And That Happened: Wednesday's scores and highlights

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Dodgers 6, Rockies 1: Randy Wolf (7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER) and Andre Either (3-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI) put this one away pretty early, thereby preventing me from being able to use the second in a series of choke jokes I had prepared. There’s still a lot of time left in the season, however, and I’m sure the occasion will present itself again.

Phillies 4, Pirates 1: All day yesterday people were saying “Forget Lidge, bring in Ryan Madson! Madson can get the job done!” Guess not, as Madson’s blown save cost Cole Hamels his first win in a month despite pitching eight shutout innings. Best part: Madson gets the W! Which means that he’s a winner. QED. At least that’s what Joe Morgan taught me. Anyway, Ryan Howard saves everyone’s bacon with a three-run homer in the 10th. Mmmm . . . bacon.

Marlins 5, Mets 3: This Mets team is so depleted that the very concept of depletion is insulted by being associated with them. The latest DL resident is Oliver Perez, who was sidelined with a season-ending knee injury. While is absence would seem like just what the doctor ordered, the Mets were still somehow lost this one.

Red Sox 3, White Sox 2: A walkoff homer for Big Papi, who homered earlier in the game as well. In fact four of the game’s five runs came on solo home runs. Tim Wakefield made his first start since the All-Star break, and pitched well despite not getting the win (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER). Victor Martinez did his best to catch the knuckler, though the first pitch of the game did get away from him. The late Senator Edward Kennedy was honored before the game with a solemn ceremony and “Taps” and all of that. With all due respect to the recently departed, however, don’t you think he would much rather have been honored by the allowance of beer sales past the seventh inning?

Padres 12, Braves 5: This is basically the Braves we’ve been living with for the past four years: Awful play out of the gate, a nice little run to give you hope, and then an inexplicable swoon in games a contending team has no business losing. Mac calls the 6th-9th innings “the worst four innings that the Braves have played this year . . . probably the worst anyone has played.” Another tragic thing about this game, courtesy of reader Melissa D: Jerry Springer sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Melissa does point out one ray of light: the Turner Field organist continues to dazzle, playing “Papa Don’t Preach” each time Tony Gwynn, Jr. came to bat. I’m guessing it’s only a matter of time before this organist is punched out cold by an angry player. Which I hope is something he would view as a very, very worthy goal.

Cardinals 3, Astros 2: The scary thing about all of this is that the guy who is 13-9 with a 3.11 ERA is only this Cardinal team’s third best starter. Pineiro gave up two runs over eight innings pitched, and without looking, I’m going to guess that the Cardinals have won more close, low-scoring games than any team in baseball this year. Seriously, I’ve recapped around 100 Cardinals games this year, and I’m pretty sure that 92% of them finished 3-2.

Orioles 5, Twins 1: His team lost, but Alexi Casilla made a humdinger of a play, ranging right, diving to snag the ball, and then flipping it out of his glove to Orlando Cabrera covering second for the out as Casilla face planted. Also, I was not aware that the Twins have a pitcher named Jeff Manship, which is perhaps the coolest last name in the world. I’d lose the “Jeff” though, and go with something like “Jack” or “Brock” or “Pud.” Seriously, tell me that “Pud Manship” wouldn’t be your favorite player. See, now I know you’re lying.

Blue Jays 3, Rays 2: Rod Barajas ties it up with a ninth inning homer off of J.P. Howell. Howell was apparently the only relief pitcher the Rays brought with them on this road trip, as he was allowed to stay in to issue three straight walks and then a wild pitch which allowed Marco Scutaro to score the winning run. Bad day for the home plate umpires, as first Jerry Crawford was knocked out of the game in the third after he was hit by a foul ball to the face, and then his replacement, Tom Hallion, left in the sixth inning after taking one off the chest. Hallion manshipped up, however, and stayed in the game over at third base following a delay in play, with Brian O’Nora moving behind the plate. Sadly, O’Nora was stampeded by wild buffalo in the eighth, but by then I think everyone knew it was coming.

Cubs 9, Nationals 4: Livan Hernadez made his first start on his second tour of duty with the Nats, but the final score wasn’t his doing. He actually pitched pretty well (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER). It was the bullpen — mostly Jorge “how in the hell do I still have a job in baseball” Sosa — that did Washington in. Milton Bradley had three RBI, but make no mistake: he still feels your hatred.



Yankees 9, Rangers 2: The Yankees win this one easily behind a
nice outing from Pettitte and a three-run homer from Posada. The
Rangers are now two and a half behind Boston for the wild card, which
kind of bums me out, because I think they’d be fun to watch in the
playoffs, whereas Boston is the opposite of fun to watch.

Indians 4, Royals 2: I have mornings when I can’t find anything
interesting to talk about in a given game. AP game story writers have
nights like those too: “Most of the game was nondescript, as might be
expected of two teams with little left to play for and a crowd that
hardly seemed there . . . Lots of lazy popups, routine grounders, a few
strikeouts, the occasional grounder through the infield. Boring? Maybe
a little, especially after what Greinke did the night before, but it
worked.”

Angels 4, Tigers 2: Vladimir Guerrero got his 1,000th hit as an
Angel. Seven other guys have done that: Garret Anderson, Tim Salmon,
Brian Downing, Darin Erstad, Jim Fregosi, Bobby Grich and Chone
Figgins. Before looking that up I tried to guess the other seven. I got
five right, forgetting Fregosi for some reason that probably has to do
with me being too young to remember him as a player, and Figgins, who
for some reason I still tell myself is, like, 24 and just got called up
a year ago, even though I know better.

Reds 4, Brewers 3: You don’t hear nearly as much about Ryan
Braun’s defensive deficiencies these days as you used to, but once in a
while we do get a reminder that, for all of his merits as a ballplayer,
he can be a liability out in left. Such a reminder came when
Pinch-hitter Darnell McDonald hit a liner over Braun’s head in the 10th
inning which he misjudged, allowing Craig Tatum to score. It’s a
testament to the Reds’ season by the way, that I had not heard of
either McDonald nor Tatum before this morning. A greater testament,
however, comes in connection with the Brewers’ season: 19 of the their
22 losses since the break have come to teams that are currently under
.500.

Giants 4, Diamondbacks 3: Benjie Molina hit a pinch hit
three-run home run in the eighth. Good game for Jonathan Sanchez, who
went seven innings giving up three runs and six hits while striking out
nine.

Mariners 5, Athletics 3: Seattle sweeps Oakland despite not
having Ichiro available. Surprisingly, they’re 9-2 without him this
year so, like, they should totally trade him to Atlanta for cash
considerations or something.


Tony La Russa went into the Pirates broadcast booth over Hit-by-pitch criticism

MESA, AZ - MARCH 10:  Chief baseball officer Tony La Russa of the Arizona Diamondbacks gestures as he talks with coaches in the dugout before the spring training game against the Oakland Athletics at HoHoKam Stadium on March 10, 2015 in Mesa, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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On Tuesday a couple of Arizona Diamondbacks batters were hit in head by Pirates pitcher Arquimedes Caminero. Caminero did not appear to be trying to bean these guys. He simply had no control whatsoever. That the Pirates just sent him down to the minors underscores that. Still: a bad situation given the inherent danger of plunkings in general and beanballs in particular. Thank goodness nether Dbacks batter appears to be injured.

It would make sense that Dbacks folks would be a bit upset at this, but Tony La Russa took things to the next level. The Pirates announcers apparently mentioned something about the Diamondbacks’ and La Russa’s history with hit-by-pitch controversies. And then this, from Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic . . .

La Russa acknowledged he went into a broadcast booth during Tuesday night’s game after he “heard some stuff on the air” that he considered inaccurate about his history with retaliatory pitches during his managerial days.

“I never have stood for inaccuracies,” La Russa said, “so I corrected the inaccuracies.

“It’s about taking responsibility. If you’re going to speak untruths then you’re going to get challenged and you should be responsible for what you say. I am. I reacted.”

That’s a totally chill and above-it-all way for a Hall of Famer and the head of baseball operations of a major league club to react. Glad to see La Russa, as always, is a portrait of zen.

Either way, the Pirates announcers should be excused if they were somewhat inaccurate. For you see, La Russa has always been somewhat hard to pin down on his plunking/beanball politics. In the past he’s said that another team accidentally hitting his team is bad while defending his own team’s clear and obvious retaliation. He once blamed an opposing hitter for escalating a situation by not avoiding what was clearly intentional attempt to hit him by his own player, claiming that a mere inside pitch with no intent was worse than his own guy TRYING to hit the opposition.

The common denominator to La Russa’s history with this stuff is (a) whatever the Tony La Russa-led team is doing is correct; (b) whatever the other team did was incorrect; and (c) almost everyone who isn’t Tony La Russa just doesn’t get it and that’s their problem, not his.

So of course he’s gonna go into a broadcast booth to La Russa-splain things to them. It’s a complicated business about which he and he alone has clarity. He’s doing us a favor, really.

Wade Boggs embroiled in non-controversy over his Yankees World Series ring!

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Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox held a ceremony honoring the 1986 team last night and one of the key members of that team, Wade Boggs, was in attendance wearing  his Red Sox jersey. He also wore his Yankees World Series ring.

When I heard about this controversy a few minutes ago I did something that neither I nor most people who are a part of the Internet Industrial Complex usually do: wondered whether this was actually a controversy.

I quickly scanned around and found a good dozen or so articles talking about it and people talking about them talking about it. I noticed people making reference to how, theoretically, this could upset some Red Sox fans or be seen as a sign of disrespect. But I could not find anyone who actually cared. Anyone who was actually upset about it. I can’t say that I read every comment to every article, but you usually don’t have to dig deep to find people mad about something on the Internet and I could not immediately find anyone who was mad about this. Lots of jokes and comments about the idea of being mad, but no one who actually cared. It was like an obligatory ceremonial function the meaning of which everyone has forgotten.

There are a lot of “controversies” like that. They tend to be more common in the entertainment world than the sports world — people referencing a “scandalous” thing some singer or actor did which, in reality, scandalized no one — but it happens in sports too. In sports it’s when a convention or custom is not followed or when someone doesn’t otherwise conform to some set of expectations. A lot of the time no one cares at all. It’s all about the politics of recognizing situations in which someone might, in theory, care. Or once did long, long ago.

Maybe someone is genuinely mad at Wade Boggs over this If so, I’d love to hear from that person and wonder why on Earth they’d care. But I sort of feel like such a beast does not exist. And for that I’m pretty glad.

The Cardinals had a “statement loss” yesterday

ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 25: Manager manager Mike Matheny #22 congratulates Matt Adams #32 of the St. Louis Cardinals as he enters the dugout after scoring a run during the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium on May 25, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images)
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I’ve always been critical of the concept of “statement games” in Major League Baseball. Maybe it matters more in football where there are far fewer games and thus each one means much more, but in baseball a win lasts, at best, 48 hours and usually less. Like Earl Weaver said, we do this every day, lady. When you’re constantly talking, as it were, any one statement is pretty unimportant.

I’ll grant that a “statement win” is a thing players use to motivate or validate themselves, of course. We on the outside can roll our eyes at the notion, but we can’t know the minds of a major league player. If they think that they made a statement and it’s important to them, hey, it’s important to them. I’ll admit, however, that a statement loss is a new one to me:

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Kolten Wong provided the basis of that headline. Here is what he said:

“I think we still made a statement. We were down 6-1 right off the bat. The game before, we were kind of in the same situation. We were tired of it,” second baseman Kolten Wong said. “Our pitchers have been our go-to these past few years. It was time for us to step up and I think we all kind of felt that, too. We just wanted to make this a game and show that we have our pitchers’ backs.”

In context it makes sense. A moral victory, as it were. They got to one of the best pitchers in the game after finding themselves down by several runs thanks to their starting pitching betraying them. The hitters didn’t go into a shell when most folks would excuse them for doing so against a guy like Jake Arrieta.

Makes sense and no judgments here. Moral victories matter. Still, it’s hard not to chuckle at the headline. I can’t remember a big leaguer talking quite that way after a loss.

Julio Urias to be called up, make his MLB debut tomorrow

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 20:  Starting pitcher Julio Urias #78 of the Los Angeles Dodgers participates in a spring training workout at Camelback Ranch on February 20, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Dodgers have been mulling this for a long time, but they just announced that they plan on calling up top prospect Julio Urias. He’ll be making his major league debut against the Mets tomorrow evening in New York.

Urias is just 19 years-old, but he’s shown that he’s ready for the bigs. In eight Triple-A games this year — seven starts — he’s 4-1 with a 1.10 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 44/8 in 41 innings. He has tossed 27-straight scoreless innings to boot. While the Dodgers and Urias’ agent are understandably wary of giving the young man too much work too soon, he has nothing left to prove at Oklahoma City.

Urias turns 20 in August. Tomorrow night he will become the first teenager to debut in the majors since 2012 when Dylan Bundy, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and Jurickson Profar each made their debuts.