And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

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Reds 7, Nationals 0: Johnny Gomes (Johnny Gomes?) hits three homers and Bronson “Flintstones kids, ten million strong and growing
Arroyo throws a two-hit shutout. Obviously his best game of the season,
so maybe he decided to use his one DUI last night. Hey man, he earned
it.

Tigers 2, Red Sox 0: Justin Verlander (8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 8K)
helps the Tigers salvage one. He also hit Chris Woodward twice, but no
benches cleared and no punches were thrown because, hey, it’s just
Chris Woodward.

Rockies 10, Pirates 1: Yesterday I complained about Josh
Beckett’s possible Cy Young. No such worries about Jason Marquis,
though. Sure, he has the wins, but there are a lot of guys pitching
much better than him overall who are close enough in the oh-so-critical
win column and who pitch for contenders (e.g. Lincecum, Carpenter,
Cain, Wainwright). I don’t think that even baseball writers are dumb
enough to overlook all of them and give Jason Marquis an award. But
hey, he did pitch well yesterday (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER).

Royals 5, Twins 4: Joe Mauer was 2-4 with a homer and four RBI,
but it wasn’t enough as (a) no one else on his team knocked anyone in;
and (b) Carl Pavano allowed 5. The Royals take the series 2-1, which is
their first win since the signing of the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819. At
least it seems like it.

Phillies 6, Cubs 1: And the sweep. Cliff Lee, he’s pretty good (8 IP, 6 H. 1 ER, 8K). Easily the best pickup for Philadelphia this year. In any sport.

Rangers 4, Indians 1: A day game, but they replayed it on STO
last night. AMC was showing “Major League” at the same time. I don’t
think I need to tell you which one I watched. Kind of wished I had
watched the seventh and eighth of this one, though, as Neftali Feliz
struck out five guys in those two innings of relief work. Gotta love
that Mark Teixeira trade!

Brewers 12, Padres 9: Prince Fielder and Mike Rivera each had
two dingers, and Ryan Braun launched one too. They needed it all,
though, as despite jumping out to a 9-0 lead, they never really put the
Padres away until the very end. According to the game story, Fielder
and Braun wouldn’t talk to the media after the game, choosing instead
to defy the requests of the Brewers’ P.R. department and hide in the
meal area that is off limits to reporters. What gives with those guys?
As the season goes on, they seem to get gotten pissier and pissier.

Yankees 11, Mariners 1: CC Sabathia (8 IP, 3 H, 1 ER. 10K) and
Hideki Matsui (4-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI) beat the tar out of the Mariners. Ian
Snell: “That lineup is just stupid. They shouldn’t be allowed to have a
lineup like that, but that is why their payroll is what it is. That is
a lineup nobody in the National League has.”

Marlins 9, Astros 2: Every couple of weeks I come across a game
about which I find nothing interesting. Nine out of ten times it’s an
Astros game, though I have no idea why. In light of coming across yet
another one, I’m going to note that I am currently re-reading Leo
Durocher’s Nice Guys Finish Last (which is being re-released very soon).
I’ll further note that, on the first page of the book, Leo talks about
all of the various ways he, his teammates and his opponents cheated
throughout their careers. He sums it up by saying “If you get away with
it, fine. If you don’t, what have you lost? . . . Win any way you can
as long as you can get away with it.” I sit here this morning wondering
why, then, we’re all so shocked and sanctimonious about everything that
has transpired in the past few years.

Collins worried David Wright might go on disabled list

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
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NEW YORK (AP) Mets manager Terry Collins is worried David Wright may wind up on the disabled list because of a neck injury.

New York’s captain and third baseman was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day Monday because of his neck. He was given anti-inflammatory medicine over the weekend.

Now 33, Wright was on the disabled list from April 15 to Aug. 24 last year when he strained his right hamstring and then developed spinal stenosis. He has a lengthy physical therapy routine he must go through before each game.

“With the condition he’s been playing in and the condition he’s in right now, yeah, I’m concerned about it,” Collins said Monday. “Is it going to happen? I can’t tell you. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. I know this guy plays with a lot of discomfort. He always has. And when he can’t play, he’s hurt.”

Wright homered in three straight games last week before getting hurt. He is batting .226 with seven homers, 14 RBIs and 55 strikeouts in 137 at-bats.

Settling the Scores: Memorial Day edition

ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 21:  American flags are shown after being placed by members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment at the graves of U.S. soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in preparation for Memorial Day May 21, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. "Flags-In" has become an annual ceremony since the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) was designated to be an Army's official ceremonial unit in 1948  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died in military service. At some point in the past couple of decades, however, it has become an all-purpose flag-waving, patriotism-declaring, civilians-in-camouflage holiday. It’s understandable why this is the case. We, as a country, haven’t always done mourning well. I think it’s part of our national cultural DNA that we don’t and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make days like this difficult.

