St Louis Cardinals v Los Angeles Dodgers

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Dodgers 2, Cardinals 1: Wow. 0-0 game through eight. The Cardinals plate one in the top of the ninth inning. Andre Either leads off the bottom of the ninth with a double off Trever Miller, and Tony La Russa brings in Ryan Franklin to lock it down. First base open. The shakiest closer in baseball on the hill. The most dangerous bat in Los Angeles — Matt Kemp — at the plate.  Vin Scully said it best when Kemp hit the game-winning homer: “They pitch to the one guy who could beat them, and he does!” You may hate it if you’re a Cards fan, but there is nothing better than a Scully call on a dramatic game-ender from an electric player on his way back to elite form. Mercy, this is what it’s all about, people.

Indians 4, Orioles 2: Welcome back, Grady Sizemore. In his first major league action since last summer, Sizemore goes 2 for 4 with a homer and a double, helping the Indians to the sweep of the previously-frisky Orioles and their 11th win in the past 13 games. They now go to Kansas City to face the Royals, who are themselves playing some fine baseball.  Who knows how long it will last? Who cares? There are some great baseball fans in Cleveland and KC, and they friggin’ deserve this.

Mariners 3, Royals 2: The M’s cool off the streaking Royals. Literally streaking: Kila Ka’aihue ran naked from the Arrowhead Stadium ticket window all the way across the parking lot to the Kauffman Stadium players’ entrance before the game. He did it on a bet with Alex Gordon, who now owes Ka’aihue lunch at Arby’s for the next week.  Don’t go trying to confirm this in any newspaper reports, though, because the media is just a tool of The Man and they don’t want you to know about such things.

Pirates 7, Reds 6: Edinson Volquez, once again, blew up in the first inning, allowing four runs to the Buccos. They should have him pitch a simulated inning down in the pen before the game actually starts. Jay Bruce came into the game hitting .224/.278/.327, but went 4 for 5 with a homer and 2 RBI.

Mets 3, Braves 2:  The Braves had the bases loaded, a run in and no one out in the second inning and failed to score another run following a pop to short and then one of the more ill-advised squeeze plays I’ve ever seen. It resulted in a double play, with Tommy Hanson striking out and Eric Hinske getting nailed at the plate. What on God’s green earth was Fredi Gonzalez thinking? But hey, at least it wasn’t a close game or anything. Grrr. The Mets snap a seven-game losing streak.

Twins 4, Rays 2: Minnesota snaps a four-game losing streak. And they did it with the following lineup: Tolbert, Casilla, Kubel, Thome, Young, Cuddyer, Valencia, Holm and Repko. I’m pretty sure that at least three of those names were from the made-up players in Accolade’s “Hardball Baseball” for the Commodore 64. Holm batted right behind Moose Lorenzen for the All-Stars I believe. Anyway, here’s hoping this win doesn’t give Ron Gardenhire any ideas about “playing the hot hand” or anything.

Yankees 6, Rangers 5: Adrian Beltre was a one-man wrecking crew for Texas (3 for 4, HR, 2B, 4 RBI), but the Yankees had more men. Homers from Granderson, Cano and Martin and then a string of hits off Arthur Rhodes in the eighth capped off by an Eric Chavez RBI single. Rangers’ first base coach Gary Pettis was ejected in this one. You don’t see that very often.

Nationals 8, Brewers 4; Nationals 5, Brewers 1:  The Nats sweep the double header. In the first game twin three-run jacks for Danny Espinosa and Ivan Rodriguez helped the offense explode for its biggest day of the year so far, against Yovani Gallardo no less. Because of two rainouts Gallardo had a week between starts, so he may have been rusty. Livan Hernandez took care of business in the nightcap. Well, the afternoon-cap. One run and six hits allowed over seven innings for Livan. Espinosa starred again with a bases-loaded triple in the seventh, breaking the 1-1 tie.

Phillies 3, Marlins 2: Two of the Phillies’ three runs were aided by Marlins blunders, with both Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard making it to third base after errors and then scoring on a single and a sac fly, respectively.

