Game 1 – Piazza, Giambi, and Palmeiro go yard as the Wheelers jump out to a huge lead and hang on to beat the Hogs. Kile struck out 8 Hogs in the process.
Game 2 – I may indeed be the first PTP team in history to get 13 hits but get shut out. Yes, Jim Parque, coming in at 1-6 with a 12.66 ERA, shut me out. Not good.
Seconds later – The Wheelers, now officially hot, albeit too late, sweep the Scorps and, thus, the Hogs clinch the playoffs and a division title. Two games for fun remain in the division between said Scorps and Hogs. The Wheelers are the first team in the league to complete all 40 of their games, having won only 18 of them, but ending on a 4-game win streak. The Hogs are now percentage points behind the Knights in the battle for the #2 seed in the playoffs. With the Scorps’ swoon over the last 4 games, they are likely not going to be the wild card, either. The Foxes now have the leg up in that department. With that team in the same division as the front-runner for the #1 seed, all sorts of playoff 1st round matchups appear possible at the moment.
Hogs fans, delight. The brooms are in full bloom. This game featured starters with the 2nd and 4th best ERA’s in the league, coming in, Barcelo and Reynoso. Smithfield tagged Reynoso for 5 runs in the 1st, however, highlighted by a Valentin bases-clearing triple. In the 5th the Hogs pushed the lead to 7-1, but Bagwell came right back in the 6th with a 3-run jack that sent Barcelo packing. Two more homers in the inning off Hog relief made the game all the sudden as tight as Cameron Frye at 7-6. The Hogs couldn’t quit scoring, however, and ended up winning going away, 12-6. For the 2nd game in a row the last 9 Scorp batters go without a hit. Edmonds and Bags go 1-11 in the series. The Hogs magic number to clinch the division is 2 with 4 games left, 2 of them again against these Scorps.
Within a game of each other, both vying for a divison title and a wild-card berth, the two hottest teams in the league squared off at Three Rivers. It was Vazquez (3-2, 6.97) vs. Hudson (1-1, 6.85). The Hogs got the party started early with 2 runs in the 1st, as 4 of their first 5 batters singled. A botched double steal prematurely ended that party for Karren, as Everett tried to swipe home plate. He may have had larceny on his mind. The Hogs couldn’t get it going after that 1st, but Scottdale kept getting runs here and there off Hudson. The Scorps got a Justice homer and two runs on groundouts as they took a 3-2 lead into the bottom off the 7th. Vazquez was left in a bit past his prime as he allowed three singles in the inning before being lifted. Then, with 2 out and the score tied, Sheffield went yard as Three Rivers and Karren’s basement erupted. 5-3 Hogs. The Hogs pen pitched 3 hitless shutout innings to seal the deal, and Benitez got his 5th win in the process. The Scorps only managed 5 hits off Hudson and the Hogs relief corps. Hector Ortiz went 3-3 to raise his avg. to .439 on the year, but doesn’t have the PA to qualify for a batting crown. The Scorps’ big two, Edmonds and Bagwell, went a combined 0-7.
He has hit 11. The Big Hurt and Delgado each have 9. Someone in the Diamond Mind programming department must have a boner the size of Texas for Jeter and secretly juiced up his power. How else is this possible?????????????????????????????????????????????????
Everytime I think about it, I become more flabbergasted, incredulous, and slightly bitter (considering he’s hit like 5 bombs against my righties). I just don’t get it. I really don’t. In fact, you know what? I give up. Derek Jeter 2019, you win. You are my white whale.
Funny pitching matchup in game 1. Frank Castillo for the Hogs, at 0-5 with an 11.07 ERA on the year, and Jim Parque for the Wheelers, 1-5 with a 13.95 ERA on the year. And you know what? It was a pitcher’s duel. Going into the bottom of the 8th, the score was 2-1 Hogs. David Oriz had hit his 2nd RBI single of the day in the 5th to push the Hogs to that 2-1 lead. The Wheelers manager decided to leave Parque in just a hair too long, into that 8th inning, though. He gave up 3 singles and a HBP before being lifted. It was still 3-1 at the time, but his replacement, Henry, allowed a sac fly and a 2-run pinch triple by Valentin. At the end of the storm, it was 6-1 Hogs, and they thought it was over. Not so fast. New Mexico got 3 runs back in the 9th, and had Sosa at the plate as the tying run, but he K’ed to thwart the threat and give Karren a 6-4 win.
Game 2 was title “The Revenge of Barcelo”. Inflamed by Ockey’s comments earlier in the week after his tough outing against Bay Area, he pitched like a man possessed to solidify his spot in the Cy Young arms race. He allowed only 5 hits, 0 walks, and 1 run in 7.2 innings for the easy win. He and Woody are now 1-2 in the league in Winning Percentage, Batting average, OBP, SLG, and WHIP. He’s the first pitcher to 5-0 on the year now. He had some serious help, too, in this one. The Hogs crushed Radke, who came into the game with the league’s 5th best ERA. The Hogs tagged him for 5 homers, and finished with 7 in the game – 2 each by Hansen and Hundley. McGwire and Sheff also homered. These 4 guys each have .300+/.400+/.600+ numbers. I appreciate that. On a bizarre note, I’d recently noticed that my SS, Valentin, had a great fielding percentage for me this year even though his card is horrible on that count. Well, in tonight’s game he had THREE errors. A PTP record you never want to have? Hogs win 10-1.