Week 2ish Blog – Bryant Debuts

Welcome to my 2nd blog in my viewing of MLB Games this year. This blog starts on Wednesday 16th April and ends on Wednesday 23rd April.

Game 11

White Sox @ Indians – Game 1 – MLBTV via Chromecast – AS LIVE

Starters – Jose Quintana v Carlos Carrasco

Crew – Hawk and Stoney via WGN Sports

We are 2-4 coming into this game with our only wins against the Twins at home. We need to try and get back to .500 and this series could help us do that with the Indians missing both Brantly and Gomes due to injury.

Q struggled in his last start and had his 40th no decision since 2012 and hopefully I’ll get to see the Q of the last 2 seasons than the one that turned up on Wednesday night against the Royals.

Eaton does something he’s struggled to do so far this year and that is lead off with a base hit. Carrasco then took a line drive in the head from Cabrera and had to leave the game with what looks to be a bad one to the jaw. It’s a shame, especially with all the injuries that Cleveland have suffered this year. He is replaced by Zach McAllister.

The exit of Carrasco has left an eerie atmosphere to the game. A wild pitch advanced the runners and a ground ball out scored Eaton from 3rd and gave La Roche the RBI to give the Sox a 1-0 lead.

Avi Garcia brings home Cabrera with an RBI single and nearly takes off McAllister’s head in doing so. 2-0 Sox. Garcia then ends the inning by getting caught trying to take 2nd base with 2 outs.

Q strikes out Bourn with a slider which looked to be out of the zone and you could see Bourn is not happy with this. Normally when players show obvious dissent to the umpires, the strike zone tightens for them.

Some of the crowd shots in baseball are funny. In this game you had one fan shove another over a row of seats to get to a foul ball first. Its moments like that which give you light relief after a sad moment in the game.

A throwing error by Gillaspie allows Jose Ramirez to get on in the bottom of the third. He then promptly steals second. One thing I’ve noticed early doors is the sloppy defence shown by our infield, everyone apart from Alexei Ramirez seems to be making errors. Fortunately Quintana pitches out of it by striking out Bourn and getting Santana to fly out.

Flowers singled home Garcia after Garcia singled and Ramirez walked in the fourth,  Flowers seems to be hitting much better since he got his new glasses last summer. I still think he has a bit of the Clark Kent look about him. That hit took McAllister out of the game who pitched 3 innings and gave up 3 runs.

Sands singled in the 4th and moved over to second on a passed ball. Raeburn brings him home with a double. 3-1 Sox.

Abreu launches his second homer of the year to left field in the top of the 5th to give the Sox a 4-1 lead.

Q exits going 6 innings, 3 hits, 1 run.

Alexei Ramirez has a rare throwing error in the 7th but the Tribe couldn’t capitalise on it.

Zach Duke looked strong as he struck out the side in the eighth, he seems to be cementing his place as the Sox set up man in front of Robertson.

D-Rob closes out the game with 3 strikeouts. The White Sox pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts tonight with the pen accounting for 8 strikeouts in the last 3 innings.

Final Score – White Sox 4 Indians 1

The White Sox move to 3-4 on the season.

Spiggle Stats:- Full Games Watched 11, As Live games watched 6. Total hours. 32 hours

Jose Quintana

Jose Quintana

Game 12 – San Diego Padres @ Chicago Cubs – LIVE – MLBTV via Chromecast

Pitchers – James Shields v Jason Hammel

Crew – I chose Len Kasper on ABC 7. Cubs play by play man.

I chose this game live instead of the White Sox game on at the same time as it was Kris Bryant’s debut and I wanted to see a bit of potential history as I think he could end up being one of the best players in a Cubs uniform.

The Cubs come into this game off to a good start to the season and sit atop of the NL Central. The Padres were the big movers of the off-season and have a lot of people tipping them to make the play offs.

Theo Epstein has 2 pieces of the hitting jigsaw up currently with Javier Baez and Addison Russell bding their time in AAA Iowa awaiting a call-up. Madden has Hammel batting 8th and the 2nd baseman Herrera hitting 9th and its not the 1st time he’s done that this season.

Bottom of the first with the 1st two men out and Shields walks Rizzo, next up is Kris Bryant and Wrigley Field erupts in applause and is a sea of flashing lights. I was scared that Wrigley would fall over with all the excitement. Did the moment get to Bryant? You are damn right it did and he struck out on 3 pitches with the last pitch a mile out of the strike zone.

Shields never gave up a hit until the 3rd inning when the opposing pitcher Jason Hammel smacked a double out to left field. Herrera then bunted to move the pitcher to 3rd with no-one out and a throwing error by Shields scores the runner to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. You could see the Scrubs dancing with joy in the stands, a huge difference to the lifeless pithole that Wrigleyville normally is. Fowler advances Herrera to third with a ground ball and a Wild Pitch scores Herrera to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Shields then tightens up and pitches out of the inning.

In the top of the 4th, Alonso draws the walk and Will Middlebrooks (the Boston reject) hits one into the stands to tie the game.

Bryant is up in the bottom of the inning and strikes out yet again, he did see more pitches this time but it’s not the best of debuts for the overhyped youngster. That strikeout was Shield’s 7th through 4 innings. Bryant does flash some leather with a stunning catch at third in the top of the 5th.

Bottom of the 5th and the Cubs get a couple of runners with singles from Alonso and Fowler. Jorge Soler then singles to Right Field to score Herrera and advance Fowler to 3rd. 3-2 Cubs. Rizzo then brings Fowler home with a double and moves Soler to third, 4-2 Cubs. Runners are on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out and Bryant comes up, you can hear the expectation as the Cubs fans expect their saviour to bring both runners home. Unfortunately for the Delorian lovers, Bryant strikes out for the third time and the runners are left stranded after Coghlin grounds out to end the inning.

I have to admit that I took a bit of a doze for a few minute but when I woke up, I saw two runners on base and Will Myers spank the ball into the stands to give the Padres a 5-4 lead in the top of the seventh. There is a bit of controversy here as Madden comes out to give the umpires some hassle as he thought Myers should have been struck out with a pitch that looked to be inside the strike zone with 2 outs and is promptly ejected. There is no greater sight in baseball than watching Joe Madden take a hissy fit at the umpires, the way he does it is a work of art.

Dexter Fowler hits a double that gets stuck in the vines and is unplayable. Neither outfielder make an attempt to play it and thrust their arms in the air. Fowler continues on to run past home base.

Dave Martinez tried to con the umpires into giving an inside the park Home Run but the umpires take the common sense approach and award the double after getting the Video Vamps in New York to review the play. Its this reason that they should take a match to the Vines at Wrigley.

Rizzo then strikes out and the Padres walk Rizzo to get to Bryant and get to Bryant they did as he ground out to leave the two runners on base. Bryant finished 0-4 with 3 strikeouts, not the best debut but the only way is up for him now.

Benoit and Kimbrel close out the game to give the Padres a squeaky bum win.

Final Score – Padres 5 Cubs 4.

Spiggle Stats:- Full Games Watched 12, Live games watched 6. Total hours. 35 hours

Kris Bryant

Kris Bryant

Game 13 – White Sox @ Indians – AS LIVE via Chromecast

Starters – Johnny Danks and Trevor Bauer

Crew – Hawk and Stoney via COMCAST

The Sox are 3-4 going into this after winning 3 in a row. This game was shown on Wednesday but due to life issues and watching the Cubs game last night, I’m watching this on a Saturday night. This is Jackie Robinson day where everyone honours the first black player in baseball by wearing his number which is 42

I’m feeling hopeful as this is the last game in a brief 2 game series.

John Danks is an interesting case. He’s probably sitting in the top 3 in salary for the Sox and was worth it when he signed his contract. Not long after he signed it, he got injured and went for surgery which has reduced the speed of his fastball from 97mph to around 93 mph. Danks more features his breaking stuff as he is now relearning pitching.

Last season he was guilty of leaving too many balls up in the zone and suffered by giving up a lot of home runs. My favourite memory of Danks was when he pitched the 2008 black out against the Twins and pitched the game of his life to shut out the Twins in Game 163 for the White Sox to advance to the play offs. Its also Danks 30th Birthday on the day of this game.

Both pitchers are very good through the 1st 2 innings with Bauer’s changeup locating well and Danks keeping the ball down in the zone. 0-0 through 3.

Danks gives up a pair of singles in the bottom of the 3rd. Ramirez sac bunts the runners over to have runners at 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. Aviles bring the runner at home with an rbi groundout to 2nd. Danks then walks the next hitter and Kipnis flies out to left to end the inning. 1-0 Tribe.

Bauer gives up his 1st hit in the top of the 4th to Abreu. Bauer follows this up by walking La Roche. Alexei then singles to load the bases for Shuck who pops it up to 3rd and Soto strikes out waving at some pitches well out of the zone.

Sands singles with one out in the bottom of the forth. Ryan Raeburn hits a double next at bat to put the runners on 2nd and 3rd. Lonnie Chisenhall bring both runners home with a double to Right Field to give the Indians a 3-0 lead.

Danks walks Kipnis, who then steals a base and is promptly brought home by an RBI single. Danks is then removed from the game going 4.2 innings, giving up 4 runs over 6 hits. You could see Danks tiring and unlike the last game, Ventura learned his lesson and replaced him with Albers.

Top of the sixth and La Roche hits a single, which is followed by a double by Gillaspie to put the runners at 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. Alexei grounds out to Second to score La Roche to make it 4-1 to the Tribe. Shuck hits a single to bring Gillaspie home to make it 4-2.

Bauer gets taken out of the game going 6 innings and giving up 2 runs and he threw very well.

I tend to do some thinking whilst watching the game and my thoughts here is that hitters 9,1 and 2 continue to struggle and if we are going to do anything this season we need Eaton and Cabrera to produce and to get something from Micah. We can’t continue the season with 1 third of your lineup with silent bats.

Gillaspie and Alexei get on base in the top of the 8th but Shuck is unable to bring them home.

The Tribe brought in their closer Cody Allen who walked Soto then hit Micah Johnson to put 2 on with no-one out. Eaton then strikes out bunting, very poor efforts and he finishes 0-5 for the day. Allen is able to pitch out of it with the save and some crisp defence from Ramirez and the Sox lose 4-2.

Spiggle Stats:- Full Games Watched 13, As Live games watched 7. Total hours. 38 hours

Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer

Game 14 – White Sox @ Tigers – Game 1 – Friday Game – AS LIVE via Chromecast / MLBTV

Starters – Jeff Samardzija and David Price

Crew – Hawk and Stone – COMCAST

I’m a couple of days behind in games and I sit down to watch this on Sunday night. I chose to watch the Cubs game live on Friday night instead of this one due to Bryant’s debut and I’ve just found out that we’re calling up Rodon for the Cleveland Series.

We go into this series 3-5, having played 5 of the opening 8 games on the road with another 3 games away to Detroit before its back to the Cell on Monday. I normally say if we can either win or lose 2-1 on the road and let the home series take care of themselves, that should be enough to give us a shot in September. Our issue is that we opened the season 0-4 and are still playing catch up and we now face one of the best 5 left handed starters in baseball in David Price. Currently, I rank him 4th behind Kershaw, Sale and Bumgartner.

A couple of interesting roster notes here. V-Mart is sitting out after a minor injury and Bonafacio starts at 2nd base for the 1st time for the Sox after Micah being shite so far.

There was no commentary to start the game as Price pitched a 1-2-3 9 pitch inning to start the game.

The commentary returned for the bottom of the inning (although I suspect some people who don’t like the Hawk probably cheered) and Gose walked to start it. Kinsler is then safe at first on fielders choice and Cabrera moves the runner to third with a double that just missed leaving the yard. JD Martinez is then struck out and Cespedes grounds out to leave the runners stranded.

Avi Garcia leads off the 2nd against his former team with a Solo Homer to Right Field. 1-0 Sox.

Top of the third, Anthon Gose singles and Rajai Davis would have grounded into a double play but booted it for an error and runners are safe on 1st and 3rd with no-one out. Kinsler taps one to third and Beckham gets the man at the plate to save the run, then Cabrera grounds into a double play after an outstanding play by Beckham.

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2015_04_17_chamlb_detmlb_1&mode=video&content_id=77107283&tcid=vpp_copy_77107283

Top of the fourth and Cespedes hits a monster to left field to tie the game.

Sixth inning and Samardzija having one of the best games of the season so far and is hitting 96mph on the gun with his Fastball.

Price is also pitching well and he’s hitting 95mph in the 8th with his heater.

Price went 8 innings, giving up just that 1 home run to Avisail Garcia.

Samardzija also went 8 innings only giving up 1 run and Zach Duke comes on in relief.

Castellanos leads off with a double, it looked as if Alexei tagged him, the umpire called him safe and Robin stupidly never challenged, nothing to lose and he went up and spoke to the umpires and then never challenged it. Hawk thought he missed the tag but it looked to me as if he got him.

Aviles sac bunted him to third and Iglesius brought them home with a walk off single. A sore loss after a fine pitching effort by both starting pitchers, you’ll struggle to see a better pitching match up all season.

Final Score – Tigers 2 White Sox 1

Spiggle Stats:- Full Games Watched 14, As Live games watched 8. Total hours. 40 hours 20 mins

Yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes

Game 15 – White Sox at Tigers – AS LIVE – MLBTV via Chromecast

Starters – Chris Sale and Anabel Sanchez

Crew – Hawk and Stone

Its Sale Saturday and I’m watching on Monday night. I get very excited when Sale is pitching as I know the tough lefty will produce. Rodon has definitely been called up along with Petricka and will pitch out of the pen starting tonight.

Interesting stat for BlackMick. The last two times the Tigers went 9-1 to start the season, they won the World Series. Could be worth a bet?

Cabrera hits a single in the top of the first and Abreu hits a double with 1 out to put the runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. La Roche strikes out and Avi Garcia grounds out to end the inning scoreless.

Rajai Davis leads off with a double to start the inning. Cabrera brings home Davis with an RBI single and ends up at 2nd after a throwing error to home plate. 1-0 Tigers.

Adam Eaton walks and then steals a base with one out which is about as much as he has done all year. Melky then doubles to tie the game and score his first RBI of the year which tells you exactly our woes in the number 9,1 and 2 positions in the line-up.  Abreu then bloops a single to short centre and moves Cabrera to third with 1 out.  La Roche brings them all home with a 3 run home run to Right Field and hit the Tyreman canopy to put the Sox up 4-1, mercy.

Top of the fourth and both Ramirez and Flowers single,  Micah walks and Sanchez hits Eaton but after an umpire review, Eaton is called out. Cabrera singles to score Ramirez and make it 5-1 Sox. Jose Daniel Abreu then hits the ball over the fence in left field with a Grand Slam to give the Sox a 9-1 lead and what has to guarantee a win with Sale on the mound. I love Sale Saturdays.

Sanchez exits after 3.1 innings giving up 9 runs on 9 hits. He really struggled in this game.

La Roche then singles on an infield hit and Avi Garcia follows this up with a base hit to left field. The Sox hitters are really feasting on the Tigers pitching in this game. A wild pitch then advances the runner a base with one out and Gillaspie singles to bring home La Roche and put the Sox up 10-1. Alexei then hits a sac fly to left field to score Avi Garcia and its 11-1 Sox and Flowers pops up to right field to end the inning and the Sox score 7 runs to put the game out of sight in the fourth.

Bottom of the fourth and JD Martinez hits a solo homer to Right Field to make it 11-2.

Top of the fifth and singles by Micah and Melky and La Roche drives home Micah with a double to Right Field and its 12-2 Sox. Due to how much of a no-contest this is, the fun has kind of went out of it. I’m enjoying watching our hitters break out but to be winning by this score is not reflective on how bad we have been at times and how good the Tigers have been at times this season.

Sale goes 6 innings giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and looked masterful.

Bottom of the Eighth and Romine hits a double off of Kyle Drabeck with 2 outs. Drabeck then walks Aviles and a Nick Castellanos single drives Romine home to make it 12-3.

Final Score White Sox 12 Tigers 3

Spiggle Stats:- Full Games Watched 15, As Live games watched 9. Total hours. 43 hours 20 mins

Jose Abreu

Jose Abreu

Game 16 – Cleveland Indians @ Chicago White Sox – AS LIVE – MLBTV via Chromecast

Starters – Trevor Bauer and Johnny Danks

Crew – Hawk and Stone on WGN My 50

Ok. I’m playing a bit of catch up here and am interrupting the previous game that I was watching for Rodonwatch. After Carlos Rodon was called up, this is the first potential game that the rookie left hander can make his debut in. He is wearing number 55 for the Sox and he was called up along with Jake Petricka. To make room Kyle Drabek was DFA’d and Javy Guerra was placed on the DL. Our pen looks decent now with Rodon, Duke and Jennings (lefties) and Petricka, Putnam and Albers (Righties) with Robertson closing. We also still have Jesse Crain and Nate Jones rehabbing and they could both be available at around the All-Star break.

Its Rodon Day and with Danks on the mound, I’m really optimistic about this game and hope that the call up for Rodon will give the Sox a boost. Soto seems be settled in now as Danks catcher after catching the last couple with him.

It looks cold out there. Melky Cabrera looks like he’s about to steal a handbag from an old Granny.

Bauer walks Eaton to lead off the 1st. Abreu then singles to put runners on 1st and 2nd with one out but the Sox can’t take advantage of it.

Top of the 2nd Hawk’s “Sox Killer” Ryan Raburn slugs one into the left field stands to give the Tribe a 1-0 lead.

Top of the Third, Mike Aviles walks. A double from Brantley scores the runner and he ends up at third after a double clutch by Avi Garcia in Right Field.  2-0 Tribe

I just found out that Kelvim Herrera got a 5 game ban for throwing at the head of Brett Lawrie after warnings were given. I’ve seen the highlights (or lowlights) of the game and he misses with the 1st attempt at throwing at Lawrie and his second attempt just misses his head. Now, as many of you know, I love it when players take justice into their own hands and plunk hitters in the back or behind, where I draw the line is when they throw at their heads. This affects their livelihoods and can cause brain damage if the throw hits the wrong place. Herrera has appealed the ban and I hope they give him more.

Ironically, the Royals have either thrown at or started brawls in 3 of the 4 series they’ve played this year after they threw at La Roche, then stared down and tried to brawl with Trout and now trying to throw at the head of Lawrie. Its good to see MLB take action against the Royals who are a good team that don’t need to resort to bully boy and dirty tactics, especially tactics that could injure players seriously.

Bottom of the third and Micah hits a single and then steals his second base of the season. Adam Eaton then walks and we get our first sighting of Carlos Rodon sitting in the Sox pen. Eaton is out on a Fielder’s choice and runners are on first and third with 1 out. Francona challenges the safe call at 1st base and he wins the challenge and it changes to a runner on third with 2 out. Abreu then flies out to the short stop and can’t bring the runner home.

Bottom of the 4th and Gillaspie just misses a homer and hits a 2 out double to Right Field. Ramirez strikes out and is unable to bring the runner home.

Top of the 5th and Brett Hayes leads off with his 1st hit of the year and dingers out to left field to extend the Tribe’s lead to 3-0

Top of the 6th and Raburn doubles off Danks and the Danks walks Jerry Sands. Coop comes out as Danks has his normal 6th inning struggles. The visit from Coop works as Danks pitches out of it.

Danks goes 6 innings 6 hits, 3 runs, best outing so far for him.

Bauer goes 7 innings, 4 hits and 0 runs and was outstanding. I’m glad to see the back of him.

I’ve also found out that there will be a couple of debuts tonight with Kevin Palwecki making his 1st start as catcher for the Mets and Addison Russell making his debut at short-stop for the Cubs. If Rodon pitches tomorrow, then it could be three.  If that happens, then its 3 of the Top 75 MLB prospects as per MLB.com all making their debut on the same night. I wonder when the last time that happened was?

Going into the 9th 3-0 down here and we’ve really struggle offensively so far this year.

Avi Garcia doubles with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Gillaspie then walks. A wild pitch advances the runners a base. Alexei smacks a double off the centre field wall to score runners and the Sox trail 3-2. Flowers then hits a single to left field and Ramirez moves to third. Beckham then singles to tie the game. Seriously, who is this Beckham, last year he would have ground into a double play.

Adam Eaton singles to load the bases for Melky Cabrera who singles in Flowers for the walk off win. What a comeback. SOX WIN! SOX WIN! SOX WIN!

Final Score – White Sox 4 Indians 3

Spiggle Stats:- Full Games Watched 16, As Live games watched 10. Total hours. 46 hours

Adam Eaton

Adam Eaton

Game 17 – Cleveland Indians @ Chicago White Sox – BT Sport – ESPN – AS LIVE

Starters – Corey Kluber v Chris Sale

Crew – Hawk and Stone

This is a smashing pitching match up. Last years CY Young winner Corey Kluber versus the Shark. The Shark looked outstanding in his last outing versus David Price and looks to up his game when facing the better pitchers and he is facing no better than Corey Kluber who was the strikeout king and CY Young Winner last year.

I’m watching this after the Livi v Hibs game and its still going on probably as I start the game, so I don’t know the score. I’ll pick up the Rodon debut in the next blog as the Sox don’t have a game until the middle of the night. The good news is that Ryan Raburn is not in the Indians line up.

This is Ventura’s 500th game as manager. It feels like more.

Abreu hits a bomb for his 5th Humdinger of the season. 1-0 Sox. La Roche follows this with a base hit. Kluber strikes out 3 but not Abreu who hits one out.

Samadzijia struggles in the third but pitches around it leaving the bases loaded and giving up no runs.

Eaton leads off the third with a double. Melky gets hit on the back of the head after a foul ball to 1st. Next pitch Cabrera singles to advance Eaton to 3rd. Abreu then ground into a double play and the runner scores to make it 2-0 Sox. Avi then hits a 2 out base hit after La Roche walks but the White Sox fail to capitalise further.

In each of the innings so far the Shark has had runners on base but has pitched around them. He has 85 pitches pitched after 4, could be a few innings for the pen.

La Roche leads off with a single hit over the shift. Avi is then safe at first on a fielders choice in the top of the sixth. Gillaspie doubles to put runners at 2nd and 3rd. A wild pitch scores Garcia. 3-0 Sox.

The Shark exits after 6 innings giving up no runs.

Micah leads off the bottom of the seventh with a bloop hit and a wild pitch advances Micag to 2nd. Eaton hits aa base hit to left field to move Micah to 3rd. Melky brings Micah home with a single. 4-0 Sox. Abreu then hits a 2 run double to left field to make it 6-0.

Kluber departs after 6 innings giving up 6 runs.

In the ninth is the 1st appearance of the year for Petricka. He was one of the few bright spots of last year’s pen. Petricka starts by walking Perez. Petricka pitches around it to complete the shut out.

Final Score White Sox 6 Indians 0

Spiggle Stats:- Full Games Watched 17, As Live games watched 11. Total hours. 48 hours 30 mins

Corey Kluber

Corey Kluber

I’ve now watched the equivalent of two full days of baseball and its not even May yet.

Its been a strange week with some bad offensive struggles for the Sox, Samardzija finding his groove, the debut of Kris Bryant and the dirty dirty Royals. I only hope I have as much to write about in my next blog. Adios Amigos until next time.

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