And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Maddon Hernandez Pena arguing.jpgRays 7, Blue Jays 6:  Holy schnikes, that was a wild ending. Kevin Gregg had a meltdown, walking five guys, Joe Maddon got tossed after Carlos Pena wasn’t granted time out at the plate and Sean Rodriguez hit a go-ahead, three-run double to seal a come-from-behind victory.  The wildest thing though? Pena later said that Angel Hernandez was “a good umpire.”  Insanity! More on this game later today, obviously.

Braves 7, Phillies 3: Tim Hudson came back after a one-hour rain delay to pitch six strong innings. Cole Hamels didn’t come back, but gave up a big homer to Troy Glaus in the downpour that preceded the stoppage to put the Phillies in a hole they couldn’t dig out of. The good news? The Phillies made a little noise late, with Ryan Howard breaking the Phillies’ 68-inning homerless streak in the sixth. Perhaps that’s a sign the bats are finally waking up.

Dodgers 1, Diamondbacks 0: A walkoff home run > walkoff balk.  Matt Kemp hit a solo jack in the bottom of the tenth to win it for the Dodgers. Both Dan Haren and John Ely deserved better fates, with the former throwing eight walk-free shutout innings and the latter throwing shutout, two-hit ball over seven.

Red Sox 9, Athletics 4: Victor Martinez is en fuego: 5-for-5 with four doubles and a couple of RBI last night to pick up John Lackey, who put 14 baserunners on in six innings. Adrian Beltre’s three-run homer in the fifth jump-started the comeback after the Sox found themselves down 4-0.

Pirates 3, Cubs 2: Neil Walker hit his first big league homer to help the Pirates beat the Cubs yet again. After the game he said “getting drafted by the Pirates, this is just a Cinderella story. It’s
incredible.” OK, Walker is from Pittsburgh and grew up going to games at Three Rivers Stadium, so I guess it could be considered a Cinderella story for him, but I’m also guessing his is not the majority opinion among those who get drafted by the Pirates.  In other news, Lou Piniella sounds like he’s at the end of his rope.

Reds 9, Cardinals 8: Scott Rolen hit two dingers to put the Reds back up by a game in the Central. Johnny Cueto had a terrible outing, giving up eight runs on ten hits and squandering a nice lead. Luckily Dennys Reyes (.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER), Johnny Gomes and Drew Stubbs — each with seventh inning RBIs — bailed him out.

Yankees 3, Orioles 1: Javy Vazquez went seven innings giving up one run on four hits and basking in the Yankee Stadium love. At least until his next start. Mark Teixeira left the game early after fouling one off his foot, but he’s expected to be back today.

Rockies 2, Giants 1: Clint Barmes did all the damage for Colorado — if two runs can be considered “damage” — topping the night off with an RBI double in the 11th. Kind of like the Dodgers game, a couple of good starts from Barry Zito and Jason Hammel went for naught.

Mariners 7, Twins 1: The M’s beat up Nick Blackburn and Jason Vargas saved himself from being decapitated by a Joe Mauer liner. Nice night all around!

Mets 4, Padres 2: Mike Pelfrey is having one of the quieter awesome seasons you’ll ever see this year. Yet another strong start last night, going eight innings, giving up one run on four hits and striking out eight. David Wright went 3 for 4 with a homer in that big gigantic ballpark that — amazingly, if you believe those whose armchair psychiatry practice focuses on David Wright’s mindset — doesn’t seem to freak him out at all.

Royals 6, Angels 3: Joel Piniero gave up six runs on ten hits in eight innings and the Royals bullpen shut down the Angels from the sixth inning on. Organizational soldier Robb Quinlan got the start at first base for Anaheim last night. He has 25 homers in over a thousand career major league at bats, so my guess is that the Angels are still thinking about how to replace Kendry Morales.

Rangers 9, White Sox 6: The Sox jump out to a 4-0 lead but then Mark Buehrle gets shelled and the Sox own mini-comeback falls short.

Astros 8, Nationals 7: Yet another game in which a team blew a big early lead. Must have been something in the water. Unlike some of the others, however, the Astros managed to salvage the game after squandering their. Lance Berkman went 3-5 with 5 RBI.

Marlins 6, Brewers 4: Trevor Hoffman came into a tie game in the seventh and promptly gave up three runs on three hits and walked two.  The end is nigh.

Indians 3, Tigers 2: Not a bad night for the Indians’ organizational objectives: Jake Westbrook pitches seven strong innings, Russell Branyan hit a home run and Kerry Wood got the save. Good news considering that Cleveland wants to trade all three of them.

Video: Minor League Manager goes on epic rant

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Frisco RoughRiders manager Joe Mikulik got his money’s worth last night. He was ejected after arguing an automatic double play on an enforcement of the slide rule, and he didn’t go gently into that goodnight.

Rather, he threw things, kicked things, threw things and then subsequently kicked those same things, gave overly-demonstrative slides and safe signs and basically went all Earl Weaver/Lou Piniella on everyone.

Double-A baseball is the best minor league because you tend to see more prospects there than you do at Triple-A. But it’s also the best because, when you’re a manager who is not quite a heartbeat away from getting your shot at the big leagues, you’re a little less uptight about things. Or at least Mikulik was. Or maybe he was more uptight. I don’t know. He just went with it, and going with it has its charms.

 

(h/t Big League Stew)

A must-read oral history of the 1998 home run chase

7 Jul 1998:   American Leaguer player Mark McGwire #25 of the St Louis Cardinals and Sammy Sosa #21 of  the Chicago Cubs answer questions during  the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Coors Field in Denver,  Colorado.The American  League defeated the
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It’s hard to believe that it’s been 18 years since Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa captivated the nation with their epic chase of Roger Maris’ home run record. But it has been, and after years of reaction, counter-reaction and, of course, baseball’s reckoning with the performance-enhancing drugs which helped fuel the chase, it’s probably finally time to do our best to contextualize it historically.

Today one of my favorite news outlets does that with an oral history. All of the key figures weigh-in on it, from McGwire and Sosa to Bud Selig to Tony La Russa. Randy Johnson makes an appearance as well, reminding us that it wasn’t just the sluggers who had an amazing year in 1998. Indeed, his story, including his being traded to Houston and going on an amazing second-half run, has almost been lost to history.

This is bookmark material, my friends. For savoring later if you can’t read it now. And for revisiting at another time given the depths to the drama which justifies multiple readings. I’ll just warn you that there is some adult language in the story, but that’s to be expected given the passion the 1998 baseball season inspired.

Go check it out.

UPDATE: Asdrubal Cabrera leaves Mets-Nats game with back spasms

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the New York Mets throws to first from his knee after diving to catch a ground ball to get Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second out of the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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UPDATE: Cabrera was removed from the game due to back spasms.

1:21PM: This is not good: Asdrubal Cabrera was removed from today’s game against the Nationals with an apparent injury.

It’s unclear what the injury was, as Cabrera had yet to even play in the game. Matt Reynolds came on to play shortstop in the bottom of the first inning, but Cabrera didn’t bat in the top of the first. It could be an illness. Or some freak occurrence.

We’ll update when we hear more.

There are apparently unwritten rules about manager replay challenges now

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 05: Manager Joe Maddon #70 of the Chicago Cubs shakes hands with manager Mike Matheny #26 of the St. Louis Cardinals before the Opening Night game at Wrigley Field on April 5, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Last night’s Cardinals-Cubs game was a blowout, with the Cubs beating the Cards 12-3. Apparently, however, in the ninth inning of the game, Reynoldsburg, Ohio’s own Mike Matheny played the Cardinals infield in, which is a move you never see in a blowout. Why did he do that?

He hasn’t said yet, but Cubs manager Joe Maddon just spoke to the media before today’s game and he’s speculating that Matheny did it as a form of protest:

God, I hope that’s true. I hope that manager replay challenges, which are already dumb enough inasmuch as they turn what should be an officiating correction device into a strategic tool, are now turning into another front in the Great Unwritten Rules Wars. I hope that we now have a bunch of people talking about how there’s a right way and a wrong way to use the replay system and that one can disrespect the other side if they do it the wrong way. The way the replay system has been implemented often resembles tragedy. Why not make it farce?

Oh well, I guess it beats throwing at someone for doing that wrong. And I guess it’s just a reminder that no matter what we do, baseball is always gonna give us an opportunity for petty bits of silliness.