Orioles relief pitcher Michael Gonzalez falls off the mound after delivering a pitch against the Red Sox in Baltimore

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

53 Comments

Red Sox 15, Orioles 10: Of course. The night after Boston took 16 innings to score one run, they unload for 15 against the O’s. That after getting almost no sleep due to the late night. I said yesterday that the Orioles had their worst series of the season against Boston before the All-Star break, but this one could end up being uglier.

Cubs 6, Phillies 1The heat got to Halladay. I can only assume that at certain temperatures and humidity levels his hydraulic limbs and positronic net start to experience some sort of interface malfunction with the organic components, resulting in cyborg failure.  I’m sure that after a level 2 diagnostic and a purge of his short term memory he’ll be back to work, doing the jobs that we can’t depend on Man to do as reliably, all the while biding his time until he leads the other machines — who have since become self-aware — in a bloody revolt against their creators.

Pirates 2, Reds 0: Charlie Morton didn’t pitch the most efficient game in baseball history — he threw 87 pitches in five innings — but the Reds did nothing against him during that time. Didn’t help that there was an hour and a half delay during the first inning. The Reds did nothing against the rest of the Pirates staff either. Pittsburgh is in first place.

Indians 5, Twins 2, Indians 6, Twins 3:  David Huff throws seven scoreless innings in the first one. The thinking was that he was only making the spot start for the doubleheader and would only be up with the big club for a minute and a Huff, but he may have won himself a job with that outing. You know, he hasn’t stopped talking since I came here? He must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle.

White Sox 5, Royals 2: Mark Buehrle keeps rolling, pitching better than his record suggests. It was 95 degrees at game time with a heat index of 105.  I have a theory that the idea of the heat index is bunk and that it was made up by a TV meteorologist looking to sexy-up the weather segment of the evening news, but I can’t prove it.  I suppose I could ask my dad, who retired from the National Weather Service.  But how do I know they haven’t gotten to him too?

Yankees 5, Rays 4: Joe Maddon decided to bring in Kyle Farnsworth for the five-out save with a couple runners aboard in the eighth inning. Not something a lot of people would do.  That backfired, as both of the runners came around to score. Alex Torres came into a 4-4 tie in the ninth, loaded the bases and then walked Russell Martin with them loaded and took the loss. This is what people were expecting a lot of from the Rays’ pen before the season began.

Marlins 4, Mets 1: Clay Hensley gave up only one hit in five innings and the bullpen took it home from there. A two-run double for Mike Stanton. No stolen bases for him, though, so his manager is probably mad at him.

Nationals 5, Astros 2: A couple RBI for Ryan Zimmerman and eight innings of two-run ball for Jason Marquis. No one really sweats when playing Houston.

Braves 7, Rockies 4: Derek Lowe was cruising — even got a hit and scored a run — until he ran out of gas in the seventh. Braves held on, however, thanks to another nice game from the McCann-Freeman combination of which I am becoming a giantic fan.  Now if only Jason Heyward would come out of his coma to help them out.

Diamondbacks 3, Brewers 0: Rookie Josh Collmenter tomahawked the Brewers, shutting them down and shutting them out over eight. Really, he tomahawked ’em. Inevitable he goes to the Braves one day, I suppose.

Giants 5, Dodgers 0: Ryan Vogelsong had his way with the Dodgers as well. He now leads the NL in ERA, which is what we all expected before the season began, right?

 

Collins worried David Wright might go on disabled list

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
1 Comment

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)
Getty Images
11 Comments

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)
Elsa/Getty Images
22 Comments

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
5 Comments

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: