Daily Dose: When celebrations go wrong

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Ryan Dempster was put on the disabled list Tuesday with a broken toe suffered while celebrating Sunday’s victory. Seriously.
Dempster was attempting to jump over the dugout fence and onto the
field after the final out when he stumbled and slammed into the ground.
His teammates laughed at the time, but X-rays showed a non-displaced
fracture and he’ll also soon be missing a toenail.

Dempster has pitched very well since a poor April, posting a 3.57
ERA and 64/30 K/BB ratio in 75.2 innings spread over a dozen starts
since May 1, but he’ll likely miss at least three weeks and could be
sidelined for more than a month. For now at least Kevin Hart has been
tabbed to replace him in the rotation, but giving Jeff Samardzija a
chance to start in the majors for the first time is also an option.

While the Cubs add to this season’s extensive list of woes, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Picking up Mark DeRosa two weeks ago looked like a solid deal for
St. Louis at the time, but he went hitless in nine at-bats before
suffering a wrist injury that put him on the disabled list Tuesday.
General manager John Mozeliak called the DL stint a “precautionary
move,” but there are reports that DeRosa may be out for a long time
after being diagnosed with a torn tendon sheath.

While admitting Tuesday that he doesn’t “know all the jargon” DeRosa
explained: “There’s definitely something wrong with it. There’s
definitely a partial tear of the sheath. It’s one of those things where
you hope time allows it to heal itself.” Now it’s back to Joe Thurston
and Brian Barden at third base for the Cardinals, who’re in the same
spot as two weeks ago except without Chris Perez in the bullpen.

* Despite being out for six weeks with a shoulder injury Erik Bedard
didn’t miss a beat returning from the disabled list Tuesday, striking
out eight and giving up just two hits in an abbreviated four-inning
start. Despite multiple injuries Bedard has yet to stop being a
dominant pitcher in between DL stints and the impending free agent is
now 5-2 with a 2.58 ERA and 73/23 K/BB ratio in 69.2 innings this year.

* Adam Wainwright was two outs short of a shutout Tuesday and Colby
Rasmus backed him by going 3-for-5 with a homer as the Cardinals
extended their lead in the NL Central with a 5-0 win against the
Brewers. Rasmus’ overall numbers are plenty strong, but the 22-year-old
rookie has been fantastic since a slow first two months and is now
39-for-106 (.368) with 17 extra-base hits since June 1.

AL Quick Hits: General manager J.P. Ricciardi said Tuesday that the Blue Jays are willing to listen to offers for Roy Halladay, but was vague about the likelihood of a trade … Chicago has reportedly acquired
reliever Tony Pena from Arizona for first-base prospect Brandon Allen …
Scott Rolen extended his hitting streak to 24 games with an
eighth-inning single Tuesday … Alfredo Aceves has joined the rotation
in place of the Chien-Ming Wang and has AL-only upside … Shaun Marcum
is said to be on track for an August comeback from Tommy John elbow
surgery … Scott Hairston started in center field Tuesday and blasted
his first A’s homer … Justin Verlander allowed five runs Tuesday, but
picked up his ninth win and struck out 11 … Grady Sizemore went deep
twice Tuesday and has 15 RBIs since coming off the disabled list on
June 23 … Jeremy Bonderman played catch from 60 feet Tuesday and said
afterward that his shoulder “feels pretty good.”

NL Quick Hits: Carlos Beltran (knee) has yet to begin
high-impact workouts and likely isn’t close to coming off the disabled
list … ESPN reports that the Phillies are “more interested” in Pedro
Martinez “than they’re letting on” … Jose Reyes (hamstring) received a
cortisone shot Tuesday, pushing his return timetable back even further
… Kyle Lohse (forearm) gave up two hits over six innings in a rehab
start Tuesday at Triple-A … Chipper Jones was scratched from Tuesday’s
lineup with a sore groin … Hanley Ramirez missed his third straight
game Tuesday with a hip strain … Clayton Kershaw tossed six scoreless
innings Tuesday, allowing two runs or fewer in his fifth straight start
… Manny Ramirez was ejected from Tuesday’s game for arguing a called
third strike, but drove in three runs before leaving … Javier Vazquez
tossed seven innings of one-run ball Tuesday, cutting his ERA to 2.95 …
Freddy Sanchez (back) missed a fifth straight game Tuesday.

The Yankees were booed last night. Did they deserve it?

Masahiro Tanaka

The boos came raining down from the Yankee Stadium faithful last night. They started when Brett Gardner grounded out in the eighth inning. More came later. A lot of it was, no doubt, based on Gardner’s disappointing performance late in the season. A lot of it was because, around that time, it seemed like the Yankees had zero shot whatsoever to mount a comeback. Which, in fact, they didn’t. A lot of it was pent-up frustration, I assume, from a late season skid which saw the Yankees lose their lead in the AL East and wind up in the Wild Card Game in the first place.

Anyone who buys a ticket has a right to boo. Especially when they buy a ticket as expensive as Yankees tickets are. It’s obviously understandable to be disappointed when your team loses. Especially when your team is eliminated like the Yankees were. And last night’s game was particularly deflating, with that 3-0 Astros lead feeling more like 10-0 given how things were going.

But isn’t booing something more than a mere manifestation of disappointment? Isn’t a step beyond? Booing isn’t saying “I’m sad.” It’s saying “you suck!” It’s not saying “I’m disappointed,” it’s saying “you should be ashamed of yourselves!” And with all respect to Yankees fans, the 2015 Yankees have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

This was a club expected to miss the playoffs, full stop. Maybe some people allowed for an if-everything-breaks-right flight of fancy, but hardly anyone expected them to play meaningful games late in the year, let alone a playoff game. They were too old. Too injured. There weren’t enough young reinforcements to fill the gaps. Some even went so far as to claim that they were about to spend years in the wilderness.

But then A-Rod broke out of the gate strong. And Michael Pineda had a really nice first couple of months. And Mark Teixeira put up numbers that wouldn’t have been out of place for him several years ago. The bullpen did what it was supposed to do and more, Masahiro Tanaka held together somehow and, eventually, a couple of young players like Greg Bird and Luis Severino came in to reinforce things. The not-going-anywhere Yankees were contenders. And they led the division for a good while. Of course they stumbled late. And of course they lost last night, but by just about any reasonable measure, this was a good team — better than expected — and, unlike a lot of Yankees teams in the past, was pretty darn enjoyable to watch.

Then the boos. I just can’t see how this Yankees team deserved that.

I realize a lot of people in the media have duped a lot of people into thinking that a team with a high payroll is supposed to be dominant. And I realize George Steinbrenner duped a whole lot of people into thinking that anything less than a World Series championship for the New York Yankees is failure. But that’s rhetoric and branding, not reason. In the real world where baseball players play baseball games World Series titles are rare, even for the Yankees. At the end of the season all but one of 30 teams are either at home for the playoffs or went home after suffering a gut-wrenching playoff loss. The Yankees are the most dominant franchise in the history of American professional sports yet they still have finished their year without a title over 75% of the time.

With that as a given, fans are left to judge their team’s performance based on its talent, its health, its heart, its entertainment value and the strength of the opposition which ultimately vanquished it. The Yankees weren’t nearly as talented as many, yet made the playoffs anyway. They were a walking hospital ward, let limped on. They never quit and never got pulled down into the sort of muck a lot of New York teams find themselves in when things start to go sideways. And, ultimately, they were simply beat by a better team. By any reasonable measure the 2015 Yankees were a good story, a successful enterprise, a resilient bunch and no small amount of fun.

It’s OK to be sad that it ended as it did. But that doesn’t deserve to be booed. Not by a long shot.

Collin McHugh will start Game 1 of the ALDS for the Astros

Collin McHugh Astros
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After using ace left-hander Dallas Keuchel to get past the Yankees in the Wild Card game the Astros will turn to right-hander Collin McHugh in Game 1 of the ALDS versus the Royals.

McHugh had an up-and-down year, posting a 3.89 ERA compared to his 2.73 mark last season, but thanks to good teammate support he had a 19-7 record and his 171/53 K/BB ratio in 204 innings was solid. He was particularly good down the stretch, posting a 2.89 ERA and 69/20 K/BB ratio in 72 innings after August 1.

McHugh will match up against Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura in Game 1. Houston hasn’t named a starter for Game 2 yet, while Kansas City is going with Johnny Cueto. And then the Game 3 matchup figures to be Dallas Keuchel versus Edinson Volquez.