And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and recaps

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Reader YankeefanLen wrote me yesterday afternoon with the following
observation: “It strikes me that this 3 game series- Yankees v.
Rangers, Tigers v. Sox, could be a portent to the first round playoffs.
Tigers have division lead and would have to play BoSox, who would be,
of course,wild card, and from all I see, Rangers and Tigers should hold
on to West and Central.” Lots of baseball to go, but yeah, I could see
that happening. So Let’s see how the division series are playing out:

Yankees 12, Rangers 3:
Jorge Posada’s throwing error broke the team errorless streak, but
given what he did at the plate (3-4, HR, 4 RBI), I don’t think his
teammates mind all that much.

Red Sox 5, Tigers 1:
Crap, this means that we’re going to have a Boston-New York ALCS,
doesn’t it? If so, I give the Yankees the edge, because the Red Sox’
closer is shaky. Papelbon came into the game and gave up three straight
singles to load the bases, then struck out the side to preserve the
win. John Rocker used to do that kind of thing, and it’s the reason why
I’m bald and jumpy and everything. The Sox beat up Porcello a bit over
4.1 innings, and since he’s, like, 13 years-old and on a no-doubt
strictly-enforced pitch count, making him work is the key to beating
him.

Pirates 3, Mets 1:
Zach Duke beats Johan Santana, with the former failing to strike out a
single Met and the latter striking out only three Pirates. Guess that
means that everyone was just suffering from a case of the feebles.

Blue Jays 6, Angels 4: Ah, there’s where all of the strikeouts went. Halladay (CG, 7 H, 4 R, 14K) was hording them all.

Braves 6, Cubs 5: Atlanta sent Jordan Schafer down
to Gwinnett before the game. Jeff Francoeur, obviously thinking “there
but for the grace of God go I,” responded with a two-run homer in the
bottom of the ninth to tie up a game the Braves trailed 5-0 in the
eighth. He walked once, too! That kind of killed it for Randy Wells,
who took a no-hitter into the seventh. Chipper Jones’ RBI single in the
12th definitely killed it for the Cubs.

Rays 6, Royals 2:
Andy Sonnanstine lowers his ERA to 7.16 and Matt Joyce goes 3-4 with a
double, a homer and four RBI. Kyle Davies walked six guys and threw 114
pitches in 5.2 IP for the Royals. Guess he’s not into that whole, you
know, brevity thing.

Nationals 10, Giants 6:
Tim Lincecum strikes out the 500th batter in his brief career, but then
sits down and watches his bullpen give up six runs in the eighth. Ron
Villone gets the win, which inspired me to look at his career stats for
a moment. I knew he was a journeyman, but I didn’t know that Washington
was his 12th team. Mike Morgan, much celebrated for his nomadic ways,
“only” pitched for 12 teams himself. Have left arm, will travel, eh
Ron?

Athletics 5, White Sox 0:
Mazzaro, Breslow & Ziegler — which sounds like a personal injury
law firm — combine to shut out Chicago. Colon, Gobble, Carrasco &
Whisler — which kind of sounds like onomatopoeia from a French
children’s book about farms or something — were not as impressive.

Astros 3, Rockies 2:
Miguel Tejada goes 4-6 with three RBI including the game-winning home
run in extra innings. Apparently he did not hear me when I said earlier
in the day that he was playing over his head and that his current level
of production was not sustainable. It’s as if he’s doing this just to
make me look ridiculous. And a man in my position can’t afford to be
made to look ridiculous. Now you get the hell out of here. And just
know it if you want to try any rough stuff that I ain’t no band leader.
Yeah, I heard that story.

Mariners 8, Orioles 2:
Erik Bedard (6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7K) was very considerate to put
together a nice performance at home against the Orioles so as to make
everyone forget, even if for only a couple of hours, about just how
badly the Mariners were fleeced in the Adam Jones deal.

