San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Giants 4, Padres 1: Madison Bumgarner keeps rolling (7.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 6K). After the game he explained his recent success by saying “I’m just trying to make pitches.”  I’ve heard that for 30 years and I’m still not quite sure what it means but I always like hearing it for some reason. It’s a satisfying answer to me on some level. I think I’m going to start using it in everyday conversation:

Mookie: Dad, why do you keep putting strawberries in my lunch. You know I don’t like strawberries.

Me: Hey, I’m just trying to make pitches.

Dodgers 2, Nationals 0: Chris Capuano outpitches Gio Gonzalez as the Dodgers sweep the Nationals. They’re now 0-2 with Bryce Harper. Let’s pretend that’s a thing because it will probably annoy the hell out of him.

Twins 7, Royals 4: Single, double and a triple for Josh Willingham in his first game back from paternity leave. Man, I remember going back to work after my kids were born. Most relaxing place to be on the planet after a few days of that noise. Don’t look at me like that. The people with parents know what I’m talking about.

Mets 6, Rockies 5: Johan Santana was pretty awesome again, but he had a big lead blown when Tim Byrdak gave up an 8th inning pinch hit grand slam to Todd Helton. The Mets pull it out in extras, however, when Ike Davis singled home David Wright.

White Sox 4, Red Sox 1: Gavin Floyd took a no-hitter into the seventh but then he eased up on that stuff because he realized that if you throw a no-hitter you’re gonna suck on your next outing and he didn’t want any part of that. Just ask Phil Humber. Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer. He’s at .231/.368/.513 and is on pace for 35+ homers. So I guess that means Adam Dunn is back to being Adam Dunn.

Brewers 3, Cardinals 2: Zack Greinke scattered seven hits and gave up one run over six to help the Brewers avoid the sweep. The game ended on a strike-em-out, throw-em-out at the plate on a delayed double steal thing, which was kinda interesting.

Orioles 5, Athletics 2: The A’s led the O’s 2-0 entering the bottom of the ninth, but then Matt Wieters doubled home two runs to tie it and then Wilson Betemit walks off with a three-run homer. For the first place Orioles.

Cubs 5, Phillies 1: Matt Garza allowed one hit over seven innings and struck out ten. The hit was to Jimmy Rollins leading off the game and he wasn’t touched after that. Philly only got two hits all day. There is just little if any light to be seen with their offense right now. They just don’t have the talent in that lineup to get the job done. It’s that simple.

Blue Jays 7, Mariners 2: Edwin Encarnacion has homered in three straight games. The M’s were 0 for 14 with runners in scoring position.

Braves 4, Pirates 3: Welcome back Tim Hudson. He was rusty, but he survived and stranded a bunch of Pirates runners. Bad defense hurt Pittsburgh too. Andrew McCutchen just plain dropped a fly ball Hudson hit in the third, and Hudson eventually came around to score. In other news, I was reminded, as I am reminded every year, that Pirates games are blacked out in Columbus, Ohio. Which makes all kinds of friggin’ sense.

Indians 4, Angels 0: The best thing about the Angels since the callup of Mike Trout: outfield defense. Trout is great with the glove, Peter Bourjos is probably the best in baseball and Torii Hunter has a gajillion gold gloves. So of course the Indians scored two runs when Hunter done lost one in the sun. Manny Acta after the game: “The mighty sun was on our side today.”  I can just picture how he said it too. I love Manny Acta so much.

Diamondbacks 8, Marlins 4:  Wade Miley had a no hitter going into the sixth. In other news, I learned who Wade Miley was yesterday. Jason Kubel drove in three. Kubel is hitting .333/.400./528 this season. Guess he doesn’t miss Target Field all that much.

Yankees 6, Tigers 2: CC Sabathia was solid for eight innings and despite stranding a ton of runners early, the Yankees won easy. The Tigers have lost eight of ten.

Reds 6, Astros 5: Jay Bruce has hit four homers in four games. Joey Votto drove in four runs. The Reds entered April like a lamb but are leaving it like a lion.

Rays 5, Rangers 2:  David Price had struggled against Texas his entire career, but he beat ’em last night. Three hits for Ben Zobrist. Josh Hamilton left with back stiffness. Ron Washington left because he got ejected.

Collins worried David Wright might go on disabled list

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
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NEW YORK (AP) Mets manager Terry Collins is worried David Wright may wind up on the disabled list because of a neck injury.

New York’s captain and third baseman was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day Monday because of his neck. He was given anti-inflammatory medicine over the weekend.

Now 33, Wright was on the disabled list from April 15 to Aug. 24 last year when he strained his right hamstring and then developed spinal stenosis. He has a lengthy physical therapy routine he must go through before each game.

“With the condition he’s been playing in and the condition he’s in right now, yeah, I’m concerned about it,” Collins said Monday. “Is it going to happen? I can’t tell you. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. I know this guy plays with a lot of discomfort. He always has. And when he can’t play, he’s hurt.”

Wright homered in three straight games last week before getting hurt. He is batting .226 with seven homers, 14 RBIs and 55 strikeouts in 137 at-bats.

Settling the Scores: Memorial Day edition

ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 21:  American flags are shown after being placed by members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment at the graves of U.S. soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in preparation for Memorial Day May 21, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. "Flags-In" has become an annual ceremony since the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) was designated to be an Army's official ceremonial unit in 1948  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died in military service. At some point in the past couple of decades, however, it has become an all-purpose flag-waving, patriotism-declaring, civilians-in-camouflage holiday. It’s understandable why this is the case. We, as a country, haven’t always done mourning well. I think it’s part of our national cultural DNA that we don’t and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make days like this difficult.

I feel like the flag-waving and troop-supporting stuff is some sort of subconscious reaction to death. It’s our way of instantly trying to justify those deaths or to explain how they were not in vain, much the same way we might tell someone upon the death of a loved one that they’re in a better place or that they had a full life. Feeling the pain of loss is hard. We want to soften it in any way we can and make our pain serve a larger, better purpose. And so we get today, when Major League Baseball puts its players in camouflage caps and in jerseys with camouflage logos. They’ll sell them too, with proceeds going to good and noble veterans charities. The intent is noble and the ultimate effect of it all is beneficial. But it’s also a little beside the point. Maybe not beside the point as much as mattress sales or big celebratory barbecues which have come to characterize Memorial Day for so many, but still not exactly the purpose of the holiday.

I don’t condemn it. As I wrote last year, the men and women who actually fought and died in wars were hoping that they were, ultimately, making a better and happier world for those they left behind. And they no doubt hoped, among everything else they hoped, that others didn’t have to face what they were facing. They wanted our lives to be happy and our country to be safe and part of a happy and safe country involves 300 million people doing whatever it is they damn please, even if it’s just having barbecues and wearing camo at the ballpark.

I won’t say have a happy Memorial Day because that seems odd. Have any kind of Memorial Day you want, really, even if it includes barbecuing, drinking beer and wearing a cam ballcap. But as you do, please make sure you take some time to think about those who died in military service. And remember that they didn’t get to have as many days like the one you’re having as they were meant to have. And make at least some effort to offset your happy, patriotic or silly pursuits with some mourning and reflectiveness. It’s OK for that to stand on its own.

The scores:

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3
Orioles 6, Indians 4
Yankees 2, Rays 1
Nationals 10, Cardinals 2
Brewers 5, Reds 4
Royals 5, White Sox 4
Cubs 7, Phillies 2
Rangers 6, Pirates 2
Astros 8, Angels 6
Athletics 4, Tigers 2
Twins 5, Mariners 4
Giants 8, Rockies 3
Diamondbacks 6, Padres 3
Marlins 7, Braves 3
Dodgers 4, Mets 2

 

Should Dave Roberts have taken Clayton Kershaw out of Sunday’s game?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will likely be second-guessed heavily during tomorrow’s news cycle. Starter Clayton Kershaw had pitched a terrific ballgame, as is his tendency, but with 114 pitches to his name, Roberts decided to pull him from the game in the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on first base.

Roberts opted not for closer Kenley Jansen, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, but for another lefty in Adam Liberatore. He was playing the numbers, with the left-handed-hitting Curtis Granderson coming up. Liberatore, much to Roberts’ chagrin, served up what turned out to be a game-tying triple to Granderson, hitting a rocket to right-center just out of the reach of a leaping Yasiel Puig.

Jansen has, for six years, been one of the game’s elite relievers. Kershaw, though at a high pitch count, doesn’t seem to suffer from the times through the order penalty like most pitchers. Kershaw’s opponents’ OPS facing him for the first time was .525 coming into Sunday. Twice, .597. Three times, .587. Four times, .526 (but this suffers from survivorship bias so it’s not exactly representative).

Furthermore, Kershaw held lefties to a .546 OPS over his career. Liberatore, in 99 plate appearances against lefty hitters, gave up a .575 OPS. Jansen? .560. It seems that, faced with three decisions, Roberts arguably made the worst one. Playing conservative with Kershaw at 114 pitches is defensible, but only if Jansen comes in. If Roberts wanted the platoon advantage, Kershaw should have stayed in.

Luckily for the Dodgers, Mets closer Jeurys Familia didn’t have his best stuff. He loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth on a single and two walks, then gave up a two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Jansen came on in the bottom half of the ninth and retired the side in order to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Royals sweep White Sox over the weekend on three late rallies

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 28:  Brett Eibner #12 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his game-winning RBI single with teammates in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium on May 28, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 8-7. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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The Royals had themselves a pretty good weekend. The quickly fading White Sox, not so much.

On Friday, the Royals fell behind 5-1 after the top of the sixth. They would score once in the bottom of the sixth, four times in the seventh, and once in the eighth to steal a 7-5 win facing pitchers Miguel Gonzalez Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and Nate Jones.

On Saturday, the Royals entered the bottom of the ninth down 7-1. They scored seven runs on closer David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to win 8-7.

On Sunday, the Royals were down 4-2 after the top of the eighth. They plated three runs in the bottom half of the eighth against Jones and Albers, going on to win 5-4.

Coming into the weekend, the Royals were 24-22 in third place. The White Sox were 27-21, a half-game up in first place. Now the Royals are in first place by a game and a half, and the White Sox are in third place, two games out of first.

Here’s video of the Royals’ comeback on Saturday, since it was so unlikely: