Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 7, Twins 6: Curtis Granderson hit three bombs and went 5 for 5. If you just followed this game on Twitter, though, you’d think the storyline of the game was Phil Hughes stinking. The Yankees fans I follow are a surprisingly neurotic bunch despite following the most dominant team in American sports history. But to be fair, Hughes did kind of stink and he actually needed all three of those Granderson bombs. Just keeping the slot warm for Andy Pettitte I guess.

Dodgers 4, Brewers 3: Matt Kemp hit another homer. Ho-hum. Meanwhile, jumping Jesus on a pogo stick, look at the play Jerry Hairston made.

Reds 6, Cardinals 3: Adam Wainwright still doesn’t have his mojo back. The Reds beat him up for four runs on seven hits in five innings. Which is saying something, because the Reds couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a damn boat before yesterday.

Orioles 5, White Sox 3: Jason Hammel struck out ten and Jim Johnson got out of a bases loaded jam in the ninth. Orioles are still in first place, people. I think that’s in Revelations. That child running on the field is in there someplace too, I’m sure of it (“and then cometh the young, who shall leadeth the …” and something or other).

Marlins 5, Cubs 3: And the Feesh sweep the Cubs. The Marlins are now 3-0 when being managed by a repentant Fidel Castro sympathizer.

Astros 11, Nationals 4: Houston raps out 17 hits. Every starter including the pitcher hit, and the team hit three triples in the first inning, sorta killing all of that “K Street” love I taped for today’s HBT Extra. When that part of the video airs later just pretend that this game didn’t happen, OK?

Rangers 10, Tigers 3: Yu Darvish had his best outing so far, giving up one run on two hits in six and a third. Of course, because he walked five and struck out five, his pitch count was pretty nutsy by the time he was yanked. Michael Young continues his hot hitting. Nelson Cruz continues his Tiger-destroying.

Rays 9, Blues Jays 4: Evan Longoria: 3 for 4 with a homer a double and four RBI. Another error too — five on the year for the guy who says “I will make my glove golden” in those MLB promos — but we’ll let that slide for today.

Indians 2, Mariners 1: The Tribe gets both of its runs on a ninth inning RBI single from Jack Hannahan. They rally — and lack of Seattle run support — squandered a fabulous Felix Hernandez performance: 8 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 12K.  As usual, King Felix just doesn’t know how to win.

Phillies 2, Padres 0: Another great west coast pitching performance, this once from Vance Worley (7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 11K). Phillies scored their runs on a sac fly and a passed ball, however, so the offensive worries are still there.

Athletics 4, Angels 2: The Angels continue to struggle, dropping their third in a row to Oakland. The A’s only mustered three hits total and only two off C.J. Wilson but still scored four runs, partially due to a Wilson throwing error.

Braves 10, Diamondbacks 2: Freddie Freeman went 3 for 5, hit two homers and drove in five. Mike Minor struck out nine and allowed only one earned run. His stuff was pretty filthy last night too. I was so impressed with it that while watching the game I tweeted about it. I accidentally called his curve his “braking ball.” I think I actually like that better, so I’m sticking with it. Minor throws a braking ball. It was taught to him by the braking ball guru. In other news, I also got this screencap from the game, that I will show you without comment. Well, one comment: “fisted.”

Is Bud Black the favorite to be the next Braves manager?

Bud Black
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We talked last week about how Fredi Gonzalez is likely a dead man walking as the Braves manager. They stink, he’s a lame duck and part of the team’s whole marketing thrust is “2017 will be a new beginning,” what with the new ballpark and all. It stands to reason that Mr. Gonzalez doesn’t have long for this world.

Last week I suspected he’d be fired tomorrow, the Braves off day before a home stand. They’ve won in the past week, but it still wouldn’t shock me. Even if firing Gonzalez would be an act of scapegoating. It’s the roster that’s the problem, not the manager, even though Fredi doesn’t exactly inspire anyone.

Today Bob Nightengale throws this into the mix:

As of yet he hasn’t followed that up with an actual column or more tweets about who, exactly, considers Black to be the heavy favorite, but there’s a definitiveness to that which makes me think he’s heard something solid.

Black, as you know, was the long time Padres manager who had an unsuccessful flirtation with the Nationals before they hired Dusty Baker this past offseason. Black is now cooling his heels with his longtime boss Mike Scioscia in Anaheim, in what is clearly a “wait for his next managing opportunity” posture.

Could it be in Atlanta? At least one national writer and some nebulous group of insiders believe so, it would seem.

The Reds bullpen set a record for futility

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher J.J. Hoover reacts after giving up a solo home run to Chicago Cubs' Javier Baez, left, during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, April 22, 2016, in Cincinnati. The Cubs won 8-1. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Associated Press
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I mentioned this in the recaps this morning but it’s worthy of its own post.

The Cincinnati Reds’ bullpen gave up two runs last night. In so doing it made for the 21st consecutive game in which it has allowed at least one run. That’s a new major league record, having surpassed the 2013 Colorado Rockies’ record of 20, according to Elias.

Last year the Reds set a record — shattered it, really — by going with rookie starting pitchers in 64 straight games to end the season. Those guys aren’t rookies anymore, but they’re still really inexperienced. They could probably use some better bullpen help than they’ve been getting.

Headline of the Day– A-Rod: “Trophy Boyfriend”

Alex Rodriguez
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For as long as there have been couples, the woman in a couple has been publicly defined by the man’s life and accomplishments. It doesn’t matter if the woman cures cancer, walks on the moon or wins the Eurovision Song Contest, when news stories or obituaries are written, she is invariably referred to as “wife of ___” or “girlfriend of ___.” Even if the guy is a grade-A schmuck.

While that pattern still persists, it’s nice to see someone flip the script on it once in a while. Like The Cut did in its story about a new, high-profile couple going public:

 

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The couple: Alex Rodriguez and Anne Wojcicki. Who, if you were unaware, is a Silicon Valley biotech CEO and a billionaire. She went to Yale, played varsity hockey in college and is a mother. Alex Rodriguez is accomplished and famous, but outside of the sports bubble he’s a padawan to Wojcicki’s master Jedi. Despite this, in places other than The Cut, it would still not be surprising to see her referred to as “A-Rod’s girlfriend,” because that’s just how people roll. Here’s hoping others take The Cut’s lead when referring to women in the public sphere more often.

A related note: in the rare cases when a famous male personality is identified in reference to his female partner and not the other way around, people like to make jokes and like to question the masculinity of the man. Which is equally stupid. And, to the man in question, should be utterly beside the point.

To that end, I think it’s worth noting that Alex Rodriguez has been involved with several women who, outside of baseball, are far more famous than he is and it’s never seemed to be an issue for him whatsoever. People like to say a lot of things about A-Rod’s ego and personality, but in this respect I bet he’s a hell of a lot better adjusted, grounded and self-assured than the vast majority of men who might find themselves in his place.

Video: Jeff Samardzija breaks a bat over his knee after striking out

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Jeff Samardzija had a great night last night. He allowed one run on three hits over eight innings and picked up the win. In the early going he’s proving wrong those who thought that the Giants overpaid for him and is providing solid performance from the third spot in the Giants rotation. It’s all good.

But good is not always good enough for a professional athlete. Especially one like Samardzija, who excelled in multiple sports and likely can count his lifetime athletic failures on one hand. No, when you’re wired like that you get upset even when you’re excellent because sometimes you want to be perfect.

For example, most pitchers don’t get too worried about striking out. They’re there to pitch, not bat. They turn on their heel and calmly walk back to the dugout. Samardzija, however, got a bit irate when he struck out. Then he did this: