And That Happened: Monday's scores and recaps

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Braves 2, Cubs 0:
Javier Vazquez somehow managed to allow no runs despite giving up nine
hits and two walks in six and two-thirds. Behold! In these Cubs we have
found a team more feeble when it matters most than the Braves!

Rockies 11, Angels 1:
Aaron Cook now has the most wins in Rockies’ franchise history at 59,
which is pretty neat, actually. Colorado has now won 17 of 18.

Athletics 5, Giants 1:
I thought Jonathan Sanchez was supposed to be, like, good. He’s 2-9,
has lost four in a row and has an ERA of five and a half. Meanwhile,
Trevor Cahill hasn’t allowed more than three runs in an outing in over
a month.

Mets 6, Cardinals 4:
I know it’s great sport to make fun of announcers, and it’s even more
fun to try to out-funny one another when we do it. But when I say this,
please understand that there is no snark intended. There is no joke to
follow. I do not offer this as a means of piling on. Really, I am being
very, very serious, and I hope this is taken seriously by someone in a
position to do something about it: Rick Sutcliffe and Steve Phillips —
who were together on the same ESPN broadcast team for some reason —
are truly wretched and should not be allowed in a broadcast booth.

I am among the biggest baseball fans on the planet. I have devoted
thousands of hours over the past few years writing about it and
thousands more over the course of my life watching it. I am among those
who will watch baseball under almost any circumstances. Scandal.
National emergency. Family emergency. You name it, and I’m still
wondering when the game starts. Yet after only an inning or two of
listening to these men do their best to distract me from the game with
their pointless, showy commentary, I changed the channel. I watched a
nine year-old “Family Guy” rerun because I could not bear to listen to
these disgraces argue about how they’d pitch to Albert Pujols in such a
way as to actually interfere in an Albert Pujols at bat. I could not
bear to listen to them talk about the legacy of Donald Fehr with an
incoherence that was surprising, even for them. I could not stand the
cascading cliches, the super-hyped, super-throaty wannabe radio
announcer voices, and the seeming unwillingness to let a moment pass
without their voices drowning out the sounds of the ballpark and even,
on occasion, the play-by-play itself. And before you say “well, I guess
we won’t pair them up again,” know that they do it on their own
respective broadcasts too. If these men were next to you at the
ballpark or sitting on the next bar stool over going on like they do,
you’d yell at them to shut up, and if they didn’t, you’d ask them to be
shown the door.

ESPN, for all of your faults, you remain the premier venue of
broadcast sports. How, then, you allow Major League Baseball, one of
your most valuable properties, to be massacred so thoroughly by the
likes of Sutcliffe and Phillips I will never know. You are actively
driving fans way, ESPN. You are turning off an entire generation to a
product that should, by all rights, be bulletproof. Having Sutcliffe
and Phillips broadcasting baseball is the equivalent of giving away
water in the desert via infomercial. Why bother? People are begging for
your product, yet you seem to almost revel in assaulting them in order
to get it. The only possible explanation is sadism.

I know many people who work for ESPN. Every single one of them is
bright, amiable, and above all else, passionate about sports. How,
then, you allow guys like Sutcliffe and Phillips to sully their efforts
with their terrible, terrible work is beyond me.

ESPN: dare to give your sport, your viewers, and your employees the
respect they deserve. Remove Sutcliffe and Phillips from the booth.
Replace them with someone who understands that the game, and not their
own mindless prattle, is the product people turn in to see and hear.

Video: Justin Turner gives Dodgers early Game 4 lead with two-run double

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
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Clayton Kershaw has looked sharp on the mound and at the plate so far in this must-win NLDS Game 4 at New York’s Citi Field.

After no-hitting the Mets in the first two frames, Kershaw smacked a one-out single to left-center field in the top of third inning. Howie Kendrick followed soon after with a two-out single to left and then Adrian Gonzalez blooped a ball to shallow center that drove in Enrique Hernandez, who had reached earlier on a fielder’s choice grounder to second base.

That all set up this Justin Turner two-run double down the left field line that put Los Angeles up 3-0

That’s now four doubles this postseason for Turner, which is a Dodgers franchise record for the Division Series. Los Angeles is trying to force a Game 5.

Video: Hector Rondon closes it out, Cubs advance past Cardinals to NLCS

Hector Rondon
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

In the first postseason meeting between the two longtime archrivals, the Chicago Cubs prevailed over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Watch as Cubs closer Hector Rondon whiffs Cardinals outfielder Stephen Piscotty with a nasty 0-2 breaking ball to clinch a Division Series victory and send Wrigley Field into a frenzy (this is actually the first time in franchise history the Cubs have won a playoff series at home) …

Chicago dropped Game 1 but took three straight to finish off St. Louis. Next up is a matchup against either the Dodgers or Mets in the National League Championship Series.

Cardinals miss Martinez even more than Molina

Carlos Martinez

After taking Game 1 of the NLDS in an outstanding performance from John Lackey, the Cardinals dropped three straight to the Cubs by scores of 6-3, 8-6 and 6-4. It’s not difficult at all to imagine a healthy Carlos Martinez swinging one of those games.

Martinez wasn’t the Cardinals’ best starter this year, but he was the one who could shut a team down by himself, with little help from the defense needed. Martinez struck out 184 batters in 179 2/3 innings while going 14-7 with a 3.01 ERA. He left his next-to-last regular season start with a shoulder strain that was going to cost him the entirety of the postseason no matter how far the Cardinals advanced. It was a killer blow for a team whose offense had already been slowed by injuries.

October just came at the wrong time for the Cardinals, what with Martinez down, Yadier Molina nursing a significant thumb injury, Matt Holliday and Randal Grichuk far from 100 percent and Adam Wainwright still weeks short of potentially pulling off a Marcus Stroman-like return to the rotation.

It’s Molina absence Thursday and lack of effectiveness otherwise that serve as a popular explanation/excuse for the Cardinals’ loss. And the downgrade from him to Tony Cruz behind the plate was huge, even if Molina is no longer the hitter he was a couple of years back.

Martinez, though, had the potential to even up the NLDS just by doing what he did in the regular season. And had Martinez been in the rotation, the Cardinals wouldn’t have moved up Lackey to start Game 4 on three days’ rest. They’d have been the clear favorites in a Game 5 Jon Lester-Lackey rematch back in St. Louis, though we’ll never know how that might have worked out.