Thursday, July 9, 2009

Baseball in the Daytime: Hot Diggety Dog

Apparently, there was a hot dog eating contest over the weekend, and apparently, some guy not named Kobayashi -- Joey Chestnut downed 68 for his second consecutive title and a world record -- won the thing. Now, I kind of loathe the phrase "only in America," but this is one event where I would make the exception. I find this contest absolutely disgusting, but I sure do love me some hot dogs. Had one on Sunday, even. Right after I took one for the team and took the most burnt bratwurst on the tray. Seems as though, what with Memorial Day, graduations, and Fourth of July, I've had quite a few dogs lately. In fact, my sister-in-law and I were talking about this last evening. One day last week, she had three dogs in three different settings in a 24-hour period. And apparently, she could've squeezed down another. She, uh, has this way with words, shall I say. She summed the experience by saying, "Three weiners in one day. Who'd've thunk it?" Approximately seven minutes later, over by the display of M&Ms and mixed nuts, she, downing a mouthful said, "Mmm. Chocolate nuts."

But baseball. Baseball. I've noticed a pattern. In yesterday's day baseball affair (link, cough), there were a bunch of National League day games, whereas in today's there're three American League and one N.L. tilt to wrap things up. Come with me, over the jump, and find out all about it.

Toronto @ Tampa Bay, 11:08 Central: It's Roy Halladay as the visitor in today's first contest. He faces David Price and the Bay Rays in a battle of wits and sliders. Halladay's 10-win first half, coupled with his below-three E.R.A. has been incredible. Price will have his work cut out for him as he comes in at 2-3 with a plus-five. Lucky for he and the Tampa crew, they have a four and-a-half game lead over the Jays in the A.L. East, which is surprising, considering some of the flash Toronto has, on occasion, shown this year. They lock up on DirecTV 721, XM 176.

New York @ Minnesota, 12:10: Precisely one hour and two minutes later, Alfredo Aceves will battle with Glen Perkins. Except that he won't; the Twinkie on the hill will actually be Francisco Liriano. Perkins, apparently, is ill and will go tomorrow instead. But anyway, Liriano comes with a 4-8 record, a 5.49 E.R.A., is fully loaded and available for 1.9 percent financing. Aceves, on the other hand, has strung together a quiet 5-1 record with a 2.03 E.R.A., from the 'pen. The pinstripe front office was going to give him the nod two weeks ago when CC Sabathia's chances of starting looked shaky. Today he's a definite go in place of Chien-Ming Wang, who's 2009 has looked shaky. They'll hate on one another on DirecTV 722 and 723, or over on XM 177.

Cleveland @ Chicago, 1:05: Matchup number three is a duel of southpaws as David Huff faces Clayton Richard and the White Stockings. Each hurler has one fewer loss than wins, and E.R.A.s they'd like to whittle down a bit. I keep expecting Cleveland to get their act together and get out of the A.L. Central, but when you lose eight of your last 10, that's hard to do. Chicago, conversely, has done the opposite. Watch these jerks play baseball on DirecTV 724, 725, or listen to their jerkiness on XM 178.

St. Louis @ Milwaukee, 1:05: For the league of hitting pitchers, it's right-hander Joel Pineiro against lefty Manny Parra. Though the Cardinal's record (6-9) doesn't speak volumes about his season, his 3.39 E.R.A. tells a bit more of the story. Another missing piece is that he's gotten very little run support in his appearances thus far. Parra, on the other hand, will make his first start in a month for the Brew Crew. After early-season struggles, he was sent down, where he wasn't all that much better. Either way, he takes the mound in the bottoms of the innings today at Miller Park. Don't believe me? Check DirecTV 726 or 727, or listen for his name on XM 183.

That's your slab today, folks. Enjoy some baseball, and hell, have a hot dog for lunch while you're at it.