League Updates

Little League in the Big League?

As the President of Newberg Youth Baseball, there are plenty of things I see on a baseball field that make me scratch my head, laugh a little, or perhaps cause me raise my voice a bit. But it’s youth baseball, and those things are expected. That’s why, when watching highlights of yesterday’s game, I was thoroughly stunned to see what happened in the Mets/Pirates game.

Taijuan Walker was pitching for the Mets in the bottom of the first inning. The bases were loaded, and the batter topped a ball so that even though it was a full swing, the ball trickled down the foul line, hugging the chalk inch by inch until, in what was a decisive move for how close the ball was to the line (on the line, in my opinion) Walker himself came darting off the mound and swiped his glove at the ball to touch it while it was foul. Except that it wasn’t foul. The ball went flying all the way to the backstop where it came to rest while Walker and several other Mets, including their Manager Mel Rojas who would be ejected for his antics, argued with the umpire.

What they failed to realize was that because the ball was ruled fair, it was still in play. The Pirates third base coach, who was paying close attention, started waving his arm in violent circular motions, indicating to the runners that they should keep running. All three runners scored on the play, while the batter ended up at second base. It was ruled a single with an error.

I am not sure I have ever seen three runs score on a ball that didn’t travel more than 20 feet in youth baseball, let alone professional baseball, but that is exactly what happened yesterday. While Cottage may have not enjoyed it (Walker is his pitcher), I did. It is sometimes good to be reminded (like the popup that Chris Taylor missed yesterday…sorry, Dave) that the big boys make dumb mistakes just like the little kids do. The Mets actually came back to win on Michael Conforto’s home run in the ninth, a true testament to the determination of the Mets (or perhaps the sad state of the Pirates bullpen). Anyway, here is a clip of the play in case you haven’t seen it.

EFL Standings for 2021

Old Detroit Wolverines 65 29 .692 533.8 354.9
Flint Hill Tornadoes 63 31 .668 2.3 488.4 338.9
D.C. Balk 58 32 .644 5.1 499.7 371.7
Peshastin Pears 58 34 .628 6.3 451.7 352.9
Kaline Drive 58 36 .618 7 489.3 383.1
Haviland Dragons 56 38 .596 9.1 479.6 407.4
Canberra Kangaroos 52 38 .580 10.9 455.8 395.0
Cottage Cheese 50 45 .526 15.6 535.8 521.6
Pittsburgh Alleghenys 48 44 .520 16.3 459.5 439.7
Bellingham Cascades 47 45 .513 16.9 389.8 379.1
Portland Rosebuds 39 53 .423 25.2 460.5 545.3
Old Detroit: W, 5-4; 43PA, 11.9IP
AVG: 0.216 OBP: 0.326 SLG: 0.378 OPS: 0.704
ERA: 2.27 WHIP: 1.261
Today marks the second day in a row of excellent pitching for the Wolverines, which, as Ron chronicled, they have needed. Jameson Taillon was nasty, getting the once-hot Red Sox to look silly at the plate. He and Logan Gilbert both pitched 5.3 innings, with Taillon surrendering 0 runs and Gilbert surrendering 2. Andrew Kittredge didn’t feel the same urgency, giving up a run in 1.3 innings. The Wolverine hitters did manage to swat two home runs – one from Will Smith and the other from Jurickson Profar – but they didn’t do much else besides get six singles and six walks (three of those walks from Rafael Devers). But those two home runs, six singles, and 6 walks were enough to earn the win, though their lead shrunk by another .2 games.
Flint Hill: W, 1-0; 52PA, 8.7IP
AVG: 0.213 OBP: 0.250 SLG: 0.319 OPS: 0.569
ERA: 0.00 WHIP: 0.230
The Tornado hitting was worse, by a smidge, than the Wolverine hitting yesterday, but the pitching was also better, by a little more than a smidge (a smudge?). Carlos Rodon twirled 7 innings of 1 hit baseball against the Astros, getting them to strike out 10 times (and the Astros have led MLB most of the season in fewest strikeouts!). Two relievers, Tanner Scott and Jake Brentz, added 1.7 innings of scoreless pitching, which is good, because the hitters managed to score exactly one run. Teoscar Hernandez continued to hit well, leading the team with 2 hits (one double, 2 walks and a stolen base), and Tim Anderson chipped in an opposite field home run. It was just enough, and the Tornadoes are now 2.3 games back of OD.
DC: L, 5-8; 42PA, 10IP
AVG: 0.268 OBP: 0.286 SLG: 0.488 OPS: 0.774
ERA: 6.30 WHIP: 1.600
The Balk offense was able to put up 5 runs yesterday, which is often enough to secure a win in the EFL and also MLB. Xander Bogaerts went 2 for 3 with 2 doubles, Joey Gallo added in a triple in 6 plate appearances, and Danny Jansen hit a home run. With several singles accumulated by other players, the team as a whole hit for the cycle. The pitching, however, was not good enough to support their offenses’ five runs scored. Joe Musgrove and Martin Perez were the main culprits – Musgrove allowing 4 earned runs in 5 innings and Perez allowing 3 in 4 innings. The Balk lost .4 games off the lead.
Peshastin: W, 10-8; 31PA, 1.7IP
AVG: 0.333 OBP: 0.484 SLG: 0.708 OPS: 1.192
ERA: 5.29 WHIP: 1.176
The Pears had quite an exciting day yesterday. Making an allowance for the relative lack of pitching (and those 1.7 innings of pitching were not good), the hitters decided to take matters into their own hands and slug out a win – and, subsequently, a jump over the Drive in the standings. The Pears earned 8 hits in 24 at bats, and 5 of those hits were for extra bases. Juan Soto led the team with his 3 for 4, one double, one walk and one home run, day. Yoan Moncada added in his own home run, and Mike Zunino and Ozzie Albies each chipped in a double. With an additional 5 walks and 2 HBPs, the Pears were on base all day long, and crossing the plate 10 times to get the win. 
Kaline: L, 5-11; 51PA, 8IP
AVG: 0.214 OBP: 0.333 SLG: 0.429 OPS: 0.762
ERA: 10.13 WHIP: 2.250
It was a pretty rough day all around for the Drive. Darwinzon Hernandez was the chief problem, surrendering 4 runs without getting a single out. Mark Melancon and JT Brubaker didn’t help, though, together giving up 5 runs in 4 innings. Garrett Whitlock and Aaron Loup were good, though, giving up 0 runs in 4 total innings. The hitting was 33% home runs, which is impressive. Willy Adames, Michael Conforto and Jonathan Schoop hit the home runs, while Adames and Daulton Varsho both contributed several walks (3 for Willy and 2 for Daulton). The Drive, however, slipped .7 games back of the Wolverines and now the Pears, who sit just above them in the standings. 
Haviland: W, 6-4; 50PA, 3IP
AVG: 0.348 OBP: 0.400 SLG: 0.413 OPS: 0.813
ERA: 0.00 WHIP: 0.811
The Dragons had a good day on both sides of the box score, getting timely hitting (though not powerful) and good pitching (though not plentiful). Haviland hitters accumulated 16 total hits, and all but three of them were singles. The three outliers were doubles, contributed by Jose Iglesias, Ramon Laureano and Joc Pederson. Winning by singles is not necessarily exciting, but when you have the month the Dragons have had, any win has to feel kind of good. The pitching was very good – in fact, as good as it could have been, really – with 0 runs allowed by the three relievers who appeared. I suppose the main imperfection was 3 walks given up in 3 innings, but those were not allowed to score. The win was not highly celebrated though, with the news that their ace pitcher, Pablo Lopez, was placed on the IL with a rotator cuff injury. That will certainly not help the Dragons, whose team ERA is last in the EFL this month at 5.67.
