And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Phillies 7, Indians 6: Walkoff jack for Jimmy Rollins gives the Phillies a
come-from-behind victory.  Gentlemen, you may commence the “the
Phillies’ swoon was all about missing Jimmy Rollins” narrative . . .
now.

Rockies 8, Red Sox 6: We can’t be terribly surprised at ninth inning rallies off the Indians’ pen, but two homers off Johnathan Papelbon in the ninth inning? Oy!  And let’s put it this way: if you score six runs on ten hits off Ubaldo Jimenez you have no business losing that ballgame.

Yankees 6, Diamondbacks 5: Another rule: if you walk seven times in two and a third innings against the other team’s starter, you should score more than two runs off him and thus not be required to rely on a tenth inning home run from Curtis Granderson in order to win the game.

Royals 1, Nationals 0: They could barely touch him and they owe the game’s outcome to their own pitching staff and the Nats’ offensive ineptitude, but the Royals’ batters can say with 100% accuracy that they handed Stephen Strasburg his first major league loss.

Cardinals 1, Blue Jays 0: Damn shame both starters couldn’t have won this one. Chris Carpenter gets the W after flinging eight scoreless innings while allowing only three hits. Rickey Romero was just about as good with eight shutout innings of his own.  A ninth inning RBI single by Matt Holliday — who no longer stinks, by the way — was the difference in the ballgame.

Mets 5, Tigers 0: My displeasure with the Mets’ win is more than outweighed by the fact that it was occasioned by the continuing excellence of R.A. Dickey (8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER). Viva knuckleballers.

Padres 5, Rays 4: The particular schedule I look at to track teams’ long term success lists “W”s in green and “Ls” in red.  For the Rays, as Lt. Al Giradello used to say on “Homicide,” there’s a lot of red up on that board! Well, he used to kind of mumble it, and he wasn’t talking about the Rays, but you know what I’m getting at. Wait, you don’t know, because you didn’t watch the show, which caused NBC to make the producers drop Jon Polito and Ned Beatty from the cast in order to try to make it appeal to a younger demographic, thus killing all that was great about it. Seriously, Michael Michele? Jon Seda? Who the hell ever would have bought them as murder police? Honestly! Uh, where was I?  Oh yeah, the Rays are 8-11 in June.

Marlins 7, Orioles 5: Edwin Rodriguez wins his debut as the Marlins’ manager. I wonder what bogus excuse Loria will use when they fire him in order to replace him with Bobby Valentine or whoever. Maybe “you know how I feel about wins! I really expected to win the rest of our ballgames and you lost one at the end of July!” Or how about “This has nothing to do with anything Hanley Ramirez said. In fact he communicated his displeasure and disrespect for you telepathically, so he never had to utter a single word!” Oh, and that’s 21 of 25 games denoted by little red “Ls” for the Orioles. Since both they and Giradello are from Baltimore, maybe I should have saved my “Homicide” rant for this one. Maybe not: a lot of those Ls are stone cold whodunnits, and no one gets worked up about those. The Rays’ losses are red balls.

Reds 3, Athletics 0: Speaking of red writing, the A’s are 6-16 in June. Speaking of the color red in general, the Reds have righted the ship quite nicely after that nightmare weekend in Seattle. Seven shutout innings for Johnny Cueto and a 3 for 3, 2 RBI night for Jay Bruce.

White Sox 4, Braves 2: The White Sox keep rolling and now the Braves are starting to skid. Two homers for Carlos Quentin.

Mariners 8, Cubs 1: That Cliff Lee fella is pretty good (CG 9 H, 1 ER, 9K, 0 BB). Maybe someone should think about trading for him.

Angels 2, Dodgers 1: This one ended on two base running screw ups: First Matt Kemp was picked off at second for out number two. Then, a couple batters later, Jamey Carroll hit a single that should have scored Reed Johnson easily from second. But Russell Martin was in his own world somewhere, rounded second too far and then got pegged at the bag trying to get back before Johnson could cross the plate. Martin out, no run, game over. I think I already used an “Oy” this morning, but extreme times call for additional “Oys” so Oy!

Rangers 13, Pirates 3: The Rangers refuse to lose — that’s ten straight for them — and the Pirates refuse to even approach the appearance of a major league team. Michael Young was 3 for 4 with a double, a homer and four RBI.

Brewers 5, Twins 3: I guess maybe I shouldn’t have assumed Ken Macha was so foolish as to install Trevor Hoffman as the closer after all. I mean, if he’s not going to use Hoffman to close a game the night after John Axford gets a six out save, he may never do it. Pfun Pfact: Manny Parra had four wild pitches.

Astros 6, Giants 3: Brett Myers has been one of the few bright spots for Houston this year. Last night he gave up three runs — only one earned — in seven innings and even went 2 for 3 with an RBI.

Must-Click Link: “Skunk in the Outfield”

Associated Press
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Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.

No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.

Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.

Set some time aside to read this today.

Rubby De La Rosa to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery

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This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.

De La Rosa has had elbow  issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.

I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.

He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.