Welcome!, 8/31 recap

Welcome to Midnight Baseball, your one-stop shop for all things American and National League West. Right now our operation is small—just my roommate Dan and myself writing for people who know us well enough to throw us a pity-click—but soon, through the magic of me spamming Twitter, we ought to be the Internet’s foremost scholars on the Giants (my team), Mariners (Dan’s), A’s, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Padres, Dodgers, Angels and Rangers (and, once the season is over, the Astros). We believe these nine teams deserve someone’s focus; Big Media cares not about teams west of the Mississippi (or the Hudson)—one of the great Injustices of our time.

So let’s get started with this noble crusade. What follows will be a tale about today’s games involving the aforementioned nine teams. Posts of this type will be a nightly occurrence but certainly not the only kind of content you should expect.

August 31

Chicago 6, San Francisco 4

Young Madison Bumgarner (4.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR) had his shortest outing since his first start of the year and not coincidentally the Giants snapped their six-game road winning streak. Buster Posey (4 PA, 3 H, 1 BB, 2 RBI) leads all catchers with 30 doubles, two ahead of the Phillies’ Carlos Ruiz (the Twins’ Ryan Doumit and Joe Mauer are third and fourth, respectively). Gregor Blanco (0-for-4, 3 K) looks less like a starting left fielder with each passing day. There are two enticing options on waivers, the Mets’ Scott Hairston and Andres Torres. Hairston’s pop would be a great improvement, as would Torres’ defensive range, but in either case the Dodgers could block the transaction (waiver claims are made in reverse order of the standings). Stay awkward, Hunter Pence.

Texas 5, Cleveland 3

Ryan Dempster (6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 7 K) pitched well for his third consecutive start, quieting the clamor from the most rabid, stereotypically-Texan Rangers enthusiasts that he should be executed. Adrian Beltre finished a sssssssssizzling August (125 PA, 7 HR, .311 AVG, .295 BABIP, 149 wRC+) with four hits. The Rangers beat the Indians, yawn. Moving on.

San Diego 5, Colorado 4

Cameron Maybin is inching upward to his 2011 form. Since the All-Star break, he’s had an OPS over .700. That’s not good, but he’s the only player the Padres have committed to long-term, so he’s going to play every day. At least now he’s not hurting the team too much. Wilin Rosario went deep again, and now that it is my duty to think about him, I see a bonanza of similarities between him and 2011 Mark Trumbo. If he can improve next year the way Trumbo has this year (a mostly BABIP-fueled improvement, by the way), the Rockies will have the best offensive catcher in the league. Sorry, Team Posey.

Oakland 20, Boston 2

That is not a typo. Every A’s player scored a run. Peculiarly, lead-off hitter Coco Crisp only got on base once, via base on balls in the seventh inning.

Los Angeles, 9, Seattle 1

I’m not going to use any markers to distinguish the Angels from the Dodgers (i.e. “AL” and “NL”). You know they play in different leagues; you can figure out which one I mean by their opponents. For some reason—Mariners manager Eric Wedge was feeling nihilistic, is one I can think of—Dustin Ackley and his .232/.301/.335 slash-line led off. Ackley actually went 2-f0r-4, proving once again that nothing means anything and everything is nothing. Kendrys Morales went deep for the Angels, and is quietly returning to form after breaking his leg in 2010 celebrating a home run. Morales’ saga could inspire others who have faced senseless adversity, but here at Midnight Baseball all it inspires is more nihilism.

Arizona 4, Los Angeles 3 (F/11)

Jason Kubel yacked one in the 11th to mercifully end this game, assisted by a typical J.J. Putz save (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 0 R). Starting pitcher Trevor Cahill scored and knocked in a run. I imagine he likes playing in the National League on nights like this.