And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights, Part 1


Gardenhire argues.jpgBecause I’m running late with these, let’s break them up into two installments. Here’s the AL edition. The NL edition will follow later this morning.  Thanks for bearing with me.

11, Twins 6
: Interesting play in the sixth, when Johnny Damon hit a
deep drive to center. Denard Span caught it after a very long run, but
dropped it after taking a couple of steps. The umps
ruled that Span hadn’t held the ball long enough for an out, and it
ended up being scored a two-base error, after which the floodgates
opened. Gardenhire got ejected arguing the call, but the
replay seems to back him up
. Looks like he simply dropped it tryin
to take it out of his glove for the throw.

Rays 10, Athletics 3: James Shields was dealing — fanning 12 — and Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena each went long, giving the Rays their 13th win in 15 games.  Bad day for Dallas Braden, who said after the game: “Someone apparently didn’t tell the Rays that [batting practice] was
over when they took the cage off the field.” Braden’s pretty good at telling opposing players to knock it off. You’d think he would have said something.

Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 0: Jon Lester allowed only one hit and struck out 11 in seven innings as the Sox, winners of seven of nine and Jays, losers of nine of 12, each begin to return to expected form after some early season tomfoolery.

Angels 4, Indians 3: I can’t count how many times I’ve been in a ballpark and overheard some half-drunk, uninformed guy say “dude should totally lay a bunt down here. They’d never expect it” when it’s clearly not a bunting situation. I think there was even a law requiring that in Cincinnati when Adam Dunn was still around. Grinds my gears every time I hear it, because it evinces a profound ignorance of the game and winning strategy.  In other news, Howie Kendrick laid down a bunt with two out in the ninth inning “driving” in Torii Hunter to win the game. I’d give credit to Mike Scioscia for creative thinking, but he had been ejected seven innings earlier.

Rangers 6, White Sox 5: Jake Peavy walked five and gave up six runs on six hits. Guess he didn’t have it figured out after all.

Mariners 6, Royals 5: Gil Meche gave up five runs on eight hits and three walks in six innings. He’s now 0-2 in four starts with a 10.13 ERA. Opponents are batting .338
against him. And he’s only owed another $25 million or so.

Yankees 8, Orioles 3: The O’s got 11 hits of CC Sabathia, who was pitching with a big lead for much of the game and apparently just daring the O’s to hit it, but they couldn’t do much with all of those baserunners.


A fan was attacked, injured outside Dodger Stadium on Friday

Dodger Stadium


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.