Colorado Rockies v New York Mets

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Rockies 6, Mets 5; Rockies 9, Mets 4:  The Rockies sweep the doubleheader and the series, with Troy Tulowitzki hitting home runs in both games yesterday.  His line on the year right now is .364/.491/.909 with seven homers and 14 RBI, which I think makes him your NL MVP at the 12 game mark.  In the first game Scott Hairston stopped running for a ball when he got to the warning track, allowing it to drop for a two-run double by Seth Smith. I’m guessing he saw his shadow or something. Or maybe it was a hallucination of his dead grandmother crawling up his leg with a knife in her teeth. Either way, it inspired Dustin Parkes to tell a funny joke on Twitter.

Yankees 6, Orioles 5: This one has to hurt. Baltimore had a 5-0 lead after they got done batting in the fifth, only to watch the Yankees steadily chip away.  I didn’t see this game, but I bet it was one of those deals where the team in front seemed like they were behind even before they actually were. It wasn’t all grins for the Yankees, though. Phil Hughes continues to suffer from low velocity and, consequently, continues to stink. For the second straight start Bartolo Colon came in to bail him out and to do so effectively. Hmmm, I wonder who gets the next start when Hughes’ turn comes up? Anyway, four straight losses for Baltimore, as the bloom continues to come off the rose for some early season surprises. They’re off to face Cleveland next, though, so at least one of the First Week Friskies will likely leave with some momentum.

Phillies 4, Nationals 0: Cliff Lee dominates with a three-hit shutout and 12Ks. This kind of update is going to become so ubiquitous in Phillies games by the middle of the season that I may just start reducing their ATH entry to the pitcher’s name and line score.

Marlins 6, Braves 5Mac points out something I hadn’t realized: the Braves keep winning the first game of series and then losing the rest of them. Cool. I mean, no, not cool, but it is slightly less unpleasant to momentarily appreciate a pattern rather than to stare at an undifferentiated pile of stank.

Brewers 4, Pirates 1: The Ships in the Night Series. Four straight losses for the Pirates and five of six, all at home. The Brewers, for their part, have won four straight and seven of eight. Randy Wolf struck out ten and shut out the Pirates over six and two-thirds. The Pirates need to get back out on the road where it’s safer.

Royals 5, Mariners 1: A rain-shortened game. Which was probably fine by the Mariners, because one doesn’t want to be forced to sit and dwell too long on the fact that one can’t hit Bruce Chen (8 IP, 6 H, 0 ER).

Rays 4, Twins 3: Walkoff two-run bomb for Johnny Damon in the 10th inning after Minnesota had taken a one-run lead in the top of the inning. This was a bullpen meltdown for Ron Gardenhire’s crew. Carl Pavano was money, shutting the Rays down over eight innings, but Joe Nathan and Matt Capps each gave up two runs, in the ninth and tenth, respectively. If Gardenhire were Ozzie Guillen he’d probably consider calling Rick Aguilera right about now.

Astros 1, Padres 0: Bud Norris and a trio of relievers shut out the Padres on three hits. Dustin Mosely has had three starts for the Padres this year. In all three, the Padres have been shut out. On the bright side, the experience has inspired Mosely to launch a career in music. His first song is actually about his Padres teammates.

Cardinals 9, Dodgers 5: A homer from Pujols and two doubles and three RBI from Matt Holliday. This is how it was supposed to go from the get-go for St. Louis. The offense has done a complete about-face in the last week. You know, ever since La Russa had that hissy fit at the press conference. Which is a shame, because it’s just going to make him feel validated for acting like a little brat.

Tigers 3, Athletics 0: Our third shutout of the night comes courtesy of Phil Coke and three relievers who three-hit the A’s. The Tigers couldn’t do anything against Gio Gonzalez but broke through for three against the Oakland pen. A pen which, I’m starting to believe, I talked up entirely too much over the winter.

Collins worried David Wright might go on disabled list

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
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NEW YORK (AP) Mets manager Terry Collins is worried David Wright may wind up on the disabled list because of a neck injury.

New York’s captain and third baseman was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day Monday because of his neck. He was given anti-inflammatory medicine over the weekend.

Now 33, Wright was on the disabled list from April 15 to Aug. 24 last year when he strained his right hamstring and then developed spinal stenosis. He has a lengthy physical therapy routine he must go through before each game.

“With the condition he’s been playing in and the condition he’s in right now, yeah, I’m concerned about it,” Collins said Monday. “Is it going to happen? I can’t tell you. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. I know this guy plays with a lot of discomfort. He always has. And when he can’t play, he’s hurt.”

Wright homered in three straight games last week before getting hurt. He is batting .226 with seven homers, 14 RBIs and 55 strikeouts in 137 at-bats.

Settling the Scores: Memorial Day edition

ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 21:  American flags are shown after being placed by members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment at the graves of U.S. soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in preparation for Memorial Day May 21, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. "Flags-In" has become an annual ceremony since the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) was designated to be an Army's official ceremonial unit in 1948  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died in military service. At some point in the past couple of decades, however, it has become an all-purpose flag-waving, patriotism-declaring, civilians-in-camouflage holiday. It’s understandable why this is the case. We, as a country, haven’t always done mourning well. I think it’s part of our national cultural DNA that we don’t and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make days like this difficult.

I feel like the flag-waving and troop-supporting stuff is some sort of subconscious reaction to death. It’s our way of instantly trying to justify those deaths or to explain how they were not in vain, much the same way we might tell someone upon the death of a loved one that they’re in a better place or that they had a full life. Feeling the pain of loss is hard. We want to soften it in any way we can and make our pain serve a larger, better purpose. And so we get today, when Major League Baseball puts its players in camouflage caps and in jerseys with camouflage logos. They’ll sell them too, with proceeds going to good and noble veterans charities. The intent is noble and the ultimate effect of it all is beneficial. But it’s also a little beside the point. Maybe not beside the point as much as mattress sales or big celebratory barbecues which have come to characterize Memorial Day for so many, but still not exactly the purpose of the holiday.

I don’t condemn it. As I wrote last year, the men and women who actually fought and died in wars were hoping that they were, ultimately, making a better and happier world for those they left behind. And they no doubt hoped, among everything else they hoped, that others didn’t have to face what they were facing. They wanted our lives to be happy and our country to be safe and part of a happy and safe country involves 300 million people doing whatever it is they damn please, even if it’s just having barbecues and wearing camo at the ballpark.

I won’t say have a happy Memorial Day because that seems odd. Have any kind of Memorial Day you want, really, even if it includes barbecuing, drinking beer and wearing a cam ballcap. But as you do, please make sure you take some time to think about those who died in military service. And remember that they didn’t get to have as many days like the one you’re having as they were meant to have. And make at least some effort to offset your happy, patriotic or silly pursuits with some mourning and reflectiveness. It’s OK for that to stand on its own.

The scores:

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3
Orioles 6, Indians 4
Yankees 2, Rays 1
Nationals 10, Cardinals 2
Brewers 5, Reds 4
Royals 5, White Sox 4
Cubs 7, Phillies 2
Rangers 6, Pirates 2
Astros 8, Angels 6
Athletics 4, Tigers 2
Twins 5, Mariners 4
Giants 8, Rockies 3
Diamondbacks 6, Padres 3
Marlins 7, Braves 3
Dodgers 4, Mets 2

 

Should Dave Roberts have taken Clayton Kershaw out of Sunday’s game?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will likely be second-guessed heavily during tomorrow’s news cycle. Starter Clayton Kershaw had pitched a terrific ballgame, as is his tendency, but with 114 pitches to his name, Roberts decided to pull him from the game in the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on first base.

Roberts opted not for closer Kenley Jansen, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, but for another lefty in Adam Liberatore. He was playing the numbers, with the left-handed-hitting Curtis Granderson coming up. Liberatore, much to Roberts’ chagrin, served up what turned out to be a game-tying triple to Granderson, hitting a rocket to right-center just out of the reach of a leaping Yasiel Puig.

Jansen has, for six years, been one of the game’s elite relievers. Kershaw, though at a high pitch count, doesn’t seem to suffer from the times through the order penalty like most pitchers. Kershaw’s opponents’ OPS facing him for the first time was .525 coming into Sunday. Twice, .597. Three times, .587. Four times, .526 (but this suffers from survivorship bias so it’s not exactly representative).

Furthermore, Kershaw held lefties to a .546 OPS over his career. Liberatore, in 99 plate appearances against lefty hitters, gave up a .575 OPS. Jansen? .560. It seems that, faced with three decisions, Roberts arguably made the worst one. Playing conservative with Kershaw at 114 pitches is defensible, but only if Jansen comes in. If Roberts wanted the platoon advantage, Kershaw should have stayed in.

Luckily for the Dodgers, Mets closer Jeurys Familia didn’t have his best stuff. He loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth on a single and two walks, then gave up a two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Jansen came on in the bottom half of the ninth and retired the side in order to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Royals sweep White Sox over the weekend on three late rallies

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 28:  Brett Eibner #12 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his game-winning RBI single with teammates in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium on May 28, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 8-7. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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The Royals had themselves a pretty good weekend. The quickly fading White Sox, not so much.

On Friday, the Royals fell behind 5-1 after the top of the sixth. They would score once in the bottom of the sixth, four times in the seventh, and once in the eighth to steal a 7-5 win facing pitchers Miguel Gonzalez Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and Nate Jones.

On Saturday, the Royals entered the bottom of the ninth down 7-1. They scored seven runs on closer David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to win 8-7.

On Sunday, the Royals were down 4-2 after the top of the eighth. They plated three runs in the bottom half of the eighth against Jones and Albers, going on to win 5-4.

Coming into the weekend, the Royals were 24-22 in third place. The White Sox were 27-21, a half-game up in first place. Now the Royals are in first place by a game and a half, and the White Sox are in third place, two games out of first.

Here’s video of the Royals’ comeback on Saturday, since it was so unlikely: