Brady Kings Island

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights


Reds 3, Cardinals 1:  I spent my Sunday near Cincinnati. Not in Cincinnati, but just north of it, at the Kings Island theme park (i.e. the one the Bradys went to where Greg lost Mike’s plans or whatever it was; it has improved a bit since 1974).  I took Mookie and Carlo and my old man came with us to round out the group. It was about eight hundred degrees and humid and I’m pretty sure my dad and I were the only two grown men in the whole park who decided to keep our shirts on.  Actually, that’s a lie. I noticed some guys wearing shirts. One of them said “I love boobies.” It was not some clever breast cancer awareness thing either. It was just a shirt — apparently custom made at a print shop — exclaiming the wearer’s love of boobies.  There was also a teenager, who was there with his parents. wearing a black t-shirt that simply said “F*ck,” but with no asterisk.  Man, I love theme parks.

Theme park people aside, we had fun. Reds fans had fun this weekend too, watching their hometown nine take two of three from the Cards.  And I imagine the majority of the men in Great American Ballpark kept their shirts on too. Jaime Garcia? Not so much fun. He gave up a run on a wild pitch — actually two wild pitches and a disputed call at second base led to the run — and took his first ever loss to the Reds despite pitching pretty damn well.

Giants 4, Padres 3: The Giants scored what proved to be the winning run in the 11th on a Chris Stewart suicide squeeze.  It was sad to see Stewart commit suicide like that. I mean, no, he’s not likely to be a superstar, but as an experienced catcher there’s no reason he can’t forge a nice coaching career one day. Suicide squeezes: a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Twins 4, Royals 3: A three-run shot for Jim Thome — his 596th —when the Twins were down 3-1 when the game was tied 1-1 to put them ahead to stay. Jeff Francoeur homered and Melky Cabrera had two hits, increasing the chances of an awesomely hilarious trade sometime in the next two weeks.

Red Sox 1, Rays 0: Just your run-of-the-mill 15 innings of scoreless baseball. And your standard 16-inning three-hitter for Boston pitching, led by Josh Beckett’s eight innings of one-hit ball.  Jeff Niemann deserved better after his own two-hit, eight inning outing. Then again, don’t most people deserve better than they get?

Braves 9, Nationals 8: Walking Brian McCann to get to Freddie Freeman with a man on in the bottom of the ninth is the smart play. Even Freeman knew it, saying after the game that he’d walk McCann to get to him too.  But given how quickly Freeman is growing up this year, that may not be the smart play for too much longer.  A walkoff RBI single for Freeman, helping the Braves take two of three from Washington.  McCann had a three-run homer to tie it at six in the fifth inning.

Athletics 8, Angels 1: Over before it started, with an eight run first inning, highlighted by a Connor Jackson grand slam. The A’s sent Joel Pinero to the showers after he could retire only one guy, and he didn’t even get the one guy until seven runs had scored.

Tigers 4, White Sox 3: Chicago led 3-1 in the sixth but then Victor Martinez hit a two-run single and Carlos Guillen hit an RBI single to break the tie and, ultimately, win the game.

Rangers 3, Mariners 1: Eleven straight wins for Texas, as their pitching continues to look good.  Of course, anyone’s pitching would look good against the M’s.  Remember when the Mariners were a game out? Yeah, now it’s eleven and a half.

Brewers 4, Rockies 3: Shaun Marcum was cruising until he had to leave early with a stiff neck.  The pen maintained, however, and the hits kept falling for Milwaukee.

Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 0: Daniel Hudson threw a five hit shutout, but he also hit a homer and drove in three. I’d say that he helped his own cause with that, but he did more than help. Between the pitching and the hitting, he was a one man gang. One Man Gang?

Marlins 7, Cubs 5: Greg Dobbs hit a two-run homer. Walked with the bases loaded too. Hanley Ramirez hit a solo homer in the first himself, and it was a monster shot up behind the batter’s eye in center field.

Pirates 7, Astros 5: It was 4-4 in the 11th when the Pirates scored one on a passed-ball, one on an error and one on an RBI single. Pittsburgh takes two of three from Houston and is a half game out of first.

Orioles 8, Indians 3: Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters hit homers, helping the O’s earn the series split. Now they get to play the Red Sox again, who gave them perhaps their most miserable series of the year just before the break. Let’s see if our Orioles is learning.

Phillies 8, Mets 5: Michael Martinez — a Rule 5 pick from the Nats — hit a three-run homer.  The Phillies had an 8-1 lead int the 8th, but withstood a late charge from New York, who beat up on Juan Perez, Ryan Madson and Antonio Bastardo to make things interesting.

Yankees 7, Blues Jays 2: Phil Hughes picks up a win. Hey, three months later that anyone thought it would come is better than never. Curtis Granderson drove in three.

Game 2 is going to be the poster child for pace of play arguments this winter

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 26:  Zach McAllister #34 of the Cleveland Indians is relieved by manager Terry Francona during the fifth inning against the Chicago Cubs in Game Two of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on October 26, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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In August, it was reported that Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred would like to implement pitch clocks, like those in use in the minor leagues for the past two seasons, to improve the pace-of-play at the major league level. You can bet that last night’s Game 2 will be the lead argument he uses against those who would oppose the move.

The game was moved up an hour in order to get it in before an impending storm. By the time the rain finally started falling the game had been going on for three hours and thirty-three minutes. It should’ve been over before the first drop fell, but in all it lasted four hours and four minutes. It ended in, thankfully, only a light rain. The longest nine-inning game in postseason history happened a mere two weeks ago, when the Dodgers and Nationals played for four hours and thirty two minutes. There thirteen pitchers were used. Last night ten pitchers were used. Either way, the postseason games are dragging on even for those of us who don’t mind devoting four+ hours of our night to baseball. It is likely putting off more casual fans just tuning in for the Fall Classic.

It’s not all just dawdling, however. Yes, the pitchers worked slowly and a lot of pitching changes took place, but strikeouts, walks and the lack of balls in play contribute to longer games as well. We saw this both last night and in Game 1, which was no brisk affair despite each starting pitcher looking sharp and not working terribly slowly. Twenty-four strikeouts on Tuesday night had a lot to do with that. Last night featured 20 strikeouts and thirteen — thirteen! — walks. It’s not just that the games are taking forever; the very thing causing them to drag feature baseball’s least-kinetic forms of excitement.

But no matter what the cause for the slower play was — and here it was a combination of laboring pitchers, the lack of balls in play and, of course, the longer commercial breaks in the World Series — Manfred is likely to hold Game 2 up as Exhibit A in his efforts to push through some rules changes to improve game pace and game time. So far, the centerpiece of those efforts is the pitch clock, which has proven to be successful and pretty non-controversial in the minor leagues. It would not surprise me one bit if, at this year’s Winter Meetings in Washington, a rule change in that regard is widely discussed.

Kyle Schwarber is the feel-good story of the 2016 postseason


Most baseball fans and even the Cubs had resigned themselves to most likely not seeing Kyle Schwarber in game action until spring training next year after he suffered a gruesome knee injury in a collision with teammate Dexter Fowler back in early April. Schwarber suffered a fully-torn ACL and LCL in his left leg.

To the surprise of everyone, including manager Joe Maddon, Schwarber was cleared by doctors to play if the Cubs wanted to put him on the World Series roster. So they did. And, boy, are they glad they did it. In preparation, Schwarber saw over 1,000 pitches from machines and pitchers in the Arizona Fall League.

Schwarber essentially crammed for the final exam and unlike most students who do it, it has panned out well thus far. No one was expecting him to look outstanding against Indians ace Corey Kluber in Game 1, but in his first at-bat — his first in the majors since suffering the injury in April — Schwarber worked a 3-1 count before eventually being retired on strikes. Schwarber came back up in the fourth and drilled a Kluber sinker to right field for a two-out double.

In the seventh inning, facing one of the American League’s two scariest left-handed relievers in Andrew Miller, Schwarber worked a full count before drawing a walk. During the regular season, Miller walked exactly one lefty batter. Schwarber made it two. Schwarber would face Miller again in the eighth, going ahead 2-1 before ultimately striking out. He finished 1-for-3 with a walk and a double in the Cubs’ 6-0 loss. Considering the circumstances, that’s amazing.

Schwarber continued his great approach in Game 2 in what turned out to be a 5-1 victory. He struck out against Trevor Bauer in the first inning, but returned to the batter’s box in the third inning and singled up the middle to knock in the Cubs’ second run. Schwarber made it 3-0 in the fifth when he singled up the middle again, this time off of Bryan Shaw, to make it 3-0. Facing Danny Salazar in the sixth, Schwarber drew a four-pitch walk to put runners on first and second base with two outs. Finally, he struck out against Dan Otero in his eighth-inning at-bat, finishing the evening 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles and a walk.

But now, as the Cubs return to Chicago for World Series Games 3, 4, and 5 at Wrigley Field, they have to contest with National League rules, a.k.a. no DH. Will Maddon risk Schwarber’s subpar defense to put his dangerous bat in the lineup? Even if Schwarber is not put in the starting lineup, he can at least serve as a dangerous bat off the bench late in the game when the Indians send out their trio of relievers in Shaw, Miller, and closer Cody Allen. At any rate, what Schwarber has done already in the first two games of the World Series is mighty impressive.