MLB General

The Full Count: Bad + Bad = extra innings Bad

Hell, even Garner looks bored

1. Longest Game of the Year: There have been quite a few extra-inning contests this year, but none as long as the Astros-Pirates game on Wednesday. The Astros always seem to get involved in the really long games, and this one lasted 16 innings. The winner of this marathon was the Pirates after Adam LaRoche hit a walk-off single. It was his first career hit at PNC Park, and only the 7th hit overall this year for LaRoche, who has been in a slump since the season started and is only hitting .106. The teams combined for 15 different pitchers, 30 different hitters, and 476 pitches thrown.

2. Man on Fire: Bonds hasn’t been this good since 2004. He hit a first-inning, three-run homerun on Wednesday against the Dodgers, giving him 7 on the year and 741 for his career. Barry Bonds has now homered in three of his last four games, and leads the league in homers, slugging, and OPS. He’s 14 short of the career homers record, and he Willie McCovey as the Giants’ all-time RBI leader. The Giants won 6-4 over the Dodgers, with Noah Lowry getting the win and Armando Benitez the save. For Benitez, it is his 6th save of the year with an ERA of 2.45.

3. Dueling Complete Games: You wouldn’t expect a matchup between Jarrod Washburn of the Mariners and Joe Blanton of the A’s to turn into a pitcher’s duel, but it did. Both hurlers threw complete games, but Blanton allowed two solo homeruns while Washburn shutout the A’s. Jose Guillen and Kenji Johjima both went yard, supplying all the offense the Mariners needed. Oakland’s loss combined with the Angels’ win over Tampa results in a tie atop the AL West standings.

Player of the Day: Jake Peavy, Padres: 7 innings, 2 hits, no runs, 16 strikeouts. He struck out nine straight from the second to fourth inning.

Stat of the Day: Joel Zumaya hit a batter and then walked four straight against the White Sox. It is only the second time a reliever has issued a free pass to five straight batters in the last 40 years, according to Elias Sports.

MLB General

The Full Count: Need run support? How about 4 HRs in a row?

1. Streak to a Sweep: Daisuke Matsuzaka was pitching for the Red Sox, but he was completely overshadowed by the team’s offense in a 7-6 win over the Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball. Boston tied a major league record with four homeruns in a row in the third inning, all off Yankees rookie Chase Wright. Manny Ramirez started the streak with a deep shot over the Green Monster in left-center. Then JD Drew, Mike Lowell, and Jason Varitek each hit shots of their own, two of which also went over the Green Monster. That got the fans going at Fenway and sent Chase Wright out of the game. Still, the Yankees were leading 5-4 in the 7th inning, until Lowell hit another homer, this one a three-run blast. Dice-K got the win for Boston despite allowing six runs in seven innings. Ironically, he had come into the game as the pitcher with the least run support in the AL. This game marked only the 5th time in major league history that a team hit four homers in a row, and the first time in 43 years for an AL team. The Los Angeles Dodgers did it last September against the Padres, in a streak that also featured JD Drew. Boston swept the Yankees over the weekend, but New York will seek revenge next week at Yankee Stadium.

2. Bonds is Back: Barry Bonds may be 42 years old and well past his prime, but he can still mash. The slugger hit solo homeruns on Saturday and Sunday, providing the majority of the Giants’ 3 runs in those games. The team still won both games due to back-to-back complete games by Barry Zito and Matt Cain. The Bonds homers gave him 6 on the year and 740 for his career, 15 short of Hank Aaron’s record. He is tied for the NL leads in homers, and ranks first in on-base percentage, slugging, and OPS. At this rate, we might see baseball’s most prestigious record fall before the All Star break.

3. Back on top: For those who thought the Braves’ early season success is a fluke, it’s time to reconsider. The team has played the Mets twice and won 4 out of those 6 games. On Sunday, a Glavine vs. Smoltz pitching matchup turned out to be a game filled with offense. Atlanta’s Kelly Johnson hit two homers, including a shot to leadoff the game and a three-run blast that won the game for the Braves. Smoltz and Glavine allowed a combined 9 runs as the Braves came out on top 9-6. For the Mets, Jose Reyes continues to be the National League’s best player. He is hitting .370 with league-leading totals in runs and steals. The Braves now lead the division by a half-game.

Player of the Day: Scott Rolen, Cardinals: 5-6, HR (2), 3 runs, 3 RBIs in a 12-9 win over the Cubs.

Stat of the Day: Albert Pujols has 5 homers and 12 RBIs this year. Oddly, 4 of his homers and 10 of his RBIs have come on Sunday. He is hitting .438 on Sunday, as compared to .166 on all other days.

San Francisco Giants

Joe Buck paints a picture of Bond’s record breaker

Joe Buck was on the Dan Patrick Show earlier this week and, inevitably, the topic of Barry Bonds and his 756th homer surfaced. Patrick lobbed Buck a potential long ball when he asked the distinctly recognizable voice of the MLB to describe exactly how he would make the call if he were on the mic when Bonds passed Hank Aaron for the all-time home run record.

For some reason, we don’t think that Buck is real thrilled about the idea of Bonds moving up the ladder. Perhaps it’s the way Buck had Bonds foul a pair of balls off his stick before he finally goes yard. Or maybe it was the less than enthusiastic “Yea, Barry Bonds is the new home run king.” You can just imagine the uninterested Buck looking through the funny pages of the day’s paper and sipping on a cup of coffee while he makes the call.

MLB General

The Full Count: Almost Perfect — 27 up, 27 down

1. Surprise of the Year: Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox strugged enormously the second half of last year and wasn’t so great in his first two starts of 2007. But, in a surprising performance to say the least, he tossed a no-hitter against the Rangers, a good-hitting team. Buehrle went the distance ans was only one walk shy of perfection. He struck out 8 and picked off the only baserunner he allowed. The no-no was the 16th in White Sox history but their first since 1991. On the offensive side, Jim Thome hit two homers and Jermaine Dye had a grand slam to supply all of the White Sox’s 6 runs. Another major league pitcher, the Mets’ John Maine, went into the seventh inning with a no-hitter going as well. Maine and the Mets disposed of the Marlins, 9-2.

2. Worst team in the league: Many would be surprised to find that the worst team in the entire majors is the Philadelphia Phillies so far this year. They fell to 3-10 after a loss to the terrible Nationals in 13 innings on Wednesday. Nothing has gone well for the Phils this season. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, their two best offensive players, are hitting under .230. Brett Myers was so bad as a starting pitcher that they moved him to the bullpen. Absolutely nothing has gone right for the Phillies, except for Jimmy Rollins’ surprising power.

3. Star Power: Albert Pujols and Barry Bonds faced each other on Wednesday,. and they both showed why they are two of the game’s most feared hitters. Pujols, who has been struggling, hit his fourth homer of the season and increased his average 40 points via three hits. Bonds, meanwhile, hit a solo homer in the eighth to tie the game, which the Giants eventually won in 12 innings. The Bonds homer was his fourth of the year, and number 738 on his career. He’s had a fantastic start to the season, and ranks first in the NL in slugging and OPS.

Player of the Day: Mark Buehrle, White Sox: 9 innings, no-hitter, 8 strikeouts.

Walk Off: Ryan on Poor Man’s PTI had a great idea: the best snub ever for a sports editor on a major newspaper would be to bury the story to a blurb when Barry breaks Hank Aaron’s record (by now, it’s inevitable) next to some story about womens water polo or something. “And in other news, Barry Bonds breaks Hank Aaron’s Home Run Record.”

San Francisco Giants

You know what they say about big feet… Yup – steroids

In a new epilogue to Game of Shadows, the authors dropped a little nugget on us about the incredible growing Barry Bonds:

Since joining the Giants, Bonds had gone from a size 42 to a size 52 jersey; from size 10 ½ to size 13 cleats; and from a size 7 1/8 to size 7 ¼ cap, even though he had taken to shaving his head. The changes in his foot and head size were of special interest: medical experts said overuse of Human Growth Hormone could cause an adult’s extremities to begin growing, aping the symptoms of the glandular disorder acromegly.

Now we understand that as you get older, your face might round out and give the illusion that your head is growing. So when folks say that Barry’s head isn’t that big, we don’t believe it but we can see the argument. However, has anyone you ever known grown 2 1/2 shoe sizes after the age of 30? Is there anyone left who still thinks Barry is innocent? Anyone? Oh wait, Bonds defenders now go to the “but it wasn’t illegal back then” argument. Oh it’s going to be a sad sad day when Barry breaks Hank Aaron’s record.

[SI]: Game of Shadows: The Aftermath

Boston Red Sox

Bonds to Boston? Unlikely

In another spectacular example of sportswriter logic (i.e. make up some bs) Murray Chass in the New York Times is speculating that since both the JD Drew and Barry Bonds contracts, even though agreed to in terms, have not been signed, that Barry Bonds could end up in Boston. (We would like to speculate that since the Raiders have a head coaching vacancy and Rich Kotite used to be a head coach, that the Raiders might hire Kotite.)

OK, the Giants are definitely trying to backpedal on the Bonds deal because of the recent amphetamines news and the Red Sox are worried about Drew’s shoulder but putting Bonds in there doesn’t make any sense. First, do the Red Sox really need Barry Bonds? He just becomes a huge distraction. If the Giants are worried about his affect on the club house even in the only city where he is loved liked tolerated, what is going to happen in Beantown. Second, this is also the guy who called the entire city of Boston racist.

