And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights, Part 2

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Hoffman head down.jpgAnd now for the Senior Circuit.

Pirates 6, Brewers 5: Oh, Trevor. We covered this as it happened yesterday, but to reiterate: Hoffman was taken long by Ryan Doumit in the ninth for the second game in a row, and has now blown four of seven save chances this season. He blew
only four saves all of last year.  For what it’s worth his counterpart Octavio Dotel was bet up too, but I don’t think any of us lose any sleep over Octavio Dotel’s struggles.

Mets 7, Dodgers 3: John Maine struck out nine Dodgers in six innings as the Mets wrap up a 9-1 homestand. When reached for comment Ned Colletti ripped rookie pitcher John Ely for his terrible debut, ripped Fernando Valenzuela for his weight and ripped Steve Garvey for using too much hairspray.

Cardinals 6, Braves 0: Just when you think the Braves can’t sink any lower and get any more depressing they surprise you with something like this. Braves pitchers walked nine guys and Braves batters got only seven hits. They were as threatening as a doorstop in this game. Batting averages for the Braves starters yesterday: .197, .361, .241, .203, .200. .197, .200, .160.

Phillies 7, Giants 6: If I would have told you before this one that Tim Lincecum would strike out 11 and pitch into the ninth, I bet you wouldn’t have guessed the outcome. Lincecum doesn’t strike me as a violent guy, so it’s not like he’d go hit his closer, Brian Wilson, over the head with a metal chair or anything after this one, but I’m sure there was a long “Duuuuude. Not cool, dude,” exchanged.

Reds 6, Astros 4: The Reds scored three runs in the fourth inning when Hunter Pence lost a fly ball against the backdrop of the Houston sky on a day when the Minute Maid Park roof was open. Which just proves what I’ve been saying for years: playing baseball games in the open air is an abomination, and I will not rest until all teams play their home games in domes.

Diamondbacks 12, Rockies 11: Shades of pre-humidor Coors Field. Arizona led 6-0, then trailed 11-6 in this one, and that was all before the fifth inning. In the 10th Kelly Johnson homered off Franklin Morales to seal the win. A.J. Hinch was ejected in the ninth when the Dbacks loaded the bases but failed to score. He was run when Mark Reynolds was called out on a force play at home. Hinch’s take was that catcher Miguel Olivo’s foot came off the bag, and he held his hands wide apart to show the ump and the entire crowd just how badly the ump missed the call. I like those kinds of theatrics, but umpires don’t for some reason.

Nationals 3, Cubs 2: If anyone else had Matt Capps getting to 10 saves before the end of April in the office pool, please come to Kathy’s cubical and collect your winnings. Oh, and check out this sick, sick catch from Marlon Byrd. Screw skill. I’ll take luck any day.

Padres 6, Marlins 4: Down four early, the Padres came back with a five-spot in the fifth and an insurance run in the eighth. The big blow was a three-run double from noted RBI-man David Eckstein. The scrappy Adrian Gonzalez singled home the go-ahead run.  

Buddy Carlyle named the Braves new replay assistant

Buddy Carlyle
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The Braves have been terrible with respect to replay challenges this year. Almost improbably terrible. Fredi Gonzalez has challenged calls seven times and he’s been unsuccessful on all seven challenges. Given how these things work, it’s likely because he’s getting bad advice from the Braves employee designated to watch the replays and suggest when challenges should be made.

Now Gonzalez is going to have a new guy in that role. A familiar name too: Buddy Carlyle, who Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports, will join the Braves as a coaching assistant who will handle the replay review decisions.

Carlyle, of course, spent nine seasons as a major league pitcher and nearly 20 as a professional overall. Most recently with the Mets last season before calling it a career. He pitched for the Braves as well, from 2007-09.

Now he’ll provide a new and, hopefully, more discerning set of eyes for the Braves’ replay operation.

Garrett Richards needs Tommy John surgery, Andrew Heaney has UCL damage too

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Garrett Richards throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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Bad, bad news for the Los Angeles Angels: their best starter needs Tommy John surgery and their most promising young starter has UCL damage as well.

Jeff Passan reports that Garrett Richards has a torn right ulnar collateral ligament and is expected to need Tommy John surgery. Richards was scratched from today’s start due to fatigue and dehydration, but Passan says they found the UCL tear while examining him yesterday. Richards is the Angels’ ace, having won 13 games in 2014 and 15 games a year ago. So far this year he a 2.34 ERA in six starts.

Heaney, meanwhile, has damage to his left ulnar collateral ligament, Passan reports. He was diagnosed with a flexor muscle strain after he was placed on the disabled list following his first start of the season, but this is obviously more serious. Unlike Richards, the plan at the moment is for Heaney to rehab rather than go under the knife. Sometimes that works. Often it doesn’t and Tommy John happens later. We’ll see.

These twin blows are huge and terrible for the Angels, who already had serious depth issues basically everywhere on the roster. The conventional wisdom before the year started was that, if everything broke right and everyone stayed healthy, they could possibly contend in an often volatile AL West, but that they didn’t have a big margin for error. This is a lot of error. The Angels are 13-15 and four games out in the division as it is. Without two starters on whom they were counting big, it’s hard to see how the rest of the Angels’ season isn’t going to be a total slog.

Willie Mays gets a cable car named after him

Major League Baseball hall of famer  Willie Mays, who spent the majority of his career as a center fielder with the New York and San Francisco Giants, smiles as President Barack Obama honors the 2012 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants baseball team, Monday, July 29, 2013, during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. The team beat the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 World Series, their second championship since the franchise moved to San Francisco from New York in 1958. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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This is not exactly stunning news, but it’s Willie Mays’ 85th birthday today and any excuse to talk about Willie Mays is a good one. Happy Birthday, Willie!

The pretext is a story in the San Francisco Chronicle about how The Greatest Baseball Player of All Time (my view anyway) is getting an iconic cable car named after him. An icon named after an icon, I guess. The cable car is, appropriately, number 24.

Next month I’m taking my kids on vacation to California and we’re spending a few days in San Francisco. It’ll be a shame when I tell them we have to cancel half of a day’s plans while I make them wait for one particular cable car to come by so they can take my picture with it, but that’s just what they have to deal with given that I’m their dad.

Carlos Gomez calls out a hit piece-writing columnist

Houston Astros' Carlos Gomez (30) reacts after hitting a double in the second inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
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Yesterday I wrote about a column written by Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. It was about Astros outfielder Carlos Gomez, who has had a poor start to the year.

The column, as I noted, was a hatchet job, blaming Gomez for the Astros’ problems despite the fact that Gomez is by far from the biggest of the Astros’ problems. It was particularly bad in that it presented an unedited bit of broken English from Gomez which seemed calculated to cast Gomez in a bad light. Many journalists were critical of Smith in this regard, noting that he could’ve used a translator, could have paraphrased or could’ve done some mild correction via brackets, as is often done with quotes from non-native English speakers.

Last night Gomez took to Twitter to call out Smith himself:

It’s possible to write a column about how a player hasn’t lived up to expectations without being an insensitive jackass. It’s possible to do so even in the sharpest of ways. Smith didn’t do that, however, and didn’t make an effort to try, it seems. Gomez is right to take issue with it. And I suspect that Gomez’s teammates and organization take issue with it too. Which likely doesn’t bode well for Smith getting cooperation from others in the Astros family.