Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

62 Comments

Cubs 5, Pirates 3: Impressive debut for Derrek Lee: two homers. Alas, that was all the offense the Buccos could really muster as Carlos Zambrano scattered seven hits over six innings. By the way, the last player who hit a home run in his Pirates debut was pitcher Matt Morris back in 2007. I was at that game. It was more notable for my surprisingly crabby first impression of PNC Park and some surprisingly shabby treatment of a Negro Leaguer. Good times!

Nationals 5, Braves 3: I’m struggling to think of a baseball player I hate more than Livan Hernandez. Dude has haunted my dreams for 14 years. I fully expect that, decades from now, he’ll be in a motorized reclining hospital bed, unable to feed himself, and then someone will prop his 75-year-old ass up to pitch six innings against the Braves and he’ll still only give up a couple of runs. Oh, and Fredi Gonzalez hit the pitcher eighth … and he bunted into a double play. Two homers for Dan Uggla.

Indians 9, Red Sox 6: I guess it was two-homer Monday, because Asdrubal Cabrera joined Lee and Uggla in the dual home run club (UPDATE: I was so angry at Livan Hernandez that I failed to realize that Rick Ankiel had two homers too). Daniel Bard entered a tie game in the eighth, poured kerosene all over the joint and dropped a lit Winston.

Marlins 7, Mets 3: Dramatics galore. Lucas Duda was poised to be the hero — or at least a co-hero — after tying it up with a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, but then Mike Stanton hit a grand slam of Jason Isringhausen in the top of the tenth.

Diamondbacks 5, Giants 2: Ian Kennedy recovered from a leadoff homer to shut the Giants down and collect his 13th win. Arizona is now a game back of the skidding Giants.

Dodgers 6, Padres 2: A complete game for Clayton Kershaw. Three of the Dodgers six runs scored on sacrifices. Take that, Rob Neyer!

Phillies 4, Rockies 3: Trailing 3-1 heading into the ninth, the Phillies got a two-run homer from Mayberry to tie it and then a solo shot from Shane Victorino in the 10th. Everything bounces Philly’s way. They now have a seven game lead.

Brewers 6, Cardinals 2: Seven wins in a row for Milwaukee, although this is the first in that stretch over a real team (sorry Cubs and Astros). A five-run fifth inning did the trick here. I’m sure Chris Carpenter took that beating with quiet dignity and a placid equanimity befitting his zen-like character.  Or he beat the crap out of stuff in the clubhouse afterward.

Astros 4, Reds 3: Cincy continues to confuse. Sweep the Giants, lose to the AAA-Astros.  Jose Altuve knocked in the game-winning run on a fielder’s choice in the 10th.

Mariners 8, Athletics 4: A five-run second inning for the Mariners. They scored a combined four runs in the series against the Rays over the weekend.

Yankees 3, White Sox 2: CC Sabathia wins his 16th even though he allowed loads of base runners. Just battled, baby.

A Twins player confronted a Twins announcer about what he said on a broadcast

TV
Leave a comment

We seem to get a story like this from a struggling team every couple of years. This year it’s the Twins and the story is about words said by one of the Twins players to Fox Sports North broadcaster Dick Bremer. From Mike McFeely of WDAY radio, who spoke to Bremer recently:

Surprisingly, Bremer said one player has confronted him this season about being too critical of the team. Bremer wouldn’t name the player.

“I make it a practice to go in the clubhouse every day and go down on the field, so if a player has a complaint about something I’ve said on television they have that opportunity,” Bremer said. “I was confronted in the clubhouse in the last homestand. I didn’t say what I wanted to say, which was, ‘Well, play better and the commentary will be more positive.’ You can’t mask the fact this team is a quarter of the way through the season with 10 wins.”

The whole article is interesting because it gives several examples of Bremer and his colleague, Bert Blyleven, being critical. Depending on which instance — and there were likely many not mentioned here — blowback from players may have more or less justification.

On the one hand, simply saying a player executed a given play poorly or saying that the team was performing poorly is a simple fact. On the other, an example was given in which Blyleven questioned why Phil Hughes was taken out of a game. It was only later revealed that he was experiencing shoulder soreness, but it was suggested that Blyelven was questioning his toughness at the moment. I agree with Bremer that if the players don’t want to be criticized they should play better. But it crosses a line in my mind when poor play is used to imply poor or weak character, especially when not all facts are known. Not all situations are the same.

Overall, though, despite the complaint of this anonymous Twins player, I think local broadcasts are too deferential to the home team far too often. The broadcasters have seen more baseball than almost every viewer and in many cases played it. I don’t think it’s out of line for them to offer objective, informed criticism of bad play even if that’s out of fashion in today’s world. That they seem very clearly pressured by the clubs with whom their employers are partnered to do otherwise is a shame and does a disservice to viewers.

And heck. It’s boring too.

Ryan Vogelsong placed on the DL with facial fractures

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 23: Ryan Vogelsong #14 of the Pittsburgh Pirates is carted off the field after being hit in the head by a pitch thrown by Jordan Lyles #24 of the Colorado Rockies in the second inning during the game at PNC Park on May 23, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
1 Comment

The Pirates have announced that starter Ryan Vogelsong has been placed on the 15-day disabled list due to facial fractures.

Vogelsong suffered the fractures yesterday afternoon when he was batting and was hit by a pitch by Colorado Rockies starter Jordan Lyles. Vogelsong, was taken off the field on a cart and admitted to a local hospital. A.J. Schugel has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogelsong’s place on the roster.

The Padres National Anthem debacle explained

Petco Park
4 Comments

Outsports has what should be the final word about Saturday’s National Anthem debacle at Petco Park before the Dodgers-Padres game.

The upshot: it was not, not surprisingly, a homophobic conspiracy. Rather It was a series of unfortunate occurrences and dumb mistakes, once again validating the old saying about how one need not look to evil motives when mere stupidity can explain things. This is one of those times. Go read the post for the entire explanation. The short version of that is that, like a lot of anthem singers, the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus was to sing along with a backing tape of themselves performing the anthem. The DJ in charge of it played the wrong date’s backing tape. He played the one from the female singer the night before.

In addition, Outsports spoke with that DJ — DJ Artform — who is embarrassed by his mistake and by not doing anything to correct it in the moment. DJ Artform was a contractor and his relationship with the Padres was terminated.

So that seems to be that. Until the next thing anyway. There is always a next thing.

Cubs release Shane Victorino

shane victorino getty
6 Comments

File this under “not terribly surprising,” but Shane Victorino was released from his minor league contract with the Cubs yesterday after batting .233/.324/.367 through nine games with Triple-A Iowa. Victorino says he does not plan on retiring, however, and that he plans to try to latch on someplace else.

It’ll be a supreme long shot. Victorino, 35, Victorino suffered a calf injury during spring training and missed all of spring training. Last year he played in only 71 games between the Red Sox and Angels, and 30 in 2014 with the Red Sox. He was last healthy and effective in 2013. In a league where older players don’t do as well as they used to, it seems unlikely that he’ll be able to find a gig.

If this is the end of the road for the Flyin’ Hawaiian, he’ll finish with a career batting line of .2750/.340/.425 with 108 homers, 489 RBI, 231 stolen bases and four Gold Glove Awards in 12 seasons. He also has two World Series rings, from the 2008 Phillies and the 2013 Red Sox. He was a two-time All-Star.

Maybe not the way he wanted to end his career, if this is indeed the end, but Victorino had a fine career while it lasted.