And That Happened: Wednesday's scores and recaps

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Pirates 3, Braves 2:
Right after I graduated law school I traded in my 1990 Chevy Cavalier
for a new Honda. The Cavy still looked good — clean, no rust, no dings
— but it ran like hacking death. It would just stall the hell out for
no reason, but not before convulsing in a violent, noisy rattle. It was
so unpredictable, though. It would run fine for days and then — whammo
— it just died. If you let it sit for ten minutes it would start right
back up and run fine again. Totally bizarre. Anyway, as I turned over
the keys to the thing at the Honda dealer, I was worried that someone
from the used car department would start the thing up and and have it
seize on them before I could sign on the dotted line for my new car,
but no one bothered to try. I can’t tell you how happy I was that, if
the Cavy did eventually die on them, I would be nowhere near
the place when it did. The Braves were unable to avoid this kind of
embarrassment when their trade-in — Charlie Morton — had to leave the
game in the second inning with a bum hamstring. Caveat emptor, Pirate dudes.

Royals 9, Indians 0:
Just when Carlo Pavano was starting to get the kudos for a career
revival, the Royals of all teams lay an eleven-hit, nine-run smackdown
on him. Alberto Callaspo was the offensive hero for Kansas City, going
4 for 4, including a grand slam. Worth noting that Kyle Farnsworth — a
man who made the first couple weeks of the season so awful for Royals
fans — hasn’t allowed a run over seventeen appearances since April
19th, and he’s only walked two dudes in that same span. Greinke will
fill the bill this season, but the Royals have had way worse players
than Farnsworth represent them at the All-Star game in recent years.

Mariners 4, Orioles 1: Two home runs from Jose Lopez and the eighth straight game in which the Mariners have allowed three runs or fewer = win.

Astros 2, Cubs 1: Nice pitchers duel between Wandy Rodriguez and Carlos Zambrano, even if neither of them figured into the decision.

Tigers 2, White Sox 1:
Another spiffy pitchers duel, this one Verlander vs. Danks, with the
former (CG, 6 H, 1 ER, 9K) dueling just a bit more skillfully than the
latter. From the game story, it’s noted that the Tigers selected NCAA
killer Andy Oliver in the draft. Given his mastery of Ohio courts, he
should consider making his home in Toledo even after he makes the big
club despite the long commute to Tiger Stadium. Dude could be
bulletproof here.

Cardinals 13, Marlins 4: I’m less
interested in the fact that Marlins’ pitchers gave up 13 runs than I am
that they didn’t strike out a single Cardinal in the game.

Phillies 5, Mets 4: Yesterday I noted
that the Phillies’ bullpen is doubling as the cast of a reality show.
Given that six members of that pen were pressed into actual pitching
duty to get last night’s win, there probably wasn’t a lot of
opportunity for confession cams and the kind of manufactured drama you
usually see in these shows. The producers must have been furious.

Red Sox 6, Yankees 5:
Chien-Ming Wang still can’t find it so Phil Hughes had to come in. If
I’m Joe Girardi, I just switch places with these two next Tuesday and
see what happens. And while I didn’t watch most of this game, I did
hear the bit where Sutcliffe was talking about some deal Terry Francona
has with J.D. Drew where Francona pays Drew a couple hundred bucks each
time he hits a ball off the Monster. At least I think that’s how it
went. If so, is that even allowed?

Rays 8, Angels 5: John
Lackey gets shelled. Jeff Niemann was no great shakes himself, but his
bullpen bailed him out with one-hit, shutout relief over the final five
and a third innings.

Rockies 4, Brewers 2: Brad Hawpe (2-4, 2B, HR 2 RBI) did the damage, as he has all year.

Reds 4, Nationals 2:
Worst-timed rainstorm ever. The Reds get to the bottom of the ninth
with a 2-0 lead, only then to have to sit for a two hour and ten minute
rain delay, after which the Nats scored two sending it to extras.
According to the game story there were only about 100 fans left after
the delay. I’m shocked that there were that many.

Padres 3, Dodgers 1:
Kevin Correia (6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) pitched well on three days’ rest.
Clayton Kershaw threw 83 pitches in less than three innings, which made
it a long night for the bullpen.

Giants 6, Diamondbacks 4
: Feels like San Francisco has
been on the road forever, but at least they’re ending it well. Barry
Zito struggled, but his offense (and the Dbacks’ poor defense) picked
him up.

Twins 6, Athletics 3: Bullpen failure. Someone
should write a book someday compiling all of the subtly sarcastic or
passive-aggressive things starting pitchers say when betrayed by their
pen. This, from starter Dallas Braden, who was sick before the game, is
one of the better ones: “I think I probably could have put the upset
stomach and tired arm aside for one more inning, so I’ll wear this one
for sure.” Translation: dudes, I’m sick, and I just gutted out seven
strong innings. You gotta do better than that. Man.”

Blue Jays vs. Rangers:
Postponed: Mt. Waialeale in Kauai, Hawaii, has up to 350 rainy days
every year. This why they do not play baseball on Mt. Waialeale.

The Mets break out the whuppin’ sticks, rout the Dodgers 13-7

Cespedes d'Arnaud

So often in life the anticipation of something outpaces its reality. For Mets fans tonight, it was the exact opposite. They had a grand old time. The Mets broke out the lumber and overwhelmed the Dodgers 13-4 to take a 2-1 lead in NLDS.

So much of that anticipation was about revenge, really. Hitting Chase Utley if he was in the lineup, perhaps, or at the very least sending some sort of retaliatory message the Dodgers’ way in response to Utley breaking Ruben Tejada‘s leg on Saturday. But with Utley out of the lineup — and the notion that base runners matter a whole heck of a lot in a playoff game — Matt Harvey just set out to pitch, not plunk. And Mets hitters set out to beat the living heck out of Brett Anderson and a couple Dodgers relievers. Living well is the best revenge, and for a major league team, winning baseball games is living well.

It didn’t start out so well for Harvey, as Yasmani Grandal singled in two runs in the top of the second with a third run scoring on a Curtis Granderson error on the same play. It was 3-0 Dodgers early and Mets’ fans sphincters’ clenched. But only momentarily.

The Mets came right back in the bottom of the second with four runs with a Travis d'Arnaud single and a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double from Curtis Granderson. In the next inning d’Arnaud hit a two-run shot. In the fourth Daniel Murphy singled in a run and Yoenis Cespedes hit a three-run bomb to left to make it 10-3. The Dodgers got one back in the top of the seventh but New York scored three more of their own in the bottom half. It was never a ballgame after the third inning.

Brett Anderson was the author of the damage through three, Alex Wood gave up the four runs in the fourth and hung on in the fifth in what became mop-up duty. Harvey was done after five and took the win. He wasn’t necessarily sharp, but he did strike out seven and was good enough. Some late damage from the Dodgers, including a three-run homer in the ninth from Howie Kendrick, was too little, too late. Granderson and d’Arnaud did the damage for New York, driving in five and three runs, respectively.

Once the competitive portion of this game was over, the Mets’ crowd turned to more important matters. Chanting things like “We want Utley!” Don Mattingly didn’t give him to ’em, probably because there was no downside to smacking him after the game got out of hand. But no upside either. Because of that stuff about living well, remember?

Now it’s on Clayton Kershaw to save the Dodgers from elimination [looks at watch] tonight, technically. If he doesn’t, his detractors will write another page in their Big Book of Clayton Kershaw Playoff Failures. If he does, we get a Game 5 back in Los Angeles.

Maybe Chase Utley gets into one of those.

Jake Arrieta beatable, but still unbeaten

Jake Arrieta
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Jake Arrieta gave up as many earned runs Monday against the Cardinals as he had in his previous 13 starts combined, yet the Cubs still won 8-6.

It’s the 15th straight time the Cubs have won a game started by Arrieta, who is set to finish first or second in the Cy Young balloting announced next month. Their last loss in an Arrieta-pitched game was when the Phillies’ Cole Hamels no-hit them on July 25. They won the previous four before that, too, so make it 19 of 20.

The outing could go down as Arrieta’s last of the season, though that would require the Cardinals beating the Cubs in back-to-back games to finish the NLDS. The more likely scenario at this point is that Arrieta starts Game 1 of the NLCS against the Dodgers or Mets.

Arrieta, though, was vulnerable in this one, turning in his shortest start since June. Even in the shutout of Pittsburgh in the wild card game, the Pirates had chances in the middle innings (most notably before Starling Marte‘s well-hit grounder with the bases loaded turned into a double play in the sixth).

Tonight, he walked two in a row at one point, after not walking a single batter in his previous three starts. He gave up his first homer in six starts. The wind was a factor in tonight’s eight-homer barrage, but Jason Heyward‘s two-run shot off Arrieta went against the grain in left-center.

So, if nothing else, the illusion of impenetrability is now gone. Arrieta can be gotten to, if primarily in short bursts. That’s not going to do anything for the Cardinals — at least not unless Arrieta is called on to pitch an inning or two in Game 5 — but it’ll probably come into play later in the postseason.

Ding-Dong! The Cubbies ride homers to a 2-1 series lead

Jorge Soler

The wind was blowing out of Wrigley Field on Monday night, but mostly for the home team. Makes you think that maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t all about the wind.

The Cubs hit six homers off of Cardinals pitching, one each from each of the first six batters in their lineup. Three of them came against Michael Wacha, who Mike Matheny inexplicably let bat for himself in the top of the fifth and take the hill in the bottom of the fifth and on to a third time through the Cubs’ order. He was shaky as it was, and quickly put a runner on and then allowed a two-run homer to Kris Bryant to make it 4-2. One batter later Kevin Siegrist came in and let Anthony Rizzo take him VERY deep to right field to make it 5-2.

Jason Heyward made it interesting in the top of the sixth with a two run shot to make it a one-run game but then Jorge Soler hit a two run shot in the bottom half and Dexter Fowler hit one in the eighth to make it 8-4. You can’t trade solo shots for multiple two-run jobs. You wanna get the Cardinals? Here’s how you get ’em. They pull a knife, you pull a gun. They send one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue! They hit a solo homer, you hit a bunch of two-run shots. That’s the Chicago way, and that’s how you get the Cardinals!

Not that the Cardinals didn’t do a lot. They scored four runs in five and a third against Jake Arrieta, who hadn’t been damaged like that since June 16. But five Cubs relievers held mostly firm. You tell me before the game that they got to Arrieta like that and I tell you they won. But nope.

Now it’s 2-1 Cubs in a best of five. They go tomorrow with Jason Hammel and try to eliminate the Cards. Who had best figure out how to counter the Cubs’ power.