And That Happened: Sunday's scores and recaps

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Diamondbacks 9, Padres 6:
Whenever you see a game this long — 18 innings in case you missed it
— there are always some fun stat lines that shake out. An 0-6 (Giles);
a 1-8 with five strikeouts (Headley). Then there’s the “so long,
suckers” line, which belongs to David Eckstein. Herr Scrappy
sits on his kiester for nearly nine full innings, then comes in and, on
the very first pitch he sees, hits the pinch hit home run that sends
this thing on to its second nine, during all of which he sat on his
kiester. At some point over the last, oh, three hours of this game you
have to think that there were even some Padres who wished he hadn’t
done that. Especially if he was back in the clubhouse playing Wii or
taking a nap or having a schvitz or something. In other news, sources
say that the Dbacks and Padres were going to petition to have this game
partitioned so that they could simply apply the second half of it to a
future rainout, thus saving everyone time and money. The plan was
scrapped, however, when someone remembered that it doesn’t rain in
Phoenix or San Diego.

Cubs 6, Reds 3:
In yet another long game, Dusty Baker shows that he’s a more
experienced manager than either A.J. Hinch or Bud Black. Knowing that
anything beyond 14 innings could kill his pitching staff for the next
week, Dusty decides to cut his losses and calls Mike Lincoln into the
game to give up the three deciding runs. I mean, I assume that’s what
Dusty was doing anyway, because it’s not like Mike Lincoln has any
other uses.

Braves 8, Brewers 7: My comrade tHeMARksMiTh watched Tommy Hanson’s inauspicious debut and is somewhat less worried about the young man than those of us who only saw the line score are. Take it away, Mark:

I was very impressed. Adrenaline was obviously present at the start.
He hit 97 several times at the beginning but sat around 93-94 for most
of the game . . . he was hitting his spots pretty well, especially with
his breaking pitches . . .

. . . For the troubling part, he threw too many fastballs . . . With
an 0-2 count on Braun and just after Braun chased a slider. Hanson
throws a high fastball that Braun deposits out of the park. Then 1-2 on
Fielder, high fastball laced for a single. Then 0-1 on Cameron after
just getting a fastball fouled back, fastball for a home run . . .
fastballs made no sense in any of those situations, especially because
Hanson had been throwing his breaking balls very well. There may be
games that Hanson needs to go to his fastball, but today was not it.
Not in a game against a bunch of good fastball hitters. Not against a
good lineup. Not against a powerful lineup. If the breaking pitches are
there, you have to use them. He, or [David] Ross, didn’t, and he gave
up some runs.

I’m not particularly worried. For one thing, since everyone’s talking about Tom Glavine lately, let us all remember Tom Glavine’s first big league line
(3.2 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 5 BB, 1K). For another, you can handle a woofer of
an outing like this when Chipper Jones has your back (4-4, 2 HR, 3B, 5
RBI).

Tigers 9, Angels 6: Clete Thomas hits the first grand slam by a man named “Clete” since August 29, 1967. Oh, come on. It’s not like the little stat factoids they run on SportsCenter are any less random.

Yankees 4, Rays 3:
Hideki Matsui beat out a potential double-play grounder, transforming
it into a fielder’s choice for the game-winning run. Based on how he
has hobbled around every time I’ve seen him play this year I can only
assume that the grounder was to deep left field or something.

Blue Jays 4, Royals 0: Roy Halladay shuts out the Royals on 97 pitches. Rany wants Jeff Francoeur to come to Kansas City. Based on the offensive game plan these guys employ , Frenchy would fit in just find with the Royals.

Rangers 6, Red Sox 3: The Rangers win their first series at Fenway since 1997. David Ortiz looked like this
then. I might have given the 1997 David Ortiz the steal sign. I would
not have given the 2009 version the steal sign, and I’m not sure why
Terry Francona did yesterday either, but he did and he was predictably
nailed. Maybe it’s just been so long since Ortiz was on base that no
one knew what the signs were supposed to be.

Mets 7, Nationals 0: Guys with worse ERAs than Livan Hernandez: Jake Peavy, Aaron Harang, Ryan Dempster, and Cole Hamels.

Indians 8, White Sox 4:
Ozzie Guillen after the game “Maybe if I go crazy with the media and
[rip] my team . . . I might wake them up. But it’s wasting my time.”
Wait, if it might wake them up, how would that be a waste of his time?
They’re in slumberland right now. This ain’t the Hum-Baby Giants. It’s
the Ozzie Guillen-led White Sox. If Ozzie’s going to refuse to bring
the crazy during a losing streak, what’s the point of having him
around?

Astros 6, Pirates 4:
Russ Ortiz throws four and a third innings of scoreless relief after
Felipe Paulino hurt his groin slipping on the mound in the second. The
game story then runs with this whole “this strong outing should get
Russ Ortiz out of long-relief land and back into the rotation” angle.
And I guess if Paulino is really hurt it might. But really, didn’t
Ortiz just do what a good long man is supposed to do? Come in, pitch
long, and pitch well? Indeed, he’s pitching better out of the bullpen
then he had for the past several years as a starter. The guy’s probably
finally found his freakin’ niche in life, and here the AP writer and
Ortiz want him to be something he’s not. This is how liberal arts
majors wind up in law school. Why can’t we just let people be who they
are?

A’s 3, Orioles 0:
I’ve got underwear older than most of the A’s starters, but these guys
have won six in a row, and that’s more exciting than anything my
underwear has been involved with recently.

Rockies 7, Cardinals 2:
Albert Pujols is such a badass that he hit a two-run sac fly in the
first inning, no doubt because the outfielders were gripped by fear. I
fully expect Pujols to go 5 for 3 tomorrow night. Apart from Pujols,
though, it was the Ubaldo Jimenez show (8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 9K).

Mariners 4, Twins 2:
Ichiro’s hitting streak was snapped on Friday night, but he bounced
back to go 5 for 8 on Saturday and Sunday, and is now hitting .356 on
the season. I’ve been predicting that he would crater for a couple of
years now, but I think I should get out of that end of the predictions
business altogether because he’s clearly the kind of guy who’s gonna
hit .300 until he’s about 42 or so. There’s one of those guys every
generation or so, and he’s ours.

Giants 3, Marlins 2:
Tim Lincecum held a shutout into the eighth, though he walked as many
as he struck out (4), so it’s not like he had his best stuff working.

Phillies 7, Dodgers 2:
My first thought was that no one would be paying attention to the
Dodgers given that the Finals are going on, but then I remembered that
Los Angeles is a town that accommodates disparate interests. There are
skinny pretty people crawling all over the city, yet seemingly every
corner has a donut shop or a joint that sells comically large fattening
hamburgers. I suppose they can make room for the Lakers and the Dodgers
at the same time.

Collins worried David Wright might go on disabled list

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
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NEW YORK (AP) Mets manager Terry Collins is worried David Wright may wind up on the disabled list because of a neck injury.

New York’s captain and third baseman was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day Monday because of his neck. He was given anti-inflammatory medicine over the weekend.

Now 33, Wright was on the disabled list from April 15 to Aug. 24 last year when he strained his right hamstring and then developed spinal stenosis. He has a lengthy physical therapy routine he must go through before each game.

“With the condition he’s been playing in and the condition he’s in right now, yeah, I’m concerned about it,” Collins said Monday. “Is it going to happen? I can’t tell you. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. I know this guy plays with a lot of discomfort. He always has. And when he can’t play, he’s hurt.”

Wright homered in three straight games last week before getting hurt. He is batting .226 with seven homers, 14 RBIs and 55 strikeouts in 137 at-bats.

Settling the Scores: Memorial Day edition

ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 21:  American flags are shown after being placed by members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment at the graves of U.S. soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in preparation for Memorial Day May 21, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. "Flags-In" has become an annual ceremony since the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) was designated to be an Army's official ceremonial unit in 1948  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died in military service. At some point in the past couple of decades, however, it has become an all-purpose flag-waving, patriotism-declaring, civilians-in-camouflage holiday. It’s understandable why this is the case. We, as a country, haven’t always done mourning well. I think it’s part of our national cultural DNA that we don’t and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make days like this difficult.

I feel like the flag-waving and troop-supporting stuff is some sort of subconscious reaction to death. It’s our way of instantly trying to justify those deaths or to explain how they were not in vain, much the same way we might tell someone upon the death of a loved one that they’re in a better place or that they had a full life. Feeling the pain of loss is hard. We want to soften it in any way we can and make our pain serve a larger, better purpose. And so we get today, when Major League Baseball puts its players in camouflage caps and in jerseys with camouflage logos. They’ll sell them too, with proceeds going to good and noble veterans charities. The intent is noble and the ultimate effect of it all is beneficial. But it’s also a little beside the point. Maybe not beside the point as much as mattress sales or big celebratory barbecues which have come to characterize Memorial Day for so many, but still not exactly the purpose of the holiday.

