And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and highlights

Leave a comment

Nationals 4, Mets 0: Not to take too much away from John Lannan
(CG, SHO, 7 H, 1K 0 BB), but David Wright was the only player in the
Mets’ lineup who has any business starting for a Major League team, let
alone one that still pretends that it’s contending.

Indians 2, Blue Jays 1: Cliff Lee’s starts are beginning to take on the air of street sale rather than a baseball game:

Live from 47th Street between Broadway and 6th Avenue-you can’t miss
it!-it’s SABRA PRICE IS RIGHT! Alright so let’s go with the game then.
Here is the host, URI SHURINSON!

Uri: Alright-alright-alright! Good-good-good! Yes-yes,
welcome-welcome to Sabra Price Is Right! I am Uri! Okay so we show you
beautiful merchandise; and you people, you guess price. So okay let’s
look at first merchandise!

[Shot: 30 year-old lefthander]

Harvey: Alright is Cliff Lee! Is pitcher from Cleveland. Is good! (CG, 7 H, 1 ER, 4 K 0 BB)

Uri: Okay-okay now who can tell me the correct price for the Cliff Lee?

Brewers 2, Pirates 0: Milwaukee blanks the Pirates. And Braden Looper beaned five guys because Kevin Young hit a homer off of Doug Jones back in May of 1998. Maybe you think that’s extreme, but that’s just how the Brew Crew rolls.

Angels 8, Royals 5: You’re not going to believe this, but Sidney
Ponson got rocked (5 IP, 8 H, 6 ER). Jose Guillen drove in two. It’s
amazing what you can do when you take ownership over your problems.

Yankees 6, Orioles 4: Neyer yesterday:

The Yankees are probably good enough to get into the playoffs with
Sergio Mitre in their rotation … but is it really worth the risk? And
I’m sorry, but I just don’t believe it must take a month to get Hughes
conditioned for 100 pitches. Anyway, why is that the threshold for
acceptability? How many times do the Yankees think that Mitre’s going
to last for 100 pitches?

Last night’s results: 91 pitches, even when pitching with a four-run
lead. It’s great that he won and everything, but is there any doubt
that Phil Hughes could do at least that and maybe save the bullpen some

Braves 8, Giants 1: It’s amazing what ridding your lineup of
automatic outs can do. With Jordan Schafer, Kelly Johnson and Jeff
Francoeur gone, the Braves have been on an offensive tear. In this one,
Martin Prado had three hits and scored three runs and Brian McCann hit
a three-run homer and drove in four. Now if only the Phillies would
lose a game . . .

Phillies 4, Cubs 1: Damn. Jayson Werth with a walkoff three-run homer in the bottom of the 13th.

Tigers 9, Mariners 7: Not a lot of pitching in this one, as
seven homers were hit, two by Jack Hannahan of the Ms and one grand
slam by Magglio Ordonez. Franklin Gutierrez slammed into the wall and
had to leave the game, but x-rays were negative. Which, strangely
enough, is a positive thing.

Rangers 4, Red Sox 2: Losing four of five out the gate in the
second half is probably not what the Sox had in mind, but that’s what
happens when you can’t figure out rookies with names like Tommy Hunter.
They should trade him to the Braves to team up with Hanson. Both
“Hunter & Hanson” and “Tommy and Tommy” sound like 1980s
action/adventure shows that I totally would have watched back then. It
would air right before “Riptide” and right after “The A-Team.”

Rays 3, White Sox 2: Bobby Jenks loaded the bases in the ninth
but got out of it on Monday night, but last night he wasn’t so lucky.
Coming in with a one run lead, Jenks allowed
single-HBP-single-walk-sacrifice-hit-walk before getting out of it.
Spoiled a nice Clayton Richard start too (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7K).

Astros 11, Cardinals 6: This has to have been Todd Wellemeyer’s
last start for the Cardinals, no? That one nice start against the
Giants back on July 2nd didn’t buy him a mile of rope, did it? Wandy
Rodriguez (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER), Carlos Lee (grand slam) and Miguel Tejada
(2-3, 3 RBI) lead the charge for the Astros.

Angels 10, Royals 2: Erik Aybar was a beast in this
doubleheader, smacking seven hits between the two games. He’s also 24
for his last 43. Kansas City used nine pitchers in yesterday’s games.

Dodgers 12, Reds 3: I think the Homer Bailey experiment is
nearing its end as he has a 14.53 ERA over his past two starts and
isn’t fooling anyone. And I’d like to think that this Dusty Baker quote
was meant as a dig at Joe Torre, though it probably wasn’t: “You know
you’ve got a good lineup when your eighth hitter’s hitting
.320-something. I don’t know If I’ve seen that ever.” He’s referring to
Matt Kemp, of course, who has no business hitting eighth. Not that it’s
hurting the Dodgers at the moment or anything.

Twins 3, A’s 2: Runs were a bit more scarce in this one. And,
unlike yesterday, Mike Muchlinski called Michael Cuddyer safe when it
mattered, this time on his 10th inning RBI triple.

Marlins 3, Padres 2: I have absolutely nothing interesting to
say about this game, so I’ll just note that “Stripes” was on AMC last
night. It’s been years since I’ve seen it, and yes, it holds up. Lee
Harvey, you are a madman. When you stole that cow, and your friend
tried to make it with the cow. I want to party with you, cowboy. If the
two of us together, forget it.

Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 5: Same here, really. Sorry, I guess
last nights west coast games just aren’t speaking to me like Monday
night’s did. C’mon, it’s Czechoslovakia. We zip in, we pick ’em up, we
zip right out again. We’re not going to Moscow. It’s Czechoslovakia.
It’s like going into Wisconsin.

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar
Leave a comment

Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.

Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.

Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.

It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.

The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.

Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.

Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.

Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
Leave a comment

After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.

The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.