And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and highlights

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Red Sox 4, Angels 1: Say what you want about the guy, but Dice-K
has always done well on 89 days rest (6 IP 3 H, 0 ER). I’m not sold
yet. Even Dontrelle Willis had a good game his first time back this

Blue Jays 10, Yankees 4: Fisticuffsmanship! Jorge Posada and
Jesse Carlson threw down in front of the Yankee dugout in the eighth.
Unlike most baseball fights, however, someone connected.
Girardi got popped once too. Even an umpire was taken out, with crew
chief Derryl Cousins leaving the game after the fight. Either Cousins
got a case of the vapors or else someone is going to be suspended for
about a decade for roughing up an ump. UPDATE: according to the game
story he was hit in the knee with a bottle of soda thrown from the
stands. So basically everyone was misbehaving.

Giants 10, Rockies 2: Barry Zito struck out nine and the Giants pull to two and a half back. Nervous Jim Tracy?

“Here’s the deal. Here’s our situation. It’s very simple.
It’s black and white. There’s no gray. There’s no middle area. We’ve
got an opportunity to win a game in this series, which is something
that we’re obviously striving for, and you move on and you’re 3½ ahead.
Or you lose and you’re 1½ ahead and then everything’s up for grabs. I’m
not sitting here saying to anybody that we’re trailing. We’re not going
to trail. We’ve still got a lead. But the opportunity of having a
cushion versus giving it back — that’s what tomorrow is all about.”

With quotes like that, I give it greater than even odds that that man is sitting in a broadcast studio someday.

Dodgers 5, Pirates 4: Andre Eithier gets his fourth walkoff home run of the year. He’s the first Dodger to hit 30 home runs since 2004.

Braves 6, Mets 0: The Mets had absolutely no answers for Tommy
Hanson. Couldn’t even get a man past second base on him during his
seven innings of shutout ball (his second straight start without
allowing a run). Adam LaRoche homered twice and drove in three, doing
nothing to harm his second-half-stud reputation. Too little too late
for Atlanta, but it’s nice to see them play out the schedule on a high

Phillies 5, Nationals 0: After three lackluster starts, Cliff
Lee returns to being Superman (CG SHO 6 H, 9 K). Lee is an Adam LaRoche
All-Star himself, improving to 20-3 after the break over the past two

Royals 11, Tigers 1: Good thing Detroit doesn’t have to play
Kansas City in the playoffs, because KC has their number, taking their
fifth straight from the Tigers. Magglio hit an $18 million groundout in
the fifth. Play was delayed briefly in the top of the seventh when a
shirtless fan ran onto the field. I have some nogoodnik kin up in
Detroit who don’t do much all summer besides drink beer with their
shirts off, so I’m expecting the call for help with bail any moment

Orioles 10, Rays 5: After lulling the American League into a
false sense of security, Matt Weiters finally decides to strike: 3-5, 5
RBI. It begins.

Marlins 2, Cardinals 1: Wainwright pitched well, but got the
loss because Sean West and the Marlins’ bullpen pitched better.
Wainwright stays at 18 wins. Unless La Russa decides to give him extra
rest heading into the playoffs, he probably has three starts to go. I’m
going to assume at this point that if he wins 20, he’s a lock for the
Cy Young.

Reds 5, Astros 4: I’m not going to say that it’s hard to find
something interesting to talk about in a late-season, no-hope
Astros-Reds series, but here are two of the “game notes” from the game
story: “Janish became the first Reds batter with three doubles in one
game since Jorge Cantu on Sept. 21, 2007, at San Francisco” and “ESPN
college basketball announcer Dick Vitale watched the game with Reds
owner Bob Castellini.” Feel the magic.

Cubs 13, Brewers 7: The Brewers walked 12 guys and hit three
more, so this wasn’t exactly a crisp one. Carlos Zambrano kind of
melted down after four good innings. I’m sure this has absolutely nothing
to do with him being rattled at the “we’re gonna trade you” talk from
earlier in the day, because Carlos is totally composed and cool when
he’s out there and let’s no emotions intrude on the task at hand. Total

Athletics 6, Rangers 1: That sound you hear is the Rangers’
playoff hopes being stuffed into a burlap sack and thrown into a river.
The sack’s technically still floating, but it’s about to go under any
minute now. Michael Young came back as a DH after missing two weeks,
but he pulled himself from the lineup because he tweaked the hamstring
again. It’s been a nice season for the Rangers and the future is
bright, but it’s just not happening.

Twins 5, Indians 4: The game stories still talk about the Twins
having a chance to make a run at Detroit, but then you read something
like this: “Along with Morneau, third-baseman Joe Crede is likely out
for the season with back problems, and recent call-up Justin Huber is
day to day with a strained oblique. But Gardenhire said his desire to
call up reinforcements was “squelched” by the front office.” Has the
front office thrown in the towel, or is Gardenhire asking for
unrealistic things? And why is he telling reporters about that kind of
family business? Stange.

Diamondbacks 4, Padres 2: Mark Reynolds hit what proved to be
the game winning homer in the 9th. Nick Hundley made a pretty spiffy
defensive play, acrobatically pursuing an overthrown ball into the
dugout (he went in, not the ball) and throwing out Eric Byrnes at the
plate, who was tagged out by Ardian Gonzalez, who was sliding/diving
for the throw. I’m guessing video does that play better justice than
that description did.

White Sox 6, Mariners 3: The White Sox have gone back and fourth between wins and losses for nine games. One more and they have a Dutch 200, right?

A fan was attacked, injured outside Dodger Stadium on Friday

Dodger Stadium


The Los Angeles Times reports that there was a fight in the parking lot outside of Dodger Stadium on Friday night that put a fan in critical condition. The fight occurred following the Dodgers Game 1 loss to the Mets when an argument between fans escalated. It is unclear whether the fight was between fans of the rival teams.

Of course fan-in-fan violence is nothing new to Dodger Stadium and everyone recalls the Opening Day 2011 attack of Giants fan Bryan Stow which left him severely injured and brain damaged.

Here’s hoping the hospitalized fan recovers quickly.

Playoff Reset: The Cards and Dodgers have their backs against the wall

Clayton Kershaw

Historically speaking, the Cardinals and Dodgers are the class of the National League. A couple of organizations which have won a ton, have had a lot of classy alpha-types running their respective shows over the years, no shortage of glory, no shortage of history and enough evocative and grand footage in the can to make Ken Burns sepia with envy.

Meanwhile, the Cubs and Mets, while they’ve won some and have some wonderful history too, are far better known for their failures. For dubious achievements and fan bases which have, collectively, spent far more time smacking their own foreheads than high-fiving the guy in the seat next to them. Nevertheless, by the time we go to bed tonight it’s quite possible that the classy organizations with the long resumes of winning baseball will have been eliminated by the sad sacks and that we’re going to be treated to a Mets-Cubs NLCS.

In short: today’s NLDS contests are “the big game” sequences in any late-70s-mid-90s “slobs vs. snobs” comedy movie. Camp Mohawk vs. Camp Northstar. Lane Meyer vs. Roy Stalin skiing the K-12. Thornton Mellon vs. Chas in the diving meet. Once these things are over don’t be surprised to see someone on the Mets or Cubs kissing some girl way out of their league and to be asking yourself, “wait, why are there cheerleaders at a diving meet?”

Of course baseball isn’t as scripted as all of that and William Zabka is, according to IMDb, in pre-production on some Civil War project, so he can’t make it. I have no idea what that’s about. I can only assume he’s playing some stuck-up Confederate General who will lose to Curtis Armstrong’s disheveled Union general in The Big Battle, after which we cut to credits over some tossed-off Dave Edmunds song he wrote for the soundtrack just for the money.

Which is to say: we have to watch these games to see what happens:

The Game: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs
The Time: 4:37 p.m. ET
The Place: Wrigley Field
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: John Lackey vs. Jason Hammel
The Upshot: Wow, those were a lot of dingers given up by Michael Wacha and his friends last night, huh? The good news is that they’re running Lackey out there this afternoon and Lackey has owned the Cubs of late, going 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA in four starts against them, including his gem in Game 1 on Friday night. The bad news: even a half dozen recent starts aren’t great predictively speaking, and Lackey is on short rest. TBS will show highlights of Lackey pitching on short rest in the 2002 World Series today, but think about what you were doing in 2002 and whether you’d be just as good at it today as then. Hammel has the ball for the Cubs. He has not fared well against the Cardinals this season (5.37 ERA) but the same small sample stuff applies.

Injuries could be a key consideration here, as Addison Russell may be on the shelf for the Cubs following his hamstring tweak in last night’s game. Likewise Yadier Molina left early, apparently having aggravated his thumb injury. Otherwise: wear a helmet if you’re in the Bleachers at Wrigley this afternoon. Balls may be flying out your way.

The Game: Los Angels Dodgers vs. New York Mets
The Time: 8:07 p.m. ET
The Place: Citi Field
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: Clayton Kershaw vs. Steven Matz
The Upshot: The Clayton Kershaw Legacy Game. It’s not fair to Kershaw that, after eight years of completely dominating Major League Baseball people will deem him worthy or unworthy of, well, whatever, based on his 10th postseason start, but they will. If he falters today on short rest, with no reliable bullpen to bail him out, people will call him some sort of choke artist. If he dominates he’ll be considered redeemed, though he’s never been a guy in need of redemption. I don’t care much for that game, but it’s inevitable it will be played so let’s just silently roll our eyes and go with it. The Mets may have a bigger question mark on the mound in Steven Matz, who hasn’t pitched in a couple of weeks thanks to a tweak in his back in the last week of the season.

This should feel like a totally different game. The Utley drama has to subside now, especially given that he’s unlikely to get the start against a tough lefty. And that tough lefty is, with all due respect, no Brett Anderson. You can bet against Clayton Kershaw and win, but it’s not the sort of thing I’d make a habit of.

In any event, the Cubs and Mets should play this on a loop in the Clubhouse before today’s games. Because . . . it just doesn’t matter!

Yoenis Cespedes and his bat flip say good morning

Yoenis Cespedes

It was a late night last night. Especially for old farts like me. I turned on my TV at 12:30 yesterday afternoon and there was baseball on it for just about 12 hours straight. Not too shabby unless you happen to root for the Astros, Rangers, Cardinals or Dodgers. Oh well, today is another day. Or tomorrow if today is a travel day.

In the meantime, we have Yoenis Cespedes to keep us happy, alert and occupied. Again, unless you’re a Dodgers fan. Of course, if you are a Dodgers fan you got absolutely no right to be upset at a bat flip following a homer. And if I catch you complaining, you’re getting a time out.