And That Happened: Monday's Scores and Highlights

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Rays 6, Rangers 4: Once again, a highly touted pitching matchup fails to yield a great pitchers duel. David Price walked five guys, but only gave up two runs. Cliff Lee was cruising, striking out ten guys, but he hit a brick wall in the eighth, giving up a series of hits while watching his 4-2 led turn into a 6-4 deficit. Circumstances conspired to keep me from watching this game, but anyone who did: why did Ron Washington wait so long to pull Lee when he was apparently throwing batting practice by the time the eighth rolled around?  It seems like Lee has gone really long quite often since coming over to Texas. Does anyone realize that, yes, they’re going to need him come October, so maybe he could use a bit of a rest? Especially when he’s in trouble?

Blue Jays 3, Athletics 1: Shaun Marcum is the latest to flirt with a no-no, losing his in the seventh on a Connor Jackson homer. That’s all he’d give up, however, finishing with a complete game one-hitter. Jose Bautista hit what, at the time, was ruled an inside-the-park home run because my fellow New Albany, Ohio resident — umpire Tim Timmons — ruled the ball in play. After the game it was ruled that the ball actually left the park, making it a regular homer. Strange. People from my town never make mistakes.

Pirates 7, Marlins 1: Pittsburgh breaks its seven game losing streak. Garrett Jones and Pedro Alvarez each had three RBI and James McDonald gave up one run on three hits in seven innings. The Pirates are 13-48 on the road and 27-30 at home. Is this heaven? No, it’s Pittsburgh.

Braves 4, Dodgers 3: If you would have told me last winter that Melky Carbrera and Rick Ankiel would be hitting back-to-back in the Braves lineup in August I would have killed myself. But there they are. On Sunday Ankiel took a couple of walks and was a key contributor to a 13-run outburst and last night Melky had a clutch two-run single to bring the Braves back from 3-1 deficit to win the game in the bottom of the ninth.  I don’t recommend counting on these guys to be heroes — and I may still kill myself before this is all said and done — but on those rare occasions they do come through it is, well, not satisfying really, but certainly something.

Orioles 5, Mariners 4: A walkoff bunt single for Adam Jones. That’s something you don’t see every day.

Mets 3, Astros 1: Taking the lead on a ninth inning wild pitch. That’s something you don’t see every day. You also don’t see RBI triples from Jeff Francoeur that often, but he provided the insurance. And, introducing your new Mets closer: Hisanori Takahashi. I was hoping for Oliver Perez, but you can’t always get what you want.

Padres 9, Cubs 5: Who went and woke up Miguel Tejada? Dude went 4 for 5
with a double and a couple of RBI. He’s been a nice pickup for the
Padres so far. Rare shaky night for the Padres’ pen, though. It took
five relievers to nail this one down.

Tigers 3, Yankees 1: Max Scherzer keeps the Yankees bats silent (6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 6K). A-Rod and Nick Swisher left the game early with various ailments. Derek Jeter grounded out into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded. I’m sure the people who keep track of how clutch he is and inform the rest of us about it all the damn time missed the play while watering flowers or walking the dog of holding their hands over their ears, eyes closed, yelling “LA LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!” Oh, and expect Scherzer’s performance to bring forth “The Yankees do poorly against guys they face for the first time” stuff we’ve been hearing so much of lately. Anyone have any numbers on this? It seems like fans of every team says this sort of thing.

Max Scherzer will not be ready for Opening Day

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Ten days ago Nationals ace Max Scherzer said he’d be ready for the start of the regular season. “I’m gonna do it,” Scherzer said.

[Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice] — No, he’s not:

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team’s opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation.

He’s still projected to make it to the opening rotation, taking the hill, most likely, on Thursday April 6 against the Marlins. At least if the schedule doesn’t slip any more.

Scherzer, as you probably know, has a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, which has messed with his preparation and has caused him to alter his grip a bit. As of now Stephen Strasburg will get the Opening Day nod.

Theo Epstein named The World’s Greatest Leader

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Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.

For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.

So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?

The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.

I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.

Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.

But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.