Chicago Cubs v Colorado Rockies

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Rockies 7, Phillies 1: In yesterday morning’s recaps I slammed Jason Giambi and declared him dead. Last night he hit three homers and drove in seven.  I see my little foray into reverse psychology worked. Don’t thank me now, Jason. Just let me know where to send my bill.

Mets 1, Nationals 0: Sucks to be Livan Hernandez. Oh, wait, Livan Hernandez pitched in this game? Huh. I was just writing basic declarative sentences about the immutable facts of the universe. What a coincidence. Dillon Gee with the two-hit short shutout. Short shutout? Yes, short shutout.

Red Sox 4, Tigers 3: Carl Crawford comes through with a bases loaded single in a tie-game in the bottom of the ninth to give the Sox the win. It’s his third walkoff hit this month.  What, did you think he’d be totally unworthy of his contract forever?

Blue Jays 3, Rays 2: Two solo homers for the Rays vs. a solo and a two-run homer for the Jays. That’s how all game stories would read if we focused less on the individual and more on the collective. Indeed, I intend to present a paper on this very subject in Vienna this fall. It proposes a view of extending expected utility calculations to both individual and group contexts, using several related cases to illustrate the problems inherent in applying expected utility to group choices. It’s all pretty complicated really, what with Prisoner’s Dilemmas and whatnot, so I won’t bore you with it.

Mariners 2, Angels 1: Since the beginning of time man has yearned to destroy the sun. Torii Hunter now more so.

Cardinals 4, Astros 2: Kyle McClellan did not throw a ball three to any of the batters he faced and picked up his sixth win. The whole shebang took 2:15.

Twins 11, Athletics 1: Break up the Twins, winners of three in a row. Two-run homer for Justin Morneau. A big mess of a day for the A’s staff, who lost Tyson Ross after seven measly pitches due to an oblique attack, which is the name I’m giving oblique injuries from here on out so that people will take them more seriously, awareness can be raised and someday — hopefully — a cure can be found.

Pirates 5, Reds 3: The Buccos have taken five of six from Cincinnati. James McDonald gave up one run in six and two-thirds.

Yankees 13, Orioles 2: Brad Bergesen was foolin’ no one, but even if he did manage to fool a few it wouldn’t have mattered because CC Sabathia was on point.

Cubs 5, Marlins 1: A Mike Stanton homer in the eighth was all the Feesh could muster against the Cubs. Starlin Castro had a two-run double in the top of the ninth to give Chicago some breathing room.

White Sox 8, Indians 2: The Chisox jumped all over Fausto Carmona like it was Opening Day or something, scoring six in the first two innings and eight through five.

Royals 2, Rangers 1: This was like an alternate outcome for that Yankees-Orioles game on Wednesday night. Ron Washington sent Derek Holland out to finish the game in the ninth with a 1-0 lead, but he allowed the first hitter he faced to reach so Washington yanked him for Neftali Feliz. Feliz got a couple outs but allowed a single, then uncorked a wild pitch (note: the word “uncorked” can only be used in connection with wild pitches in much the same way “ensuing” can only be used with kickoffs) and then a game-tying single to Mike Aviles. Into extras we go where Jeff Francoeur was the hero, hitting the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the 10th.

Diamondbacks 2, Braves 1: Josh Collmenter has thrown 21 consecutive scoreless innings. And holy moley, if you haven’t seen him pitch, check out his motion. The Braves, of course, couldn’t hit pitches thrown by a Meatball3000-model pitching machine set to “pansy” right now.

Padres 1, Brewers 0: The signature game of 2011 so far: a 1-0 contest decided by a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth.

Giants 3, D0dgers 1: Madison Bumgarner finally wins a game, pitching a shutout until two outs in the ninth. Brian Wilson came in to get the last out of the game, but he made it interesting, walking two guys first.

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: