And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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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.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Thursday’s action

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 16: Starting pitcher J.A. Happ #33 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the seventh inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on June 16, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
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Did you know J.A. Happ is in the thick of the American League Cy Young Award race? Of all the contenders, he may be the biggest surprise, even ahead of Drew Pomeranz. Happ leads the league with 17 wins and only has three losses to go with it. He’s holding a 3.05 ERA and a 133/44 K/BB ratio in 150 1/3 innings.

It wasn’t all that long ago that Happ was struggling to stay in a starting rotation. In 2011, his first full season with the Astros, he finished with a 5.35 ERA. In 2012, he put up a 4.79 ERA with the ‘stros and Blue Jays. The next year? 4.56 followed by 4.22, both with the Jays. Then, with the Mariners, he continued the mediocrity with a 4.64 ERA before he was traded to the Pirates.

Under the tutelage of Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage, Happ turned his career around. In 11 starts in Pittsburgh, the lefty had a microscopic 1.85 ERA. That came with significant improvements in his strikeout and walk rates. Even the ERA retrodictors like FIP and xFIP, which had so often agreed with his uninspiring ERA’s, agreed that he had thrown like an elite hurler. So that’s how we arrived at J.A. Happ, Cy Young Award contender.

Among AL starters, Happ is fifth-best in ERA behind Cole Hamels, Jose Quintana, Aaron Sanchez, and Steven Wright. However, his 17-3 record is equaled only by Rick Porcello. As there are still a significant number of voters in the Baseball Writers Association of America who consider won-lost record, Happ is sitting in a good position and will be even better if he can cross the coveted 20-win threshold. He’ll get a bit of a boost as well if he can help the Jays return to the postseason for a second consecutive season.

Happ’s Jays will host the hapless — and Happ-less — Angels on Thursday evening. He’ll take on veteran Jered Weaver in a 7:07 PM EDT start.

The rest of Thursday’s action…

Baltimore Orioles (Ubaldo Jimenez) @ Washington Nationals (Max Scherzer), 7:05 PM EDT

Kansas City Royals (Edinson Volquez) @ Miami Marlins (Tom Koehler), 7:10 PM EDT

New York Mets (Seth Lugo) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Adam Wainwright), 7:15 PM EDT

Cleveland Indians (Josh Tomlin) @ Texas Rangers (Cole Hamels), 8:05 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Pirates (Chad Kuhl) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Wily Peralta), 8:10 PM EDT

Seattle Mariners (James Paxton) @ Chicago White Sox (Anthony Ranaudo), 8:10 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves (Matt Wisler) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (Robbie Ray), 9:40 PM EDT

San Francisco Giants (Matt Moore) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Ross Stripling), 10:10 PM EDT

Let’s play the “how long has it been since the Cubs won the World Series?” game!

1908 Cubs
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It started with a no-good St. Louis Cardinals fan being a troublemaker. That no-good Cardinals fan was Drew Silva, who began things innocently enough, noting that, despite their dominance this season, any team can theoretically beat the Chicago Cubs in a short series because that’s just how baseball goes:

Cubs fans started giving him guff for that, so Drew gave some back:

And with that it was on like Donkey Kong (a super old video game which was not invented for another 73 years after the Cubs last won the World Series). I tweeted this:

And with that, my followers went crazy. Here’s a sampling of some of the best ones:

And, for that matter . . .

Too soon. Unlike the last Cubs World Series title.

Like I said, this was just a sampling. I’ve retweeted a ton more on my timeline and those I didn’t retweet can be seen in the replies here. My favorite one may have been “literally the invention of sliced bread,” which debuted in 1912, but I can’t find that tweet.

Please, Cubs fans, have a sense of humor about this. You have a wonderful ballpark that is not named after a third tier mortgage company, a grand history that is fantastic even if it hasn’t featured any championships and a future that is as bright or brighter than any other team out there. Maybe even come up with some of your own in the comments! History is fun! As is self-deprecation! What I’m saying is don’t be salty about this sort of thing. Salty is a bad look.

In other news, the Morton Salt Company was incorporated in 1910, two years after the Cubs last World Series victory.