When Rick Ankiel made his debut, I was sort of hoping he'd continuously foul tip the ball to the backstop, just like old times when he was a pitcher. But rather than indulge in my fantasy, Ankiel basically shut all of us up Thursday night, then duct taped our mouths shut Saturday night with his first ever multi-home run game in the St. Louis Cardinals' 6-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ankiel finished the night 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBI. If he keeps this up, the Cardinals trainers might have to begin lacing Scott Spiezio's pancakes with cocaine ("Aw, shucks, Scott's off the wagon again. Rick, you're staying with us in October.")
As an added bonus, Yahoo! Sports' Ankiel player page includes two career stats: batting and fielding. The only two things he's ever done. Ever.
• We Rip Soccer For These Kindsa Scores. For a ground ball pitcher, Brandon Webb sure struck out a lot of batters last night (10). Then again, when the opposing team is the Washington Nationals, sometimes a ground ball is asking too much. Webb's 1-0 complete game, 5-hit shutout gave the Arizona Diamondbacks their fourth win in a row.
• Throwaway Inverted Comedy Pyramid. Sort of a rather harsh lede by the Associated Press in the story about the New York Yankees' 10-2 win over the Indians: "Alex Rodriguez took a couple more swings up to No. 503. Mike Mussina saved mementos from No. 100. The Cleveland Indians? They got their usual two and stopped right there." That's completely misleading. The night before, the Indians only scored one run.
• Tilde Force. The last time Magglio Ordoñez had a home run against the Oakland A's at Comerica Park, it vaulted the Detroit Tigers to the World Series. This time, "The Big Tilde" (© Tuffy LLC, 2007) just helped the Tigers win a single game, 5-2. Plus, the Tigers bullpen evidently got all the suck out of their system as they bailed out Justin Verlander with three perfect innings.
• Some Phenom. Tim Lincecum was on the wrong mound at the wrong time as the Pittsburgh Pirates piled up six runs on the young'un in a 13-3 win over the San Francisco Giants. As a team, Pittsburgh still struck out 11 times. (Standard operating procedure.) Barry Bonds didn't play, which typically warrants its own story on SportsCenter. So with that sentiment, coupled with the sudden craze in "miniature athletes" (Penny Hardaway, Pacman Jones), I give you Lil' Barry, sent in by a reader who attended the Giants-Nationals series last week: