And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights


Twins 6, Rangers 5: The coach-touching-the-runner interference call which ended this one is kind of nuts. Mostly because I can’t remember this even being talked about during a ballgame let alone ever having seen it. But it happened, Michael Young was out and the Rangers lost a game it looked like they were poised to at least tie up. My initial thought: even if there was contact here it was nothing of consequence, and did not “physically assist the runner in returning to or leaving third base,” which is what the contact needs to do per the rule in order to justify calling the runner out. In other words, it’s a judgment call, and the ump here, I think, judged it poorly.

All that said, how hilarious was it that third base coach Dave Anderson first yanked his hands back and then busted ass to get back inside the third base coach box as Young was running back to third? He knew they touched, and was trying his best to sell it that they didn’t. I still don’t think Young should have been called out, but maybe there’s a reason they have coaches boxes in the first place, huh?

White Sox 7, Red Sox 5: This is the game that sealed Papelbon’s non-tender this winter, right? Yeah, I realize that Richardson and Manuel walked in the go-ahead run and one to grow on, but they were Papelbon’s guys and the first rule of closing is not to put dudes on, right? Oh, and I’m guessing the White Sox are even angrier at that coach’s interference call in the Rangers-Twins game than the Rangers are. I mean, Texas basically has its playoff spot locked up. The Sox needed Minnesota to lose that one.

Cardinals 4, Reds 2: St. Louis took two of three, but is even that enough at this juncture? Chris Carpenter struck out 11. Matt Holliday hit the three-run bomb to put the Cards up for good. Future Braves centerfielder Colby Rasmus was 2 for 3.

Rockies 4, Padres 2: This is getting really hard to watch. Ten straight down, now the Giants are on the Padres’ heels and the Rockies — 4.5 back — aren’t far behind.

Giants 3, Dodgers 0: How close are the Giants? One game now thanks to a gem from Jonathan Sanchez (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 9K). A two run homer for Juan Uribe — his second of the series — but he had to leave the game because, right before his bomb, he fouled one off his leg. Check in with lar and the Tater Trot Tracker to see if Uribe’s trot was negatively impacted.

Mets 18, Cubs 5: An eighteen run outburst on getaway day. How fun do you suppose that flight to D.C. was for the Mets yesterday? Courtesy of the Crank: the Mets have scored 18 or more runs in games seven times in their glorious history. Four of those games were in Wrigley Field.

Marlins 7, Braves 6: I’m happy I spent my afternoon toiling in our basement crawlspace rather than going from angry (Marlins take 6-0 lead) to happy (Braves tie it up) to angry again (Marlins win it in the 10th). Although the crawlspace toiling sucks on several levels too. For one thing my legs are in flaming pain today from all of the crouching and lugging of stuff. For another, most of the lugging was of baseball cards, getting them out of the main part of the basement and into storage so I can make room for a treadmill and weight setup, which will put me in even more pain. Hell, maybe I should have just had a few beers and watched this mess of a game to begin with? In other news, I have way too many damn baseball cards.

Brewers 6, Phillies 2: Philly couldn’t take advantage of Atlanta’s stumble as Kyle Kendrick gave up a three-run bomb to Prince Fielder in the first inning and the Brewers never gave up the lead. Philly remains one behind the Braves.

Mariners 3, Indians 0: I felt pretty confident that Zack Greinke was going to win the Cy Young last year because his ERA and peripherals were so damn good that they had to overcome a lackluster win total that wasn’t his fault.  I’m less confident in Felix Hernandez pulling the same trick this year. Not because he’s not the best starter in the AL — he clearly is in my mind — but because the writers just ain’t gonna do the right thing twice in a row. Anyway, King Felix shut out the Tribe over eight and struck out nine dudes. He’s now 11-10 on the season, but he has 209Ks, has an ERA of 2.30, a WHIP of 1.09 and is going to finish with something like 250 innings pitched and fewer than 20 homers allowed.

Nationals 8, Pirates 1: Not all last place teams are created equal. Pirates starter Charlie Morton did lower his ERA from 10.03 to 9.66, though, so that’s a moral victory, right? Jason
Marquis refereed to himself in the third person after today’s game, describing his recent struggles thusly: “
That wasn’t Jason Marquis; it was Jason Marquis but pitching hurt, trying to battle through.” Craig doesn’t feel comfortable with a guy like Marquis doing that.

Blue Jays 7, Yankees 3: Haven’t scanned the tabloids yet, so someone tell me if any of them have blamed the return of A-Rod for the Yanks’ winning streak getting snapped. I wouldn’t bet a pair of fetid dingo’s kidneys that no one went there. I’d probably bet the pink slip to my car that they did.

Orioles 8, Rays 7: Rocco Baldelli hit a two-run homer in his first at bat of the season and three other Rays had dingers too, but they weren’t enough to stop Buck Showalter from snagging his 900th career win.

Royals 2, Tigers 1: Jim Leyland: “You’re not going to win any games normally with three hits.”  That’s why he makes the big bucks, folks.

Angels 7, Athletics 4: Anaheim salvages one after getting shut down on Friday and Saturday. Ervin Santana lowers ran his career ERA against Oakland to 1.80 ERA and improved to 12-3 against them lifetime.

Astros 3, Diamondbacks 2: From the AP recap: “Get rid of the first eight games of the season and the Houston Astros would be a .500 team.” Yeah, and if a frog had wings he wouldn’t bump his ass a-hoppin’. OK, that was harsh. I get the point — the Astros have been pretty good in recent weeks — but I like to whip out that “if a frog had wings” thing once or twice a year and I don’t think I’ve done it yet. I got another one about how my auntie would be me uncle if certain things were different, but this is a family blog so I’ll save that for when I usually use it: in conversations with my children.

