Cleveland Indians v Cincinnati Reds

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

19 Comments

Holiday weekends weird me out. Sunday night doesn’t feel like Sunday night so doing the recaps of Sunday games doesn’t feel natural. That’s especially true when Monday is a big honkin’ hardly-anyone-goes-to-work-holiday like today.  Which means it’s a big honkin’ hardly-anyone-reads-the-blog day too.

But there are a few of you out there, I’m sure, who still have to wake up today and would like a forum in which you talk about yesterday’s games, so this is it.  It’s a somewhat abbreviated And That Happened, but it’s better than staring at the wall.  At least I think it is.

Reds 7, Indians 5: The Reds win this one, but Cleveland took five of six in the season series, which means that they now technically own Ohio. At least that’s how I think the terms of the all-Ohio series go. The Cleveland Indians team actually owns, in full, the state of Ohio and all of the real and personal property contained therein, and possess the right to exercise complete and total dominion over it.  At least that’s what Manny Acta told me when he rang my doorbell last night. He then proceeded to sit on the lounge chair in my living room, drink my wine, pet my cat and change all of the recordings on my DVR.  I don’t know that I had the legal right to stop him, so I let him do it.

Mariners 3, Padres 1: San Diego scored two runs in this series. And one of them shouldn’t have even scored thanks to Cameron Maybin’s three-ball walk on Saturday.

Athletics 7, Diamondbacks 2: Scott Sizemore had a homer. That doesn’t happen very often.

Twins 9, Brewers 7: A four-run seventh inning to bring the Twinkies back from behind.

Royals 16, Rockies 8: Melky Cabrera hit two home runs and drove in five, Eric Hosmer hit one homer and drove in four.  If this was the LSAT, you’d then have to answer what the next two players who hit no homers drove in, and then six months from now you’d have a set of scores keeping you from your first choice of law schools, and you’d always wonder what in the hell these little patterny word problems had to do with your legal career.

Rays 8, Cardinals 3: Johnny Damon had three hits and drove in four. Dude is gonna get 3000 hits, isn’t he. And when he does, we’re gonna have a real fun Hall of Fame conversation. My guess is that he won’t make it — and won’t really deserve it — but he’ll be kept out for the wrong reason. Specifically, because he never really had a strong identity with one team. If the bulk of his prime is played on either the Yankees or the Red Sox instead of being split up in a few places, there’s probably a group of people lobbying for him who won’t lobby for him now.  And all the while no one will really grok the fact that, really, he just doesn’t have the credentials.

Mets 3, Yankees 2: The Mets get to Mariano Rivera in the ninth and then Jason Bay comes through with a clutch hit in the 10th. You tell me which of those two things is more improbable.

Blue Jays 7, Phillies 4: Huh. Cliff Lee is mortal. I guess it technically ain’t June anymore, so I’ll chalk it up to that.

Cubs 3, White Sox 1: Rodrigo Lopez had seven shutout innings. Of course, the way things have been going for the Cubs, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they were going to win it.  Aramis Ramirez’s two-run homer took care of the run support, however.

Tigers 6, Giants 3:  The Tigers salvage one against the Giants and then afterwards they fired pitching coach Rick Knapp. This strikes me as a weak move. The Tigers’ defense — which is poor — has an awful lot to do with what’s been going on with the pitching staff. Both Jim Leyland and Dave Dombrowski are in the last years of their contracts, however, so everyone has to look like they’re trying to do something, right?

Red Sox 2, Astros 1: The Sox scored the go-ahead run in the ninth on a bases loaded walk. Josh Beckett struck out 11 in eight innings.

Orioles 5, Braves 4: Five hits for Nick Markakis and homers from Mark Reynolds and Zach Britton — Zach Britton? — yes, Zach Britton. Who needs the DH?

Pirates 10, Nationals 2: Kevin Correia won his 11th game and Andrew McCutchen had three hits.  In the series, McCutchen had nine hits, six of which went for extra bases.

Angels 3, Dodgers 1: Ervin Santana out-pitches Chad Billingsley. A two-run homer for Russell Branyan who, I gotta be honest, I hadn’t realized signed with the Angels. I wish there was some blog out there I could read that would keep me up-to-date on this kind of crap.

Marlins 6, Rangers 4: Three of the Feesh’s runs come in on errors. So there’s that.

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
19 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
2 Comments

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.