I feel like the flag-waving and troop-supporting stuff is some sort of subconscious reaction to death. It’s our way of instantly trying to justify those deaths or to explain how they were not in vain, much the same way we might tell someone upon the death of a loved one that they’re in a better place or that they had a full life. Feeling the pain of loss is hard. We want to soften it in any way we can and make our pain serve a larger, better purpose. And so we get today, when Major League Baseball puts its players in camouflage caps and in jerseys with camouflage logos. They’ll sell them too, with proceeds going to good and noble veterans charities. The intent is noble and the ultimate effect of it all is beneficial. But it’s also a little beside the point. Maybe not beside the point as much as mattress sales or big celebratory barbecues which have come to characterize Memorial Day for so many, but still not exactly the purpose of the holiday.

I don’t condemn it. As I wrote last year, the men and women who actually fought and died in wars were hoping that they were, ultimately, making a better and happier world for those they left behind. And they no doubt hoped, among everything else they hoped, that others didn’t have to face what they were facing. They wanted our lives to be happy and our country to be safe and part of a happy and safe country involves 300 million people doing whatever it is they damn please, even if it’s just having barbecues and wearing camo at the ballpark.

I won’t say have a happy Memorial Day because that seems odd. Have any kind of Memorial Day you want, really, even if it includes barbecuing, drinking beer and wearing a cam ballcap. But as you do, please make sure you take some time to think about those who died in military service. And remember that they didn’t get to have as many days like the one you’re having as they were meant to have. And make at least some effort to offset your happy, patriotic or silly pursuits with some mourning and reflectiveness. It’s OK for that to stand on its own.

The scores:

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3
Orioles 6, Indians 4
Yankees 2, Rays 1
Nationals 10, Cardinals 2
Brewers 5, Reds 4
Royals 5, White Sox 4
Cubs 7, Phillies 2
Rangers 6, Pirates 2
Astros 8, Angels 6
Athletics 4, Tigers 2
Twins 5, Mariners 4
Giants 8, Rockies 3
Diamondbacks 6, Padres 3
Marlins 7, Braves 3
Dodgers 4, Mets 2

 

Should Dave Roberts have taken Clayton Kershaw out of Sunday’s game?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will likely be second-guessed heavily during tomorrow’s news cycle. Starter Clayton Kershaw had pitched a terrific ballgame, as is his tendency, but with 114 pitches to his name, Roberts decided to pull him from the game in the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on first base.

Roberts opted not for closer Kenley Jansen, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, but for another lefty in Adam Liberatore. He was playing the numbers, with the left-handed-hitting Curtis Granderson coming up. Liberatore, much to Roberts’ chagrin, served up what turned out to be a game-tying triple to Granderson, hitting a rocket to right-center just out of the reach of a leaping Yasiel Puig.

Jansen has, for six years, been one of the game’s elite relievers. Kershaw, though at a high pitch count, doesn’t seem to suffer from the times through the order penalty like most pitchers. Kershaw’s opponents’ OPS facing him for the first time was .525 coming into Sunday. Twice, .597. Three times, .587. Four times, .526 (but this suffers from survivorship bias so it’s not exactly representative).

Furthermore, Kershaw held lefties to a .546 OPS over his career. Liberatore, in 99 plate appearances against lefty hitters, gave up a .575 OPS. Jansen? .560. It seems that, faced with three decisions, Roberts arguably made the worst one. Playing conservative with Kershaw at 114 pitches is defensible, but only if Jansen comes in. If Roberts wanted the platoon advantage, Kershaw should have stayed in.

Luckily for the Dodgers, Mets closer Jeurys Familia didn’t have his best stuff. He loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth on a single and two walks, then gave up a two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Jansen came on in the bottom half of the ninth and retired the side in order to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Royals sweep White Sox over the weekend on three late rallies

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 28:  Brett Eibner #12 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his game-winning RBI single with teammates in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium on May 28, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 8-7. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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The Royals had themselves a pretty good weekend. The quickly fading White Sox, not so much.

On Friday, the Royals fell behind 5-1 after the top of the sixth. They would score once in the bottom of the sixth, four times in the seventh, and once in the eighth to steal a 7-5 win facing pitchers Miguel Gonzalez Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and Nate Jones.

On Saturday, the Royals entered the bottom of the ninth down 7-1. They scored seven runs on closer David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to win 8-7.

On Sunday, the Royals were down 4-2 after the top of the eighth. They plated three runs in the bottom half of the eighth against Jones and Albers, going on to win 5-4.

Coming into the weekend, the Royals were 24-22 in third place. The White Sox were 27-21, a half-game up in first place. Now the Royals are in first place by a game and a half, and the White Sox are in third place, two games out of first.

Here’s video of the Royals’ comeback on Saturday, since it was so unlikely: