Friday, September 4, 2009

A day with MLB.TV

I may have mentioned that MLB.TV finally lifted the stupid blackout that had affected Japan for at least 5 years. So when they put the rest of the season on sale for $35 at the beginning of August, I jumped at the offer. So now I can watch every MLB game live on the computer! You can watch 4 games at a time (although obviously only 1 audio feed comes through). Over the past few weeks, I've been catching up on the majors - watching bits and pieces of 6 or 8 games most mornings. I thought it might be fun to write a running diary about a day of watching all these games, much like The Sports Guy does on ESPN.com. I won't be nearly as funny or interesting though, but thanks to him for the idea.

I chose today because there are only 6 games to watch from 8 am Japan time and the pitching matchups look fantastic. Chief among them is Tim Lincecum vs Pedro Martinez in the SF-Philly game, but the Clay Bucholz-David Price battle also looks intriguing. Rookie sensations Ricky Romero of the Jays and Tommy Hanson of the Braves are also pitching in the early games. The two late games aren't as interesting although Jon Garland is pitching for LA against Arizona, who traded him a few days ago.


The four early games on one screen

Let's get started.

8:07 First pitch from Pedro Martinez and the connection fails. By the time I get it reset, Eugenio Velez has homered. 1-0 Giants.

8:10 Kung-fu Panda Pedro Sandoval doubles and waddles into second. Bengie Molina follows at the plate. The Giants are certainly aptly named - these two guys are big. Molina strikes out btw.

8:13 All 4 games are underway. Randy Winn strikes out to end the inning for the Giants.

8:14 The Yankees Johnny Damon walks with 1 out.

8:15 Victor Martinez singles for Boston with 2 out, while Mark Teixeira singles to push Damon to 2nd.

8:16 The Braves are out 1-2-3 in the first.

8:17 Shane Victorino is using the new ultra-protective helmet, but he pops out.

8:18 Kevin Youkilis singles to the wall, well played by Carl Crawford to keep Martinez at 2nd.

8:19 Lincecum strikes out Chase Utley to end the first. Meanwhile, Romero walks A-Rod to load the bases.

8:20 Ugh. Hideki Matsui singles to right to score 2, but Travis Snider lets the ball go under his glove, all the way to the wall and another run scores. 3-0 Yankees.

8:21 Jason Bay doubles in two runs to give Boston the lead. David Ortiz strikes out to end the inning but Tampa Bay is already down 2-0.

8:22 Cameron Maybin doubles for Florida.

8:23 Jorge Posada singles in Matsui. 4-0 Yankees. I want to cry.

8:25 Jason Bartlett leads off with a single for Tampa Bay.

8:26 Pedro gets the Giants 1-2-3 and has struck out 4 through 2.

8:27 Robinson Cano grounds into a DP ending a disastrous first inning for Toronto.

8:28 Bartlett moves to second on a deep fly ball and scores on a single from Ben Zobrist. Smart baserunning from Bartlett contributes to a run for the Rays.

8:29 Ryan Howard strikes out - Lincecum looks good again tonight.

8:30 Jinx. Jayson Werth crushes a hanging curve from Lincecum. 1-1.

8:32 Hanson strikes out John Baker to escape a jam. Atlanta and Florida is the only scoreless game after 1 inning.

8:34 Adam Lind walks for Toronto.

8:35 I love watching pitchers hit. Lincecum strikes out against Pedro flailing.

8:36 Brian McCann leads off the 2nd for Atlanta and homers. 1-0 Braves.

8:37 With runners on 1st and 2nd, Evan Longoria doubles down the line. One run scores and Tampa has tied the game 2-2, still in the first.

8:38 Edgar Renteria strikes out - 7 strike outs for Pedro through 3!

8:39 Atlanta is done in the 2nd while Toronto's Lyle Overbay flies out to end the 1st.

8:40 Gregg Zaun strikes out to end the inning for Tampa Bay.

8:42 Romero strikes out Nick Swisher. Interesting Stat #1. Swisher has 23 homers this season, but only 3 at Yankee Stadium.

8:43 Melky Cabrera called out on strikes - looked low to me. Pedro Martinez strikes out. Some Marlin strikes out. All at the same time.

8:44 Rocco Baldelli homers for Boston. This game looks like a 4-hour marathon.

8:45 Jimmy Rollins doubles with 2 out. Meanwhile Romero strikes out Derek Jeter - he struck out the side! Still 4-0 Yankees though.

8:46 Shane Victorino grounds out. Done 3 in Philly, while Andy Gonzalez of the Marlins is out to end things for the Marlins. All 4 games are on break for 10 seconds before the Jays game returns.

8:49 Jeter makes a great play to get Randy Ruiz. The Jays still looking for their first hit.

8:50 Snider gets hit on the ankle. I wasn't talking about that sort of hit though.

8:51 Another 1-2-3 inning for Pedro.

8:52 Jose Bautista grounds out to end Toronto's 2nd. Still hitless.

8:56 B.J. Upton steals second on a pitchout! That's some fast.

8:57 Howard strikes out again, that's 7 Ks for Lincecum as well.

9:01 Raul Chavez doubles for Toronto. Every team has a hit now, so we'll have to wait for the late games for a chance at a no-hitter.

9:02 After 4 innings, both Lincecum and Martinez have identical lines. 2H, 1ER, 1HR, 0BB, 7K.

9:03 Aaron Rowand singles for the Giants after Martinez had retired 13 in a row. But Lincecum strikes out.

9:05 Not much going on in the other games.

9:07 Lyle Overbay flies out stranding two runners for the Blue Jays.

9:12 Cameron Maybin doubles in a run to tie the game for Florida. This kid looks impressive.

9:13 5 innings in just over an hour in Philly, still 1-1. Great pitching duel.

9:16 Velez leads off the San Fransicso 6th with a double.

9:17 Jorge Cantu grounds out, leaving Maybin on 3rd. 1-1 after 3 innings down in Florida.

9:19 Interesting stat #2 - Sandoval and Molina lead the league in percentage of swings. They both swing at 57.4% of pitches they see. They also lead the league in percentage of food eaten. They eat 100% of the food they see.

9:20 Cabrera singles in Matsui and the Yankees are up 5-0. I wish there was another game I could tune in. Updates from this affair will be temporarily stopped.

9:21 Longoria doubles again to lead off the Tampa Bay 4th.

9:22 Atlanta does nothing in their 4th, still 1-1 there.

9:23 Gregg Zaun doubles in Longoria. Other than the Jays getting hammered, the games are all tied.

9:24 While switching audio, I accidentally close the Boston-Tampa game. When I reconnect, Gregg Zaun is batting again! He doubles again! I guess there is some time lag depending on when you connect to the game.

9:29 After Chase Utley is hit by a pitch, Ryan Howard smacks a double to give Philly a 2-1 lead. 113 RBIs for Howard!

9:30 They're done 4 in Florida, still 1-1. Also done 4 in Tampa, 3-3. And after 6 in Philly, it's still 2-1 for the home team.

9:32 Jays have the bases loaded with 1 out. I predict a double play.

9:34 Juan Uribe doubles for SF with one out.

9:35 I'm proven wrong as Raul Chavez dumps a single to right to score Toronto's first run. The bases remain loaded.

9:37 Ryan Church doubles for Atlanta who are threatening with runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out.

9:38 Aaron Rowand grounds out to end the Giants' threat.

9:39 Marco Scutaro gets a sac fly to bring the Jays within 3.

9:40 Bad news in Tampa. B.J. Upton collides with Carl Crawford on a fly ball and crumbles to the ground in obvious pain. Looks like an ankle injury.

9:41 Aaron Hill singles in another run for the Jays! And out comes Girardi to make the first pitching change of the day as Alfredo Aceves replaces Chad Gaudin, who couldn't even last 5 innings for the gimme win.

9:42 Chipper Jones drives in a run and it's 3-1 Atlanta over Florida. Looks like I missed the second run while watching Upton's injury replay.

9:43 Upton is walking off, so let's hope it's nothing serious. Akinori Iwamura comes in to play second while Ben Zobrist moves to center field.

9:45 Matt Stairs is pinch hitting for Pedro but strikes out. 11 Ks for Lincecum who is scheduled to lead off but with the Giants trailing, he is pinch-hit for. Ryan Madson takes over for Martinez.

9:46 Adam Lind strikes out to end the Jays 4th. They're back in it though.

9:48 Phils-Giants are in the top of the 8th. The other 3 games are only in the top of the 5th!

9:50 Atlanta has the bases loaded but a shallow fly and a line drive to first end their 5th.

9:52 Madson retires the Giants in order.

9:54 Romero walks two to start the Yankee 5th.

9:55 Zobrist dribbles a grounder along the first-base line. Bucholz picks it up and bumps into Youkilis. Zobrist wins the race but is called out! The replay proves it - the ump made a mistake.
Really, does Boston need any additional help here?!

9:56 A-Rod singles in Johnny Damon. 6-3 Yankees and my hope for a Jays comeback is immediately shattered.

9:57 Sergio Romo is pitching for the Giants now. He gets the Phillies in order and so Brad Lidge comes on for the save.

9:59 Lidge has a 7.03 ERA?!

10:00 Hanson gets the Marlins in the 5th and is now set for the win. Meanwhile, Romero gives up another run and is mercifully taken out of the game.

10:03 Sandoval strikes out and the ball is nicely blocked by Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz, who throws him out at first.

10:05 Molina pops out and the Giants are down to their final out.

10:07 The two hour mark is reached as Randy Winn singles to keep the Giants alive.

10:08 An error in Florida as Andy Gonzalez makes a poor throw that is dropped by Nick Johnson. I think Johnson should get the error, but it's meaningless as the next batter flies out.

10:10 Winn steals to put the tying run in scoring position for San Francisco.

10:11 Price is taken out of the game for Tampa Bay and replaced by Russ Springer, who gives up a sac fly to Mike Lowell. 4-3 Boston.

10:12 Jose Uribe walks and the Phillies fans are suddenly quiet. Fred Lewis pinch hits for Travis Ishikawa.

10:13 Atlanta starter Tommy Hanson is replaced by Kris Medlen.

10:14 Phillies win! Lewis grounds to Utley who tags Uribe for the final out. Great pitching here, with 2 walks and 23 strikeouts. Game time was a beautiful 2:08.

10:15 Still two close games to follow. Boston leads TB 4-3 in the bottom of the 6th while Atlanta is up 3-1 on Florida, also in the bottom of the 6th. Jays down 7-3 after 5 but I've pretty much given up on that mess.

10:19 Brett Carroll doubles in a run for Florida who are within one. Batting leader Hanley Ramirez pinch hits for Gonzalez. Apparently he and Dan Uggla had a confrontation the previous day. Doesn't matter to him as he singles to tie the game. Matt Diaz lets the ball get by and Ramirez goes to second where he is pinch-run for. And Tommy Hanson won't get the win.

10:24 Jacoby Ellsbury singles with one out in the 7th.

10:25 Cody Ross doubles to right and the Marlins have taken a 4-3 lead!

10:26 Pitching change in Tampa as Chad Bradford comes in to replace Brian Shouse. Ellsbury promptly steals second.

10:27 Medlin is taken out. Wonder what he says to Hanson? "Sorry, buddy, really blew your win there."

10:28 Dustin Pedroia singles to send Ellsbury to third, then Victor Martinez singles to give the Red Sox an insurance run.

10:29 Chipper Jones drops a foul pop and Chris Coughlan takes advantage of his reprieve with a run-scoring double off Eric O'Flaherty . 5-3 Marlins.

10:30 Boston adds another run on a force out by Youkilis. Jason Bay then doubles.

10:31 The error given to Gonzalez has been switched to Johnson. Johnson is so angry that he singles in another run and it's 6-3 Marlins.

10:33 A Travis Snider double, passed ball by Jorge Posada, and a double by Raul Chavez bring the Jays back within 3.

10:35 Jorge Cantu singles in Johnson and it's 7-3 Marlins, who have batted around and plated 6 runs in their 6th inning.

10:36 Atlanta can't get a break as John Baker gets a weak infield single to keep the inning alive for Florida.

10:37 I'm looking forward to the two late games starting soon. These 3 games are suddenly rather dull, much like this blog post. Seriously, what was I thinking, trying to blog 4 games at once? Is anybody reading this?

10:38 Toronto's Marco Scutaro reaches on an A-Rod error and a run scores. Suddenly the Jays game is the closest one at 7-5 Yankees.

10:41 Bryan Sanchez comes on to pitch for Florida while Billy Wagner is on for Boston.

10:46 Neither Atlanta or Tampa can cut their deficits. It's break time for me.

10:55 I'm back to see that Florida has added another run somehow to make it 8-3. The Braves bullpen is woeful.

10:56 With runners on 2nd and 3rd, Pedroia grounds to Iwamura who throws home to get J.D. Drew. After a ground out, we enter the bottom of the 8th with Boston up 6-3.

10:57 None of these games will finish by the time the late games start. I'll stop watching the Braves-Marlins game I guess.

11:02 Randy Ruiz is hit by David Robertson, the 3rd Jay to be hit by a pitch today. Brawl! I wanna brawl! The Jays don't oblige.

11:03 Vin Scully is announcing for Prime Ticket. I'll be listening to that game I think - can't get tired of him. Interesting note is that Jon Garland is starting for LA against the Diamondbacks. When the series began 3 days ago, Garland was actually playing for Arizona but was traded during the first game and now faces his former team. Jim Thome may also make his Dodger debut tonight.

11:04 Jays are done in their 7th inning, still down 7-5.

11:05 I see that Bobby Cox was ejected earlier, missed it when that happened.

11:08 Three hours in. The Braves ground into a double play to end their 8th. I switch over to the Seattle at Oakland game where Ichiro leads off with a single. It's his 189th hit, only 11 left for his 9th season of 200 hits.

11:10 Daniel Bard has retired the Rays in the 8th.

11:11 Wow, Franklin Gutierrez smashes a homer to left for Seattle. His 15th of the season scores Ichiro as well and it's already 2-0 M's.

11:12 Dodgers-Dbacks getting under way. Justin Upton is scratched because of a contact lens issue?! Did he lose them? Put them in the wrong eyes? Bizarre, but not a good day for the Upton boys.

11:13 David Ortiz grounds hard to first - Carlos Pena can't pick it up but Iwamura backs up the play and gets the ball to pitcher Lance Cormier covering. The old 3-4-1 groundout.

11:14 Stephen Drew singles to lead off the game for Arizona. Meanwhile Adrian Beltre smacks a double to left for Seattle.

11:15 Bill Hall CRUSHES a pitch to center. 4-0 Mariners still in the first.

11:16 Jonathan Paplebon is in to close the game out for Boston.

11:21 Adam Kennedy singles to lead off the game for Oakland.

11:22 After a walk from Garland, Mark Reynolds singles in Drew and Arizona leads 1-0.

11:23 Brandon Allen grounds into the 1-6-3 DP and LA is coming to bat.

11:24 Florida has held on to win 8-3.

11:25 With runners on first and third, Ryan Sweeney grounds to Beltre who throws home to Kenji Johjima for the tag.

11:26 A-Rod homers with two out in the 9th to extend the Yankees lead to 8-5.

11:27 Paplebon gets Iwamura to fly to center and Boston has won the game 6-3. TB is now 6 games back in the Wild Card race. Game time was 3:16, not quite the 4 hour marathon I predicted earlier.

11:28 Billy Buckner starts for Arizona. No relation to the infamous Bill Buckner. He retires the Dodgers in order.

11:29 Ex-Ottawa Lynx Jack Cust walks to load the bases for Oakland.

11:30 A's catcher Kurt Suzuki singles to drive in two and the Mariners lead is cut in half; it's now 4-2.

11:31 Earthquake in Tokyo! A small one though.

11:32 After Hideki Matsui walks, Posada hits a monster shot to right to make it 10-5 Yankees. Nightmare game for the Jays pitching staff.

11:50 Safari crashes wiping out the last twenty minutes of updates (thought the blog was autosaved every two minutes). Piece of crap. Jays lost, the game was 3:37. Dodgers tied the game on a Ronnie Belliard single.

11:54 A very strange error in Oakland. Runners on first and second with two out, grounder to short, Jack Wilson picks it up and tries to underhand to Jose Lopez but flips it well over his head, and a runner scores. It's the M's first error in 11 games and it's a costly one as the A's close within 1.

12:00 Stephen Drew homers to give Arizona a 2-1 lead.

12:02 With only two games going on, things are pretty slow.

12:03 Seattle is retired in the 3rd, still leading 4-3.

12:09 Mark Reynolds makes a nice diving stop at 3rd to mark the four-hour mark. (Three marks in the same sentence!)

12:10 Andre Ethier is hit by a pitch and Manny Ramirez comes to the plate, but Ethier is caught stealing to end the inning.

12:11 Both games are through 3 innings with the visitors up by a run.

12:12 Mike Carp is batting for Seattle. I saw him in Binghamton last season and sat near his girlfriend. She was talking to somebody and saying that she hates baseball. Found that rather amusing. Wonder if she hates rain too? She'll have plenty of both as long as Mike remains a Mariner. Meanwhile, Carp flies out.

12:13 With Bill Hall on first, Johjima drives one to left center. It's the 3rd 2-run homer for Seattle and they are up 6-3.

12:18 Ichiro grounds out to end Seattle's 4th just as Chris Young strikes out. With both games between innings, I'm forced to listen to the MLB.TV commercials. They only have three ads: one is for the MLB.Com shop which plays the "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" theme; one is an ad for the MLB Umpire Camp; the last is for MLB GameDay premium. I'd much rather see the local commercials myself.

12:21 Manny Ramirez leads off and crushes a pitch to center to tie the game at 2.

12:27 Belliard singles in another run and the Dodgers take the 3-2 lead.

12:28 The A's get two runners but can't score in their half of the 4th. I'm getting hungry.

12:35 Garland gets the Dbacks in order and has now has retired eight straight.

12:36 Ken Griffey Jr. grounds out (great stretch by A's first baseman Daric Barton) and I have to listen to the ads again.

12:41 The Dodgers go quickly but the A's don't - the games are staggered now so I hope I don't have to hear those ads anymore.

12:46 Another 1-2-3 inning for Arizona as Garland now has set down 11 in a row.

12:47 Ian Snell has reached 107 pitches in the 5th inning! That's horrible, but he might get the win as the A's strand two more to end the 5th.

12:50 Cool highlight from 1995 - Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome playing for the Indians; now they're on the Dodgers together. Thome is not playing btw. And those old shots of ManRam make him look much smaller than he is now. Hmmmm. Can't tell if his head is bigger due to the dreadlocks.

12:54 With two out, Carp hits his first career double but he's stranded as we go to the bottom of the 5th, still 6-3 Mariners.

12:55 James Loney singles to load the bases for LA.

12:57 Belliard gets his 3rd RBI beating out a double play ball. 4-2 Dodgers.

1:00 Tomko's out of the game for Oakland as Brad Ziegler comes in with runners at first and second. Ziegler has a weird sidearm motion but he gets Jack Wilson to end the inning.

1:02 There's a new ad! Some sort of house paint. But the other game starts so I don't wait to see exactly what brand it is.

1:07 Garland has retired 14 straight as they stretch in LA and I hit the 5 hour mark.

1:08 Done 6 in Oakland, still 6-3 Mariners.

1:13 Both games moving fairly quickly now as Seattle is set down in order by Ziegler. I need to get something to eat soon.

1:18 Finished 7 in LA, Dodgers maintain their 4-2 lead.

1:21 George Sherrill replaces Garland for LA in the 8th inning.

1:23 Oakland cannot score in the 7th.

1:24 Justin Upton has fixed his contact lens problem and pinch hits, driving a double to the right field gap. He's 7/15 in the series.

1:29 Two ground outs later though and the inning is over for the Dbacks.

1:33 Seattle does nothing in their half of inning number 8.

1:36 The Dodgers come up empty in their half of the 8th. Jonathan Broxton is on for the save.

1:38 Daric Barton homers for Oakland, and they're within 2.

1:39 Miguel Montero singles for Arizona, bringing the tying run to the plate with nobody out.

1:40 Oakland is retired in the 8th, they still trail Seattle 6-4.

1:42 Broxton strikes out Mark Reynolds and Brandon Allen. Arizona down to their last out.

1:43 Mike Carp singles to lead off the Mariner 9th. Jeff Gray is now pitching for Oakland.

1:44 Gerardo Parra flies out to end it the game in Los Angeles. Dodgers win 4-2 in 2:31. Great performance from Garland.

1:45 Johjima singles, the Mariners have 1st and 2nd with nobody out.

1:47 Ichiro is walked intentionally after a sacrifice bunt.

1:48 Seattle squeezes with Gutierrez at the plate - the run scores and it's 7-4 Mariners.

1:54 With two out, Jose Lopez fumbles an easy one and the Athletics stay alive.

1:57 David Aardsma strikes out Kurt Suzuki to end the game and this running diary. Thank your lucky stars. It's Aardsma's 34th save, tying him with Papelbon. Game time was 2:47.

Well, there you have it. Nearly six hours of baseball, line by excruciating line. One great game in Philly, two decent late games, three crap games earlier on including the Jays being blown out.

I tried this style of blog post just to see what's it's like. I've been watching a lot of games on MLB.TV over the past month and have been enjoying it immensely. I was hoping to convey some of that enjoyment, but reading about these games after the fact is not much fun. Not a lot happened today - the games were pretty routine. Recent days have seen walk-off homers, near perfect games, and other gripping excitement. Unfortunately, nothing of the sort took place today.

This is likely the least interesting post on the blog, which is saying something. If you've actually read this far, well, you must be bored, but I do appreciate your persistence.

Next week I'll look into potential minor league playoff road trips.

Best,

Sean

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