SportsNation Blog Archives Matt Garza
No-hitters are rare and nifty and come with great celebrations; we get all of that. But when you get down to it, they aren't as rare as hitters going 5 for 5 and driving in seven runs at the plate. In fact, as ESPN Research helpfully point out, Twins star Joe Mauer became the third catcher ever to do just that during Monday's 19-1 shellacking of the Royals.
This hasn't even been Mauer's best season to date (although jumping from a .295 batting average to a .305 average in one night -- especially a night halfway through the season -- will do a lot to disguise that), but with the possible exception of Brian McCann in Atlanta, he's still the biggest offensive threat at his position. And as Mauer closes in on completing his sixth full season with the Twins, it seems fair to start wondering about his place among the position's all-time greats.
As befitting a profession in which one must hurl a ball at ludicrous speeds toward gentlemen who could potentially send it hurtling back at even more ludicrous speeds, pitchers in major league baseball can be a bit emotional.Witness Roger Clemens throwing a bat at Mike Piazza, or Carlos Zambrano destroying a water cooler, or Francisco Rodriguez pointing to the sky after a big strikeout. Or, if you want a more recent example, consider that of Matt "Big Game" Garza. Garza has seen Evan Longoria's tower buzzed before, so when Joba Chamberlain threw at the talented third baseman, Garza felt he had to respond. Down went Mark Teixeira in the next inning, and both benches were warned. Significantly, Garza admitted to throwing at Teixeira on purpose, which is either refreshing or dumb, depending on your temperament and affiliation. Beanball wars aren't a new thing in baseball, but they're usually couched in some semblance of denial ("My hand slipped"/"It just got away from me"/"I was distracted by a wave of ennui"). Garza's straightforwardness may be bold or dumb, but one thing is for certain: it'll cost him some spending money.
Overall, I love the affect this has on the AL East. We need to see more blood boiling rivalry.” -- jasonbye
IT IS NOT COOL TO THROW AT SOMEONE'S DOME PIECE...” -- rex_aau_coach
What a baby. If you he was going to throw in retaliation, he had ample opportunity to hit Jeter at the top of the inning. That pitch barely grazed Teixeira. If that was retaliation, perhaps that is the reason that the Rays are floundering in third place and look hapless, much like last night.” -- yankeejoe225