Kansas City Royals v Baltimore Orioles

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Orioles 2, Mariners 1: I, for one, welcome our new Adam Jones overlords. Jones was the hero of the day, hitting what proved to be the game-winning home run and making an absolutely sick, sick catch.

Royals 2, Angels 0: No one did bupkis until the bottom of the ninth when Jeff Francoeur reached on a single and then Billy Butler won it with the walkoff jack off Scott Downs. Adam Jones is still our new overlord, but Butler can be his adjutant general.

Nationals 2, Phillies 1: John Lannan beats the Phillies for the first time in 14 starts as the Nats take two of three. And while I gave props to Adam Jones’ catch as one of the best I’ve seen all year, Laynce Nix’s lay-out-and-slide catch in this one was pretty spectacular too. He assists Butler with light typing and other clerical tasks in the New Adam Jones World Order.

Yankees 4, Athletics 2: The Yankees have beat the A’s ten times in a row. They saw the A’s at the paddock before the second race, outside the men’s room when they placed their bet. They saw the A’s before they even got up this morning.

White Sox 7, Red Sox 4: Boston loses their fourth straight. Paul Konerko hit the go ahead single in the seventh and hit a two-run homer in the ninth that disabused the Red Sox of any notion that they were coming back. It’s not Yankees-A’s level pwnage, but Chicago owns the Red Sox lately. They’re getting so comfortable that they’re thinking about renting some of the Red Sox out to tenants. You know, making the most of their investment.

Pirates 9, Mets 3: The meek shall inherit this game. Jason Bay puts a major charge into a ball but it’s swallowed up by a (a) a giant ballpark; and (b) an outrageous display of range and leather by Andrew McCutchen. Meanwhile, the Pirates score five runs in the top of the seventh inning with five infield hits. Oh, and Kevin Corriea leads baseball in wins with eight. Yes, you heard me: a Pittsburgh Pirate leads Major League Baseball in wins.

Tigers 4, Twins 2: Miguel Cabrera drove one over the left field wall with two on to put the Tigers out of the Twins’ reach. Wait — just got served with a motion by Cabrea’s lawyers. They say that there’s no proof that Cabrera drove it and that at no time did Cabrera admit to anyone in any position of authority that he did, in fact, drive it. Well, crap.

Braves 4, Padres 3: Tommy Hanson wasn’t as sharp as he can be, but he was good enough on a steamy night (6 IP, 3 H, 2 ER). The usual bullpen trio of O’Flaherty, Venters and Kimbrel close it out. Which is awesome now but will be less awesome come September when they’re all making like Mike Marshall and pitching their 100th game. But as Twitter follower @Bengoodfella told me last night: “I try to be positive about it. In two years, the Braves will have three relievers with totally new elbow ligaments.”

Indians 13, Blue Jays 9: Despite so many runs being scored, there was no standout RBI whore in this one for the Indians. Asdrubal Cabrera, Grady Sizemore and Matt LaPorta each had three, which I guess makes this more of an RBI menage a trois situation. Rajai Davis had four for Toronto, so I guess that’s a little whorish. And what’s simply crazy: the Jays had back-to-back-to-back triples in the fifth inning. It’s not often that you even see two in a row, let alone three. Cool.

Reds 4, Brewers 3: There has been a bit of a lifeless feel in the Reds games I’ve watched lately. That wasn’t the case here as Joey Votto and Jay Bruce hit two-run homers as the Reds came back from a late 3-0 deficit. The best 1-2 punch in the game? Name me a better one then.  Francisco Cordero got his 300th career save.

Rangers 3, Rays 0: Colby Lewis had eight innings of shutout ball. Nelson Cruz was 3 for 4 with an RBI and Elvis Andrus drove in two. Tampa Bay has lost eight of 12 and now have to head west on a long road trip. If that trip goes sideways it could be tough for them to hang in the East.

Astros 3, Cubs 1: Houston sweeps the Cubbies. They’re only two behind Chicago in the Central now, too.

Diamondbacks 6, Marlins 5: Justin Upton will get the ups for the walkoff single, but give some credit to Willie Bloomquist. He was on first base and then, with Ryan Roberts up, Bloomquist took third from first base on a hit and run that ended up as an infield chop to third.  Nice heads up play by Bloomquist, making it much easier for Upton to drive him in.

Giants 7, Cardinals 5: It wasn’t Tim Lincecum’s best day (6.1 IP, 10 H, 5 ER), but Nate Schierholtz came up big in the ninth to tie things up and then drove in the go-ahead run in the 11th. And this one had a light delay. No, not a slight delay, a light delay.

Rockies 3, Dodgers 0: Ubaldo Jimenez with the four hit shutout. He averaged between 93-94 m.p.h. with his fastball last night, which is supposedly a problem for him. Guess it wasn’t a problem against L.A.

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: