And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

12 Comments

Phillies 2, Indians 1: If you’ve got to set the record for all time home runs allowed, you’re probably best served, mentally speaking, to do it in a game you win 2-1, which is what Jamie Moyer did last night. The 505th of his career went to Russell Branyan. Number one was hit by Count Campau back in Moyer’s American Association days. There should be an asterisk on that one, though, as Moyer really had no business facing such competition at the time. He was but 17 years old and was pressed into service because so many older players were conscripted to fight the Spanish menace in tropic lands.

Padres 2, Rays 1: As of this past Friday we could still call Mat Latos an overlooked stud. It’s going to be hard to keep the “overlooked” part in there if he keeps this up (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 8K).

Mets 14, Tigers 6: Look, you’re gonna have these kinds of nights, Tigers. Just suck it up and then send your big ace Justin Verlander out there next time to — what? You mean that was Verlander out there last night? Wow. By the way, I’m going to guess that someone, somwhere will write the “why can’t the Mets hit the long ball?” column this morning as they scored all 14 runs without the aid of a homer,

White Sox 9, Braves 6: I guess Tommy Hanson had to have his worst career start some night. Just too bad it had to happen on a night the Phillies and the Mets both won. Nine runs on thirteen hits in three and two-thirds. Oy vey.

Yankees 9, Diamondbacks 3: When A.J. Burnett got shelled the other night
it launched approximately 1,346 DEFCON-1 level articles about what
should be done with him and the Yankees, how horrible life was and if
there was still a God and everything. Thank goodness Andy Pettitte restored
order, because I don’t know if I could take that kind of drama again
today. In other news, it must be very exhausting to be part of a fan
base that feels so damn entitled that a single loss or a run-of-the-mill rough
patch from a starting pitcher is worthy of such sturm und drang.

Rangers 6, Pirates 3: The Rangers lost big in the courtroom yesterday, but they did much better on the diamond. Thirty-seven days until Steelers camp opens.

Giants 3, Astros 1: Maybe Tim Lincecum just needed that ball to smack him in the shoulder last Thursday in order to knock him back on track. Dude turned in his best outing in a month (8 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 7K), outdueling Roy Oswalt (7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 5K).

Cardinals 9, Blue Jays 4: Four homers for the Cardinals (Holliday, Molina, Rasmus, Lopez). Two homers for Jose Bautista, who is now at 20 on the year. Jaime Garcia’s ERA bloats from 1.59 to 1.79. DFA the guy.

Marlins 10, Orioles 4: I’m guessing Hanley Ramirez’s hamstring feels better (3 for 4, 2B, 3 RBI).

Nationals 4, Royals 3: Matt Capps must get bored with simple three-run-lead saves because he always seems to challenge himself by doing things like giving up two runs on four hits in the ninth only to lock it down right after. He’s like a cat toying with a mouse, really.  Or something.

Mariners 2, Cubs 0: Five straight wins for Seattle, three of which have come via shutout. Indeed, the M’s have only given up two runs in the last week.

Reds 4, Athletics 2: Dallas Braden still hasn’t won a game since his perfecto and the A’s are totally skidding, having lost nine of 11. Braden’s description of his day: “Plenty of speed bumps. The car ran
pretty good. Turn 1 was good, Turn 2 and 3 had some speed bumps. I got
into Turn 4, 5, a couple speed bumps, Turn 6 kind of flattened out.
Overall, bumpy track.” Six turns? I hate to stereotype, but if I were a betting man I would have wagered that Braden would have used a NASCAR super-oval analogy as opposed to what appears to be a Grand Prix/Formula 1 kind of thing.

Angels 6, Dodgers 3: The Dodgers are skidding too, having lost five straight. Clayton Kershaw was fantastic his last time out but got beat up for five runs in just under seven innings, relinquishing a 3-0 lead to which he was staked.

Brewers 7, Twins 5: Like Kershaw, Scott Baker had a great outing last
time. Like Kershaw, Baker was staked to a 3-0 lead. Like Kershaw, Baker
couldn’t hold it. Maybe my favorite random game note of the year in this one: “Brewers’ fourth-round draft pick Hunter Morris was at Miller Park. He
said he didn’t have any plans for his $218,700 signing bonus.”

Rockies 2, Red Sox 1: Enjoy that run you got off Jhoulys Chacin, Red Sox, because that may seem like good eatin’ compared to what you get off Ubaldo Jimenez tonight. Now having said that, Jimenez will probably have his worst outing of the year.

Video: Nelson Cruz hits second-longest home run of 2016

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Nelson Cruz #23 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates his solo homerun with Daniel Vogelbach #20 of the Seattle Mariners to take a 2-1 lead over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 14, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

There’s certainly never a bad time to hit a home run, but when you get the opportunity to crush a triple-deck, 493-foot shot off of Tyler Duffey, you should take it. With the Mariners down 2-0 to the Twins in the fourth inning, Cruz hammered a fastball to deep left field for his 39th long ball of the season — and the second-longest home run hit in 2016, to boot.

It doesn’t hurt that the Mariners are 1.5 games back of a playoff spot, although they’ll have to oust the Blue Jays, Orioles, or Tigers to get a wild card. They’ve gone 3-3 in the last week, dropping two consecutive series to the Astros and Blue Jays and taking their series opener against Minnesota 10-1 on Friday night.

Cruz, for his part, entered Saturday’s game with a .299/.337/.610 batting line and six home runs in September. According to ESPN.com’s Home Run Tracker, Cruz sits behind Edwin Encarnacion and Mike Napoli with 13 “no-doubt” home runs in 2016, third-most among major league sluggers. It’s safe to say he can add Saturday’s moonshot to that list.

Marlins’ outfielder and undisputed home run king Giancarlo Stanton remains untouched at the top of the Statcast leaderboard with a 504-ft. home run, and it’s difficult to envision any slugger reaching beyond that before the end of the season. Even so, Cruz won’t need to clear 500 feet to extend an impressive hitting record. One more home run will put the 36-year-old at 40 on the year, making 2016 his third consecutive season with at least 40 homers, and his second such season doing so in Seattle.

Report: John Farrell won’t rule out a postseason return for Pablo Sandoval

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 11:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox looks on from the dugout before the Red Sox home opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on April 11, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Orioles defeat the Red Sox 9-7.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Getty Images
7 Comments

It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.

On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.

At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.

If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.

Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.

Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.