And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0: Brett Lawrie’s 11th inning walkoff homer was the game’s only run. This kid is fairly fantastic. And he was born, like, seven months before the first Gulf War. And based on that pic, doesn’t have much in the way of confidence issues.

White Sox 2, Twins 1, White Sox 4, Twins 0: Phil Humber pitched seven scoreless in the first game. Zach Stewart nearly threw the perfecto in the second. I don’t intend to take anything away from either of those guys in saying this, but hoo-boy, the Twins can’t hit.

Phillies 9, Braves 0:  Oh, I get it. I now know why Chipper Jones said he wasn’t afraid of the Phillies. He was out of the lineup last night and didn’t have to play against them. The rest of the Braves squad was apparently terrified of Cliff Lee. And for good reason.

Yankees 11, Orioles 10: Brian Matusz and Freddy Garcia left it in the locker room and this one turned into an offensive orgy. Rookie Jesus Montero did, um, whatever the person who can say they had the best time at the orgy does, hitting two home runs.  No, I had no idea where that analogy was going when I started it and, in hindsight, I probably should have just deleted and started over.

Brewers 4, Cardinals 1: I watched part of this. There was a lot of crowd noise, but I’m pretty sure I heard this part, referring to the NL Central race, come through loud and clear.

Royals 11, Athletics 6: Tied at six entering the ninth, the Royals erupted for five runs to win it going away. Billy Butler hit two homers. The win prevents the Royals from being mathematically eliminated. Will they keep it up and make an unprecedented run at the AL Central title?!!  No! But the suspense is terrible. I hope it’ll last.

Giants 7, Padres 2: San Francisco has a less laughable case at still being in a race, but it’s not a particularly strong one either. But they looked swell yesterday, with Madison Bumgarner striking out 13 in eight and a third. True, it came against the Padres and they couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat, but let’s let the Giants have this one.

Diamondbacks 10, Rockies 7: And we can let the Giants have that one, but we can’t make too much of it because the Diamondbacks just aren’t all that interested in losing baseball games anymore. They’ve won 12 of 13 games and maintain a seven game lead. Justin Upton homered. Paul Goldschmidt drove in three.

Rays 5, Rangers 1: I’m pretty sure James Shields was a starting pitcher in the early 1970s but was kidnapped by some evil scientist and transported to modern times to test the effects of a pitcher throwing multiple complete games on an unsuspecting populace. Results: our minds are completely blown. Shields throws his 11th CG. A four hitter, with the only run allowed scoring on a groundout in the ninth.

Angels 7, Mariners 3: And Anaheim gains a game. They’re now two and a half back of Texas.

Cubs 4, Reds 3: Matt Garza gave up one earned run in seven and two-thirds. Two unearned runs because the Cubs defense is butt, but we’ve all come to expect that. Dontrelle Willis is now 0-5 since his return to the bigs.

Tigers 4, Indians 2: Doug Fister struck out 13 and Victor Martinez hit a three-run homer in the fourth that was all the Tigers ended up needing.

Pirates 3, Astros 1: James McDonald allowed one run in seven and a third innings. Seven and a third dreary, drizzly innings. Rainy baseball on cool days late in the season between two teams that are way the hell out of the race make me very, very sad. Summer’s almost gone. Almost gone. Almost gone. Where will we be … when the summer’s gone?

Nationals 7, Dodgers 2: Two homers for Mike Morse and one a piece for  Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth. Morse has a line of .315/.369/.562 with 26 homers and 83 driven in. And no one ever really talks about him.

Marlins 9, Mets 3: It’s always fun to see the annual “Javier Vazquez makes a late season run of good starts in meaningless games, thereby fooling someone into giving him another contract” event gaining steam.

The Japanese playoffs are super unfair

Hiroshima Carp
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I know a little about Japanese baseball. Not a lot, mind you. Like, I couldn’t hold my own with people who actually watch it or report on it or whatever, but I could explain some of the broad differences and similarities between the NPB and the U.S. majors.  I can say a few things about how the two leagues compare competitively speaking. I can name some stars and (I think) all the clubs. But there’s, quite obviously, a ton I don’t know.

A thing I did not know until today: the NPB playoffs are really messed up.

The NPB is divided into two leagues, the Central and the Pacific, with the winner of each league facing off in the Japan Series. Like the U.S. majors, they have preliminary playoff rounds in each league. Each league has three playoff teams, with the second and third seed teams playing a series first, and the winner of that series playing the top seed — the team with the best record in the league — in what is called the Climax Series.

Here’s the weird part: the higher-seeded team in the Climax Series — the team which won the league in the regular season — gets every single playoff game at home. What’s more, that team begins the Climax Series with an automatic 1-0 advantage. So, yes, it’s a seven-game series on paper, but one of the teams only has to win three games to advance to the Japan Series.

Oh, in Japan, they also have no problems ending a playoff game early if it rains. That’s what happened in the Central League Climax Series last night, where the lower-seeded Yokohama BayStars took on the league champ Hiroshima Carp. Here’s the report from Jason Coskrey of The Japan Times:

The rainy conditions in Hiroshima caused the umpires to stop play for over 30 minutes and ultimately call the game after five innings, minutes after the Carp put three runs on the board. Just like that, it was over. The Carp won 3-0, with Yokohama robbed of the four innings (at least) it would’ve had to try and rally.

Even better: as Coskrey notes, there are five days in between the end of the Climax Series and the beginning of the Japan Series, so there is no reason they could not suspend a game and resume it the next day. They just choose not to. The upshot: the Carp now have a 2-0 series lead despite the fact that they’ve only played five innings of baseball.

Imagine if that happened in the NLCS. Imagine if the Dodgers began the series with a 1-0 lead over the Cubs and played all of their games in Los Angeles. Imagine there was a freak L.A. storm and it ended one of the game in the fifth inning, right after Justin Turner hit a homer. I’m pretty sure people would riot.

Kinda makes our complaints about the replay system seem rather quaint, eh?