And That Happened: Wednesday's scores and highlights

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Braves 4, Giants 2: “Ladies and gentlemen: the part of Tim Lincecum will be performed tonight by Jair Jurrjens.” (7.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 9K).

A’s 16, Twins 1: The A’s scored so much so early that starter
Trevor Cahill had to run down to the bullpen to warm up again while his
teammates were up to bat. Or maybe the fact that they were actually
scoring like this just blew his effing mind and he needed some alone
time to get it together. This is like a fortnight’s worth of offense
for this team. Yeah, forsooth I said fortnight.

Nationals 3, Mets 1: Bad: the Mets losing two of three to the
Nats. Worse: rumor has it that, after the game, V.P. of player
development Tony Bernazard drove a Cadillac into the hotel swimming
pool, blew up a toilet with cherry bombs, and challenged the security
staff to an “I quit” match, Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum T.A.-style.
Bernazard is expected to be fired later this week, and replaced by
either former Small Faces drummer Kenney Jones or by Lex Luger.

Dodgers 6, Reds 2: Pinch hit grand slam for Manny in the sixth
to break a 2-2 tie! Wow! Oh, wait, I forgot: We’re not supposed to be
enjoying this. Bad Manny. Bad, bad, bad. You have ruined baseball.

Yankees 6, Orioles 4: The Bombers are rolling. If you don’t
believe it, just read the game stories which talk about how they’ve won
six in a row, 16 of their last 19, 19 of their last 26, LVII of their
last XCIV, etc. I’m sure there are other ways that could be expressed,
but I don’t know how to do exponents and quadratic equations and all of
that stuff.

Blue Jays 10, Indians 6: I’m glad I didn’t stick with that
“Major League”-quote-until-a-three-game-winning-streak gag from a few
weeks ago, because I’d be out of material and moving on to the Tony
Danza version of “Angels in the Outfield” by now. And man, between the
Indians putridity and the sense of foreboding surrounding the Jays at
the deadline, this series is more depressing than watching “Requiem for
a Dream” while listening to a Morrissey box set.

Rangers 3, Red Sox 1: Don’t worry, Red Sox Nation. Chris Duncan
will be there in time for Friday’s game against the Orioles and make
all the hurtin’ go away. And how is it that Buchholz was so dominating
in Pawtucket but can’t avoid throwing 90 pitches in four innings in the
bigs? Do they just offer up at any weak, nibbling crap down in the
International League, or is he pitching scared?

Astros 4, Cardinals 3: If Chris Carpenter thinks he was betrayed by his bullpen, just wait until he has Julio Lugo playing behind him in five days.

Mariners 2, Tigers 1: Felix Hernandez bottles up the Tigers (7
IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 8K) and Russell Branyan hits a two-run homer in the
eighth to take a close one. Also, as my CTB homey Matt Casey noted yesterday,
David Aardsma is pretty Aawesome. On the year he has converted 23 of 25
saves, has an ERA of 1.79 and has struck out 55 in 45.1 IP.

Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 3: From the “fast facts” section of ESPN’s version of the game story:
“Todd Helton’s 11th homer of the season and 500th double of his career
carried the Rockies. Helton joined Stan Musial, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth
and Ted Williams as the only players with 500 doubles, 320 homers and a
.325 batting average since 1900.” Talk about trying to make a good
player seem better than he is via selective endpoints. I haven’t seen
that much gerrymandering since Patrick Henry and the Anti-Federalists
drew the boundaries of Virginia’s 5th Congressional district in such a
way as to keep James Madison out of the House of Representatives in

White Sox 4, Rays 3: Chad Bradford had a line that you don’t see
every day: 0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0K, 0 pitches. Unfortunately it was
because he hurt himself after he was announced but before he completed
throwing his warm-up pitches. An Alexi Ramirez triple followed by a
Jermaine Dye RBI single in the seventh was the difference maker for the

Marlins 5, Padres 0: I think they scheduled this one as a
matinee simply so I wouldn’t mail in the recap as I so often do with
the late games. Probably should have kept it a night game, San Diego,
because now that I have more time and alertness to comment on this
tilt, I can truly focus on just how wretched a club you have become.
Three hits. All singles. Ten strikeouts. Barf. Yet they were still in
the game until the late innings. At least until the bullpen coughed up
three more runs. Man, if only they had a moderately effective reliever
to help out. Oops.
Well, trades mean tradeoffs, right? Oops, the guy they got for Meredith
didn’t even play. The Padres are 12-33 since the first of June, which
is the worst in baseball. I repeat: for nearly half of the season, the
Padres have been worse than the Nats and the Royals.

Cubs 10, Phillies 6: The Phillies Phinally lose. “Zambrano
pitched well. He had good stuff,” Piniella said after the game. OK,
Lou, whatever you say (6.2 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 3 BB). I guess if you win you
had “good stuff” by definition?

Pirates 8, Brewers 7: Who the hell is Adam LaRoche? Garrett
Jones: 3-4, HR; Andy LaRoche: 1-3, 2B, RBI. The fans are happy. His
brother kept it together. They’ll all soldier on somehow.

Angels 9, Royals 6: Do you get full credit for a big rally when
it comes against the Royals? I mean, first you have to fall behind this
pathetic team, and that’s kind of embarrassing, and knocking around
this bullpen to erase the deficit is easier than knocking around any
other bullpen. I guess what I’m saying is that we need some kind of
handicapping system here.

