The Bulls Unstoppable against the Patriots

It’s June, the rain outpour seems to be unstoppable, and so are the Batangas Bulls. 
Vladimir Eguia pitched a complete game with 7 runs and 4 strikeouts (according to my phone/memory) against the Taguig Patriots for the morning game on June 5, Saturday. I’m glad I’m not a scribe nor a journalist, because I don’t have a complete record of the game. I don’t even have a list of the game’s line up. I didn’t bother to copy what was on board. I was too lazy to type it on my phone.
When I saw Vladimir Eguia after the game, I thought of Tim Lincecum. Not that I saw anything to compare both. Eguia covered his left arm with cold compress, something Tim Lincecum would not do. The Freak never puts ice on his arm.
I wasn’t able to see the first pitch but I knew the Taguig Patriots drew the first blood. They actually had 2 runs in the first inning with two stolen bases. But the Bulls tied the game at third. They continued the rally in the fourth inning with five runs on 2-run double, ground rule double, an RBI from I’m-sorry-I-don’t-know-who, and the Patriots’ shortstop error. These gave the lefty Vladimir Eguia some support as he tried to keep the Patriots from reaching home.
Errors were everywhere in the game. One even gave the Bulls a run in the top of the sixth. There’s no better way to celebrate such “free” run than do the Yankees’ hip to hip leap. Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano do such a lot.
The Patriots also took comfort when the second baseman of the Bulls dropped a routine pop out near the first base. The Patriot was held safe in first base, and I couldn’t help but think of Luis Castillo. It also happened in June last season. Oh, who doesn’t remember such incident on A-Rod? The Mets may have lost the game because of that dropped ball, but the Bulls were able to redeem themselves as the Patriot was caught stealing second base after the batter next to him was struck out. The gift was taken away.
Eguia struck out the third batter he faced in the bottom of sixth to end the inning.
One of my favourite innings, if not the top favourite, was the bottom of the seventh. I was so amused with how the last out of the inning happened. It reminded me so much of Ty Wigginton running back to home as Juan Miranda was about to tag him.
The second Patriot to be out just left the first base when the first baseman (I don’t know his name) threw the ball to second base (or short stop?). The Patriot had to move to third base but he was held between two Bulls until he finally got tagged by the third baseman.
I have another favourite scene in the bottom of the seventh, only to be blown by a bad throw. The second baseman scooted a ground ball then maneuvered like Robinson Cano but overthrew the ball to first base. I got spoiled. But then, what Cano does defensively is not something common, even in the big league.
There were many errors in the game that I could hardly point each. It only makes me confused. I also noticed that these players, from both teams, are pretty aggressive in stealing bases.
It’s really awful not to have my pen and paper when watching a ballgame. Thank goodness I brought my phone, but nothing beats old school writing system

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I want to thank Armando Galarraga for being a true gentleman.

I could hardly keep my eyes from welling after watching this video.

I admire Umpire Jim Joyce for what he did after he blew the biggest call of his life, so far. I believe there are more big calls to come. He will do better.

And of course, I cannot stop admiring Armando Galarraga for his classiness and gracefulness. Seriously. His reaction on Austin Jackson’s catch in the centrefield impressed me so much. And when Jim Joyce called Jason Donald safe in first base, there was no conceit in Galarraga’s reaction. He looked sneaky, but just fine.

Both Joyce and Galarraga have been true gentlemen.

I also want to thank the Detroit Tigers organization for handling this situation. This ball club has been more than impressive. And of course, the fans. Verbal and blog retaliations were understandable, but I believe they did okay. I am also a Tigers fan. Haha! They’re giving me more reasons, besides Verlander and Damon, for rooting.

This is one of the reasons why I love MLB. It has a lot of men of character. Lurve it!

….

Originally posted in Multiply on June 4th.

The Fifth Inning Stretch

I missed the radio coverage of the Yankees vs. Blue Jays game as well as the live ESPN coverage of the Dodgers vs. Braves. I went to the ballpark this morning to watch the Batangas Bulls vs. Taguig Patriots game.
The game was so interesting. I’ll write about it later. One of the game’s highlights was the audience participation activity.
I got chosen as one of the three people above 15 years old to play during the 5th inning stretch. I was actually surprised because I’m used to the “7th inning stretch.” It was fun though. There were also other participants; most were children. They made us run through the bases. Woo-hoo! It was my first time to step on the bags, and run through them. I wish it was for a home run.  
I made it home in 24.3 (or 24.03?) seconds. I should’ve worn my running shoes! I was thinking of doing so before I left. 
I got all the prizes because the other two participants in my category didn’t participate. It was just a bunch of gift certificate from Dunkin’ Donuts, which is the sponsor of this season. I gave some to the utility whom I asked to hold my umbrella as I had no one to hold it for me.
Too bad though, I lost the remaining gift certificates after the game. I only found out when I was in the train station. Awful. 
I hope I will have a company next time. It’s so fun to watch a ball game, especially live. It’d be fun to cheer with someone or some people. As of now, I am only familiar, but still not so, with the Bulls. They’re really good. It’s the second time I saw them play. The first time was against the Cebu Dolphins.

Pitchers’ ERA redefined.

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Pitchers this season have their ERA sitting below 3.00. Such ERAs are not uncommon that I forgot what the value stands for.
2.00 to 3.00 = Excellent, only achieved by best pitchers in the league.

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Ubaldo Jimenez, the MLB leading pitcher in ERA has 0.78. He also leads MLB in wins (10-1) and WHIP (0.90). Halimaw! Most pitchers I know always start their ERA with “2” that having an ERA started with “3” makes one look average.

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Phil Hughes before his first pitch against the Chicago White Sox on 02 May, 2010.
6 hits/18 innings with 18 strikeouts
That can be translated as 1 hit in 3 innings and 1 strikeout per inning.
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If there is one starting pitcher whom I would like to blame why I forgot the ERA rating, that’d be Phil Hughes. For three consecutive starts, he had his ERA started with “1”: 1.44, 1.69, 1.38, respectively. His other ERAs start arejust around “2.”
Phil Hughes has 10 games started with 7-1 record, tying it with veteran Andy Pettitte. Both place second in AL in wins.
When the All-Star Game is over, I wonder what will become of The Chief, The Freak, of Philthy Hughes, and the other aces of the Major League.

Red Hot Cano

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It’s the third game of the Bombers against the O’s and Robinson has been one hot hitter and second baseman. That’s undeniable.

Bottom of the seventh. Cano’s strong arms showed off for the third and last out of the inning. Everyone, especially Captain Jeter, was impressed. Who wasn’t?

Top of the eight. Albert Castillo replaced Matt Albers “to cool down Cano,” a commentator said. I’m not sure if it was Kay, but I’m sure Michael Kay did ask, “How hot is Cano?” Then on the second pitch to Robinson Cano, the second baseman hit his second solo home run of the night to right field. 
“It’s so good to be Cano!” That’s what Michael Kay said after bidding the flyball “See ya!”

To make the night more memorable, and legendary if you want, Mariano Rivera, the last ball player in MLB allowed to wear #42, closed the game. It was a no-save situation. The Yankees lead 4-0 against the Orioles. I love it when Joe Girardi makes a night more historical.

Phil Hughes starts, Cano clutches, and Mo saves on Jackie Robinson Day

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Thursday. It was Jackie Robinson Day. It was also Phil Hughes’ debut as the Yankees’ fifth starter of the season.
I’ve been anticipating to watch this game on ESPN for it was my first live Yankees game, although I’m 12 hours ahead from the Bronx. Too bad I missed the first inning. Thanks to my Tita who wanted to watch something else. But thank God I made it in time to see the second inning’s actions.
The first player in the box was Hideki Matsui. The first pitch was a ball, but the second pitch was driven deep to the right centre field. There were cheers from both sides of the crowd, and it was nice of the Yankees fan to still cheer for Godzilla.
I saw Hughes’ disappointment, and I am impressed with how he carried himself. I am always impressed with Hughes. He’s just 23 years old but he carries an aura of a veteran, sort of Andy Pettitte aura.
It was Jackie Robinson Day and the man in the box for the first at-bat of the bottom of the second was the second baseman of the Yankees, who was named after the man who broke the colour barrier. On the second pitch, Robinson Cano drove a solo homer in the right field  off Scott Kazmir tying the game against the Angels.
As if the solo home run was not enough, Robinson Cano did something impressive, besides his defensive skills. With Alex Rodriguez on second base, Cano hit another homer in the right field.
Every fan of the Yankees, and some other fans of other Major League teams, are aware of Robinson Cano’s roots including the significance of his jersey number- 24. Of course, he couldn’t wear #42 for it was retired in the entire Major League in 1997 to honour Jackie Robinson. No one is allowed to wear 42 again, except for Mariano Rivera.
Robinson Cano was the first and last Yankee player who hit home run during the Game 3 of the Yankees vs. Angels series in the Bronx. Derek Jeter was the second and only other Yankee who drove a home run.
It was in the third inning when Phil Hughes fought a battle against the Angels. His pitch count was increasing that certainly had Dave Eiland and Joe Girardi concerned. I was concerned too. It was his debut as a starter of the season. I am glad he won the battle with just one man left on base, whom he had walked.
When I saw Phil Hughes’ pitch count in the fifth inning, I already knew that it might be his last inning. But I also thought that it’d be possible for him to still pitch in the sixth inning but not in the entire inning. I was right.
Phil Hughes still pitched in the sixth inning but Joe Girardi had to take the ball from him after two at-bats, when Torii Hunter and Hideki Matsui, for a walk, got on base. It was obvious that the third, including the fourth inning, had a toll in his arm.
More than Torii Hunter’s wheels, I was worried about Phil Hughes’ arm. I think he had a total of 108 pitches during the game. That was a gamble. When Phil Hughes returned to the dugout, I was impressed by the fans who gave him a standing ovation. It was sweet.
Hughes was replaced by David Robertson, followed by Damaso Marte then Joba Chamberlain. The latter was doing good especially with his slider but something went wrong. I wouldn’t say it’s his mechanics. Joba can throw impressive pitches, but he’s not at par with veteran pitchers nor with Hughes when it comes to mental preparation and attitude, which greatly affect a pitcher’s performance in a game.
With two men on base, Enter Sandman was played in the entire Stadium. Mariano Rivera came to save and close the game. Mo only faced Bobby Abreu, who grounded out to Robinson Cano to Mark Teixeira for the final out of the game.
The Yankees won the third game against the Angels, 6-2 on board. They won the series with 2-1.

The Fightin’ Phillies Off to the Bronx for Game 6. Utley Chase-ing again.

Chase.jpgChase Utley’s bat seems to be on fire during the third inning.

On
Game 5 of the World Series against the New York Yankees, the Fightin’
second baseman hit a home run in the right field. He did the same in
Game 1. But the difference with the home run in the third inning of
Game 5 were the two men on bases- Jimmy Rollins who got a base hit and
Shane Victorino who was hit by pitch as he tried to bunt the first
pitch.

Of course, the pitcher was no longer the big leftie CC
Sabathia but the right-handed AJ Burnett who was starting for the
Yankees on short 3-day rest.

AJ Burnett gave up a back to back
walk to Utley and Howard in the third inning. The home run hitter Utley
stole second base while Howard was batting and reached home plate on
Jayson Werth’s base hit. No Phillies was retired to the dugout yet.

With
Raul Ibañez’ base hit, Ryan Howard scored widening the gap with the
Yankees; 5-1 on board for the Phillies. Burnett, who was dominant in
and won Game 2, was chased in the third inning and  replaced by David
Robertson.

The Phillies were not done fightin’. Ibañez was out
at second base but Carlos Ruiz stayed in first base while Jayson Werth
gave the Phillies another run. 6-1 on board.