Angels 4, White Sox 2: And the sweep. Dan Haren goes to 4-0. The Angels are the hottest team in baseball. Bright side for Sox fans: the bullpen didn’t blow one game in this series! Not that they ever had a lead to blow.

Red Sox 8, Blue Jays 1: A nice outing from Jon Lester and big hits from Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia give the Red Sox back-to-back wins for the first time this year. Tomorrow the Japanese pitcher faces the Canadian baseball team on Patriot’s Day.

Padres 8, Astros 6: The Padres trailed 6-4 entering the 8th inning before putting up four on the back of some walks and some singles. A series split.

Diamondbacks 6, Giants 5: The Dbacks end the Giants’ four-game winning streak. Stephen Drew had 3 RBI, including the game-winner on a single in the 12th.

Rockies 9, Cubs 5: Nine runs for the Rockies and not one of them were scored by or driven in by Troy Tulowitzki. Carlos Gonzalez certainly got his whacks in — 4 for 5 with a double and a couple of RBI — but this is no longer a two-man show in Colorado.

Athletics 5, Tigers 1: A dominant performance by Trevor Cahill salvages a split with Detroit. Cahill struck out nine and didn’t walk anyone in eight innings. Seeing Cahill’s strikeout rate jump like it has  is one of the cooler things that has happened in baseball so far this year.

Cardinals will bring back Mike Matheny for the 2017 season

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Manager Mike Matheny #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals looks on while the umpires review a call against the San Francisco Giants in the top of the third inning at AT&T Park on September 16, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
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The Cardinals went from winning 100 games last season to 82 entering Wednesday evening’s game, and they might not even make the playoffs. Still, the organization will bring back manager Mike Matheny for the 2017 season, Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Owner Bill DeWitt, Jr. said, “Mike’s done a really good job for us. There’s no thought that we’re going to go in any different direction.”

GM John Mozeliak also expressed his support, saying, “Mike takes a lot of heat, and I’ve defended him and I will continue to. I really feel like some of the things that we’re dealing with aren’t fair to put on the manager.”

Mozeliak continued, “I do feel like all of us are always held accountable for what we do here, so there’s nobody excluded from that. But having said that, I don’t look at him as someone that we are where we are because of that.”

Matheny has received criticism for his bullpen usage, but the Cardinals have only 15 blown saves as a team, the fourth-lowest total in baseball this season.

Pete Mackanin on Phillies’ bullpen: “Somebody else has to [bleeping] step up.”

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 15: Manager Pete Mackanin #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies makes a pitching change in the eighth inning during a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Citizens Bank Park on June 15, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Blue Jays won 7-2. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Hunter Martin/Getty Images
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The Phillies’ bullpen led to yet another loss on Tuesday. Severino Gonzalez, Luis Garcia, Joely Rodriguez, and David Hernandez combined to allow six runs in five innings, allowing the Braves to come back and win 7-6 after falling behind 6-0 after the first two innings.

The game prior, the Phillies’ bullpen surrendered 14 runs in four innings in a 17-0 loss to the Mets. The game before that, the bullpen yielded four runs in four innings, nearly squandering the Phillies’ 10-0 lead after four innings. And last Thursday, the Phillies had taken an 8-6 lead in the top of the 11th, but Edubray Ramos served up a walk-off three-run home run to Asdrubal Cabrera. It’s been a tough month.

Manager Pete Mackanin ripped the bullpen when speaking to the media after Tuesday’s game. Via Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly:

Neris was going to close for us. I thought about using him with two outs in the eighth. But, at some point, somebody else has to do a (bleeping) job. Somebody else has to (bleeping) step up. In two games now, every reliever I brought in has given up a (bleeping) run. That’s unheard of.

The Phillies currently own the fourth-worst bullpen ERA in baseball at 4.97.  Only the Rockies (5.12), Reds (5.07), and Diamondbacks (4.98) have been worse.

In fairness to the bullpen, aside from Jeanmar Gomez (who lost his job as closer earlier this month) and free agent signee David Hernandez, the bullpen is intentionally comprised of young, inexperienced pitchers as the Phillies are still rebuilding. If the Phillies were aiming for a playoff spot, it would be one thing, but the struggles are to be expected when one throws 24-year-olds into the deep end.