And That Happened: Sunday's scores and highlights

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Phillies 2, Mets 0: Blanton beats Santana, yadda, yadda, yadda. I want to use this entry to make my first observation of the All-Star season. Fact: Charlie Manuel manages the NL team this year. Fact:
he has an All-Star roster with too many first basemen and nary a
legitimate centerfielder to be found, among other issues that may very
well prevent the NL from winning. Fact: the league which loses the All-Star game costs its World Series representative home field advantage. Fact: the Phillies stand a decent enough chance to go back to the World Series this year. Fact: the Phillies have been a much better road team than home team this year. Theory:
Charlie Manuel is deliberately tanking the All-Star game in the hopes
that the Phillies lose home field “advantage.” Clever, Charlie. Very

Marlins 5, Pirates 0: Ricky Nolasco continues his post-call-up
tear, this time shutting out and striking out 12 Pirates and giving up
only three hits over eight innings. Hanley Ramirez was scratched from
the lineup because his hip is sore. When asked if he’d play in the
upcoming series in San Francisco, he said “I’ll see how it feels after
a 7-hour plane ride.” That’s funny. I checked Expedia, and there are no
direct commercial flights between Miami and San Francisco that
take more than six hours, and many take a little less. A chartered team
plane shouldn’t do any worse. If Ramirez is right, though, I can only
assume that Jeff Loria is so cheap that he has his team flying
Southwest or something. If you’re at the Oklahoma City airport later
today and see a guy that looks kinda like Dan Uggla getting a TCBY
while waiting for his connection, it probably is Dan Uggla.

Athletics 5, Indians 2: OK, we’ve got a situation here. Last
week I said I’d go with “Major League” quotes until either (a) Eric
Wedge was fired; or (b) the Indians won three in a row. In reality,
when I said that I assumed that Wedge was a dead man walking and that
the bit would end soon. Then, prior to yesterday’s game, Shapiro goes
and announces that Wedge will keep his job for the rest of the season.
So here’s the problem: there’s no way in hell this team is gonna win
three games in a row any time soon. Just look at yesterday: they had
two in the bag, their ace on the mound, and Gio-freakin’-7.27
ERA-Gonzales facing them. At home. What happens? Of course they lose.
So what do I do? I mean, I beat some bits into the ground, but I had no
intention of running “Major League” quotes every day. If I did, I’d
start to run out of good ones by, say, September. I’m going to give
some thought to how long I stick with this, but I’m leaning towards
giving it up and simply trying to find new ways to describe how
depressing this team is. I’ll leave that decision for tomorrow or the
next day. In the meantime: “Let me get back to you, will ya, Charlie? I
got a guy on the other line asking about some white walls.”

Cubs 8, Brewers 2: The AP game story quotes Ryan Braun talking
about how the Milwaukee pitchers aren’t getting the job done. That’s
interesting enough, but the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel quotes him getting into the GM’s business as well.
He then spent the whole bus ride back to Milwaukee complaining about
how the driver changed lanes too much and yelling at Corey Hart for
taking up too much armrest space.

Nationals 5, Braves 3: Atlanta sweeps the first place Phillies
and then drops two of three to the worst team in Major League Baseball.
Anyone who couldn’t have predicted that hasn’t watched much Braves
baseball for the past three or four years.

Cardinals 10, Reds 1: I’ve sorta not been paying that much
attention to the Reds lately, so I had just been assuming that Bronson
Arroyo was continuing his patteren of getting shelled, then pitching
well, then getting shelled, etc. Looking at it now, the “getting
shelled” option has been a lot more prevalent, and it happened again
yesterday (5 IP, 11 H, 8 R). Arroyo now has the worst ERA among regular
NL starters.

Yankees 10, Blue Jays 8: Joba Chamberlain gets his ineffective
butt saved by Derek Jeter and the rest of the Yankees’ offense. In
Chamberlain’s defense, neither of the homers he gave up would have
reached the seats in old Yankee Stadium. Such a defense only goes so
far, of course, given that Alfredo Aceves pitched against the same Blue
Jays and in front of the same outfield walls yesterday, and he only
gave up one hit in four innings of relief work.

Red Sox 8, Mariners 4: The Mariners would have liked to take
this one, but the fact is that they finished nine road games against
the Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox 5-4, and that’s pretty damn

Royals 6, White Sox 3: Some interesting thoughts about the whole Rany-Royals dustup here.
I wish someone would have thought to ask Ozzie Guillen about this over
the weekend. Even in the very likely event that he knows none of the
actors and cares not a bit about this drama, the way in which he would
have put it would have been pretty entertaining.

Twins 6, Tigers 2: A bunch of those “The Tigers are in the
driver’s seat” stories popped up last week. Everyone who wrote them
forgot the fact that the Twins just never, ever seem to go away, no
matter how hard you try and make them. They take two of three from the
kitty cats and stand ready to be a total pain in Detroit’s butt for the
next three months.

Diamondbacks 4, Rockies 3: Dan Haren pitched six innings and
stood to be the winner after the Dbacks took the lead in the top of the
seventh. I probably would have bet the balance of my 401K that the
Arizona bullpen wasn’t going to hold that lead for him, but I’ll be
damned if they didn’t.

Angels 9, Orioles 6: Baltimore held 4-0 leads on Saturday and Sunday and blew them both. But it’s not like there isn’t hope.

Dodgers 7, Padres 6: Broxton blows a four-run lead in the ninth
(I’m sure it was Manny’s fault somehow), but James Loney hits a solo
homer in the 13th to give the Dodgers the win.

Astros 7, Giants 1: Roy Oswalt is 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA over his
last three starts. Randy Johnson bailed early with a strained shoulder.
He probably did it while batting earlier in the game. Some joker
somewhere will use that as an argument for the DH, ignoring that
Johnson has had nearly 700 career plate appearances without incident
before yesterday.

Rangers 5, Rays 2: The Rangers sweep the Rays — allowing only
seven runs in the three game set — and now start a big series against
Anaheim. Tasty.

Photo of the Day: Colby Rasmus just wants to love on everybody

Colby Rasmus

Colby Rasmus hit a big home run last night to set off the scoring and to set the tone for the Astros.

After the game he spoke to Jeff Passan of Yahoo and voiced some nice perspective and maturity as well, acknowledging that his time and St. Louis and Toronto left him with a reputation that he’d rather not have follow him around forever, saying “I don’t want them to say Colby Rasmus was a piece of crap because he had all of this time and just wanted to be a douche. I just try to love on everybody.”

Fair. By the way, this is what Rasmus looked like either just before or just after telling reporters that he “just tries to love on everybody.”


Ready for some lovin’?

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi

You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.