And That Happened: Monday's Scores and Highlights

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Heyward Homer.jpgBraves 16, Cubs 5: Yeah, I saw
it
. Right before it happened I even berated Chipper Jones for
scoring from third because it screwed up Heyward’s inevitable debut
at-bat grand slam. A few seconds later: bammo.

By the way, everyone seems to want to go with “J-Hey” as a nickname. I
suppose there’s no stopping that train, but before it reaches full
speed, allow me to offer “Heymaker.” Someone
suggested that one to me yesterday
and I like it better than the
first-initial/beginning of last name construct that has become so very
tired. And besides, “J-Hey” is a Willie Mays reference, and while
hyperbole may be the order of the day with Jason Heyward, he’s never
going to have the glove or the speed to be a Willie Mays comp.  Let’s
push this more in a Dave Winfield/pre-coke Dave Parker direction. Just
seems more appropriate.

Cardinals 11, Reds 6: Keep an eye on this Pujols kid because he might be pretty good some day (4-5, 3 RBI, 2 HR).  And it’s cute how Pujols credited working with Mark McGwire in the postgame interviews too. That’s like Mozart thanking Salieri for helping him finish The Magic Flute.

Pirates 11, Dodgers 5: Garrett Jones may not have that Pujols kid’s promise, but he hit two bombs yesterday too. One of them was an absolute blast: 450+ feet out of the park and into the Allegheny River on a bounce. Not to take anything away from Jones, but it’s possible that Vicente Padilla didn’t have his best stuff yesterday: He gave up seven runs and six hits in 4.1 innings. According to a friend of mine who was at the game, at least one of his pitches was that crazy quasi-eephus pitch thing he throws. I’ve seen him do it on TV before, but only when he’s struggling and knows he doesn’t have anything.

White Sox 6, Indians 0: Mark Buehrle pitched fast (game time: 2:24), threw blanks (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER) and may have made the defensive play of the year already, kicking a batted ball to the first base line and flipping it back between his legs to Konerko who barehanded it at first to nail Lou Marson at first. You can read about it and watch video of it here. Just sick. Sick for different reasons: Indians’ starter Jake Westbrook had four wild pitches.

Phillies 11, Nationals 1: Nice day for the imports: Roy Halladay begins his march to what I’m betting is a Cy Young Award (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 9K). Placido Polanco hit a grand slam and drove in six. Charlie Manuel was late meeting with reporters after the game because he had to take ten minutes out to explain to Halladay what run support was and that it does not make him any less of a pitcher that he did not have to win the game via a shutout.

Rangers 5, Blue Jays 4: Shaun Marcum had a no hitter into the seventh inning. Gleeman and I were chatting online and debating whether we should put a “Marcum has a no-hitter in progress” post up.  We decided against it. We figured, fine, if he made it through the seventh, do it, but 6.1 innings didn’t seem quite enough.  A second later Marcum walked Josh Hamilton, gave up a single to Vlad Guerrero and then a homer to Nelson Cruz that tied things up, so we’re glad we didn’t post anything. And for what it’s worth, Marcum remained the pitcher of record through the Jays’ half of the eighth and left the game with a lead, but Jason Frasor blew it in the ninth. Query: is it more depressing to lose like that on Opening Day or to get drilled 11-1, Phillies-Nats style?

Mets 7, Marlins 1: I wasn’t crazy about the Mets’ lineup, but they won so I should shut up.  Nah, just kidding. I’m not shutting up. Mike Jacobs went 0 for 4 in the cleanup spot with a couple of strikeouts. It worked out because Josh Johnson didn’t have spit and Gary Matthews, Jr. hit well down on the other side of Bay (2-3, BB), but this is going to bite them sooner or later.

Giants 5, Astros 2: Reports of Tim Lincecum’s rust have been greatly exaggerated. Dude didn’t do much except shut the Astros out over seven innings, striking out seven and walking no one. The bullpen made it slightly interesting with Brandon Medders allowing a couple of runs in the ninth, but maybe Brian Wilson will buy him a steak this weekend for giving him an unexpected save opportunity. The offense was a team effort with a homer from DeRosa, an RBI double Renteria, some assorted RBI singles and a sacrifice fly.

Diamondbacks 6, Padres 3: There was a period in the 1960s when stadium architects decided that the time when accidents of geography and ad-hoc additions to ballparks interfering with the game had to end. Just because the old man who founded the team back in 18-dickety-seven was too cheap to build his ballpark on property large enough so that it that didn’t require odd dimensions and overhanging seats didn’t mean those imperfections had to be maintained! No, they built nice symmetrical ballparks that ensured fairness and purity of competition!  But everyone hated those, so they tore them all down and built new parks with phony architectural quirks whose form does not follow any function accept nostalgia and the maintenance of an ignorance of history. Quirks like the overhang in right center at the Dbacks’ park, off of which caromed Stephen Drew’s fly ball, shooting it back towards the infield and giving him an inside-the-park home run in the fourth inning.

Tigers 8, Royals 4: Zack Greinke pitched better than Justin Verlander in this much anticipated matchup, but Greinke has the inferior pen, which yesterday gave the Tigers six of their eight runs. Home run from Yuniesky Betancourt hit a home run for the Royals, which ain’t something you see every day.

Rockies 5, Brewers 3: Ubaldo Jiminez and a whole bunch of relievers who are not named Huston Street and are not as effective as Huston Street brought this one home. But not without some drama, as the Brewers threatened, ultimately emptily, in the ninth. Ryan Braun describing Jiminez’s stuff: “He’s throwing 99 and the ball is moving a foot and a half. He’s got great stuff. We won’t face anybody with better stuff — ever.
He has as good of stuff as you’ll see in the game.”

Angels 6, Twins 3: What did you think of Hideki Matsui’s performance? Would you like to have a player like Hideki Matsui in your lineup? Answers: not bad: 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, including what would serve as the game-winner; and yes. Kendry Morales had an identical line. Except no game-winner, because you can’t have two of those in one game. It’s physics. At least I think it’s physics.

Mariners 5, Athletics 3: Casey Kotchman was 2-4 with 2 RBI. Milton Bradley was booed all evening by the Oakland crowd and then shattered his bat slamming it into the ground in frustration after striking out to end the ninth, right after Kotchman hit what would be the game-winning RBI, which is the sort of thing that pisses off your teammates way more than saying dumb things to the media.  Oh, and the Oakland juju has started the season out just dandy:

Four A’s-clad fans among the 30,686 in attendance carried two banners:
“Lew Wolff Hates Oakland” and “Keep Our A’s in Oakland” while two others
banged drums as they took their message about the team’s owner through
the stands.

And Bud hasn’t even announced that Oaktown is a lame duck city yet!

And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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I’m taking the day off to go down to Kentucky to watch horses do horsey things (watch for me photobombing equestrian types on NBC Sports Network). Bill will be along later today and Ashley will be here this evening, but I can’t leave you without the recaps because that’s what I do.

Don’t do anything dumb while your mother and I are out. We’ve marked all the bottles. We’ll know if you’re lying to us.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Dodgers 5, Giants 1: It was 1-1 until the 11th inning thanks to Julio Urias, making his 2017 big league debut, and the Dodgers’ bullpen and Matt Moore and the Giants’ bullpen takin’ care of business. The Dodgers got tired of it being close in the top of the 11th, however, beating up on Corey Gearrin, Steven Okert and Hunter Strickland for four runs. Andrew Toles knocked in the go-ahead run with a single. A sac fly, single and a bases-loaded walk finished the scoring. The Giants wouldn’t have even scored the one run if it wasn’t for the Dodgers throwing the ball around.

Nationals 16, Rockies 5: The Nats came into Colorado and scored 46 runs in four games. Which, damn. They put up 11 runs in the seventh inning here, with Bryce Harper hitting a three-run shot. Trea Turner hit for the cycle on Tuesday, finished a triple shy of another cycle Wednesday and hit a double and two singles and driving in two here. Harper is hitting .418/.535/.823 with eight homers and 25 RBI. That’s a 59 homer, 184 RBI pace. I know Harper has a habit of putting up big Aprils and that injuries have derailed him in the past, but this is shaping up to be a really special year for this guy.

Cardinals 8, Blue Jays 4; Cardinals 6, Blue Jays 4: The first game of the twin-bill ended in spectacular fashion with Matt Carpenter hitting a walkoff grand slam in the 11th inning. They wouldn’t have even gotten to extras, however, if it wasn’t for Randal Grichuk‘s two-run homer with two outs in the ninth which tied it up. So much drama in game 1 it’s a shame they had to suit up for fame 2 rather than just go out for drinks. But they did play game 2 and it went swell for St. Louis. Dexter Fowler, Greg Garcia and Matt Adams each had three hits. Fowler hit a dinger. The Blue Jays are a total mess. But they’re not the only mess in the bigs right now because . . .

Braves 7, Mets 5: M-E-S-S Mess! Mess! Mess! Six losses in a row and 10 of 11. They’re not scoring. Everyone is getting hurt. Just a disaster. The last time the Mets were this screwed up was just after the All-Star break in 2015 and you know what happened then. Oh, wait, they won the pennant. Eh, let’s let the New York press and Mets fans freak out. Maybe it’s actually warranted this time. Who knows. All I know is that Kurt Suzuki hit a big three-run homer here and when the Braves make you look bad, you’re not living your best life.

Mariners 2, Tigers 1: Justin Verlander and Hisashi Iwakuma battled. Verlander battled a tad better — allowing only an unearned run in seven innings while striking out eight while Iwakuma allowed only one unearned run in five and two-thirds — but the Mariners got the win anyway. The go-ahead run came thanks to a Ben Gamel RBI single off of Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth. Can’t trust the Tigers bullpen in a close game. Ever.

Phillies 3, Marlins 2Jeremy Hellickson allowed one run over six innings as the Phillies win their sixth straight. Hellickson is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA on the year. Philly is doing OK right now, but if they aren’t in contention come July, he’s going to be a pretty attractive trade target.

Indians 4, Astros 3: Down 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Francisco Lindor hit a two-run bomb. And I mean bomb. The thing was estimated to be over 450 feet. Corey Kluber struck out ten over seven innings. In addition to being one of the best shortstops around, Lindor is hitting .301/.368/.614 on the year and he’s on a 40-homer pace. That $100 million deal he reportedly turned down is gonna look positively quaint.

Yankees 3, Red Sox 0: Masahiro Tanaka tosses a Maddux. You do know what a Maddux is, right? In case you forgot, it’s a complete game shutout in which the starter throws fewer than 100 pitches. Here it was a three-hitter in which he only allowed one runner to reach second base. Chris Sale was no slouch himself, striking out ten in eight innings. He’s pitched great this year but he’s not getting any help. They’ve only scored four runs in his five starts. Boston has scored  only 13 runs in their last seven games. They’ve been shut out three times in the past seven.

Diamondbacks 6, Padres 2: Taijuan Walker struck out 11 and Chris Ownings hit a pair of solo homers. Yasmany Tomas had a two-run homer.

Angels 2, Athletics 1: I had a dream last night that I owed the Oakland A’s $30,000 in medical bills. Something in the dream made it make sense — baseball teams ran hospitals or something — and for whatever reason, my family had used theirs and I was responsible for the bills. My family, by the way, included Ronald Reagan, who was treated at A’s hospital. Insurance wouldn’t cover a lot of his bills because a man had come out of the woodwork claiming to have been his lover, and the insurance company had a right to discriminate based on sexual orientation. What I’m sayin’ is that a lot was going on in this dream and I’m a little upset with the A’s over it right now.

Oh, by the way, Ricky Nolasco allowed one runs in five and two-thirds and four relievers combined to shut the A’s out the rest of the way. The Angels scored both of their runs in the first.

I probably do need that day off, eh? See you Monday.

Masahiro Tanaka throws a Maddux

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You do know what a Maddux is, right? In case you forgot, it’s a complete game shutout in which the starter throws fewer than 100 pitches. Friend of HBT Jason Lukehart invented that little metric and, because Greg Maddux is my favorite player ever, it’s pretty much my favorite stat ever.

In the Yankees-Red Sox game tonight it was Masahiro Tanaka doing the honors, tossing 97-pitch three-hitter in which he only allowed one runner to reach second base to beat Boston 3-0. He only struck out three but he didn’t walk anyone. He retired the last 14 batters he faced.

Chris Sale was no slouch himself, striking out ten in eight innings. He’s pitched great this year but he’s not getting any help. The Sox have only scored four runs in his five starts. Boston has scored only 13 runs in their last seven games. They’ve been shut out three times in the past seven. They scored more runs than anyone last year, by the way.

The game only took two hours and twenty-one minutes. Or, like, half the time of a Yankees-Red Sox game in the early 2000s. Progress, people. We’re making progress.