And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Mets 3, Braves 2: I get the sense that we’ll be calling this one the “Francoeur Game” for some time. A bad route by Frenchie on what should have been a single to right led to the Braves’ second run, but then (a) Kyle Farnsworth walked Francouer on four pitches in the seventh and he came around to score; and (b) Frenchie hit the winning home run off Billy Wagner in the ninth. I can’t be mad at Francoeur. The guy’s not evil and he used to be part of my baseball life. Good for him for doing something great in the course of such an awful season. That dinger probably made his year, and everyone should get that kind of joy in their lives once in a while, even if it pains some of us to have to watch it.

Rays 6, Twins 4: Three-run bombs by Sean Rodriguez and B.J. Upton and now the Rays are in first place.  Why?

Blue Jays 8, Yankees 2: That’s why. Rickey Romero tosses a complete game two-hitter. But New York writers can’t be bothered to break down a great pitching performance by the opposition. No, they have to latch onto or create some narrative to explain the outcome in a way that creates a Yankee hero or a Yankee goat.  To wit: I haven’t seen the column yet, but after this game ended last night the New York Post’s Kevin Kernan tweeted that his story for today would be that the Yankees are “letting 600 get in their heads.”  As if anyone on the team cares beyond what it means for dumb reporters’ questions after the game.  Nothing to do with Girardi penciling in a peculiar bottom of the order. Nothing to do with Romero throwing bullets. It’s not even just an A-Rod story anymore. No, the whole damn team is infected by 600-itis!  Brilliant! UPDATE: Kernan didn’t disappoint: “The milestone has become a millstone around the neck of A-Rod and the Yankees.” Oy.

Red Sox 3, Indians 1: Fisticuffsmanship!  Well, pushing, shoving and jawing anyway. Josh Beckett hit a couple of dudes. So later Indians’ relievers Justin Germano and Jensen Lewis threw behind the backs of Papi and Beltre, respectively, which led to he aforementioned shoving and jawing and then ejecting. As for the baseball, Mike Lowell smacked a two-run homer on the first pitch he saw.

White Sox 12, Tigers 2; Tigers 7, White Sox 1: Like I said a couple of weeks ago: split a double-header and it’s like you wasted a day. Like you’ve ended on a note of ambiguity instead of being able to go to bed with the satisfaction of a win or the emptiness of a loss. With at least said emptiness being a resolved note, rather than a dissonant one. But a split? Runnin’ to stand still, baby. Ha La La La De Day. Ha La La La De Day, ha La La De Day.

Phillies 6, Marlins 1: Roy Halladay struck out nine over seven innings and had a two-run single to boot. The Phillies have lost a ton of position players, but Halladay has been there all year, and there’s no way to overstate how huge that has been.

Orioles 6, Angels 3: Buck Showalter’s Orioles are undefeated.

Pirates 7, Reds 6: The Reds came close to fighting back from a 7-1 deficit but fell a tad short. Hard core Pirates fans and fantasy junkies will be interested to note that Joel Hanrahan appears to have been given closer’s duties in Pittsburgh following the trade of Octavio Dotel. The rest of you can continue reading up on Steelers’ camp.

Astros 18, Cardinals 4: I’m becoming convinced that the NL Central is really a rec softball league.  Best part of this rout: Tony La Russa had infielder Aaron miles pitch the ninth inning yet somehow resisted the urge to play the matchups and yank Miles with a situational lefty infielder later in the inning.

Brewers 4, Cubs 3: When you strike out ten dudes in your major league debut you should probably win that game. Tough stuff for the Cubs’ Thomas Diamond, I guess.  The Cubs just couldn’t get the timely hit to support the kid.

Dodgers 2, Padres 1: The Ted Lilly deal is a good one so far. Lilly allowed only one run on two hits over seven without walking a dude. The Padres’ lone run came from one of their deadline pickups, Miguel Tejada, who hit a first inning dinger.

Mariners 3, Rangers 2: The M’s not only scored their first run since Friday, but they snapped their seven game losing streak too. Not that they really brought out the lumber: “They singled us to death,” Ron Washington said after the game.  Hey, whatever gets the job done.

Diamondbacks 6, Nationals 1: Mark Reynolds hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning, then was beaned by a pitch in the sixth. Reynolds on the pitch from Colin Balester: “I guess the pitch just got away from him.” I truly hope so. There’s nothing uglier in baseball than pitchers hitting a dude on purpose simply because they hit a homer.

Royals 3, Athletics 2: Alex Gordon was 2 for 4 with a double and a home run, and came around to score the winning run on a fielder’s choice by Gregor Blanco in the ninth. I wonder if they’d take Kyle Farnsworth for Gordon?

Giants 10, Rockies 0: Jonathan Sanchez strikes out nine Rockies in six shutout innings and Colorado does nothing to stop the Giants’ bats (note: I’m still having trouble getting my mind around the Giants having bats).  That sound you hear is all hope abandoning the few remaining riders of the Rockies’ bandwagon.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Monday’s action

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 21: Starter Corey Kluber #28 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field on September 21, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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The Indians, leading by one game over the Tigers, can clinch the AL Central on Monday night and they’ll have their best starter going for them in Corey Kluber. Kluber will match up against the Tigers’ Buck Farmer in a 7:10 PM EST start at Comerica Park.

Kluber won the American League Cy Young Award in 2014, going 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA, but regressed last season, finishing with a league-worst total of 16 losses and a 3.49 ERA. Thankfully for the Indians, he bounced back in 2016. He’ll enter tonight’s start with an 18-9 record, a 3.11 ERA, and a 224/56 K/BB ratio in 211 innings. Among qualified starters in the AL, Kluber is fourth-best in ERA behind Michael Fulmer, Masahiro Tanaka, and Rick Porcello.

Kluber’s best case for the Cy Young is a Sabermetric one. Though his record is good, Porcello shares his 3.11 ERA but with a 22-4 record. Kluber, however, has the best Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) in the league at 3.11. FIP, for the uninitiated, is a “retrodictor.” In other words, it attempts to figure out what a pitcher’s ERA should have been if defense weren’t a factor. Kluber shines with a 26.6 percent strikeout rate that ranks as the fourth best in the league and a 6.7 percent walk rate that is the 17th-lowest. xFIP is like FIP but it assumes a home run rate close to the league average (about 10 percent as a percentage of fly balls). Kluber falls back to fifth in the league at 3.46 here, but the only players above him have much worse real results. So, even xFIP bolsters Kluber’s case for the Cy Young Award.

If Kluber is able to help the Indians beat the Tigers on Monday night, the club will have won a division title for the first time since 2007. That was when the club was led by CC Sabathia, then all of 26 years old. It’s been a long time coming for the Indians.

The rest of Monday’s action…

Arizona Diamondbacks (Archie Bradley) @ Washington Nationals (Tanner Roark), 7:05 PM EDT

Chicago Cubs (Kyle Hendricks) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Chad Kuhl), 7:05 PM EDT

New York Yankees (Luis Severino) @ Toronto Blue Jays (J.A. Happ), 7:07 PM EDT

New York Mets (Bartolo Colon) @ Miami Marlins (Adam Conley), 7:10 PM EDT

Milwaukee Brewers (Matt Garza) @ Texas Rangers (Martin Perez), 8:05 PM EDT

Seattle Mariners (Hisashi Iwakuma) @ Houston Astros (Collin McHugh), 8:10 PM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays (Drew Smyly) @ Chicago White Sox (James Shields), 8:10 PM EDT

Cincinnati Reds (Tim Adleman) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Jaime Garcia), 8:15 PM EDT

Oakland Athletics (Sean Manaea) @ Los Angeles Angels (Jered Weaver), 10:05 PM EDT

Officials: Speed, impact likely killed Jose Fernandez

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 03: Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins looks on during a game against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on August 3, 2015 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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Some details have been released in connection with the investigation into the boat crash which killed Jose Fernandez.

Lorenzo Veloz, an official with the Florida Wildlife Commission, told USA Today that the boat carrying Jose Fernandez and two others was traveling at a high rate of speed when it struck rocks as it approached a channel near the port of Miami. While autopsy results have not yet been released, it is likely that trauma from the crash, and not drowning, is what killed the boat’s passengers. Veloz said it did not appear that Fernandez was driving and that, while it was a boat he used often, it did not belong to him. Rather, it belonged to one of the other men killed in the crash.

Veloz said neither drugs nor alcohol are believed to have been a factor in the crash. Toxicology results will take some time, however.

It is estimated that the boat was traveling at full speed, between 55 and 65 miles per hour, when it hit rocks and capsized.