Jack McKeon

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights


Marlins 5, Angels 2: The Feesh win! How they did it while allowing 13 hits is something you’d have to ask the Angels, who went 1 for 15 with runners in scoring position. Mike Stanton was 3 for 4 with 2 RBI and Hanley Ramirez had a multi-hit game himself.

Brewers 5, Rays 1: Zack Greinke struck out ten dudes over seven innings and the Brewers are back in first place. Why? ….

Phillies 10, Cardinals 2: That’s why. Placido Polanco was hit by a pitch with the bases juiced to kick off a nine-run rally in the eighth inning. And get this: Philly didn’t have one extra base hit in the game. They walked nine times, however.

Athletics 7, Mets 3: Oakland is streaky. They take their sixth in a row, and they seem to credit their gold jerseys as good luck charms. But hey, winning ugly is still winning. Like the Cardinals, the Mets issued nine free passes.

Nationals 6, Mariners 5: Doug Fister threw eight innings of three-hit ball, but the M’s bullpen totally woofed it away. A three run homer for Wilson Ramos capped a five-run ninth inning rally. Oy.

Twins 9, Giants 2: An eight run first inning for Minnesota. It seems like we’ve had a lot of games with those kinds of early big innings lately, ending things before they start.

Dodgers 6, Tigers 1: Three wins in a row for L.A., who must be like vampires who feed off of negative vibes from the front office. Matt Kemp stole his 20th base, putting him the 20/20 club on June 21st, which is kind of cool.

Braves 5, Blues Jays 1: On Monday night, Ricky Romero sort of kind of called his offense out for not scoring runs. Then, before this game, manager John Farrell had Romero talk to the team about his comments behind closed doors. I presume there was some level of apology at play.  After this game, though, you think Romero can issue a retraction on that apology? Mike Minor tied the Jays’ bats up for seven innings, striking out eight.

Diamondbacks 7, Royals 2: Wily Mo Pena hit a home run that left Missouri air space and violated multiple international treaties during its flight. He also struck out twice, which is pretty much Wily Mo Pena in a nutshell. Joe Saunders pitched seven strong for the Dbacks.

White Sox 3, Cubs 2: Paul Konerko hits yet another homer, the fifth straight game in which he has done so.  In other news, the gods apparently did not approve of something going on in Chicago and brought down their wrath during the game.

Rangers 5, Astros 4: Mitch Moreland with a walkoff homer in the 11th, which came just before giant storms hit Arlington. Man, the gods were pissed off at something last night, huh?

Padres 5, Red Sox 4: Oh, and the devil must have been around too. My evidence: David Ortiz had to have made a deal with him to have stolen a base. Less devilishly, Anthony Rizzo — he who, among others, was traded for Adrian Gonzalez — hit a bases loaded groundout in the seventh that plated the go-ahead run. So that has to feel nice for Padres fans.

Pirates 9, Orioles 3: The Pirates’ win was pretty cool, but nowhere near as cool as their 1971 throwbacks. The Orioles’ ’71 duds were pretty cool too. I, for one, like and miss the cartoon bird.

Rockies 4, Indians 3: Cleveland was held hitless into the sixth but clawed back from a 3-0 hole. But two homers for Seth Smith, the second of which came in the ninth inning to snap the tie as a storm approached, carried the day.

Yankees vs. Reds: POSTPONED: Kentucky rain keeps pouring down. And up ahead’s another town that I’ll go walking through, with the rain in my shoes, searchin for you … In the cold Kentucky rain.  Well, Kentucky is right across the river from Cincinnati, so I guess it’s close enough.

Jessica Mendoza and Chris Archer were great in the booth

Jessica Mendoza
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Not news: Jessica Mendoza, who has been excellent on all of the ESPN broadcasts she has done since taking over for Curt Schilling, was excellent last night too.

She was great on the nuts and bolts, continued to show that she can describe hitting mechanics better than most color commentators — way more of them seem to be more comfortable talking about pitching — and was a seamless presence in the booth in terms of flow, timbre and all of the aesthetic aspects of broadcasting. If she has a fault thus far it’s that she leans on some cliches about hitters’ mindsets and desire to win sometimes. This puts her in with approximately 100% of all other color commentators in baseball now and throughout the history of baseball, of course, so it’s not really a demerit.

Ultimately, the true test of a good commentator is whether they (a) add insight; and (b) do so without distracting or upstaging the game. In this Mendoza is superior to most commentators in baseball and clearly superior to the “stop and listen to me” brand of analysts the major networks have employed on national broadcasts in recent years.

Indeed, the best compliment I think I can give Mendoza is that she was — in the literal sense, not the judgmental sense — unremarkable. Meaning: during the game and after there was nothing she said or did that was worthy of the highly-critical remarks almost every broadcaster gets, going back through Schilling, Kruk, Harold Reynolds Tim McCarver, Joe Morgan and everyone else ESPN and Fox have forced upon us in their history doing playoff baseball. I’m on Twitter during most playoff games and sometimes the broadcaster bashing is more interesting than the game. Mendoza gives the would-be bashers very little material.

At least those who would bash on the actual merits. There remains a group of deadenders who are irked by her very presence in the booth because she is a woman. The New York times rounds up some of the less mouth-breathery types today, but God knows there are many, many worse. Some of them even in professional media. At least for now. Whether you choose to ignore those people or choose to engage them — which, their dead end opinions notwithstanding can be a useful exercise in my view — know that they are out there being miserable and sexist as God and the First Amendment intended them to be.

While there are many who slam Mendoza on the faulty premise that she lacks credentials and experience in the booth, there was one person in the ESPN booth last night, at least for a while, who was a total TV noob. His name was Chris Archer. He pitches a bit for the Tampa Bay Rays. And lo and behold, he was pretty damn good himself.

Archer needs some polish for style — he has a lot of “ummms” and “uhhhs” about him — but his analysis is both sharp and quick. Meaning he was RIGHT ON the points when he needed to be without any of the usual prompting guests in the booth need from the play by play guy. At one point he even flowed into play-by-play and did a pretty good job of it.  Chris: if that pitching stuff doesn’t work out, you have a bright, bright future in television.

So, on the first night of the playoffs, there were no complaints about the broadcast. Mostly because the broadcasters weren’t the stars of the show. The game was. And it was complemented nicely by a couple of good voices.

And John Kruk.

NL Wild Card Game: Cubs vs. Pirates lineups

Jake Arrieta

Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.

RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.