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.

Yordano Ventura and Jose Fernandez were two of the most promising arms in MLB

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 3: Starting pitcher Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals throws a pitch in the first inning during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on July 3, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
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Baseball lost two incredible pitchers in the last four months, both to horrible and unforeseen tragedies. Jose Fernandez and Yordano Ventura were among the most talented and promising pitchers in MLB, two young arms that drew both accolades and criticism for their performance on the mound.

Ventura signed with the Royals in 2008, blazing through several tiers of their farm system before he was called up to replace an injured Danny Duffy in late 2013. He secured his rotation spot the following spring and finished a solid 2014 campaign with a 14-10 record, 3.20 ERA and 2.4 fWAR in 32 starts for the club. During the Royals’ World Series run later that year, Ventura dedicated his performance in Game 6 to Cardinals’ prospect Oscar Taveras, who was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic just two days earlier.

In four years with the Royals, Ventura pitched to a 38-31 record, 3.89 ERA and 6.5 fWAR. While his command and overall production rate waned, bottoming out in 2016 with a 4.45 ERA and 1.85 SO/BB rate, his dynamic pitch repertoire still kept him front and center in the Royals’ pitching staff. He brandished an electric fastball that, at its lowest point, hovered around 96.6 m.p.h. and, at its best, topped out around 102.6 m.p.h.

Like Ventura, Fernandez made an instant impression in the major league circuit. He earned Rookie of the Year distinctions in 2013 after delivering a 12-6 record, 2.19 ERA and 4.1 fWAR with the Marlins. Despite undergoing Tommy John surgery in his sophomore year, he recovered to take on a full workload in 2016 and stunned the league with a 16-8 record, 2.89 ERA, career-high 253 strikeouts and 6.1 fWAR.

Ventura developed a reputation for brushing back hitters, which escalated in some cases to volatile bench-clearing brawls. In 2015, he was ejected for three altercations in three consecutive games and served a seven-game suspension. Halfway through the 2016 season, he earned another eight-game suspension after plunking the Orioles’ Manny Machado in the back with a 99 m.p.h. heater. Some speculated that his aggressive behavior on the mound was excused — or, at least, made more palatable — by his talent and track record, while others called for a more heavy-handed approach from the league.

Fernandez, too, found himself at the center of speculation after reports emerged that painted the 24-year-old as a “clubhouse difficulty,” citing attitude problems that damaged relationships between the pitcher and Marlins players and staff. On the field, he was occasionally chastised for failing to adhere to some of baseball’s unwritten rules, most notably when he showed his elation after hitting his first career home run off of the Braves’ Mike Minor in 2013.

It’s impossible to predict where Fernandez and Ventura’s careers would have taken them. We mourn them not for their actions on the mound or their potential as star pitchers, however, but for their inherent value as people who were loved and respected by their families and teams. Major League Baseball will be worse off for their loss.

Yordano Ventura killed in an auto accident

CLEVELAND, OH -  JUNE 2:  Starting pitcher Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals jokes with teammates as he walks off the field after the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on June 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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UPDATE, 12:07 p.m. EDT: The Royals have confirmed reports of Yordano Ventura’s death with an official statement. No further details pertaining to the accident have been divulged.

Terrible, terrible news: Christian Moreno of ESPN reports that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has been killed in an automobile accident in the Dominican Republic. His death has been confirmed by police. He was only 25 years-old. There are as of yet no details about the accident.

Ventura was a four-year veteran, having debuted in 2013 but truly bursting onto the scene for the Royals in 2014. That year he went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings, ascending to the national stage along with the entire Royals team with some key performances in that year’s ALDS and World Series. The following year Ventura won 13 games for the World Champion Royals and again appeared in the playoffs and World Series.

Ventura was often in the middle of controversy — he found himself in several controversies arising out of his habit of hitting and brushing back hitters — but he was an undeniably electric young talent who was poised to anchor the Royals rotation for years to come. His loss, like that of Jose Fernandez just this past September, is incalculable to both his team, his fans and to Major League Baseball as a whole.

Our thoughts go out to his family, his friends, his teammates and his fans.