Baseball is a funny game. People say that it’s a game of inches, but that’s not true. It’s not a game of inches, it’s actually a game of centimeters. There are many situations where this is true, there are many situations where this is not true, it just depends on the situation. This was especially true in today’s baseball game for Max Scherzer, which was particularly ineffective and drawn out, like a really bad Brad Penny start from last year, only it’s this year and instead of Brad Penny, it’s Max Scherzer. In short, Max Scherzer could have pitched better. He could have not been as wild as he was, as it would have not only helped out in getting the Yankee batters out, but it would have given the home plate umpire Rob Drake more of a reason to call the close pitches strikes.
Witness Brooks Baseball’s location map for Scherzer.
I count perhaps six pitches that Scherzer threw in the strike zone that were called balls; I count nine for Sabathia. There’s little Rob Drake did different between both pitchers, so the excuse that Max wasn’t given the benefit of the doubt isn’t even a valid argument. Sabathia should riot! Nine pitches! That’s three full strikeouts!
Besides, it’s not as if Scherzer is a rookie pitcher with no experience. Scherzer has been up in the big leagues for years. He’s going to get a call just the same as Sabathia is going to get a call. But there’s no way Drake is even going to entertain the idea of giving him a call when he’s all over the place. Look at the green! Normally green is good, but this time green is so, so bad.
I’d have more of a running commentary about this, but I’ve really said all that there needs to be said. You can make excuses for Scherzer just as you can make an excuse for any situation (here we are using the word situation again) but baseball is a funny game that doesn’t recognize the word momentum just as Scherzer doesn’t recognize the word “effective”.
I wish he would change it up a bit and fit some word learnin’ into his day. Maybe that way he would learn to be effective, because he’s been anything but this year. Oh well, how about I change it up and go without the bullet holes today. In fact I may change it up even more and wear a different pair of pants tomorrow. Stay tuned!
First Inning: Brennan Boesch hit a one out double off of Yankee starter CC Sabathia after Austin Jackson struck out looking, but Miguel Cabrera grounded out to short stop and Prince Fielder caused a mini-hurricane when he swung right through Sabathia’s 82mph slider. After everyone recovered and the Red Cross cleaned up, Max Scherzer took the Yankee Stadium mound for the third time in his career and promptly walked Derek Jeter on five pitches, all fastballs. Curtis Granderson, he of 48 home runs since the beginning of 2011, bunted the future hoffer (yes I typed that on purpose) over to second for the first out. Scherzer sure appreciated that gift of an out, since he would soon prove that getting outs is something very hard to do. Scherzer walked the next batter, Alex Rodriguez on six pitches and then on a pair 2-1 pitches, was given another couple gifts from Robinson Cano, and Mark Teixeira as they both grounded out to end the inning. Scherzer threw 13 four seam fastballs, 6 Change ups, and 3 Sliders that inning.
Second inning: By the time he walked back to the dugout and take a drink of water, he had to go back out and pitch again as Brad Eldred grounded out to third and both Ryan Raburn and Ramon Santiago struck out swinging. Scherzer came out an emulated Sabathia to start his half of the inning by striking out Nick Swisher. He then walked Raul Ibanez on five pitches and gave up a single to Eric Chavez. After Chris Stewart popped up for the second out, Jeter took a 2-2 fastball that looked like an easy strike three, however the home plate umpire Rob Drake decided it wasn’t and the count became 3-2. Jeter then hit an infield single that Santiago saved from going into the outfield and therefore a run from scoring but Granderson walked, and Rodriguez hit another infield single to make it 2-0 Yankees before Cano struck out swinging.
Third inning: After Gerald Laird flied out, Danny Worth struck out and Jackson lined out, Scherzer was back out somehow nursing a two run deficit even though he had allowed seven runners on base in the first two innings. He allowed two more in the third, both on walks, but the Yankees stranded both runners.
Fourth inning: After Boesch and Cabrera made easy outs for Sabathia, Prince Fielder took a hanging breaking ball into the right field seats for his first home run since April 7th. You can watch it here it true gif form if you’d like, but your eyes are cheaters and you probably already watched it since it was right below this sentence.
We’ll just assume that Brad Eldred grounded out, which is what he did, since that is what he did all afternoon. In the Yankees bottom half of the inning, Scherzer didn’t walk anyone. He did give up a home run to Granderson, so it’s good he didn’t walk anyone, especially before he gave up the home run, or else the Yankees lead would be more than three. The home run wasn’t even the highlight of the play though: Austin Jackson leaped at the center field fence, reached far over the fence, and snow-coned the ball in the same moment that he hit the wall and the white fence. The ball fell out of his glove but he came within centimeters of making one of the greatest catches you’ll ever see.
Fifth inning: Down by three, Raburn led off the inning with a groundout, Santiago followed him with a fly ball to left and after Gerald Laird walked Danny Worth lined out to end the inning. Typing this I began feeling like there was little ‘oomph’ to the sentence and thought about adding some action words to the paragraph, but since there was nothing actionable about the Tigers fifth, I left those plain boring words be. Scherzer got two outs in the bottom of the fifth, but that was in between a walk and two more singles and so with the bases loaded, Jim Leyland brought in Luke Putkonen to face Granderson. It was probably due to the fact that Scherzer was at 119 pitches. Putkonen managed to get the former Tiger to ground out to end the inning, and even though the Yankees were up 3-0 they had left 11 men stranded on base through the first five.
Sixth inning: After Jackson grounded out to open the sixth against Sabathia, who unlike Scherzer had made it through five innings quite easily, gave up a single to Brennan Boesch and then a double to Miguel Cabrera to make it 3-2. Think about this. After that double, the Tigers had four total runners on base. The Yankees had 13 base runners in five innings. The score was 3-2. There’s something here that relates to the law of averages and it doesn’t connect. There’s also something that relates to the metaphor where you load a ton of baseballs into a cardboard box, get it a little wet, and then keep loading baseballs into it. It’s going to break at some point, which is what the Yankees were doing with runners on base. But it didn’t happen in the sixth, even though they had three more base runners. (That’s 14 left on base, 17 total base runners if you’re keeping score at home).
Seventh inning: The Tigers 6-7-8 hitter did what they had practiced all day and went down 1-2-3 and with the Putkonen still on the mound loading baseballs into the wet cardboard box, the inevitable was inching closer. Stewart and Jeter reached on a walk and a single and Granderson launched a curveball that landed ten feet short of a home run. Both runner tagged, and when Alex Rodriguez grounded to short, Santiago threw home, well ahead of the runner. But Stewart got his foot in under the tag and Rob Drake called him safe, which he was and a ball fell out of the cardboard box. Collin Balester replaced Putkonen and allowed a sacrifice fly to Cano to make the score 5-2 Yankees before retiring Teixeira to end the inning. But this what happens when you keep loading the box, a few are bound to fall out a score.
Eighth inning: Ok, so enough with the painful metaphor. In fact, enough with this painful game, although it probably would have been even more painful if the Tigers had 15 runners left on and 20 total base runners, Tiger fans hate stranding runners! Anyway, Danny Worth walked to lead off the eighth, but Jackson, Boesch, and Cabrera all stranded him to leave the score 5-2 Yankees. Andruw Jones homered in the bottom half of the inning but that was it, in fact, it was basically a 1-2-3 inning if you take away the leadoff home run. Hey, minor improvements for Monday’s game!
Ninth inning: Fielder grounded out, Eldred struck out, and Dirks, who was probably that really annoying kid in middle school who kept pestering everyone over and over again to play dodge ball, fouled off six pitches in a nine pitch at bat, but eventually struck out to end the game.
If you can stomach it, here’s the Gameday/Boxscore.
- Oh, and I’ll be on vacation until next weekend but don’t worry, you’ll have just as much abrasive Tigers coverage from Alex, Rob, Brian, and Grey all week!
- Hah! I ended up throwing two bullet holes in there just for good measure.