Caught up by Jason Wojciechowski Sunday, April 16, 2006, 11:57 PM
Last post of the day, as we get to the games of Saturday, 4/15.
Travis Hafner won the individual battle with Chris Shelton by going 2-4 with a double and his seventh homer of the year while Shelton went 0-4 with a double play. Fausto Carmona made his major-league debut for the Indians, going six innings and allowing just one run, getting the win in the process. Carmona's a 6'4" Dominican righty who spent a half season at AAA Buffalo last year. His numbers kind of strike you as the opposite of the Dominican pitcher stereotype: his strikeout rate is underwhelming (5.64), but his walk rate is very good (1.61), and his homer rate excellent (0.65). Even low-walk, low-homer righties need to strike people out sometimes, so the worry will be whether Carmona's strikeout rate will stay steady in the majors or whether it will drop to truly unacceptable levels.
For comparison, Oakland's own version of Carmona, Joe Blanton, struck out 8.33 men per nine innings in his minor-league career with very similar walk and homer numbers.
The Mariners and Red Sox had another pitchers' duel as Joel Pineiro, JJ Putz, and Eddie Guardado combined to shut out Boston. Tim Wakefield threw a complete game on the other side, with one of his three runs allowed coming unearned as a result of a passed ball by Josh Bard (who had two such on the night - he's clearly still working on that whole knuckleball thing). Wily Mo got another start in right for the Sox and came through with his third double of the year. He may outhit Bronson Arroyo yet.
Adam Stern hit leadoff for the Sox instead of Kevin Youkilis, and Boston paid the price: both players went 0-4, and Stern struck out three times. Don't mess with success.
Mark Buehrle survived a two-run homer by Toronto's Alex Rios to lead Chicago to a 4-2 win. Paul Konerko provided all the offense with a couple of two-run homers of his own, his third and fourth of the year.
Baltimore beat the Angels again, but Anaheimians have to be grateful that Bartolo Colon came out better: seven innings, three runs, one earned. Erik Bedard was just better, going eight innings with just two runs, which earned him his third win of the year.
Tim Salmon, whose subscription of AARP Magazine hasn't been cancelled yet, managed a triple, his first since 2003.
Minnesota beat the Yankees 6-5 by scoring two runs on a Justin Morneau single in the ninth. Because of the inning and the score, I don't have to mention who was pitching for New York. Jaret Wright was uninspiring for the Yankees, needing 81 pitches to get through three innings in which he gave up eight hits and four runs. Johan Santana continues to underwhelm in the early going, giving up four runs in 6 1/3 innings himself.
Johnny Damon hit his seventh double of the year, and Rondell White was charged with seven men left on base. White is still batting under .100 for the year.
Tampa Bay beat Kansas City again as Royals starter Mike Wood managed just four innings. He only gave up two runs on three hits, but he walked five and threw 78 pitches. I guess there's a reason Oakland was willing to trade him.
The Brewers beat the Mets, finally sending New York to its second loss of the year. Tomo Ohka had a nice game, allowing two runs in seven innings, and Matt Wise threw the final two innings uneventfully. Prince Fielder had three singles, Carlos Lee hit his fifth homer, Rickie Weeks made his fourth error, and Jose Reyes stole his fourth base.
St. Louis took revenge on Cincinnati's pitching, scoring nine runs en route to an easy win. Edwin Encarnacion made his sixth error of the year for the Reds, which is going to start annoying people pretty soon. On the other hand, if Adam Dunn keeps blasting homers (he hit his sixth of the year in this game), people may not notice. Albert Pujols hit his fifth homer of the year for the Cardinals, and Scott Spiezio added a pinch-hit bomb.
John Smoltz shut out San Diego, giving up four hits and two walks while striking out four. Jake Peavy had a very nice day himself, also giving up four hits and two walks while striking out double the hitters Smoltz did, but he also gave up a homer to Adam LaRoche and an RBI single to Jeff Francoeur. That's a tough loss for Peavy, but when you've got Smoltz going up against the kind of offense that carries Vinny Castilla, you've got to expect it to happen sometimes.
The Pirates beat the Cubs 2-1 behind a strong Zach Duke start, allowing one run in seven innings. Jerome Williams started for the Cubs and allowed only one earned run himself, but a Ronny Cedeno error allowed another run to score, so Williams took his first loss of the year. Beaneball Fave Craig Wilson tripled, walked, and stole a base in the game.
Colorado pushed Jon Lieber around for seven runs in 6 1/3 innings, sending him to his third loss of the year already. Matt Holliday doubled, tripled, and homered in the game for the Rockies, giving him five RBI. Pat Burrell hit his fifth homer of the year for Philadelphia.
Wandy Rodriguez gave up just two hits (no runs) to Arizona in seven innings, and Chad Qualls and Mike Gallo finished things off for the Astros, neither pitcher allowing a hit. Every D'Back pitcher, in contrast, gave up at least one run.
Eric Byrnes, happily enough, had half of Arizona's hits.
The Dodgers got back to .500 by beating the Giants 3-1. Jason Schmidt gave up just three hits, but seven walks in six innings will bite you in the ass almost every time. Omar Vizquel stole his fourth base of the year for the Giants.