And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

23 Comments

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.

The Nats are going to sign Francisco Rodriguez for some reason

Getty Images
2 Comments

The Nationals bullpen is a tire fire. They’re about to add another tire. Per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Washington is about to sign free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez.

K-Rod was released by the Tigers last week after posting an ERA of 7.82 over 28 appearances this season. He has a 1.658 WHIP, is allowing 11.9 hits per nine innings and is posting his highest walk rate in five years. Also worth noting: the Detroit Friggin’ Tigers decided that he was not good enough to be in their bullpen.

So, yeah, good luck with that Washington.

The Giants chemistry is suffering because a guy they all hated is gone

Getty Images
8 Comments

I’ve spent years arguing with people about team chemistry. You know the battle lines on all of that now: people who talk a lot about team chemistry tend to attribute winning or losing to good or bad chemistry, respectively. I tend to think that characterizing chemistry is a retroactive exercise in which teams that win are happy and then cite their happiness as the reason and vice versa. Jim Leyland agrees with me, for what it’s worth, so I’m pretty happy with my take.

Not that I’ll claim a monopoly on wisdom here. I’ve never played on a professional baseball team. I don’t know what it’s like to try to prepare to play baseball while surrounded by jackwagons who don’t get along with anyone. I can’t imagine that makes life easier. Indeed, based on the testimony of players I have spoken to, I will grant that there is at least some intangible yet real benefit if everyone is happy an gelling. I dismiss team chemistry arguments for the most part, but if I ran a team I’d at least try to get rid of bad seeds if their bad seeding was not outweighed by seriously outstanding on-the-field play. You want your workers happy, folks.

All of which makes me wonder what the heck to do about this passage from Ken Rosenthal’s latest column. It’s about the reeling San Francisco Giants. They have all kinds of issues — their offense is putrid, their pitching isn’t much better and they’ve been without their ace most of the year — but today Rosenthal looks at their team chemistry. It’s a quiet and subdued clubhouse, he notes, and it has a lot of people wondering if something is wrong there. What could it be?

Sandoval, who was an often noisy and boisterous presence during his time with the club, departed as a free agent after that season. Pence has suffered a number of injuries in recent years and declined offensively, making it difficult for him to be as vocal as he was in the past. Some with the Giants muse that the team even misses Angel Pagan, who created an odd sort of unity because most of the players disliked him.

Read that last sentence again. And then go on with your talk about how team chemistry is a legitimate explanatory concept regarding what makes teams win or lose as opposed to a post-hoc rationalization of it.

Not that it’s not a good article overall. There’s some interesting stuff about the Giants’ bullpen culture. And, of course, we now know why no one signed Pagan last winter.