And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Rockies 6, Mets 2: Two outs, runners on second and third, a base open
and Troy Tulowitzski at the plate. I hate intentional walks, but I
understand that a lot of managers would walk Tulowtizki in that spot.
Especially to bring up Melvin Mora. Boy did that ever bite Jerry Manuel
in the ass! Grand slam for Mora, game basically over.

Padres 8, Pirates 5:
Sometimes I wonder if, on a road trip, Pirates players ever consider
walking away from the team hotel and defecting like they were Soviet
ballet dancers or something. I’m pretty sure there’s a U.N. resolution
somewhere that covers the dire situation in which they find themselves
and would counsel that the home team provide them asylum.

Diamondbacks 8, Brewers 2:
Adam LaRoche, Miguel Montero, Mark Reynolds and Stephen Drew went back
to back to back to back in the fourth inning.  All four came off Dave
Bush, by the way, who apparently is unaware of certain settled concepts.

Phillies 2, Dodgers 0: Matt Kemp was on the bench again because, according to Joe
Torre, he wanted to run out the lineup that had scored 15 runs the night
before. Maybe he would have been better off somehow finding a way to bench Roy Oswalt, because I think the opposing pitcher had a lot more to do with it.

Yankees 7, Rangers 6:
The Yankees got to Cliff Lee enough to keep it close, but then they
really got to Frank Francisco and Neftali Feliz to secure a comeback win
after being down 6-1. Good to see Mariano Rivera close it down a day
after a blown save. Fragile young closers like him need to get right
back on that horse after falling off, you know, lest they get all
erratic and nervous.

Marlins 9, Nationals 5:
Mike Stanton went 5 for 5 with two doubles a homer and four RBI.  OK,
now that that’s out of the way, allow me to observe that between
Washington, Miami and Atlanta, the NL East has to be the most humid
and disgusting division in baseball, weather-wise. I can’t think of any division that — in the
aggregate — plays in more oppressive, swampy heat. Baltimore gets ugly,
of course, but they’re offset by a couple of domes and northern teams in their
division. Same with Kansas City. Texas sucks, but lovely Anaheim,
Oakland and Seattle temperatures more than offset it. Philly and New
York don’t nearly outweigh the awfulness of D.C.-to-Miami weather. These are the things I think about when I’m on the 1,356th straight day of sitting in air conditioning.

Braves 8, Astros 2: My Mets and Phillies friends told me “beware of late-season Billy Wagner!” They kinda have a point. Still, the Braves gotta score more than two runs in regulation before they can really start worrying about their closer blowing one here or there. And hey, if Wagner had locked this one down then Brian McCann wouldn’t have had that grand slam, and the grand slam was great fun.

Cardinals 6, Reds 1: Hit this one up as it ended yesterday. The Reds, ironically, were the ones who ended up gettin’ told.

Athletics 5, Mariners 1: Dallas Braden turns in his second best performance of the year, going the distance and allowing a single run. Three doubles and three RBI for Mark Ellis, who hit into a triple play on Monday. This is important. This means something.

White Sox 6, Twins 1: John Danks has been pretty incredible lately. Last night: 8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 7K. The dogfight in the AL Central continues.

Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 1: Two homers for Bill Hall and bombs from J.D. Drew and Adrian Beltre as well.

Orioles 3, Indians 1: Buck Showalter is The Doormat Whisperer. Brad Bergesen with a complete game two-hitter.  Only complaint: with thirteen hits and three walks, the O’s really should have scored more than three runs.

Angels 2, Royals 1: Bobby Abreu walks off with a bomb off Jesse Chavez who, for reasons known only to Ned Yost, was pitching in a critical situation. Great starts by both Zack Greinke and Jered Weaver, each allowing only one run on six hits in eight innings.

Tigers 3, Rays 2: Detroit salvages one as Matt Garza, sadly, does not no-hit the Tigers again.

Giants 5, Cubs 4: Pat Burrell had a couple of big hits and a nice defensive play on a relay throw from left field. At this point he should probably petition to have his time in Tampa Bay just expunged from his record, no?

Programming Note: I’m going to be gone tomorrow for what is, as far as you know, some important business. As such, there won’t be any “And That Happened.” Please try to find a way to muddle through the day . . . somehow.

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)
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: