Here’s the set-up: Two outs, two strikes, bottom of the ninth inning. Joe Nathan is pitching for the Texas Rangers with a 5-4 lead over the Tampa Bay Rays. Nathan is stuck on 299 career saves. Home-plate umpire Marty Foster has a dinner bet riding on Nathan picking up number 300 tonight and his reservations are for 20 minutes after the final pitch.
OK, we made that last part up … or did we? Here’s where the pitch was relative to the strike zone (h/t MSimonESPN):
Foster’s call reeked so foul of dinner-reservation theories, he second-guessed himself.
“I saw the pitch and, of course I don’t have the chance to do it again, but if I did, I wouldn’t call that pitch a strike,” Foster told a pool reporter after the game. “Joe [Maddon, the Rays' manager] was not violent. Joe was very professional. He was frustrated and I understand. He acted probably the best he can under that situation.”
Nathan didn’t disagree.
“It’s pretty safe to say we got fortunate, but I’ve seen plenty of them go the other way,” Nathan noted diplomatically. “I threw the pitch where I wanted to. He just didn’t offer at it like I wanted him to. Did I draw it up this way for my 300th? No, but I’ll take it.”
Not only did Maddon tweet about it, he still hasn’t deleted the tweet a day later.
One Dodger fan has begun a crusade to get his beer.
The fan, Thomas Nagano, claims that he was charged for 24 ounces of beer but received less than that at Dodger Stadium when he attended a game this season. The video, which had about 500 views on YouTube when I checked it out this morning, explains the mix-up fairly clearly:
Nagano has already taken up his case with the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs. An isolated incident, or a sudsy scam on a seismic scale? Feel free to add your comment below.
The Marlins beat the Dodgers 8-6 today to win the weekend series. For a full recap and boxscore click here.
THE BARE ESSENTIALS:
Jason Schmidt was completely ineffective, allowing five runs in 3+ plus innings and earning the loss. Long reliever Jeff Weaver didn’t get the job done either, allowing three runs of his own in 3 innings. That put the Dodgers in a 8-0 hole.
.The Dodgers put up four runs in the sixth and two more in the ninth, but couldn’t rally all the way back. They put up 13 hits to the Marlins’ 11.
Spots 2-6 in the Dodgers order — Orlando Hudson, Andre Ethier, James Loney, and Kemp — went 9-for-18. Loney had 3 RBI.
Manny Ramirez had the day off with a sore left hand and didn’t pinch hit. Juan Pierre replaced him, batting ninth, and went 1-for-4.
Marlins starter Chris Volstad shut the Dodgers down through five innings, but he ran into trouble quickly in the sixth. A two-run homer by Russell Martin sent Fredi Gonzalez to the mound to pull him.
A ninth-inning rally that brought in two runs fell short when Matt Kemp popped out on a Leo Nunez fastball to end the game.
Randy Wolf (5-4, 3.45) and Chris Carpenter (8-3, 2.26) face off in St. Louis tomorrow as the Dodgers face a Cardinals team featuring new acquisition Matt Holliday.
The Dodgers beat the Marlins 4-3 tonight at Dodger Stadium. For a full recap and boxscore click here.
THE BARE ESSENTIALS:
Casey Blake won it with a walk-off single in the ninth with the bases loaded, two outs, and a 2-2 count. He was facing Marlins reliever Luis Ayala and hit a bloop pop-up that found a hole between second and center.
Hiroki Kuroda turned in only his second quality start this season, going six innings and giving up three runs.
The Dodgers won this one on the strength of their bullpen, as Guillermo Mota and Jonathan Broxton turned in spotless relief (only one walk and no hits allowed in three innings), and they scored three runs off a total of five Marlins relievers. Mota extended his scoreless innings streak to 19. Broxton got the win, his seventh.
Andre Ethier and Orlando Hudson each had three hits as Ethier continued his tear of late. Rafael Furcal went 2-for-5.
Marlins starter Rick Vandenhurk stymied the Blue, allowing a run in the first but shutting them down before exiting after five innings.
After 14 hits last night, Florida had only six Saturday. No Marlin had more than one hit.
Manny Ramirez went 1-for-5 and struck out in a key situation in the ninth.
Chris Volstad (7-9, 4.34) and Jason Schmidt (1-0, 5.40) tomorrow night in the rubber game of the three-game set.
The Marlins beat the Dodgers 6-3 tonight at Dodger Stadium to win the first game of a weekend series. For a full recap and boxscore click here.
THE BARE ESSENTIALS:
Clayton Kershaw wasn’t nearly as sharp as he has been in recent weeks, but he still turned in a quality start: 6 innings and two earned runs, with nine hits and three walks.
The bullpen lost it for the Dodgers, as James McDonald was charged with the loss and the Marlins scored three runs (their margin of victory) after Kershaw exited.
Only six hits for the Blue, and half of them were from Andre Ethier. Ethier drove in the two runs with a double in the sixth.
Wes Helms did it big for the Marlins, going 3-for-6 with an RBI and kick-starting the scoring off Kershaw. Florida ace Josh Johnson turned in a solid start: seven innings, seven baserunners, and three runs.
The Dodgers go back to 26 games above .500 at 61-35. Joe Torre said earlier this week that his next goal for the team is 30 games over.
Don’t look now, but bullpen newcomer Claudio Vargas has allowed just one run in seven innings pitched since his return on July 4.
Ramon Troncoso was a bit out of control in the eighth, hitting two batters and giving up three hits. He was charged with two runs.
Rick VandenHurk (1-0, 3.00 in one start) and Hiroki Kuroda (3-5, 4.73) tomorrow night in the second game of the series.