Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thursday Wrap: Let's get ready to RUMBLE! Base-brawl in LA, struggling closers and welcome back Giancarlo Stanton

Quote of the Day:
"I don't think it ends there...yesterday, we showed that you can't mess with us."
-- Ronald Belisario

It was nothing but mayhem in Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night as five batters were plunked, two benches cleared, one big scuffle, a few punches thrown, five ejections and certain to be multiple suspensions coming up.  

We're going to get to that and more MLB action this week including Marco Scutaro's bent finger, Cincinnati's dominance at the Friendly Confines, a couple of closers struggling for big-budget teams and Gerrit Cole's big league debut goes just splendid.  

That and much more for today's baseball wrap, but first, Vin Scully's reaction to the benches clearing brawl on Tuesday night:  

Scully has been around for a while...he's probably seen better brawls.  #notimpressed 

Dodgers and D-Backs will finish this in Australia (No Seriously)  

It started when super-phenom-rookie Yasiel Puig (who we gushed over Tuesday) was nailed in the face by Arizona starter Ian Kennedy....actually, it probably started in September of 2011, when Gerardo Parra admired a home run against the Dodgers a little too long for Clayton Kershaw's liking, as he nailed Parra with a pitch the next day.  

Baseball players memories don't fade fast and the very next season, it was Ian Kennedy himself that threw at Clayton Kershaw, once behind and inside of him.  Later in the game, Kershaw threw one high and tight to Kennedy.  

You can argue about the DH rule all you want; critics love the matchups and strategy when pitchers bat, while supporters love the roster flexibility of the designated hitter and that they don't have to worry when a franchise pitcher slides head first into third.  But when pitchers bat...oh boy, if teams have bad blood, it can spill into a fracas like Tuesday.  

After Puig was nailed, Greinke put one right into the back numbers of Arizona cleanup hitter, Miguel Monterro.  Benches cleared, warnings were issued and the game resumed with few fireworks.  And so that's that, right?  Hit batter + retaliation = done deal.  But not to Ian Kennedy who fired one right into Greinke's right shoulder near the head.  That led to this, that we're showing you again. (note how these commentators aren't nearly as serene as Scully). won't let me embed, so ignore Cody Ross and click this pic/link
At the end, Kennedy, DBacks coach Turner Ward and Gibson were ejected along with McGwire, Puig and Belisario. Expect fines and suspensions to come soon.  First off, a few things I found both awesome and disturbing:

AWESOME: Don Mattingly takes down Alan Trammell.  

DISTURBING: Watching franchise gem Clayton Kershaw in the middle of the scuffle (x10 if you're a Dodger's fan) 

AWESOME:  Mark McGwire barks at Kirk Gibson while Matt Williams (yes, this Matt Williams) holds him back

DISTURBING: Seeing Greinke take a ball close to the head.  Whether or not Kennedy was trying to retaliate, if you're going to retaliate, do NOT throw at the head.  Never throw at the head.  Kennedy will be lucky if he doesn't get suspended for a while.  

AWESOME: Yasiel Puig shouting at the D-Back's in Spanish something that a translator will refuse to repeat.  

DISTURBING: Yasiel Puig injuring his shoulder apparently in the fracas.  

AWESOME: Was there ever a more legendary assembly of former big leaguers who wanted to throw down? Mattingly, Trammell, Gibson, McGwire, Matt Williams and Don Baylor all at one point or another looked like they wanted to, "insert themselves in the game and finish it on the  field" like one of my friends said.  They probably could do it too.  

AWESOME: Thinking about Carlos Quentin sitting somewhere, watching Greinke getting nailed with an evil smile

DISTURBING: Thinking about anyone who could have got hurt in the pile.  MLB should treat fights like hockey and have the two guys go at it until a judge breaks it up.  Plus a crowd of players blocks my view.  


Greinke was a punk for plunking Monterro, since I really think that Kennedy did not mean to hit Puig in the face.  So he may have deserved a ball to the butt...but not the face.  If Kennedy was throwing at Greinke's head, that's inexcusable and he should be suspended at least two starts.  What followed after was naturally part of what happens in a heated game with two foes that don't like each other.  In any case, the DBacks left town holding on to their NL West lead.  

In the meanwhile, MLB announced that the 2014 season will be opening in Australia and the two opponents...none other than the Diamondbacks and Dodgers.  It will be interesting to see what playing down under will be like for the squads.  I personally think that each manager will bring boomerangs and Aborigine spears to keep in the dugout...just in case.  

Australia?  That's a fine proposal mate, it's a good idea for a game looking to expand international appeal and something that Grant Balfor will love but call me old fashioned -- I like the idea of Opening Day being played in the home ballpark.  Watching the first pitch of the season being thrown in Australia, Japan or any other place Selig wants to expand.  And it has nothing to do with any Nationalistic attitudes.  But I think it's still America's pastime.  MERICA.  For baseball.  

Marco Scutaro may have bent pinkie "forever"

Before all you Giants fans start panicking, the official news is that Scutaro, after being hit by a pitch on the pinkie finger, was diagnosed with what's called a "mallet finger" which prevents them from straightening it out.  Scutaro now has a choice: he can be fitted with something that allows him to play.  That's obviously good but the downside is that it could keep the finger bent permanently.  His other choice is to treat the pinkie through a procedure that would leave the San Francisco infielder out at least six weeks.  He'll have to make a decision soon.  In the meantime, the Giants will try and keep pace with the D-Backs, sitting five and half behind Arizona and a game back of second place Colorado.  Get that finger straightened out soon Marco.  Literally.  

More Biogenesis news make me run out of Braun pictures to post

In more news from the Biogenesis scandal, a judge in Florida declined a motion to dismiss a suit against Carlos Acevedo, who both one of Tony Bosch's sidekicks and named in a civil suit by the MLB as baseball tries to get to the bottom of the Biogenesis clinic.  Lawyers had cited the MLB's tactics of intimidation and bullying as a primary reason for the motion.  

Yet the judge determined that the motion had no legs and it will force Bosch, Acevedo and three other defendants into a costly legal battle and also gives the MLB needed leverage as it gathers witnesses and evidence needed to suspend the suspected players.  Check in for more updates and send Ryan Braun pictures to our e-mail.  We're going to need them.  

Reds continue dominance at Wrigley. Apparently hate Old Style. 

When Dusty Baker goes on a revenge tour, he goes all out.  The Reds bested the Cubs again yesterday night, winning their 12th straight at the Friendly Confines with Todd Frazier hitting his first home run since April to pace Cincinnati.  With the win the Reds move to 40-26 on the season, the fastest the club has made it to 40 wins since 1995.  

Meanwhile the Cubs remain in the NL Central cellar though promising results are starting to show in places off the boxscore.  Tommy will probably have more on this later.  The  Reds have won 40 games, but 33 of those wins have come against teams with losing records.  They'll have to pick it up more with the tough part of the schedule coming up and the Pirates and Cardinals looking like legit contenders.  

Closer struggles: Brandon League out the door. Is Papa Grande next?  

There's always going to be noise from the media when a closer change is announced so I've got this dark conspiracy that Mattingly had his guys clear the dugouts and brawl on Tuesday so that it could overshadow the Dodgers changing their 9th inning guy.  Kenley Jansen will take over for the struggling Brandon League.  

Over in Detroit, fans have about had it with Jose Valverde after ruining a terrific Justin Verlander start by allowing a home run to Lorenzo Cain in the Tiger's 3-2 loss to the Royals yesterday.  While the options aren't so clear as a potential replacement for Valverde with prospect Bruce Rondon struggling with command and no one else with much closing experience, there's a nice flow chart over at Bless You Boys to help out Jim Leyland:  

At this point, as a Tiger's fan, I'll take anyone with an arm and hasn't given up five home runs already this season.  Help can't come soon enough for the fans in Detroit.  

Gerrit Cole's "welcome to the Show moment" goes pretty well

What else can we say?  The kid did not disappoint retiring 13 consecutive batters at one point in a 6-2 Pirates win against the Giants.  The top prospect allowed only two runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings with a high 90s fastball and showed command for strike zone that was beyond his 22 years.  It's safe to say that the kid has arrived. 

Welcome to the Show, Gerrit Cole.  It looks like you'll be here for a while.  And say hi to Brandon Crawford's sister for us.  Maybe she'll have to get a ridiculous Giants/Pirates split uniform like Brady Quinn's sister.  

Welcome Back Giancarlo Stanton

Giancarlo Stanton made the most of his return from the DL by doing what he knows how to do best: hit home runs.  Stanton blasted a two-out, two-run home run in the 8th inning off also-fresh-off-the-DL, Jim Henderson as the Marlins beat the Brewers, 5-4.  Stanton came off the DL Monday and immediately made an impact with his first home run since April.  Expect more to come.  

Welcome back Mr. Stanton.  Keep doing stuff like this:

That should do it for today, baseball freaks.  And one more gift for you today....

Adios and happy baseball to you...