And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Braden perfect.jpgAthletics 4, Rays 0:  I wrote my real-time reaction last night when it happened, and touched on the A-Rod implications a bit later. With a night’s sleep on it, I’m thinking more cosmically about it.

HardballTalk’s Senior Commenter, Old Gator, sent me a book last week called The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. I’m not far enough into it to give you an overview, but there is a point early on when the main character describes a perfect game that just happened:

. . . think what a wonderful rare thing it is to do something, no matter how small a thing, with absolute unqualified utterly unsurpassable perfection! To do a thing so perfectly that, even if the damn world lasted forever, nobody could ever do it better, because you had done it as well as it could possibly be done . . . In a way, you know, it’s even sad somehow, because, well, it’s done, and all you can hope for after is to do it a second time.”

I read that mere hours before I caught the last few innings of Braden’s perfecto, and it really hit the spot right now.

Phillies 5, Braves 3: I’m not giving up on the Braves because in 25 years I have never given up on them and never will. But I will bail on individual games. I bailed on this one in the bottom of the first when Raul Ibanez flew out to shallow, shallow right with the bases loaded scoring Chase Utley from third and Melky Cabrera didn’t even make a throw. Which means either (a) Melky is a freaking moron who had no idea that there was someone on third; or (b) he doesn’t have enough confidence in his arm to throw someone out from what was basically deep second base.  Either way it’s pathetic, and it was too sunny a damn day in Ohio for me to get an ulcer watching that garbage. My son and I skipped stones at the pond near our house instead. He’s four and he has a better arm — and more confidence in it — than Melky Cabrera.

Cardinals 11, Pirates 4: Eleven runs and neither Albert Pujols nor Matt Holliday (who took the day off) drove one in. The difference between the 2009 and the 2010 Cardinals? Balance, baby.

Brewers 6, Diamondbacks 1: The Diamondbacks gave up three homers yesterday and have now given up 50 homers on the season, and that’s by far the most in baseball.

Mariners 8, Angels 1: Fire the hitting coach on Sunday morning, put up eight on the defending division champs on Sunday afternoon.  That worked so well that teams should fire their hitting coach every day!

Rangers 6, Royals 4: Royals manager Trey Hillman after the game: “If you had
told me we would be 10 games under .500 at this time, I never would have
believed it.” Me neither. I would have guessed they’d be 15 under, easy.

Twins 6, Orioles 0: Nick Blackburn pitched seven shutout innings but didn’t strike anyone out. And that’s the second time he did this year. Mauer was back for the first time in nine games and went 1 for 3 as the DH. Justin Morneau had the golden sombrero, which I imagine is much more fun when you win a game than when you lose.

Nationals 3, Marlins 2: Matt Capps got his 13th save. The night before the game he met my friend Megan at a charity ball. I was going to say that Megan was a wonderful inspiration for him, but she met Pudge Rodriguez at the same ball and he went 0 for 4.

Red Sox 9, Yankees 3: A.J. Burnett had faced the Orioles the last two times out, so maybe he just forgot how to pitch to people who know how to play this game. Nice way to salvage the series, but Boston still has a long road ahead of them if they want to make things interesting.

Blue Jays 9, White Sox 7: Ugly 9th for Bobby Jenks, with the big blast being Fred Lewis’ three-run blast which proved to be the game winner. After the game, Ozzie Guillen said he may look for alternatives at closer. In response, Jenks said that “doesn’t even make sense.” Bobby, have you met your manager? Half of what that dude says doesn’t make sense. This is news to you?

Giants 6, Mets 5: If you walk seven guys in less than four innings you need to look in the mirror. If you walk seven San Francisco Giants in less than four innings you need to look for a new job. Oliver Perez, ladies and gentlemen.

Reds 5, Cubs 3: From the game story: “Votto connected on Ryan Dempster’s first pitch after he was visited by manager Lou Piniella.” Unless Lou is laying heavy money on the opposition, I’m going to guess that Dempster didn’t do what Lou told him to.

Astros 4, Padres 3: Hunter Pence with a walkoff double in the 11th to
avoid the sweep at the hands of the Padres. With ten games
against the Giants and the Dodgers starting on Tuesday, San Diego’s travel schedule sounds like the lyrics from “California Love.” Pasadena, where you at?

Dodgers 2, Rockies 0: Ubaldo Jimenez has his ERA skyrocket from 0.87 to
0.93 on account of the sheer number of run he gave up yesterday. No,
that’s not a typo. He really just gave up one run. Thing is, Clayton
Kershaw gave up none in eight innings, allowing only two hits and
rendering last Tuesday’s massacre at the hands of the Brewers a distant
memory.

Indians 7, Tigers 4: Oh sure, wait until I’m way back down here in
Columbus to have nice weather. Youse fancypants, all a youse.

Video: Adrian Beltre and Carlos Beltran give signs from the dugout

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Adrian Beltre #29 of the Texas Rangers stands in the dugout before their game against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 23, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The Rangers got a bit of a breather on Saturday after clinching the division lead during Friday night’s win. Naturally, it was also a prime opportunity for another of Adrian Beltre‘s well-documented antics, as he spent his off day directing the Rangers’ infield defense with a series of signs. Even with Carlos Beltran‘s help, no one, least of all those playing the infield, appeared to have any idea what Beltre’s gestures were intended to convey.

You can add this to the list of in-game oddities Beltre has become so well-known for over the years, running the gamut from the way he kicked a ball over the foul line to his histrionics every time someone comes close to touching his head. If nothing else, it’s a convincing audition reel for the third baseman’s future in major league coaching — a career path that, I’d imagine, would end up looking something like this:

Yordano Ventura exits game with back tightness

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.

It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.

Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.