This week in baseball will be remembered for perfection. And almost for perfection, again. Apologies for the lateness, it has been a busy couple of days.
Dallas Braden’s Perfect Game
I knew Dallas Braden was good, but I had no idea he was perfect. Everyone has heard about it by now, so instead of re-hashing all the same details you have already heard, let’s try to keep it fresh. The perfect game is a tricky deal. It is baseball history (only 19 have been thrown) and guarantees that even if you do nothing else with your career, you will have that. On the other hand, perfect games do not guarantee a pitcher anything in th elong-term. A perfect game does not translate to success in the majors, so if your guy throws one, he was great that day, it does not mean he will be the next day. All it means is that for one day, you were untouchable.
Here are few fun facts about the game itself. Dallas Braden is from Stockton, CA, which has the area code 209. That day just so happened to be 209 day at Oakland Alameda Country Coliseum (or as it is known, McAfee Coliseum), in honor of Dallas Braden. The man threw a perfect game on a day dedicated to him at the ballpark, on Mothers Day, with his grandma, who raised him, in the stands. How cool is that? Also, granny told A-Rod to “Stick it”, so plenty of people now how a new idol. Good for Dallas Braden. Let’s see if A-Rod runs across “his” mound now.
Friars on Fire
The San Diego Padres are hotter than a brazilian beach (and we’re not talking weather). We could go on about Jon Garland, Wade LeBlanc, Chase Headley or the predictably-good Adrian Gonzalez, but for your mental health, we will not. However, we would be remiss if we did not mention how good the Padres have been. They have been slaughtering the division-rival Giants, and Mat Latos recently made a certain co-founder Padres fan nearly hyper-ventilate in excitement. Mat Latos threw a one-hit shutout on thursday without walking a batter. Yeah, he was one hit from perfection. As we discussed earlier, a perfect game does not mean a ton as far as long-term success, but the Padres have got to be thrilled that their young ace, who has gone 19 innings without allowing a run, has gotten off to such a fast start. Padres fans should be optimistic, but not fly off the handle about him being a 5-time all-star or anything.
“Let them eat Gates”
For those of you who have not been to Kansas City, Gates is a barbecue establishment. If you did not get my veiled Marie Antoinette reference, it was a reference to Trey Hillman, who lost his job yesterday. It seems a bit early to fire a manager, but evidently Kansas City thought they had a chance to win this year (trying to stifle laughter). Hey, KC, Trey Hillman is not your problem. Your starting pitching is the problem. Blame Kyle Davies, Brain Bannister, Gil Meche, or anyone else. Not a lot of hope for KC this year, though I still believe moral victories are possible for the Royals. I am really just not sure why you would fire your manager at this point.
We talked about the Nationals’ successes last week, and this week it is time to throw some love Cincinnati’s way. They have been playing pretty good baseball and have been more or less doing it without huge contributions from Brandon Phillips or Drew Stubbs. They can thank quality starting pitching, and good bitting by the rest of their guys for their current record. Keep an eye on the Reds, who have a much better roster than you would think, and have a weak division to feast on. Stay tuned to Reds baseball.
What to Watch This Week
That is all we got for this week, but in the upcoming week, see if the Braves can turn their whipping of the Brewers into a bit of a winning streak to get back toward the top of the division. Obvioulsy, you should looka t the Reds, as we just talked about that, but also keep an eye on the Royals to see how little firing Trey Hillman will help them really win games.