And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Marlins 6, Astros 2: Two teams that, one day, we’ll all sit
around and say “yeah, I totally forgot that Pudge played for those
guys.” Stellar game for Ricky Nolasco (CG, 3 H, 2 ER, 10K). Three more
hits for Hanley.

Mets 9, Braves 4: Derek Lowe’s worst outing of the season (3.2
IP, 11 H, 8 ER) negates the Braves’ early four-run lead. Martin Prado
removed for a severe headache and will now go back to Georgia for
tests. When the Braves break bad, they really break bad.

Rays 5, Orioles 4: Every time I see Gabe Gross’ name I
immediately think of Greg Gross, but before the conscious part of my
brain concludes “different people,” the part of my brain that forms
impressions and snap-judgments thinks “man, that guy has to be 100
years old.” I’m guessing this will only get worse as I get older. Hell,
I picked Ivan DeJesus, Jr. in my Scoresheet League’s supplemental draft
yesterday and I’d by lying if I didn’t think of the late-70s Cubs as I
did it. Anyway, Gross hit a two-run homer, which ain’t too shabby for a
57 year-old guy who has hit only seven dingers over the course of his
17-year career.

Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 9: A couple of ugly starting pitching
performances from Ricky Romero and Josh Beckett, but the Red Sox
weathered the ugly storm a bit better. Kevin Youkilis returned from
suspension. Dustin Pedroia left the team to be with his wife who gave
birth. The little fellow was 5’9″ and 180 pounds. No word on the size
of the baby.

Giants 8, Reds 5: A day after Jonah pimps Lincecum’s MVP case,
Timmy drops a relative stinker (6 IP, 6 H, 5 R). The Giants pull it
out, however, because they’re facing the Reds, who hath been baptized
with a curse, and for whom a spirit of the air hath begirt them with a
snare and for whom in the wind there is a voice which shall forbid them
to rejoice. Or they just suck, I can’t decide which.

Tigers 5, Mariners 3: Porcello vs. Hernandez, the combined age
of whom is 0.93 Moyers. Hernandez pitches better (7 IP. 5 H. 1 ER, 9K),
but the Tigers beat up reliever Mark Lowe for the come from behind win.
Bad day to be a Lowe in baseball.

Pirates 5, Brewers 2: Ross Ohlendorf is putting together a nice second half, and gave up one run over seven innings at PNC last night.

Angels 5, Indians 4: I ripped this observation off of someone on
Facebook, but it’s worth repeating to those of you who, unlike me, have
real live friends: The batting averages of the Angels nine starters
after last night’s game: .308, .310, .310, .313, .303, .307, .300,
.300, 313. For those of you who care, two teams — The 1927
Philadelphia Athletics and 1930 St. Louis Cardinals — each had ten players who hit over .300 during the same season.

Rockies 4, Nationals 3: Carlos Gonzalez homers for the third
straight game. From the game story “Washington’s first game since
signing No. 1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg to a record $15.1 million
contract drew a crowd of only 18,192 — about 5,000 lower than the
team’s average attendance this season.” Well, it’s not like he was
gonna pitch or anything. What, people are supposed to show up at the
ballpark due to their euphoria that Boras got a couple million dollar
commission? It’s still the 2009 Nats we’re talking about here and it
was still a horrible hot and humid Swampland night.

Twins 9, Rangers 6: Joe Mauer went 3-5 with two homers and three
RBI. I know we have more than a month of baseball left to play, but
Teixeira-for-MVP people are going to have to start making their case in
terms of “why Joe Mauer isn’t the MVP” as opposed to making Teixeira’s
case on the power of some vague “run producer” noises. Seriously, tell
me how a plus-defense catcher hitting .380+ with power is not worthy.
My boy falls for the “I got your nose” trick, and even he wouldn’t buy
anyone’s anti-Mauer argument at this point.

Royals 5, White Sox 4: Unless the question is “who can make one
of baseball’s worst offenses look potent?” Freddy Garcia is not the
answer (4.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER). Bonus: “He worked very slowly, repeatedly
fell behind batters and topped out at 90 mph.” Tasty! If Kenny Williams thinks the Sox were underperforming when they beat the Royals on Monday, I can’t imagine what he thought last night.

Phillies 5, Diamondbacks 1: Pedro started, the rains came, and
Moyer finished with six scoreless innings. Pedro after the game: “You
never know what you’re going to get when you put two old goats out
there.” The life expectancy of a goat is actually only 16 years, max,
so Martinez and Moyer were the combined equivalent of 5.188 goats. I
promise that is the last time I use Moyer-to-English conversions this

Dodgers 7, Cardinals 3: Chad Billingsley returns after missing a
start and throws six decent innings, and Albert Pujols and Matt
Holliday combine to go 0-for-8.

Padres 6, Cubs 3: A day after hitting a walkoff homer, Kyle
Blanks hits an inside the park homer. Blanks is 6’6″ and 285 pounds. I
am now going to find some video of that bad boy, because I can’t even
picture a guy that big rumbling around the bases.

Yankees 7, Athletics 2: Sabathia wins his 14th and Derek Jeter
goes 3-5. Jeter is 20 for his last 36. Game story: “Girardi spent the
morning watching a joint practice between the Oakland Raiders and San
Francisco 49ers as a guest of Niners coach Mike Singletary. Girardi met
former Raiders coach John Madden and owner Al Davis. “Mr. Davis told me
to tell Mr. Steinbrenner, ‘Hi,” Girardi said.” Huh. You’d think Davis
would simply say hello to Steinbrenner himself at the next Big Conclave
of the Supremely Evil.

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.