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Game 118: Twins at Phillies

Fans in Veterans Stadium used to throw batteries at opponents. This should be less hostile. A bit.

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Philadelphia Phillies v Miami Marlins
We’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’.
Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Time: 6:05 Central

Weather: Calm & lovely, 81° at first pitch

Opponent’s SB site: The Good Phight

TV: BSN. Radio: Never negative about the Twins, never at all

MLB team record for strikeouts: 1596. Twins’ current pace: 1660

Phillies starter Cristopher Sánchez signed with Tampa Bay at age 16, because baseball’s international signing rules are borderline criminal. He finally reached the majors eight years later. As recently as 2019 he was said to have a 98 MPH fastball. That’s about 6 MPH away from true. His game, then, is getting grounders with his sinker/slider/change mix, and this year it’s gone pretty well for him.

Also, he’s lefthanded, so the Twins will score -1 runs tonight. Digits (YTD for Sánchez, 2022 for Twinkies sinkerballer Dallas Keuchel):

In Old Friend Alert, guess who’s on the wildcard-leading Phillies while OPSing a mighty .603 for the season? The Cave For Jakes, himself! Who still doesn’t play defense at a high level, or run fast, or hit lefties at all, so it begs the question: what, exactly, does Jake Cave bring to a contending roster?

Well, there’s veteran experience. But lots of other Phillies players have that. And a search for “Jake Cave role Phillies” doesn’t turn up anything about his special teaching/mentoring ability – the best I can figure is that Cave, as usual, was tearing up AAA ball and looking like he might be on a hot streak which could help the MLB club. (Which hasn’t happened.)

Or, you know, it could be that Jake Cave is just a game, glad, and giving Love Machine.

I was set to write a whole thing about this, with quotes (surely, not invented!) by teammates like Joe Mauer, Bryce Harper, and Torii Hunter. And descriptions of the good time shared by all. I decided against it, though, as this site is (barely) family-friendly, so I would have to use too many euphemisms. Which ends up sounding snickery.

I’d friggin’ APPLAUD if it came out that one team was happily sharing lovey-times in a relaxed, ancient Greek sort of style. And maybe the Phillies are, with Jake Cave as the straw that stirs the drink. You never know.

Instead, let’s veer south on the Amtrak down to Baltimore, where there’s been some truly crazy business going on with TV broadcaster Kevin Brown. Brown was recently suspended from team broadcasts. Why?

Ownership was mad at Brown for saying some “negative” things about the Rays on July 23rd. What sort of things? Tom Scocca at Slate typed them out for us:

[Orioles manager] Brandon Hyde has felt that this has been maybe the toughest ballpark to play in. But the Orioles have a chance to do something special today. They’ve already clinched at least a split in the series, winning two of the first three. And they could pick up a series win behind Tyler Wells today.

It’s been a minute. The Orioles split a two-gamer with the Rays in June. They had lost their last 15 series here at Tropicana Field. You have to go back to when our now-colleague Brad Brach picked up a win in the series finale June 25, 2017, the last time the Orioles won a series here in St. Pete. They’ve already gone 3–2 at the Trop this year after winning 3 of 18 the previous three years combined. It is a stark difference, Ben, and it is not a bad Rays team. It’s not like all of a sudden the Rays became slouches in the American League East. They’ve led this division every day but now two, and the Orioles once again are back alone in first place.

(Scocca also points out that “3 of 18” is wrong – it’s actually 3 of 21.)

So, because Brown mentioned that the Rays had owned Baltimore in recent seasons, and Baltimore was doing much better against them now… Brown was suspended for being too negative.

This is crazy! Imagine if the same standard was applied to Dick Bremer talking about the Twins’ woes in New York. Or heck, the way Dan Gladden gets cranky during losing seasons, or when the Twins fail to pull off some routine strategy play.

Naturally our friends over at Camden Chat have their own responses and links. My favorite is by commenter Fart_Shoes: “It makes no sense. I’m a known moron and even I know this is a mind-bogglingly stupid thing to do. But even as I write this, it’s not JUST that it’s stupid— it should never have even been a thing to do or not do, it should never have been on anyone’s radar, this should be nothing at all. If it weren’t for [gestures haphazardly at everything] I would be convinced that I had too strong of an edible and was imagining this.”

Reaction was so overwhelmingly negative that MASN (the cable network showing Orioles games) had to temporarily shut down their feedback page. While the Orioles have refused to make any team comment on the matter. And Kevin Brown will apparently be returning to Orioles broadcasts tonight.

In any case, as Scocca notes, this isn’t the first example of the Orioles picking petty fights with broadcasters; in the 1990s, then-owner Peter Angelos drove local icon Jon Miller to the Giants. John Angelos also ran MASN before running the team; perhaps he’s determined to keep it his personal praise station, a la New York Knicks thunderass James Dolan.

There’s also the little matter of Angelos being sued by his brother for allegedly forcing their senile father to give up control of the team… and the mere $600 million Angelos wants from Maryland taxpayers to “renovate” a beloved 30-year-old stadium.

So the guy’s under some stress, which makes it perfectly understandable that he gets defensive about the Orioles…

… JUST KIDDING! No, it’s not understandable. It’s another owner being a whiny peevish jerk. What else is new?

Today's Lineups

Willi Castro - 3B Kyle Schwarber - DH
Jordan Luplow - LF Alec Bohm - 1B
Carlos Correa - SS Trea Turner - SS
Ryan Jeffers - C Nick Castellanos - RF
Jorge Polanco - DH Bryson Stott - 2B
Max Kepler - RF J.T. Realmuto - C
Kyle Farmer - 2B Weston Wilson - LF
Michael Taylor - CF Edmundo Sosa - 3B
Joey Gallo - 1B Johan Rojas - CF
Dallas Keuchel - LHP C. Sanchez - LHP