September 5, 2007

Follow the flow

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball

A lot can happen over a long weekend; especially at this time of year and even more so if you can’t post due to internet problems. A wonderful little flow of big events happened over the past few days in major league baseball and if I had somehow been unable to post for another day or two, I would have been glad to write a “Six Degrees of Separation headline.

We begin on Friday night when the ever-so fading Twins nearly had a historical night. The young Scott Baker had a night to remember and made a lot of people scoot forward to edges of their seats. Going into the ninth inning against the sad sack Royals, Baker was holding down the fort and tossing a perfect game. Now, of course this post would be leading a lot differently if he had actually accomplished the feat, but even getting that close before finally giving up a walk is still fantastic. Even odder, the man who got the hit was Mike Sweeney, pinch hitting in the second game of the double header. Sweeney hadn’t had an June 17th and was activated off the DL in between the twin bill. So close.

The very next night, the Boston Red Sox received a similar pitching performance from an unlikely source. Rookie Clay Buchholz, in his second major league start, threw a no-hitter against the very bad Baltimore Orioles. After having some time to think about both Buchholz’s and Baker’s performances, it’s actually kind of hard to get fired up about them. These were two high-level prospects who stepped up and beat seriously crappy teams. The Royals are, well, the Royals and the Orioles are the same team that were dominated by a Blue Jays double-A farm hand in his first start (Jesse Litsch). If one of those kids could stun a contender, then I would give some serious kudos.

Speaking of the Red Sox and beating crappy teams, former Boston ace Pedro Martinez made his first start since undergoing major shoulder surgery and did a damn good job in his come-back. Pedro picked up the win in a 10-4 game against the Reds but more importantly became the 15th pitcher in history to reach the 3,000 strikeout mark. Pedro should be hall of fame bound when his career wraps up and these numbers are really helping pave his way into Cooperstown.

Speaking of milestones, one that was off of my radar at least occured last night. Marlins superstar (yes, I would consider him one) Miguel Cabrera became the third youngest player to drive in 500 RBIs with a run-scoring against the Nationals. The two men ahead of him, Mel Ott and Ted Williams, had some stunning careers themselves so this milestone bodes quite well for Miggy C. It was Cabrera’s 96th RBI of the season and now, should he tally four more, he’ll also become the third-youngest player with four consecutive 100 RBI seasons. Ott and Williams are the others in that category as well. Too bad the lost the game.

Now, the challenge will be to see if some in baseball can connect to Cabrera’s feat last night; but I might have to get creative with that part.

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