The Evster highlights some of Tim McCarver's best Tim McCarverisms

The Evster highlights some of Tim McCarver's best Tim McCarverisms

Broadcasting SUPER LEGEND Tim McCarver is retiring after this World Series, which means we only have a few more games to soak in his greatness. As of now, it is unclear who Fox will bring on as next season's color analyst. Rumor has it they're grooming John Smoltz to take over, while other reports say they're leaning towards replacing McCarver with a giant bowl of fried clams. Either way, the man has been on fire this postseason, spewing nonstop drivel along the way and inspiring me to jot down some of his most memorable quotes.

MCCARVS: Lance Berkman being out of baseball just doesn’t seem right.

You know what doesn't seem right, Tim? The fact that you make millions of dollars a year while the guy who lives in my dumpster spends his days trying to eat his own foot. And even though every morning that guy tells me I'm a "dirty, dirty dickwad," he's still way more enjoyable to listen to.

And also quite perceptive.

JOE BUCK: Tim, you've been around the game for 55 years, what do you think of the Cardinals six-foot-five, 22-year-old right-hander, Michael Wacha?

MCCARVS: [chuckling] I think what you think I think.

Oh, McCarver, we just know you so well. Why even bother to ask him questions, Joe Buck? Why even bother to ask? Don't waste McCarver's time. What do you think it's his JOB to talk to you? FIFTY-FIVE YEARS AROUND THE GAME, JOE BUCK (and only 50 of those years were spent in full squatting position). I think you know what he thinks. We all know! That he'd love to take a squat behind the plate just one more time and dangle his little fingers for Michael Wacha. Just kneeling back there, with his knees bent, and his butt hovering above the dirt, staring into Wacha's eyes, teasing him, playing a little game of cat and mouse with the third base coach, I honestly have no idea what I'm talking about right now.

Imagine someone else in a different line of work answering a question in that very same way.

"Boss, what do you think of the agenda I prepared for today's meeting?"

I think what you think I think.

"That it's a piece of shit? That I'm a horrible employee who threw it together five minutes before our meeting? That I spent all morning staring at the new secretary's Instagram instead of doing my work? That I seriously considered, like SERIOUSLY CONSIDERED, burning down this entire office building just so I could get out of this meeting? 'Cuz that's what I think you think. Is that what you think?"

JOE BUCK: Take a look at this stat, folks: John Lackey's ERA is almost two points lower in games pitched at Fenway versus games he's pitched on the road.

MCCARVS: That's one of those statistics that's very easy to understand, Joe. And I'll tell you why after this pitch.

OH MCCARVER PLEASE TELL US NOW. Please! We can't possibly wait 'til after the pitch. Throw the ball, John Lackey! THROW IT! I need to have this stat explained to me! Even though it's very easy to understand, I am an absolute moron and need to have things told to me in a very slow and concise manner by people who have been in the game for over FIFTY-FIVE YEARS. I don't know how this guy could possibly have a better ERA at home than on the road. Good God, Lackey, stop stepping off the rubber and pitch the ball! PITCH THE BALL, LACKEY!!! PITCH DA BALLLLLLLLLLL!!!! FIFTY-FIVE YEARSSSSSS!!!!

JOE BUCK: Did you know Michael Wacha actually has a milkshake named after him?

MCCARVS: I don't think I've ever heard of anyone having a milkshake named after them.

Okay. Okay. At first this seems ridiculous, it really does, everyone could name SOMEONE who has a milkshake named after them, but after thinking about it for a while, I too was unable to come up with a person. I'm sure there are many, many people who have, I just can't come up with any off the top of my head. Still, I've certainly HEARD of people having milkshakes named after them. It's not like that's too foreign of a concept to wrap my head around. And I know it's not McCarver's job to talk about milkshakes, but why couldn't he have at least continued the conversation? I'd much prefer to hear two guys talk about milkshakes than why the Cardinals aren't playing at double play depth. All McCarvs had to do was say something like, "You know, Joe, I got a milkshake yesterday and it cost me $6.75. That's crazy, right? Are we really at a point in our society where paying $6.75 for a milkshake is acceptable? Let's break it down: a milkshake gives you, what? Three scoops of ice cream? That's like $4 right there, then maybe throw in another $0.50 worth of milk, another $1 for labor -- and really, c'mon, labor? You stick the ice cream under the mixer, Joe, that's hardly labor. I'll tell you about labor, squatting down to catch Bob Gibson for nine innings, that's hard labor. Gibby once once threw a ball right at my tits, Joe, right at my tits. And it wasn't even during a game, it was at an italian joint in Milwaukee. You know what it's like to catch a Gibson fastball right between your tits, Joe? Of course you don't, your daddy spoon-fed you as a child. $6.75? I ain't paying it. And don't get me started on Rao's tomato sauce. $9 a jar? I mean, it's good stuff, don't get me wrong, but $9? C'mon, Joe. God I miss Lance Berkman."

MCCARVS: When you work a count from 0-2 to a walk, that’s … well that's ... that's a good at bat.

