down to the wire

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Red Sox 8, Orioles 7: It came down to the last at bat. An epic 10-pitch job to Adam Jones with a runner on second that I watched live even though I didn’t watch the whole game because, hell, how can you not?  Two homers for Ryan Lavarnway. In other news, who in the hell is Ryan Lavarnway?

Rays 5, Yankees 3: Matt Joyce with the three-run homer off Rafael Soriano brought the Rays back from a 3-2 deficit. Russell Martin grounded into a triple play at one point. I assume he did that to screw the Red Sox somehow.

Phillies 7, Braves 1: I would like to offer an apology to Derek Lowe. Yesterday on Twitter, while I was feeling pessimistic, I said that he’d offer up a “4 IP, 6 ER performance.” In fact he offered up a 4 IP, 5 ER performance. Why I doubted my team’s $15 million, 17-loss ace, I have no idea, but I just hope to make it up to him someday.

Cardinals 13, Astros 6: This was a massacre, but it’s worth noting that it was Ryan Theriot’s two-run double that broke the tie and helped open the floodgates. We’ve had a lot of fun at his expense lately, what with all of the “it is what it is” quotes, but good on him for coming up big. Oh, and congrats to Tony La Russa for burning through 139 players in this game. Can’t wait for him to face the Yankees in the World Series. We might be able to catch the end of the games after we wake up for work the next morning.

Diamondbacks 7, Dodgers 6: Wow, talk about wild! Eleven runs were scored between these two in the 10th inning, with Ryan Roberts walking off with a grand slam for the Dbacks. He did the Kirk Gibson fist pump thing as he rounded the bases too. I’m assuming the fact that Roberts lived to talk about after the game means that the successful season has mellowed Gibson a bit.

Brewers 6, Pirates 4: Three homers for Prince Fielder tie him with Matt Kemp at the top of the NL leaderboard. Ryan Braun remains a single point off the batting title lead. Why…?

Reds 5, Mets 4: … Because Jose Reyes hit two homers and singled, raising his average to .336. In a losing effort, however, because the Reds tied it in the ninth and then won it on a squeeze play in the 13th.

Twins 7, Royals 4: Rene Tosoni is about the only Twins player I’ve called by name in a week. Four RBI here is a good enough reason for it, but really I don’t know why he’s on my mind. My mind got bent last night anyway. I gave up on Derek Lowe’s crap-fest early and decided to watch a “Battlestar Galactica” episode. It was the one in which Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” played a significant part, and that’s messed up for about 15 reasons, the least of which is that these people all come from a planet in which there is no such thing as Bob Dylan. But I’ll let it slide. I’m just going to assume it all makes sense sometime in the next 25 episodes. Hopefully it ends with Bob Dylan being a Cylon. That would be epic.

Giants 7, Rockies 0: Oh, so there’s the offense. Sorry dudes, too late.

Athletics 7, Mariners 0: Oh, so there’s Trevor Cahill’s dominance. Sorry dude, too late.

White Sox 2, Blues Jays 1: Don Cooper now has the best winning percentage in the history of White Sox managers. I’m not sure how you don’t rehire him based on that. If it was Mark Buehrle’s last game for the White Sox, it was very Mark Buehrle-ish. Seven shutout innings in two hours and fifteen minutes.

Marlins 3, Nationals 2:  Bryan Petersen homered with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to win it. Javier Vazquez was awesome again. It may have been the final game of his career. Today will be the last ever game in whatever the hell they’re calling that ballpark now. Good riddance.

Cubs 6, Padres 2: Starlin Castro had a couple of hits. He’ll become the youngest man to ever lead the NL in that category when the season ends today. He has also reached base in 39 consecutive games.

Rangers 10, Angels 3: Texas wins its 95th game. That’s one more than Detroit as it seeks home field advantage in the playoffs. Detroit holds the tiebreaker, however, so thew Rangers need to win today or have the Tigers lose to secure it and a matchup against the wild card winner. Kudos to the game story writer for using the word “penultimate” in the AP recap.

Tigers 9, Indians 6: Wilson Betemit had been suffering from a sore knee and Jim Leyland had said just yeasterday that he’s worried about him. No worries: Betemit hit a 423-foot homer.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Thursday evening’s action

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 15:  Joe Ross #41 of the Washington Nationals pitches in the third inning during a baseball game against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on May 15, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
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Early Thursday afternoon treated us to a pair of games: Diamondbacks/Pirates and Marlins/Rays. We have an abbreviated slate from the late afternoon onwards, with only six contests.

Let’s use this opportunity to talk about Nationals starter Joe Ross, who will take on the Cardinals in the opener of a four-game home series beginning at 7:05 PM EDT tonight. Ross will oppose Mike Leake.

With Stephen Strasburg off to a great start and having signed a seven-year, $175 million extension, and with Max Scherzer having authored just the fifth nine-inning 20-strikeout game, it’s understandable why Ross hasn’t made headlines. The brother of Padres starter Tyson Ross, Joe has put up a 2.70 ERA with a 37/15 K/BB ratio in 46 2/3 innings spanning eight starts thus far. Only 19 qualified starters across baseball have put up a better ERA than Ross.

