And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Mariners 7, Yankees 4: Cliff Lee throws his third straight complete game. How Nick Swisher managed to hit two homers off him I have no idea, but West Virginia boys who go on to Ohio State are cunning and resourceful by nature. Phil Hughes got beat up. I’m sure all sorts of people will be wringing their hands over the new “Phil Rules” in which his starts are getting pushed back to give him extra rest. Hopefully they can (a) accept the fact that sometimes pitchers just have bad games; and (b) realize how sick to death most of us get at every Yankees loss bringing forth some big Situation of the Day that must be discussed and analyzed to the nth degree until the next Yankees win.  One or two more of these and I’m sure they’ll be campaigning for Hughes to go back to being a setup guy or something.

Phillies
9, Reds 6
: First Brad Lidge got smacked around, blowing a three-run
lead in the ninth and then Arthur Rhodes got smacked around, giving up
three runs of his own in the tenth, snapping his 30-game scoreless
streak and losing the ballgame. Wilson Valdez started at second base for
the Phillies in place of the injured Chase Utley and all he did was hit
a three-run homer and drive in four overall. So Phillies fans can stop
freaking out for at least one day.

Marlins 7, Mets 6: The Mets blow a 3-0 lead and lose a chance to make up a game on the Braves. That’s two straight troubling starts for Hisanori Takahashi. Who — and I’m just sayin’ here — is currently on the same schedule as Cliff Lee.

Nationals 7, Braves 2: The Braves’ 3-7 hitters combine to go a cool 0 for 19. This used to happen a lot when the Braves’ 3-7 hitters included guys like Gerald Perry, Andres Thomas and Ozzie Virgil. I just have to remember how I used to cope with that.

Cubs 3, Pirates 1: Alfonso Soriano had a couple of homers and Ted Lilly pitched seven strong innings. The Pirates have scored a mere five runs in their last four games.

Red Sox 8, Rays 5: Boston is now only one game behind the Yankees. They also happen to lead the AL in runs per game. Still plenty of room on the “well, maybe I was too quick to make those ‘run prevention is no substitute for run scoring’ jokes I spent all April and May writing” bandwagon, Boston media. Plenty of seats available!

Indians 5, Blue Jays 4: Three straight wins for the Tribe, this one on the back of a nice outing by Fausto Carmona and the first homer for Matt LaPorta since his callup. Appropos of nothing other than the fact that this involves Cleveland, LeBron James flashed across the TV at Chez Calcaterra last night. I’m not the biggest NBA fan in the world, but Mrs. C. knows next to nothing about it. This was our conversation:

Mrs. C: So, is he staying in Cleveland?

Me: I have no idea.

Mrs. C: Won’t he a make boatload of cash if he stays in Cleveland?

Me: He’ll make a boatload of cash no matter where he goes. He’s a free agent.

Mrs. C: Where might he go?

Me: New York. Chicago. Miami.

Mrs. C: If he’s going to make millions anywhere he goes, he should just go to Miami. It’s nicer there during the basketball season than it is in Cleveland.

Brewers 7, Astros 5: So we’re working up an agenda for this week’s HBT Extra segment, and the idea of underachieving players comes up. I pencil in the notion of mentioning Prince Fielder. Not because he’s having a terrible year, really, but just that as a superstar approaching free agency or a trade, the hope had to have been for him to just go crazy this season. We’re also thinking of talking about under-the-radar trade candidates, and I pencil in Brett Myers because he’s pitched well for a team going nowhere. So of course, the night before we tape, Fielder goes off and hits two homers and Myers gets his ass shelled.

White Sox 4, Royals 3: Sometimes you hear that every starter on a given team got a hit and imagine that they beat the tar out of the other guys. The Royals had every starter get a hit, but no one had more than one and all but one of the hits were singles. This is how you “lead the league in hitting” as the Royals are, but rank in the bottom half of the league in, you know, actually scoring.

Cardinals 8, Diamondbacks 0: Seriously, at what point will the Dontrelle Willis torture end? Yet another awful outing for D-Train (4 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 6 BB, 2 HR).  He can’t pitch anymore and just because the Diamondbacks aren’t in the race doesn’t mean that its acceptable to keep running him out there.

Twins 11, Tigers 4: Detroit held onto first place for approximately 24 hours.  Denard Denard Denard Span Span Span had had had three three three triples triples triples.

Athletics 4, Orioles 2: Dallas Braden was scratched before the game with elbow problems, extending his “only bad things have happened since he threw the perfect game” streak to 52 days.  Vin Mazzaro filled in admirably, however, Kurt Suzuki had three RBI and Coco Crisp had three hits, stole two bases and scored twice. Four wins in a row for the Athletics.

Angels 6, Rangers 5: Vlad Guerrero had a homer and three RBIs in his return to Anaheim. Him having a great night but the Rangers losing is how most Angels fans probably hoped it would go in a having your cake and eating it too kind of way.

Rockies 6, Padres 3: The Rockies are certainly challenging that whole “the Padres have awesome pitching and Petco Park is an offense-killer” conventional wisdom this series. Clint Barmes and Carlos Gonzalez went deep for Colorado.

Dodgers 4, Giants 2: Stat that shocked me: Matt Cain is now 0-8 in 14 career starts against the Dodgers. I haven’t seen a record that bad in a rivalry setting since John Cooper was fired from the Ohio State coaching job.

Buddy Carlyle named the Braves new replay assistant

Buddy Carlyle
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The Braves have been terrible with respect to replay challenges this year. Almost improbably terrible. Fredi Gonzalez has challenged calls seven times and he’s been unsuccessful on all seven challenges. Given how these things work, it’s likely because he’s getting bad advice from the Braves employee designated to watch the replays and suggest when challenges should be made.

Now Gonzalez is going to have a new guy in that role. A familiar name too: Buddy Carlyle, who Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports, will join the Braves as a coaching assistant who will handle the replay review decisions.

Carlyle, of course, spent nine seasons as a major league pitcher and nearly 20 as a professional overall. Most recently with the Mets last season before calling it a career. He pitched for the Braves as well, from 2007-09.

Now he’ll provide a new and, hopefully, more discerning set of eyes for the Braves’ replay operation.

Garrett Richards needs Tommy John surgery, Andrew Heaney has UCL damage too

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Garrett Richards throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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Bad, bad news for the Los Angeles Angels: their best starter needs Tommy John surgery and their most promising young starter has UCL damage as well.

Jeff Passan reports that Garrett Richards has a torn right ulnar collateral ligament and is expected to need Tommy John surgery. Richards was scratched from today’s start due to fatigue and dehydration, but Passan says they found the UCL tear while examining him yesterday. Richards is the Angels’ ace, having won 13 games in 2014 and 15 games a year ago. So far this year he a 2.34 ERA in six starts.

Heaney, meanwhile, has damage to his left ulnar collateral ligament, Passan reports. He was diagnosed with a flexor muscle strain after he was placed on the disabled list following his first start of the season, but this is obviously more serious. Unlike Richards, the plan at the moment is for Heaney to rehab rather than go under the knife. Sometimes that works. Often it doesn’t and Tommy John happens later. We’ll see.

These twin blows are huge and terrible for the Angels, who already had serious depth issues basically everywhere on the roster. The conventional wisdom before the year started was that, if everything broke right and everyone stayed healthy, they could possibly contend in an often volatile AL West, but that they didn’t have a big margin for error. This is a lot of error. The Angels are 13-15 and four games out in the division as it is. Without two starters on whom they were counting big, it’s hard to see how the rest of the Angels’ season isn’t going to be a total slog.

Willie Mays gets a cable car named after him

Major League Baseball hall of famer  Willie Mays, who spent the majority of his career as a center fielder with the New York and San Francisco Giants, smiles as President Barack Obama honors the 2012 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants baseball team, Monday, July 29, 2013, during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. The team beat the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 World Series, their second championship since the franchise moved to San Francisco from New York in 1958. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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This is not exactly stunning news, but it’s Willie Mays’ 85th birthday today and any excuse to talk about Willie Mays is a good one. Happy Birthday, Willie!

The pretext is a story in the San Francisco Chronicle about how The Greatest Baseball Player of All Time (my view anyway) is getting an iconic cable car named after him. An icon named after an icon, I guess. The cable car is, appropriately, number 24.

Next month I’m taking my kids on vacation to California and we’re spending a few days in San Francisco. It’ll be a shame when I tell them we have to cancel half of a day’s plans while I make them wait for one particular cable car to come by so they can take my picture with it, but that’s just what they have to deal with given that I’m their dad.

Carlos Gomez calls out a hit piece-writing columnist

Houston Astros' Carlos Gomez (30) reacts after hitting a double in the second inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
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Yesterday I wrote about a column written by Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. It was about Astros outfielder Carlos Gomez, who has had a poor start to the year.

The column, as I noted, was a hatchet job, blaming Gomez for the Astros’ problems despite the fact that Gomez is by far from the biggest of the Astros’ problems. It was particularly bad in that it presented an unedited bit of broken English from Gomez which seemed calculated to cast Gomez in a bad light. Many journalists were critical of Smith in this regard, noting that he could’ve used a translator, could have paraphrased or could’ve done some mild correction via brackets, as is often done with quotes from non-native English speakers.

Last night Gomez took to Twitter to call out Smith himself:

It’s possible to write a column about how a player hasn’t lived up to expectations without being an insensitive jackass. It’s possible to do so even in the sharpest of ways. Smith didn’t do that, however, and didn’t make an effort to try, it seems. Gomez is right to take issue with it. And I suspect that Gomez’s teammates and organization take issue with it too. Which likely doesn’t bode well for Smith getting cooperation from others in the Astros family.