Chad Billingsley, Aaron Miles

And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Dodgers 9, Reds 6: Chad Billingsley — altogether now — helped his own cause by hitting  a homer, a double and driving in three.  I was watching the game when he hit the homer. I couldn’t see the beginning of his sentence, but Reds’ starter Travis Wood quite clearly mouthed the words “… homer to the motherf***ing pitcher,” as Billingsley rounded the bases. I was watching the game with my kids and they asked me why I was laughing. I said “no reason.”

Cardinals 3, Cubs 2: Nowadays everybody wanna talk like they got something to say, but nothin comes out when they move they lips, just a buncha gibberish, and muthaf***as act like they forgot about El Hombre.

Nationals 9, Diamondbacks 4: A wild one, including multiple hit-batsmen and multiple pitcher/manager ejections. A big blown lead for the Nats in the ninth, made up for by a bases loaded walk/grand slam rally in the 11th. If two teams I don’t care a lick about want to hold my interest for a few innings, this is a great way to do it.

Giants 2, Rockies 1: Once over the line maybe you can pick cotton in the fall. Maybe you can go on relief. Why don’t you go on west to California? There’s work there, and it never gets cold. Why, you can reach out anywhere and pick a starting pitcher, right off the tree. Like Ryan Vogelsong (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7K).

Twins 6, Royals 0: Brian Duensing (8 IP, 6 H, 0 ER) helps the Royals continue to slide down the list of highest scoring teams in the American League.  A couple weeks ago they were second. Now they’re sixth and dropping. As for the Twins, before the game Gleeman tweeted this, and I agreed with him: “For a full season I think today’s Twins lineup could rank as high as third or fourth among International League teams in scoring.”  And then they scored six, including three RBI for Jason Repko.

Tigers 7, White Sox 3: Actually, the Tigers may have passed up the Royals on the AL offensive list after this game, putting Detroit in sixth place and Kansas City in seventh. As I’m typing this Baseball-Reference hasn’t refreshed to reflect Sunday’s games, so let’s revisit later this morning.  Ryan Raburn with a grand slam.

Phillies 7, Pirates 3: Philly salvages one in Pittsburgh and breaks a four-game losing streak. Leave it to Doc, I guess (7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER). And Ryan Howard, who drove in three.

Red Sox 6, Athletics 3: Carl Crawford with a three-run homer, Adrian Gonzalez with a two-run homer and, in his return, John Lackey was as effective as he’s been able to muster this year, pitching into the sixth inning. Just like they drew it up over the past couple of winters.

Brewers 6, Marlins 5: Football is called a game of inches, but sometimes the slightest margins mean everything in baseball too. Three straight one-run wins for Milwaukee in Miami. Florida has stranded runners all over the place this series, and they still have one more game to go on the wraparound today.

Blue Jays 7, Orioles 4: Jo-Jo Reyes just knows how to win. The fact that Adam Lind was 4 for 4 with two homers helped him win, of course.

Rangers 2, Indians 0: C.J. Wilson shut the Tribe down into the eighth inning and the pen finished the job, as the Rangers swept the Indians in a four-game series. Detroit is only 2.5 games back now. The fairytale is almost over.

Yankees 5, Angels 3: Two homers for Mark Teixeira, including a two-run shot that put the Yankees ahead for good. After dropping the first two in Seattle last week, the Yankees finish their west coast swing 6-3. Not too shabby.

Mariners 9, Rays 6: Miguel Olivo with a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth. Did you know that he is the most indispensable Mariner?  Greg Halman got his first major league action of the year and went 3 for 4 with two runs batted in.

Padres 7, Astros 2: The Padres take three of four from the Astros in the battle of the “mehs.”  Although maybe San Diego shouldn’t be considered too “meh.” They’ve won eight of 11.

Mets 6, Braves 4: R.A. Dickey had it goin’ on (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER) and no one save Brian McCann had a clue what to do with his fluttery wonderfulness (Diory Hernandez’s pinch hit homer came against the pen). Odd game for me, because there aren’t many ballplayers I like to see do well more than Dickey, and that even extends to when he pitches against my favorite team. By the fourth or fifth inning I got disgusted with the Braves and just started pulling for Dickey. Yeah, fan infidelity and all that, but it’s a long season and stuff like that happens from time to time. It’s no different than being married for 16 years and taking an occasional furtive glance at a nice looking brunette that just happens to walk by.  Not that I know anything about that.

Video: Nomar Mazara crushes a 491-foot home run

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 27:  Nomar Mazara #30 of the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington on April 27, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Rangers rookie outfielder Nomar Mazara crushed the longest home run of the season to date, according to Statcast, with a 491-foot shot to the upper deck in right field against the Angels on Wednesday afternoon. With the bases empty and no outs in the second inning, Angels lefty Hector Santiago threw a 1-1 off-speed pitch, which did not fool Mazara in the slightest.

Statcast measured it at 491 feet. Giancarlo Stanton previously had the longest home run at 475 feet off of Hector Neris on May 6. Franklin Gutierrez hit a 491-foot shot on Saturday against Reds pitcher John Lamb.

Mazara entered the afternoon hitting a terrific .317/.364/.483 with seven home runs and 18 RBI in 162 plate appearances.

Blue Jays activate Devon Travis from the disabled list

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 22: Devon Travis #29 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates scoring a run in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on July 22, 2015 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
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The Blue Jays announced on Wednesday afternoon that the club has activated second baseman Devon Travis from the disabled list. To create roster space, ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte has been optioned to Triple-A Buffalo.

Travis, 25, last played on July 28 last year. He battled a shoulder injury for which he would undergo season-ending surgery. He burst onto the scene as a productive rookie, batting .304/.361/.498 with eight home runs and 35 RBI in 239 plate appearances before being sidelined.

Thus far, Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney have handled second base for the most part for the Jays. But the club has gotten a meager .585 OPS out of the position, the lowest mark in the league. The return of Travis should be quite a boon. He is batting eighth in Wednesday night’s lineup against the Yankees.

Adam Wainwright is not a fan of the proposed strike zone changes

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 09:  Adam Wainwright #50 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 6 to 1 in Game Five of the National League Division Series at Busch Stadium on October 9, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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It’s probably not a big shocker that a pitcher is not a big fan of the strike zone being made smaller, but Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals and he tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he is not a fan of the proposed changes to the strike zone we wrote about recently, calling the proposal “a horrible, horrible idea.”

Horrible, he acknowledges, because he’s a pitcher with a vested interest so, yes, let’s give Wainwright credit for self-awareness and for disclosing his self-interest. But he thinks it’s a bad idea for another reason too: more hits will lead to more balls in the gap and thus longer games.

I get the intuitive nature of that — the longer it takes to retire a side the longer games go — but it doesn’t necessarily follow that offense and game times are related in the way Wainwright implies. There was a lot more scoring in the 1990s and early 2000s and games were actually shorter then than now. Partially because of other factors (i.e. there were not quite as many pitching changes and because guys played at a faster clip). Partially, I suspect, because there were fewer strikeouts and strikeouts take a longer time than guys grounding out or having some of those balls in the gap caught on the run by a fast outfielder.

As I said last week, I suspect that we’ll see fewer balls in the gap than Wainwright implies and, rather, a lot more walks as pitchers test umpires to see if they’re really taking away that low strike. In the short term that’ll actually make games longer, though not for the reason Wainwright thinks.

 

 

Report: Jonny Gomes has retired

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 28:  Jonny Gomes of the Kansas City Royals looks on before Game Two of the 2015 World Series between the Royals and the New York Mets at Kauffman Stadium on October 28, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
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SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo hears from a source that former major leaguer Jonny Gomes has decided to retire from baseball. The 35-year-old spent the 2016 season with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Japan Pacific League, but he struggled at the plate, batting .169/.280/.246 in 75 plate appearances. Gomes left the Eagles by mutual consent back on May 11.

Gomes won a championship with the Red Sox in 2013 and the Royals last year. He ends a 13-year major league career having hit .242/333/.436 with 162 home runs in 4,009 trips to the plate.

Gomes was known as a clubhouse leader during his playing career, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he ends up coaching or managing in some capacity in the future.