Wednesday following a win… almost anything could happen…. Though imagine the pressure on me if yesterday had yielded a four game losing streak.
The 35th game in 1966 found the Braves at 15-19 and 8 games out of first, ie pretty much where most of us thought the Braves would be about this time this year instead of where they are. The Braves went into Forbes Field and beat the Pirates 4-2 before 7,642 paying spectators. Ken Johnson threw a complete game. Forbes Field was easily the most interesting NL park of my youth. When it opened (well before my youth) the dimensions were 360 to left, 462 to center and 376 to right. You needed steroids just to see all the way to the fence. By the time the 60’s rolled around, the park was 365 down the left field line, 406 to the alley, 457 to center (where the batting cage was left in play) 375 right center and 300 feet down the right field line. The symmetry of Atlanta Stadium was way boring.
Both teams had Alous leading off. The Braves batted Aaron 3rd (he homered and doubled in 4 trips) while the Bucs countered with Roberto Clemente (1-4 with a double and an RBI). Rico Carty replaced Joe Torre in this game at catcher, something I do not recall at all, but B-Ref informs me that the The Beeg Boy played catcher in 17 games in a 15 year career, all of them in 1966. It’s hard today to picture any team using an emergency catcher in 17 games in a single season.
Back to the future. New parks vary dimensions to hearken back to the days of parks like Forbes Field, but the old fields weren’t trying to be cute or quirky for some lame nostalgic reason (looking at you, unlamented and gone Tal’s Hill in Houston) but because, well, it was just the way things were: old Ponce de Leon Park had a tree in center field. And then we have parks like The Trop, whose ground rules look like a San Francisco Zoning Manual. (Acuña had his first error when he lost one in the ceiling.) I don’t have much else to say about Tampa Bay except that they are the only MLB team named after a body of water.
I was a little worried that pulling out of the Iranian deal would have spillover effects for Julio Teheran. But not early on… Julio Teheran apparently learned a lot from his brief time with Big Sexy – he has picked up the vaunted Colon velocity as a stratagem, and it works, at least against the Rays. The Rays pitched Raya Yarbrough, which I was really psyched about since I really liked her 2008 self-titled first album (https://www.amazon.com/Raya-Yarbrough/dp/B000W6QCG8) , and I had kind of lost track of her career and hadn’t realized she’d gone into baseball (and I don’t watch Outlander.) What I learned is that she should have kept to the music career, since if you can’t avoid giving up 3 run homers to Nick Markakis you probably shouldn’t be a pitcher. But take that pitch away and she pitched pretty well for 5 innings.
So it’s 5-0 going into the first real threat in the bottom of the 4th with a leadoff single and double. But JT followed with 2 strikeouts and a 6-3, mixing his 89 mph fastball with 70 mph curve balls. He was done after 6: 93 pitches, 62 strikes, NO WALKS, 7 Ks. Sam pitched an inning, which then led to the next crisis, as Peter Moylan loaded the bases with one out leading to another high-leverage AJ Minter appearance. He struck out Miller, but Wilson Ramos got a single past Culberson to break up the shutout. Arodys pitched another low-leverage 9th, uneventfully though not unscathed. Three run homers and six innings of hibernation… Yet another Wednesday win – 21-14, 1st place. Let me know if y’all need anything else.
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