And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Orioles 5, Royals 3: Adam Jones with the walkoff two-run homer as Baltimore smacks Joakim Soria around. At least one doctor voiced concern about Soria after the game. Now, the doctor is a dermatoligst, not an orthopedist, and he was hundreds of miles away at the time and has never once examined Soria, but since it’s Rany Jazayerli, I kind of agree with him here. Kansas City has lost eight of ten.

White Sox 8  Rangers 6:  This was the scene in the fourth inning when they stopped play and started evacuating fans through the dugouts and through tunnels into the bowels of the stadium due to tornado warnings all over the Metroplex. To quote Ozzie Guillen’s Twitter feed yesterday, “This blepen tornado killing us my god.”  And then when that all died down — following a three hour delay — Carlos Quenten killed the Rangers with three home runs.  He is the fifth guy in less than two weeks to hit three homers in a game. Makes you wonder if it’s weather, as opposed to a new deadball era, that has depressed offense so far this year.

Athletics 6, Angels 1: David DeJesus hit two homers and the Angels could do bubkis against Guillermo Moscoso for six innings. Brian Fuentes was not asked to pitch. I assume that, because of this, he was comfortable and that his pyloric valve remained open due to the lack of a disruption to proper geometry and theology or whatever the hell it was he’s angry about the other night.

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 4: I follow a lot of New York Yankees fans on Twitter. It wasn’t intentional, it just happened that way. Some are men, some women, some my age, some barely out of college, some writers, some not. The common denominator: despite all of the success the Yankees have had over the years, despite all of the expectations and despite having every single reason in the world to be complacent, stereotypical New York fans, they all go into hilariously gleeful nerdgasmy fits when the Yankees do something like come from behind late. If it wasn’t over something as boringly corporate as the Yankees I’d say it was cute. But even if it isn’t quite cute, per se, it does sort of give me hope for the human race somehow.

Braves 2, Pirates 0: Jair Jurrjens shut the Pirates out over seven, upping his record to 6-1 and lowering his ERA to 1.56. Still kills me that all he cost the Bravos was the corpse of Edgar Renteria. Pfun Pfact: Dan Uggla, who was given the night off, was used as a defensive replacement in this game and actually represented a defensive upgrade. Neat!

Cubs 11, Mets 1: After this one, you have to wonder if Fred Wilpon isn’t going to find a reporter this morning and say “see, I had a point!”

Reds 6, Phillies 3: In my video chat with CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury yesterday we talked about the Phillies’ offensive outburst on Monday and about how Ryan Madson had really come into his own lately and grabbed that closer’s job for himself. So of course they come out on Tuesday and score only three runs and Madson gets lit up like a pinball machine. Prescience: we haz it.

Tigers 7, Rays 6: A real see-saw battle. And the fat kid jumped off when his little brother was up high, making him slam to the ground and start crying. Wait … lost my train of thought. Oh yeah, Alex Avila hit two homers, the second of which put the Tigers up to stay. Al Alburquerque got his first major league win. I know he’s from the Dominican Republic, but every time I hear his name I think of Nathan Arizona.

Rockies 12, Diamondbacks 4; Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 2: Losing Jorge De La Rosa for the year stinks, but at least the team won his final game, right? Eh, OK, maybe not much of a consolation. But Carlos Gonzalez did hit two dingers and drove in four.  In the nightcap it was all Dbacks, as Joe Saunders allowed two runs on six hits over eight innings.

Red Sox 4, Indians 2: Cleveland didn’t have any miracles on this night, nor did they have any answers for Josh Beckett (6.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER). A two run homer by Jason Varitek helps Boston up its record to 15-7 in May, which is the best in the league.

Twins 4, Mariners 2: A complete game for Nick Blackburn.  What ended up being the winning run scored on a balk. All kinds of excitement here.

Dodgers 5, Astros 4: A Jerry Sands grand slam and a Jay Gibbons solo shot stand up and this time the Dodgers bullpen closes things out. Making his debut and striking out two out of the pen for Los Angels: Rubby De La Rosa, who I had the pleasure of seeing in Arizona during spring training. This kid has fanTAStic stuff, so keep your eyes on him.

Marlins 5, Giants 1: Ricky Nolasco shut out the Giants into the ninth inning but ran out of gas before handing it over to the bullpen. No worries, though, as Gaby Sanchez drove in three and Mike Stanton hit his 11th homer.

Cardinals 3, Padres 2: The Padres continue to be miserable on offense and miserable at home, getting two-hit in this one. Indeed, after a fourth inning hit by Chase Headley they were 0 for 19.

Brewers 7, Nationals 6: Milwaukee rallies from a 6-3 deficit in the seventh inning to take their 12th in the past 15 games. Jonathan Lucroy hit a homer and drove in the tying and winning runs on an eighth inning single.

The Japanese playoffs are super unfair

Hiroshima Carp
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I know a little about Japanese baseball. Not a lot, mind you. Like, I couldn’t hold my own with people who actually watch it or report on it or whatever, but I could explain some of the broad differences and similarities between the NPB and the U.S. majors.  I can say a few things about how the two leagues compare competitively speaking. I can name some stars and (I think) all the clubs. But there’s, quite obviously, a ton I don’t know.

A thing I did not know until today: the NPB playoffs are really messed up.

The NPB is divided into two leagues, the Central and the Pacific, with the winner of each league facing off in the Japan Series. Like the U.S. majors, they have preliminary playoff rounds in each league. Each league has three playoff teams, with the second and third seed teams playing a series first, and the winner of that series playing the top seed — the team with the best record in the league — in what is called the Climax Series.

Here’s the weird part: the higher-seeded team in the Climax Series — the team which won the league in the regular season — gets every single playoff game at home. What’s more, that team begins the Climax Series with an automatic 1-0 advantage. So, yes, it’s a seven-game series on paper, but one of the teams only has to win three games to advance to the Japan Series.

Oh, in Japan, they also have no problems ending a playoff game early if it rains. That’s what happened in the Central League Climax Series last night, where the lower-seeded Yokohama BayStars took on the league champ Hiroshima Carp. Here’s the report from Jason Coskrey of The Japan Times:

The rainy conditions in Hiroshima caused the umpires to stop play for over 30 minutes and ultimately call the game after five innings, minutes after the Carp put three runs on the board. Just like that, it was over. The Carp won 3-0, with Yokohama robbed of the four innings (at least) it would’ve had to try and rally.

Even better: as Coskrey notes, there are five days in between the end of the Climax Series and the beginning of the Japan Series, so there is no reason they could not suspend a game and resume it the next day. They just choose not to. The upshot: the Carp were staked to a 2-0 series lead despite the fact that they had only played five innings of baseball. UPDATE: they played a full game today, the BayStars won, so now it’s 2-1 Hiroshima.

Imagine if that happened in the NLCS. Imagine if the Dodgers began the series with a 1-0 lead over the Cubs and played all of their games in Los Angeles. Imagine there was a freak L.A. storm and it ended one of the game in the fifth inning, right after Justin Turner hit a homer. I’m pretty sure people would riot.

Kinda makes our complaints about the replay system seem rather quaint, eh?