And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and highlights

Leave a comment

Rockies 5, Dodgers 4: If you encounter a team in the Dodgers’
position, lean them forward slightly and stand behind him or her. Make
a fist with one hand. Put your arms around the person and grasp your
fist with your other hand in the midline just below the ribs. Make a
quick, hard movement inward and upward in an attempt to assist the
person in dislodging the object that is obstructing the airway. This
maneuver should be repeated until the person is able to breathe or
loses consciousness.

Marlins 2, Mets 1: Yesterday, in the wake of the Johan Santana news, I wrote
“Rest now, Mets fans. There really is nothing else that can hurt you
this year.” Almost immediately thereafter readers wrote in with ways
this nightmare of a season could get worse. Things like a
Phillies-Yankees World Series or Jeff Francoeur getting a five year
deal. With each passing day the latter seems like a possibility. As one
of the only real major leaguers left on the roster (I use that term to
describe tenure more than merit), Frenchy will stick out. Especially if
he does things like hit a couple of doubles a night like he did here.
And no, it doesn’t matter that one of the doubles was a total misplay
on the part of the defense. It still counts!

Pirates 6, Phillies 4: At this rate does Brad Lidge even make
the postseason roster? Brought in to protect a one-run lead in the
ninth, Lidge blows his ninth save of the year and sees his ERA go up to
7.33. He had some help from Jayson Werth, who came in late in the game,
supposedly to provide defense, but who let a run score on an error.

Royals 6, Indians 2: Zack Greinke mows down the Indians with 15
strikeouts. With this outing, with Halladay’s recent swoon, and with
the guys with the high win totals posting considerably higher ERAs,
Greinke probably just catapulted himself back into “favorite” status
for the Cy Young award, didn’t he?

Reds 8, Brewers 6: The Reds blow a five run lead in the ninth,
but Joey Votto and Laynce Nix homer in the 13th to make it all better.
The dingers came off of former Red Todd Coffey. The Reds hitters had
the psychological advantage in that situation: they knew that Coffey
sucks, whereas Coffey probably still labors under delusions that he
does not. It’s called clarity of thought, people. Therein lies the
advantage.

Rangers 10, Yankees 9: Let’s hear it for all of that extra rest
Joba Chamberlain got (4 IP, 9 H, 7 ER). Let’s also hear it for a
valiant, yet utterly unsuccessful ninth inning rally by the Yankees.

Red Sox 6, White Sox 3: Chicago loses its third straight and
falls to .500. Jacoby Ellsbury steals his 55th base, breaking the tie
with Tommy Harper for the most steals in a single season in Red Sox
history.

Tigers 5, Angels 3: Detroit takes advantage of the Chicago loss,
extending their lead to four and a half games. John Lackey was beat up
for the second straight outing. Miguel Cabrera (3-5, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) is
on pace for having one of the quietest .340 35 HR 100 RBI seasons in
recent memory.

Cardinals 1, Astros 0: Wandy Rodriguez and Adam Wainwright throw
bullets all night — each only gave up three hits — but a quick single
from Brendan Ryan followed by a Pujols double in the first inning put
Rodriguez in a “hole” he could never get out of. This game took 2:10,
which is roughly the length of your average AL East inning.



Rays 7, Blue Jays 3: Carlos Pena continues his Dave Kingmanesque
season, hitting his 36th and 7th home run, while still maintaining that
.223 average. Wait, that’s not fair. Pena leads the league in walks and
he can play some defense, so Kingman’s not a good comp. How about his
Russell Branyan season?

Padres 2, Braves 1: Adam LaRoche knocked in pinch runner Reid
Gorecki with two outs in the ninth (after Gorecki stole second) to
stave off defeat, but then David Eckstein won it for the Pads with an
RBI double in the 12th. The Braves’ 1-2-3 hitters combined to go 0-16.

Nationals 15, Cubs 6: Huge nights for Josh Willingham (4-4, 2
HR, 6 RBI) and Elijah Dukes (2-3, 2B, HR 5 RBI) provide a
not-so-friendly welcome back for Carlos Zambrano, who was making his
first start since August 1st. Zambrano did hit a homer, though.

Twins 7, Orioles 6: Delmon Young goes 4-5 and hits a walkoff single in the ninth.

Mariners 4, Athletics 2: Ryan Langerhans, in as a defense
replacement (AHEM, Jayson Werth) wins the game with a 10th inning
homer. Even in the loss, Oakland Rookie Brett Anderson was sharp,
giving up one run on six hits with eight strikeouts in seven innings.

Giants 5, Diamondbacks 4: Travis Ishikawa’s three-run shot in a
tie game in the eighth inning proves to be the winner after the Giants
had their hearts ripped out by the Rockies the night before. At this
point, seeing someone come back from a killer loss to the Rockies like
this might be the only ray of sunshine in Dodgerland.

Kyle Lohse is throwing for interested teams today

Kyle Lohse
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
1 Comment

Free agent starter Kyle Lohse is throwing for interested teams at the University of California, Irvine, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports.

Lohse, 37, remains unsigned into baseball’s second month on the heels of last season’s 5.85 ERA and 108/43 K/BB ratio over 152 1/3 innings. Although Lohse was quite good in the four seasons prior, teams are understandably reluctant to bank on pitchers in their late-30’s.

The Orioles, Tigers, and Reds have had reported interest in Lohse in recent months.

Majestic Athletic employees will protest at Coca-Cola Park on Friday

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 10: Kris Bryant (L) of the Chicago Cubs and Anthony Rizzo #44 pose for a photo with their All Star jersey's before the game against the Chicago White Sox on July 10, 2015 at  Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
David Banks/Getty Images
1 Comment

Anthony Salamone of the Morning Call reports that Majestic Athletic employees plan to protest at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, PA on Friday night. The employees are protesting Majestic’s owner VF Corporation’s attempt to undercut wages and medical benefits. VF Corporation acquired Majestic in February 2007.

Coca-Cola Park is home to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate. Majestic has manufacturing facilities in Easton, PA, which is less than a half-hour from Coca-Cola Park. The IronPigs, as well as all 30 Major League Baseball teams, wear uniforms manufactured by Majestic.

Corporations affiliated with Major League Baseball taking advantage of employees isn’t anything new. Last year, when protests over police violence disrupted the Orioles’ schedule, some employees with the Orioles and Aramark almost lost out on multiple days of pay.

Eddie Perez likely to be Braves’ interim manager if Fredi Gonzalez is fired

Atlanta Braves bullpen coach Eddie Perez, left, stands with manager Fredi Gonzalez during a spring training baseball workout, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
4 Comments

There’s been a lot of rumbling that Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez will soon get the pink slip. His team is 7-20 entering Thursday’s action. Historically, front offices — particularly those of rebuilding/restructuring teams — respond to that by making coaching and/or managerial changes.

Per MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, bullpen coach Eddie Perez is likely to fill in as the Braves’ manager on an interim basis if and when Gonzalez is fired. Perez has been with the Braves as a coach since 2007. He played for the Braves in 10 out of his 11 seasons from 1995-2005. Perez wasn’t known for his bat, but was respected for the way he called games and handled the Braves’ then-elite pitching staff.

Bowman notes that Gonzalez isn’t expected to be fired over the weekend. If the team plays well, that could extend Gonzalez’s leash, so to speak.

First baseman Freddie Freeman issued a vote of confidence for his skipper, saying, “I think everything is getting magnified since we’re off to this start. I don’t know if it’s fair to put it all on [Gonzalez] because he’s not a player. We’re the 25 guys [who have to] go out there and play every day. We’re obviously not playing to our capabilities. To say that’s Fredi’s fault is unfair in my opinion.”

What’s on Tap: Previewing Thursday’s action

Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo, left, and Kris Bryant celebrate a 7-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, May 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
4 Comments

The Phillies and Cardinals got started a little early, finishing up their four-game series on Thursday afternoon. In the evening, we have 10 games on our slate, including Cubs-Nationals.

The Cubs have jumped out to a 20-6 start, looking like baseball’s best — and scariest — team. Entering Thursday’s action, the Cubs have a +93 run differential (runs scored minus runs allowed). That’s by far the best in baseball. The next best are the Nationals at +50, the Mets at +44, and the Cardinals at +41. In fact, the Cubs’ run differential is so good that they have under-performed relative to their expected won-lost record of 22-4.

This is without Kyle Schwarber. This is with Jason Heyward hitting a miserable .211/.317/.256, Jorge Soler hitting .185/.276/.292, and Addison Russell hitting .224/.356/.329. It’s with John Lackey pitching to a 4.32 ERA.

What makes the Cubs so good? They’re on-base machines. The club’s aggregate .364 on-base percentage is second best in the majors behind the Pirates. Dexter Fowler has an outstanding .470 OBP and Anthony Rizzo is at an elite .403. In fact, of their regulars with 100-plus plate appearances, Heyward is the only one with a sub-.350 OBP. The league average is .319. The Cubs steal bases, too, as they’re 17-for-24 (~71 percent) in that department.

The Cubs have baseball’s best pitching staff, which has yielded a major league-best 2.54 runs per game. Only four teams are below 3.00 runs allowed per game. Of course, reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta is the big contributor to that with a sterling 0.84 ERA, but Jon Lester has put up a 1.58 mark and Jason Hammel 1.24. Closer Hector Rondon has found himself in only four save situations but has converted each of them with an even 1.00 ERA and a 15/0 K/BB ratio in nine innings. The Cubs’ aggregate bullpen ERA of 2.66 is fifth-best in the majors.

It’s too early to use defensive statistics with any degree of certainty, but even the eye test shows the Cubs to be elite defenders at the important positions, particularly shortstop (Russell), right field (Heyward), and third base (Kris Bryant).

The Cubs’ success isn’t exactly surprising. The club rode five consecutive fifth-place finishes into some high draft picks and that talent is starting to establish itself in the majors. Whether it was fans, writers, or Vegas oddsmakers, the Cubs were preseason darlings.

Kyle Hendricks starts for the Cubs opposite the Nationals’ Joe Ross at Wrigley Field tonight at 8:05 PM EDT.

The rest of Thursday’s action…

Detroit Tigers (Michael Fulmer) @ Cleveland Indians (Trevor Bauer), 6:10 PM EDT

New York Yankees (Masahiro Tanaka) @ Baltimore Orioles (Kevin Gausman), 7:05 PM EDT

Texas Rangers (Derek Holland) @ Toronto Blue Jays (J.A. Happ), 7:07 PM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks (Robbie Ray) @ Miami Marlins (Adam Conley), 7:10 PM EDT

Milwaukee Brewers (Chase Anderson) @ Cincinnati Reds (Alfredo Simon), 7:10 PM EDT

Boston Red Sox (Henry Owens) @ Chicago White Sox (Erik Johnson), 8:10 PM EDT

Seattle Mariners (Wade Miley) @ Houston Astros (Chris Devenski), 8:10 PM EDT

New York Mets (Jacob deGrom) @ San Diego Padres (Colin Rea), 10:10 PM EDT

Colorado Rockies (Chris Rusin) @ San Francisco Giants (Matt Cain), 10:15 PM EDT