Okay, so it can't all be perfect. But in this incredible season for the Los Angeles Dodgers where it seems like nothing can go wrong, the baseball gods have dealt them a reality check. LA lost two out of three to the Milwaukee Brewers. Worse yet, Wednesday in Pittsburgh, Rich Hill took a perfect game into the ninth, and a no-hitter into the tenth, and lost. How could this happen to a team that is 91-38?
Remember last year in Miami? Hill was perfect through seven, but manager Dave Roberts pulled him because he might get a blister. Roberts is somehow still being praised for that decision, but without fear of a blister this time, the lefty got to stay in there. Perfect in the ninth, but a 0-0 game, Logan Forsythe booted a ground ball to third. The perfecto was gone, but the no-hitter was still intact. Too bad that one of the best offenses in baseball couldn't score one measly run, or Hill would be in the history books. Actually, he's now in the history books for a different reason.
I watched the ninth inning on MLB Network. I listened to the Dodgers radio broadcast. I even listened to the middle innings of the Pirates radio broadcast. I watched the highlights on ESPN. No one on radio or television invoked the name Harvey Haddix. On May 26, 1959, Haddix pitched 12 perfect innings for the Pittsburgh Pirates in Milwaukee, only to lose the game in the 13th. An RBI-double by Joe Adcock was the the only hit he allowed, and Haddix lost the game 1-0.
Hill came close to Haddix. The baseball gods even threw in an extra twist. Haddix gave up a game-winning double, but Hill would watch Josh Harrison send one over the wall to begin the tenth. A no-hitter, and the game, lost on a walkoff home run. According to mlb.com, no pitcher, until now, has pitched 9 innings, allowing 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, and 10 strikeouts—and lost. Until now.
Counting that game, the Dodgers are 2-3 in their last five games, and have only scored 10 runs. Concerned? Nahh, it;s just that for the exception of Clayton Kershaw's injury (and we know that the Dodgers are being overly cautious with him), nothing truly bad has happened to the Dodgers all year. Yeah, Cody Bellinger got hurt, but right at the same time as Adrian Gonzalez got healthy. Andrew Toles goes down? Chris Taylor hits .300. Joc Pederson in a terrible slump? Trade for Curtis Granderson. Need a righty starter? Yu Darvish shows up. Got too many starters? Put a couple on the Disabled List. No biggie.
Kershaw's back on Friday, Bellinger returns on Wednesday, and the boys in blue could actually clinch a playoff spot before Labor Day. If you believe in baseball gods, it seems like they are just having a little fun to make us all nervous, but they still seem to be smiling on the Dodgers. At least for now.
I'm not religious at all, and I'm certainly no biblical scholar, but after Moses did all he could to free the Jews from the bondage of Egypt (I watch The Ten Commandments every year), God would not let him cross over the River Jordan into the new land. Perhaps the baseball gods are saying to the Dodgers, “We'll let you have a near-perfect season, but thou shalt not throw a perfect game.” If that's the case, Dodger fans will take it if it means they can cross over the National League Championship River into the World Series.
Astros series moved: It took Major League Baseball way too long to announce that the upcoming Texas Rangers-Houston Astros series is being relocated due to Hurricane Harvey. They also opted to move the games to St. Petersburg, Florida, when another one of their options was St. Louis. While you can't possibly expect Astros fans to travel given the devastation in the Houston area, there are far more Cardinals fans than Rays fans, and that would mean more people in the seats. This is not the first time the Astros have been relocated because of a storm. In 2008, the Astros played the Cubs in Milwaukee, which featured a Carlos Zambrano no-hitter over Houston. That series was moved because of Hurricane Ike.
He Hate Me: The inaugural 'players weekend' for Major League Baseball seems to have been a success, with some creative nicknames on the backs of the players. For example, you had Jimmy “The Big Sweat” Nelson with Milwaukee, Todd “The Toddfather” Frazier with the Yankees, and Oakland catcher Josh Phegley's “PTBNL" (player to be named later). Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager had “Corey's Brother” on his back, but Corey Seager of the Dodgers just went with his last name. Having nicknames on the back of players uniforms is not an original idea, however. Remember the only season of the XFL in 2001? Las Vegas Outlaws running back Rod Smart was much better known as “He Hate Me”. He says (paraphrasing) that it was because opponents hated him because they knew he was going to win.
The final countdown?: ESPN's 'bottom line' ticker has been showing a countdown to the beginning of the college football season for about a month, but for some reason has been counting down to the wrong day. They are marking off days until the Thursday night battle between Ohio State and Indiana, when in fact, the college season started last weekend for quite a few teams. Even ESPN had the Portland State-BYU game Saturday.