Sorry for being tardy with the Vulture Report. Yesterday was Victoria Day in Canada (HOLIDAY!) and we went to the Zoo. It wasn’t quite Zoo with Roy but good enough. Among the many different animals we saw a VULTURE:
Ok, there’s way more grass than vulture but he was really far and it was a stupid phone camera not a Nikon. Cut me some slack, I’m not gonna lug my Nikon around to take pictures of zoo animals. If I want great pictures of zoo animals I can google them. I’m there for the experience not to record my life as if this were The Final Cut (nice movie BTW, Jim Caviezel makes a totally believable bad-ass quasi-villain)
In my expedition I also found two more vultures, let’s take a look shall we:
May 17th. Ryan Madson of the Oakland Athletics. Ryan Madson. Madson. Mad Son. Former Phillie of years gone by Ryan is your prototypical failed starter that became an awesome bullpen arm. He was with the Phillies for years and became one of the games superb and reliable setup men behind Brad Lidge. In fact he was bit like the dog Brain to Brad Lidge’s Inspector Gadget: you’d watch him mow down the heart of the opposing order in the 8th and then Lidge came in the 9th to take down the 7-8-9 hitters and get the glory.
C’est La Vie. When his final year was up he was talking a four year contract with Ruben Amaro Jr. when he became the team’s official closer in 2011. Everyone was questioning Ruben’s sanity over a potential 44 million 4 year contract. Then he turned it up to 11 and signed Papelbon for 50 million dollars.
As it was, it turned out to be somewhat prescient since Madson suffered an arm injury which took him out of baseball for the next few years. I guess Ruben dodged a bullet… by jumping into the path of a wrecking ball.
Madson seemed destined for ignomy because he only managed a one year contract with the Reds when he was injured for the year. Then the following year it was the Angels turn to pay millions for an arm that didn’t throw a single ball on the field. Madson would take an impressive 4 years before finally coming back healthy playing with Kansas City last year. And what a comeback. Sure, not as a closer. That ship sailed when in KC you already had a monster bullpen. But he was supremely reliable if somewhat prone to the long ball in the postseason. He got another ring. That must be a fantastic story.
Oh wait I’m supposed to write about the vulture! Not a Madson bio. Sorry. Madson holds a special place in Phan’s hearts. Well this one’s anyway. After KC he managed to get a gig with the A’s ostensibly as the setup guy. But Doolittle’s shoulder injury opened the door for him to shine as the Closer once again. He hasn’t disappointed. At age 35, Madson’s still got it. Except on May 17th. Well no one’s perfect right? (Shut up and sit down 2008 Brad Lidge, you magnificent bastard, we’ll always appreciate 2008 but enough already)
It started off well enough. Leading 4-3 in the 9th, it looked to be another 1-2-3 slam the door shut for Ryan. He got a swinging strikeout and popup to first base. Then came a foul Odor to the plate. He of the swinging right hook, slapped one into the outfield to get on first. Then Ian Desmond did this:
Well, THAT escalated quickly. Madson and the long ball do have a history you know. Fortunately for him, Khrys Davis had a grand slam walk off in the bottom of the ninth to erase the embarrassment and the federal deficit in one swing. He even got the W, which of course is undeserved. But I’m sure Khrys won’t complain. Madson blowing the save allowed him to boost his numbers and act heroic so in this instance I’m confident Davis will be buying Ryan a beer instead of the other way around.
May 20th, Mychal Givens of the Baltimore Orioles. Why do people do this to their kids? Giving them a normal sounding name and then screwing up the spelling just to be different? (And yes I realize Khrys falls into this category, he gets a pass this time around for the Grand Slam).
Anyway Mychal got into this hot mess because starter Mike Wright ran out of gas by giving up a Mike Trout single (that’s three Michaels for those counting at home) followed by a Pujols walk, a Cron strikeout and a Johnny Giavotella single scoring Trout (making the game 4-2). One throwing error later filled up the bases. Enter Mychal.
He managed to induce a fly out which is NOT ideal because the sacrifice fly cut into his lead and then Gregorio Petit singled plating the tying run and putting runners on second and third. Finally, Yunel Escobar grounded out to mercifully end the inning. Despite being responsible for two of his inherited runners scoring this did not impact his sparkling 2.08 ERA because those runs were unearned.
In the next inning the Orioles regained the lead with a Chris (properly spelled) Davis home run plating two more runs. Givens was allowed to continue in the bottom of the 7th and got two outs before allowing a Pujols single. Smelling disaster looming Buck Showalter decided NOT to give Mychal another chance to fuck it up and brought in Darrin O’Day to face C.J. Cron, who struck out (again) to wipe out the potential threat.
Overall I can’t say Givens covered himself with any kind of glory here. This was a mediocre performance in general although the bottom of the 7th proceeded well enough. This tells me that maybe Givens should be given a clean inning to start with rather than bring in him in the middle of a raging fire. But I don’t watch this team regularly. Maybe this is just a one off bad performance for Mychal? Is he usually more reliable? I’ll let scouts tackle that one.
I’m off for the rest of the day but may have time for a bonus post. I’m watching Captain America: Civil War. Pretty soon I’ll see what all the so called controversy is all about.