And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights


Adrian Beltre home run.jpgRed Sox 11, Rays 3: I’m going to imagine the next Shaughnessy column: “Theo Epstein and his calculator cavalry wowed all the stat-butts eating Fruit Rollups in their step-dad’s carports by selling them on ‘run prevention.’  Well, from where I’m sitting, scoring 11 runs against the best team in baseball is not ‘run prevention.’ And what’s with Adrian Beltre going 4 for 6 with two homers, a triple and six RBI?  I thought he was there for his glove? Note to Theo: call me when you stick with a plan, because from where I’m sitting you’re just making this up as you go along.”

Mets 5, Phillies 0: The Phillies get shut out for the second game in a row, this time courtesy of Hisanori Takahashi and a trio of relievers. Word is that Charlie Manuel held a closed door meeting after the game. According to Shane Victorino,  Cholly simply told his team to “play with some intensity . . . no reaming. No yelling at anybody.” Good thing too, because if he did people would start filling up his comments section calling him a hater for doubting the Phillies’ greatness.  Oh, and don’t look now, Philly, ’cause something might be gainin’ on ya. As in, the whole NL East, which is within 3 games of y’all.

Yankees 1, Twins 0; Yankees 3, Twins 2: Yeah, I know the first one was technically yesterday’s game but it’s not like I’m going to go update the Wednesday ATH, so let’s just pretend that this was a doubleheader.  In game one Jeter hit a dinger that held up and threw in one of those patented jump-throw things he doesn’t need to do.  Andy Pettitte pitched a gem in the second one, getting the win when Nick Swisher hit the daylights out of one out to right field in the top of the ninth.  Mariano saved both of them because he’s less man than machine.

Reds 4, Pirates 0:  The Pittsburgh Pirates: when you absolutely positively have to get a shutout.  Seventh one against them this year. Three of them courtesy of the Reds. Last night it was Arroyo for seven and two-thirds.

Braves 7, Marlins 3: Tommy Hanson walked five dudes, but otherwise bounced back from his worst start as a major leaguer to allow two runs on four hits.  The Marlins had a 2-1 lead until the Bravos exploded for six runs in the seventh.

Angels 6, Blue Jays 5: If Bobby Abreu hadn’t made an error in the top of the ninth, the Angels wouldn’t have had to bat in the bottom of the ninth.  Yet if the Angels didn’t bat in the bottom of the ninth, he wouldn’t have had a chance to hit his game-winning single.  There are monks who spend their whole lives on mountaintops in silent contemplation and intense prayer trying to figure this kind of crap out, you know. That’s why baseball friggin’ rocks.

Athletics 6, Orioles 1: Brian Matusz allowed six earned runs in five innings. Adam Rosales was 3 for 4 with a homer and 4 RBI. From the game story: “The Orioles gave away Nolan Reimold bobbleheads to fans entering the ballpark, even though
Reimold was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on May 12.” That’s the saddest thing that has happened at Camden Yards since Robin Williams’ wife got shot down in the “Bop Gun” episode of “Homicide: Life on the Street.”

Astros 5, Brewers 0: Roy Oswalt: 8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 9K and absolutely no reason to be toiling for this Astros team anymore.

Mariners 5, Tigers 4: A big two-run homer from Mike Sweeney followed by a two-run single from Josh Wilson gives the M’s a come-from-behind victory.

Royals 5, Rangers 2: Luke Hochevar allowed only two runs on six hits, striking out four and walking
none in eight innings.  We’ve seen flashes like this from him before. Here’s hoping he’s finally putting it together.

White Sox 5, Indians 4: Bobby Jenks allowed
three runs to score and had two runners sitting on base with nobody out.  But then Manny Acta decided that merry-go-round was spinning too fast and ordered a bunt which (a) gave the Sox something they hadn’t been able to get yet (i.e. an out); and (b) took the bat out of Shin-Soo Choo’s hands due to him being intentionally walked to fill the now-open first base. Jenks then struck out
Austin Kearns and got Russell Branyan to fly out and that was that.  Gee, if only they had one more out to play with, I’m sure they could have gotten the tying run home from third and lived to play on!  Sadly, there was absolutely nothing whatsoever that could have been done about it, what with the Moral imperative to bunt and all.

Rockies 7, Diamondbacks 3: Ubaldo does it again: eight innings of shutout ball, lowering his ERA to 0.88.  Just ridiculous.

Nationals 7, Giants 3: We’ve secretly replaced the fine pitching performance Tim Lincecum usually serves with Folger’s Crystals (4.2 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 5BB).

Padres 2, Cardinals 1: You wanna know how you do it? Here’s how, they score zero runs, you score one. They score one run in 13 innings, you score two! That’s the San Diego way!

Dodgers 8, Cubs 5: The game was delayed for 18 minutes in top of the fourth inning after a
nearby fire caused the lights to go out at Wrigley Field. This trick is known in the Cubs’ organization as “pulling a Mrs. O’Leary with a Vicki Lawrence twist” but it didn’t work this time.

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar
1 Comment

Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.

Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.

Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.

It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.

The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.

Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.

Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.

Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
Leave a comment

After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.

The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.