A fan was attacked, injured outside Dodger Stadium on Friday

Dodger Stadium


The Los Angeles Times reports that there was a fight in the parking lot outside of Dodger Stadium on Friday night that put a fan in critical condition. The fight occurred following the Dodgers Game 1 loss to the Mets when an argument between fans escalated. It is unclear whether the fight was between fans of the rival teams.

Of course fan-in-fan violence is nothing new to Dodger Stadium and everyone recalls the Opening Day 2011 attack of Giants fan Bryan Stow which left him severely injured and brain damaged.

Here’s hoping the hospitalized fan recovers quickly.

Playoff Reset: The Cards and Dodgers have their backs against the wall

Clayton Kershaw

Historically speaking, the Cardinals and Dodgers are the class of the National League. A couple of organizations which have won a ton, have had a lot of classy alpha-types running their respective shows over the years, no shortage of glory, no shortage of history and enough evocative and grand footage in the can to make Ken Burns sepia with envy.

Meanwhile, the Cubs and Mets, while they’ve won some and have some wonderful history too, are far better known for their failures. For dubious achievements and fan bases which have, collectively, spent far more time smacking their own foreheads than high-fiving the guy in the seat next to them. Nevertheless, by the time we go to bed tonight it’s quite possible that the classy organizations with the long resumes of winning baseball will have been eliminated by the sad sacks and that we’re going to be treated to a Mets-Cubs NLCS.

In short: today’s NLDS contests are “the big game” sequences in any late-70s-mid-90s “slobs vs. snobs” comedy movie. Camp Mohawk vs. Camp Northstar. Lane Meyer vs. Roy Stalin skiing the K-12. Thornton Mellon vs. Chas in the diving meet. Once these things are over don’t be surprised to see someone on the Mets or Cubs kissing some girl way out of their league and to be asking yourself, “wait, why are there cheerleaders at a diving meet?”

Of course baseball isn’t as scripted as all of that and William Zabka is, according to IMDb, in pre-production on some Civil War project, so he can’t make it. I have no idea what that’s about. I can only assume he’s playing some stuck-up Confederate General who will lose to Curtis Armstrong’s disheveled Union general in The Big Battle, after which we cut to credits over some tossed-off Dave Edmunds song he wrote for the soundtrack just for the money.

Which is to say: we have to watch these games to see what happens:

The Game: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs
The Time: 4:37 p.m. ET
The Place: Wrigley Field
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: John Lackey vs. Jason Hammel
The Upshot: Wow, those were a lot of dingers given up by Michael Wacha and his friends last night, huh? The good news is that they’re running Lackey out there this afternoon and Lackey has owned the Cubs of late, going 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA in four starts against them, including his gem in Game 1 on Friday night. The bad news: even a half dozen recent starts aren’t great predictively speaking, and Lackey is on short rest. TBS will show highlights of Lackey pitching on short rest in the 2002 World Series today, but think about what you were doing in 2002 and whether you’d be just as good at it today as then. Hammel has the ball for the Cubs. He has not fared well against the Cardinals this season (5.37 ERA) but the same small sample stuff applies.

Injuries could be a key consideration here, as Addison Russell may be on the shelf for the Cubs following his hamstring tweak in last night’s game. Likewise Yadier Molina left early, apparently having aggravated his thumb injury. Otherwise: wear a helmet if you’re in the Bleachers at Wrigley this afternoon. Balls may be flying out your way.

The Game: Los Angels Dodgers vs. New York Mets
The Time: 8:07 p.m. ET
The Place: Citi Field
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: Clayton Kershaw vs. Steven Matz
The Upshot: The Clayton Kershaw Legacy Game. It’s not fair to Kershaw that, after eight years of completely dominating Major League Baseball people will deem him worthy or unworthy of, well, whatever, based on his 10th postseason start, but they will. If he falters today on short rest, with no reliable bullpen to bail him out, people will call him some sort of choke artist. If he dominates he’ll be considered redeemed, though he’s never been a guy in need of redemption. I don’t care much for that game, but it’s inevitable it will be played so let’s just silently roll our eyes and go with it. The Mets may have a bigger question mark on the mound in Steven Matz, who hasn’t pitched in a couple of weeks thanks to a tweak in his back in the last week of the season.

This should feel like a totally different game. The Utley drama has to subside now, especially given that he’s unlikely to get the start against a tough lefty. And that tough lefty is, with all due respect, no Brett Anderson. You can bet against Clayton Kershaw and win, but it’s not the sort of thing I’d make a habit of.

In any event, the Cubs and Mets should play this on a loop in the Clubhouse before today’s games. Because . . . it just doesn’t matter!

Yoenis Cespedes and his bat flip say good morning

Yoenis Cespedes

It was a late night last night. Especially for old farts like me. I turned on my TV at 12:30 yesterday afternoon and there was baseball on it for just about 12 hours straight. Not too shabby unless you happen to root for the Astros, Rangers, Cardinals or Dodgers. Oh well, today is another day. Or tomorrow if today is a travel day.

In the meantime, we have Yoenis Cespedes to keep us happy, alert and occupied. Again, unless you’re a Dodgers fan. Of course, if you are a Dodgers fan you got absolutely no right to be upset at a bat flip following a homer. And if I catch you complaining, you’re getting a time out.