Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Rays 9, Red Sox 1: Attention Red Sox Nation: set sphincters to Defcon 1.  The Rays sweep and they are now three and a half out in the wild card. And these two play each other four more times. B.J. Upton was 4 for 4 with a grand slam.

Cardinals 6, Braves 3: Attention Braves, er, whatever it is they have: set sphincters to Defcon 2.  The Cardinals sweep and are now four and a half back of Atlanta in the wild card, though these two don’t play head-to-head again. The Cardinals have a three-game series at Philadelphia this weekend, but other than that the schedule is all tomato cans. I suppose the same can be said for Atlanta — a series with the Phillies and then some losing teams — but the Braves face a better brand of tomato can, including a Washington team that gives the Braves fits.  This is all suddenly interesting/terrifying.

Rockies 4, Reds 1: Rookie Drew Pomeranz threw five shutout innings in his major league debut. I’m guessing the Indians could have used a performance or two like that from a pitcher some time since late July. Pity.

Rangers 8, Athletics 1: C.J. Wilson struck out 11 in eight shutout innings and Adrian Beltre hit two homers. This technically eliminated the A’s. So those of you who pre-ordered A’s playoff tickets, well, sorry.

Yankees 6, Angels 5: The Yankees snapped a four-game losing streak. Probably shoulda been five given that you’re never going to make a lot of money betting on stuff like “Peter Bourjos drops an easy fly ball, allowing two runs to score.”

Royals 2, Mariners 1: Everett Teaford, who despite the name is not a late-19th century British explorer, pitched five shutout innings for the Royals. And then, as the leader of the Teaford Expedition, he became the first white man to scale Mt. SomethingOrOther in the godless lands of darkest Africa, all of which he claimed in the name of Queen Victoria. Then he steamed home on a Dreadnaught class battleship or something and wrote he experiences up in an adventure novel for schoolboys.

Brewers 3, Phillies 2: He’s cut! The Russian is cut! Oh, well, not really. It’s just that shocking to see the Phillies lose one. The Brewers strung together three hits to rally in the seventh and hand Vance Worley his second loss of the year.

Marlins 4, Pirates 1: Six scoreless for Javier Vazquez, who has been great in the garbage time portion of the season. He’s 4-2 with a 1.95 ERA in his last nine starts.

Indians 7, White Sox 3: I guess that was an unfair swipe at the Ubaldo Jimenez trade up there in the Reds/Rockies recap, because Jimenez himself pitched well yesterday, giving up two runs over six innings. Luis Valbuena was 3 for 5 with a homer. Which isn’t exactly something he does a lot of.

Nationals 8, Astros 2: He only went three innings — this is really a shakedown cruise following his time in dry dock — but Stephen Strasburg was effective, striking out four in those three innings and allowing a run. I’m fine with the short outing, by the way. It’s not like he’s drawing butts to the seats like some suspected he might, so it’s not like anyone should feel obligated to give the hometown fans five or six innings of the kid.  Let him pitch a bit, get him out before he has any stressful situations and build optimism over the offseason.

Blue Jays 6, Orioles 5: Adam Loewen shows his former team that, as a pitcher, he makes a pretty good hitter. The Blue Jays’ conversion job hit the game-tying homer and then Jose Bautista broke the tie with a sac fly.  The Orioles are absolutely atrocious in Toronto. Well, they’re atrocious everywhere, but really, really atrocious in Toronto, having dropped 29 of the past 34 games they’ve played north of the border.

Padres 7, Diamondbacks 6: The Padres hand the Diamondbacks their first home loss in 15 games. Two RBIs a piece for Nick Hundley, Jesus Guzman and James Darnell. Not sure I’ve thought about Nick Hundley since I saw a Padres-Royals spring training game back in March. Man, that seems like it was 15 years ago. The season, she is long.

Giants 8, Dodgers 1: Madison Bumgarner struck out eight and allowed three hits in five innings, helping the Giants avoid the sweep.

Tigers 2, Twins 1: Nine in a row for Detroit behind seven scoreless innings for Doug Fister. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office just called: the Tiger’s application for exclusive rights to the name “most dangerous playoff team” has officially been accepted. Anyone else who looks hot heading into October must call themselves “the team no one else wants to play.” Anything beyond that and they’re probably gonna get sued.

Cubs 10, Mets 6: A six-run 11th dooms the Mets on the night tribute was paid to those who lost their lives on 9/11. Sort of puts six-run 11th innings in perspective.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
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The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.

 

Justin Turner talks “Easy D”

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers warms up prior to game six of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:

No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!

Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:

It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:

I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.

And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.