And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Phillies 8, Marlins 7: First place. Homers from Howard, Ibanez and Victorino and a go-ahead single from Placido Polanco in the eighth put the Phillies in the catbird seat for the first time since May 30th.

Pirates 5, Braves 0: The Pirates have allowed more runs than any team in baseball this year, yet the Braves have scored just one run in eighteen innings this series. No offense to the Pirates intended, but if you get your ass handed to you by the Pirates pitching staff the way the Braves have these past two games, you don’t deserve to sniff the playoffs, let alone contend for them.

Orioles 6, Yankees 2: And while it’s nowhere near as bad getting beat by the resurgent Orioles, Yankees fans have to be feeling much the same as Braves fans this week. Jake Arrieta (6.1 IP, 8 H, 2 ER) stifles the Bombers as CC Sabathia is denied his 20th win as the Orioles take another from New York.

Rays 14, Red Sox 5: Five homers for the Rays, who break their losing streak and pull to within one and a half of the Yankees. The bad Dice-K showed up and nibbled. David Price did his usual “walk a lot of guys and pitch relatively inefficiently yet still get the win” thing.

Tigers 9, White Sox 1: The winning streak ends, and how. Freddy Garcia — who has been a Tiger killer lately — had to leave the game early with a bad back. Someone should have told him that when you go out tiger hunting — in case of accidents — you should always bring your mum.

Twins 10, Royals 3: That’s the thing about the Twins: no matter how much the Sox have surged, Minnesota has surged right along with them and have always seemed to take advantage of Chicago’s missteps. Delmon Young and J.J. Hardy combined to drive in seven.

Rockies 4, Reds 3: A three-run bomb from Carlos Gonzalez helps the
Rockies win their fifth straight. I had previously all but handed the
MVP to Joey Votto, but Gonzalez has thrust himself into the conversation
with his — and his team’s — white-hot run of late.

Padres 2, Dodgers 1: But the Rockies are going to have to catch the
Padres for that to happen, I think, and that’s hard when Mat Latos
pitches like this (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 10K).  The Dodgers, by the way, are
snoozing their way towards the end of the season. Nice career and
everything, Joe Torre, and we’ll see you in Cooperstown soon, but you
need to go.

Giants 6, Diamondbacks 3: Tim Lincecum helps the Giants keep pace, mowing down 11 batters while giving up three runs through six and
two-thirds. Homers from Huff, Sanchez and Burrell.

Brewers 4, Cardinals 2: Trevor Hoffman gets his 600th save. Great for Hoffman, who has definitely seen some bad times this season. Oh, and home plate umpire Bob Davidson ejected a fan in this one, which is something you don’t see every day. I’d be inclined to rip Davidson because he’s almost always wrong about everything, but word buzzing around the Internets last night was that the fan who was ejected was being abusive to Yadier Molina all night and was probably drunk. It’s a shame that the ump had to take care of his good-for-nothin’ ass instead of an usher or other ballpark personnel.

Astros 7, Cubs 3:
Carlos Silva’s return didn’t go too swimmingly (5 IP, 9 H, 6 ER).
Nelson Figueroa gets the win. Why don’t I remember him coming to
Houston, though? I mean, I know I saw him in Mets camp down in Port St.
Lucie, and I remember the Phillies picking him up briefly, but the
Astros? In some ways it’s been a very long season.

Blue Jays 8, Rangers 5: Two homers for Vernon Wells, as the Jays take it to the reeling Rangers. The way all the other first place teams are playing lately, I should probably just call a Twins-Phillies World Series right now.

Mets 4, Nationals 1: Mets starter Dillon Gee took a no-hitter into the sixth in his major league debut. It’s been eight hours since this game ended and I’ve already heard too many “Gee!” puns. Next person who does it is gonna get fined.

Indians 6, Angels 1: The Angels look so lifelike lying in that box. Still, when I go, I’d prefer to be cremated, because ceremonies like this are so awkward. Oh well. Let’s go to the widow’s house. I hear there will be cold cuts and casseroles.

Mariners 7, Athletics 5: Compared to how they’ve been going, a seven run night for Seattle is equivalent to [tapping calculator keys while wearing green eye-shade . . .] 125 runs.

Is Bud Black the favorite to be the next Braves manager?

