And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Dave Bush has a sad.jpgCubs
12, Brewers 2
: The Cubs sweep the Brewers in convincing fashion,
outscoring them 25-4. It’s like they’re the Pirates’ older brother or
something, kicking the bully’s butt after that 20-0 beatdown.

Astros
10, Pirates 3
: Of course at some point the best way to defend your
little brother is to let him get his butt kicked a bit so as to toughen
him up. The sixth straight loss for Pittsburgh, most of which have been
ugly. Brett Myers allowed 12 base runners in six innings, yet the Buccos
could still only score two runs off him.  And this has to be the last
start for Charlie Morton, doesn’t it? His earned runs allowed in each
game: 8,6,5 and 5.

Angels
8, Yankees 4
: I’ll concede this much: we’re several days closer to
the day when it is acceptable to boo Javy Vazquez than we were when I
started complaining about it a couple of weeks ago. Vazquez was hit up
for five runs on five hits in three and two-thirds.

Mets 1, Braves 0: I suppose you could say that the fact the game was rain-shortened foreclosed the possibility of a comeback or something, but the Braves had ample opportunity to score before this one was called and couldn’t deliver so they don’t deserve any benefit of the doubt. Mike Pelfrey extends his scoreless innings streak to 24 and the Mets sweep the free-falling Braves.

Royals
4, Twins 3
: Jose Guillen homered and drove in two, continuing his
hot start (.352/.371/.716). This would be encouraging for Royals fans if
they they had any faith that Dayton Moore would do the right thing
(i.e. shop Guillen while he’s hot) instead of the Dayton Moore thing
(i.e. announce a new organizational strategy built around the slugging
prowess of Jose Guillen).  Brian Bannister had a Brett Myersy kind of
day: oodles of base runners in his 6+ innings, but only two runs
allowed.

Rangers
8, Tigers 4
: Pre-season optimism for the Tigers had a lot to do
with the emergence of Rick Porcello last year. His last two starts: six
earned runs in each of them, going four and a third innings against the
Angels last Tuesday and four innings against Texas yesterday. Ten hits
allowed as well, and his ERA is up to 7.91 on the season. Five RBI for
Michael Young, on a three-run double and a two-run single.

Nationals 1, Dodgers 0: An exciting one for pitching perverts like me,
but boring for everyone else. Scott Olsen, Tyler Clippard and Matt Capps
combine to shut out the Dodgers. Chad Billingsely was great too, giving
up only the one run on four hits in six innings and allowing the game’s
only run scored on an Adam Dunn ground out. It was Olsen’s first
victory since July 5th of last year.

Rays 6, Blue Jays 0: When the story of the Tampa Bay Rays season is told, the emergence of David Price is going to be a big part of it. Price dominated the Jays, pitching a four-hit shutout and striking out 9. The highlight of the day for the Blue Jays was Jose Molina throwing out would-be base stealers in four consecutive innings. Alex Anthopoulos, you have a Mr. Epstein holding on line two . . .

Cardinals 2, Giants 0: Combine Dave Duncan’s genius with Brad Penny’s stuff and the San Francisco Giants’ offense and this sort of thing is gonna happen once in a while. Penny is now 3-0 with a 0.94 ERA on the season.  Nine total runs were scored in this series.

Orioles 7, Red Sox 6: The O’s were down 4-1 entering the seventh, having not been able to figure out Tim Wakefield, but then the Bosox’ bullpen collapsed, with Okajima and Atchinson throwing gas on the fire. Rhyne Hughes and Matt Weiters were the 10th-inning heroes for Baltimore, each with RBI singles. The Sox made a valiant effort to come back in the 10th with RBIs from J.D. Drew and Bill Hall, but it was too little, too late. It was a 4-6 homestand for Boston.

Reds 5, Padres 4: The Reds come from behind to end the Padres’ 8-game winning streak. Scott Rolen was 2 for 3 and scored three times. Jay Bruce was 3 for 4 with two doubles and an RBI.

White Sox 3, Mariners 2: A crisp one after a 42-minute rain delay, with John Danks throwing a strong eight innings and a Paul Konerko homer breaking a 2-2 tie in the eighth. Konerko leads all of baseball with eight homers. The won all three of their games against Seattle on late homers, with Andruw Jones and Alexis Rios providing walkoff jobs on Friday and Saturday.

Athletics 11, Indians 0: Gio Gonzalez didn’t have to shut out the Indians over seven innings, but he did it anyway. Three RBI a piece for Eric Chavez, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Eric Patterson. Cleveland lost 10-0 to the A’s on Friday, so this loss bookended their 6-1 victory on Saturday quite nicely.

Diamondbacks 8, Phillies 6: Mark Reynolds had four RBI including a three-run homer and an RBI double.  Justin Upton left the game after fouling a ball off his shin.

Rockies 8, Marlins 4: The third 8-4 game of the day yesterday which means . . . well, nothing, but you just sort of notice that sort of thing when you look at box scores all evening like I do. Seth Smith hit two homers and had 4 RBI. With Brad Hawpe on the DL now, viva outfield depth.

Matthew Stafford audibles with “Kershaw! Kershaw!”

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Last night the Detroit Lions played the New York Giants. During the game Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford called an audible. The call itself referenced Stafford’s childhood friend and high school baseball teammate, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. From the Freep:

Matthew Stafford stepped to the line of scrimmage late in the third quarter and surveyed the Giants defense.

With five pass rushers across the front and three Giants cornerbacks showing a press-man look, Stafford looked at his two receivers to the left and invoked the name of his childhood friend, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

“Give me Kershaw here, Kershaw,” Stafford said, repeating his friend’s name two more times as he spun around at the line of scrimmage.

The audible did not result in a pick-4 to Aaron Altherr. It called for a run up the middle. And it worked nicely, gaining eight yards.

You may suggest the results of other starting pitcher-themed audibles in the comments. I’ll start: “Harvey! Harvey!” is where the QB fakes a handoff, drops back, looks deep and then his arm falls completely off. Damndest thing.

Matt Harvey has a 13.19 ERA since coming back from the disabled list

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Matt Harvey‘s season was mostly a loss due to extended time on the disabled list. He’s been given a chance, however, to end the season strong and make a case for himself in the Mets’ future plans. Unfortunately, he has been unable to make that case. He was shelled again last night, and his late season opportunity has been a disaster.

Last night Harvey gave up seven runs on 12 hits and struck out only two batters in four innings against a Marlins team that, until facing him anyway, had been reeling. It was his fourth start since going on the shelf in mid-June and in those four starts he’s allowed 21 runs, all earned, on 32 hits in 14.2 innings, for an ERA of 13.19. In that time he’s struck out only eight batters while walking seven. His average fastball velocity, while ticking up slightly in each of his past four starts, is still below 95. Back when he was an ace he was consistently above that. His command has been terrible.

Injury is clearly the culprit. He had Tommy John surgery just as he was reaching his maximum level of dominance in 2013. While he came back strong in 2015, he was used pretty heavily for a guy with a brand new ligament. Last year he was felled by thoracic outlet syndrome and this year a stress injury to his shoulder. Any one of those ailments have ended pitchers’ careers and even among those who bounce back from them, many are diminished. To go through all three and remain dominant is practically unheard of.

Yet this is where Matt Harvey is. He’s 28. He’s still arbitration eligible, for a team that is, to put it politely, sensitive to large financial outlays. While his 4-5 start opportunity to end the year may very well have been seen as a chance to shop Harvey to another team, his trade value is at an all-time low. It would not be shocking if, on the basis of his recent ineffectiveness, the Mets considered non-tendering him this offseason, making him a free agent.

Someone would probably take a chance on him because famous names who once showed tremendous promise are often given multiple chances in the big leagues (See, Willis, Dontrelle). But at the moment, there is nothing in Harvey’s game to suggest that he is capable of taking advantage of such a chance. All one can hope is that an offseason of rest and conditioning will allow Harvey to reclaim at least a portion of his old form.