Wednesday, July 24, 2019

A thrilla

You may be familiar with "The Thrilla in Manilla," the third and final -- and greatest and ugliest -- Ali-Frazier bout. It was back in 1975, but ESPN Classic apparently airs it in regular rotation.

I have no idea how either boxer survived that fight, and maybe neither would have had Frazier's corner not conceeded before the 15th round.

And that's what I harkened back to in the late innings of Tuesday night's Yankees-Twins game. There can't be much left to either bullpen after that 10-inning, five-hour brawl of a baseball game.

The postgame comments out of the Twins clubhouse were circumspect but clear: They believe they got jobbed in the eighth inning by the home plate umpire. And he probably did blow some calls. But the Twins relievers didn't exactly pound the strike zone either.

Let's note here in particular Blake Parker. He entered the game having allowed two runs in his previous 12 games, 13.1 innings -- an ERA of 1.35. He also had only two outings without at least one baserunner in that span, with 13 hits, five walks and a hit batter. The ERA was deceptive; he hasn't been pitching nearly as well as the ERA suggests.

It caught up to him Tuesday.

At least Cleveland lost too.

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