And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and highlights

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Orioles 11, Red Sox 10: John Smoltz pitched better (4 IP, 3 H, 1
ER) but had to leave when the rains came. I wouldn’t worry about the
short outing, however, because Francona may want him in the bullpen.
Why? Because Boston blew a 10-1 lead after their half of the
seventh. Among the big blows was an Oscar Salazar pinch-hit three run
homer and a Nick Markakis two-run double off of Papelbon after being
0-7 against him entering the game. It was the biggest comeback in
Baltimore Orioles history, and one that had to be particularly sweet
for Os fans who have had to put up with so many interlopers in their
ballpark for Sox games in recent years.

Pirates 3, Cubs 0: Ross Ohlendorf and Freddy Sanchez got to the
ballpark, realized that they were the only two Pirates not traded
yesterday, and went about their business, Bugs Bunny vs. Gashouse Gorillas-style:
Ohlendorf shut out the Cubs over seven innings (pasting those pathetic
palookas with his powerful, paralyzing, perfect pachydermous percussion
pitch) and Sanchez scored one run and drove in the other two for
Pittsburgh. Most people thought Sanchez would be out on that run he
scored in the fourth because Ted Lilly had the ball and was waiting for
him at home plate. Then again, most people probably didn’t count on
Sanchez having that 1940s pinup in his back pocket to distract Lilly
either.

Braves 5, Phillies 4: I told Bill at Crashburn Alley
that the Braves would take two out of three in this series. So far, so
good. I never would have bet on the Bravos coming back in extra innings
after coughing up two late homers like they did in this one, however,
because they just don’t do that. Martin Prado was 4-5 with four RBI,
including the game-winner in the 10th. My guess is that puts Kelly
Johnson on the bench until the day Bobby Cox is buried in the cold,
cold ground.

Rays 4, Blue Jays 1: I was gonna get all cute and quote some
song lyrics here, but I couldn’t decide if I should go with “Running to
Stand Still,” or “Hold On, I’m Comin’.” I suppose that all depends on
how the Red Sox and Yankees do. Either way I have this feeling that the
AL East is going to be redonkulously exciting in the second half.

Diamondbacks 6, Reds 2: Danny Haren’s teammates have failed to
show up for him so many times this season that he would have been
forgiven if he had picked up a bat and beat them silly. Lucky for
everyone involved Haren is a clearer thinking guy than I am and decided
to simply take the bat to the opposition, going 2 for 2 with a homer
and a double. Oh, and he pitched seven innings of one run ball while
striking out nine. He then drove the team bus back to the hotel,
watched game film, set the lineups for the next week, called Billy
Beane and asked what he’d want for Matt Holliday and started
spitballin’ ideas for next season’s promotional calendar.

Giants 6, Cardinals 3: You had to figure Chris Carpenter was
going to come back down to Earth eventually. You just didn’t figure on
it happening all at once (5 IP, 11 H, 6 ER), especially against an
offense like the Giants’. Despite the loss, Pujols had his requisite
two home runs.

Brewers 6, Mets 3: That’s five losses in a row for the
Metropolitans, capping off a lovely 9-18 June. Though that’s maybe not
as important as the fact that, on June 1st, they were 2.5 games out of
first and now, on July 1st, they’re only 3 games out. My God, the NL
East is horrifying this year.

White Sox 11, Indians 4: Crisco. Bardol. Vagisil. Any one of
them will give you another two to three inches drop on your curve ball.
Of course if the umps are watching me real close I’ll rub a little
jalapeno up my nose, get it runnin’, and if I need to load the ball up
I just [wipe] wipe my nose. Hey, I haven’t got an arm like you, kid. I
have to put anything on it I can find. Someday you will too. [note: all
Indians losses are going to get “Major League” quotes until Eric Wedge
is fired or they win three in a row, whichever comes first].

Twins 2, Royals 1: The game story breaks out the first “hapless”
I’ve seen in at least a year. It also notes that the Royals “are among
the AL’s worst in hitting, runs, slugging percentage and on-base
percentage.” Anyone ever make a movie about the Royals? Maybe I should
be quoting that instead.

Marlins 7, Nationals 5: I called the Cardinals a one man gang the other day. So too are Hanley’s Fish (2-4, 4 RBI).

Rangers 9, Angels 5: Marlon Byrd homered twice and drove in five runs. Let’s hear it for Victor Conte’s supplements, everyone!

Yankees 8, Mariners 5: Mariano Rivera threw out the game’s first
pitch, yet somehow came back in in the ninth to get the save. Don
Wakamatsu, showing lots of class, decided not to protest the game.

Tigers 5, A’s 3: Armando Galarraga walked six guys. It’s not
everyday that you can do that and win, but then again, it was the A’s
he was facing and they are notably poor at making anyone pay for
anything. The A’s have plugged in Gio Gonzalez into the rotation three
or four or maybe fifty times this season, but pretty soon that
experiment has to end, right? Because he’s, like, terrible. Yesterday
he gave up three runs on seven hits in five innings, and you can make
the argument that that’s his best start of the year.

Padres 4, Astros 3: Padres win, but Adrian Gonzalez got hurt.
Hard to tell if it’s major. Gonzalez doesn’t know himself: “Sometimes I
feel something and I wake up the next morning and I feel great. Then
sometimes I wake up and something aches that I didn’t feel the night
before.” I’m not sure why, but upon reading that I almost immediately
got a sonic image of that statement being sung by Kevin Cronin over
slowly ascending chords and making an almost perfect REO Speedwagon
song.

Rockies 3, Dodgers 0: Jason Marquis pitches the game of his life
(CG, SHO, 2 H, 3 K, 0 BB), and only needed 86 (!) pitches to do it. And
Jim Tracy is the best quote in baseball: “In the seven-plus years I’ve
sat behind a desk like this, that’s the first time I’ve seen a starting
pitcher throw a nine-inning, complete-game shutout and do it with less
than 90 pitches.” He watches games from his desk? I’ve heard of
hands-off managers before, but that’s ridiculous. In other news, I was
finally getting used to the idea that Manny coming back on Friday would
be anti-climatic because the Dodgers simply didn’t need him too bad.
This skid they’re on is changing my mind back again.

Wade Boggs embroiled in non-controversy over his Yankees World Series ring!

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Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox held a ceremony honoring the 1986 team last night and one of the key members of that team, Wade Boggs, was in attendance wearing  his Red Sox jersey. He also wore his Yankees World Series ring.

When I heard about this controversy a few minutes ago I did something that neither I nor most people who are a part of the Internet Industrial Complex usually do: wondered whether this was actually a controversy.

I quickly scanned around and found a good dozen or so articles talking about it and people talking about them talking about it. I noticed people making reference to how, theoretically, this could upset some Red Sox fans or be seen as a sign of disrespect. But I could not find anyone who actually cared. Anyone who was actually upset about it. I can’t say that I read every comment to every article, but you usually don’t have to dig deep to find people mad about something on the Internet and I could not immediately find anyone who was mad about this. Lots of jokes and comments about the idea of being mad, but no one who actually cared. It was like an obligatory ceremonial function the meaning of which everyone has forgotten.

There are a lot of “controversies” like that. They tend to be more common in the entertainment world than the sports world — people referencing a “scandalous” thing some singer or actor did which, in reality, scandalized no one — but it happens in sports too. In sports it’s when a convention or custom is not followed or when someone doesn’t otherwise conform to some set of expectations. A lot of the time no one cares at all. It’s all about the politics of recognizing situations in which someone might, in theory, care. Or once did long, long ago.

Maybe someone is genuinely mad at Wade Boggs over this If so, I’d love to hear from that person and wonder why on Earth they’d care. But I sort of feel like such a beast does not exist. And for that I’m pretty glad.

The Cardinals had a “statement loss” yesterday

ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 25: Manager manager Mike Matheny #22 congratulates Matt Adams #32 of the St. Louis Cardinals as he enters the dugout after scoring a run during the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium on May 25, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images)
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I’ve always been critical of the concept of “statement games” in Major League Baseball. Maybe it matters more in football where there are far fewer games and thus each one means much more, but in baseball a win lasts, at best, 48 hours and usually less. Like Earl Weaver said, we do this every day, lady. When you’re constantly talking, as it were, any one statement is pretty unimportant.

I’ll grant that a “statement win” is a thing players use to motivate or validate themselves, of course. We on the outside can roll our eyes at the notion, but we can’t know the minds of a major league player. If they think that they made a statement and it’s important to them, hey, it’s important to them. I’ll admit, however, that a statement loss is a new one to me:

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Kolten Wong provided the basis of that headline. Here is what he said:

“I think we still made a statement. We were down 6-1 right off the bat. The game before, we were kind of in the same situation. We were tired of it,” second baseman Kolten Wong said. “Our pitchers have been our go-to these past few years. It was time for us to step up and I think we all kind of felt that, too. We just wanted to make this a game and show that we have our pitchers’ backs.”

In context it makes sense. A moral victory, as it were. They got to one of the best pitchers in the game after finding themselves down by several runs thanks to their starting pitching betraying them. The hitters didn’t go into a shell when most folks would excuse them for doing so against a guy like Jake Arrieta.

Makes sense and no judgments here. Moral victories matter. Still, it’s hard not to chuckle at the headline. I can’t remember a big leaguer talking quite that way after a loss.

Julio Urias to be called up, make his MLB debut tomorrow

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 20:  Starting pitcher Julio Urias #78 of the Los Angeles Dodgers participates in a spring training workout at Camelback Ranch on February 20, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Dodgers have been mulling this for a long time, but they just announced that they plan on calling up top prospect Julio Urias. He’ll be making his major league debut against the Mets tomorrow evening in New York.

Urias is just 19 years-old, but he’s shown that he’s ready for the bigs. In eight Triple-A games this year — seven starts — he’s 4-1 with a 1.10 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 44/8 in 41 innings. He has tossed 27-straight scoreless innings to boot. While the Dodgers and Urias’ agent are understandably wary of giving the young man too much work too soon, he has nothing left to prove at Oklahoma City.

Urias turns 20 in August. Tomorrow night he will become the first teenager to debut in the majors since 2012 when Dylan Bundy, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and Jurickson Profar each made their debuts.

 

Fox asked Vin Scully to work the All-Star Game. Vin said no.

vin scully getty
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Richard Dietsch of Sports Illustrated reports that Fox officials asked Vin Scully if he wanted to work the All-Star Game, be it calling the full game, doing an inning, making a guest appearance or whatever. Scully, though appreciative, said no thanks.

We’ve been over this, but for however much it might make people happy for Scully to make this kind of national appearance, there’s nothing in his history or in his apparent nature that would make such a thing appeal to Scully. For as much as an institution he has become, he still thinks of himself as an employee who calls Dodgers games, goes home and that is that. He has shown considerable discomfort, however politely he has communicated it, at being treated as something different or more special than that. And that’s before you remember that (a) it would be a totally different setup for him which would require a lot of extra work; and (b) the All-Star Break is a time when most baseball people take a couple of days off.

As I said the last time we discussed this, if baseball at large wants to give Scully some sort of national sendoff, the best bet would be for the powers that be to figure out how to get the final Dodgers games of the season nationally televised without blackout restrictions. That way we can all watch him doing his thing, in his element, for a final time without it being gimmicky.