And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Nationals 8, Padres 5: Bryce Harper golfed one more than 400 feet to straightaway center for his first ever major league homer. He also struck out on four pitches to Joe Thatcher and launched a really loud f-bomb. I love him for both reasons, frankly. And I love how the back end of the Nats bullpen continues to struggle. Henry Rodriguez came in with a three-run lead in the ninth and walked the bases loaded. Sean Burnett came in and induced a 1-2-3 double play to end it, but man, Davey has to figure out what to do about Rodriguez. Guy throws a billion miles per hour but he has no idea where it’s going half the time.

Reds 3, Braves 1: Jonny Venters: a lot closer to mortal this year than last. Brandon Phillips knocked a double off him as the Reds plated two in the eighth to break a 1-1 tie. Then Chris Heisey drove in Phillips with a double of his own. I was blacked out from watching this one and didn’t know what was going on until the ninth when I saw on the scoreboard that Livan Hernandez entered the game. He’s the Braves’ living white flag.

Rays 7, Blues Jays 1: Good news: the Rays win. Bad news: Jeff Niemann was knocked out in the first inning after taking a grounder to his ankle. Cesar Ramos and the bullpen brigade came to the rescue.

Mets 3, Brewers 1: Milwaukee mustered only four hits off Miguel Batista, who threw seven shutout innings. No offense to Batista, but the Brewers need to take a long look in the mirror after getting stifled like that by a pitcher like that.

Red Sox 6, Mariners 1: Jon Lester pitched a complete game, allowing only one run. Four in a row for Boston.

Pirates 3, Marlins 2: My daddy said “son you’re gonna drive me to drinkin’ if you don’t start games with old Brad Lincoln.” Um, let’s forget I said that. Anyway: Lincoln allowed two runs in six innings after switching from starting to the pen.

Phillies 5, Astros 1: Placido Polanco is in a season-long funk, but a homer gave him his 2000th career hit. One of the more under-the-radar 2000-hit players in big league history, I’d reckon. Joe Blanton continues his nice recent work, allowing one run on six hits in seven innings.

Indians 5, Twins 4: Jeanmar Gomez pitched seven strong innings but his bullpen betrayed him. Shin-Soo Choo came through in the ninth with the go-ahead single.

Cubs 6, Cardinals 4: The Cards have cooled off big time, dropping their fourth straight. The Cubs finally scored some runs in a Ryan Dempster start, but not all when he was in the game. Meanwhile Dempster himself allowed four. Bryan LaHair went 3 for 4 and hit a two-run homer.

Royals 3, Rangers 1: Bruce Chen and four relievers douse the scorching Rangers lineup. A Nelson Cruz homer was all that was doin’ for Texas.

Yankees 8, Orioles 5: Ivan Nova was first ineffective and then injured, spraining his right ankle while fielding a tapper back to the mound. the Yankees pen hurled three and two-thirds innings of shutout ball, however, while a Mark Teixeira homer led the late Yankees charge. A-Rod, Robinson Cano and Teixeira were a combined 7 for 14 with two RBI and seven runs scored. That’s the sort of middle-of-the-order production New York hadn’t been getting in the early going.

White Sox 7, Tigers 5: Detroit had a 5-2 lead but then starter Drew Smyly ran out of gas and reliever Luke Putkonen — who if you asked me before I saw this box score, I would have said wasn’t a real person — unraveled. Detroit is now under .500. Dayan Vicido drove in four on a two-run homer and a two-run single. Adam Dunn homered again too and is slugging over .600 on the season.

Giants 3, Rockies 2:  Buster Posey and Brett Pill RBI singles in the eighth bring the Giants back after Christian Friedrich shut them down bigtime in his seven innings, in which he struck out ten.

Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 1: No Matt Kemp? No problem, as with Clayton all things are possible (7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER).

Athletics 5, Angels 0: Anaheim’s nightmare season continues, as Tyson Ross shuts them out for six and the pen shuts them out for three. Oakland has won eight of 12.

Sandy Alderson: It’s “highly unlikely” the Mets will non-tender Matt Harvey

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As we noted the other day, Matt Harvey has been terrible since coming off the disabled list. In his last four starts he’s allowed 21 runs, all earned, on 32 hits in 14.2 innings, for an ERA of 13.19. In that time he’s struck out only eight batters while walking seven. It’s fair to ask whether his accumulation of injuries — Tommy John surgery, thoracic outlet syndrome and a stress injury to his shoulder — has rendered him ineffective for more than just the short term.

In light of that, many have speculated that the Mets may not tender the arbitration-eligible Harvey a contract for 2018, making him a free agent. The thinking being that, as he makes $5.125 million right now, he’s going to make at least that and likely a bit more next year via arbitration, even in his diminished state. While many times may accept that for a chance to see if Harvey could rebound, the Mets are not in the habit of spending money they aren’t obligated to spend.

Yesterday Mets Sandy Alderson called b.s. on that, however, telling the New York Post that “it’s highly unlikely that we’re not going to bring him back next year.” The Post story adds this, though it’s unclear if it’s the reporter’s sentiment or that of the Mets:

A significant factor for the Mets, not to be underestimated, is avoiding the potential embarrassment that would come if Harvey were non-tendered by the team and then regained his form pitching elsewhere next season.

The Mets have, in the past, cut off their nose to spite their face in similar fashion. Just this summer they reportedly declined to trade Jay Bruce to the Yankees, sending him to Cleveland instead, despite was claimed to be a substantially better offer from the Yankees. The suggestion was that Mets brass did not want to see their former player helping their cross-town rival, even if the trade would be better for the Mets.

If the Mets, as Sandy Alderson says, legitimately believe that Harvey will rebound, cool: take a $6-7 million chance on him for 2018. It’d be pretty pathetic, though, if they don’t think he’ll be effective again but are simply going to keep him around to keep anyone else from lucking out on an unlikely Harvey rebound.

Either way: I hope Harvey does rebound. When he was dominant he was a special pitcher to watch. Having him return to dominance would be a good thing. No matter who he’d do it for.

 

 

And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 11, Twins 3: The Twins took a 3-0 lead, but after that it was all Yankees. Aaron Judge hit his AL-leading 45th home run and crossed the 100 RBI mark. Gary Sanchez went back-to-back with him in the third. Didi Gregorius hit a three-run shot. The Yankees are rolling at just the right time. Or at least that’s what I’m reading everywhere, despite the fact that momentum is a false construct. And despite the fact that, hey, the world is probably going to end on Saturday.

Athletics 3, Tigers 2: Daniel Mengden tossed seven scoreless innings and continued to test my theory that, if they wanted to, sports writers could totally make up names for Oakland A’s players and most of us would nod and say “hmm, OK . . . Mengden.” Marcus Semien homered and drove in three as the A’s swept the Tigers. Who, after a decade or so of being a team full of famous players, is about to enter a period when we could play the same game with their relatively anonymous players as we’ve played with teams like the A’s for so long.

Marlins 9, Mets 2: Giancarlo Stanton hit his 56th homer and drove in three. In keeping with the silly trend of people pretending that passing Roger Maris at 61 would somehow be a significant record as opposed to merely a neat accomplishment, I am going to officially proclaim that Stanton NOW has the home run record. Hey, if subjectivity matters for things like this, so too does my personal subjectivity. The rundown:

  • Ken Griffey Jr. hit 56 twice, but he once used a Bed Bath and Beyond coupon that was expired, sullying it;
  • Luis Gonzalez and A-Rod at 57? They were Freemasons;
  • Four players hit 58 in a season once — Foxx, Greenberg, Howard and McGwire — but that sounds like a law firm, undermining the purity of the accomplishment;
  • Babe Ruth hit 59 and 60, but he purchased alcohol during prohibition, setting a terrible example for lack of temperance;
  • Roger Maris’ 61 was hit in front of a half-empty Yankee Stadium crowd. The Yankees were amazing in 1961 and everyone was talking about him passing Ruth, so something fishy was going on. I’m going to guess radiation contamination on site scared people away and, in turn, powered Maris artificially, like someone in a comic book;
  • That just leaves Sosa, McGwire and Bonds and they murdered all of those people so it’d be wrong to honor them.