Phillies 10, Padres 5:
Raul Ibanez (3-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI) may be reaping the rewards now, but
there will be hell to pay when it is found out that his 2009 production
is the result of his clandestinely stealing the life force of some
younger, unknown ballplayer in the course of his dark, twisted effort
to attain immortality. Yeah, I dropped a Fistandantilus reference. I
don’t care. I’m old now, and my kids will soon think I’m a dork anyway,
so why should I pretend not to be?

Marlins 10, Brewers 3:
Manny Parra was lifted after throwing exactly 100 pitches. Given that
the dude gave up ten runs on eleven hits in that time, I’m going to
assume that it wasn’t a forced pitch-count thing. For a guy with a bum groin, Hanley Ramirez is hitting damn well. Three for five both Monday night and last night.

Twins 4, Indians 3:
Joe Mauer (3-3, HR, BB 3 RBI) is not bad. And as if Cleveland’s season
needs to get any worse, Asdrubal Cabrera left the game with shoulder
injury.

Cardinals 5, Reds 2:
Nick Stavinoha comes through again, hitting a two-run double to put the
Redbirds ahead for good in the sixth. He’s been driving in a lot of
runs since his callup in mid-May. After the game he had this to say:
“Memphis is a nice place and all. but I like it a little better here.”

Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 5:
Danny Haren (7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 7K — and 3-3 at the plate!) deserved
much better than the no-decision he got thanks to the Tony Pena and Dan
Schlereth-led bullpen implosion. As for the Dodgers, they are now
halfway through Manny’ suspension and, really, haven’t missed him a
bit. When he comes back it will be as if they went out and acquired a
big bat at the trade deadline without having to give up anything in
return.

The Nats are going to sign Francisco Rodriguez for some reason

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The Nationals bullpen is a tire fire. They’re about to add another tire. Per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Washington is about to sign free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez.

K-Rod was released by the Tigers last week after posting an ERA of 7.82 over 28 appearances this season. He has a 1.658 WHIP, is allowing 11.9 hits per nine innings and is posting his highest walk rate in five years. Also worth noting: the Detroit Friggin’ Tigers decided that he was not good enough to be in their bullpen.

So, yeah, good luck with that Washington.

The Giants chemistry is suffering because a guy they all hated is gone

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I’ve spent years arguing with people about team chemistry. You know the battle lines on all of that now: people who talk a lot about team chemistry tend to attribute winning or losing to good or bad chemistry, respectively. I tend to think that characterizing chemistry is a retroactive exercise in which teams that win are happy and then cite their happiness as the reason and vice versa. Jim Leyland agrees with me, for what it’s worth, so I’m pretty happy with my take.

Not that I’ll claim a monopoly on wisdom here. I’ve never played on a professional baseball team. I don’t know what it’s like to try to prepare to play baseball while surrounded by jackwagons who don’t get along with anyone. I can’t imagine that makes life easier. Indeed, based on the testimony of players I have spoken to, I will grant that there is at least some intangible yet real benefit if everyone is happy an gelling. I dismiss team chemistry arguments for the most part, but if I ran a team I’d at least try to get rid of bad seeds if their bad seeding was not outweighed by seriously outstanding on-the-field play. You want your workers happy, folks.

All of which makes me wonder what the heck to do about this passage from Ken Rosenthal’s latest column. It’s about the reeling San Francisco Giants. They have all kinds of issues — their offense is putrid, their pitching isn’t much better and they’ve been without their ace most of the year — but today Rosenthal looks at their team chemistry. It’s a quiet and subdued clubhouse, he notes, and it has a lot of people wondering if something is wrong there. What could it be?

Sandoval, who was an often noisy and boisterous presence during his time with the club, departed as a free agent after that season. Pence has suffered a number of injuries in recent years and declined offensively, making it difficult for him to be as vocal as he was in the past. Some with the Giants muse that the team even misses Angel Pagan, who created an odd sort of unity because most of the players disliked him.

Read that last sentence again. And then go on with your talk about how team chemistry is a legitimate explanatory concept regarding what makes teams win or lose as opposed to a post-hoc rationalization of it.

Not that it’s not a good article overall. There’s some interesting stuff about the Giants’ bullpen culture. And, of course, we now know why no one signed Pagan last winter.