And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights


8, Tigers 1
: Sure, Cliff Lee struck out 11 and allowed a single
run, but (a) he didn’t pitch a complete game; and (b) he walked a guy.
Stick a fork in him.

Reds 14, Cubs 3: Drew Stubbs goes nuts — no doubt motivated by rage over the All-Star snub of his teammate Joey Votto — hitting three homers and driving in five.  For his part Votto was ejected in the first inning. He wasn’t mad about the All-Star stuff. He just woke up on the wrong side of the bed yesterday. It happens.

Cardinals 7, Brewers 1: Yovani Gallardo allowed six runs in less than three innings, gave up a three-run double to the opposing pitcher and left with a side injury. But hey, at least it was miserably hot out and he was away from his family on a holiday.

Pirates 8, Phillies 5: OK, I’ve been riding the “don’t worry, the Phillies are going to find themselves soon and turn this thing around” train for a while now, but I’m hoppin’ off at the next station. Good teams just don’t drop three of four to the Pirates. Even injured ones. The Phillies aren’t a good team.

Rays 7, Twins 4: Three hits a piece for Evan Longoria and Sean Rodriguez as the Rays take three of four from the AL Central co-leaders. Nick Blackburn with the latest in a string of blah starts.

Padres 3, Astros 2: San Diego shuts down the Astros’ offense for the third game in a row and continues to lead the league in pitching. In other news, no Padres pitchers made the All-Star team.

Orioles 6, Red Sox 1: Brian Matusz picks up his first win in forever, shutting down the Sox on two hits over seven innings while striking out eight. Ronan Tynan sang “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch for reasons that are known only to God and someone in the Red Sox’ promotions office. Frankly, I would have been less surprised to see the corpse of Woody Guthrie out there singing “This Land is Your Land.”  Probably would have enjoyed that more too, as long as he kept in the good socialist lyrics I like from the often-overlooked fifth and sixth verses.

Mets 9, Nationals 5: Last week I complained about the fact that Jason Bay was benched by Jerry Manuel on Canada Day. I had forgotten that he became a U.S. citizen last year, so maybe it wasn’t as big a deal. For what it’s worth he busted out the whuppin’ stick on his new nation’s birthday, going 2 for 5 with a triple and driving in four. Jerry Manuel brought in K-Rod with a four run lead despite the fact that he got shelled on Saturday and despite the fact that he has now pitched in five of the last six games. Save situation or no, you gotta give that guy a break, don’t you?

Yankees 7, Blues Jays 6: Mariano Rivera blew a save but the Yankees overcame their understandable shock and won it on a Marcus Thames walkoff single in the tenth. Brett Gardner hit a two-run inside the park home run that should have been scored an error on Dewayne Wise. Sun or no sun, the ball bounced off his friggin’ glove. How is that a home run?

Athletics 3, Indians 1: Vin Mazarro gave up a lone run on seven hits in seven and a third beating the Indians’ All-Star pitcher Fausto Carmona. Guess someone has to be an Indians’ All-Star what with that “everyone needs a representative” rule. Little known fact: there are also now rules which specify that everyone gets pizza after the game and that Jacob’s mom drops off and Aiden’s mom picks up.

Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 1: Dan Haren = good. Diamondbacks’ bullpen = bad. Pretty much the story of the season. Matt Kemp continues to mock my criticism of him in last week’s HBT Extra by hitting a two-run homer. I mentioned B.J. Upton in that too, and he also had a good day yesterday. All I need now is Carlos Zambrano to make a surprise return tomorrow and pitch a perfect game to make my humiliation complete.

Marlins 3, Braves 2: Braves fans of a certain stripe — and I’m one of them — have been fretting about Tim Hudson’s low strikeout totals this year. But hey, he struck you seven yesterday and that’s good!  Braves fans who tend to take a bigger picture view of things realize that the strikeout total that matters more is what the other guy is doing to you, and Ricky Nolasco mowed down 11 Braves yesterday. Dan Uggla did all of the offensive damage for the Feesh, driving in two on a double and hitting a solo dinger.

Rockies 4, Giants 3: This bad boy went 15 innings with Todd Helton winning it for the Rockies on a sac fly. Sixteen pitchers were used. The game went 5:24. I love baseball just as much as the next guy, but jeez . . .

White Sox 5, Rangers 3: Two of three for the Chisox who are a single
game behind the division leaders.

Angels 11, Royals 0: Two home runs seven RBI for Torii Hunter and seven shutout innings for Joel Piniero. A rare national TV game for the Royals didn’t do much to change people’s perceptions about them, did it?

Starts times of postseason games announced


Every year the playoff schedule is announced, every year people complain. And it’s understandable why they do. After six months of games starting at around 7pm — bam! — the playoffs come and you’re either staying up late or tuning in early to watch your local nine.

Of course, the reason for this is that Major League Baseball has two fundamental problems to deal with when the playoffs come around (a) the country is big; and (b) baseball is local and two-thirds and more of the fans don’t have a local team to root for in the playoffs. As such, baseball has to make a schedule that somehow deals with teams — like the Mets and Dodgers — who have big time differences between their home fan bases while trying to rope in as many national viewers as possible.

This means compromises and weirdness like, say, the first couple of Mets-Dodgers games starting after 9pm Eastern time on Friday and Saturday. Or the Texas Rangers starting a game at what, back home in Texas, will be 11:45AM. Which, admittedly, aren’t great start times, but do we expect Dodgers fans in L.A. to fight Friday rush hour traffic and be home in time to watch a game featuring the local team any earlier than 6pm? Seems like a tall order.

Anyway, the early round schedule was just released and you can see it below. If you are so inclined you can find all manner of inconveniences here. Sure, if you don’t have a job — or if being online and watching baseball all day is your job — Friday’s back-to-back-to-back-to-back playoff games are pretty sweet. But otherwise, just plan accordingly and do the best you can.

And remember: no one gives a rip about these schedule issues about ten minutes after the games start:

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Wild Card, Division series umpires announced

Angel Hernandez

Major League Baseball just released the umpire assignments for the Wild Card Game and the Division Series. As always, the basis for these assignments is a proprietary, scientific calculation undertaken by Major League Baseball, mixing in (a) skill; (b) seniority; and (c) trolling of baseball bloggers who, unlike 99% of the rest of the world actually know the names and track records of various umpires and who are easily riled.

Which is to say that, while we have no Joe West in the early playoff rounds this year — too obvious, perhaps? — we do get an Angel Hernandez.

Here are the assignments. The asterisks represent the crew chief of each unit. Guys with little up arrows next to their names are regular season crew chiefs in their own right. Print this out and keep it near your television so you know who to yell about before the broadcasters tell you who to yell at:

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