And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

6 Comments

Red
Sox 13, Rockies 11
: Laser show: Dustin Pedroia: 5 for 5 with three
homers including the game winner in the tenth. Torture session: This
game: four hours and forty-eight minutes and not a decent pitching
performance in sight. Deja vu: Jonathan Papelbon: blowing a save and
giving up a couple of runs.

Phillies 12, Indians 3: Like I said yesterday, I think Charlie Manuel deliberately got himself run from this one because it was hot, he knew the storms were coming, he knew the Indians weren’t gonna offer much of a challenge and he’d rather be back in the clubhouse hoistin’ the moist. As it was, Polanco, Utley and Werth all hit the cover off the ball, Joe Blanton was solid and not much help was needed from the bullpen. I guess that means the Phillies are back on track.

Brewers 5, Twins 0: Gallardo was on, the Twins’ bats were dormant and the Brewers complete the sweep. Which would all be well and good if . . .

White Sox 2, Braves 0:  . . . the White Sox weren’t storming up the hillside like some crazed horde. They sweep Atlanta, who can sort of identify with Minnesota at the moment as a team that similarly can’t get its mojo workin’ and is in danger of falling out of first place.

Tigers 6, Mets 5: But if the Braves fall out, it won’t be before tonight. Atlanta keeps its half game lead because Hisanori Takahashi just didn’t have his mojo workin’ (4 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 4 BB).  After he was gone the Mets bullpen took care of business, but the rally never came in earnest.

Blue Jays 5, Cardinals 0: The Jays jumped on Adam Wainwright for five runs on six hits — three of them dingers, two of those by Vernon Wells — in four innings, sending that tall drink of water to the showers earlier than he had left in any game since September 2008.

Astros 7, Giants 5: Matt Cain got jumped on as well, getting pummeled even worse than Wainwright did (2.2 IP, 9 H, 7 ER). In contrast, Wandy Rodriguez snapped out of whatever funk he’s been in all year, only allowing a couple of unearned runs in his six innings.

Cubs 3, Mariners 2: Thank goodness the M’s lost, because if they somehow get themselves back in the race they won’t trade Cliff Lee and that’s dozens of would-be rumor-trafficking blog posts I’ll never get to write.

Rays 5, Padres 3: The Rays salvage one. Padres manager Bud Black said after the game that he wants you, he needs you, but there ain’t no way he’s ever gonna love you, now don’t be sad, ’cause “two out of three on the road in this environment against this club, a
good feat accomplished.”  OK, I may have paraphrased the bit before the quotation marks, but I’m pretty sure that’s what he was driving at.

Orioles 11, Marlins 5: Both of these teams were interested in getting Bobby Valentine as their manager. The loser won. The loser of this game, I mean. Valentine? Oh, he’s aces.

Dodgers 10, Angels 6: The Dodgers finally break their losing skid at six games. More bad baserunning in this one, with Reggie Willits getting nailed in a rundown between third and home and Bobby Abreu getting thrown out at third trying to advance on a pitch in the dirt. Abreu was also caught stealing once, but it happens. What doesn’t happen: Jamey Carroll was called safe at second base when sliding in after advancing on an Andre Ethier comebacker. He assumed he was out, though, wandered off the bag on his way back to the dugout and was tagged out.  After the game Joe Torre and Mike Scioscia sent notes home with all the players asking the moms and dads if it’s OK for them to stay late for extra practice tomorrow.

Rangers 6, Pirates 5: Eleven wins in a row for the Rangers, this one on a walkoff RBI single by Vlad.  Bankruptcy schmankruptcy. Maybe the Rangers don’t need to make any moves at all.

Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell, Ivan Rodriguez to be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday

Getty Images
3 Comments

This Sunday three players will be honored in Cooperstown as Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez become the 313th, 314th and 315th members inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Executives Bud Selig and John Schuerholz will be inducted as well, making it 316 and 317.

Raines was quite possibly the NL’s best player in a five-year span from 1983-87.  WAR thinks so, placing him ahead of Mike Schmidt, Tony Gwynn and Dale Murphy, all of whom got more plaudits at the time. Raines hit .318/.406/.467 during that period and averaged 114 runs scored and 71 steals per year. During those five years, only Rickey Henderson scored more runs (572-568) and only Wade Boggs had a better OBP (.443 to .406). That Raines had to wait until his last year of eligibility was in large part due to him being a very similar player to Henderson. Which is kind of an unfair comparison — Henderson is one of the best players of all time — but that’s how the voters operate sometimes.

Bagwell likewise had to wait a bit longer than he should’ve, mostly due to thus far evidence-free beliefs that he used PEDs. On the merits, Bagwell was one of the best first basemen of all time, with a career line of .297/.408/.540, 449 homers and 1,529 RBI. Between 1994 and 2001, he averaged — averaged! — a line of .306/.428/.589, 37 homers and 120 RBI while playing in perhaps the worst hitters park in history in the Astrodome.

People whispered about Rodriguez and PEDs just as much as they did Bagwell, but he got in on the first ballot, suggesting that the BBWAA is getting over its hangups. He is also clearly deserving of induction. Rodriguez, the 1999 AL MVP, was named to 14 All-Star teams and he won 13 Gold Gloves. He finished his career with a .296/.334/.464 line, 311 homers and 1,332 RBI. His 2,427 games caught is a major league record. He was, without question, the best defensive catcher of his era and many believe he was the best of all time. If he’s not, he’s in the top two or three.

As for the executives: we’re long on record as believing that Bud Selig’s induction is a disgrace. It was nonetheless a foregone conclusion, as the Hall of Fame has tended to view induction as part of retiring commissioners’ severance package. If there was any remaining doubt about him getting in, the fact that the committee which elected Selig was, more or less, hand-picked by people loyal to Selig and/or Major League Baseball put it to rest.  John Schuerholz is clearly deserving as he was one of the top executives of the past half century, starting out with the Orioles and then building winners in both Kansas City and Atlanta, sustaining those organizations’ success for far longer periods than most teams experience it.

Beyond those two, ESPN’s Claire Smith will be on the stage to accept the 2017 J. G. Taylor Spink Award, given to baseball writers. She is the first woman to be given baseball writing’s highest honor.  Athletics broadcaster will be honored as the Ford C. Frick Award winner for broadcasting. Smith passed away in 2005.

The ceremony will be held on a big lawn a mile south of the Hall of Fame. If you’re in the neighborhood, admission is free and lawn chairs and blankets and things are welcome. If you’re not in the neighborhood, the festivities will be broadcast live on MLB Network and will be shown via webcast at http://www.baseballhall.org.

Aaron Judge broke a tooth celebrating the Yankees walkoff win

Getty Images
14 Comments

Brett Gardner hit a walkoff homer last night, giving the Yankees a dramatic 11-inning win. A grand celebration ensued. And then a trip to the dentist presumably ensured for Aaron Judge.

Seems that Judge broke a tooth during the scrum, as Gardner’s helmet — which was bouncing around, not on Gardner’s head — bounced up and smacked Judge in the mouth. Judge quickly went to the clubhouse and wasn’t available for comment afterward. If he was, he likely would’ve said “Thith wath a great win. Gardner juth looked for hith pitch and put a good thwing on it.”

Judge is expected to make the start tonight for the Yankees.