I don’t condemn it. As I wrote last year, the men and women who actually fought and died in wars were hoping that they were, ultimately, making a better and happier world for those they left behind. And they no doubt hoped, among everything else they hoped, that others didn’t have to face what they were facing. They wanted our lives to be happy and our country to be safe and part of a happy and safe country involves 300 million people doing whatever it is they damn please, even if it’s just having barbecues and wearing camo at the ballpark.

I won’t say have a happy Memorial Day because that seems odd. Have any kind of Memorial Day you want, really, even if it includes barbecuing, drinking beer and wearing a cam ballcap. But as you do, please make sure you take some time to think about those who died in military service. And remember that they didn’t get to have as many days like the one you’re having as they were meant to have. And make at least some effort to offset your happy, patriotic or silly pursuits with some mourning and reflectiveness. It’s OK for that to stand on its own.

The scores:

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3
Orioles 6, Indians 4
Yankees 2, Rays 1
Nationals 10, Cardinals 2
Brewers 5, Reds 4
Royals 5, White Sox 4
Cubs 7, Phillies 2
Rangers 6, Pirates 2
Astros 8, Angels 6
Athletics 4, Tigers 2
Twins 5, Mariners 4
Giants 8, Rockies 3
Diamondbacks 6, Padres 3
Marlins 7, Braves 3
Dodgers 4, Mets 2

 

Should Dave Roberts have taken Clayton Kershaw out of Sunday’s game?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will likely be second-guessed heavily during tomorrow’s news cycle. Starter Clayton Kershaw had pitched a terrific ballgame, as is his tendency, but with 114 pitches to his name, Roberts decided to pull him from the game in the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on first base.

Roberts opted not for closer Kenley Jansen, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, but for another lefty in Adam Liberatore. He was playing the numbers, with the left-handed-hitting Curtis Granderson coming up. Liberatore, much to Roberts’ chagrin, served up what turned out to be a game-tying triple to Granderson, hitting a rocket to right-center just out of the reach of a leaping Yasiel Puig.

Jansen has, for six years, been one of the game’s elite relievers. Kershaw, though at a high pitch count, doesn’t seem to suffer from the times through the order penalty like most pitchers. Kershaw’s opponents’ OPS facing him for the first time was .525 coming into Sunday. Twice, .597. Three times, .587. Four times, .526 (but this suffers from survivorship bias so it’s not exactly representative).

Furthermore, Kershaw held lefties to a .546 OPS over his career. Liberatore, in 99 plate appearances against lefty hitters, gave up a .575 OPS. Jansen? .560. It seems that, faced with three decisions, Roberts arguably made the worst one. Playing conservative with Kershaw at 114 pitches is defensible, but only if Jansen comes in. If Roberts wanted the platoon advantage, Kershaw should have stayed in.

Luckily for the Dodgers, Mets closer Jeurys Familia didn’t have his best stuff. He loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth on a single and two walks, then gave up a two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Jansen came on in the bottom half of the ninth and retired the side in order to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Royals sweep White Sox over the weekend on three late rallies

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 28:  Brett Eibner #12 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his game-winning RBI single with teammates in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium on May 28, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 8-7. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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The Royals had themselves a pretty good weekend. The quickly fading White Sox, not so much.

On Friday, the Royals fell behind 5-1 after the top of the sixth. They would score once in the bottom of the sixth, four times in the seventh, and once in the eighth to steal a 7-5 win facing pitchers Miguel Gonzalez Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and Nate Jones.

On Saturday, the Royals entered the bottom of the ninth down 7-1. They scored seven runs on closer David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to win 8-7.

On Sunday, the Royals were down 4-2 after the top of the eighth. They plated three runs in the bottom half of the eighth against Jones and Albers, going on to win 5-4.

Coming into the weekend, the Royals were 24-22 in third place. The White Sox were 27-21, a half-game up in first place. Now the Royals are in first place by a game and a half, and the White Sox are in third place, two games out of first.

Here’s video of the Royals’ comeback on Saturday, since it was so unlikely: