And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and highlights

Leave a comment

Bronson Arroyo.jpgPadres 3, Reds 2: If the recaps suffer a bit today it’s because I was at a bar saying goodbye to a good friend last night (a friend longtime ShysterBall readers will remember, actually). Mark and I used to work at the same law firm together, and once I left at the end of last year he apparently couldn’t go on anymore either, so he issued his resignation and is now moving down to Florida to, hell, I dunno, eat seafood and play shuffleboard and stuff. We had beers last night to celebrate. On the TV over the bar was Mark’s first love — the Redlegs, as he calls them. The sound was down, but that didn’t matter, as Mark did his spot-on Jeff Brantley impersonation all night, going on about Ted DiBiase, UDF ice cream, the Civil War, and whatever else sounded funny in Brantley’s drawl. Only time he broke character was to yell at Dusty Baker for leaving Arroyo in to start the seventh (“quit while you’re ahead, man! He’s gonna explode!”). As soon as he got done yelling Tony Gwynn hit that triple, and Mark yelled some more as Dusty made Arroyo issue an intentional walk and then leave the game. I’m going to miss that guy when he’s gone, and I don’t mean Arroyo.

Rays 6, Yankees 2: The rumor yesterday was that if the Rays dropped all three to the Yankees, Scott Kazmir could be shipped out. That’s kind of a dumb rumor inasmuch as the Rays’ management is a lot smarter than to make decisions based on the outcome of three piddling games. And besides, season stats notwithstanding, Kazmir is still good, as he showed last night, giving up a single run in seven innings. In contrast, CC Sabathia continued his “meh” season with another “meh” performance (5.2 IP, 9 H, 6 R). More bad news: the Yankees learned that Chien-Ming Wang will undergo season-ending arthroscopic surgery. Girardi: “Hopefully this is will be the end of the surgeries for him and he’ll have the rest of his career be real healthy.” Yeah, because that’s how it always works.

Nationals 8, Brewers 3: Memo to Milwaukee: a visit from the Nationals is supposed to be a cure-all, not a nightmare. The Brewers were bombed for the second straight night, this time from Nyjer Morgan, Adam Dunn and Cristian Guzman. Dunn’s was a moon-shot, bouncing over the Toyota Tundra and clear the hell out of Miller Park.

Twins 5, White Sox 3: Mark Buehrle followed up his perfecto with perfection through five innings, but then ran into a buzz saw, giving up five runs on five hits in six and a third. With the win, the Twins — who never, ever seem to go away — pull into a tie for second in the Central.

Mets 4, Rockies 0: Drama shmama, the Mets don’t care what’s happening in the front office or in the tabloids, they’ve won four in a row. Mike Pelfrey, who was given up for dead a week ago, pitched shutout baseball into the seventh and the hitters singled and sacrificed their way past Jason Marquis, denying him his 13th win of the year.

Marlins 4, Braves 3: The Braves’ two-headed closer system has worked pretty well all year, but you’re going to have nights when your guy — in this case Rafael Soriano — is going to have wonky control and not get the calls. When that happens, guys wait to tee off on the get-me-over pitches, and that’s what Ross Gload did to end the game.

Rangers 7, Tigers 3: A two-run triple and a sacrifice from Ian Kinsler chased Luke French (really? “Luke French?” I think that name was on my fake I.D. senior year of high school) and led the Rangers to their eighth win in nine games. Kinsler had to leave with a hamstring problem after six innings, but by then the damage was done. Both to the Tigers and his hamstring.

Royals 4, Orioles 3: It’s funny to think that, for about a decade there, this was a the natural preseason prediction for the ALCS matchup. This one ended in the 11th when the Royals manufactured a run on a dribbler single, a stolen base and an RBI single. The dribbler came from Mark Teahen, who topped the ball down the first-base line, which Matt Wieters watched and hoped would roll foul. I can only assume that Lex Luthor had the bottled city of Kandor held hostage at the time, and Wieters was thus coerced into not using his telekinetic powers to will the ball foul or something.

Man, weren’t those Wieters jokes a lot funnier back in April?



Athletics 9, Red Sox 8: Things that don’t happen every day: (1) Jonathan Papelbon blows a save, let alone one of the three-run lead variety; (2) The A’s score nine runs; (3) The A’s get 21 hits; (4) The A’s win. Twenty-one hits! From the A’s! In other news, walking trade chit Clay Buchholz was again largely inefficient, throwing 107 pitches in less than six innings. One wonders if the Sox couldn’t have left him in the minors where he still looked alluring to would-be trade partners rather than expose him so blatantly in the Majors. Not that it’s important, but I recall thinking the same thing when the Madonna Penthouse issue came out back in 1985.

Astros 11, Cubs 6: The ‘Stros lost Roy Oswalt to a back injury, but beat up Ryan Dempster and the back end of the Cubbies’ bullpen to win it. In the fifth inning, Fukudome hit a ball to Astros’ pitcher Jeff Fulchino. The ball bounced inside Fulchino’s jersey and he wasn’t able to find it in time, allowing Fukudome to reach. Then the gang put on a show, with Mike Fontenot performing an off-key rendition of “The Barber of Seville” while Derek Lee and Aramis Ramirez fed red hots to a mule, which rampaged through Miss Crabtree’s classroom. Or maybe I daydreamed that.

Angels 7, Indians 6: What? The Angels came from behind to win another game? That’s unpossible! Of course they almost didn’t hold on in this one because their closer, Brian Fuentes, can’t seem to get anyone out these days (0 IP, 2H, 2 R, 2 BB). Before Monday, he hadn’t given up a run since the end of May. Now it two days he’s given up six runs and hasn’t retired a batter.

Cardinals 10, Dodgers 0: They scored ten, but only needed one, because Adam Wainwright was on (8 IP, 8 H, 0 ER). Three losses in a row for L.A.. The game was delayed an hour and a half at the outset due to a threat of rain which never materialized. I can’t recall that happening any time recently. Unless it’s raining you go out and play, don’t you? It’s a rain delay, not a threat of rain delay, right?

Mariners 4, Blue Jays 3: Ichiro with the game-winning hit in the ninth. Talk in the game story of him intentionally flailing at a curve ball right before his hit so as to trick Scott Downs into throwing him another curveball. Um, OK, but if he had that all planned it meant he knew what was coming before the first curveball, and why didn’t he just hit that one? Guess that’s not as good a story. In other news, if Jarrod Washburn is getting traded, he’s leaving Seattle on a high note (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER). Finally, the game story says it’s supposed to be 100 degrees in Seattle today and they have a day game. That’s interesting in a schadenfreude-tastic kind of way (Midwest summers make one jealous of those in the Pacific northwest), but why does that matter for the game? They still got a roof on that ballpark, don’t they?

Phillies 4, Diamondbacks 3: Cole Hamels was dominant, giving up an early home run and then nothin’ else for the rest of the game (8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 9K). “Hamels is getting there,” Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said. “He’s real close.” Close? Jesus, I’d hate to see him once he actually arrives.

Giants 3, Pirates 2: Barry Zito is like a box of chocolates. A lucky box of chocolates at any rate, giving up only one run despite allowing nine hits in less than six innings. The Ryan Garko Era officially begins in San Francisco with an 0-4. Oh, and the Big Unit has learned that he has a torn rotator cuff. He’s on the 60 day DL retroactive to July 5th, and there’s a distinct possibility that he won’t be back at all this year. Which, one doesn’t have to be a genius to surmise, could mean that we’ve seen the last of perhaps the greatest lefthander in the history of baseball.

Video: Nelson Cruz hits second-longest home run of 2016

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Nelson Cruz #23 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates his solo homerun with Daniel Vogelbach #20 of the Seattle Mariners to take a 2-1 lead over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 14, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

There’s certainly never a bad time to hit a home run, but when you get the opportunity to crush a triple-deck, 493-foot shot off of Tyler Duffey, you should take it. With the Mariners down 2-0 to the Twins in the fourth inning, Cruz hammered a fastball to deep left field for his 39th long ball of the season — and the second-longest home run hit in 2016, to boot.

It doesn’t hurt that the Mariners are 1.5 games back of a playoff spot, although they’ll have to oust the Blue Jays, Orioles, or Tigers to get a wild card. They’ve gone 3-3 in the last week, dropping two consecutive series to the Astros and Blue Jays and taking their series opener against Minnesota 10-1 on Friday night.

Cruz, for his part, entered Saturday’s game with a .299/.337/.610 batting line and six home runs in September. According to ESPN.com’s Home Run Tracker, Cruz sits behind Edwin Encarnacion and Mike Napoli with 13 “no-doubt” home runs in 2016, third-most among major league sluggers. It’s safe to say he can add Saturday’s moonshot to that list.

Marlins’ outfielder and undisputed home run king Giancarlo Stanton remains untouched at the top of the Statcast leaderboard with a 504-ft. home run, and it’s difficult to envision any slugger reaching beyond that before the end of the season. Even so, Cruz won’t need to clear 500 feet to extend an impressive hitting record. One more home run will put the 36-year-old at 40 on the year, making 2016 his third consecutive season with at least 40 homers, and his second such season doing so in Seattle.

Report: John Farrell won’t rule out a postseason return for Pablo Sandoval

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 11:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox looks on from the dugout before the Red Sox home opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on April 11, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Orioles defeat the Red Sox 9-7.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Getty Images
7 Comments

It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.

On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.

At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.

If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.

Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.

Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.