And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and recaps

Leave a comment

Tigers 7, White Sox 6:
A bullpen collapse in the ninth inning for the Tigers transformed a
relatively easy win into an extra innings salvage job, but Detroit will
take it. OK, maybe “easy” isn’t the right word, because this game
featured yet another lackluster Dontrelle Willis start. Disastrous? No,
but I don’t know that giving up three run on five hits with five walks
in five innings is good enough to keep giving Dontrelle Willis turns in
the rotation. The last few times out he did OK the first time through
the lineup, so maybe they should give him a go in the pen. I mean,
given what happened in this game, it’s not like anyone else out there
is so deserving of their job.

Marlins 4, Cardinals 3:
That’s five straight losses for St. Louis, which isn’t a common
occurrence. That they lost with Chris Carpenter on the hill is even
more uncommon. That Albert Pujols is 0 for his last 15 goes beyond
uncommon and into the realm of the eschatology.

Angels 4, Rays 3:
Another close loss for the Rays. They’re 29-31, yet they’ve outscored
their opponents 330-284, which should translate to a record roughly
five games better than they’ve got. Not that life is fair or anything.
I went bald at 25 and Leonardo DiCaprio has castoffs that look like this, so I’m not going to sit and cry for the Rays’ bad luck.

Orioles 3, Mariners 1:
Is it just me, or have these two teams been playing each other
constantly for, like, three weeks? Brad Bergesen certainly acted as if
he was sick of the Mariners, dispatching them with nary a run scoring
over eight innings. When the Orioles scored in the first, it was their
first lead in 35 innings.

Mets 6, Phillies 5:
That stupid New York bandbox allowed seven home runs. Man, they really
need to do something about — er, what’s that? This was in Citi Field?
I thought that was Yellowstone East? Well, then, it must have been some
meat pitcher hurling fat pitches — er, what’s that? Johan Santana was
on the mound for the Mets? When you combine this with the Pujols thing,
I’m pretty sure we experienced two of the seven signs last night.

Braves 4, Pirates 3:
Braves win, blah, blah, blah. The best news was that Jeff Francoeur was
benched, showing up only to play defense in the ninth. That’s the kind
of player deployment I can get behind.

Red Sox 7, Yankees 0:
Beckett allows nothin’ but a piddling infield hit and David Ortiz of
all people hit a shot over the centerfield wall. The Yankees are now
0-6 against Boston this season.

Indians 8, Royals 4: And with that, the Royals are back in last place. Maybe the tide is turning on that whole apocalypse thing.

Blue Jays 9, Rangers 0:
A two-hit shutout over seven innings for Brian Tallet shut the Rangers
down. Ian Kinsler (0-4) has seen his OPS drop over 100 points since the
middle of May.

Rockies 3, Brewers 2: The Rockies have won six in a row. Milwaukee had no baserunners after the fourth inning.

Cubs 7, Astros 1: A ninth inning Lance Berkman home run was all the Astros could muster. Maybe they were just tired. I mean, I assume that Drayton McClane doesn’t allow the players to bring in their own energy bars and Gatorade into the game, so it’s a given that they’re going to flag as the season wears on.

Reds 3, Nationals 2: Johnny Cueto (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER) is putting together one hell of a season that no one is really talking about.

Dodgers 6, Padres 4:
Andre Either smacks two dingers, thus imperiling that whole “drive in a
zillion runs while only hitting a handful of homers” thing. Not that I
suppose he cares.

Giants 9, Diamondbacks 4:
Pablo Sandoval had four hits and drove in three runs and Matt Cain
sucked it up on a night when he didn’t have his best stuff working.

Twins 10, A’s 5:
A laugher until the ninth, when Gardenhire, letting Scott Baker try to
finish off a shutout, had to use three different bullpen arms to
staunch the bleeding. The heart of the A’s order — the third through
seventh batters — went 0-for-16 with seven strikeouts.

Video: Nelson Cruz hits second-longest home run of 2016

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Nelson Cruz #23 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates his solo homerun with Daniel Vogelbach #20 of the Seattle Mariners to take a 2-1 lead over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 14, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

There’s certainly never a bad time to hit a home run, but when you get the opportunity to crush a triple-deck, 493-foot shot off of Tyler Duffey, you should take it. With the Mariners down 2-0 to the Twins in the fourth inning, Cruz hammered a fastball to deep left field for his 39th long ball of the season — and the second-longest home run hit in 2016, to boot.

It doesn’t hurt that the Mariners are 1.5 games back of a playoff spot, although they’ll have to oust the Blue Jays, Orioles, or Tigers to get a wild card. They’ve gone 3-3 in the last week, dropping two consecutive series to the Astros and Blue Jays and taking their series opener against Minnesota 10-1 on Friday night.

Cruz, for his part, entered Saturday’s game with a .299/.337/.610 batting line and six home runs in September. According to ESPN.com’s Home Run Tracker, Cruz sits behind Edwin Encarnacion and Mike Napoli with 13 “no-doubt” home runs in 2016, third-most among major league sluggers. It’s safe to say he can add Saturday’s moonshot to that list.

Marlins’ outfielder and undisputed home run king Giancarlo Stanton remains untouched at the top of the Statcast leaderboard with a 504-ft. home run, and it’s difficult to envision any slugger reaching beyond that before the end of the season. Even so, Cruz won’t need to clear 500 feet to extend an impressive hitting record. One more home run will put the 36-year-old at 40 on the year, making 2016 his third consecutive season with at least 40 homers, and his second such season doing so in Seattle.

Report: John Farrell won’t rule out a postseason return for Pablo Sandoval

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 11:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox looks on from the dugout before the Red Sox home opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on April 11, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Orioles defeat the Red Sox 9-7.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Getty Images
7 Comments

It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.

On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.

At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.

If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.

Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.

Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.