Brooks Conrad

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 4, Pirates 2: All Brooks Conrad does is hit pinch-hit game-winning homers. Well, that and play soul-killing defense and occupy a roster spot that gives his team minimal flexibility despite having a number of injuries which scream out for a super utility player who can handle both outfield and the infield corners. But hey, I’ll accept that latter stuff if it means a couple of pinch-hit game-winning homers every year!

Phillies 5, Reds 4:  So wild, crazy and long that a little blurb doesn’t do it justice, so check out our longer writeup here.  At this point, the biggest takeaway from all of this is “Hey! Someone finally found a use for Wilson Valdez!” Dude just knows how to win (1-0, 0.00 ERA).  And the best part: after a six-hour game that ended at 1:19 AM, these two teams get together today at 1:05!  Cliff Lee and Homer Bailey: be prepared to go long today.

Marlins 7, Giants 6: The loss of the game is bad but it pales compared to the loss of Buster Posey to a leg injury in the 12th inning. The play looked clean as far as those sorts of plays go, but it was awful all the same. Posey being gone for an extended period is absolutely the last thing the Giants need.

Red Sox 14, Indians 2: No team that has eveh started 2-10 has evah won teh Wurld Seriez!!!11one11!  Know why? Because most teams that start off poorly are actually bad teams. The Red Sox are a good team that just so happened to start poorly, and now they’re not playing poorly anymore.  The past, it seems, does not control the future. There is something besides destiny determining how events unfold. How liberating.

Padres 3, Cardinals 1: Mat Latos, who looked deader than vaudeville earlier this spring, turns in his best start of the year thus far, giving up one run on six hits over eight innings while striking out seven. This one just screamed getaway day: it lasted two hours and four minutes, with both Cardinals and Padres pitchers throwing a total of 105 pitches.

Brewers 6, Nationals 4: I hit this one up yesterday afternoon. Short version: Zack Greinke hit this one up yesterday afternoon.

Astros 2, Dodgers 1: J.R. Towles wins it with an RBI single in the ninth. The back of that Dodgers bullpen? Needs more Rubby.

Rangers 2, White Sox 1: C.J. Wilson was effective and Neftali Feliz bent but did not break in the ninth, giving the Rangers their third win in four games. There were no evacuations.

Mariners 3, Twins 0: And with that, the Twins’ offense becomes more firmly entrenched as the worst in the American League. They still need to be wary of a challenge from Oakland and even these Mariners, but seeing them step up strong like this yesterday gives me full confidence in their ability to be the worst. But just so we’re clear: Thome: that “reaching base twice in four plate appearances” stuff is you not being a team player, get me?

Yankees 7, Blue Jays 3: Two homers for Andruw Jones in Yankee Stadium. John Smoltz gets the win. Greg McMichael, Denny Neagle, Terrell Wade and Brad Clontz combine to close it out. Tomorrow: Greg Maddux vs. Jimmy Key.

Orioles 9, Royals 2: One gets the sense that the wheels have done come off the Kansas City bandwagon. That’s nine of the last 11 in the loss column thanks to this fourth inning implosion in which Luke Hochevar gave up eight runs yet still survived it to pitch on because, you know, you go with what you know and who else is more used to giving up eight runs than Luke Hochevar?  Adam Jones had two hits and two RBI that inning.

Mets 7, Cubs 4: The Cubs had a 4-1 lead in the second when things started skidding sideways. RBI from Josh Thole and Carlos Beltran tied it up against Casey Coleman, so Mike Quade went to Jason Berg, who threw twelve consecutive balls, walking in two runs.  New York tacked on one more with a sac fly in the fifth before the rains came — well, got worse — and they called this one early. Which Mike Quade wasn’t happy about, but hey, the game was official and no one had to refund anyone any money so whose to complain? I mean, other than Quade, the Cubs players and everyone else. Dreadful weather, though.

Diamondbacks 2, Rockies 1: Ian Kennedy was once again strong, allowing one run on seven hits over eight innings. I saw some people tweeting last night about how the Dbacks stole four bases, but none of those steals led to runs so who cares?

Angels 4, Athletics 1: Torii Hunter and Alberto Callaspo hit back-to-back homers in the fourth, and that’s about all the offense you need against this A’s team right now.

Rays vs. Tigers: POSTPONED:  It was a dark and stormy night. Oh, wait. That was daytime. Wow. Scary. I can see why they decided to scuttle this one.

The Blue Jays and the Toronto press are fueding with each other

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 3:  Manager John Gibbons #5 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on from the dugout during the first inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 3, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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The Blue Jays are poised to make the playoffs for the second year in a row and are playing a critical series with the Orioles, the outcome of which will likely determine who gets to play at home for that one-and-done game next week. Big stakes! Must keep focused!

Or, alternatively, maybe it’s time to have a silly, juvenile feud with the press. Here’s Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun, asking why the Jays are doing stuff like this while fighting for the playoffs:

Why, for example, would the leaders on the team allow someone to put up on a wall photos of two Toronto sports writers with an ‘X’ scratched on their face and the a message written on top reading, ‘Do not grant them interviews’ (or words to that effect)? . . . Things like: Someone cranking up the music just when the media arrives to conduct pre-game interviews.

Not that the Jays have been treated wonderfully by the press themselves:

There was an incident the other night when a couple of journalists tried to corral struggling closer Roberto Osuna for an interview, but he kept blowing them off. Finally, one reporter followed him right into a private part of the clubhouse and told him off.

That’s . . . not what you’re supposed to do.

Still, there is zero point to get into silly feuds with the media. If they overstep their bounds, there are a TON of Jays officials and, I suspect, newspaper editors, who will quickly and eagerly discipline the reporter. You don’t have to make wanted posters and act like children. Partially because it’s just a bad look. But also, because it leads to news stories about it like the one in the Toronto Sun.

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 29: Rain falls during a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium on September 29, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights.

Oh, and here is my take on the idiotic ending to the Reds-Cardinals game which could potentially cost the Giants a playoff berth.

Nationals 5, Diamondbacks 3: Wilmer Difo hit his first major league homer. Pedro Severino hit his second. No National succumbed to season-ending injuries. So a rare success for Washington in these final days of the regular season.

Yankees 5, Red Sox 1: CC Sabathia allowed one run and four hits while pitching into the eighth inning. It was only his ninth win of the year — his first win in a month — but he lowered his ERA to 3.91. He strike out fewer guys than he used to, walks more and allows more hits. But the fact that he made 30 starts this year and made at least a modest return to form suggests that, maybe, Sabathia still has something in the tank. Not as an ace, of course, but at least as a guy who can give you some respectable innings at the back of a rotation. In other news, the Yankees were eliminated in the middle of this game by virtue of the Orioles beating the Blue Jays. Inevitable, but the mere fact that they staved off elimination until game 159 is pretty impressive given all that has happened this year.

Cubs 1, Pirates 1: You don’t see many ties in baseball. Unless it’s spring training. Or, like, 1912 or something and it gets dark. Thank Mother Nature for the game being called at 1-1. Thank this game having no playoff implications whatsoever for it not being resumed at a later date. It was the first tie in a regular season game since 2005.

Orioles 4, Blue Jays 0: Ubaldo Jimenez and two relievers combined on a three-hit shutout. Jimenez allowed one of those hits in his six and two-thirds innings. The O’s and Jays are tied in the Wild Card standings with Detroit (1.5 back) and Seattle (2 back) the only ones left who can break up their postseason party.

Braves 5, Phillies 2Freddie Freeman‘s 30-game hitting streak ended but the Braves won for the 10th time in 11 games. The Tigers play Atlanta in the season’s final series. A month or two ago that looked like a nice way to end things. Right now, however, there’s a decent chance that the Braves help end the Tigers season. If that comes to pass, please say a prayer for those Braves fans you know who are engaged to grumpy Tigers fans come Sunday. Not, um, that I know any of those.

Twins 7, Royals 6:

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Same.

Cardinals 4, Reds 3: Not sure what else there is to say at this point that I didn’t say here. I dunno, Yadier Molina and Jedd Gyorko hit solo homers. Wheeeeeee.

Rays 5, White Sox 3: Congratulations to Chris Archer for avoiding his 20th loss of the season. Pitcher wins and losses mean little about the skill or prowess of a pitcher, but it’s better not to be the answer to a trivia question like that.

Dodgers 9, Padres 4Joc Pederson doubled twice and drove in three as the Dodgers avoided a sweep. The Dodgers are two games behind the Nationals with three to play in the race for home-field advantage in their division series matchup. Between that and possibly keeping the Giants out of the Wild Card game, they have a lot to play for this weekend in San Francisco.

Mariners 3, Athletics 2: Mike Zunino hit a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning to keep the Mariners alive for at least one more day.

Giants 7, Rockies 2: Johnny Cueto started out a bit shaky, giving up two in the top of the first, but he settled down and didn’t allow anything else in his remaining six innings. It was close until the sixth when the San Francisco pulled ahead, thanks in part to an uncharacteristic defensive blunder by Nolan Arenado. The Giants control their own destiny in the Wild Card, standing a game ahead of St. Louis with three to play.

Indians vs. Tigers: POSTPONED: The leaves of brown came tumbling down

Remember in September in the rain
The sun went out just like a dying amber
That September in the rain

To every word of love i heard you whisper
The raindrops seemed to play our sweet refrain
Though spring is here to me it’s still September
That September in the rain