And That Happened: Thursday's scores and highlights

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Astros 7, Padres 2;
Look, between my two bloggy spaces and the water cooler at work I have
probably talked about Manny Ramirez more than anyone in the past couple
of weeks. And I’ll admit, my reasons for bringing him up are often
tenuous at best. But nothing I’ve written about the guy is as tenuous
as this bit from the game story, describing how a swarm of bees
descended on Petco Park in the ninth inning: “The bees arrived more
than 24 hours before Manny Ramirez makes his comeback from a 50-game
suspension for violating baseball’s drug policy, when the Los Angeles
Dodgers open a three-game series against San Diego on Friday night.”
Did anyone get Manny’s comment on the bees? Where does Plaschke stand
on all of this? I WANT TO KNOW, DAMMIT!

Mets 9, Pirates 8:
In town for a makeup game, the Mets overcome Tim Redding getting
shelled (2.1 IP, 6 H, 5 ER), and then overcome K-Rod blowing the save
in the ninth (though he did vulture the win). Jerry Manuel: “We could
have just said, `Let’s pack up and head to Philly, it’s a short flight,
let’s get this out of the way.'” “They chose to fight and I thought
that was what was most impressive.” I don’t much like Jerry Manuel so I
appreciate that maybe I’m being too hard on him here, but really, could
your team have chosen to just pack it in, Jerry? Is that a potential
option in the current Mets universe such that their choice not to do so
is laudable?

Reds 3, Diamondbacks 2:
Joey Votto was the hero, going 4 for 6 and hitting the game winning
single in the 10th. The Dbacks have lost ten of twelve. They dead? Yep, they’re dead.

Cardinals 5, Giants 2:
Are we sure this was only a four game series? It feels like they’ve
been playing for two solid weeks. Anyway, Todd Wellemeyer offers a bit
of an F.U. to everyone in St. Louis who has been screaming for him to
be sent down or disappeared or shot or whatever (7.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER,
6K). A couple of RBI for Ryan Ludwick who, according to Rick Sutcliffe
on Wednesday, needs to start hitting before Albert Pujols can expect to
start seeing anything to hit. It was a moderately useful insight the
first seven times he made it, but it declined in utility over the next
dozen or so times it was repeated.

Braves 5, Phillies 2:
The Bravos sweep the phirst place Phils, bringing them within two games
of first themselves. Or, put differently, making them three games more
likely to do some stupid deal to try and contend this year instead of
loading for bear in 2010. My view of things is that if they can contend
with what they have, wonderful, I’ll enjoy it. But any deal apart from
unloading Jeff Francoeur is probably a bad move. As for this game,
someone better check Bobby Cox for banned stimulants. He used 18
players in this one, and I don’t think he’s done that since Clinton’s
first term.

Mariners 8, Yankees 4:
Ichiro, Branyan and Chris Woodward of all people join in the Mariner
hit parade, ending the Yanks’ seven game winning streak.

Cubs 9, Brewers 5:
Derek Lee bangs in seven runs on a three run homer and a grand slam, as
the Cubs shell Greenbrier East alum Seth McClung. Stupid Greenbrier
East. Woodrow owns you, Spartans! Hells yeah!

Angels 5, Orioles 2:
Bobby Abreu flashes back several years and shows that yes, he is
capable of hitting home runs. Two actually. Meanwhile, John Lackey
flashes back to the non-2009 portions of his career to show that he can
still pitch like an ace (8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 7K). Nothin’ much doin’ for
Baltimore outside of a Luke Scott home run. Game story: “Orioles’ 3B Ty
Wigginton replaced Melvin Mora in the lineup. Mora asked for the night
off after the trip to the West Coast.” OK. For what it’s worth, even my
old man sucks it up and plays through jet lag when he visits my brother
in San Diego, and he’s 65 and flies coach. What, Mora couldn’t have
gotten a few winks on the plane?

White Sox 4, Royals 1:
Bruce Chen? Really? In the same season the Royals ran Horacio Ramirez
out there? What, was Terrell Wade not available? Jung Bong won’t return
your calls, Dayton? Aw, don’t look at me like that, whaddaya gonna do,
ban me or someth—-

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)
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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:

Report: Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there”

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 24: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers waits to hit during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on May 24, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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In Saturday’s column for The Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo notes that, according to a scout, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there.” Braun has been bothered by neck and back issues this year, missing on Sunday his eighth start out of the Brewers’ last 14 games, but he has still put up a quality .351/.424/.583 triple-slash line in 170 plate appearances this year.

More importantly for an acquiring team, Braun is in the first year of a five-year, $105 million contract. He’s earning $19 million this season and in the ensuing two seasons, and then his salary decreases slightly to $18 million in 2019, $16 million in 2020, and $15 million if both sides pick up his mutual option (else a $4 million buyout would be exercised).

Per Cafardo, the Astros, Cardinals, Red Sox, Phillies, Mets, Giants, and White Sox are potential landing spots for Braun.

Mets unhappy with Dodgers’ request to make outfield markings to position fielders

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28:  The 1986 New York Mets are honored before the game between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on May 28, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.The New York Mets are honoring the 30th anniversary of the 1986 championship season.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Mets have asked MLB for clarification on the Dodgers’ use of a laser rangefinder for defensive positioning over this weekend’s series at Citi Field. The Dodgers notified the Mets’ ground crew that they wanted to mark certain positions in the outfield grass after determining positions with the rangefinder. The grounds crew said they could leave two marks in center field and one in left field.

However, the grounds crew then went to their superiors and told them that the Dodgers threatened to dig holes in the outfield grass with their cleats, so the grounds crew was then instructed to “erase or obliterate” any of the Dodgers’ markings.

According to Rosenthal, Major League Baseball reinforced a few weeks ago that teams aren’t allowed to use markers to aid defensive positioning. The Dodgers haven’t been accused of doing anything nefarious during a game. Howie Kendrick was seen pulling something out of his pocket in the outfield, but Brett Anderson clarified on Twitter that it was just a piece of paper with notes for defensive positioning.

The series between the Mets and Dodgers has been heated, as Noah Syndergaard was ejected for throwing at Chase Utley on Saturday. Utley then responded by hitting two home runs, one of which was a grand slam. The Mets may have a legitimate concern, or it may just be gamesmanship.