Cleveland Indians v Detroit Tigers

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Tigers 4, Indians 0: If often seems like the game Justin Verlander is playing is unfairly easy when the game everyone else is playing is so damned hard. A no-hitter into the eighth, a two-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts overall.

Rays 4, Red Sox 0: James Shields with a five-hit shutout. Carl Crawford’s return to Tampa Bay was probably a lot like seeing your ex at a party: your joy at seeing her is inversely related to the figure she cuts as she walks into the room. If she looks like a million dollars and has a suave and swarthy young man on her arm, you don’t want to see her. If she’s not at her best and is attached to a frumpy and disheveled older gentleman, well then, let’s go say our hellos.  Carl Crawford was 0 for 3 with a strikeout in his return to Tampa Bay, so I assume that because of that the Rays crowd greeted him more and more warmly as the night went on, even going to far as to engage the older gentleman accompanying him in conversation, offering him a subtle reminder that his date once had it much, much better.

Angels 4, Mariners 0: Five hit shutouts must have been contagious last night, because Jered Weaver had one too.

Mets 4, Braves 3: Jose Reyes continues to be ridiculously good, going 3 for 5, stealing two bases and scoring twice, and Jair Jurrjens has his worst outing of the year (5.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 5 BB). But really, with all of those Mets on base, it should have been way worse for Atlanta.

Nationals 8, Cardinals 6: St. Louis had a 6-1 lead after five innings and blew it, primarily on the power of Miguel Bautista imploding for five runs in two-thirds of the six-run seventh inning. Only one of the Nats’ runs came on an extra base hit. The rest were singles, fielder’s choices, wild pitches, and other small stuff.

Pirates 1, Astros 0: Just your standard six-pitcher shutout, with Jeff Karstens leading the way (6.2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER). Let’s be charitable to the Astros too and give new pitching coach Doug Brocail credit for the nice showing by Bud Norris and the pen. No I don’t believe he had anything to with that, but if we as a group are going to believe that midseason coaching changes matter, let’s go all the way with the charade.

Phillies 9, Marlins 1: Chris Volstad fooled no one (5.2 IP, 10 H, 8 ER). Cole Hamels fooled many (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER).  For Philly, it was mostly a homer-fest, with four guys in red pinstripes going yard, Domonic Brown doing so twice.

Yankees 12, Rangers 4: Curtis Granderson hit a two-run homer and a two-run single. Pretty much everyone else for the home team hit too. I suppose that they were inspired emotionally by Derek Jeter’s tragic death.  Wait, what? You mean he didn’t die?  He just went on the disabled list? Hmm. I guess I need to actually read the news stories instead of merely gleaning their emotional tone when trying to determine what happened.

Blue Jays 6, Orioles 5: Adam Lind walks off with an 11th inning homer. He also led off the Jays’ scoring with an RBI double in the first.

Reds 3, Dodgers 2: The Reds have gotten great starting pitching over the last week and a half or so, and Johnny Cueto’s outing last night continued it, as he allowed only a single unearned run in seven innings.

Giants 6, Diamondbacks 5: San Francisco jumped out to a 5-0 lead but the snakes clawed back. Wait: snakes don’t have claws. That makes no sense. Anyway, the comeback came a bit short.

Rockies 6, Padres 3: According to the game story, Jim Tracy held a closed-door meeting before the game, the Rockies won and all is right with the world.  I always wondered what would happen if baseball teams were run like British Parliament. If, say, after the closed-door meeting the team came out and performed lackadaisically, would that be akin to a no-confidence vote and would the general manager have to dissolve the team, the manager resign and elections be held?  And what the hell is a Chancellor of the Exchequer anyway?

Cubs 5, Brewers 4: Starlin Castro had three hits, including a walkoff hit in the 10th inning, capping the Cubs’ comeback from a 4-1 deficit in the eighth. Aramis Ramirez had a two-run bomb in the eighth to tie it up at 4.

Royals 7, Athletics 4: From the AP game story:

Kansas City pitcher Danny Duffy didn’t see much need to celebrate his first victory in the major leagues. His teammates thought otherwise and gave the Royals rookie a milk shower.

I hope that wasn’t a euphemism.

White Sox vs. Twins: POSTPONED:  The rain cooled about half-past three to a damp mist, through which occasional thin drops swam like dew. Gatsby looked with vacant eyes through a copy of Clay’s ECONOMICS, starting at the Finnish tread that shook the kitchen floor, and peering toward the bleared windows from time to time as if a series of invisible but alarming happenings were taking place outside. Finally he got up and informed me, in an uncertain voice, that he was going home.

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: