Clayton Kershaw

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 2, Blue Jays 0: Tim Hudson allowed only two hits in eight innings and provided all of the Braves’ offense with a two-run homer. That’s not helping one’s own cause, that’s being a one man force eh, like Charlton Heston in Omega Man. You ever see it? Beauty.

Dodgers 4, Tigers 0: Clayton Kershaw made the Tigers feel like their opponents usually feel when Justin Verlander is pitching (CG, SHO, 2 H, 11K). And like Tim Hudson, he had two RBI of his own.  Which is great, because I got into a little “the DH is awful” argument on Twitter yesterday, and every response back consisted of “yeah, because it’s soooo wonderful to watch pitchers strike out all the time” rebop.  Tell me that Hudson and Kershaw driving in runs on nights where they dominated hitters wasn’t nifty as all get-out. And if your response is “well, that rarely happens,” I’ll direct you to books which set forth arguments about how value is inherently a function of an item’s rarity.

Yankees 5, Reds 3: Given that the Yankees jumped out for four runs in the first off Travis Wood, it was not much of a contest. Until the ninth anyway, when Joe Girardi had to use three pitchers — including Mariano Rivera — to nail down what began as a 5-1 lead. Well, he went with three pitchers. Whether he really had to use three is doubtful, given that he pulled Luis Ayala after he faced one batter and gave up a single and then pulled Boone Logan after he faced one batter and hit him.  Neither of those guys could have rallied to protect a four-run lead? You had to use Mo there? Whatever, Joe.

Orioles 8, Pirates 3:  Nick Markakis had three hits and Jake Arrieta won his ninth. Arrieta got a hit too, so viva interleague play.  His counterpart, Charlie Morton, gave up six runs on eight hits in two innings (plus an unearned run). For the month of June he’s 2-2 with an 8.50 ERA, so yeah, I think we can drop those Roy Halladay comparisons any time now.

Rockies 8, Indians 7:  Jason Giambi just killed a ball off Fausto Carmona in the sixth inning. Reader Brandon Fischer tweeted me this during the game: “Is there a number one starting pitcher worst than Fausto Carmona in the Majors right now?”  Hurm. Hard to limit it to merely “number one starting pitchers,” as Fausto has the worst ERA among all qualifying starters in baseball at the moment.

Cubs 6, White Sox 3: Starlin Castro brought the Cubs back from a 3-0 deficit via an RBI single and a homer and then Carlos Pena iced it with a three run homer. Strong outing for Carlos Zambrano who was shaky in the first inning but then sucked it up and threw 115 pitches over eight innings.

Red Sox 14, Padres 5: Boston is just toying with people right now. It was tied 3-3 before the Sox broke out for a a ten run inning in the seventh. Adrian Gonzalez now has 67 RBI, knocking in three against his old mates. And he’s hitting .353. If you’re the Padres it’s like going to a party, seeing your ex-girlfriend there, noticing that she looks amazingly hot and then watching as she does a freakin’ poll dance in front of everyone, and then tells you that you need to leave the room now.

Rangers 8, Astros 3: It was 7-0 by the end of three and, with all due respect, this isn’t exactly a dangerous Astros team that will shut you down and then strike for the comeback, so that was that. Josh Hamilton hit a two-run triple and Adrian Beltre had two RBI singles. The Astros are 20 games under .500. At least that’s how we commonly refer to it. Fact is, though, that if the results of ten of their games were reversed, they’d be at .500, so how can they be “20 games under .500?”  Hmm. I’ll have to ponder that one a bit.

Rays 8, Brewers 4: Six scoreless innings for Jeff Niemann, who was later aided by a four-run seventh inning and an Evan Longoria three-run homer in the eighth.  It probably ended up not mattering, but Nyjer Morgan was hit by a pitch when it was a 1-0 game, but ordered back to the box by umpire Bob Davidson who claimed he stuck his elbow out, trying to force the contact. Which was total baloney-fueled God-complex stuff on Davidson’s part and which led to manager Ron Roenicke and hitting coach Dale Sveum getting ejected.

Angels 2, Marlins 1: The Jack McKeon era — Mark II — begins dubiously. Jered Weaver gave up the lone run in seven innings. So too did Anibal Sanchez, but his pen allowed a second run to score in the eighth. The benched Hanley Ramirez did manage a pinch hitting appearance. This was the 11th straight loss in a one-run game for the Feesh.

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: