Brady Kings Island

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

66 Comments

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.

Dusty Baker calls the Nationals “a baby making team.” Whatever that means.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 31: Manager Dusty Baker #12 of the Washington Nationals looks on before the start of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on August 31, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Getty Images
8 Comments

When the Nationals fired Matt Williams a year ago, it might’ve been a safe assumption that they were going to go with that new breed of young, handsome recently-retired player-turned-manager who, despite a lack of experience, allegedly knows how to deal with modern players better and knows how to handle a clubhouse. Those assumptions have proved largely off with these guys — Williams was a disaster, Matheny wins despite himself and Ausmus looks like he’s perpetually on the verge of a breakdown — but that’s the all the rage these days anyway.

Instead, the Nats hired Dusty Baker. Though Baker had tremendous success as a manager everywhere he went, he was maligned by some for some pitcher handling stuff in Chicago (which said pitchers have long denied was an issue, but let’s let that lie). He was also, more generally, thought of as a “retread.” Which is what people who prefer younger folks for jobs tend to call older people, even if the older people know what they’re doing.

And yes, I will cop to thinking about managers that way a lot over the years, so I’m not absolving myself at all here, even if I was pretty OK with the Dusty Baker hiring. I’ve evolved on this point. In no small part because of how Dusty Baker has done in Washington. Flash forward a year, the Nats are division champions and Baker may be a top candidate for Manager of the Year. That, in and of itself, should show you how wrong the haters were.

But if it doesn’t, this sure should:

I have no earthly idea what that means and Castillo gives no further context. All I know is that it sounds cool as hell and of any current manager, only Dusty Baker could say that and pull it off.

Because he’s Dusty Baker and has nothing to prove to you. And if you don’t like it, shoot, he’ll just go back home to his winery or whatever and live out the rest of his days being cooler than you.

Who should win the manager of the year awards? Who Will?

PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 15:  Manager Dave Roberts #30 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on from the dougout during the seventh inning of a MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on July 15, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Getty Images
10 Comments

With the regular season ending on Sunday and most of the playoff spots locked up, there’s really only one big thing left to argue about: postseason awards. So let’s spend some time looking at who should win each of the four major awards and who will win them. Which are often totally different things. Next up: The Manager of the Year Awards

The Manager of the Year Award is pretty dumb. Numbers aren’t everything in any award, but there are literally zero numbers that gauge a manager’s effectiveness or performance apart from wins and losses and wins and losses are mostly a function of talent on the roster, for which the manager is not responsible. This is not to say managers aren’t important. Of course they are! They make important decisions every day and keep the clubhouse running smoothly and that’s important. It just so happens to be unquantifiable and subject to anecdote and projection.

For instance, Matt Williams won the Manager of the Year Award with he Nationals in 2014. He was run out of town on a rail in 2015. Did he suddenly forget how to manage? Or did he never really know but was blessed with good fortune and better players the year before?

Joe Maddon won the award last year, in large part because the Cubs outperformed expectations. This year the Cubs are the best team around. But everyone expected them to be because of all that talent! Does that mean that Maddon’s 2015 award was fraudulent? The product of poor expectations assessment on behalf of the media? At the same time, there’s a pretty strong vibe that he won’t win it this year, so are we to say that winning between 101 and 104 games is . . . a worse job than last year? Don’t even get me started on arguments that Bruce Bochy somehow became a lesser manager this year, because I suspect — and bear with me on this — something else is going on with the Giants.

Manager of the Year has always been about narratives and expectations of people on the outside looking in who nonetheless purport to know how the manager performed his job in the most inside baseball kinds of ways. It’s poppycock. It may as well be the Golden Globes.

So, rather than just break it down the way we did the other awards, let’s just thrown this out like the big mess that it is:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Bill and Ashley say that Terry Francona should be the American League Manager of the Year. Bill’s reasoning: “The Indians went essentially the whole year without Michael Brantley and their pitching staff imploded in September. Francona deserves a lot of credit for holding the team together.”

Hey, works for me too! Let’s give it to Tito. Even if we can tell a compelling story about John Farrell and the Red Sox and even if Jeff Banister, the reigning AL Manager of the Year, improved by anywhere from 6-9 games in the standings this year over last in a division most people thought the Astros would win.

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Bill says Dusty Baker, arguing that “The Nationals had all kinds of bullpen issues and Stephen Strasburg wasn’t able to pitch the final two months of the season. They could’ve easily folded but they didn’t, and I think that’s a reflection on Baker.”

Ashley says Dave Roberts. She didn’t give me her reasoning, but I bet she’d agree with me if I said “The Nationals Dodgers had all kinds of bullpen rotation issues and Stephen Strasburg Clayton Kershaw wasn’t able to pitch for two months of the season. They could’ve easily folded but they didn’t, and I think that’s a reflection on Baker Roberts.” You could throw in some stuff about how Yasiel Puig was managed by Roberts (i.e. better, though his come-to-Jesus demotion may have been the front office’s doing). I think I’ll go with Roberts, simply because I feel like it’d be bad precedent to give it to a Nationals manager every even numbered year simply because that dang franchise is inconsistent.

What about the Cubs? Here’s Bill again:

I considered Joe Maddon of the Cubs, but the team was so good I think the Cubs could’ve had a kitten manage the team to a playoff berth.

I say we give it to a kitten. Kittens are the best.