Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for August 16th, 2011

Baseball Update: Thome’s 600 HR, Brewers Triple Play, and Zambrano on DQ List

with 2 comments

Folks, we’ve had quite the season from my favorite team, the Milwaukee Brewers, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t start out with the story everyone’s talking about (no, not the Brewers’ triple play, though I’ll get to that in a bit): Jim Thome hit two home runs tonight, numbers 599 and 600, to bring him to the 600 HR club — and he’s only the eighth person in major league baseball history to do so.

Here’s a quote:

“To get it over with, what a sigh of relief,” he said. “You work so hard — obviously fought through some injuries all year long.”

But when healthy, he’s still as capable as anyone of putting a powerful swing on the ball.

Rodriguez needed two weeks to hit No. 600 after reaching 599 last year. Thome waited one inning.

After a lineout and a single in his first two at-bats, Thome lifted a drive to left-center off Rick Porcello(notes) in the sixth, breaking a 3-all tie. That homer went an estimated 412 feet. His 600th was shorter. For a moment, it appeared Young might have a chance to make a play on the ball, but Young—who was traded from the Twins to the Tigers earlier in the day—could only watch as his former teammate’s hit disappeared over his head.

Congratulations, Mr. Thome!  Way to go!

Next, we get to the Brewers triple play (only the sixth in team history), an unusual one — second to short to first to home (4-6-1-2) — which happened in the second inning.  First Josh Wilson at second grabbed the ball, shoveling it to shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt for the first out.  Betancourt threw it to Prince Fielder at first base to get the second out, then Fielder in a head’s up move threw it to catcher George Kotteras for the third out — Kotteras ably made a tag on a sliding Matt Kemp to complete the triple play. 

It was a lot of fun to watch, and has to be something I can honestly say I never expected to see from this year’s version of the Milwaukee Brewers infield, none of whom are known to be Gold Glove-caliber fielders. 

As for the rest of the game, the Brewers had four double plays in this game, one of ’em being a Prince Fielder (3) unassisted one in the ninth to cement the win.  The Brewers’ runs were all solo homers by Ryan Braun, Jonathan Lucroy (who pinch hit in the 8th) and Corey Hart.  John Axford finished the game with his 32nd consecutive save, a Brewers record he keeps adding to (he broke the old one four or five saves ago), and Randy Wolf got excellent run and defensive support for a change to bring his overall record to 10-8.  Dodgers’ pitcher Ted Lilly, who only gave up two hits in seven innings (both to Ryan Braun, one being Braun’s homer to get the Brewers on the board) took a very tough loss, dropping his record to 7-13.

Finally, we get to the third, and much less optimistic, story of the last weekend, that being of Carlos Zambrano’s unusual move of cleaning out his Cubs locker after getting ejected on Friday night for throwing two consecutive brushback pitches to Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones.  Zambrano had given up five home runs in that game, and from what I’ve read overall, was very upset that no one — not his catcher, not the pitching coach, not Cubs manager Mike Quade — came out to try to settle him down.  Zambrano has been since placed on the disqualified list (DQ list), meaning he will not be paid and cannot report back to the Cubs even if he wants to; the major league players association is appealing this decision.

Zambrano is known to have anger management issues, or in more practical terms, he’s fiery and a hothead.   But he’s never cleaned out his locker before, nor left his team in the middle of a season no matter how poorly the team was doing (and the Cubs have looked plenty bad this season with a 54-68 record, and are currently fifth in the NL Central division), probably because he’s one of the highest-paid pitchers around as the Yahoo Sports article goes on to say:

If the 30-year-old Zambrano really were to go through with retirement, he’d leave the $4.7 million he’s owed over the reminder of this season and the $18 million he’s scheduled to make next year. Then there’s the $19 million vesting option for 2013.

So far, Zambrano isn’t speaking directly, which is probably wise; baseball fans only know that the MLBPA is negotiating on Zambrano’s behalf.  While I have never really appreciated Zambrano’s antics on or off the mound, he’s an excellent pitcher when he’s concentrating, and I enjoy his sometimes-blistering comments (earlier this year he called the Cubs a AAA team, which was accurate if disloyal in the extreme, something that also amused the professional baseball reporters).  I hope for Zambrano’s sake that he’s able to take the time off to figure out why he got so angry, and work on himself in order to change it; if it’s solely due to how the Cubs were playing, or this other issue of no one being willing to help Zambrano calm down in the game that set him off to the point he cleared his locker out and left the team, maybe this “time out” will do Zambrano some good.


Update: a fourth story has just been posted, this one about the San Francisco fan who got beaten into a coma in Los Angeles at the start of the season.  According to Yahoo Sports, the fan’s doctor is optimistic about fan Bryan Stow’s chances of further recovery:

Bryan Stow is awake, breathing on his own, can move slightly and has been able to interact with his family, said Dr. Geoff Manley, the chief of neurosurgery at San Francisco General Hospital. However, Manley said it’s still unclear how far Stow’s recovery will take him.

“His ability to follow commands has greatly increased,” Manley said. “There have been a lot of ups and downs and we still don’t know where he’s going to plateau in terms of his recovery.”

Stow remains in serious condition and has many hurdles to overcome in dealing with his traumatic brain injury (TBI).  But this sounds good, much better than I’d expected due to the circumstances regarding how Stow was attacked in the first place.  Here’s hoping Stow defies the odds and comes all the way back.

Written by Barb Caffrey

August 16, 2011 at 1:00 am