And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Marlins 5, Braves 1: Josh Johnson takes a no-hitter into the eighth before Freddie Freeman breaks it up with a double. Probably for the best. Johnson was at 109 pitches. If he keeps the no-no up all the way his pitch count is getting a bit nutty. Chipper Jones’ otherwise meaningless home run in the ninth gave him his 1,500th career RBI. Nine more and he ties Mickey Mantle. If he stays reasonably healthy this year he could get up to Al Kaline/Harmon Killebrew/Rogers Hornsby territory.

Phillies 3, Nationals 2: Roy Halladay had a two-hit shutout into the ninth when things started to get a bit shaky, but I don’t think anyone ever doubted that he’d finish the job. Indeed, I had this game on when Cholly visited the mound in the ninth. His gait was quick. It seemed clear that it was only a courtesy call. Of all of the 3-2 games you’ll see, this one felt the least close.

Tigers 3, Rangers 2: [Ron Washington shows the visiting conigliere around his estate]: “Feliz … Feliz.  I’m not gonna pitch him, though. I’m gonna put him out to stud.  Thanks Tony. Let’s get something to eat, huh?”

Cubs 9, Astros 5: I neglected to mention it in yesterday’s recap, but I’m pretty sure a big part of Tuesday night’s loss was attributable to Mike Quade’s displeasure at having to miss the Rush concert at the United Center in Chicago that night. That kind of thing can throw a guy. At least a guy who continues to be a big Rush fan into his 50s. Unable to really relax, knowing he missed a sweet show, Quade could do nothing Tuesday night except lie awake, staring out at the bleakness of Megadon.  But, with Rush safely in Toledo last night — not that I, um, know that or anything — Quade could relax and the Cubs could too, teeing off on Wandy Rodriguez and racking up 14 total hits.

Athletics 7, White Sox 4: “Dear Bobby J. I’m sorry for all of the things I said about you last year. My son is sorry too.  Fact is, we never realized we had it so good. The team needs you. The bullpen needs you. Bobby: I need you. Please come back. I can’t bear to see us blow games late again like this anymore. It’ll be the death of me. Sincerely, Ozzie.”

Rockies 5, Mets 4: The Rockies continue to go nuts, as does Troy Tulowitzki, who hit a three-run homer in the fifth to put the Rockies up for good. At the time, there were two outs, first base was open, there were runners on second and third and Jose Lopez was on deck. Don’t you walk Tulowitzki there?

Brewers 6, Pirates 0: This is why the Brewers got Shawn Marcum, who shut the Pirates out on four hits over seven innings. Three-run homer from Prince Fielder, who is absolutely tearing it up right now. Potentially sacrilegious question: is Fielder a more attractive free agent first baseman than Albert Pujols next winter?

Yankees 7, Orioles 4: A.J. Burnett wasn’t dominant, but he won his third game. Chris Tillman got destroyed, thanks in part to a three-run A-Rod homer and a two-run Robbie Cano double in the second. The second inning could have gotten even more out of hand if Adam Jones doesn’t make this sick grab on a bases loaded bloop from Jorge Posada.

Angels 4, Indians 2: Anaheim takes the second in a row from Cleveland, winning it on a Jeff Mathis sac fly in the 12th inning. After a rocky start to the year, the Angels bullpen has stepped up,  having not given up an earned run in their last 22 innings.

Padres 3, Reds 2: The Reds’ bullpen was not so sublime. They coughed up the lead in the eighth and the game in the ninth, with a nice assist from some bad defense. The Padres salvage one after a couple of tough losses.

Blue Jays 8, Mariners 3:  The Jays exploded for six in the eighth inning, with the big shot being a Jose Bautista three-run homer. Another record-low crowd for Seattle, though according to the game story a decent portion of it consisted of Jays fans who came down from British Columbia. Earlier this week someone mentioned in the comments that they went to college in B.C. or something and that going to Jays games in Seattle was a rite of passage. All of which leads me to ask if anyone in the M’s or Jays’ fan base — fan bases with which I have the least experience out of almost anyone — thinks of the teams as rivals by virtue of them being 1977 expansion partners.  These are the kinds of things I sit and wonder when the cable goes out.

Royals 10, Twins 5: It’s a lot of fun to blame Ron Gardenhire for telling Francisco Liriano to “pitch to contact,” but ultimately Liriano has to pitch, and he’s simply not doing it right now. Liriano was shelled by Kansas City for seven runs in five innings. He was beat so bad that Kyle Davies got the win despite allowing five runs on ten hits in five innings of his own.  I guess Davies just knows how to win.

Cardinals 15, Diamondbacks 5:  It was 12-0 by the middle of the fourth inning. Lance Berkman had a grand slam and another RBI on a groundout. He now has four homers in the past three games. Every Cardinal starter except Matt Holliday had a hit, which has to make a guy in Holliday’s position really, really frustrated, even if he can’t say anything about it.

Giants 4, Dodgers 3:  The Giants take two of three from L.A.. Buster Posey had a stolen base. The AP story puts it thusly:

After Posey went to first in the third inning, he stole his first career base. He had one steal during last year’s playoffs but it doesn’t count toward his official statistics.

And the one he stole in the postseason shouldn’t have counted because POSEY WAS FREAKING OUT.

Not that I’m hung up on that or anything.

Rays vs. Red Sox: POSTPONED: Although I shelter from the rain under a broken tree, My chair was nearest to the fire In every company that talked of love or politics, Ere Time transfigured me.

Imagining Theo Epstein in politics

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“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”

That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.

Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.