The following happened Wednesday, June 13th between myself and my buddy Spencer:
“Spencer – 9:35pm: 10:00 games, who do you like? I like San Diego.
Me – 9:37pm: The under in Seattle and the under in Dodgers-Angels.
Spencer – 9:38pm: I like Houston, too. I think Houston will hit Matt Cain.
Me – 9:39pm: And San Francisco can’t hit, Houston is probably like +200, so not bad value.
10:00 – 1230am: Watch the “Dream Team” documentary (side note: highly recommended, great 90 minutes spent), having not yet checked the scores since the late games started.
Me – 12:32am: Matt Cain perfect through 7 lol.
Spencer – 12:33am: Yeah, I see that lol.
Me – 12:35am: Yup, hes actually pitching the best game ever, he has 14K.
Spencer – 12:38am: Definitely missed on that one.
Me – 12:39am: Yup! Good call, dipsh*t!”
The moment I saw the score and noticed my Twitter (@gordonbombet) blowing up, I had time to flip over and catch the last six outs of the first perfect game in San Francisco Giants history. Cain recorded 14 strikeouts, with 11 of those coming on his fastball (2 on change-ups and the other on a curve ball). Cain was doing a great job of changing speeds, setting up hitters with his off speed pitches and working the whole strike zone. This was one of the best pitched game in baseball history, right on par with the game pitched by a 20-year-old Kerry Wood – who threw a one-hitter (no walks), 20 strikeout gem in 1998. Like every no-hitter/perfect game, there was that big play made to preserve the accomplishment.
The last 6 outs were met with a continuous standing ovation and roars from the crowd, as if they were anticipating their team winning a championship. And in the middle of the season, witnessing a game like this does give you that same adrenaline and desperation to finish the job. It was a great scene in San Francisco and a once-in-a-generation performance for all to see.
In Case You Missed It:
- R.A Dickey stood firmly in Matt Cain’s shadow on Wednesday, but his one-hitter, 12 strikeout gem against the Rays is nothing to sneeze at. If the CY Young is handed out today, Dickey is the winner. Unbelievable story and am interested to see where he goes from here. UPDATE: Dickey threw another 1-hitter in his next outing, this time against Baltimore where he struck out a career high 13.
- Dodgers re-signed Andre Ethier to a 5 year $85 million contract. There is a good chance he would have gotten more in free agency, but now pairing him with Matt Kemp will give them a nice 3-4 in their order for the foreseeable future.
- When 19-year old Mormon Bryce Harper was asked if he would have a celebratory beer after a victory in Toronto, he responded with, “That’s a clown question, bro”. That apparently was Stephen Drew’s response when asked if he would return this week, or next week, or next month. Nevada Senator, Harry Reid, also took a page out of Harper’s book.
- 124,782 people attended the 3-game series at Wrigley Field between the Chicago Cubs and the Detroit Tigers, the largest crowd for a mid-week-three-game-series in Wrigley history. Multiple times the crowd broke into “Go Tigers! Go” chants, which I would have said is an all-time low for the Cubs, but then I remembered it’s the Cubs and this doesn’t even make the top 50 list of low moments.
Single: Can the Real Tim Lincecum Please Stand Up?
It’s not very often a team’s third and fourth best starters have a combined three Cy Young awards, but that’s the very situation San Francisco has with Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum. In Zito’s case, hes been mediocre at best for about four years, but the Tim Lincecum case is bizarre and has everyone in baseball scratching their heads. In a meeting of the minds this week in San Francisco, Bruce Bochy discussed the idea of skipping a start or possibly sending Lincecum to the bullpen. The bullpen? For a 28-year-old who is making $20 million a season for the next two years? This is not what they envisioned when they locked up a pitcher who was coming off the second of his back-to-back Cy Young awards. So why the digression from Lincecum?
The slight framed hurler (5″11 and 170lbs) dominated early in his career by using a hard fastball and a great change-up. When he first arrived the fastball was between 95-97MPH. Last year he was averaging 92.3, with this year the average fastball being clocked at 90.0. A drop in velocity is expected for pitchers as they throw more innings and the attrition on an arm over time (via fangraphs.com)
The average pitcher at age 28 (birthday for Tim on Friday) loses just about one mile per hour, not the 6mph Lincecum is experiencing. His average fastball has made his off speed more hittable, thus making him look mortal. He is still averaging 9.6K/9, but his 1.97 SO/BB ratio is more than half a strikeout worse then his career worst 2.56, which he threw last year. With Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Barry Zito all pitching well, is it that crazy to move Tim Lincecum to the bullpen? For a guy that has pitched over 212 innings in each of his last 4 seasons (which doesn’t include the innings pitched in the 2010 playoffs). Maybe a move there, even just for the rest of the season, can help save his arm for the future and regain some of his velocity? Either way, if you’re a memeber of the Giants brass you are very concerned that your so-called-ace and his 6.00 ERA hasn’t showed any signs of regaining his past form.
Double: Series’ to Consider Betting the Over
Colorado Rockies @ Detroit Tigers (Friday-Sunday)
Colorado should feel fortunate they don’t see Justin Verlander this series, and their run totals might see the effects of that. Every starter they will face from Detroit is hittable, and the laundry list of injuries for the Tigers pitching will soon catch up with them. On the other end, the hot-hitting Tigers will face what could be the worst combination of pitching rotation/bullpen in baseball. The weather will be hot all weekend at Comerica Park, and the ball should be flying out of the ballpark.
San Diego Padres @ Oakland Athletics (Firday-Sunday)
No, I haven’t gone crazy, but these two proverbial under teams have been involved in high scoring games recently, with both playing 6 of their last 8 games to the over. The totals should be set low for all three games (Friday’s early number is 7 -110) and with the low caliber of pitching that both teams have, these games should soar over the 7 mark.
Triple: Trade Watch
Every week we will give you three names of players who could be traded, what they’re chances are of moving clubs from 1 to 10, and some teams that could be interested.
Ryan Dempster – Chicago Cubs
There has been smoke around this rumor all year, and just seems like a matter of if, not when, the veteran will be traded. He wold be a welcomed addition for a contender needing a good 2 or great 3 in their rotation, despite his recent addition to the 15-day disabled list (rat lat tightness).
Chances – 10
Teams of Interest: Tigers, Dodgers, Red Sox, Indians and Blue Jays
Kevin Youkilis – Boston Red Sox
The emergence of Will Middlebrooks has left Boston deciding between playing their future at third right now or fielding an aging, often injured veteran who is rumored to being the rat in the room when last year’s fried chicken and beer fallout happened. A change of scenery might be best for all involved
Teams of Interest: Dodgers, White Sox and Reds
Reed Johnson – Chicago Cubs
Reed Johnson is the Cubs first option off the bench to pinch hit, and has done a very good job at it, hitting .301 in just over 100 plate appearances. The Cubs are looking towards the future, and Johnson has value to a playoff team needing a clutch base hit off the bench
Teams of Interest: Dodgers, Nationals, Reds and Pirates
Home Run: Match-ups for the Weekend
Chicago White Sox (Chris Sale) @ LA Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw)
I personally cannot wait to see this game. Clayton Kershaw is the gold standard for a power lefty that strikes out a batter an inning, and Sale is built in that exact same mold. These two power lefties make All-Star hitters look foolish every time they pitch. If you like great pitching, tune in Friday night.
Arizona Diamondbacks @ Los Angeles Angels (Friday-Sunday)
After winning 6 of their last 7, Arizona only pulls one out in Texas as they move to a weekend set in Los Angelas to play the streaking Angels. As I profiled last week, the Angels are set up for a successful June and haven’t disappointed (won 6 of last 8).
New York Yankees @ Washington Nationals
If Interleague was the test the Nationals needed, they have passed with flying colors. In winning 9 of their last 10, their superb pitching has been matched with clutch hitting and some healthy bodies entering the lineup (Michael Morse). Could this be a preview on the World Series? Have I gone crazy? Am I the only one who wishes this was still the Expos? LONG LIVE THE EXPOS!!
Boston Red Sox @ Chicago Cubs
In what is only their second trip to Wrigley Field, the Red Sox play the team led by their former GM, Theo Epstein. If Boston hits, they should sweep the pathetic Cubbies, but it will be a fun Sunday night to kick back, pop a cold one and watch some baseball with your dad (don’t forget about Father’s Day). The Cubs will send Dempster to the hill on Friday, giving Boston a up close look at what could be a potential addition through trade.