Mal Reynolds

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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I’m gonna be honest here: I didn’t want any games last night. Instead I watched “Serenity,” which seemed necessary after finishing up the entire 14-episode run of “Firefly” on the treadmill over the past couple of weeks.  The verdict: not bad, but I liked the series better. As “Star Trek: The Next Generation” showed, when you don’t have unlimited time and money for special effects, your drama is better. That said, watching Summer Glau go all killing machine on everything was pretty sweet.

Fun happening: As I was watching it, my daughter Mookie came downstairs to get a drink of water. I just introduced her to “Star Wars” recently. She saw a spaceship and said “is this ‘Star Wars?'”  I said no. Then she saw Mal and she said “but he’s just like Han Solo.”  From the mouths of babes.

Sorry. Got caught in a geek hole there for a second. Won’t happen again. At least until the next time it happens. The scores:

Twins 4, White Sox 1: Here’s how it is: I always love it when I tape a radio spot for an overnight show and then, after taping but before it airs, something happens that makes whatever I said on the show sound dumb. Stuff like “Carl Pavano is kind of a mess,” which is what I said on the show I was on last night. Pavano: CG, 6 H, 1 ER.

Red Sox 3, Rays 0: Something else that made me sound retro-stupid: I exchanged some emails with HBT Daily’s Tiffany Simons yesterday, talking about potential segment topics. One of them was to riff on some ESPN reader poll about who the four or five best pitchers in baseball are, a list which included Josh Beckett. I went on about how Beckett doesn’t belong and then a few hours later he tosses a freakin’ one-hitter. Shows you what I know. And hey, Mitt was in the house!

Nationals 10, Cardinals 0: Livan Hernandez really took St. Louis to the cleaners. You could even say he laundered ’em. Eh, OK, that was a little forced. Still: CG SHO 3 H, 6K.

Rockies 6, Padres 3: From the actual AP game story:

Jhoulys Chacin is starting to make a name for himself, even if few can properly pronounce it.  For the record, it’s yo-LEES cha-SEEN.

I can’t say I ever saw that in a game story. But hey, at least I know how to pronounce it now.

Reds 7, Dodgers 2: Cincy sweeps the Dodgers, taking this one thanks to three hits and three RBI from Scott Rolen. Oh, and it was Dusty Baker’s birthday yesterday. He turned 62. Which means that he’s about eight months younger than my mom. Which is kind of weird to think about.

Phillies 8, Marlins 1; Phillies 5, Marlins 4: I’m sure all of you placed large wagers on Kyle Kendrick having a more dominant outing than Roy Halladay and are now on your way to your bookie’s place to collect your winnings?

Blue Jays 4, Orioles 1: Ricky Romero had 12Ks in eight innings and the Jays had three homers. None from Jose Bautista, though, who has had a very mortal June. I guess he stopped taking all of those undetectable steroids once John Harper of the Daily News got on his trail during that series in New York.

Indians 6, Tigers 4: The Tribe rallied from being down 3-0 in the fourth and Orlando Cabrera put them ahead in the fifth. O-Cab (eh, why not?) was 3 for 4 with two RBI. Cleveland is back in first place by percentage points.

Yankees 12, Rangers 4: When the Yankees lineup for the game was announced yesterday afternoon, all the Yankees fans on my Twitter feed bitched and moaned about Jones, Nunez, Cervelli and Pena filling up the back end of the lineup. Guess it was OK, because for the second night in a row the Yankees win by a 12-4 score. This time some of the 12 came courtesy of two Mark Teixeira home runs.

Brewers 9, Cubs 5: Rickie Weeks homered and hit two doubles, powering Milwaukee into sole possession of first place in the Central. For Chicago, I defer to an email I got from reader Kerry N., who had a few observations about the “strength” of this Cubs lineup:

How do you know when you need a new left fielder?  When he’s batting 7th.  Blake DeWitt can’t even get ABs as a backup middle infielder, but tonight he starts in a corner outfield slot. But wait, there’s more!  The Cubs starting OF had four home runs coming into tonight.  Reed did just hit another, but … wow.

It’s always more satisfying to outsource criticism of a team to a fan, because only a fan can truly capture a team’s faults.

Giants 5, Diamondbacks 2: Madison Bumgarner gave up a couple of homers — which he doesn’t do very often — but he was otherwise effective and the Giants gave him some run support, which they don’t do often.

Pirates 7, Astros 3: Xavier Paul came in as a pinch hitter and doubled, so he stayed in the game and then hit a two-run homer and a single. Neil Walker drove in three. Pittsburgh is a over .500 now.

Mariners 3, Angels 1: Seeing Erik Bedard effective (7IP, 3 H, 0 ER) is not the most surprising thing in the world because he’s an excellent pitcher. Seeing him actually take the ball every fifth day, however, is kind of strange.

Mets 4 Braves 0: Probably good that I watched “Serenity,” because if’n I was going to watch baseball, I probably would have watched this and would have been been dealt the dual frustrations of long rain delays and Dillon Gee totally flummoxing my team. The Braves mustered only two hits on this long night. The Mets are at .500.

Athletics 2, Royals 1: Josh Outman shuts out Kansas City on four hits over seven innings. Bob Melvin gets his first win as an A’s manager at home, delighting the no doubt dozens in attendance.

Wade Davis? Greg Holland? Who needs ’em?

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 21: Joakim Soria #48 of the Kansas City Royals throws in the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Kauffman Stadium on August 21, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The story of the two-time defending AL champion and current defending World Series champ Kansas City Royals cannot be told without talking at length about their bullpen.

In 2014, Wade Davis, Greg Holland and Kelvin Herrera formed a shutdown brigade that not only made it next to impossible for the opposition to mount late rallies, but managed something which seemed utterly impossible before 2014: they turned Ned Yost into a tactical genius. Indeed, the only time Yost got criticism at all that fall was when he messed with the autopilot formula that had that three-headed monster handling the 7th, 8th and 9th innings.

Much the same happened in 2015, of course, despite Holland’s sharp decline and eventual injury. Davis and Herrera continued their dominance. They were joined by Ryan Madson and a cast of other effective relievers who, along with timely hitting, great defense and good health, helped propel the Royals to the title.

This year had not been quite the same story. Holland has been out all year and Davis, while effective when he’s pitched, has missed time due to injury. As has longtime contributor and presumptive next-man-up Luke Hochevar. Herrera is basically still Herrera, but Ned Yost has been presented with a decidedly different set of choices. Lots of choices and Ned Yost don’t always go together well, but lately that hasn’t mattered.

Last night the Royals’ bullpen came in to a close game and tossed three scoreless innings. That set a franchise record with 32 straight scoreless frames, besting the previous record set back in the club’s inaugural season in 1969. The streak is a huge part of why the Royals have won nine games in a row.

Unlike the success of 2014-15, the streak is not a three-man show. As Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star notes, eight different relievers have appeared for Kansas City during the streak, with Joakim Soria and Matt Strahm leading the crew with five and a third innings pitched. Herrera has tossed five scoreless. Otherwise it’s been a group effort with even Peter Moylan offering a couple of scoreless frames. And here you thought Moylan was, I dunno, gearing up for the upcoming Brisbane Bandits season. Nope.

The Royals are still not, in my view anyway, a lock to make the postseason. It’s a a crowded field right now. They’re seven and a half back in the AL Central and four back in the Wild Card with a bunch of teams in front of them. But they’re certainly playing themselves back into the conversation. They’re interesting. And they’re doing it in much the same way they’ve done it the past two years. Only with different dudes doing the do.

Video: Mookie Betts made a ridiculous throw last night

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Mookie Betts was an infielder once upon a time and the knock on him both then and since his move to the outfield was that maybe his arm was not fantastic. As an infielder there was talk that he was better suited to the right side than the left. As an outfielder people were saying that, with work, his arm could be average and/or serviceable. Not bad, of course, but not anything to write home about.

Maybe we need to reassess that, because last night he uncorked one from right field that would make Dwight Evans says “dang, man.”

 

And the throw mattered, as Kiermaier represented the tying run in a game that, at the time, the Sox were leading 2-1.

Betts is a dangerous middle-of-the-order bat at age 23. And now he shows that he’ll nail a fast runner with a frozen rope if he has to. The guy is going to win an MVP award some day. And maybe not just one.