And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Francisco Rodrigues Jose Reyes.jpgMets 6, Yankees 4: I ain’t gonna lie to you: I was watching the “Lost”
finale, not Mets-Yankees. Kind of glad I missed this one too, because I just don’t think my senses could take something as implausible as the Mets taking 2 of 3 from the Bombers. Better off staying in the realm of the possible: magic tropical islands with polar bears and malevolent smoke monsters and all of that stuff.

Tigers 6, Dodgers 2: I think Jim Leyland misses the NL. In the ninth he
pinch hit Dontrelle Willis for Phil Coke, but then when Joe Torre
switched pitchers Leyland called back Willis and went with Adam Everett,
and then put on the old squeeze play to score Brandon Inge. He then did
six double switches, changed out the ballpark’s grass for Astroturf and
said that if you had any problem with that you can take it up with league
president Chub Feeney
.

Marlins
13, White Sox 0
: Brett Carroll stole second base with a 7-0 lead,
so Ozzie Guillen had Randy Williams plunk him. Says Ozzie: “I don’t know
what happened there. This is baseball, you have to
respect. I was up by eight a couple days ago, and that’s just the way we
learned how to play the game. We had to do something
about it, and we did. We just told the guy not to play like that.”  With
all due respect, Ozzie, your team is 18-25 and just had its ass handed
to it 13-0. No one is going to listen to you at this moment about “how
to play the game.”

Cardinals 6, Angels 5: A comeback win for the Cardinals. Albert Pujols
continues to slump, but was part of a double steal that put him on
second base and allowed him to score the tying run in the eighth inning.
“That was Albert reading and making it happen,” manager Tony La Russa
said.  “That quote was Tony La Russa trying to make up with Albert after
stupidly angering him by having guys steal in front of him like he did
on Saturday night
,” I said.

Padres 8, Mariners 1: Close until the eighth inning and then the Mariners bullpen blew up.  The Mariners scored 15 runs on Friday night, but scored one run a piece yesterday and Saturday, so they’re feeling much more like themselves now.

Athletics 3, Giants 0: Of course, the Mariners’ offense looks like freakin’ murderer’s row compared to the Giants, who scored one run in the entire three-game series with the Athletics. Not to take anything away from the A’s, but five pitchers combined on this shutout, and the fact that San Francisco couldn’t touch a single one of them tells you that it’s more about bad hitting than it is good pitching. Jonathan Sanchez received no run support for the fifth time in his nine starts, so he pretty much can punch whoever he wants in the Giants clubhouse right now.

Blue Jays 12, Diamondbacks 4: Just your standard five home run three-game series for Edwin Encarnacion, with three on Friday night and one each the last two games.  The Jays avoid the sweep.

Brewers 4, Twins 3: Trevor Hoffman returned and pitched a scoreless, hitless eighth inning. The Twins had tons of chances, but left boatloads of runners on base.

Rays 10, Astros 6: The Astros managed to score five runs in five inningss off AL ERA leader David Price, but the Tampa Bay bats bashed Houston to make up for it. The Rays are now 32-12, one game off the 2001 Mariners’ record at this point of the season. I’m not gonna say that the Rays will win 116 games, but I remember that 2001 season very well and this Rays team looks stronger in almost every facet of the game than the M’s did.

Rockies 11, Royals 7: Zack Greinke takes a lot of tough-luck losses. This was not one of them (3.1 IP, 9 H, 8 R).

Red Sox 8, Phillies 3: Roy Halladay can’t blame bad luck for yesterday’s game either (5.2 IP, 8 H, 7 R). Tim Wakefield, however, pitched eight scoreless.  Between that and what Dice-K did to them on Saturday, one could say that the Phillies may need to worry about their offense a bit.  Of course, one could also say that there aren’t two pitchers in baseball that screw with your timing more than the eminently deliberate Dice-K and the Knuckle Knuckle King, so maybe it was just one of those weekends.

Cubs 5, Rangers 4: The fact that Carlos Silva is 6-0 is far harder to believe than anything that ever happened on Lost.

Nationals 4, Orioles 3: Walkoff job for Josh Willingham. Drew Storen had a hit too, and is batting 1.000 on the season. If used conventionally, he may not have another plate appearance all year, thereby making him a total beast in all the video games next year. That is, if they haven’t improved the video games any since that old Lance Hafner simulation where a guy with a 1 for 1 career batting line will get a hit every single time he bats no matter what.

Indians 4, Reds 3: The Indians salvage one and stop their losing skid. Homer Bailey left this one early with tightness in his shoulder. Is someone about to be very, very wrong?

Pirates 3, Braves 2: Cox gives Jason Heyward, Chipper Jones and Brian McCann the day off with expected results.

Settling the Scores: Memorial Day edition

ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 21:  American flags are shown after being placed by members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment at the graves of U.S. soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in preparation for Memorial Day May 21, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. "Flags-In" has become an annual ceremony since the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) was designated to be an Army's official ceremonial unit in 1948  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died in military service. At some point in the past couple of decades, however, it has become an all-purpose flag-waving, patriotism-declaring, civilians-in-camouflage holiday. It’s understandable why this is the case. We, as a country, haven’t always done mourning well. I think it’s part of our national cultural DNA that we don’t and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make days like this difficult.

I feel like the flag-waving and troop-supporting stuff is some sort of subconscious reaction to death. It’s our way of instantly trying to justify those deaths or to explain how they were not in vain, much the same way we might tell someone upon the death of a loved one that they’re in a better place or that they had a full life. Feeling the pain of loss is hard. We want to soften it in any way we can and make our pain serve a larger, better purpose. And so we get today, when Major League Baseball puts its players in camouflage caps and in jerseys with camouflage logos. They’ll sell them too, with proceeds going to good and noble veterans charities. The intent is noble and the ultimate effect of it all is beneficial. But it’s also a little beside the point. Maybe not beside the point as much as mattress sales or big celebratory barbecues which have come to characterize Memorial Day for so many, but still not exactly the purpose of the holiday.

I don’t condemn it. As I wrote last year, the men and women who actually fought and died in wars were hoping that they were, ultimately, making a better and happier world for those they left behind. And they no doubt hoped, among everything else they hoped, that others didn’t have to face what they were facing. They wanted our lives to be happy and our country to be safe and part of a happy and safe country involves 300 million people doing whatever it is they damn please, even if it’s just having barbecues and wearing camo at the ballpark.

I won’t say have a happy Memorial Day because that seems odd. Have any kind of Memorial Day you want, really, even if it includes barbecuing, drinking beer and wearing a cam ballcap. But as you do, please make sure you take some time to think about those who died in military service. And remember that they didn’t get to have as many days like the one you’re having as they were meant to have. And make at least some effort to offset your happy, patriotic or silly pursuits with some mourning and reflectiveness. It’s OK for that to stand on its own.

The scores:

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3
Orioles 6, Indians 4
Yankees 2, Rays 1
Nationals 10, Cardinals 2
Brewers 5, Reds 4
Royals 5, White Sox 4
Cubs 7, Phillies 2
Rangers 6, Pirates 2
Astros 8, Angels 6
Athletics 4, Tigers 2
Twins 5, Mariners 4
Giants 8, Rockies 3
Diamondbacks 6, Padres 3
Marlins 7, Braves 3
Dodgers 4, Mets 2

 

Should Dave Roberts have taken Clayton Kershaw out of Sunday’s game?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will likely be second-guessed heavily during tomorrow’s news cycle. Starter Clayton Kershaw had pitched a terrific ballgame, as is his tendency, but with 114 pitches to his name, Roberts decided to pull him from the game in the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on first base.

Roberts opted not for closer Kenley Jansen, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, but for another lefty in Adam Liberatore. He was playing the numbers, with the left-handed-hitting Curtis Granderson coming up. Liberatore, much to Roberts’ chagrin, served up what turned out to be a game-tying triple to Granderson, hitting a rocket to right-center just out of the reach of a leaping Yasiel Puig.

Jansen has, for six years, been one of the game’s elite relievers. Kershaw, though at a high pitch count, doesn’t seem to suffer from the times through the order penalty like most pitchers. Kershaw’s opponents’ OPS facing him for the first time was .525 coming into Sunday. Twice, .597. Three times, .587. Four times, .526 (but this suffers from survivorship bias so it’s not exactly representative).

Furthermore, Kershaw held lefties to a .546 OPS over his career. Liberatore, in 99 plate appearances against lefty hitters, gave up a .575 OPS. Jansen? .560. It seems that, faced with three decisions, Roberts arguably made the worst one. Playing conservative with Kershaw at 114 pitches is defensible, but only if Jansen comes in. If Roberts wanted the platoon advantage, Kershaw should have stayed in.

Luckily for the Dodgers, Mets closer Jeurys Familia didn’t have his best stuff. He loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth on a single and two walks, then gave up a two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Jansen came on in the bottom half of the ninth and retired the side in order to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Royals sweep White Sox over the weekend on three late rallies

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 28:  Brett Eibner #12 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his game-winning RBI single with teammates in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium on May 28, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 8-7. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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The Royals had themselves a pretty good weekend. The quickly fading White Sox, not so much.

On Friday, the Royals fell behind 5-1 after the top of the sixth. They would score once in the bottom of the sixth, four times in the seventh, and once in the eighth to steal a 7-5 win facing pitchers Miguel Gonzalez Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and Nate Jones.

On Saturday, the Royals entered the bottom of the ninth down 7-1. They scored seven runs on closer David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to win 8-7.

On Sunday, the Royals were down 4-2 after the top of the eighth. They plated three runs in the bottom half of the eighth against Jones and Albers, going on to win 5-4.

Coming into the weekend, the Royals were 24-22 in third place. The White Sox were 27-21, a half-game up in first place. Now the Royals are in first place by a game and a half, and the White Sox are in third place, two games out of first.

Here’s video of the Royals’ comeback on Saturday, since it was so unlikely:

Report: Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there”

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 24: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers waits to hit during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on May 24, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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In Saturday’s column for The Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo notes that, according to a scout, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there.” Braun has been bothered by neck and back issues this year, missing on Sunday his eighth start out of the Brewers’ last 14 games, but he has still put up a quality .351/.424/.583 triple-slash line in 170 plate appearances this year.

More importantly for an acquiring team, Braun is in the first year of a five-year, $105 million contract. He’s earning $19 million this season and in the ensuing two seasons, and then his salary decreases slightly to $18 million in 2019, $16 million in 2020, and $15 million if both sides pick up his mutual option (else a $4 million buyout would be exercised).

Per Cafardo, the Astros, Cardinals, Red Sox, Phillies, Mets, Giants, and White Sox are potential landing spots for Braun.