And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Yankees 8, Rays 7: There won’t be complaints about the bullpen management this morning. After Ivan Nova got beat up through four and two-thirds (and Boone Logan gave up a homer), Chamberlain, Wood, Robertson and Rivera held the Rays scoreless. The Rays pen was a bit more porous, allowing the Yankees to tie it in the sixth and surrendering the game-winning homer to Jorge Posada in the 10th. Oh, and Carl Crawford got thrown out at third to end the game, trying to advance on a fly out to right. Why would the Yankees want to sign that palooka this winter when they have Greg Golson?

Twins 9, White Sox 3: The White Sox have not yet been pronounced, but they see a bright white light and an almost unnatural feeling of calm is washing over them. Wait! Who’s that? Why, it’s the White Sox’ beloved dead grandma, beckoning for them to join her! Run toward the light, Chicago! Run towards the light!

Padres 7, Rockies 6: That sound you hear is Colorado blowing a great opportunity. The Padres take another from them, thanks in part to a Matt Stairs two-run homer in the eighth, and now have a three and a half game lead over the Rockies. I’m not gonna lie: I thought the Padres would crumble in this series, but they’re showing some serious fortitude.

Dodgers 1, Giants 0: The Dodgers were one-hit — really, just one hit — but scored on a Juan Uribe error in the sixth. Clayton Kershaw allowed four hits, but nothing but blanks on the scoreboard, for his first career complete game shutout. The Giants get pushed a game and a half back in the West.

Nationals 6, Braves 0: I guess that means the Braves still lead the wild card race, but it’s a fact: you are not deserving of a playoff spot if you go out and get shut the hell down by Livan freakin’ Hernandez in mid-September. You’re just not. Dude has been a nemesis since 1997, but I can’t muster any ill-will towards him. The Braves are just not good enough to see this thing out, and I and anyone who roots for them are just going to have to get cool with that.

Phillies 2, Marlins 1: The Phillies, on the other hand, are good enough. Cole Hamels struck out 13 in six and two-thirds. The Phillies, by the way, have set their rotation up so that Hamels, Halladay and Oswalt all face the Braves next week. Way things are going, they could throw Matt Beech, Danny Cox and Shane Rawley at Atlanta and they’d be just fine.

Mets 9, Pirates 1: R.A. Dickey was spectacular (CG, 5 H, 1 ER). Zach Duke got shelled, with Angel Pagan and Carlos Beltran combining to drive in six. I just started reading “Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging 70s.” I know they had their problems and everything, but the 1970s Pirates were way more interesting than this crew.

Cubs 7, Cardinals 2: Randy Wells pitched eight strong innings against a Pujolsless lineup and the Cubbies denied Adam Wainwright his 19th win. The Cardinals season is ending on about as lousy a note as it can for a contender, yet they still draw 40,000 fans a game.

Royals 11, Athletics 3: Anyone wanna tell me where Wilson Betemit’s .313/.394/.537 season came from? Because, really, this is nuts. Not a ton of plate appearances, I realize, but someone is going to pay this dude too much money based on this partial season of near-brilliance. Yeah, it’ll probably be the Royals, but still. A two-run homer and two RBI singles in this one.

Astros 3, Brewers 2: Houston has won 11 of 15. They’re 70-75. It may be a long shot, but if the Braves continue crumbling, my official rooting interest for the last two weeks of the season may have to be Houston to finish at .500.

Diamondbacks 3, Reds 1: Daniel Hudson was pretty darn awesome against the National League’s best offense (8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 8K). Bet the White Sox woulda liked having him around these past few weeks, no? I won’t even speculate about these next few years lest a bunch of south siders put their heads in ovens.

Indians 4, Angels 3: Shelley Duncan hit two home runs. This will make my daughter extremely happy when I tell her this over her pancakes later this morning. He’ll forever be her Joe Shlabotnik.

And speaking of my kids: I do almost all of my writing in my den. My den is directly below my son’s room. A couple of minutes ago, something large slammed into the floor of his room above my head. I ran up the stairs and found the boy crawling back into bed. He managed to whisper “fell . . . out” before he put his head down and started snoring again. Anyway.

Orioles 11, Blue Jays 3: Six runs in the seventh inning and six shutout innings from Jake Arrieta. The Orioles need now only go 6-11 in their final 17 to finish with fewer with 100 losses.