Thanks, McCarvs.

Here's something to think about: this is 2013, and we can watch pretty much any sporting event we want on our telephones. If we wanna listen to a game in Spanish, we click a button and boom, vamanos. If we wanna watch a movie and have if feel like laser beams are being blasted up our noses, bang, IMAX. But how is it that televisions do not have a feature that allows us to mute sports commentators? We don't need those guys talking to us for three straight hours and we certainly don't need them reading promos for My Two Dads. Can't we just listen the sounds of the game -- like we're at the ball park -- hearing the pop of the catcher's mitt, the peanut guy yelling, the chatter of the fans? It's 2013. We have websites devoted to apple sauce for crying out loud. My Two Dads was honestly the worst show ever.

MCCARVS: The thing that’s impressive about Carlos Martinez, obviously it’s his finish, but it’s his freedom of movement of the arm … unencumbered.

Okay that's complete and total nonsense. And why it obvious that his finish is impressive? And what does that even mean?!?! The thing that's truly impressive about Carlos Martinez is his hair. Not quite a Jheri curl. Not quite a fro. But totally unstoppable.

MCCARVS:  Lackey is pitching Freese away, and Freese is fouling balls off to the right.

Thank you oh wise wizard of baseball. How could we possibly tell what was going on in this game without you?

RIP Tim McCarver.

RIP Lou Reed.

RIP reasonably-priced milkshakes.

If you want more McCarver, buy his CD, "Tim McCarver Sings Selections from the Great American Songbook" here. Or you want more Evster, follow him on Twitter @TVMWW. Or if you want to see a picture of a squirrel wearing a Cardinals helmet, click here. That's prolly the better move anyway. 

Another struggling pitcher gets well against the Phillies' feeble hitters

Another struggling pitcher gets well against the Phillies' feeble hitters

BOX SCORE

MIAMI -- For struggling pitchers, facing the Phillies has become like a pilgrimage to Lourdes.
 
Another rival pitcher searching for a cure got it Monday night when the Phillies suffered their 23rd loss in the last 29 games. This time it was Miami Marlins right-hander Edinson Volquez. He allowed just three hits in six innings of one-run ball to lead his club to a 4-1 win over the Phillies, who fell to 6-20 in May (see Instant Replay).

Volquez had gone 16 starts between wins.
 
"Every loss stings, I don’t care who's pitching," manager Pete Mackanin said. "We're just in a rut. We've got to battle our way out of it. We have to show up tomorrow and get after it. We've got to get more than three or four hits in the game."
 
The Phillies had just four hits in the game. It was the fifth time in the last nine games that they've had four or fewer hits. Only one of the hits was for extra bases and one of the singles was an infield hit.
 
"Once again, we need more offense," Mackanin said.
 
Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson completed a difficult month of May by allowing six hits, including a two-run homer, and four runs over six innings.
 
Hellickson surrendered a two-run homer to Derek Dietrich with two outs in the sixth and that was basically the ball game. Dietrich hit a high changeup. Back in April, that pitch would have been at the knees. But Hellickson has misplaced the pitch command that he needs to succeed.
 
Hellickson went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five starts in April. In May, however, he went 1-3 with a 7.04 ERA in six starts. He was tagged for 35 hits, including nine homers, in 30 2/3 innings.
 
"Command in general," said Hellickson, describing his problem this month. "The biggest thing is not getting strike one, falling behind too much. I'm not getting the quick easy outs I was getting early in the season. I'm trying to get ahead, just missing."
 
Volquez signed a two-year, $22 million deal with the Marlins over the winter, but it wasn't until this game that he delivered his first win. He entered the game 0-7 with a 4.82 ERA in nine starts.
 
The win was Volquez's first since Aug. 25, 2016, when he was a member of the Kansas City Royals.

Volquez isn't the first struggling pitcher to shine against the Phils recently. Eight days earlier, Pittsburgh's Chad Kuhl took a 6.69 ERA into a start against the Phils and pitched five shutout innings. In the series against Colorado, the Phillies were dominated by a pair of rookies. In the only game they won (in a late rally), they were held to one run over six innings by Tyler Anderson, who had entered that game with an ERA of 6.00. On Friday night, Cincinnati Reds right-hander Tim Adleman pitched eight shutout innings against the Phils and gave up just one hit in the best start of his life. He had come into that game with an ERA of 6.19.
 
So Volquez had to be heartened when he saw the Phillies on the schedule.
 
They are the get-well team for pitchers in need of a pick-me-up.
 
It's actually kind of sad.
 
With Odubel Herrera locked in the throes of the worst slump of his life and on the bench and Maikel Franco mired in a 2 for 21 slump and hitting .209, Mackanin is trying to push things a little. He gave Aaron Altherr the green light to steal with one out and runners on the corners in a one-run game in the sixth inning. Altherr was out at second on a close play and Tommy Joseph struck out to leave the runner at third.
 
The Marlins salted the game away in the bottom of the inning on Dietrich's homer.
 
"With our offense, I have to take chances," Mackanin said. "I can't sit around and wait for three hits in a row. We haven't been doing that."
 
The Phils have the worst record in the majors at 17-32.
 
They have lost eight of their last 10 and scored just 15 runs in the losses.
 
"It sucks," catcher Cameron Rupp said. "There's really no other way to put it. It's frustrating. But the only people that are going to help us are ourselves. Nobody's going to go out there and play for us, swing the bats, pitch, play defense. That's on us and we have to do a better job all around.
 
"We all want to be successful and get the job done. We just haven't been hitting the ball. There's no other way to put it. But the good thing about baseball is we play every day so we turn the page and come back tomorrow and try to get it done."

Stanley Cup Final: Penguins come alive late in third to steal Game 1 vs. Predators

Stanley Cup Final: Penguins come alive late in third to steal Game 1 vs. Predators

BOX SCORE

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins rarely tested the hottest goaltender in the playoffs in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against Nashville.

They beat Pekka Rinne anyway.

Rookie Jake Guentzel fired the puck past Rinne with 3:17 left in regulation to put the Penguins ahead to stay in a back-and-forth 5-3 victory on Monday night.

Guentzel snapped an eight-game goalless drought to help the defending champions escape after blowing a three-goal lead.

Nick Bonino scored twice for the Penguins. Conor Sheary scored his first of the playoffs and Evgeni Malkin scored his eighth. The Penguins won despite putting just 12 shots on goal. Matt Murray finished with 23 saves for the Penguins, who used the first coach's challenge in Final history to wipe out an early Nashville goal and held on despite going an astonishing 37 minutes at one point without a shot.

"I think at the end of the day we're up 1-0," Bonino said. "We had a good first, we had a terrible second and we were terrible in the third. I don't think it's Xs and Os. We've got to work harder, compete a little harder, but we got some timely goals."

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

Ryan Ellis, Colton Sissons and Frederick Gaudreau scored for the Predators. Rinne stopped just seven shots.

The Penguins had all of three days to get ready for the final following a draining slog through the Eastern Conference that included a pair of Game 7 victories, the second a double-overtime thriller against Ottawa last Thursday.

Pittsburgh downplayed the notion it was fatigued, figuring adrenaline and a shot at making history would make up for any lack of jump while playing their 108th game in the last calendar year.

Maybe, but the Penguins looked a step behind at the outset. The Predators, who crashed the NHL's biggest stage for the first time behind Rinne and a group of talented defenseman, were hardly intimidated by the stakes, the crowd or the defending champions, trying to become the first repeat winner since Detroit in 1998.

All the guys from "Smashville" have to show for it is their first deficit of the playoffs on a night a fan threw a catfish onto the ice to try and give the Predators a taste of home.

The Penguins, who led the league in scoring, stressed before Game 1 that the best way to keep the Predators at bay was by taking the puck and spending copious amounts of time around Rinne. It didn't happen, mostly because Nashville's forecheck pinned the Penguins in their own end. Clearing attempts were knocked down or outright swiped, tilting the ice heavily in front of Murray.

Yet Pittsburgh managed to build a quick 3-0 lead anyway thanks to a fortunate bounce and some quick thinking by Penguins video coordinator Andy Saucier. Part of his job title is to alert coach Mike Sullivan when to challenge a call. The moment came 12:47 into the first when P.K. Subban sent a slap shot by Murray that appeared to give the Predators the lead.

Sullivan used his coach's challenge, arguing Nashville forward Filip Forsberg was offside. A lengthy review indicated Forsberg's right skate was in the air as he brought the puck into a zone, a no-no.

"The impact of that moment and then the chain of events that happened after that with the penalty kills I think changed the course of the game," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said.

The decision gave the Penguins all the wiggle room they needed to take charge. Malkin scored on a 5-on-3 15:32 into the first, Sheary made it 2-0 just 65 seconds later and when Bonino's innocent centering pass smacked off Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm's left knee and by Rinne just 17 seconds before the end of the period, Pittsburgh was in full command.

It looked like a repeat of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against Ottawa when the Penguins poured in four goals in the first period of a 7-0 rout.

Nashville, unlike the Senators, didn't bail. Instead, they rallied and took over the game.

Ellis scored the first goal by a Predator in a Stanley Cup Final 8:21 into the second and Nashville kept Rinne downright bored at the other end. Pittsburgh didn't manage a shot on net in the second period, the first time it's happened in a playoff game in franchise history -- and the first such period by any team in a Final game since the NHL began tracking shots on goal in 1958.

Nashville kept coming. Sissons beat Murray 10:06 into the third and Gaudreau tied it just after a fruitless Pittsburgh power play.

No matter. The Penguins have become chameleons under Sullivan. They can win with both firepower and precision.

Guentzel slipped one by Rinne with 3:17 to go in regulation and Bonino added an empty netter to give Pittsburgh early control of the series.

"We didn't do a great job of (shooting), but we made them count," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "But it was a good finish there to get that one from Jake."