And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Halladay pitching.jpgPhillies 2, Braves 0: Roy Halladay can pitch a little. The Braves threatened exactly once, in the seventh inning when they loaded the bases on hits from Chipper Jones and Brian McCann and a walk from Jason Heyward. This was the baseball equivalent of the cat letting the mouse run a few feet just so it could see the mouse run. Halladay apparently grew bored with this little exercise, however, got the double play — courtesy of some slick defense from Chase Utley — and the threat was over.  Otherwise? Pure domination (CG, SHO 7K).  For me it was like the Jiminez no-hitter the other night. Sucks that it was my team, but something to behold all the same.

Yankees 3, Athletics 1: Phil Hughes takes a no-hitter into the eighth inning but loses it on a combacker from Eric Chavez that bounched off Hughes’ left flank and eluded him long enough to allow Chavez to reach first. Nice effort all the same. The run with which he was charged was an inherited runner which Joba Chamberlain allowed to score. I’m guessing right now is probably not the best time for me to begin my “Girardi got it wrong when he picked Phil over Joba” campaign, huh?

Red Sox 8, Rangers 7: Second walkoff win in a row for the Sox, this time in the twelfth inning as Ron Washington has Dustin Nippert intentionally walk Dustin Pedroia to get to Kevin Youkilis, who then hits the game-winning double.  Walking someone to get to Youk with runners in scoring position in a tie game? Are we sure Washington is passing all those drug tests he’s supposed to be taking?

Padres 5, Giants 2: The Padres will not be stopped, as they win their sixth in a row. Jon Garland gave up one run in seven innings against a Giants’ offense that suddenly looks a lot like 2009’s version. Oh, and here’s something you don’t see every day: 18 minute rain delay in San Diego. I called my brother who lives out there to ask him what the heck was happening. He said he couldn’t talk because he was too busy gathering survival supplies and making sure his life insurance was paid up. They just don’t do rain in San Diego.

Royals 4, Blue Jays 3: There’s nothin’ wrong with Zack Greinke, it would seem, as he threw seven strong innings. His bullpen betrayed him once again, however, so he was gypped out of his first win of the year. Alex Gordon made up with an ugly day both offensively and defensively by hitting the game-winning homer in the 10th. Jose Guillen continues his torrid start, going 2-4 with a homer.

Nationals 6, Rockies 4: A victory, but Ryan Zimmerman left the game after appearing to hurt his hamstring, so we’ll put it in the “Pyrrhic” column. On the bright side, Jason Marquis was sent to the DL after the game, so that bad man can’t hurt you any more, Nats fans.

Brewers 8, Pirates 0: I’ll hand it to the Pirates: when they lose, they don’t mess around. They go out there and lose with gusto. So far this year they’ve lost games by scores of 10-2, 9-1, 15-6, 9-3, 6-0, 8-1, and 8-0. It’s almost a courtesy when you think about it. It’s as if they’re telling the good people of western Pennsylvania “Hey, it’s cool. You can turn the game off now and go make sandwiches with fries in them or whatever it is you do all day. There’s no chance we’ll make it close.”

Astros 5, Marlins 4: How it is you take two of three from Philly and then look bad against Houston two nights in a row is a mystery to me. It’s like the Marlins are an NBA team or something. Lance Berkman was caught stealing third at one point in this game. What possible reason would Lance Berkman have for stealing third base?

Twins 6, Indians 0: An eerie start for the Erie warriors as they drop a heartbreaker to the Twins, six to nothing.  Francisco Liriano allows zero runs for the second straight time. Michael Cuddyer had a two-run triple and a homer. David Huff walked six guys. He tried for the corner and missed a lot. Not sure how those guys could lay off pitches that close.

Cubs 9, Mets 3: Alfonso Soriano (3-4, 3B, HR, 3 RBI) shows everyone that he belongs in the lineup and Carlos Silva (6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER)  shows everyone that he belongs in the rotation. After the game, however, Lou Piniella reassigned Silva to pitch batting practice and reassigned Soriano to a job as a Dippin’ Dots vendor. Lou said they were each cool with it. After this game Ike Davis’ line stands at .273/.273/.273, which is kind of cool unless you’re interested in Ike Davis producing and stuff.

Dodgers 14, Reds 6: The Aaron Harang contract drive continues (5.2 IP, 10 H, 6 ER).

Rays 12, White Sox 0: Mark Buehrle fell just nine hits, six runs and a walk short of his second straight perfect game against the Rays.

Cardinals 9, Diamondbacks 4: Tied into the ninth and then the absolute worst bullpen in the game allows St. Louis to score five. This after Arizona had come back from being down 3-0 in the 1st. Two homers for Colby Rasmus, the second of which provided the winning margin. A three-run job from Skip Shumaker in the final frame was nice insurance.  This one was sprinkled with extra fun too, as the benches cleared when Chris Carpenter, running the bases after getting hit by an Edwin Jackson pitch, tried to take out Kelly Johnson on a double play.  The dude would be pitching the next half inning so you’d think he’d just wait to hit someone himself, but I guess Carpenter is a team-first guy and would rather not get ejected in his efforts to maim the opposition.

Mariners 4, Orioles 1:  I have Monday morning in the when-is-Dave-Trembley-getting-fired pool. It’s an off day right after a road trip. Saves the team an extra plane ticket getting Trembley back home and everything. Just really good timing, ya know?

Tigers 4, Angels 3: The first batter Brian Fuentes faces after coming back from the DL — Miguel Cabrera — homers off him in the 9th inning, tying up the game. A couple batters later Ramon Santiago singles in Gerald Laird for what would be the game winner.  Mike Scioscia should be commended for his loyalty to the Fue
ntes, but it ain’t like the
team had any trouble closing games out while he was out.

Collins worried David Wright might go on disabled list

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
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NEW YORK (AP) Mets manager Terry Collins is worried David Wright may wind up on the disabled list because of a neck injury.

New York’s captain and third baseman was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day Monday because of his neck. He was given anti-inflammatory medicine over the weekend.

Now 33, Wright was on the disabled list from April 15 to Aug. 24 last year when he strained his right hamstring and then developed spinal stenosis. He has a lengthy physical therapy routine he must go through before each game.

“With the condition he’s been playing in and the condition he’s in right now, yeah, I’m concerned about it,” Collins said Monday. “Is it going to happen? I can’t tell you. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. I know this guy plays with a lot of discomfort. He always has. And when he can’t play, he’s hurt.”

Wright homered in three straight games last week before getting hurt. He is batting .226 with seven homers, 14 RBIs and 55 strikeouts in 137 at-bats.

Settling the Scores: Memorial Day edition

ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 21:  American flags are shown after being placed by members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment at the graves of U.S. soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in preparation for Memorial Day May 21, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. "Flags-In" has become an annual ceremony since the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) was designated to be an Army's official ceremonial unit in 1948  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died in military service. At some point in the past couple of decades, however, it has become an all-purpose flag-waving, patriotism-declaring, civilians-in-camouflage holiday. It’s understandable why this is the case. We, as a country, haven’t always done mourning well. I think it’s part of our national cultural DNA that we don’t and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make days like this difficult.

I feel like the flag-waving and troop-supporting stuff is some sort of subconscious reaction to death. It’s our way of instantly trying to justify those deaths or to explain how they were not in vain, much the same way we might tell someone upon the death of a loved one that they’re in a better place or that they had a full life. Feeling the pain of loss is hard. We want to soften it in any way we can and make our pain serve a larger, better purpose. And so we get today, when Major League Baseball puts its players in camouflage caps and in jerseys with camouflage logos. They’ll sell them too, with proceeds going to good and noble veterans charities. The intent is noble and the ultimate effect of it all is beneficial. But it’s also a little beside the point. Maybe not beside the point as much as mattress sales or big celebratory barbecues which have come to characterize Memorial Day for so many, but still not exactly the purpose of the holiday.

I don’t condemn it. As I wrote last year, the men and women who actually fought and died in wars were hoping that they were, ultimately, making a better and happier world for those they left behind. And they no doubt hoped, among everything else they hoped, that others didn’t have to face what they were facing. They wanted our lives to be happy and our country to be safe and part of a happy and safe country involves 300 million people doing whatever it is they damn please, even if it’s just having barbecues and wearing camo at the ballpark.

I won’t say have a happy Memorial Day because that seems odd. Have any kind of Memorial Day you want, really, even if it includes barbecuing, drinking beer and wearing a cam ballcap. But as you do, please make sure you take some time to think about those who died in military service. And remember that they didn’t get to have as many days like the one you’re having as they were meant to have. And make at least some effort to offset your happy, patriotic or silly pursuits with some mourning and reflectiveness. It’s OK for that to stand on its own.

The scores:

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3
Orioles 6, Indians 4
Yankees 2, Rays 1
Nationals 10, Cardinals 2
Brewers 5, Reds 4
Royals 5, White Sox 4
Cubs 7, Phillies 2
Rangers 6, Pirates 2
Astros 8, Angels 6
Athletics 4, Tigers 2
Twins 5, Mariners 4
Giants 8, Rockies 3
Diamondbacks 6, Padres 3
Marlins 7, Braves 3
Dodgers 4, Mets 2

 

Should Dave Roberts have taken Clayton Kershaw out of Sunday’s game?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will likely be second-guessed heavily during tomorrow’s news cycle. Starter Clayton Kershaw had pitched a terrific ballgame, as is his tendency, but with 114 pitches to his name, Roberts decided to pull him from the game in the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on first base.

Roberts opted not for closer Kenley Jansen, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, but for another lefty in Adam Liberatore. He was playing the numbers, with the left-handed-hitting Curtis Granderson coming up. Liberatore, much to Roberts’ chagrin, served up what turned out to be a game-tying triple to Granderson, hitting a rocket to right-center just out of the reach of a leaping Yasiel Puig.

Jansen has, for six years, been one of the game’s elite relievers. Kershaw, though at a high pitch count, doesn’t seem to suffer from the times through the order penalty like most pitchers. Kershaw’s opponents’ OPS facing him for the first time was .525 coming into Sunday. Twice, .597. Three times, .587. Four times, .526 (but this suffers from survivorship bias so it’s not exactly representative).

Furthermore, Kershaw held lefties to a .546 OPS over his career. Liberatore, in 99 plate appearances against lefty hitters, gave up a .575 OPS. Jansen? .560. It seems that, faced with three decisions, Roberts arguably made the worst one. Playing conservative with Kershaw at 114 pitches is defensible, but only if Jansen comes in. If Roberts wanted the platoon advantage, Kershaw should have stayed in.

Luckily for the Dodgers, Mets closer Jeurys Familia didn’t have his best stuff. He loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth on a single and two walks, then gave up a two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Jansen came on in the bottom half of the ninth and retired the side in order to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Royals sweep White Sox over the weekend on three late rallies

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 28:  Brett Eibner #12 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his game-winning RBI single with teammates in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium on May 28, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 8-7. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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The Royals had themselves a pretty good weekend. The quickly fading White Sox, not so much.

On Friday, the Royals fell behind 5-1 after the top of the sixth. They would score once in the bottom of the sixth, four times in the seventh, and once in the eighth to steal a 7-5 win facing pitchers Miguel Gonzalez Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and Nate Jones.

On Saturday, the Royals entered the bottom of the ninth down 7-1. They scored seven runs on closer David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to win 8-7.

On Sunday, the Royals were down 4-2 after the top of the eighth. They plated three runs in the bottom half of the eighth against Jones and Albers, going on to win 5-4.

Coming into the weekend, the Royals were 24-22 in third place. The White Sox were 27-21, a half-game up in first place. Now the Royals are in first place by a game and a half, and the White Sox are in third place, two games out of first.

Here’s video of the Royals’ comeback on Saturday, since it was so unlikely: