And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Mariners 7, Yankees 0: Having Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez shut the Yankees down in back-to-back games was exactly how the Mariners drew it up this offseason. Only they figured it would happen in meaningful games in October as opposed to playing-out-the-string-already-time in late June.  But hey, dominance is dominance, and King Felix had it in abundance last night (CG SHO, 2 H, 11K). Still, I’ll be curious to read how the tabloids pin this on some fatal Yankee flaw this morning, because how else could they ever lose a game?

Dodgers 8, Giants 2: You know what’s fun? Building an entire video segment around how Matt Kemp is struggling and how you don’t know what to make of it and you don’t know when it will end, taping it, and then prior to post-production being completed, having Kemp go 3 for 4 with a homer and 3 RBI. But screw it, we’re gonna post the video later because if we didn’t then you wouldn’t get to see me wearing a shirt with a collar that gaps up all crazy and stupid looking. Mr. DeMille: I’m ready for my closeup.

Astros 5, Brewers 1: Could have been worse. I gave serious thought to doing a “what the hell is the matter with Wandy Rodriguez” segment. Wandy: 7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 6K.

Braves 4, Nationals 1: Jair Jurrjens returned, looked sharp, struck out a lot of guys until he ran out of gas in the fifth and sixth. But that’s OK because he’s not exactly in midseason form from a conditioning perspective right now. And really, given how they’re hitting the ball, the Nats are essentially a rehab start-quality opponent to begin with.

Royals 7, White Sox 6: Greinke was basically cruising — giving up a lot of hits, but allowing only one run — until the eighth when he came crashing back to Earth and the Sox plated five. KC held on, however, lucky to have built up that 7-1 lead through seven.

Padres 13, Rockies 3: Just another game in that bandbox they call a ballpark down in San Diego. The Rockies and the Padres combined for 41 runs in this three-game series. Clayton Richard was on point last night, though (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 10K).

Rays 9, Red Sox 4: The bottom of the order — Sean Rodriguez, Kelly Shoppach and Jason Bartlett — got the job done for Tampa Bay, combining for seven RBI. Matt Garza was solid into the eighth, striking out five and walking two and allowing three runs on six hits (two of the three runs scored after he left the game).

Pirates 2, Cubs 0: My daddy said “son you’re gonna drive me to drinkin’ if you can’t start hittin off hot Brad Lincoln.” Um, let’s just move on, shall we?

Diamondbacks 4, Cardinals 2: Say what you want about Yankees-Red Sox games taking forever, but at least those teams have a bunch of great players and stuff. This one featured a Barry Enright-Jeff Suppan matchup that went nearly four hours. Oy vey.

Indians 3, Blue Jays 1: Aaron Laffey’s wife had a son yesterday and he used that as inspiration for his winning performance: “With runners on base or when I was behind in the count, I thought,
‘Come on, your son was born yesterday, you can’t give in.'”  Which is crazy. The day after our kids were born we were each so physically and/or emotionally drained, giving in was the only option. Really, I think I let my then-19 month-old daughter smoke cigarettes the day the boy was born, because I just couldn’t find the will to do anything but acquiesce. By all rights Laffey should have walked 16 dudes and left the mound in a heap. Good for him for not doing so.

Orioles 9, Athletics 6: Five homers for the O’s, including a Luke Scott solo shot in the seventh on which he injured his hamstring during the trot. Assuming it’s not a totally serious injury, you can bet he’ll be fined a righteous amount of money in kangaroo court as God, nature and kangaroos intended.

Reds 4, Phillies 3: I hit this one up yesterday. Fun way to pass the time yesterday afternoon: reading people who pay no attention to the NL Central write things afterward to the effect of “Hey, you know what? The Reds are pretty decent.”

Twins 5, Tigers 1: I hit this one up too. Random fact ESPN threw out there in their recap: “The Twins improved to 38-0 this season when leading after eight innings.” I’d be curious to see the numbers on this for every team. I’m guessing that while hardly any other teams are undefeated in such situations, most if not all teams have overwhelmingly good records. I guess this is just a more polite way of suggesting that Joe Nathan’s injury hasn’t turned out to be that big a deal.

Rangers 6, Angels 4: Vlad was a one-man wrecking crew: grand slam in the fourth, solo shot in the eighth and a double and a single to go along with the blasts. Mike Scioscia: “He’s obviously at a level we haven’t seen in a
couple of years.” No kiddin’.

Mets 6, Marlins 5: The Mets salvage the three-game series with a win despite allowing 17 hits. It helped that the Feesh made four errors. Edwin Rodriguez: “I think it was a good ending, other than the loss.” I’m inspired. How about you?

Collins worried David Wright might go on disabled list

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
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NEW YORK (AP) Mets manager Terry Collins is worried David Wright may wind up on the disabled list because of a neck injury.

New York’s captain and third baseman was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day Monday because of his neck. He was given anti-inflammatory medicine over the weekend.

Now 33, Wright was on the disabled list from April 15 to Aug. 24 last year when he strained his right hamstring and then developed spinal stenosis. He has a lengthy physical therapy routine he must go through before each game.

“With the condition he’s been playing in and the condition he’s in right now, yeah, I’m concerned about it,” Collins said Monday. “Is it going to happen? I can’t tell you. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. I know this guy plays with a lot of discomfort. He always has. And when he can’t play, he’s hurt.”

Wright homered in three straight games last week before getting hurt. He is batting .226 with seven homers, 14 RBIs and 55 strikeouts in 137 at-bats.

Settling the Scores: Memorial Day edition

ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 21:  American flags are shown after being placed by members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment at the graves of U.S. soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in preparation for Memorial Day May 21, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. "Flags-In" has become an annual ceremony since the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) was designated to be an Army's official ceremonial unit in 1948  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died in military service. At some point in the past couple of decades, however, it has become an all-purpose flag-waving, patriotism-declaring, civilians-in-camouflage holiday. It’s understandable why this is the case. We, as a country, haven’t always done mourning well. I think it’s part of our national cultural DNA that we don’t and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make days like this difficult.

I feel like the flag-waving and troop-supporting stuff is some sort of subconscious reaction to death. It’s our way of instantly trying to justify those deaths or to explain how they were not in vain, much the same way we might tell someone upon the death of a loved one that they’re in a better place or that they had a full life. Feeling the pain of loss is hard. We want to soften it in any way we can and make our pain serve a larger, better purpose. And so we get today, when Major League Baseball puts its players in camouflage caps and in jerseys with camouflage logos. They’ll sell them too, with proceeds going to good and noble veterans charities. The intent is noble and the ultimate effect of it all is beneficial. But it’s also a little beside the point. Maybe not beside the point as much as mattress sales or big celebratory barbecues which have come to characterize Memorial Day for so many, but still not exactly the purpose of the holiday.

I don’t condemn it. As I wrote last year, the men and women who actually fought and died in wars were hoping that they were, ultimately, making a better and happier world for those they left behind. And they no doubt hoped, among everything else they hoped, that others didn’t have to face what they were facing. They wanted our lives to be happy and our country to be safe and part of a happy and safe country involves 300 million people doing whatever it is they damn please, even if it’s just having barbecues and wearing camo at the ballpark.

I won’t say have a happy Memorial Day because that seems odd. Have any kind of Memorial Day you want, really, even if it includes barbecuing, drinking beer and wearing a cam ballcap. But as you do, please make sure you take some time to think about those who died in military service. And remember that they didn’t get to have as many days like the one you’re having as they were meant to have. And make at least some effort to offset your happy, patriotic or silly pursuits with some mourning and reflectiveness. It’s OK for that to stand on its own.

The scores:

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3
Orioles 6, Indians 4
Yankees 2, Rays 1
Nationals 10, Cardinals 2
Brewers 5, Reds 4
Royals 5, White Sox 4
Cubs 7, Phillies 2
Rangers 6, Pirates 2
Astros 8, Angels 6
Athletics 4, Tigers 2
Twins 5, Mariners 4
Giants 8, Rockies 3
Diamondbacks 6, Padres 3
Marlins 7, Braves 3
Dodgers 4, Mets 2

 

Should Dave Roberts have taken Clayton Kershaw out of Sunday’s game?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will likely be second-guessed heavily during tomorrow’s news cycle. Starter Clayton Kershaw had pitched a terrific ballgame, as is his tendency, but with 114 pitches to his name, Roberts decided to pull him from the game in the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on first base.

Roberts opted not for closer Kenley Jansen, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, but for another lefty in Adam Liberatore. He was playing the numbers, with the left-handed-hitting Curtis Granderson coming up. Liberatore, much to Roberts’ chagrin, served up what turned out to be a game-tying triple to Granderson, hitting a rocket to right-center just out of the reach of a leaping Yasiel Puig.

Jansen has, for six years, been one of the game’s elite relievers. Kershaw, though at a high pitch count, doesn’t seem to suffer from the times through the order penalty like most pitchers. Kershaw’s opponents’ OPS facing him for the first time was .525 coming into Sunday. Twice, .597. Three times, .587. Four times, .526 (but this suffers from survivorship bias so it’s not exactly representative).

Furthermore, Kershaw held lefties to a .546 OPS over his career. Liberatore, in 99 plate appearances against lefty hitters, gave up a .575 OPS. Jansen? .560. It seems that, faced with three decisions, Roberts arguably made the worst one. Playing conservative with Kershaw at 114 pitches is defensible, but only if Jansen comes in. If Roberts wanted the platoon advantage, Kershaw should have stayed in.

Luckily for the Dodgers, Mets closer Jeurys Familia didn’t have his best stuff. He loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth on a single and two walks, then gave up a two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Jansen came on in the bottom half of the ninth and retired the side in order to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Royals sweep White Sox over the weekend on three late rallies

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 28:  Brett Eibner #12 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his game-winning RBI single with teammates in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium on May 28, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 8-7. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The Royals had themselves a pretty good weekend. The quickly fading White Sox, not so much.

On Friday, the Royals fell behind 5-1 after the top of the sixth. They would score once in the bottom of the sixth, four times in the seventh, and once in the eighth to steal a 7-5 win facing pitchers Miguel Gonzalez Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and Nate Jones.

On Saturday, the Royals entered the bottom of the ninth down 7-1. They scored seven runs on closer David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to win 8-7.

On Sunday, the Royals were down 4-2 after the top of the eighth. They plated three runs in the bottom half of the eighth against Jones and Albers, going on to win 5-4.

Coming into the weekend, the Royals were 24-22 in third place. The White Sox were 27-21, a half-game up in first place. Now the Royals are in first place by a game and a half, and the White Sox are in third place, two games out of first.

Here’s video of the Royals’ comeback on Saturday, since it was so unlikely: