New York Yankees Robinson Cano walks off the field as the Chicago White Sox celebrate after Brent Lillibridge made a diving catch to win in New York

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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White Sox 3, Yankees 2: Rafael Soriano’s tenure in New York could not be starting worse. Last night he came in with a 2-1 lead in the eighth and gave up a two-run homer to Paul Konerko that proved to be the game winner. In the ninth Brent Lillibridge saved the day with two game-saving catches in right field.  With one out and runners on first and second he tracked down an A-Rod fly ball at the wall. Then Robinson Cano hit a sinking liner to right, and Lillibridge made a spectacular diving catch. A strong outing from Gavin Floyd (8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 10K).

Indians 9, Royals 4: This series, as the series in Kansas City was last week, is still a battle for first place in the AL Central. Jack Hannahan had two homers and Shin-Soo Choo drove in four.  In other news, according to the AP game story, the back of the t-shirt worn by winning pitcher Justin Masterson has the Charlie Sheen catchphrase “duh, winning!” written on it.  I was prepared to mock this in some way until I looked at the HardballTalk site stats yesterday and realized that one insignificant little post I did mentioning Charlie Sheen received damn nigh unprecedented traffic. Really, it got over ten times the amount of clicks the next most-viewed post got yesterday. To you and me Charlie Sheen is played out. Not so to many, many people, it seems.

Mets 6, Nationals 4: Five straight for the Mets.  Allow me to eschew the details of the game itself so that I may note that Ryota Igarashi got the win despite throwing four pitches which, while totally in keeping with the rules that govern such matters — he was the pitcher of record when the Mets took the lead and, despite his “brief” appearance, he was effective — it’s yet another argument about how silly it is to measure pitchers by their win totals.

Marlins 4, Dodgers 2: On the bright side: Don Mattingly didn’t need to decide who, among his many conflicting choices, is his closer. Ethier extends his hitting streak to 23.

Blue Jays 10, Rangers 3: Adam Lind has had a rough beginning of the season, but last night he had two homers and five RBI. Matt Harrison had nothing — he gave up seven runs in three innings — but hey, it got Brett Tomko five innings of mop up work. I’ve considered writing a short story or, if it can get any momentum behind it a novel, in which an aging  mop up man plays a role. The details are hazy and, as is the case with most of my fiction ideas, I never get very far with it. But whenever I see something like five innings out of Brett Tomko or someone quite like him, the wheels start turning again.

Brewers 3, Reds 2: A rare occurrence: Brewers beat the Reds. They were 0-4 against them this year coming in and had dropped 19 of 22. Solo homers from Braun, Fielder and Weeks did the trick. The Reds only got two hits off Marco Estrada, one of which was a Brandon Phillips two-run homer. Otherwise Mike Leake pitched well (7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 6 K) and deserved a better fate. Indeed, some might say he was robbed.  Not me, but some might.

Mariners 7, Tigers 3: Oh, Ryan Raburn.

Rockies 4, Cubs 3: Two bombs from Todd Helton off James Russell, who have up three homers in all. In his two starts moving into the rotation due to the Cashner and Wells injuries, Russell has given up eight runs on twelve hits in eight innings and has walked as many as he has struck out (4).  The Cubs need to do something new with the rotation before they get buried.

Giants 3, Pirates 2: Two of the Giants’ runs, including the game-winner, came on sacrifices and the other came on a fielder’s choice. Viva small ball.

Orioles 4, Red Sox 1: Giving up 12 hits and walking two more in six and two-thirds is no way to go through life, Clay Buchholz. Zach Britton, on the other hand, allowed one run on five hits in six innings to pick up his fourth win and, I presume, though I haven’t looked at what other AL rookies are doing, an early lead in the AL Rookie of the Year race. Boston’s five-game winning streak is over. Vlad Guerrero, by the way, is the only man in Major League Baseball with enough at bats to qualify for the batting title at the moment who has not walked once this season. 87 at bats and counting.

Astros 6, Cardinals 5: The bullpen strikes again! The Astros were down 5-4 entering the bottom of the ninth but scored two runs, one on a Mitchell Boggs wild pitch. The runner had reached third on a Yadier Molina passed ball. Hey, anyone who saw it: was it really a passed ball? And, for that matter, was the wild pitch really a wild pitch?  Boggs thought it was after the game, for what it’s worth, but those things are sometimes subjective. Regardless, Boggs didn’t settle down after that, allowing three more singles including the walkoff RBI by Bill Hall.

Braves 8, Padres 2: David Ross was another of many two home run hitters from Tuesday night and Jair Jurrjens tossed a complete game.

Diamondbacks 7, Phillies 5: Roy Oswalt got rocked. On the bright side, the Phillies scored 5 runs for the first time since April 9th!

