Tagged: Dallas Braden

Twins Snap Skid, Beat A’s in Extra Innings

The Twins entered play Friday night having dropped three straight to the Seattle Mariners.  Well, they recovered, and they won, 5-4, in eleven innings.  Yes, the Twins had to go extra innings in a game that looked like it might go easily for the Twins but which ended up looking really…hard for them.

(A more succinct game recap is available at “Twinkie Town.”)

Justin Morneau’s two-run home run in the top of the first off of A’s lefty Dallas Braden got things started on the right foot, and Twins’ starter Scott Baker pitched well.  

A’s starter Dallas Braden got himself in trouble in the top of the sixth, when the Twins strung some hits together, Mauer scoring on a Jason Kubel single, and Morneau scoring on a double by Delmon Young.  
Baker looked like he had things well in hand.
Uh, not so much.
Two late home runs by Kevin Kouzmanoff, in the seventh, and Rajai Davis, in the eighth, tied up the ballgame.  The second, by Davis, was a line drive rocketed out of left field off a total “cookie” by Baker, a hanging 80 mph breaking pitch, dead center of the plate at slightly below belt level, a pitched that begged to be slaughtered.  Davis complied with the ball’s wishes, and Baker was done for the night.
A’s relief ace Andrew Bailey offering the Oakland faithful little, if any, relief.  Thanks to leftfielder Greg Gross misplaying a Moreau fly to left into a double, the Twins finally had a leadoff man aboard.  One batter later, Delmon Young flicked a single down the rightfield line to both put the Twins up 5-4 and contribute .276 WPA.  Despite a blown pickoff attempt that sent Young to second with one out, Bailey managed to limit further damage.
Rauch came on for the Twins, and while Kurt Suzuki singled with two outs, bringing Three True Outcomes poster-boy Jack Cust to the plate.  Cust did not disappoint, striking out to end the game, and the Twins won.
The MLB.com game wrap is here, and WPA charting is here.
Baker ended up with a negative WPA (-.134) for the game since he surrendered a late game-tying home run that just about snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.  The Twins’ big contributors were Delmon Young (.340), who drove in the winning run, and Justin Morneau (.331), who homered and scored three runs, including the winning run.  Twins’ reliever Matt Guerrier contributed .283 WPA in two innings of hitless relief.  Rajai Davis of the A’s registered at .191 WPA after his game-tying blast.
The Twins face off against the A’s tonight at 8:05 CDT, with Francisco Liriano starting for the Twins and Trevor Cahill starting for the A’s
Go Twins.

Braden’s Perfection: Reaction

Braden’s perfecto received an interesting challenge in the 5th, when Evan Longoria attempted a bunt (!) that rolled foul.  Follow the link for an interesting discussion of the propriety of this move, though I think that the 5th inning is awfully early for the crowd to start booing an attempt to get on base.  In the 9th, I get it, but in the 5th, come on, the man’s just doing his job.

Olberman concedes that the perfect game may just confirm that it really is Braden’s mound, and columnist Mike Bauman at MLB.com thinks the perfect game now speaks for Braden, concluding:

So it could be argued that Braden did the Yankees a favor on Sunday, taking some of the luster off the terrific start Tampa Bay has had to the 2010 season, giving New York a helping hand in the American League East standings.

But he did himself a larger favor. The name Dallas Braden will no longer be primarily connected to the notion that “he was the guy who didn’t want A-Rod on his mound.”

For now and all the times to come in which baseball is played, Braden will be known as a man who threw a perfect game. As even Rodriguez said: “Good for him.”

Hmm, nice symmetry in the argument, especially by finishing up the piece with a gracious quote from A-Rod.  
I am still of the opinion that A-Rod was right about one thing only, and not something he should be proud of: as my friend (and fellow fantasy player in the For Keeps league and a pretty good former high school pitcher) Joe H. wrote me, Braden, during the dust-up following his blowup at Rodriguez, should have conceded that, no, he hadn’t done all the things A-Rod has done in baseball, including, uh, cheating by taking steroids.  Yeah, yeah, a cheap shot, but A-Rod almost begs for them, doesn’t he?
I think Justin Klugh at “Call to the Pen” sums it all up best in his post titled “The ******* Side of Baseball,” with the money shot quote saying, 
Look, A-Rod is an *******.  There’s not really any denying that.  If anybody is going to be unaware of baseball etiquette, it’d be him.  I imagine even Yankees fans are aware of his penchant for testing the limits of acceptable play, but accept him regardless, due to what he contributes to the lineup.  It happens all over sports.

See, in some cases you don’t even have to be good to just be a universally accepted subpar human being.  So Dallas Braden is not at fault for assuming A-Rod was just being A-Rod.

But, the difference here is that Dallas Braden is also an *******.  We just didn’t know it.  He had to clear his throat and wave his hand in the air to be noticed, and that wasn’t going to happen if he just let A-Rod trot all over his mound.  So, he garnered himself some attention and had that spotlight when, weirdly enough, he threw a perfect game.  The two events aren’t really related, just… close tog

What we wind up with is two ******** who wanted to out-******* each other, with the chest-bumping or knuckle-touching or whatever it is they do in the 209 taking a back seat as, out of the blue, the 19th perfect game ever thrown in baseball happens.

The piece concludes with one of my favorite scenes from a baseball movie: Tom Hanks, in A League of Their Own, emphasizing that there’s “no crying in baseball,” something both of these guys did a lot of…yet, I’m still convinced that during the initial incident A-Rod’s perpetual cluelessness about how to act instigated the whole thing.
USA Today’s “Daily Pitch” goes behind the scenes.

Kershaw v. Jimenez

Kershaw was just better today, but Jimenez still pitched very well, surrendering only two hits over seven innings.  (Boxscore here.)  And rarely, and I mean rarely, have I seen a pitcher make Todd Helton look helpless at the plate the way Kershaw made him flail today.

So that makes two gems (uh, two and one-half?) thrown on the Left Coast this afternoon, what with Dallas Braden getting all perfect on us.

Dallas Braden Throws Perfect Game

He followed up and had an easy ninth inning.  

I’m glad I tuned in to watch the game, though I was hoping to see James Shields, one of my fantasy pitchers, do the same to the A’s. Who cares?  
I’v watched two no-hitters (on TV) in real-time, but never a perfect game.

Here’s the boxscore.

Dallas Braden Carries Perfect Game Through Eight

Dallas Braden–yes, that Dallas Braden–has carried a perfect game through eight innings.

And it really hasn’t been close as the Rays have been flailing and hitting balls right at the A’s all afternoon.  (I’ve been watching this one split-screen with the Rockies-Dodgers game–Ubaldo Jimenez v. Clayton Kershaw, just some nastiness off the hill, there) while listening to the Mariners actually score some runs against the Angels.)

I will be live-blogging the top of the ninth as a series of updates to this post.
UPDATE: The Rays have Aybar, Navarro, and Kapler scheduled to bat in the ninth.
UPDATE 2: Braden has only thrown 17 pitches in the seventh and eighth inning of this game, and he has only thrown a total of 97 pitches through 8 innings.
UPDATE 3:  Wow, the A’s announcers are doing everything possible to “jinx” this guy between innings.  The Oakland crowd rises to its feet as he deals strike one to Aybar.  Second pitch is fouled off, and Aybar is at 0-2.  Announcers announce that Braden has been throwing lots of First Pitch Strikes, which makes me really happy.  I love the free publicity.  
Braden misses with the next two pitches, and the count stands even at 2-2.  Aybar lines a high fastball weakly to first baseman Deric Barton.  One out.  And Navarro brings his .153 batting average to the plate.  Bartopn deals 1st pitch breaking ball for a strike, and then Navarro lines one right at the left fielder.  And now there are two outs in the top of the ninth.
UPDATE 4: Braden goes 2-1 to Kapler, the crowd unhappy with the call on the third pitch.  Then Braden misses outside.  And then Kapler lines a one-hopper to shortstop Pennington who throws him out.  Perfect Game.
I wonder if A-Rod knows who this kid is now.