The Mets break out the whuppin’ sticks, rout the Dodgers 13-7

Cespedes d'Arnaud

So often in life the anticipation of something outpaces its reality. For Mets fans tonight, it was the exact opposite. They had a grand old time. The Mets broke out the lumber and overwhelmed the Dodgers 13-4 to take a 2-1 lead in NLDS.

So much of that anticipation was about revenge, really. Hitting Chase Utley if he was in the lineup, perhaps, or at the very least sending some sort of retaliatory message the Dodgers’ way in response to Utley breaking Ruben Tejada‘s leg on Saturday. But with Utley out of the lineup — and the notion that base runners matter a whole heck of a lot in a playoff game — Matt Harvey just set out to pitch, not plunk. And Mets hitters set out to beat the living heck out of Brett Anderson and a couple Dodgers relievers. Living well is the best revenge, and for a major league team, winning baseball games is living well.

It didn’t start out so well for Harvey, as Yasmani Grandal singled in two runs in the top of the second with a third run scoring on a Curtis Granderson error on the same play. It was 3-0 Dodgers early and Mets’ fans sphincters’ clenched. But only momentarily.

The Mets came right back in the bottom of the second with four runs with a Travis d'Arnaud single and a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double from Curtis Granderson. In the next inning d’Arnaud hit a two-run shot. In the fourth Daniel Murphy singled in a run and Yoenis Cespedes hit a three-run bomb to left to make it 10-3. The Dodgers got one back in the top of the seventh but New York scored three more of their own in the bottom half. It was never a ballgame after the third inning.

Brett Anderson was the author of the damage through three, Alex Wood gave up the four runs in the fourth and hung on in the fifth in what became mop-up duty. Harvey was done after five and took the win. He wasn’t necessarily sharp, but he did strike out seven and was good enough. Some late damage from the Dodgers, including a three-run homer in the ninth from Howie Kendrick, was too little, too late. Granderson and d’Arnaud did the damage for New York, driving in five and three runs, respectively.

Once the competitive portion of this game was over, the Mets’ crowd turned to more important matters. Chanting things like “We want Utley!” Don Mattingly didn’t give him to ’em, probably because there was no downside to smacking him after the game got out of hand. But no upside either. Because of that stuff about living well, remember?

Now it’s on Clayton Kershaw to save the Dodgers from elimination [looks at watch] tonight, technically. If he doesn’t, his detractors will write another page in their Big Book of Clayton Kershaw Playoff Failures. If he does, we get a Game 5 back in Los Angeles.

Maybe Chase Utley gets into one of those.

Jake Arrieta beatable, but still unbeaten

Jake Arrieta
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Jake Arrieta gave up as many earned runs Monday against the Cardinals as he had in his previous 13 starts combined, yet the Cubs still won 8-6.

It’s the 15th straight time the Cubs have won a game started by Arrieta, who is set to finish first or second in the Cy Young balloting announced next month. Their last loss in an Arrieta-pitched game was when the Phillies’ Cole Hamels no-hit them on July 25. They won the previous four before that, too, so make it 19 of 20.

The outing could go down as Arrieta’s last of the season, though that would require the Cardinals beating the Cubs in back-to-back games to finish the NLDS. The more likely scenario at this point is that Arrieta starts Game 1 of the NLCS against the Dodgers or Mets.

Arrieta, though, was vulnerable in this one, turning in his shortest start since June. Even in the shutout of Pittsburgh in the wild card game, the Pirates had chances in the middle innings (most notably before Starling Marte‘s well-hit grounder with the bases loaded turned into a double play in the sixth).

Tonight, he walked two in a row at one point, after not walking a single batter in his previous three starts. He gave up his first homer in six starts. The wind was a factor in tonight’s eight-homer barrage, but Jason Heyward‘s two-run shot off Arrieta went against the grain in left-center.

So, if nothing else, the illusion of impenetrability is now gone. Arrieta can be gotten to, if primarily in short bursts. That’s not going to do anything for the Cardinals — at least not unless Arrieta is called on to pitch an inning or two in Game 5 — but it’ll probably come into play later in the postseason.

Ding-Dong! The Cubbies ride homers to a 2-1 series lead

Jorge Soler

The wind was blowing out of Wrigley Field on Monday night, but mostly for the home team. Makes you think that maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t all about the wind.

The Cubs hit six homers off of Cardinals pitching, one each from each of the first six batters in their lineup. Three of them came against Michael Wacha, who Mike Matheny inexplicably let bat for himself in the top of the fifth and take the hill in the bottom of the fifth and on to a third time through the Cubs’ order. He was shaky as it was, and quickly put a runner on and then allowed a two-run homer to Kris Bryant to make it 4-2. One batter later Kevin Siegrist came in and let Anthony Rizzo take him VERY deep to right field to make it 5-2.

Jason Heyward made it interesting in the top of the sixth with a two run shot to make it a one-run game but then Jorge Soler hit a two run shot in the bottom half and Dexter Fowler hit one in the eighth to make it 8-4. You can’t trade solo shots for multiple two-run jobs. You wanna get the Cardinals? Here’s how you get ’em. They pull a knife, you pull a gun. They send one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue! They hit a solo homer, you hit a bunch of two-run shots. That’s the Chicago way, and that’s how you get the Cardinals!

Not that the Cardinals didn’t do a lot. They scored four runs in five and a third against Jake Arrieta, who hadn’t been damaged like that since June 16. But five Cubs relievers held mostly firm. You tell me before the game that they got to Arrieta like that and I tell you they won. But nope.

Now it’s 2-1 Cubs in a best of five. They go tomorrow with Jason Hammel and try to eliminate the Cards. Who had best figure out how to counter the Cubs’ power.