New York Yankees v Cincinnati Reds - Game Two

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

22 Comments

Yankees 4, Reds 2; Reds 10, Yankees 2: A twin bill thanks to Tuesday night’s rain. We start with the second one because that has the coolest thing in it: Chris Heisey hitting three homers and driving in five. Like a boss. New York takes the first one with an effective outing from Freddy Garcia and a two-run homer from Jorge Posada, his first since April 23rd.

Nationals 2, Mariners 1: Look who’s sittin’ at .500. Danny Espinosa drove in the first run and scored the second while five Nats pitchers combined to stifle the M’s bats. Erik Bedard struck out 10 and didn’t allow any earned runs over six innings, so he really deserved a better fate. At least from a baseball perspective. I mean, we don’t know for sure that he didn’t kill a hobo on a dare when he was in high school and thus everything bad that happens to him isn’t something he totally has coming to him. We don’t really know any of these guys that well, do we?

Astros 5, Rangers 3: Whoa. Neftali Feliz blew a 3-1 lead in the ninth inning, with the capper coming on a pinch-hit two-run homer by Matt Downs.  Maybe the fact that he had a 35-pitch outing in the Texas heat the night before had something to do with it?

Pirates 5, Orioles 4: Blake Davis, 27-year-old rookie makes his major league debut and his error — a Josh Harrison grounder through the wickets — ends up costing the O’s the game.  George Burns was right: baseball is a horrible bitch goddess.

Rays 6, Brewers 3: David Price pitched well — struck out ten — but his game was more notable for a nasty slide into second that drew blood and the fact that he wore his shinguard on the wrong shin during one of his at bats. Kelly Shoppach’s assessment after the game: “There’s a lot of baseball purists out there that love the pitchers hitting, but oh my gosh.”  Well, yeah.

Tigers 7, Dodgers 5: Homers from Casper Wells,  Miguel Cabrera, Don Kelly and Magglio Ordonez and a nifty game-ending catch from Austin Jackson with the bases jacked in the bottom of the ninth. Observed: the Dodgers both look bad and play bad in their baby blue throwback uniforms.

Braves 5, Blue Jays 1: Brandon Beachy returned from the DL and struck out 11 over six innings. The only blemish was a homer allowed to Jose Bautista. Of course. he’s not alone in allowing that particular blemish. And if you missed it, Bautista made a helluva catch, robbing Jordan Schafer of a homer.

Padres 5, Red Sox 1: A wise man once said: “sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains so damn much that you have four rain delays and then the game ends up being called after seven and a half innings anyway.” Clayton Richard stuck it out through two of the delays, giving up one run and eight hits over five innings. Four hits for Adrian Gonzalez, who is more machine than man.

Indians 4, Rockies 3: For the second night in a row a Rockies player hits two homers off the Indians. This time it’s Ty Wigginton. Unlike the night before, however, this time it’s in a losing effort, as Josh Tomlin beats Jason Hammel. One of the Tribe’s runs scored on a Hammel balk, so that’s special.

Phillies 4, Cardinals 0: A six-hit shutout for Cliff Lee, who has been absolutely incredible in June. One earned run in 33 innings.

Giants 5, Twins 1: Ryan Vogelsong has been damn spiffy too, and threw yet another gem: one run on three hits in seven inning, lowering his ERA to 1.86. Eli Whiteside had a triple, single and three RBI.

Angels 6, Marlins 5: As has been the case throughout this series, the Angels had a ton of chances. And they failed to capitalize on them early. As the game wore on, however, things started to fall for them. The most important being a Mark Trumbo RBI single in the 10th. Torii Hunter left the game after slamming into the right field wall, though x-rays were negative. Which is a positive thing.

Diamondbacks 3, Royals 2: Ian Kennedy keeps on keeping on, winning his eighth game and lowering his ERA to 2.90.

Mets 3, Athletics 2: Last week the Mets lost on a walkoff balk. Last night they won on a walkoff plunk. Justin Turner on the pitch that hit him:

“I’m staying in and holding my ground. Unless it’s at my face or around my ankle or something, I’ll stay in there and take the bruise and get that game over with.”

Dude: at least pretend that you tried to get out of the way but couldn’t, as is your obligation as a hitter.

White Sox 4, Cubs 3: Jake Peavy and his catcher A.J. Pierzynski exchanged some words when Peavy was pulled from the game and the dispute spilled into the dugout a bit after the inning was over. I’m having a hard time processing the fact that, from what I can tell, it was Peavy being the jerk in this thing, not Pierzynski.  Oh well, they made nice afterwards and they won the game, so it doesn’t matter.

Yordano Ventura represented the best and worst of baseball’s culture

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
14 Comments

It was reported this morning that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. Former prospect Andy Marte was also killed in a separate car accident. Along with Jose Fernandez and Oscar Taveras, the baseball world has lost a lot of young, exciting talent in a very short amount of time.

Ventura was, like all of us, a complex human being. At his best, he was an exciting, talented, emotive pitcher who featured an electric fastball which sat in the mid-90’s and occasionally touched 100 MPH. At his worst, he was an immature, impressionable kid trying to fit in by exacting revenge against batters he felt had wronged him by slinging those electric fastballs at vulnerable areas of their bodies.

Baseball needed Ventura when he was at his best. It is players like him and Fernandez, not Mike Trout, that bring in new fans to the sport. To baseball die-hards, Angels outfielder Mike Trout is the pinnacle of entertainment because we know he’s an otherworldly talent. But to the average fan, Trout is just another player who hits a couple of homers and doesn’t do anything particularly interesting otherwise. Trout is milquetoast. Ventura was never an All-Star, but fans knew who he was because he made his presence felt every time he made a start. He was fun, if sometimes vengeful.

Ventura’s baseball rap sheet is rather lengthy for someone who only pitched parts of four seasons in the big leagues. Early in the 2015 season, Ventura found himself in a handful of benches-clearing incidents in quick succession. On April 12, he jawed with Trout, apparently misunderstanding the motivation behind Trout yelling, “Let’s go!” Though catcher Salvador Perez intervened, Trout’s teammate Albert Pujols ran in from second base and the benches cleared shortly thereafter. On the 18th, some drama between the Athletics and Royals continued. Ventura fired a 99 MPH fastball at Brett Lawrie, resulting in his immediate ejection from the game. More beanball wars ensued in the series finale the following day. Finally, on the 23rd, Ventura hit White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu with a 99 MPH fastball in the fourth inning. Ventura was not ejected… until after the completion of the seventh inning. Walking back to the dugout, Ventura barked at White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton and — you guessed it — the benches cleared. All told, Ventura was fined for his behavior with the Athletics and suspended seven games for the White Sox incident.

In August 2015, Ventura called Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista a “nobody” and accused him of stealing signs. He apologized shortly thereafter. Two months later, during his start in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, Ventura got into it with Jays first base coach Tim Leiper. Nothing happened beyond that, but apparently it was part of the Jays’ plan to try to put Ventura “on tilt.”

Most recently, in June this past season, Ventura hit Orioles third baseman Manny Machado with a pitch. Machado charged the mound and got in at least one punch before the players spilled out onto the field in a blob of royal blue and orange. Ventura was suspended for eight games.

Ventura was by no means a model of civility, but he was a product of baseball’s intransigent culture forcing players to assimilate or be ostracized. The old culture taught players to never show emotion. Hit a home run? Put your head down and circle the bases in a timely fashion or risk taking a fastball to the ribs. Players like Fernandez and Bautista — typically players from Latin countries — challenged those old cultural norms and are, as a result, the vanguard of the new culture. Ventura displayed aspects of each, the worst of the old culture and the best of the new. He was not a one-dimensional person; he was strikingly complex. At one moment willing to use a fastball as a weapon, the next stopping by some kids’ lemonade stand and giving out fist bumps. Baseball is made more entertaining and more interesting by its personalities and Ventura’s was a behemoth, for better or worse. His absence from the sport will be felt.

MLB remembers Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

Following the tragic passing of 25-year-old Yordano Ventura and 33-year-old Andy Marte, both of whom were killed in separate car crashes on Sunday morning, players and executives from around Major League Baseball expressed an outpouring of grief and support for the players’ families and former teams.

Fans have gathered at Kauffman Stadium in memory of the former pitcher.