And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Ricky Romero 3.jpgBlue Jays 4, White Sox 2: A no-hitter into the eighth inning for Ricky Romero, broken up by a two-run homer by Alexis Rios. Should it have been a solo shot? I’m not sure because I was on a plane last night when it happened and I haven’t gone back and checked the video yet today, but my friend Neate Sager says that the HBP that put A.J. Pierzynski on came “on a ball that didn’t even come close to hitting him.”  Of little consequence, ultimately. The Jays remain at the top of the East.

Mariners 3, Athletics 0: Like I’ve always said: Milton Bradley is grace under pressure personified. Bradley hit a three-run homer in the eighth, just after showing bunt, because apparently he’s a master of psychology or something. And those of you who had Doug Fister in the “who will be the first Mariners starter to throw eight scoreless innings this year” pool, please come forward to collect your winnings.

6, Royals 5
: Really, Trey Hillman? Your 5-0 lead is evaporating
before your very eyes in the seventh inning and you don’t even think
about bringing in Joakim Soria?  You do realize, don’t you, that games
can be “saved” even if it’s not a situation in which a “save” is
awarded, right?  Hillman after the game: “It was disheartening,
disappointing, unbelievable and a lot of other
words that I don’t want to use.”  I’ve got some words: “Avoidable!”
“Unnecessary!”  “Self-Inflicted!”

Reds 10, Marlins 8: These teams love their bonus baseball. Extras for the second straight night and a Reds win for the second straight night, this time on a Joey Votto with a two-out single in the 11th. That saved everyone’s bacon, because the Reds had blown leads of 4-1 and 8-5 earlier in the game. Four RBI for Jonny Gomes. Another night of about 2,500 people in Joe Robbie. Go Feesh.

Rays 8, Orioles 6: Brian Matusz took a two-hitter and a 3-0 lead into the eighth, but then he lost it, was replaced, and the bullpen coughed it all up and then some. Luke Scott tied it back up again in the bottom of the inning but Carlos Pena put it away with a three-run job in the tenth. Surprisingly, Mike Gonzalez did not appear in this game, having apparently outsourced his lead-blowing responsibilities to others.

Dodgers 9, Diamondbacks 5: Two homers in the fourth and two homers in the fifth put the Dodgers up 6-1 and from there they just had to vamp until the end. Clayton Kershaw was so-so. Russell Martin said “he lost a little bit of command at the end, got in a funk.” Ian Kennedy was even funkier — which is usually a good thing, but not so here — giving up six runs and six hits over 4.1.

Yankees 7, Angels 5: The rings made them happy. The 7-1 lead heading into the ninth made them happy. The fact that Dave Robertson came in, loaded the bases and then gave up a homer to Abreu, thereby necessitating a Mariano Rivera save could not have made anyone very happy. As for the Angels: Jesus. I saw a guy jump off the 10-story parking garage next to my office once about five years ago. I took the rest of the day off and thought about my mortality and stuff. Not sure I could hang out at the ballpark. let alone mount a late rally.

Pirates 6, Giants 5: Three hits and two RBI for Garrett Jones, who also caught a hot shot off Pablo Sandoval’s bat to end the game.

Rockies 11, Mets 3: John Maine allowed eight runs in three innings of work and was way below his normal velocity. He says it’s mental, not physical. I get this feeling he’s going to have some time to work through the mental aspects of all of this as a long man in the bullpen pretty soon.

A fan was attacked, injured outside Dodger Stadium on Friday

Dodger Stadium
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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.