Bud Black
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We talked last week about how Fredi Gonzalez is likely a dead man walking as the Braves manager. They stink, he’s a lame duck and part of the team’s whole marketing thrust is “2017 will be a new beginning,” what with the new ballpark and all. It stands to reason that Mr. Gonzalez doesn’t have long for this world.

Last week I suspected he’d be fired tomorrow, the Braves off day before a home stand. They’ve won in the past week, but it still wouldn’t shock me. Even if firing Gonzalez would be an act of scapegoating. It’s the roster that’s the problem, not the manager, even though Fredi doesn’t exactly inspire anyone.

Today Bob Nightengale throws this into the mix:

As of yet he hasn’t followed that up with an actual column or more tweets about who, exactly, considers Black to be the heavy favorite, but there’s a definitiveness to that which makes me think he’s heard something solid.

Black, as you know, was the long time Padres manager who had an unsuccessful flirtation with the Nationals before they hired Dusty Baker this past offseason. Black is now cooling his heels with his longtime boss Mike Scioscia in Anaheim, in what is clearly a “wait for his next managing opportunity” posture.

Could it be in Atlanta? At least one national writer and some nebulous group of insiders believe so, it would seem.

The Reds bullpen set a record for futility

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher J.J. Hoover reacts after giving up a solo home run to Chicago Cubs' Javier Baez, left, during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, April 22, 2016, in Cincinnati. The Cubs won 8-1. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Associated Press
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I mentioned this in the recaps this morning but it’s worthy of its own post.

The Cincinnati Reds’ bullpen gave up two runs last night. In so doing it made for the 21st consecutive game in which it has allowed at least one run. That’s a new major league record, having surpassed the 2013 Colorado Rockies’ record of 20, according to Elias.

Last year the Reds set a record — shattered it, really — by going with rookie starting pitchers in 64 straight games to end the season. Those guys aren’t rookies anymore, but they’re still really inexperienced. They could probably use some better bullpen help than they’ve been getting.

Headline of the Day– A-Rod: “Trophy Boyfriend”

Alex Rodriguez
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For as long as there have been couples, the woman in a couple has been publicly defined by the man’s life and accomplishments. It doesn’t matter if the woman cures cancer, walks on the moon or wins the Eurovision Song Contest, when news stories or obituaries are written, she is invariably referred to as “wife of ___” or “girlfriend of ___.” Even if the guy is a grade-A schmuck.

While that pattern still persists, it’s nice to see someone flip the script on it once in a while. Like The Cut did in its story about a new, high-profile couple going public:

 

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The couple: Alex Rodriguez and Anne Wojcicki. Who, if you were unaware, is a Silicon Valley biotech CEO and a billionaire. She went to Yale, played varsity hockey in college and is a mother. Alex Rodriguez is accomplished and famous, but outside of the sports bubble he’s a padawan to Wojcicki’s master Jedi. Despite this, in places other than The Cut, it would still not be surprising to see her referred to as “A-Rod’s girlfriend,” because that’s just how people roll. Here’s hoping others take The Cut’s lead when referring to women in the public sphere more often.

A related note: in the rare cases when a famous male personality is identified in reference to his female partner and not the other way around, people like to make jokes and like to question the masculinity of the man. Which is equally stupid. And, to the man in question, should be utterly beside the point.

To that end, I think it’s worth noting that Alex Rodriguez has been involved with several women who, outside of baseball, are far more famous than he is and it’s never seemed to be an issue for him whatsoever. People like to say a lot of things about A-Rod’s ego and personality, but in this respect I bet he’s a hell of a lot better adjusted, grounded and self-assured than the vast majority of men who might find themselves in his place.

Video: Jeff Samardzija breaks a bat over his knee after striking out

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 8.23.03 AM
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Jeff Samardzija had a great night last night. He allowed one run on three hits over eight innings and picked up the win. In the early going he’s proving wrong those who thought that the Giants overpaid for him and is providing solid performance from the third spot in the Giants rotation. It’s all good.

But good is not always good enough for a professional athlete. Especially one like Samardzija, who excelled in multiple sports and likely can count his lifetime athletic failures on one hand. No, when you’re wired like that you get upset even when you’re excellent because sometimes you want to be perfect.

For example, most pitchers don’t get too worried about striking out. They’re there to pitch, not bat. They turn on their heel and calmly walk back to the dugout. Samardzija, however, got a bit irate when he struck out. Then he did this: