Jeff D'Amico is only supposed to be an innings-eater, but he shut down the Royals yesterday in Kansas City, no small feat given how that park has played over the past few years. It took D'Amico just 87 pitches to get through seven innings of one-run ball.
Anaheim finished their sweep of Seattle, taking first place in the West, by scoring five runs in the top of the ninth against Mike Myers and Shiggy Hasegawa. Freddy Garcia and Julio Mateo had previously combined to shut the Angels down, but Kelvim Escobar and Scot Shields were just as good on the other side, allowing only one run through eight innings. The top of the ninth was classic Anaheim: single, single, single, strikeout, single, balk, walk, groundout, double, flyout. Lots of annoying singles. Lots and lots of annoying singles. It's 2002 all over again.
Baltimore beat Boston by getting four walks in the bottom of the 13th against Bobby M. Jones. Raise your hand if you knew that Jones was still in the majors. Now raise your hand if you think he'll still be in the majors in three weeks.
Baltimore walked 13 times overall in that game. Five by Wakefield, which is understandable, one apiece by every reliever except Scott Williamson, then five more by Bobby Jones (he walked one in the 12th). Every starter walked at least once, led by Javy Lopez's three. Baltimore's starter, Matt Riley, walked four batters in 6 1/3 innings himself, so it looks to me like there's a tiny strike zone effect going on.
Dontrelle Willis started his year off right, giving up just five hits and a walk in 7 2/3 scoreless innings against Montreal. He threw 113 pitches, which isn't a huge ton, but he is very young, and this was his first start, so maybe you'd like to have seen him stay in the dugout for the eighth inning. If there's some fault to the way Jack McKeon is handled by analysts, it's that he doesn't really seem to be scrutinized about his pitcher usage as much as Jeff Torborg was. McKeon isn't Torborg, thank goodness, but we seem to let him off the hook because of that. Rather than saying, "Well, it's nice that you don't have Pitcher X out there for 136 pitches," and leaving it at that, let's hold him to the same standards we hold everyone else to.
The Braves and Mets were involved in another slugfest, which says more about the quality of the pitching staffs than it does about the hitters. Not that the lineups are bad, but you shouldn't expect nine runs out of these teams on a regular basis.