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.

Former MLB player Andy Marte also killed in car accident

GOODYEAR , AZ - MARCH 06:  Andy Marte #15 of the Cleveland Indians looks on from the dugout during the spring training game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Goodyear Ballpark on March 6, 2009 in Goodyear, Arizona. The Brewers defeated the Indians 17-7.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Compounding the tragic news of Yordano Ventura‘s passing is a report that fellow Dominican and former MLB infielder Andy Marte was also killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic early Sunday morning. The report was confirmed by Marte’s agency, J.M.G. Baseball, as well as Marte’s former MLB clubs. No further details have been released so far.

Marte, 33, appeared for the Braves, Indians and Diamondbacks from 2005 through 2014. He was ranked in the top 10 MLB prospects by MLB.com in 2005 and held a career .218/.276/.358 batting line, 21 home runs and a .634 OPS over seven seasons in the majors. He signed with the KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization after the 2014 season, slashing .312 with 42 home runs in 206 games.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Marte’s family and teammates during this terrible time.

Yordano Ventura and Jose Fernandez were two of the most promising arms in MLB

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 3: Starting pitcher Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals throws a pitch in the first inning during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on July 3, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
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Baseball lost two incredible pitchers in the last four months, both to horrible and unforeseen tragedies. Jose Fernandez and Yordano Ventura were among the most talented and promising pitchers in MLB, two young arms that drew both accolades and criticism for their performance on the mound.

Ventura signed with the Royals in 2008, blazing through several tiers of their farm system before he was called up to replace an injured Danny Duffy in late 2013. He secured his rotation spot the following spring and finished a solid 2014 campaign with a 14-10 record, 3.20 ERA and 2.4 fWAR in 32 starts for the club. During the Royals’ World Series run later that year, Ventura dedicated his performance in Game 6 to Cardinals’ prospect Oscar Taveras, who was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic just two days earlier.

In four years with the Royals, Ventura pitched to a 38-31 record, 3.89 ERA and 6.5 fWAR. While his command and overall production rate waned, bottoming out in 2016 with a 4.45 ERA and 1.85 SO/BB rate, his dynamic pitch repertoire still kept him front and center in the Royals’ pitching staff. He brandished an electric fastball that, at its lowest point, hovered around 96.6 m.p.h. and, at its best, topped out around 102.6 m.p.h.

Like Ventura, Fernandez made an instant impression in the major league circuit. He earned Rookie of the Year distinctions in 2013 after delivering a 12-6 record, 2.19 ERA and 4.1 fWAR with the Marlins. Despite undergoing Tommy John surgery in his sophomore year, he recovered to take on a full workload in 2016 and stunned the league with a 16-8 record, 2.89 ERA, career-high 253 strikeouts and 6.1 fWAR.

Ventura developed a reputation for brushing back hitters, which escalated in some cases to volatile bench-clearing brawls. In 2015, he was ejected for three altercations in three consecutive games and served a seven-game suspension. Halfway through the 2016 season, he earned another eight-game suspension after plunking the Orioles’ Manny Machado in the back with a 99 m.p.h. heater. Some speculated that his aggressive behavior on the mound was excused — or, at least, made more palatable — by his talent and track record, while others called for a more heavy-handed approach from the league.

Fernandez, too, found himself at the center of speculation after reports emerged that painted the 24-year-old as a “clubhouse difficulty,” citing attitude problems that damaged relationships between the pitcher and Marlins players and staff. On the field, he was occasionally chastised for failing to adhere to some of baseball’s unwritten rules, most notably when he showed his elation after hitting his first career home run off of the Braves’ Mike Minor in 2013.

It’s impossible to predict where Fernandez and Ventura’s careers would have taken them. We mourn them not for their actions on the mound or their potential as star pitchers, however, but for their inherent value as people who were loved and respected by their families and teams. Major League Baseball will be worse off for their loss.