My Bad On Garza-Cabrera (April 2 MLB Roundup)

A day ago, I pointed out what I thought was an interesting pitching matchup in Wednesday’s Tampa Bay-Baltimore meeting. The game was to involve two pitchers who had previously dominated the opposing team — Matt Garza for Tampa Bay (3-0, 2.16 ERA in three starts vs. Baltimore) and Daniel Cabrera for the O’s (6-0, 3.04 ERA in 11 starts against the Rays). I speculated that pitching would likely be the key to the game, even calling it a “sleeper” matchup.

Well, I was wrong. Neither pitcher made it past the sixth inning — Cabrera was gone after four — and neither factored into the decision. Cabrera was particularly awful, relinquishing six runs on six hits in the four innings. As he often does, Cabrera also struggled with his control, walking five batters while only striking out a pair.

Garza’s line wasn’t much prettier. He got the hook after tossing 5 1/3 innings of 5-run ball. He allowed six hits and walked two batters while striking out three. Despite his poor outing, the former Twin left the game in a position to pick up his fourth win in as many starts against the Orioles.

Unfortunately for Garza (and fortunately for Cabrera), Al Reyes appears to be suffering through a case of Eric Gagne Disease (fear not, concerned masses, there is a known cure). Tampa Bay’s closer in 2007, Reyes has been demoted to setup duties with the team’s acquisition of Troy Percival (“closer” isn’t just a role on a team, it’s a goddamn state of being). And, well, he didn’t handle it very well today.

Reyes was shelled in the 8th inning, allowing five Orioles hitters to reach base — four of them scored — while successfully retiring just two. The former closer, who entered with a 6-5 lead, was eventually lifted in favor of Scott Dohmann. By that time, the Orioles had already staked themselves to a 9-6 lead. Dohmann struck out Brandon Fahey, stranding Adam Jones at first and saving Reyes the indignity of being charged with another run.

Orioles closer George Sherrill entered in the top of the ninth and picked up the save without much incident. Jamie Walker, who struck out the side in the top of the eighth, was credited with the win. Reyes, obviously, was the loser.

And two big no-decisions went to Garza and Cabrera, whose undefeated records remain intact against the Orioles and Rays, respectively. Gotta love pitcher wins!

Though those two made me look quite the fool, I was at least able to somewhat salvage the situation by correctly forecasting the game’s winner. Here’s a quick look at what was happening around the Big Leagues on Wednesday. As always, my picks are italicized, and the links go to the box score of each game:

  • Baltimore Orioles 9, Tampa Bay Rays 6
    • This gets another bullet purely for aesthetic purposes.
  • Kansas City Royals 4, Detroit Tigers 0
    • The Detroit Tigers had three hits against the Royals’ pitching trifecta of Brian Bannister, Leo Nunez and Joakim Soria. And they solely have Edgar Renteria to thank for that modicum of respectability.
  • Milwaukee Brewers 8, Chicago Cubs 2
    • The Brewers led the entire way, as Rickie Weeks opened the game with a solo home run off of Ted Lilly. Milwaukee never looked back, and tacked on a few insurance runs in the late innings in an effort to avoid another Eric Gagne appearance. Their hard work paid off, as David Riske worked the game’s final two innings to nail down the win.
  • Boston Red Sox 5, Oakland Athletics 0
    • David Ortiz picked up his first two hits of the season, including a two-run home run off of Alan Embree in the seventh inning, as Boston outlasted Oakland for a 5-0 win.
  • Washington Nationals 1, Philadelphia Phillies 0
    • Pedro Feliz’s second inning single was the only hit the Phillies could muster all day as Tim Redding, Luis Ayala and Jon Rauch combined to shut out the defending NL East champions. Ryan Zimmerman provided all the offense the Nats needed, taking hard-luck loser Cole Hamels deep in the sixth inning, as Washington improved to 3-0.
  • Toronto Blue Jays 5, New York Yankees 2
    • Alex Rodriguez’s first home run of the season cut Toronto’s lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning. Representing the tying run in the ninth inning, Rodriguez struck out against interim Toronto closer Jeremy Accardo. Somehow, Yankees fans found it in their hearts not to boo him.
    • Vernon Wells did the big damage for Toronto when he drilled a two-run homer in the third inning. Alex Rios also knocked in a pair of runs for the Jays.
  • Cleveland Indians 7, Chicago White Sox 2
    • Grady Sizemore went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and three runs batted in in support of Fausto Carmona as the Indians improved to 2-0.
  • New York Mets 13, Florida Marlins 0
    • What a beatdown this was.
  • Atlanta Braves 10, Pittsburgh Pirates 2
    • The Braves feasted on Pittsburgh’s bullpen, which allowed six runs on seven hits in two innings in “relief” of starter Tom Gorzelanny. Just to be dicks, the Atlanta bullpen responded by not allowing a hit in relief of Jair Jurrjens as the Braves ran away with the 10-2 win.
  • Cincinnati Reds 6, Arizona Diamondbacks 5
    • Cincinnati picked up its first win of the season in dramatic fashion when Edwin Encarnacion delivered a three-run, walk-off home run against Arizona closer Brandon Lyon to spoil Dan Haren’s Diamondbacks debut. Haren was solid, allowing three runs on four hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out four.
  • Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 1, Minnesota Twins 0
    • Here, in its entirety, is the scoring summary of Wednesday’s Angels-Twins game:
      Top 7th: LA Angels – H. Kendrick scored on wild pitchWhat a shitty way to lose.
  • St. Louis Cardinals 8, Colorado Rockies 3
    • A four-run eighth inning rally allowed the the Cardinals to hold on and defeat the defending National League Champions for St. Louis’s first win of the season. Career minor leaguer Rico Washington picked up his first Big League hit, an RBI double, during the rally. Rockies reliever Luis Vizcaino was charged with all four runs and saw his ERA balloon to 108.00 before getting the hook.
  • Houston Astros 9, San Diego Padres 6
    • Trevor Hoffman blew his third save in his last four regular season appearances, punctuated with a three-run Lance Berkman home run, as Houston rallied for four runs in the ninth inning en route to its first win of the season. Jose Valverde picked up the win in his Astros debut, striking out two while allowing one run on three hits in two innings of work.
  • Seattle Mariners 4, Texas Rangers 1
  • San Francisco Giants 2, Los Angeles Dodgers 1
    • Managers Joe Torre and Bruce Bochy were made fools of by Mother Nature, who wreaked havoc with their pitching staffs all night long.
    • Due to rain in the forecast, Hong-Chih Kuo and Merkin Valdez replaced scheduled starters Chad Billingsley and Tim Lincecum. Kuo lasted three innings, while Valdez went two. Each turned the game over to the bullpen.
    • As the fifth inning approached and the heavy rains had yet to arrive, Bochy and Torre had Lincecum and Billingsley prepare to enter the game. Lincecum did so in the 4th inning, while Billingsley entered in the fifth.
    • Almost immediately after Billingsley entered the game, the rains intensified, and a 72-minute rain delay began.
    • Billingsley departed after the rain delay after throwing 21 pitches prior to the stoppage. Lincecum remained in the game, throwing a total of 84 pitches in four innings of work and scoring what turned out to be the game-winning run on the basepaths.
    • Billingsley was replaced by Esteban Loaiza, another starter, who took the loss after allowing one run on two hits in 2 2/3 innings. Torre favorite Scott Proctor threw the final two innings for the Dodgers.

SUPERSTAR vs. CENTRAL update:
Milwaukee Brewers (2-0) 1.000
Merrill Park Superstar (24-14) .632

THURSDAY PICKS:
Cleveland Indians over Chicago White Sox
Cincinnati Reds over Arizona Diamondbacks
Detroit Tigers over Kansas City Royals
Philadelphia Phillies over Washington Nationals
Minnesota Twins over Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Colorado Rockies over St. Louis Cardinals
Chicago Cubs over Milwaukee Brewers
Houston Astros over San Diego Padres
Baltimore Orioles over Tampa Bay Rays
New York Yankees over Toronto Blue Jays
Atlanta Braves over Pittsburgh Pirates

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