The Bronx Bombers
were first to have a run in the first inning before Utley hit his 3-run
homer. Johnny Damon scored on A-Rod’s double. The Yanks had their
second run in the fifth inning. Johnny Damon grounded out to Ryan
Howard but the first baseman missed the throw  to home plate allowing
Eric Hinske, who was pinch hitting for David Robertson and was walked
by Lee with just one strike, to score safely.

Brett Gardner,
replacing Melky Cabrera in Game 5 as centre fielder, kept Jayson Werth
from having extra bases with his speedy and golden catch on a flyball
in the centre field wall in the fifth inning. Werth, not sure if the
ball was caught, kept moving until Gardner who was taking some time to
recover from hitting the wall showed the ball safe in his glove.

It
was the first out for Alfredo Aceves, the second reliever for AJ
Burnett, in the fifth inning. Aceves retired the next two batters on
ground outs.

History seems to repeat itself, in a very quick
fashion. Chase Utley in the seventh inning in Game 4 with two strikes
hit a solo homer off CC Sabathia. Chase Utley, again, with two strikes
in the seventh inning in Game 5 hit a solo home run but off Phil Coke,
Burnett’s third reliever. It was the second homer of the night and the
fifth home run in the series for the Phillies’ second baseman.

Chase
Utley just tied Reggie Jackson for a World Series record with
multi-home runs. The Phillies were still on lead with 7 runs against
the Yankees’ 2 runs.

With two outs, the Phillies had another
home run in the seventh inning. It was off the bat of Raul Ibañez. Phil
Hughes then had to replace Phil Coke.

Hughes may have allowed a
back to back walk in the eight inning of Game 1 and gave up a solo
homer in Game 3, but the young pitcher had his command back in Game 5.
He struck out Pedro Feliz on three consecutive strikes for the final
out of the seventh inning.

Carlos Ruiz had a base hit in the
eight inning but he grounded into a double play along with Matt Stairs
who was pinch hitting for Chan-Ho Park. Phil Hughes retired the last
batter, Jimmy Rollins, on a ground out.

The Yankees line up in
the eight inning was back on top but with Johnny Damon leading. Again,
the left fielder kept the line moving. Damon singled and reached third
base on Mark Teixeira’s double. A-Rod hit the first pitch and earned a
2-run double, as well as a cheer from Kate Hudson, sending Johnny Damon
and Mark Teixeira at home plate. The Yankees were 4-7 on board against
the Phillies.

Cliff Lee may not be as impressive as he was in
Game 1 but he still earned cheers from the Phillies fans as he was
retired to the dugout and replaced by Chan-Ho Park.

A-Rod
reached home plate on Robinson Cano’s sacrifice fly. The slugger who
calls himself an “underdog” in the World Series gave the Yankees their
fifth run.

Not giving up, the Yankees rallied some hits in the
ninth inning. With Posada leading the line up, he hit a double and
reached third base on Hideki Matsui’s base hit. The veteran catcher
reached home plate for another run but Derek Jeter grounded into a
double play. Hideki Matsui was out at second base.

The ninth
inning of Game 4 has become historical. It all began with Johnny Damon,
who on two out and two strikes hit a single on a battle against Brad
Lidge. With Mark Teixeira batting, Damon stole second then third base
that was left uncovered. Teixeira earned a base on hit by pitch. Damon
scored in that inning on A-Rod’s double.

Yet again, Damon on two
out and two strikes singled on a line drive to keep the line moving in
the last inning of Game 5. But the Phillies were on guard to keep the
wheels of Johnny Damon from going any further. With Teixeira in the
batter’s box, Ryan Madson made sure that the game would be closed. And
he did as Mark Teixeira struck out swinging.

The Philadelphia Phillies won Game 5 with 8-6 on board for the last game in Citizens Bank Park.

AJ Burnett and Cliff Lee both wear #34 on their uniform, but the Phillies’ ace was the prevailing pitcher of Game 5.

The
Fightin’ Phillies are pushing the World Series to Game 6 in Yankee
Stadium for a battle against the Bronx Bombers who are one win away for
their 27th World Series Championship title.

Also posted in Bleacher Report.