Thoughts: The best worst day of the season
June, 5, 2013
By David Schoenfield | ESPN.com
The evening began with the OTL report that MLB seeks to suspend Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Bartolo Colon and others named in the Biogenesis scandal. But the night turned into a reminder of what makes the sport so great.
- When the Dodgers signed Cuban defector Yasiel Puig last June to a 7-year, $42 million contract, many in the industry scoffed at the money given him, calling it an overreaction to the soon-to-be-changing rules that would cap spending on international signings. But Puig is in the majors less than a year later, much quicker than most expected, and in his second major league game had a day to remember with two home runs, a double and five RBIs. Here's Vin Scully calling Puig's first home run, a long blast to left field. And here's Scully calling his second, which Puig hit the opposite way. Scully began calling Dodgers games in 1950, the year before Willie Mays debuted with the Giants. Now he gets to call home runs by Yasiel Puig. Loved how Don Mattingly hit Puig leadoff, and the energy Puig brought to Dodger Stadium -- the Dodgers beat the Padres 9-7 -- was exciting. As bad as everything has gone for the Dodgers, they're not buried just yet. Maybe this will be the start of more than just a great career.
- In Philadelphia, John Mayberry Jr. became the first player in major league history to hit two home runs in extra innings, with the second one being a walk-off grand slam. Here are his two home runs.
- I watched the Arizona-St. Louis game, featuring 21-year-old starters Tyler Skaggs and Michael Wacha, each making their second starts of the season (Skaggs debuted last year) after dominant first outings. Neither was effective this time around, with Skaggs giving up five runs, including two home runs, in 5.2 innings, and Wacha allowing 10 hits and six runs in 4.2. Wacha only walked one batter, but after showing great fastball command in his first start -- 45 strikes in 58 pitches -- the fastball wasn't as effective and the D-backs were 7-for-19 off it. He was falling behind and forced to his fastball more instead of going to his changeup to put batters away. Still, hard to believe there were 18 players drafted ahead of him last June. Anyway, it was a good game as the both bullpens produced lockdown performances, the D-backs finally winning in 14 innings. One thing to question with Mike Matheny: Twice in extra innings he had a pitcher pinch-hit leading off an inning instead of using his last bench player, backup catcher Tony Cruz. I think you have to use Cruz there, otherwise you're playing with a four-man bench.
- Big win for the Rockies against the Reds, with Troy Tulowitzki hitting a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth. The Reds have now lost five games they were leading heading into the eighth inning. More proof that the eighth-inning guys are often more important than the closer.
- The Braves, Brewers and Nationals joined the Phillies as walk-off winners.
- Tim Lincecum had more of a vintage Lincecum performance as the Giants beat the Blue Jays 2-1. "It definitely feels good, but we've still got a lot to do, a lot of work to do," he said after the game. "I've said it before, I'm not jumping up and down right now, I'm just happy with what we did today. Tomorrow's another day for work."
- The Royals have now lost 11 consecutive home games, scoring just 23 runs in those games, after the Twins shut them out 3-0. You have to think Ned Yost will be out of a job soon.