Boston is too racist for me. I couldn’t play there. That’s been going on ever since my dad (Bobby) was playing baseball. I can’t play like that. That’s not for me, brother.

We’d actually like to see Bonds in Boston. That would make those Red Sox trips to NYC even better. Although the east coast biased media coverage would be completely out of control.

[NY Times]: Unsigned Bonds Awaits Further Review

San Francisco Giants

Barry Bonds is a good teammate

The New York Daily News is reporting that Barry Bonds failed a drug test and violated MLB’s amphetamine policy last season but blamed it on a teammate. According to Bonds, he took a substance from Mark Sweeney’s locker and it turned out to be amphetamines. Hmmmm…. so what we have here is a world class athlete under intense scrutiny for performance enhancing drugs just randomly putting stuff in his body that he found in a teammate’s locker. Unless that substance was a bucket of friend chicken he found in Pedro Cerrano’s locker, we’re calling bullshit.

Amphetamines (speed), long used in baseball and known as “greenies” are a performance enhancing drug but does not fall under the steroid category so Bonds wasn’t suspended 50 games. Instead he was given counseling and treatment. A second offense would have meant a 25 game suspension.

Bonds and all his defenders have always said that he never did anything wrong because even if he took steroids, it was before the league banned them outright and he has never failed a drug test. Well, that argument is out the window. He has failed a drug test for a performance enhancer. Is there really any question that Bonds is not a “natural” athlete and a cheater? And on top of that, in a team sport, he throws a teammate under the bus. It really will be a shame if Bonds breaks Hank Aaron’s home run record.

[NY Daily News]: Failure leaves a testy Barry

[Palm Beach Post]: Baseball and amphetimines

MLB General

Rejoice non-Giants fans

Barry Bonds will not be tainting your hometown team with his huge melon and his syringes. Bonds has agreed to a one-year contract with the Giants for $16M. There are incentives in the deal (we wonder if “don’t get caught with steroids” is one of them) that could make the deal worth up to $20M.

While the offseason has been filled with Bonds’ agent and the Giants sniping at each other, apparently money solves everything as both sides played nice. Bonds gets his $16M-$20M and goes back to the only stadium where he isn’t booed and the Giants get to cash in on Bonds as he chases Hank Aaron’s home run record.

Longtime readers of the blog know that we hate Barry Bonds and hope he breaks his arm before he catches Hammerin’ Hank in the home run record books. He’s only got 22 to go. Don’t be suprised if he conveniently breaks the record in San Francisco.

[SF Gate]: Ray Ratto: Magowan’s tough talk was just blather
[Blog Critics]: Savings Bonds: The Giants Should Have Passed

San Francisco Giants

Everybody hates Barry… well ok two-thirds

Hank Aaron has broken out the old “afraid to fly” excuse to explain why he won’t be there when/if Barry Bonds breaks his 755 HR record.

First, I don’t like to fly. And if I come, there’s going to be some controversy. And if I don’t come, there’s going to be some controversy. I have pride in the record, but records are made to be broken. But the reason I don’t want to get involved is everybody is innocent until proven guilty, and we can talk, we can talk, we can talk, but until there’s proof, I have no comment.

Translation: Barry Bonds is a steroided up cheater and no way do I want to be there to see my record being broken. At least that’s the way we see it.

Meanwhile, an AP Poll found that only 33% of baseball fans want to see Barry Bonds break the all time Home Run record. To which we say, why are you doing most of the polling in San Francisco? That’s about 32% more than we expected.

[ESPN]: Aaron doesn’t plan to be there if Bonds hits No. 755
[MSNBC]: Only 33 percent of fans want to see slugger break home run record

San Francisco Giants

Odds and Ends: Barry Bonds to play in ’07

Barry Bonds’ agent told the Los Angeles Times that Bonds will play in 2007 and is expecting a call from the San Francisco Giants.  Many expect that the Giants would have to sign Bonds at whatever price he demands because they don’t want him breaking Hank Aaron’s home run record in another uniform.  However, we have said it before and we say it again — we hope that Bonds doesn’t get signed anywhere next year so that he can’t break Hank’s record. If Bonds gets to 756, baseball should be ashamed of itself.

In other news…

[AZ Central]: University of Phoenix gets naming rights to new Cardinals stadium but it’ll always be The Pink Taco to us

[dBusiness News]: signs deal wtih STATS Inc to beef up it’s football stats

[Sports Pad]: Rugby: The Most Unsafe Professional Sport

[Indy Star]: Jack Del Rio says Colts are a dirty team

[]: Simms out of intensive care

[The Hater Nation]: ESPN Rewrites History