Congratulations, Giancarlo Stanton: The Single Season Home Run Champ!

Giants 4, Rockies 0: The Rockies lose their third in a row. Thanks to the Brewers losing too they keep their one-game lead for the second Wild Card, but they really need to cut this out. Brandon Crawford hit a solo homer and Matt Moore and four relievers combined to shut Colorado out.

Red Sox 9, Orioles 0: Chris Sale tossed eight shutout innings and struck out 13. In so doing he became just the second pitcher to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years, joining Clayton Kershaw. Before that Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002 (Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000 as well). Sale is just the second Red Sox pitcher to do it, following Pedro Martinez, who did it in 1999. Mookie Betts and Deven Marrero went deep for Boston. The Red Sox have clinched a playoff spot.

Phillies 7, Dodgers 5Aaron Altherr hit a tying, two-run homer in the seventh. The Dodgers added a run, so Altherr hit a tiebreaking, two-run single in the eighth. That’s three in a row over the Dodgers for Philly. They go for the sweep this afternoon. The Dodgers have lost four straight and 20 of 25. Their magic number for the NL West remains at two.

Pirates 6, Brewers 4Adam Frazier hit a two-out, two-run, walkoff homer off of Corey Knebel, averting extra innings and giving the game to the Buccos. Knebel’s streak of 21 consecutive save chances converted ended just before that when his own throwing error allowed the Pirates to tie it. We all have a bad day sometimes.

Royals 15, Blue Jays 5: Mike Moustakas broke the single-season home run record for the Royals. But, like I said above, this is all apparently subjective now, so I’m gonna stick with Steve Balboni’s 36 as the true mark, because this:

Salvador Perez and Whit Merrifield also went deep as the Royals victimized Brett Anderson for eight runs on seven hits in an inning and a third and rattled off 18 hits on the night.

Cardinals 9, Reds 2Dexter Fowler homered for the third straight game. Matt Carpenter and Paul DeJong also went deep, Tommy Pham had three hits and two RBI and Yadier Molina added a two-run double. Luke Weaver allowed two runs in five innings to win his seventh straight start, making him the current active leader in consecutive wins.

Rays 8, Cubs 1: The Cubs seven-game winning streak comes to an end thanks to Blake Snell‘s two-hit, seven shutout inning performance. The Cubs now open a four-game series in Milwaukee. They have a three and a half game lead over the Brewers and can either put them away or give us an exciting last week of the season. So, nothing personal Cubs fans, but let’s go Brewers.

Nationals 7, Braves 3: The Braves had a 2-1 lead heading into the eighth and then the Nats went and put up a six-spot. Three of those runs came on bases loaded walks from Arodys Vizcaino. Maybe Brandon Snitker is a fan of the movie “Tin Cup” or something. I don’t know. I’m just glad I wasn’t feeling well last night and took a NyQuil at 9:30 and missed it.

Astros 4, White Sox 3: That’s six straight wins for Houston. Yuli Gurriel had three hits, including a two-run double, Brad Peacock allowed two runs on only one hit in six innings.

Diamondbacks 13, Padres 7: Hunter Renfroe hit three homers. Wasn’t enough, though, as the Dbacks overcame a 6-2 deficit and scored 11 runs in the final four innings. J.D Martinez, A.J. Pollock, David Peralta and Jake Lamb all went deep for the Snakes.

Indians 6, Angels 5: Four wins in a row for Cleveland who is now 26-1 over their past 27 games. They haven’t lost a road game since August 20. This is just crazy stuff. Francisco Lindor snapped a seventh-inning tie with a two-run homer and  Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Ramirez added RBI singles. The Angels remain one and a half back of the Twins for the second Wild Card.

Rangers 8, Mariners 6Rougned Odor hit a grand slam to cap a seven-run fourth inning and the Rangers held off Seattle. Alex Claudio earned a six-out save. The Puerto Rican native was distracted and worried about his family and homeland in the wake of the destruction wrought by Hurricane Maria. I have no idea how anyone could concentrate under such circumstances, but he did.