Rangers 11, Tigers 4: Texas was down 4-1 in the fourth and then scored ten unanswered runs. Well, they weren’t totally unanswered. They were just answered by a ton of creative profanity from Jim Leyland rather than any other runs.

Red Sox 9, Mariners 6: The Bosox trailed 5-4 before David Ortiz hit a three-run eighth inning homer off Brandon League to take the lead. Why M’s manager Daren Brown even let League — a righty — pitch to Ortiz when he had a lefty ready in the pen is a mystery. But hey, I suppose there’s value in hastening the Mariners season to as quick an end as possible at this point.

Video: Minor League Manager goes on epic rant

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Frisco RoughRiders manager Joe Mikulik got his money’s worth last night. He was ejected after arguing an automatic double play on an enforcement of the slide rule, and he didn’t go gently into that goodnight.

Rather, he threw things, kicked things, threw things and then subsequently kicked those same things, gave overly-demonstrative slides and safe signs and basically went all Earl Weaver/Lou Piniella on everyone.

Double-A baseball is the best minor league because you tend to see more prospects there than you do at Triple-A. But it’s also the best because, when you’re a manager who is not quite a heartbeat away from getting your shot at the big leagues, you’re a little less uptight about things. Or at least Mikulik was. Or maybe he was more uptight. I don’t know. He just went with it, and going with it has its charms.

 

(h/t Big League Stew)

A must-read oral history of the 1998 home run chase

7 Jul 1998:   American Leaguer player Mark McGwire #25 of the St Louis Cardinals and Sammy Sosa #21 of  the Chicago Cubs answer questions during  the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Coors Field in Denver,  Colorado.The American  League defeated the
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It’s hard to believe that it’s been 18 years since Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa captivated the nation with their epic chase of Roger Maris’ home run record. But it has been, and after years of reaction, counter-reaction and, of course, baseball’s reckoning with the performance-enhancing drugs which helped fuel the chase, it’s probably finally time to do our best to contextualize it historically.

Today one of my favorite news outlets does that with an oral history. All of the key figures weigh-in on it, from McGwire and Sosa to Bud Selig to Tony La Russa. Randy Johnson makes an appearance as well, reminding us that it wasn’t just the sluggers who had an amazing year in 1998. Indeed, his story, including his being traded to Houston and going on an amazing second-half run, has almost been lost to history.

This is bookmark material, my friends. For savoring later if you can’t read it now. And for revisiting at another time given the depths to the drama which justifies multiple readings. I’ll just warn you that there is some adult language in the story, but that’s to be expected given the passion the 1998 baseball season inspired.

Go check it out.

UPDATE: Asdrubal Cabrera leaves Mets-Nats game with back spasms

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the New York Mets throws to first from his knee after diving to catch a ground ball to get Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second out of the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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UPDATE: Cabrera was removed from the game due to back spasms.

1:21PM: This is not good: Asdrubal Cabrera was removed from today’s game against the Nationals with an apparent injury.

It’s unclear what the injury was, as Cabrera had yet to even play in the game. Matt Reynolds came on to play shortstop in the bottom of the first inning, but Cabrera didn’t bat in the top of the first. It could be an illness. Or some freak occurrence.

We’ll update when we hear more.

There are apparently unwritten rules about manager replay challenges now

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 05: Manager Joe Maddon #70 of the Chicago Cubs shakes hands with manager Mike Matheny #26 of the St. Louis Cardinals before the Opening Night game at Wrigley Field on April 5, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Last night’s Cardinals-Cubs game was a blowout, with the Cubs beating the Cards 12-3. Apparently, however, in the ninth inning of the game, Reynoldsburg, Ohio’s own Mike Matheny played the Cardinals infield in, which is a move you never see in a blowout. Why did he do that?

He hasn’t said yet, but Cubs manager Joe Maddon just spoke to the media before today’s game and he’s speculating that Matheny did it as a form of protest:

God, I hope that’s true. I hope that manager replay challenges, which are already dumb enough inasmuch as they turn what should be an officiating correction device into a strategic tool, are now turning into another front in the Great Unwritten Rules Wars. I hope that we now have a bunch of people talking about how there’s a right way and a wrong way to use the replay system and that one can disrespect the other side if they do it the wrong way. The way the replay system has been implemented often resembles tragedy. Why not make it farce?

Oh well, I guess it beats throwing at someone for doing that wrong. And I guess it’s just a reminder that no matter what we do, baseball is always gonna give us an opportunity for petty bits of silliness.