Los Angeles Dodgers v Philadelphia Phillies

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


Phillies 3, Dodgers 1: Cliff Lee hadn’t been looking like Cliff Lee lately. In this one, he looked like Cliff Lee (7 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 10K).  Dee Gordon made his major league debut. He was inserted as a pinch runner in the ninth inning, took third on a single and then scored the Dodgers’ only run on a fielder’s choice.

White Sox 3, Mariners 1: Not many guys have out-pitched Michael Pineda this season, but John Danks did (7.1 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 6K), snagging his first win of the year in the process.

Twins 6, Indians 4: Scott Baker didn’t look like he’d make it out of the first inning, but he settled down. That’s five wins in a row for the Twins. Five losses in a row for the Indians.

Orioles 4, Athletics 2: The Athletics would kill for their losing streak to be as short as five. This one was the seventh straight loss for Oakland. And they lost Mark Ellis to a hamstring strain in the sixth inning, though given how he’s been hitting, they may not notice his loss.

Reds 8, Cubs 2: Things continue to careen out of control for the Cubbies, who also lost their seventh straight. Matt Garza and reliever Jeff Samardzija each got lit up. Jonny Gomes drove in four.

Brewers 7, Marlins 2: Hey, the Feesh didn’t lose a one-run game!  Zack Greinke continues to round into form (7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER) and Prince Fielder drove in four. The Brewers, by the way, have won 13 of 16 games.

Tigers 13, Rangers 7: Colby Lewis didn’t have a lick of nothin’ (3.1 IP, 10 H, 9 ER and 4 — count ’em — 4 home runs).  Brennan Boesch had two of those homers, went 5 for 6 and drove in 5, making him the official RBI whore of the night.  Question: are we tired of that yet? I think we may be tired of it.

Giants 5, Nationals 4: Tim Lincecum needed five strikeouts to reach 1,000 for his career. He got exactly five, though he was not at his sharpest last night, allowing four runs in five innings. San Francisco rallied in the eighth to tie it, however, and Freddy Sanchez’s RBI single won it in the bottom of the 13th.

Rockies 3, Padres 0: Your standard six-pitcher combined shutout for Colorado.

Rays 5, Angels 1: Justin Ruggiano hit homer and drove in three and David Price took a shutout into the eighth inning. Ruggiano wouldn’t have even been playing — it was only his fourth start of the year — if there hadn’t been a bug going through the Rays’ clubhouse.

Royals 3, Blue Jays 2: Eric Hosmer hit a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 11th. I have this feeling we’ll hear more about this game soon, as Joe Posnanski — who is moving away from Kansas City — was taking in his last Royals game as a local and said he’d write a post about it. I’m sure his rendering will be better than anything I can spew about it at 5:30 in the morning.

The Yankees were booed last night. Did they deserve it?

Masahiro Tanaka

The boos came raining down from the Yankee Stadium faithful last night. They started when Brett Gardner grounded out in the eighth inning. More came later. A lot of it was, no doubt, based on Gardner’s disappointing performance late in the season. A lot of it was because, around that time, it seemed like the Yankees had zero shot whatsoever to mount a comeback. Which, in fact, they didn’t. A lot of it was pent-up frustration, I assume, from a late season skid which saw the Yankees lose their lead in the AL East and wind up in the Wild Card Game in the first place.

Anyone who buys a ticket has a right to boo. Especially when they buy a ticket as expensive as Yankees tickets are. It’s obviously understandable to be disappointed when your team loses. Especially when your team is eliminated like the Yankees were. And last night’s game was particularly deflating, with that 3-0 Astros lead feeling more like 10-0 given how things were going.

But isn’t booing something more than a mere manifestation of disappointment? Isn’t a step beyond? Booing isn’t saying “I’m sad.” It’s saying “you suck!” It’s not saying “I’m disappointed,” it’s saying “you should be ashamed of yourselves!” And with all respect to Yankees fans, the 2015 Yankees have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

This was a club expected to miss the playoffs, full stop. Maybe some people allowed for an if-everything-breaks-right flight of fancy, but hardly anyone expected them to play meaningful games late in the year, let alone a playoff game. They were too old. Too injured. There weren’t enough young reinforcements to fill the gaps. Some even went so far as to claim that they were about to spend years in the wilderness.

But then A-Rod broke out of the gate strong. And Michael Pineda had a really nice first couple of months. And Mark Teixeira put up numbers that wouldn’t have been out of place for him several years ago. The bullpen did what it was supposed to do and more, Masahiro Tanaka held together somehow and, eventually, a couple of young players like Greg Bird and Luis Severino came in to reinforce things. The not-going-anywhere Yankees were contenders. And they led the division for a good while. Of course they stumbled late. And of course they lost last night, but by just about any reasonable measure, this was a good team — better than expected — and, unlike a lot of Yankees teams in the past, was pretty darn enjoyable to watch.

Then the boos. I just can’t see how this Yankees team deserved that.

I realize a lot of people in the media have duped a lot of people into thinking that a team with a high payroll is supposed to be dominant. And I realize George Steinbrenner duped a whole lot of people into thinking that anything less than a World Series championship for the New York Yankees is failure. But that’s rhetoric and branding, not reason. In the real world where baseball players play baseball games World Series titles are rare, even for the Yankees. At the end of the season all but one of 30 teams are either at home for the playoffs or went home after suffering a gut-wrenching playoff loss. The Yankees are the most dominant franchise in the history of American professional sports yet they still have finished their year without a title over 75% of the time.

With that as a given, fans are left to judge their team’s performance based on its talent, its health, its heart, its entertainment value and the strength of the opposition which ultimately vanquished it. The Yankees weren’t nearly as talented as many, yet made the playoffs anyway. They were a walking hospital ward, let limped on. They never quit and never got pulled down into the sort of muck a lot of New York teams find themselves in when things start to go sideways. And, ultimately, they were simply beat by a better team. By any reasonable measure the 2015 Yankees were a good story, a successful enterprise, a resilient bunch and no small amount of fun.

It’s OK to be sad that it ended as it did. But that doesn’t deserve to be booed. Not by a long shot.

Collin McHugh will start Game 1 of the ALDS for the Astros

Collin McHugh Astros

After using ace left-hander Dallas Keuchel to get past the Yankees in the Wild Card game the Astros will turn to right-hander Collin McHugh in Game 1 of the ALDS versus the Royals.

McHugh had an up-and-down year, posting a 3.89 ERA compared to his 2.73 mark last season, but thanks to good teammate support he had a 19-7 record and his 171/53 K/BB ratio in 204 innings was solid. He was particularly good down the stretch, posting a 2.89 ERA and 69/20 K/BB ratio in 72 innings after August 1.

McHugh will match up against Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura in Game 1. Houston hasn’t named a starter for Game 2 yet, while Kansas City is going with Johnny Cueto. And then the Game 3 matchup figures to be Dallas Keuchel versus Edinson Volquez.