And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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R.A. Dickey crazy looking.jpgMets 8, Phillies 0: In light the Phillies’ struggles against Tim Wakefied and R.A. Dickey (6 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 7K), the Mets are rumored to have offered contracts to Charlie Hough and Steve Sparks, the Braves are trying to persuade Phil Niekro to come out of retirement , the Nationals have been in communication with Tom Candiotti’s agent and the Marlins are mulling an offer to the ghost of Hoyt Wilhelm.

Marlins 6, Braves 4: Kenshin Kawakami continues to get crap run support. Line of the game story: “[Hanley] Ramirez lost control of his bat and it sailed into seats along the
third-base side in the eighth, hitting a few of the 63,000 or so empty
seats in Sun Life Stadium.”

Red Sox 2, Rays 0: Jon Lester threw six innings of one-hit ball for the Bosox’s latest fabulous starting pitching performance. Big Papi’s two-run double was the only scoring in the game.  If I was one of those hack sports writers who like to spout cliches I’d say something like “the Red Sox are making a statement!” or “the Rays’ were exposed against a tough lefty,” but  I’m not one of those guys, so I won’t.

Cubs 3, Dodgers 0: Ryan Dempster outdueld Clayton Kershaw with a scoreless eight inning performance in which he allowed three measly singles.

Pirates 2, Reds 1: Strong starts from both Paul Maholm and Mike Leake, but neither figured in the decision. Ryan Doumit’s homer in the ninth was his second game-winner in three days.

Giants 4, Nationals 2: Four days after I write off Todd Wellemeyer and say he needs to be drummed out of the rotation he throws six decent innings and even gets a hit to help a severely slumping Giants offense. None of us know nothin’, really.

Padres 1, Cardinals 0: You know, I’m beginning to think that all of these teams that can’t score against the Padres aren’t just hitting offensive skids as a matter of coincidence. Jon Garland had seven shutout innings with seven strikeouts.

Mariners 5, Tigers 3: Milton Bradley homered and then drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth
inning off Verlander. Then, during the pitching change Bradley — who was on first base — ran into the dugout and gave everyone a round of jubilant high fives before running out and returning to the bag.  You can’t spell “manic depression” without “Milton!” Um, at least if you leave out the L and the T.

Rockies 3, Diamondbacks 2: Three in a row for Colorado, aided by three hits by Todd Helton.  Have the Rockies finally gotten it out of neutral?

Angels 8, Blues Jays 3: Ervin Santana pitched a four-hit complete game with ten Ks. Three of the four hits were first-pitch homers by
Jose Bautista, Aaron Hill and Jeremy Reed, though, which is kind of odd.  Are there any Three True Outcome pitchers?

Brewers 6, Astros 1: Randy Wolf threw seven scoreless, giving Milwaukee its first effective outing from a starting pitcher since Pete Vukovich retired.  Well, at least it seems that way.

Rangers 8, Royals 7: I’m beginning to think that the Vlad Guerrero signing was a wise one (3 for 5, 2 HR, 2B, 5 RBI).  His double came on a pitch that, according to the game story “few batters would be able to handle.”  When the writers are back to describing Vlad’s awful plate discipline like that, you know he’s humming.

Indians 7, White Sox 3: The Tribe chased Jake Peavy after jumping out to a 6-0 lead on eight hits after six innings.  For the record, Peavy also gave up six runs on eight hits in his last start, against the Angels, last Thursday. But hey, at least he’s consistent.

Orioles 5, Athletics 1: Three of the O’s five runs came without hits: two on sac flies and one on a fielder’s choice + error.  Dallas Braden left this one early with a sore ankle.  Remember how Mark Buehrle scuffled a good deal after his perfect game last year? Braden seems to be doing the same. Coincidence? Yeah, I think so.

Yankees 0, Twins 0: SUSPENDED:  The umps suspended this one after a 1-hour,
23-minute rain delay with the score 0-0 after five innings. The game will resume in the top of the sixth today at 4:10 p.m., though obviously not with Scott Baker or A.J. Burnett — who were cruising — on the mound.

Yordano Ventura represented the best and worst of baseball’s culture

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
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It was reported this morning that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. Former prospect Andy Marte was also killed in a separate car accident. Along with Jose Fernandez and Oscar Taveras, the baseball world has lost a lot of young, exciting talent in a very short amount of time.

Ventura was, like all of us, a complex human being. At his best, he was an exciting, talented, emotive pitcher who featured an electric fastball which sat in the mid-90’s and occasionally touched 100 MPH. At his worst, he was an immature, impressionable kid trying to fit in by exacting revenge against batters he felt had wronged him by slinging those electric fastballs at vulnerable areas of their bodies.

Baseball needed Ventura when he was at his best. It is players like him and Fernandez, not Mike Trout, that bring in new fans to the sport. To baseball die-hards, Angels outfielder Mike Trout is the pinnacle of entertainment because we know he’s an otherworldly talent. But to the average fan, Trout is just another player who hits a couple of homers and doesn’t do anything particularly interesting otherwise. Trout is milquetoast. Ventura was never an All-Star, but fans knew who he was because he made his presence felt every time he made a start. He was fun, if sometimes vengeful.

Ventura’s baseball rap sheet is rather lengthy for someone who only pitched parts of four seasons in the big leagues. Early in the 2015 season, Ventura found himself in a handful of benches-clearing incidents in quick succession. On April 12, he jawed with Trout, apparently misunderstanding the motivation behind Trout yelling, “Let’s go!” Though catcher Salvador Perez intervened, Trout’s teammate Albert Pujols ran in from second base and the benches cleared shortly thereafter. On the 18th, some drama between the Athletics and Royals continued. Ventura fired a 99 MPH fastball at Brett Lawrie, resulting in his immediate ejection from the game. More beanball wars ensued in the series finale the following day. Finally, on the 23rd, Ventura hit White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu with a 99 MPH fastball in the fourth inning. Ventura was not ejected… until after the completion of the seventh inning. Walking back to the dugout, Ventura barked at White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton and — you guessed it — the benches cleared. All told, Ventura was fined for his behavior with the Athletics and suspended seven games for the White Sox incident.

In August 2015, Ventura called Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista a “nobody” and accused him of stealing signs. He apologized shortly thereafter. Two months later, during his start in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, Ventura got into it with Jays first base coach Tim Leiper. Nothing happened beyond that, but apparently it was part of the Jays’ plan to try to put Ventura “on tilt.”

Most recently, in June this past season, Ventura hit Orioles third baseman Manny Machado with a pitch. Machado charged the mound and got in at least one punch before the players spilled out onto the field in a blob of royal blue and orange. Ventura was suspended for eight games.

Ventura was by no means a model of civility, but he was a product of baseball’s intransigent culture forcing players to assimilate or be ostracized. The old culture taught players to never show emotion. Hit a home run? Put your head down and circle the bases in a timely fashion or risk taking a fastball to the ribs. Players like Fernandez and Bautista — typically players from Latin countries — challenged those old cultural norms and are, as a result, the vanguard of the new culture. Ventura displayed aspects of each, the worst of the old culture and the best of the new. He was not a one-dimensional person; he was strikingly complex. At one moment willing to use a fastball as a weapon, the next stopping by some kids’ lemonade stand and giving out fist bumps. Baseball is made more entertaining and more interesting by its personalities and Ventura’s was a behemoth, for better or worse. His absence from the sport will be felt.

MLB remembers Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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Following the tragic passing of 25-year-old Yordano Ventura and 33-year-old Andy Marte, both of whom were killed in separate car crashes on Sunday morning, players and executives from around Major League Baseball expressed an outpouring of grief and support for the players’ families and former teams.

Fans have gathered at Kauffman Stadium in memory of the former pitcher.