Cleveland Indians v Cincinnati Reds

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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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.

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: