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.

Must-Click Link: “Skunk in the Outfield”

Associated Press
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Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.

No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.

Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.

Set some time aside to read this today.

Rubby De La Rosa to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery

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This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.

De La Rosa has had elbow  issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.

I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.

He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.