Ross was rated one of baseball’s top-100 prospects entering last season and he proved why, as he pitched well in 13 starts and a trio of relief outings following his promotion on June 6. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff, featuring a fastball that averages 92 MPH. He compliments that with a slider and a change-up. Ross has good command of the strike zone and mixes up his pitches well enough to keep hitters off balance. He turned 23 years old last Saturday, so he has plenty of time to get even better.

The Cardinals, though, will be a hard match-up for Ross. They’re averaging 5.43 runs per game, a mark bested only by the Cubs (5.61) and one which is more than a full run per game above the league average (4.28).

The rest of Thursday’s action…

Toronto Blue Jays (J.A. Happ) @ New York Yankees (CC Sabathia), 4:05 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals (Mike Leake) @ Washington Nationals (Joe Ross), 7:05 PM EDT

Colorado Rockies (Jon Gray) @ Boston Red Sox (Clay Buchholz), 7:10 PM EDT

Milwaukee Brewers (Wily Peralta) @ Atlanta Braves (Matt Wisler), 7:10 PM EDT

Baltimore Orioles (Kevin Gausman) @ Houston Astros (Lance McCullers), 8:10 PM EDT

Chicago White Sox (Miguel Gonzalez) @ Kansas City Royals (Danny Duffy), 8:15 PM EDT

Major League Baseball issues a statement about the Padres national anthem thing

SAN DIEGO - APRIL 06:  The grounds crew works on the field before the start of the game between the Colorado Rockies and the San Diego Padres during Opening Night at Petco Park on April 6, 2007 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
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I figured the last word on the Padres National Anthem thing came the other day when everyone seemed to apologize to everyone else and ask for fired people to be rehired and all of that stuff. But no, it appears that there is more.

A coda anyway. From Major League Baseball which apparently used its Department of Investigations to suss everything out about the whole affair. And here you thought all they did was walk a questionable ethical line when investigating drug use.

Anyway, here is their statement. One more false ending to this thing and I’ll feel like we’re in a sequel to the movie “Clue.” Which is massively underrated, by the way. Tim Curry’s second-best movie, easily, and Lesley Ann Warren’s absolute best.

The statement:

Major League Baseball announced today that it has completed its investigation into the unfortunate events of Saturday, May 21st, when members of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus had been scheduled to perform the Star-Spangled Banner before the Padres’ “Pride Night” home game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park.  The review, which was conducted by MLB’s Department of Investigations, included a dozen interviews with individuals who were involved in the situation.

The Department of Investigations has concluded that the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus has performed the Star-Spangled Banner multiple times before a Padres game; that Saturday’s regrettable situation was a product of human error; that the situation was exacerbated by the fact that the lead entertainment supervisor was involved in a car accident on Friday night and thus was unable to work on Saturday and handle his typical responsibilities; that employees involved in the matter were handling new duties with which they were insufficiently familiar; and that the employees involved had no malicious intentions and, in fact, universally relayed contrition for how the incident unfolded and the adverse impression that it created.

MLB received the full cooperation of Padres management, which expressed its deepest apologies.  MLB believes that the Padres’ efforts to remedy the situation, including its invitation to the Chorus to return to a future game to perform the National Anthem, are appropriate and has every expectation that the Club’s longstanding record of inclusion will be evident in the future. 

 

A-Rod off the disabled list and back in the Yankees lineup

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez watches his RBI single during the first inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday, April 19, 2016, at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
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Alex Rodriguez has been activated from the disabled list and will be batting fifth in his return to the Yankees lineup this evening.

A-Rod has been on the DL since May 4 with a strained right hamstring. He was off to a slow start this year but began to slowly heat up just before going down with the injury. Overall he’s He’s hitting .194 with five home runs in 20 games.

It’s hard growing old. Partially because of the injuries. Partially because jerks remind you of things like the fact that you went 3-for-5 with a solo homer in a loss against the Royals on the day the Dodgers starting pitcher for tomorrow night’s game was born.

Anyway, welcome back A-Rod.

Matt Carpenter placed on the paternity leave list

St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Carpenter celebrates after hitting an RBI triple during the second inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday, April 11, 2016, in St. Louis. The Cardinals won 10-1. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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The St. Louis Cardinals have placed third baseman Matt Carpenter on the paternity list. He’s gonna be a daddy. Or just became one. Not sure. Either way: Awww. Carpenter is first on the team with nine homers and 32 RBIs and is batting .250 with a .378 on-base percentage. He’s expected to miss four games.

He’s also expected to outrage dudes like this:

 

Personally, I always look to Mickey Mantle when I’m thinking about how best to comport myself off the field. He was a paragon of family values.

Oh well. We’ve come a long way with this stuff in a short time. Just two years ago we had scores of yahoos, including some members of the media, grousing about Daniel Murphy taking paternity leave. Now we have just one yahoo. This is what progress looks like, folks.