Posts Tagged ‘no-hitter’

Hey there, Chicago

While your own Cubs continue to demonstrate why they are the number-one ranked team in Major League Baseball, the San Francisco Giants have struggled mightily, losing five straight before finally managing to break out against Barry Bonds and the Miami Marlins, 8-1 Friday night, on Orange Friday, at AT&T Park.

For those of us keeping the spotlight focused on on Jeff Samardzija, who made his first start Friday night in his own home park, it was a gratifying performance. He went seven-and-two-thirds innings against the fish, limiting them to a single run, and lowering his ERA to 3.00 and his WHIP to 1.26.
After three road games to begin his stint with San Francisco, Samardzija took advantage of the friendly confines of AT&T, not to mention the clutch defense backing him up. The Shark’s strong early season prowess is taking the pressure off of Madison Bumgarner, especially in light of the team’s sluggish start to the year.
Speaking of strong starts, big ups to Jake Arieta for hurling his second no-hitter over his last eleven starts, proving once again that he is the reigning king of all National League starting pitchers. It was not that long ago (June 26, 2014) that Tim Lincecum tossed his second no-hitter, both against the San Diego Padres, and there is no getting around the surge of electricity one of these gems sends through the organization.
Astonishingly, this was Arieta’s 24th straight regular season quality start, going back to last June 21st. Having surrendered a total of only seventeen runs over those 178 innings, has helped him forge a 20-1 mark during this stretch.
The presence of such a master within the clubhouse, is a key component to any serious playoff contender. The staff must have a guy whose stuff is good enough on any given day, to completely stifle an opponent and pick up a sagging rotation.
Jake Arieta is that guy for the Cubs, just as Madison Bumgarner is that go-to guy for the Giants. Prior to Arieta’s meteoric rise to the top, Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, called the shots from the top. On paper every team has a top dog.
How much the team relies on that staff leader, becomes amplified when the stress of playoff ball creates a pressure cooker so volatile that the ace cannot hold up under all that hype. Should he stagger in that capacity, so would his team.
You can probably guess where I am going to with this line of reasoning. If you glance quickly at Bumgarner’s stats right now, (1-2, 3.91 ERA, 1.39 WHIP), you would see numbers that belie his elevated status on the team.
In fact you would see that MadBum’s career statistics do not come close to say, Kershaw’s numbers during the regular season, but then again, Kershaw’s regular season numbers shine compared to his postseason efforts.
Jake Arieta also experienced technical difficulties in this area last October.
For him to have had back-to-back starts in the playoffs, in which he gave up four runs, shows that even the best of them are challenged under the microscope of the playoffs. Nothing dictates he will ever have a similar problem again, but the uncertainty must linger in the back of the collective Cubs consciousness.
The Giants have no such impediments in their thinking process. They know what to expect from Bumgarner when October arrives, so they do not worry when things do not go as well during the grind of the regular season.
When it comes right down to it, San Francisco has suffered from inconsistency during the regular season in all three of their recent world series runs. They had four extended losing stretches in 2010, five in 2012 and seven in 2014.
Seven times during this most recent title run, the Giants lost four or more consecutive games, or experienced periods in which they won only once during prolonged stretches, baffling their fans and resurrecting the term “torture” for Giants followers.
But not surprisingly, these nosedives seem to better prepare the Giants for adversity, which makes sense when you think about it. If a team never struggles, it does not learn how to address hard times when they arrive.
Timing is everything.
For now the Cubs are on top of their division, and the Giants are near the bottom. Until that changes, my words are only so much hot air being blown about, like the mighty wind whipped up, when LA’s Yasiel Puig takes one of his mighty cuts, and whiffs.
That’s it for my at-bat today. See you next week.


If you’ve been listening to Sports Time Radio you know that I’ve been giving Dan the Man & Mr. Fantasy NBA & NHL playoff games to pick along with other miscellaneous games to pick. We ended this until next season on Tuesday with Dan the Man taking them out on a high note going 3-0. Sadly even with a perfect last day they still ended up under .500 at 39-45-1. Mr. Fantasy has suggested that they pick against each other next season; so maybe will go that way for picks. Schaumburg Stu also helped out making picks any time he filled in as a co-host.

I get to talk sports 5 times a week on Sports Time Radio. It airs Sunday at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday at 5:00 p.m., Wednesday at 5:00 p.m., Thursday at 4:00 p.m. and Friday at 5:00 p.m. You can find the show on Blog Talk Radio, the one Dan the Man is supposed to be on three days a week with me and then of Mr. Fantasy is on twice a week. As I mentioned Schaumburg Stu is a more than capable fill in any time we need him to do that. With all the sports talk it started me thinking back to how I developed my love for sports. Like most this goes back to when I was a very young boy. My father was a huge sports fan and I’m talking about every sport. We watched them all together and he would try to explain what was going on during the games. Now this really picked up in the summertime especially on Sunday’s. My father was a chef; so every Sunday morning he made a big breakfast for my mother and I and then he’d get whatever we where having for dinner going. After that he’d take his 10 inch black and white television and he and I would head out to the backyard for the day. Now my father had a Goute; so he wasn’t really able to run around with me in the backyard, but he watched like it was the most important game on. Since he couldn’t get around all that well and I was an only child I was supplied with the equipment to play games myself. I had a Johnny Bench Batter Up and I also had a Pitch Back. Do you remember those? The Cubs game would come on first; because they didn’t have lights at Wrigley Field yet. Now my father was a Cubs fan; so this was a must watch. After that if it was early spring we might catch the end of a Bulls or a Blackhawks game. That was if the Blackhawks where on the road. You might not remember, but they didn’t show Blackhawks home games on television. In the summer he’d try to find the White Sox game to watch but it seemed every Sunday in the backyard ended with golf on that little black and white television. As I got a little older my father put a hole in the backyard; so I could practice putting at home. Now my father was a little older than the other kids father’s when I was born. He was 40 years old when I came along and sadly I lost him 28 years ago this month to cancer. Looking back I realized how he passed his love of all sports on to me. What I’m wondering is where did your love of a sport or sports as a whole come from?

On Wednesday Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw pitched what is being called one of the greatest games ever pitched in major league baseball. Kershaw no hit the Colorado Rockies and was one Hanley Ramirez throwing error away from a perfect game. Kershaw threw 107 pitches; 79 of which where strikes in the game and he struck out 15 Rockies hitters during the game. It was an 8-0 Dodgers win and Kershaw improved to 7-2-on the season. A pitching performance like this one re-establishes Kershaw as the premier left-handed pitcher in major league baseball. It was I who had mentioned that White Sox lefty Chris Sale had passed Kershaw as the best left-handed pitcher in baseball, but it looks like I was off on that. Bill James has come up with a sabermetric stat called Game Score. Game Score is a simple way of measuring the effectiveness of a pitcher’s start. A pitcher starts with 50 points, gets a point for each out, two points for each innings completed after the fourth inning, and one point for a strikeout. He is docked two points for each hit, four points for each earned run allowed, two points for each unearned run allowed and one point for each walk. An average Game Score in a given season usually ranges from 49 to 50. The way Game Score is calculated, nearly every start ends up scoring between 0 and 100, with occasional exceptions for extraordinarily good or bad pitching performances. Kershaw 15 strike out no-hitter was the 2nd highest game ever scored on Game Score. The only game it scored lower than was Kerry Wood’s one hit 20 strikeout performance from May 6th 1998. My only negative to this game was I didn’t get to see it. Being that it was a west coast game I was in bed long before this game ended. I know I’m just nitpicking, but I would’ve loved to see it live.

You can find Sports Time Radio on BlogTalk Radio and you can find me on Twitter @Burketime.

So how was your week?