Nine to Know for April 19

This is what you should be talking about, reading, hearing, and writing about in baseball today.

  1. If you thought last night’s Giants/Phillies matchup was brilliant (and it was), treat yourself to Jim Kaplan‘s The Greatest Game Ever Pitched: Juan Marichal, Warren Spahn, and the Pitching Duel of the Century and re-live the Marichal and Spahn matchup of July 2, 1963 when each went the distance and threw over 200 pitches over 16 innings before Willie Mays ended the classic with a walkoff homer. Last night, also in San Francisco, the Phils’ Cliff Lee pitched 10 scoreless innings and the Giants’ Matt Cain went nine scoreless and each ended with a no-decision as it took a Melky Cabrera 11th inning walkoff single to give the Giants a 1-0 win. The game lasted just 2 hours, 27 minutes.
  2. JM to the third power for the Minnesota Twins last night as they defeated the Yankees, 6-5.  Jason Marquis won his Minnesota debut, Joe Mauer had an RBI double, and Justin Morneau hit two very large homers.
  3. The Rays went deep four times against the Jays including a Luke Scott grand slam as David Price defeated Brandon Morrow, 12-2. Jays fans did have a highlight as  44-year-old Omar Vizquel became the oldest player in Blue Jays history to record a base hit with a pinch single. I bet Jaime Moyer calls Vizquel “kid.”
  4. The news wasn’t all bad for the Blue Jays front office last night as they had to be pleased with what happened in Manchester, NH last night as their Double A Fisher Cats defeated Binghamton Mets 2-0. It was a match-up between two top prospect pitchers, Toronto’s first-round draft pick of 2010, Deck McGuire for the Cats and righty Zack Wheeler for the Mets.  McGuire tossed 6.2 innings of one-hit, shutout ball and Wheeler, who the Mets got from the Giants in the Carlos Beltran deal, went six innings gave up one run and whiffed eight. While the Jays should be encouraged by McGuire, there should be concern for Brett Cecil who is 0-2 with a  6.94 ERA.
  5. Two touchdowns beat two field goals in football and baseball as proved yesterday afternoon in the Braves 14-6 win over the Mets. Mets’ starter R.A. Dickey  Dickey allowed eight runs and eight hits in 4.1 innings ending his streak of 14 straight quality starts. David Wright had three RBI, tying Darryl Strawberry for the Mets’ career record at 733.
  6. In the 10th inning last night in Milwaukee, Ryan Braun hit a shallow fly ball to center field, too short for most base runners to score from third, but Nyjer Morgan tagged up and took off for home despite the stop sign from the third base coach and was called safe on a play at the plate (he looked out) but the run counted and the Brewers had their second straight walkoff win over the Dodgers, 3-2.
  7. The Brewers are now 6-6, so are the Marlins, Rockies, Giants, Yankees, and Rays. That’s 20 per cent of the teams and add the Tribe at 5-5 and you have almost a quarter of all the teams at .500.
  8. You know who’s not at .500? Either of Theo Epstein‘s teams, that’s who. The Cubs (3-9) were crushed by the Marlins, 9-1, with Mark Buehrle earning his first victory with Miami and the Red Sox (4-8) were mini-swept by the Rangers, 6-3. The Cubs 4.85 team ERA looks great compared the Red Sox MLB worst 6.20 which has a hell of lot more to do with their record than the patchquilt outfield.
  9. There are no typos in this item, these numbers are correct: the A’s Bartolo Colon threw 82 of his 108 pitches for strikes against the Angels including 38 in a row at one point. Colon tossed eight innings of shutout ball allowing only four hits in the A’s 6-0 win. Yoenis Cespedes hit a three-run homer and has a team-leading 12 RBI.