Betancourt double play.bmp

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


Brewers 4, Padres 3: Holy moley, this Yuniesky Betancourt-to-Rickie Weeks double play is the defensive play of the year so far. It’s enough to make you contemplate the nature of Yuniesky Betancourt. How someone can just do that without thinking — because he had no time to think — yet is unable to make basic plays a lot of the time. There are just some people like that in the world. Don’t-think-just-do people. My brother is like that. You played pickup basketball with a guy like that. Never ask them to do the workaday things but Christ Almighty they will pull stuff like that once in a while that makes your jaw drop. It’s those kind of guys who make grinders like the rest of us shake out heads and wonder about the gulf between the conscious and the unconscious world.

Red Sox 2, Twins 1: Jose Iglesias was inserted as a pinch runner for Jed Lowrie, who walked in the bottom of the 11th and he was doubled in by Carl Crawford for the win (assist to Ben Revere for an awful throw from left).  I suspect that, between the highly-touted prospect and the highly-touted struggling free agent, there will be a few storylines spawned by this one as the morning progresses. Oh, and you can throw in the fact that Ron Gardenhire got ejected by Joe West for flavor. And if you really like Joe West flavor, here’s some more for you.

Phillies 6, Marlins 4: Thanks for the appearance Javier Vazquez, but really, your services, such as they are, will no longer be needed (4.1 IP, 9 H, 6 R). And a nice alley-oop play by Mike Stanton on the Rollins homer. Although, yeah, it kind of looked like it was going out anyway.

Pirates 4, Dodgers 1: This double play — made possible by Jose Tabata picking up a ball on the rebound but playing it off like he caught it — led to the ejection of Jose Uribe and Don Mattingly. I often agitate for replay, but the big question about replay is what you do about the continuation play, as it were. If the ump in the booth calls down and says no, it was a trap, what base do you give Matt Kemp? He probably makes third base if the play was properly called as a hit, but as it was he’s back hanging around first base, waiting for the replay, when the call is finally overturned.  My best guess is to allow the ump in the sky to make a judgment call — Kemp gets second or Kemp gets third — but that’s not ideal.  Probably preferable to blown calls like this one, though.

Athletics 7, Rangers 2: One way people like to argue for the MVP award is to say how bad off the team would be without the guy.  If that argument holds, Josh Hamilton is the runaway winner, because Texas has sucked eggs since he went down. Five RBIs for Josh Willingham, who apparently made the right decision in appealing his suspension for ump bumping on Saturday.

Tigers 10, Blues Jays 5: Max Scherzer goes to 6-0, which ties him for the MLB lead in wins. Which doesn’t mean he’s the best pitcher in baseball — far from it — but makes it pretty good to be Max Scherzer lately.

Reds 6, Astros 1: Travis Wood pitched shutout baseball into the seventh and hit a three-run homer which — per union bylaws — I’m required to describe as “helping his own cause.”

White Sox 8, Angels 0: A beatdown. Edwin Jackson with seven scoreless innings, Carlos Quentin went 3 for 4 with 5 RBI.

Rockies 2, Mets 1: It’s not often that you walk six guys in six innings while throwing just 55 of 107 pitches for strikes and get away with it, but  Jhoulys Chacin did.

Video: Justin Turner gives Dodgers early Game 4 lead with two-run double

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
1 Comment

Clayton Kershaw has looked sharp on the mound and at the plate so far in this must-win NLDS Game 4 at New York’s Citi Field.

After no-hitting the Mets in the first two frames, Kershaw smacked a one-out single to left-center field in the top of third inning. Howie Kendrick followed soon after with a two-out single to left and then Adrian Gonzalez blooped a ball to shallow center that drove in Enrique Hernandez, who had reached earlier on a fielder’s choice grounder to second base.

That all set up this Justin Turner two-run double down the left field line that put Los Angeles up 3-0

That’s now four doubles this postseason for Turner, which is a Dodgers franchise record for the Division Series. Los Angeles is trying to force a Game 5.

Video: Hector Rondon closes it out, Cubs advance past Cardinals to NLCS

Hector Rondon
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

In the first postseason meeting between the two longtime archrivals, the Chicago Cubs prevailed over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Watch as Cubs closer Hector Rondon whiffs Cardinals outfielder Stephen Piscotty with a nasty 0-2 breaking ball to clinch a Division Series victory and send Wrigley Field into a frenzy (this is actually the first time in franchise history the Cubs have won a playoff series at home) …

Chicago dropped Game 1 but took three straight to finish off St. Louis. Next up is a matchup against either the Dodgers or Mets in the National League Championship Series.

Cardinals miss Martinez even more than Molina

Carlos Martinez

After taking Game 1 of the NLDS in an outstanding performance from John Lackey, the Cardinals dropped three straight to the Cubs by scores of 6-3, 8-6 and 6-4. It’s not difficult at all to imagine a healthy Carlos Martinez swinging one of those games.

Martinez wasn’t the Cardinals’ best starter this year, but he was the one who could shut a team down by himself, with little help from the defense needed. Martinez struck out 184 batters in 179 2/3 innings while going 14-7 with a 3.01 ERA. He left his next-to-last regular season start with a shoulder strain that was going to cost him the entirety of the postseason no matter how far the Cardinals advanced. It was a killer blow for a team whose offense had already been slowed by injuries.

October just came at the wrong time for the Cardinals, what with Martinez down, Yadier Molina nursing a significant thumb injury, Matt Holliday and Randal Grichuk far from 100 percent and Adam Wainwright still weeks short of potentially pulling off a Marcus Stroman-like return to the rotation.

It’s Molina absence Thursday and lack of effectiveness otherwise that serve as a popular explanation/excuse for the Cardinals’ loss. And the downgrade from him to Tony Cruz behind the plate was huge, even if Molina is no longer the hitter he was a couple of years back.

Martinez, though, had the potential to even up the NLDS just by doing what he did in the regular season. And had Martinez been in the rotation, the Cardinals wouldn’t have moved up Lackey to start Game 4 on three days’ rest. They’d have been the clear favorites in a Game 5 Jon Lester-Lackey rematch back in St. Louis, though we’ll never know how that might have worked out.