Angels 8, Athletics 3: Second baseman Alexi Amarista just got promoted from Salt Lake City. Alexi Amarista is five feet seven inches tall. Alexi Amarista hit a two-run double and added a third RBI with a sacrifice. I know it’s early and we’ve yet to see if he gets his uniform duty a lot, but his size, his position and his quick start may force us to allow a non- American white person into Club Scrappy! For the A’s, Brandon McCarthy didn’t exactly fool anyone (5.1 IP, 7 R, 14 H).

Rays vs. Twins: POSTPONED: Walked in the corner of the room, junkyard fool with eyes of gloom. I asked him time again: Take me in and dry the rain, take me in and dry the rain, take me in and dry the rain, take me in and dry the rain, the rain, the rain, the rain, the rain, my rain now [cool instrumental breakdown].

Video: Nomar Mazara crushes a 491-foot home run

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 27:  Nomar Mazara #30 of the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington on April 27, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Rangers rookie outfielder Nomar Mazara crushed the longest home run of the season to date, according to Statcast, with a 491-foot shot to the upper deck in right field against the Angels on Wednesday afternoon. With the bases empty and no outs in the second inning, Angels lefty Hector Santiago threw a 1-1 off-speed pitch, which did not fool Mazara in the slightest.

Statcast measured it at 491 feet. Giancarlo Stanton previously had the longest home run at 475 feet off of Hector Neris on May 6. Franklin Gutierrez hit a 491-foot shot on Saturday against Reds pitcher John Lamb.

Mazara entered the afternoon hitting a terrific .317/.364/.483 with seven home runs and 18 RBI in 162 plate appearances.

Blue Jays activate Devon Travis from the disabled list

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 22: Devon Travis #29 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates scoring a run in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on July 22, 2015 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
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The Blue Jays announced on Wednesday afternoon that the club has activated second baseman Devon Travis from the disabled list. To create roster space, ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte has been optioned to Triple-A Buffalo.

Travis, 25, last played on July 28 last year. He battled a shoulder injury for which he would undergo season-ending surgery. He burst onto the scene as a productive rookie, batting .304/.361/.498 with eight home runs and 35 RBI in 239 plate appearances before being sidelined.

Thus far, Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney have handled second base for the most part for the Jays. But the club has gotten a meager .585 OPS out of the position, the lowest mark in the league. The return of Travis should be quite a boon. He is batting eighth in Wednesday night’s lineup against the Yankees.

Adam Wainwright is not a fan of the proposed strike zone changes

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 09:  Adam Wainwright #50 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 6 to 1 in Game Five of the National League Division Series at Busch Stadium on October 9, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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It’s probably not a big shocker that a pitcher is not a big fan of the strike zone being made smaller, but Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals and he tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he is not a fan of the proposed changes to the strike zone we wrote about recently, calling the proposal “a horrible, horrible idea.”

Horrible, he acknowledges, because he’s a pitcher with a vested interest so, yes, let’s give Wainwright credit for self-awareness and for disclosing his self-interest. But he thinks it’s a bad idea for another reason too: more hits will lead to more balls in the gap and thus longer games.

I get the intuitive nature of that — the longer it takes to retire a side the longer games go — but it doesn’t necessarily follow that offense and game times are related in the way Wainwright implies. There was a lot more scoring in the 1990s and early 2000s and games were actually shorter then than now. Partially because of other factors (i.e. there were not quite as many pitching changes and because guys played at a faster clip). Partially, I suspect, because there were fewer strikeouts and strikeouts take a longer time than guys grounding out or having some of those balls in the gap caught on the run by a fast outfielder.

As I said last week, I suspect that we’ll see fewer balls in the gap than Wainwright implies and, rather, a lot more walks as pitchers test umpires to see if they’re really taking away that low strike. In the short term that’ll actually make games longer, though not for the reason Wainwright thinks.

 

 

Report: Jonny Gomes has retired

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 28:  Jonny Gomes of the Kansas City Royals looks on before Game Two of the 2015 World Series between the Royals and the New York Mets at Kauffman Stadium on October 28, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
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SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo hears from a source that former major leaguer Jonny Gomes has decided to retire from baseball. The 35-year-old spent the 2016 season with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Japan Pacific League, but he struggled at the plate, batting .169/.280/.246 in 75 plate appearances. Gomes left the Eagles by mutual consent back on May 11.

Gomes won a championship with the Red Sox in 2013 and the Royals last year. He ends a 13-year major league career having hit .242/333/.436 with 162 home runs in 4,009 trips to the plate.

Gomes was known as a clubhouse leader during his playing career, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he ends up coaching or managing in some capacity in the future.