Alex Rodriguez

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

55 Comments

Yankees 6, Rays 2: Wait, I thought the Yankees’ season was over and everything was doomed, so how does this happen? Two homers for A-Rod, and a two-for-three night for Jorge Posada, who will probably now stick in the seventh spot in the order for a while because, hey, no drama. But since apocalypses apparently aren’t proceeding as planned, I suppose I can make reservations for dinner Saturday night without worrying about anything crazy happening.

Cardinals 2, Phillies 1: Danys Baez loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth of a 1-1 game and was yanked for J.C. Romero who promptly gave up a walkoff RBI single to Lance Berkman. Fact is, though, that Charlie Manuel has nothing to work with in those situations. There’s no one there, short of using Halladay out of the pen, who you can really count on to get strikeouts in those kinds of situations. And of course, the fact that the Phillies are in those situations have an awful lot to do with the fact that their offense is in a coma, but that’s well-covered territory by now.

Braves 3, Astros 1: Hit it up yesterday. And I can’t wait to see if it’s Yadier Molina, Buster Posey or Geovany Soto who gets more votes for the All-Star Game than Brian McCann. The Brian McCann whose feats yesterday put him in pretty rare company.

Rockies 5, Giants 3: The AP game story calls the Rockies’ three best players the “Big Os — Ubaldo, CarGo and Tulo.”  We really doin’ that?  Anyway, those three all came up big and put the Rockies back on top in the NL West by a half game.

Reds 7, Cubs 5: All of the Reds runs were unearned. And you think Mike Quade was mad after Monday’s game? Here was his quote after this one: “If we haven’t hit rock bottom, we’re pretty damn close.”

White Sox 4, Rangers 3: Texas blew a 3-0 lead and then the winning run scored on a wild pitch.

Indians 7, Royals 3: Well, I guess compared to Monday night this was an improvement, but still, the second-to-worst pitching staff in the AL is not doing anything to stop the best offense in the AL.  Not that this should be a terrible surprise.

Dodgers 3, Brewers 0: Matt Kemp hit a two-run homer in the first and the rest of the game was mere detail.

Diamondbacks 6, Padres 1: “[Eric] Patterson was called out on appeal by third-base umpire Joe West for leaving the bag early, though replays appeared to show Patterson on the base when Upton caught the ball.”  Joe West screwed up a call? Now I’ve seen everything.

Atheltics 14, Angels 0: There was a brief time a couple of years ago in which I kept writing Gio Gonzalez’ name when I was referring to Vin Mazzaro and vice-versa.  I guess confusing that now would be rather silly. Gonzalez shut out the Angels on one hit over seven and the offense asploded. Four RBI for Mark Ellis.

Twins 2, Mariners 1: Francisco Liriano pitches his second best game of the year (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 9K), out dueling Felix Hernandez who had another one of his had-to-be-perfect-but-wasn’t losses.

Marlins vs. Mets; Orioles vs. Red Sox; Pirates vs. Nationals, Blue Jays vs. Tigers: POSTPONED: I’m a-goin’ back out ’fore the rain starts a-fallin’. I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest. Where the people are many and their hands are all empty. Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters. Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison. Where the executioner’s face is always well hidden. Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten. Where black is the color, where none is the number. And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it. And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it. Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’. But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’. And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard … It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Thursday’s action

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 18:  Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles celbrates hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning during a baseball game against the against the Tampa Bay Rays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 18, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.  The Orioles won 2-1.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
Leave a comment

With each division now spoken for, our attention now turns to the Wild Card races. The Blue Jays hold a one-game lead over the Orioles for the first Wild Card slot in the American League while the Orioles have a one-game lead over the Tigers for the second slot. The Jays and O’s will do battle on Thursday night and each of the four other teams alive in the AL Wild Card race are rooting for the Jays to win. The Yankees and Astros can both be eliminated from Wild Card contention if the Orioles win one more game or if they each lose one more game. The Mariners are also active in the Wild Card hunt, currently two games behind the Orioles.

Over in the National League, the Giants have a one-game lead over the Cardinals for the second Wild Card slot. The Giants get to play the Rockies while the Cardinals face the lowly Reds. The Mets, who currently own the first Wild Card slot, have the night off.

Asterisks denote that the game is relevant to the Wild Card.

The rest of Thursday’s action…

*Boston Red Sox (Henry Owens) @ New York Yankees (CC Sabathia), 7:05 PM EDT

Chicago Cubs (Rob Zastryzny) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Ivan Nova), 7:05 PM EDT

*Baltimore Orioles (Ubaldo Jimenez) @ Toronto Blue Jays (Marcus Stroman), 7:07 PM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies (Jeremy Hellickson) @ Atlanta Braves (Josh Collmenter), 7:10 PM EDT

*Cincinnati Reds (Dan Straily) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Alex Reyes), 7:15 PM EDT

Minnesota Twins (Kyle Gibson) @ Kansas City Royals (Danny Duffy), 7:15 PM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays (Chris Archer) @ Chicago White Sox (Jose Quintana), 8:10 PM EDT

Los Angeles Dodgers (Julio Urias) @ San Diego Padres (Christian Friedrich), 9:10 PM EDT

*Oakland Athletics (Kendall Graveman) @ Seattle Mariners (Ariel Miranda), 10:10 PM EDT

*Colorado Rockies (Jon Gray) @ San Francisco Giants (Johnny Cueto), 10:15 PM EDT

Who should win the MVP Awards? Who will?

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 20:  Kris Bryant #17 of the Chicago Cubs bats during the second inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field on September 20, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cardinals defeated the Cubs 4-3. (Photo by John Konstantaras/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

With the regular season ending on Sunday and most of the playoff spots locked up, there’s really only one big thing left to argue about: postseason awards. So let’s spend some time looking at who should win each of the four major awards and who will win them. Which are often totally different things. First up: The MVP Awards. 

Who should win the AL MVP Award? 

We at HBT have tended to lean toward the idea that the best player should win the MVP Award, regardless of whether his team wins or not. It’s not an iron-clad thing, of course. In the past I’ve supported some more narrative-driven MVP candidates and, more importantly, deciding who is “the best player” in an objective sense is not always a cut-and-dried endeavor. Defense is an inexact science. Players often have competing apples and oranges arguments for their candidacies.

If you look at “best overall player” this year, however, it’s hard to say that Mike Trout and his line of .318/.441/.556 with 29 homers and his usual solid-to-outstanding center field defense is not that guy. Yes, his team stinks, and no, his 2016 season isn’t head and shoulders above any number of his other excellent seasons, making him a less-than-sexy choice in a lot of ways. But it’s hard to stand head and shoulders above uniform excellence and no matter what you think of stuff like WAR and all that goes into it, Trout has a 1.5 WAR lead over Mookie Betts according to FanGraphs and 1.3 according to Baseball Reference. It’s a pretty significant separation, especially when you realize that, dang, Betts is having a whale of a season himself (.320/.365/.538).

Still, Trout isn’t a unanimous pick even with the HBT team, which has it this way:

Craig: Trout
Bill: Trout
Ashley: Betts

Who will win the AL MVP Award?

There has been a lot of talk about Betts and his teammate, David Ortiz, splitting the vote, as it were. Maybe that was a thing that happened more often back in the day when narrative-driven awards were more common, but I think today’s BBWAA voters are way more savvy than that. I think that Ortiz will get some votes thrown his way by virtue of his outstanding offensive season (.316/.401/.622, 37 HR, 124 RBI) and the storybook ending to his career, but I think Betts will ultimately carry the day with the better overall and all-around performance. MVP PREDICTION: MOOKIE BETTS.

Who should win the NL MVP Award?

There are a lot of guys putting up years that, under different circumstances, would be MVP worthy. Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Freddie Freeman, Nolan Arenado, Daniel Murphy, Joey Votto and Corey Seager are all having outstanding campaigns. Most of them are bunched up as far as WAR goes, more so with Baseball-Reference.com’s version, a little less so with FanGraphs. Bryant leads both versions and is putting up outstanding offensive numbers. Murphy, Freeman and Votto are hitting a tad better than him depending on how you measure it, but have less defensive value. Seager’s mix of defense and offense may be closer to what Bryant is doing, although Arenado might have something to say about that. There are a lot of good choices.

Bryant is the best choice, however. His hitting — .293/.387/.560, 39 HR, 101 RBI — is better than the other all-around candidates and his defensive versatility — he’s played all three outfield positions as well as his usual third base — sets him apart. He’s been the best player in the NL this year.

Craig: Bryant
Bill: Bryant
Ashley:Bryant

Who will win the NL MVP Award?

This is one of those years where I suspect our views will match that of the voters. MVP PREDICTION: Bryant, possibly unanimously.