Rays' Evan Longoria runs to home plate as his teammates crowd around after his 12th inning home run to defeat the Yankees during their American League MLB baseball game in St. Petersburg, Florida

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Can we breathe now? Look guys, you know what happened in these games, so forgive me if I’m light on the details. We have full breakdowns all over the place. I’m still in shock.

Rays 8, Yankees 7: Evan Longoria. Dan Johnson. Oh my gods. Did that really happen? [checks] Yes. Yes, it did happen.

Orioles 4, Red Sox 3: Congratulations to Robert F***ing Andino on the creation of his new middle name.

Cardinals 8, Astros 0: No doubt about it. Brilliant performance by Chris Carpenter. A two-hit shutout. 11Ks. Yes, the Braves collapsed, but don’t undersell the Cardinals’ surge. It takes both, and it does a disservice to the Cardinals to make this all about the Braves gack-job.

Phillies 4, Braves 3: And it was a gack-job, but let’s not be content to call this some episode of mass choking. There were real people responsible here. The blown save by Craig Kimbrel in the 9th? The broken-bat single by Hunter Pence in the 13th? Both are on Fredi Gonzalez in my view. Kimbrel was murdered this year. Pence should have been walked. I can think of a half dozen games that Fredi’s small-ball, small-brain approach cost the Braves in 2011. And sure, any fan can say the same of his team, and I could say that of any Bobby Cox-led team of the previous 20 years. But Cox wouldn’t have let his team be as tight as these Braves have been the past three or four weeks. Just don’t see that ever happening.  It’s been real, Atlanta, but you didn’t belong in the playoffs in 2011. It’s pretty easy to see that now.

Padres 9, Cubs 2: Four RBI for Will Venable as the Padres destroy Ryan Dempster.

Brewers 7, Pirates 3: Milwaukee wins its 96th game, which is a franchise best. Zack Greinke finishes with an 11-0 home record this year. Which is pretty neat. 0 for 4 night for Braun, so I guess the fact that Jose Reyes left the game early didn’t matter.

Twins 1, Royals 0: A Carl Pavano shutout to end the season. Bruce Chen threw eight shutout innings himself. Maybe the Red Sox should have traded for him a couple of months ago.

Rockies 6, Giants 3: The Giants world title defense is over. Can they all shave now?

Nationals 3, Marlins 1: Stephen Strasburg’s late season return is like that episode where Q sends the Enterprise to another quadrant to see the Borg, just as a tease of what they’ll have to face in the future. Everyone in the NL East is gonna hate that dude for the next decade.

Rangers 3, Angels 1: Mike Napoli hit two homers. One wonders where this season would be for the Angels if Napoli still played for them instead of Texas.

Tigers 5, Indians 4: Nice, but the Rangers win means that Detroit has to go to New York to start the ALDS.

Blue Jays 3, White Sox 2: Chris Sale issued two bases loaded walks in the ninth. What an inspiring ending to the season for the White Sox, my AL Central pick back in March.

Mets 3, Reds 0: No one cared at all about this game outside of Jose Reyes taking himself out of it to guarantee his batting title. How very game-162.

Dodgers 7, Diamondbacks 5: Matt Kemp homered, giving him the home run and RBI crowns. He’s the first Dodger to do that in 70 years.

Athletics 2, Mariners 0: Gio Gonzalez starts the season the way he began it in spring training: dominantly. Of course on this night he could have thrown a 27-strikeout perfect game and it may not have led any of the highlights shows. Thems the breaks.

 

And another season ends. The day-by-day ho-hum of this feature is no longer operative as we head into the Everything Friggin’ Matters postseason.

I always have mixed feelings about this. The playoffs are great, sure. And last night — which was basically playoff baseball — was fantastic. Maybe the best night of regular season baseball I can ever remember.

But to me at least the beauty of baseball is all about those lazy Tuesday nights in June when nothing really matters. Baseball as a constant. As something we enjoy all evening but then let go when we go to bed because, hey, there are 15 more games tomorrow, and they’ll help us to forget our worries.

But that all happened already. It will happen again next year. Now it is over, and it’s time for the edge-of-your-seat stuff.

It’s been great seeing you all here each morning for our usual nonsense. Thanks for all of the fun folks.

Indians’ postseason rotation is still up in the air

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 16: Starting pitcher Corey Kluber #28 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on September 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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With Game 1 of the Red Sox-Indians ALDS set to commence on Thursday, there’s no better starter for the job than Corey Kluber. The only question is whether or not the right-hander will be up to the task after sustaining a mild quadriceps strain earlier this week.

Indians’ manager Terry Francona appeared optimistic about Kluber’s chances of recovering in time for the Division Series, but admitted that he doesn’t have his rotation set in stone for the first couple of postseason games. Complicating matters is Monday’s potential make-up game between the Indians and the Tigers, which they’ll be forced to play if the outcome has bearing on playoff seeding.

Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Francona doesn’t have a starter for the make-up game, either, though he clarified that rehabbing right-hander Danny Salazar would not be eligible. Salazar is still working his way back from a forearm injury in hopes of joining the Indians for their postseason run, and needs to toss another simulated game before he can be expected to return to the mound. Kluber, meanwhile, will throw off the mound on Sunday.

With Kluber or Salazar limping out of the gate, the Indians will likely have to fall back on right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Bauer is slated for Saturday’s face-off against the Royals and confirmed his willingness to pitch on short rest through the playoffs. The 25-year-old also spoke to the Indians about his ability to pitch out of the bullpen, though it’s an option they appear unlikely to exercise. While Francona’s comments on Friday stressed the club’s patient approach toward their rotation, Bauer appeared revved and ready to go:

If it was up to me, […] I’d pitch and be ready to start or be available out of the ‘pen every game. In the playoffs, there’s really no reason to save anything. So, whenever I can get in there, whenever they want me to get in there, I’ll be ready.

Matt Holliday wants to return in 2017

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 30: Manager Mike Matheny #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals congratulates Matt Holliday #7 of the St. Louis Cardinals after he hit a solo home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh inning at Busch Stadium on September 30, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Matt Holliday might not have a landing spot with the Cardinals in 2017, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to hang his cleats up just yet. Prior to the Cardinals’ afternoon set against the Pirates on Saturday, the 36-year-old expressed his desire to further his career elsewhere, even if staying in St. Louis is not a possibility.

It’s been a down year for the outfielder, who batted .242/.318/.450 through 107 games before landing on the disabled list with a fractured right thumb. His 0.6 fWAR is the lowest mark of his career to date. Notwithstanding two injury-riddled seasons (he was sidelined through most of 2015 with a right quadriceps strain), he’s performed admirably for the Cardinals over the past eight years, putting up a .292/.379/.494 batting line, 156 home runs, and 26.8 fWAR with the club. With a return to full health, he might not be on the market for long.