yet to score themselves. That soon changed, though, as the Dbacks finally got to Jorge De La Rosa. With two runs that inning, Arizona was able to trot out a couple of relievers and finally give Dan Haren his first win of the year. Through four starts, Haren has 26 Ks in 26 IP, a 0.88 WHIP, and a 1.38 ERA. He is also 1-3.

More From Yesterday
There were some great games yesterday. Somehow Pittsburgh completed the sweep of the Marlins. It makes you wonder if the same kind of stories will be written about the Pirates as were being written about the Marlins just last week. Ah, the beauty of the first weeks of April. In San Francisco, Barry Zito faced down Chris Young and it became an old-fashioned pitching duel. Both Zito and Young went 7-strong, but there wasn't a run scored in the game until the 10th inning, when Bengie Molina hit a pinch-hit ground-rule double to win the game, 1-0. There were a few more shutouts, as the Reds beat the Cubs 3-0, the Braves beat the Nationals 1-0 (on a bases loaded walk in the 9th), and the Royals beat the Indians 2-0. The Yankees-A's and Tigers-Angels games did their best to cancel that out, though, with final scores of 9-7 (in 14) and 12-10.

Today's Games
There are only a few games on the schedule today. The Astros will be trying for the sweep of the Dodgers in Houston while the Royals will look to do the same against the Indians in Cleveland. Kevin Millwood takes his sparkling (and surprising) 1.17 ERA into Toronto as Texas tries to sneak out a series victory. Finally, the Brewers will trot out Dave Bush to face Philly's Cole Hamels as they try to win their first series of the year.

Today's Most Interesting
The most interesting game of the day, though, is the Tampa Bay Rays at the Seattle Mariners. In the rubber match of the series between "last year's Rays" and the team that some people are calling "this year's Rays", we have a great pitching matchup. Tampa's James Shields will face Seattle's Felix Hernandez in the late afternoon game. A couple of years ago, I was in Seattle for a weekend and made plans to see the Mariners play. I was a little disappointed to learn that Tampa was in town that weekend (they were still a bad team at the time) and that Scott Kazmir would be pitching the night before I would be at the ballpark. But Felix Hernandez was pitching for the M's that night, and it turns out that James Shields was pitching for the Rays. It turned out to be a good game. Seattle ended up winning the game on a walk-off, bases-loaded sacrifice fly, 2-1. Hernandez struck out 8 in 7.2 and Shields struck out 5 in 8. As I said, good game, and I'm sure it will be similar today.

(Okay, so maybe it wasn't so short...)

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