Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Angels and Rangers are playing an afternoon game today, which will be starting shortly. As I've been documenting the last couple of days, the Halos' Vladimir Guerrero has gotten at least one hit in every game he's ever played against the Rangers, 44 games in all. Can the Texas pitchers finally hold him hitless in a game? We'll soon see. Below, I provide real-time commentary...

The Rangers intentionally walk Guerrero in the first inning, with two outs and a runner on second. I think that's a strategically defensible move. The FOX television crew puts up a graphic indicating that Guerrero has a .443 lifetime batting average against the Rangers! (The .443 figure is also documented here, in the Preview section below the box score.)

[As an aside, I'm curious whether all of Guerrero's games against Texas have been as a member of the Angels, for whom he has played since the start of the 2004 season. Vlad, of course, played many years for the National League's Montreal Expos (now Washington Nationals) before coming over to the AL. But, with interleague play, the Expos could have faced the Rangers.

I initially consulted Baseball Reference, finding the Rangers' game-by-game log for 2003. Sure enough, the Rangers played the Expos in a three-game series from June 6-8, 2003. I then looked up the box scores of these games on Retrosheet, and noticed Guerrero was absent from all three. Further research confirmed my guess that he had been injured, this MLB document showing a June 9 action in which Guerrero was placed on the DL, retroactive to June 5. There do not appear to have been any prior interleague Texas-Montreal games.]

Guerrero walks again in the third, the Rangers' John Koronka clearly seeming to be pitching around him. Vlad is known as a free-swinger at the plate, but some of the pitches he was just thrown were too far out of the strike zone even for him.

Another intentional walk in the fourth, in the same situation as earlier: man on second, two outs.

Yet another intentional pass in the sixth inning, with a runner on third and one out.

An amazing catch in right field by the Rangers' Mark DeRosa on a tricky fly ball thwarts Guerrero in the bottom of the eighth. DeRosa was running toward the wall in a somewhat circular path to keep track of the ball and may have been bobbling it as he fell to the ground, but there wasn't any argument over the "out" call. Baseball, of course, has no replay rule, and anyway, none of the camera views provided a conclusive view of what happened. If you look at the linked biographical page on DeRosa, he's listed as a second baseman, but he certainly showed a lot of dexterity in the outfield on Guerrero's fly ball.

That will almost certainly end the streak, as the Angels are unlikely to need their ninth-inning at-bats, leading 10-3.

Yep, the Rangers go down quickly in the ninth. Streak over.

Update: A video of DeRosa catching Guerrero's fly ball is available here. When the new page comes up, select "Top Play: 350 K." First, you will see a different play from the game. When that play is over, look over to the lower-right portion of the page, where some plays are listed (the first one being "Rivera's three-run homer"). Then, scroll down to "DeRosa's falling catch," and select it.

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