And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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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.

The Mets are a mess

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The Mets lost again on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 7-5 defeat at the hands of the Braves. It’s their sixth consecutive loss and the club is now in last place in the NL East. Not exactly the start the Mets envisioned.

Matt Harvey got the start, but lasted only 4 1/3 innings. He gave up six runs on five hits and five walks with only one strikeout. After the game, Harvey said he was tight and that he threw yesterday expecting to start on Friday instead, per Matt Ehalt of The Record. Sounds like no one communicated to Harvey that he’d be starting this afternoon until it was too late for him to properly prepare.

Harvey started because Noah Syndergaard was scratched due to a “tired arm.” Syndergaard blew reporters off after the game, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. Puma then added that Syndergaard ripped Mets P.R. guy Jay Horwitz for letting reporters approach him.

By the way, the Mets also lost outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a hamstring injury. Not much else can go wrong in Queens.

Joey Votto isn’t on board with the latest fly ball trend among hitters

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If you haven’t heard, fly balls — not ground balls or line drives — are all the rage among hitters these days. Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez summed it up perfectly last month when he said, “I’m not trying to hit a [freaking] line drive or a freaking ground ball.” The goal is to maximize damage. Last year, for example, fly balls became hits about 17 percent less often than ground balls (7.4% versus 24.6%), but hitters had a slugging percentage more than twice as much as on ground balls (.539 versus .267). This refocusing has helped hitters like Martinez as well as Ryan Zimmerman reinvigorate their careers.

Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who is as much a student of new age analytics as anyone in the game, doesn’t feel that this approach is necessarily a good one, as Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto said:

Where I get concerned is the guys that make this attempt and burn out too much of their time and don’t get a chance to be their best selves, and either don’t make it to the big leagues or don’t perform their best in the big leagues because they’re always attempting this new style of hitting. I see it with a lot of guys. Everyone tells the good stories, but there’s a lot of s—ty stories of guys who are wasting their time trying things.

Votto added that while the fly ball approach is working right now, pitchers will soon adapt and the fly ball approach won’t be so good anymore. And he’s right. Baseball has always been a game of adjustments. For example, as teams have gotten comfortable with shifting their infield, hitters like the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber have both dropped bunts down the third base line for easy hits. Knowing that hitters are aiming to hit fly balls now, pitchers may stay higher in the strike zone more often as one possible solution.

Votto is just trying to stay as well-rounded as possible. He says that he wants to become “unpitchable.” Votto wants to be like Angels outfielder Mike Trout, whom he describes as a guy “who can do absolutely anything he wants” and “at all times [has] all options.”

So far, Votto is having another productive season despite a relatively pedestrian batting average and on-base percentage. He’s hitting .238/.330/.563 with seven home runs and 16 RBI in 94 plate appearances. Coincidentally, he’s been hitting way more fly balls than usual as he’s currently carrying a 42.3 percent rate compared to his 33.1 career average, according to FanGraphs. His line drives are way down to 16.9 percent compared to his 25.4 percent career average.