And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Francisco Liriano pitch.jpgTwins 2, Tigers 0: Francisco Liriano dominates again. Jon Rauch gets his seventh save in eight chances. Jim Thome, Jason Kubel and Delmon Young all get in the game and provide some production. As long as it doesn’t snow during the Twins’ next homestand, I think we’ll be able to say that all of the uncertainties facing the Twins heading into this season have been sorted out.

Pirates 7, Brewers 3: The only sad thing for Pirates fans here is that the Buccos didn’t channel the ol’ ball coach and hang half a hundred on ’em in retaliation for the last week’s worth of butt-kicking. The sad thing for the Brewers — and the rest of us who appreciate greatness — is that Trevor Hoffman looks like he has a giant fork sticking out of his back. The two homers allowed was bad enough, but the scary part is that he only threw two changeups in the entire ninth inning. That’s like Batman hanging from a rope ladder over the ocean without his shark repellent.

Cardinals 5, Braves 4: Nothing is going right for Atlanta. The scariest
part: after the game Bobby Cox got on
Heyward’s case
for taking too many pitches. Because what you really
want is a young kid with plate patience to be scared into swinging at
everything by his living legend manager who won’t be around next year
when his approach is all messed up. Or maybe I’m just overreacting
because the Braves will never win another baseball game ever again in my natural lifetime.

Mariners 3, Royals 2: Zack Greinke pitches seven shutout innings and hands it over to the pen, which promptly blows it. I just did a little legal research on the subject, and I’ll be damned if it isn’t now Missouri law that Greinke can kill relief pitchers without facing any legal liability whatsoever.

Mets 4, Dodgers 0, Mets 10, Dodgers 5: Game one features six innings of shutout ball from Johan Santana, three more from the pen and the first homer of the season for Jason Bay. Game two featured the Mets’ bullpen and bats saving Oliver Perez from himself and extending the team’s win streak to six. The late Phillies game (see below) put the Mets in first place. That’s right kids: the New York Mets are in first place in the National League East.

Rockies
12, Diamondbacks 1
: Ubaldo Jiminez’s and Edwin Jackson’s
ERA-trajectories could be used to demonstrate Newton’s Law of Balanced
Force, with all of us remaining perfectly stable as they simultaneously
race towards the infinitely small and infinitely large.

Reds
6, Astros 2
: Aaron Harang — previously dead — is reanimated. He
and Dusty Baker go on a theater tour singing “Putting on the Ritz,”
complete with top hats and tails, until it ends in disaster when a
defective stage light frightens Harang into a rampage.  Why no, I didn’t
watch any of this game. Why do you ask?

Nationals
3, Cubs 1
: After giving up one run in seven innings Livan
Hernandez’s ERA rises to 0.87. Given that the statute of
limitations has pretty much run over that whole 1997 NLCS fiasco, I’m
officially rooting for Hernandez to beat out Tim Lincecum and Roy
Halladay for the Cy Young Award because such a thing would be glorious
in its randomness and because my personal motto is “viva chaos.”

Red
Sox 2, Blue Jays 1
: The bullpens get a rest as Clay Buchholz and
Shaun Marcum each work into the eighth inning. A bases loaded walk to
Mike Lowell — who was pinch-hitting for Big Papi — provided the game
winning RBI. Except we don’t keep track of those anymore.

Orioles
5, Yankees 4
: And the Bombers have suddenly lost four of five. 0-5s
for Jeter, Gardner and A-Rod. Granderson is now 0 for his last 17. New
York threatened in the ninth, scoring a couple and loading the bases up
for A-Rod, but he grounded to second. I
blame Obama
. Or Dave Robertson. Either way, really.

Rangers
4, White Sox 2
: Matt Treanor alone put the Rangers out in front 3-0
with a homer and a two-run double, and that proved to be enough. I’ll
admit, I was pretty dubious about the C.J. Wilson-as-starter thing when
they announced it, but it’s working out just fine (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER).

Rays 8, Athletics 6: An appearance from the bad Ben Sheets (4 IP, 9 H, 8 ER) and a three-run homer from Pat Burrell lead the Rays to their 12th win in 14 games. Still, no one showed up for this one, putting lie to the notion that people will start showing up when the Rays win.

Padres 4, Marlins 1: Both of these teams play in near-tropical climes, so this is probably as good a place as any to register my dissatisfaction at the fact that “Lost” was a rerun last night. Anyway, Jon Garland struck out ten Feesh in six innings and all of the Padres runs came in on singles, which is something I find highly annoying when it happens against my team.

Indians 9, Angels 2: I’m not sure I have room in the reality centers of my brain to accommodate Austin Kearns being good, but he’s been on a tear lately. Last night: 3-6, 2 2B, HR, 5 RBI.

Giants 6, Phillies 2: Homers from Matt Downs and Aubrey Huff, good pitching from Todd Wellemeyer and some nice defense all contribute to yet another Giants win. Oh, and in the second inning Ryan Howard dogged it to second base on what he thought would be a double and was thrown out. Jayson Stark says it’s OK, though, because Babe Ruth did that all the time.

The Cubs will soon announce a five-year contract extension for Theo Epstein

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 27: Theo Epstein (R), President of Operations for the Chicago Cubs, talks with head football coach Jim Harbaugh of the University of Michigan before the game between the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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Carrie Muskat of MLB.com just tweeted that the Cubs will soon announce a five-year contract extension for president Theo Epstein. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that it’s worth in excess of $50 million.

He’s earned it. When he took over the Cubs in October, 2011 the Cubs were a last place team with an aging roster and a front office that was several years behind the state of the art in every conceivable way. Last year the Cubs made the playoffs and this year they are baseball’s best team by a large margin and the franchise looks poised to continue its success for some time.

So, yeah, I’d say locking Theo up is a good idea.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Wednesday’s action

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 21:  Starting pitcher Clay Buchholz #11 of the Boston Red Sox throws to a Baltimore Orioles batter in the first inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 21, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox will once again attempt to clinch the AL East after failing to do so on Tuesday night. They can seal the division with a win against the Yankees or a Blue Jays loss to the Orioles on Wednesday evening.

Clay Buchholz will take the hill for the BoSox against Yankees right-hander Bryan Mitchell in a 7:05 PM EDT start at Yankee Stadium. Buchholz hasn’t exactly been Mr. Reliable this season, holding a 5.00 ERA with an 87/53 K/BB ratio in 133 1/3 innings. However, he has been in three of four starts since returning to the rotation earlier this month. Over those four starts, he owns a 3.97 ERA and a 15/8 K/BB ratio in 22 2/3 innings.

Meanwhile, at the Rogers Centre, the Jays will send out Francisco Liriano against the Orioles’ Chris Tillman in a 7:07 PM EDT start. Liriano has been much improved since coming to the Jays from the Pirates, so the Orioles will have their hands full.

As for Wild Card action, the Royals can be eliminated if they lose to the Twins or if the Orioles beat the Jays. The Yankees can be eliminated by losing to the Red Sox and the Orioles defeating the Jays. In the National League, the Marlins can be eliminated by losing to the Mets or the Giants beating the Rockies.

The rest of Wednesday’s action…

Arizona Diamondbacks (Shelby Miller) @ Washington Nationals (Gio Gonzalez), 7:05 PM EDT

Boston Red Sox (Clay Buchholz) @ New York Yankees (Bryan Mitchell), 7:05 PM EDT

Chicago Cubs (Jake Arrieta) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Jameson Taillon), 7:05 PM EDT

Baltimore Orioles (Chris Tillman) @ Toronto Blue Jays (Francisco Liriano), 7:07 PM EDT

Cleveland Indians (Zach McAllister) @ Detroit Tigers (Michael Fulmer), 7:10 PM EDT

New York Mets (Seth Lugo) @ Miami Marlins (Jose Urena), 7:10 PM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies (Adam Morgan) @ Atlanta Braves (Mike Foltynewicz), 7:10 PM EDT

Minnesota Twins (Ervin Santana) @ Kansas City Royals (Jason Vargas), 7:15 PM EDT

Milwaukee Brewers (Chase Anderson) @ Texas Rangers (Cole Hamels), 8:05 PM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays (Blake Snell) @ Chicago White Sox (Miguel Gonzalez), 8:10 PM EDT

Cincinnati Reds (Anthony DeSclafani) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Mike Leake), 8:15 PM EDT

Oakland Athletics (Sonny Gray) @ Los Angeles Angels (Alex Meyer), 10:05 PM EDT

Los Angeles Dodgers (Jose De Leon) @ San Diego Padres (Luis Perdomo), 10:10 PM EDT

Colorado Rockies (Tyler Chatwood) @ San Francisco Giants (Jeff Samardzija), 10:15 PM EDT