Asdrubal Cabrera

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Indians 12, Reds 4: Asdrubal Cabrera hit two homers and went 5 for 5 with 5 RBI, but he wasn’t alone as the Indians complete the sweep of the Reds. This series is called “The Ohio Cup,” by the way. Little known fact: loser of the Ohio Cup has to stay in Ohio.

Rays 4, Marlins 0: James Shields has had a fantastic first couple of months of the season, and this was his most fantastic start yet: A three-hit, 13-strikeout shutout. Adherents of the game score stat will note that this performance — a 93 — is the top game score in 2011 thus far.

Orioles 2, Nationals 1: Vlad Guerrero’s two-run homer holds up. Here is what he said after the game: “I was looking for a good pitch to hit and just to make contact, and not for a home run.”  Which, if true, marks the first time in his sixteen-year major league career that he either (a) looked for good pitch; or (b) wasn’t trying to absolutely murder the baseball, God love him.

Cardinals 9, Royals 8: St. Louis walked 13 times — 13 times! — five of which went to Colby Rasmus. The Royals, in contrast, walked once. You wouldn’t think, based on that stat alone, that this could have been a close one, let alone an extra inning affair, but it was. And the Cardinals’ go-ahead and insurance runs came in fittingly in the 10th: walk-error-HBP-walk-walk. Glad I didn’t see this one. Sounds like the kind of game that would make you want to gouge your eyes out. But hey, at least it was over four hours long.

Angels 4, Braves 1: Anaheim gets back to .500 behind seven innings of one-run ball from Tyler Chatwood. As for the Braves, the fact that Joe Mather was the offensive hero of the weekend — and looks to be the only offensive hope for the foreseeable future given the injuries and Ugglaness of the rest of the offense — tells you everything you need to know about how they’re doin’ right now.

White Sox 8, Dodgers 3: Alexei Ramirez was 4 for 5 with 5 RBI.  Which is normally gonna win you the Offensive Shortstop of the Day Award, brought to you by Pacific Life Insurance, but it wasn’t quite as good as Asdrubal Cabrera’s day.

Mariners 6, Padres 1: King Felix struck out 13 and gave up but a single run in eight innings. The Mariners absolutely destroyed San Diego in this series. The Padres scored a single earned run the entire weekend. And it’s not just the Padres’ impotence making the Mariners look good. As Geoff Baker wrote yesterday, the Mariners have had nine straight outings of at least seven innings pitched and two runs or fewer allowed by their starting pitchers. No team has done that since the Giants did it in 1988.

Astros 3, Blue Jays 2: Here’s something you wouldn’t expect:

Even though the Astros had never played in Toronto before, Pence found himself the target of fans in the right-field seats. “I’ve never had it like that,” Pence said. “I just thought that’s how Canadians might be. They like to heckle … They actually got louder. That’s when you know you’re doing good. The louder they get, the better you’re doing.”

In his experience with leather-lunged fans, Pence said only those in the Wrigley Field bleachers compare to Toronto’s taunters. “It’s similar to Wrigley, but in Wrigley there’s so many yelling, it’s almost like you can’t totally pick them out,” Pence said. “These guys had a knack for being loud alone, or all chanting together. It was pretty aggressive.”

Not sure what’s more unusual: rude Canadians or Hunter Pence being the singular object of anyone’s derision.

Yankees 9, Mets 3: It may have changed since then, but as of 9PM last night, the sub-headline to the New York Daily News’ story about this game read “For six innings, the Yankees were the Yankees, plagued by their typical run-producing problems …”  Of course, going into this game the Yankees lead all of baseball in scoring, at a clip of 5.14 runs a game, so I guess “run producing” means something different than “producing runs.” And yes, I realize that there are people who think this team is too home run dependent — because home runs are totally something you never want — but the small-ball giddiness I’m reading in the game stories for this one due to the fact that A-Rod hit some 55-foot dribbler to spark a rally is too much. You know who hit a lot of homers? The 2009 Yankees did. They only won the damn World Series.

Diamondbacks 3, Twins 2: I know some Twins fans who laughed when division rival Chicago gave up Daniel Hudson in that trade for Edwin Jackson last summer. Damn poetic justice (Hudson: 8 IP, 8 H, 2 ER). Hey look: Arizona is at .500. And only one game behind the Rockies for second place in the NL West. Speaking of Colorado …

Brewers 3, Rockies 1: They get swept by Milwaukee. This was a toughie, as Jimenez pitched a complete game and only ran in to trouble in one inning — the third — when a walk, a HBP and a triple on which Ryan Braun was able to score by virtue of a throwing error gave the Brewers all of their runs.

Giants 5, Athletics 4: Five straight losses for Oakland. Twelve pitchers were used in this game. Nate Schierholtz hit a two-run pinch-hit homer in the eighth to tie it up.

Tigers 2, Pirates 0: Rick Porcello’s eight innings of one-hit ball give the Tigers their first win in eight days.

Rangers 2, Phillies 0: Matt Harrison helps the Rays avert a sweep. All the Phillies can say is thank God for that pitching staff, because it’s not often that you’ll see a team score five runs in a three-game series and take two of three.

Red Sox 5, Cubs 1: This was the first time Tim Wakefield faced the Cubs since 1918. Or maybe I read that little series preview wrong. I dunno. Sounds sensible enough. The knuckler was dancing last night, as Wakefield pitched into the seventh allowing one run on four hits. Adrian Gonzalez went 4 for 4 and is pretty much fulfilling all of those “Adrian Gonzaelz will totally hit in Fenway Park” predictions.

Looking Ahead to Next Year’s Hall of Fame Ballot

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 15:  Chipper Jones #10 of the Atlanta Braves stands in the on-deck circle prior to batting against the Cincinnati Reds at Turner Field on May 15, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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We’re only a night’s sleep removed from the 2017 Hall of Fame class being announced but, hey, why not look ahead to next year’s ballot?

After yesterday’s vote there are two guys clearly banging on the door: Trevor Hoffman at 74% and Vladimir Guerrero at  71.7%. It’d be shocking if they didn’t get in.

Also back, of course, and already polling over 50%, which tends to ensure eventual election, are Edgar Martinez (58.6); Roger Clemens (54.1); Barry Bonds (53.8); and Mike Mussina (51.8). All of them are worthy and each of them should have some segment of the baseball commentariat pushing their cases.

But the new class of eligibles is formidable too. Let’s take a preliminary look at everyone we’ll be arguing about next December:

  • Chipper Jones: You have to figure he’s a first ballot guy;
  • Jim Thome: 612 homers will say a lot and, I suspect, most people believe he’s a first ballot guy too. Still, his handling will be curious. Yes, was a better hitter than Sammy Sosa. But was he so much better that it justifies Thome getting 75% in his first year while Sosa is scraping by in single digits? According to Baseball-Reference.com, Thome and Sosa are each other’s most similar comp in history. This is less a Thome point than a Sosa one, of course. I think they both belong.
  • Omar Vizquel: Every few years a defensive specialist hits the ballot and the writers go crazy. When a defensive specialist who got along really, really well with the press comes along, Katie bar the door. Vizquel is gonna cause a lot of arguments about the measurement and value of defense. He’s also going to cause a lot of people to say things like “you had to watch him play” and “it’s not the Hall of Stats!” He’s going to cause a lot of stathead types to counter with “but Scott Rolen was just as good on defense as Vizquel, but you don’t like him!” It’s gonna get ugly. It’ll be glorious.
  • Johnny Damon and Andruw Jones: Will probably be one-and-done, but way better than you remember. If we wanna talk defense, I’ll offer that I have never seen a better defensive center field in my lifetime than Jones. It’s a shame that his falling off a cliff in his 30s will taint that as his legacy.
  • Chris Carpenter and Livan Hernandez: Hall of pretty darn good pitchers who will be fun to talk about;
  • Hideki Matsui: Also one and done, but everyone loves him so I bet he gets some “good guy” votes;
  • Jamie Moyer: A first-time eligible at age 55. Sandy Koufax had been in the Hall of Fame for 18 years when he was the age Moyer will be when he hits the ballot.
  • Scott Rolen: Way better than people believe now and way better than people said at the time. As suggested above, his defense was nowhere near as raved about during his career as it would be if he played today. If his 72.7 career bWAR was heavier on offense as opposed to distributed 52.1/20.6 on offense and defense, people would’ve probably talked him up more. Career WAR for Jim Thome: 72.9. Career WAR for Derek Jeter: 71.8.
  • Johan Santana: The Hall of What Could’ve Been if Shoulders Weren’t So Dumb.
  • Kerry Wood: The Hall of What Could’ve Been if Elbows Weren’t So Dumb. Still, if Jack Morris can stick on the ballot for 15 years based on one dang game, I don’t see why Wood can’t get some support based on a better one.

There are a couple of other fun “oh my God, how has he been retired that long?” names that will appear on next year’s ballot. Check out the whole list here.

Jorge Posada highlights 16 one-and-done players on Hall of Fame ballot

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 24:  Jorge Posada addresses the media during a press conference to announces his retirement from the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on January 24, 2012 in the Bronx borough of  New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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Former Yankees catcher Jorge Posada received only 17 total votes (3.8 percent) on the 2017 Hall of Fame ballot. Unfortunately, he is one of 16 players who fell short of the five percent vote threshold and is no longer eligible on the ballot. The other players are Magglio Ordonez (three votes, 0.7 percent), Edgar Renteria (two, 0.5 percent), Jason Varitek (two, 0.5 percent), Tim Wakefield (one, 0.2 percent), Casey Blake (zero), Pat Burrell (zero), Orlando Cabrera (zero), Mike Cameron (zero), J.D. Drew (zero), Carlos Guillen (zero), Derrek Lee (zero), Melvin Mora (zero), Arthur Rhodes (zero), Freddy Sanchez (zero), and Matt Stairs (zero).

Posada, 45, helped the Yankees win four World Series championships from 1998-2000 as well as 2009. He made the American League All-Star team five times, won five Silver Sluggers, and had a top-three AL MVP Award finish. Posada also hit 20 or more homers in eight seasons, finished with a career adjusted OPS (a.k.a. OPS+) of 121, and accrued 42.7 Wins Above Replacement in his 17-year career according to Baseball Reference.

While Posada’s OPS+ and WAR are lacking compared to other Hall of Famers — he was 18th of 34 eligible players in JAWS, Jay Jaffe’s WAR-based Hall of Fame metric — catchers simply have not put up the same kind of numbers that players at other positions have. That’s likely because catching is such a physically demanding position and often results in injuries and shortened careers. It is, perhaps, not an adjustment voters have thought to make when considering Posada’s eligibility.

Furthermore, Posada’s quick ouster is somewhat due to the crowded ballot. Most voters had a hard time figuring out which 10 players to vote for. Had Posada been on the ballot in a different era, writers likely would have found it easier to justify voting for him.

Posada joins Kenny Lofton in the “unjustly one-and-done” group.