And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights


White Sox 11, Twins 0: Paul Konerko was a triple short of a cycle. (Oh crap; now I’m in trouble!).

Angels 7, Red Sox 2: Anaheim finally wins one against Boston. A three-run homer from Hideki Matsui in the 6th opened things up for the Angels. Know what ain’t lookin’ good right now? Josh Beckett’s contract extension (6 IP, 7 H, 6 ER).

Orioles 4, Rangers 0: Brian Matusz shut the Rangers out over eight. He had struggled mightily against them in two previous starts this year so maybe our children is learning. Texas is 2-5 since Greenberg and Ryan took over, by the way. I think I’m gonna try and get some sort of curse started. By the time it gains cultural purchase, people will have forgotten that I invented it from whole cloth.

Giants 5, Phillies 2: Jonathan Sanchez shut the Phillies down until
tiring in the ninth. Bruce Bochy removed Sanchez from the game in the
middle of Placido Polanco’s at bat in the ninth while he had a five run
lead. At the time he had exactly 100 pitches. Someone want to give Bochy
the pitch count lecture again? I mean, yeah, monitor it, but no one is
gonna die if they get to 101.

Astros 3, Mets 2: Hard to expect a hell of a lot more from Pat Misch
than three runs in six innings. The Mets just couldn’t get it done with
the bats.

Padres 5, Cubs 3: I’m beginning to think that this Mat Latos character can pitch a little bit (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 10K). And this was fun.  Pro tip: when you call time out, make sure time out is granted before you lollygag around the infield.

Nationals 6, Braves 2: Atlanta pop-fouled and ran its way out of potential rallies in both the sixth and eighth innings and the Nats pen shut the Braves down in the final innings, preventing one of their increasingly common late game comebacks.

Yankees 11, Tigers 5: When the sixth inning began it was 2-2. when it ended it was 11-2. Robinson Cano hit a two-run bomb and an RBI double that inning. He also finished a triple short of the cycle!  (Damn!)

Dodgers 2, Rockies 0: The season hasn’t gone the way the Dodgers want it to, but you can’t blame their main trade deadline pickup. Ted Lilly was masterful, throwing a two-hit shutout with a 11 strikeouts.

Reds 9, Diamondbacks 5: The Reds are on their longest winning streak of the year — six games — and now have their largest lead over the Cardinals all year as well: three and a half games.

Athletics 4, Rays 3: Most of Trevor Cahill’s recent starts have been dominant. This one was less so — he was in a bit of trouble — but he fought through it and got some timely offensive support and some great defensive behind him. Included in that was a couple of double plays and this spiffy catch from Coco Crisp.

Indians 7, Royals 3: The winning team had five errors. There were 23 hits in the game. It lasted 3:24. The stands were basically empty. Gametime temperature was 90. I love baseball with a passion, but being at this game would seriously test it.

Marlins 4, Pirates 2: Susan Sontag once said that “the
life of the creative man is led, directed and controlled by boredom.
Avoiding boredom is one of our most important purposes.” While I believe that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap, there’s something to that quote. It’s something that inspired me not to spend any time reading the box score or dwelling too deeply on the specifics of a mid-to-late August, midweek Marlins-Pirates game. Life is too damn short. I’m sorry.

I’m goin’ on vacation next week. Based on the fact that I punted those last two recaps I probably need it.

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar
1 Comment

Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.

Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.

Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.

It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.

The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.

Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.

Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.

Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
Leave a comment

After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.

The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.