Canberra: L, 3-8; 34PA; 4IP
AVG: 0.267 OBP: 0.353 SLG: 0.567 OPS: 0.920
ERA: 6.75 WHIP: 2.000
Like the Balk, Canberra hit for the cycle as a team. And like the Balk, their pitching wasn’t able to contribute enough to earn a win. At the plate, half of the Roo hits were for extra bases (4 of 8). Nate Lowe hit a double, Jackie Bradley, Jr. hit a triple, and Wander Franco and Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. (vying for the MVP crown this season) added home runs. Rich Hill was the only pitcher to appear, tossing 4 innings and giving up 3 runs.
Cottage: L, 5-13; 47PA, 7.6IP
AVG: 0.200 OBP: 0.319 SLG: 0.400 OPS: 0.719
ERA: 5.92 WHIP: 1.842
The Cheese gave up after Taijuan Walker’s antics in the first inning, and I don’t blame them (though, to be fair, the Mets didn’t give up – but they are in first place and have something for which to be motivated). Walker pitched one third of an inning, giving up 6 hits and walking 4 batters before being removed. Three other relievers combined for 2.7 innings and 0 earned runs, so this loss is almost entirely due to Walker. Yandy Diaz and Shohei Ohtani (vying for the AL MVP award) both hit a home run, and Trea Turner and Francisco Mejia each added a double. 
Pittsburgh: L, 3-10; 36PA, 10IP
AVG: 0.229 OBP: 0.250 SLG: 0.286 OPS: 0.536
ERA: 8.10 WHIP: 2.400
All three of the Allegheny pitchers who appeared were on the same page – each giving up 2 or more earned runs in their outing. Sonny Gray was the worst, giving up 5 runs in 4.7 innings, including 4 walks and 2 hit by pitch. Braxton Garrett actually did ok, giving up 2 runs in 4.3 innings, though he also walked a few too many batters (3). Dominic Smith and Christian Vazquez both contributed doubles at the plate in what was otherwise a pretty drab day for Pittsburgh. 
Bellingham: L, 3-6; 26PA, .3IP
AVG: 0.227 OBP: 0.346 SLG: 0.273 OPS: 0.619
ERA: 60.00 WHIP: 6.667
Another wasted opportunity for the Cascades, who had a chance to surpass the Alleghenys and instead chose to stay the course. I suppose that if anything, it is fitting that the mountains do not move as the river winds its way to the see. But Jesus himself taught us that indeed mountains can move, and what better time is there than now for a bit of faith to be expressed? AJ Minter was the only pitcher on the day, and he gave up 2 runs in one third of an inning, reflecting doubt more than faith. At the plate, Kevin Newman collected two singles in 4 trips, and Rhys Hoskins added a double. 
Portland: W(-1), L(2), 0-12; 45PA, 14.7IP
AVG: 0.150 OBP: 0.244 SLG: 0.150 OPS: 0.394
ERA: 7.35 WHIP: 1.497
There is nothing to see here, folks. Turn the other way before your team is sucked into the abyss of Portland’s miserable day yesterday. The main culprit was Mike Foltynewicz, who gave up 10 (!) earned runs in 1.7 innings pitched. He allowed 4 home runs in what was clearly an off day for him. Literally, he should have taken the day off. The other two pitchers (Jon Gray and Matt Harvey, perhaps both hoping to be dealt at the deadline), combined for 12 innings and 2 earned runs – which was very good! The team only got on base 7 times in 45 plate appearances, and if it weren’t for Luis Urias and Tyrone Taylor, who each had 2 hits apiece, who knows what would have happened. 
Combined MLB + EFL Standings for 2021
AL East
Old Detroit Wolverines 65 29 .692
Flint Hill Tornadoes 63 31 .668 2.3
Boston Red Sox 56 38 .596 9.1
Tampa Bay Rays 55 38 .591 9.6
Toronto Blue Jays 48 42 .533 15.1
New York Yankees 48 44 .522 16.1
Baltimore Orioles 30 62 .326 34.1
NL East
D.C. Balk 58 32 .644
Canberra Kangaroos 52 38 .580 5.8
New York Mets 48 42 .533 10
Philadelphia Phillies 47 45 .511 12
Atlanta Braves 45 47 .489 14
Washington Nationals 43 49 .467 16
Miami Marlins 40 53 .430 19.5
AL Central
Chicago White Sox 56 36 .609
Cleveland Indians 47 43 .522 8
Pittsburgh Alleghenys 48 44 .520 8.2
Bellingham Cascades 47 45 .513 8.8
Detroit Tigers 43 51 .457 14
Minnesota Twins 39 53 .424 17
Kansas City Royals 37 55 .402 19
NL Central
Milwaukee Brewers 56 39 .589
Cottage Cheese 50 45 .526 6
Cincinnati Reds 48 45 .516 7
St. Louis Cardinals 46 47 .495 9
Chicago Cubs 46 47 .495 9
Pittsburgh Pirates 36 57 .387 19
AL West
Kaline Drive 58 36 .618
Houston Astros 56 38 .596 2.1
Haviland Dragons 56 38 .596 2.1
Oakland A’s 53 42 .558 5.6
Seattle Mariners 50 44 .532 8.1
Los Angeles Angels 46 46 .500 11.1
Texas Rangers 35 58 .376 22.6
NL West
San Francisco Giants 58 34 .630
Peshastin Pears 58 34 .628 0.2
Los Angeles Dodgers 58 36 .617 1
San Diego Padres 55 41 .573 5
Colorado Rockies 41 53 .436 18
Portland Rosebuds 39 53 .423 19.1
Arizona Diamondbacks 27 68 .284 32.5

1 Comment

  • Thanks, Jamie, what great fun! I watched the sad ending of the game when Conforto won it for the Mets, but missed the fun first inning. The sadness was at least mitigated by the fact that Conforto was a Beaver.

    By the way, the day before the Mets blew a 6-run lead to the Pirates, and in this game the Pirates blew a 6-run lead to the Mets. The announcers I was watching claimed that it was the first time in MLB history that two teams had blown 6-run leads to each other on consecutive days.

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