Baseball Weekend Preview

My goodness the heat wave that has hit the country.

The last time I remember heat this hot I spent a week at Denison University baseball camp wondering if I had really somehow gone to Hell. We were staying in dorms that did not have air conditioning. We were sixth graders. We did drills and scrimmaged for some 8 to 10 hours a day. The other hours remaining I laid on my bed, delirious from the heat. When I got home and my father asked how baseball camp went, I told him it was a little hot. He said that I had lucked out and drawn the five hottest days of the summer for camp. Lucky me.

Now this is some serious heat going on right now. This is ‘I’m mad at my dog because he keeps having to piss and he’s dragging me out in this’ suffocating heat. Definitely the hottest I can remember it in the past five or ten years.

So if you’re out and about this weekend, or your wife is making you go to the local ‘parade of homes’ charade, make sure you wear light clothing and drink plenty of water. And for Gods sake don’t get too drunk and be hungover in this unless you have a death wish.

Now for the weekend’s baseball:
1) Pittsburgh Pirates (40-35) at St. Louis Cardinals (40-36)
Pittsburgh hasn’t had this much fun heading into July since the 1997 Al Martin Pirates started a seven-game winning streak on tomorrow’s date some 15 years ago. Danny Darwin was in their rotation. DANNY DARWIN! It’s refreshing to see the Pirates relevant. It’s good for baseball. People keep asking me if I think these guys are for real. I don’t think they’ve got the firepower in the lineup beyond Andrew Mccutchen to keep this going (I see they became Drew Sutton’s 18th team this season), but I absolutely am buying their scrappy pitching staff. James McDonald, A.J. Burnett and company will provide quality starts all year long. It’s funny, I can’t see them making the playoffs but I can see them dissuading the Reds and Cardinals enough to be a difference maker. Something tells me this is not another Pirates collapse team, but we have to see how the rest of the story plays out.

2) Cincinnati Reds (41-34) at San Francisco Giants (44-33)
The Giants shut the Reds out 5-0 last night and Madison Bugarner allowed only one hit all night. Such is the way it goes for the Reds, and they’ve got ten more games of NL West before this is over. That was also the Giants fourth straight shutout thrown. The Reds just really don’t seem to hit out in San Francisco. Two runs is always a struggle. Guys never do much out on the west coast. The Reds just seem to go through the motion. Something has to give, or the NL Central will boast a new first-place team after the weekend.

3) Washington Nationals (43-31) at Atlanta Braves (40-35)
The Braves are staying hot on the tails of the Nationals. The story of the weekend will be Tony La Russa trying to choose his last NL All-Star body between Bryce Harper and Chipper Jones. With the weather the country is having, Davey Johnson might make like the Florida cannibal and devour someone’s face. He’ll be in surly mood for sure.

4) Chicago White Sox (41-35) at New York Yankees (46-29)
Two first place teams squaring off at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx at the height of the summer. It doesn’t get much better than that. I was actually at the old stadium on a day that felt a lot like it will feel this weekend. It gets hot as hell in the land-locked Bronx. I need to make it to the new stadium, badly.

5) Cleveland Indians (38-37) at Baltimore Orioles (41-34)
When these two teams get together, it always reminds me of that sophomore year homecoming in high school that I skipped to watch the 1997 ALCS game two. I am really sorry about that, Kelsey. Please forgive me. But those were memorable years. What did I care about women? The Indians were trotting out Matt Williams, Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, David Justice. Life was grand, and I think I had only kissed like one girl back then.

Pitching Match-ups to DVR

Justin Verlander vs. David Price
Cliff Lee vs. Josh Johnson

Nothing to note unless you like Stephen Strasburg and Mike Minor.

Gio Gonzalez vs. Tim Hudson

Video of the Week:

In this week’s uncovered gem, Jim Leyland is going to spend the next minute cussing out Barry Bonds back in spring training 1991. Some twenty years have came and gone. Jim Leyland looked as old and grizzled back then as he does now.

I’ve often said that the reason I love Jim Leyland is because for anyone out there who has met my father; this man is my father’s doppelganger. They are the same person, down to the dinners consisting of only chocolate milk and cigarettes. My father is a cowboy. He would have no problem telling Barry Bonds to go fuck himself. I assure you.