Giancarlo Stanton

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


Marlins 7, Rockies 4: Jamie Moyer pitched in his 50th different major league park. But he may have given up his longest most hellacious homer ever. Giancarlo Stanton hit a grand slam that went 438 feet in basically a straight line and broke the friggin’ scoreboard. Roy Hobbs stuff, there. Gave the Marlins the lead and, eventually, the game.

Nationals 2, Phillies 1: Ian Desmond drove in both Washington runs, one on a homer, and Gio Gonzalez pitched six scoreless for his sixth win. Bryce Harper had two hits, a stolen base and scored a run. No word on whether he was hit with any batteries.

Pirates 5, Mets 4: Michael McKenry hit a two-run homer in the seventh to tie it up and to chase Johan Santana. A Clint Barmes sac fly was the game winner. In other news, Clint Barmes still draws a major league paycheck. Who knew?

Reds 4, Braves 1: Mike Leake pitched eight strong innings and hit a homer. Drew Stubbs didn’t pitch at all but had two of his own. Cincinnati takes their third in a row and keeps the pressure on the Cardinals. Oh, and about that Aroldis Chapman arrest? It happened in Grove City, Ohio. Which is a Columbus suburb, 100 miles from Cincinnati. This on the morning after the Reds got back from a road trip and before a home game. I’m struggling to think what’s so appealing about my fair city for Chapman that he had to make a 200-mile+ road trip in such a short amount of time. But hey, at the speeds he was driving, I guess it’s a short trip.

Cardinals 4, Padres 3: St. Louis needed this one to avoid falling behind the Reds in the Central. They got it via a two-run Tyler Greene home run in the eighth. Clayton Richard pitched seven and a third, Jaime Garcia pitched seven, but they each gave up two runs on seven hit with one walk. Garcia struck out more. I wonder how often two starters have had the same exact pitching line. Had to have happened a few times before, right?

Astros 8, Cubs 3: A laugher. Matt Garza turned in his worst start of the year (3 IP, 5 H, 7 ER) and was countered by Bud Norris’ seven innings of shutout ball. Norris left with an 8-0 lead.

Blue Jays 6, Rays 2: I’ll let the box score speak for this one and instead note something that caught my eye in the scoring summary. Second inning: “E Thames singled to center, J Arencibia scored, E Thames out stretching at second.”  I read that and I pictured this for some reason. Just put Eric Thames’ head on the body.

Royals 6, Yankees 0: I’m not saying it would be nice for Royals fans to make “contract the Yankees” jokes like so many Yankees fans have done to them over the years, but I understand it if they do. The Yankees offensive impotence — 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position — hits bottom, they hope. I have this feeling today is gonna be super crazy in the tabloids.

Red Sox 8, Orioles 6: And part of that super crazy tabloid thing is gonna be based on the fact that the Yankees now have the same 21-21 record as do the Boston Red Sox who, as we’ve all been told to believe, are in utter chaos and whatnot. Not that we should be glib about that. They fell behind early before a six-run rally put them ahead and they still weren’t comfortable here.

Mariners 6, Rangers 1: The M’s are not impressed with Yu Darvish, who issued six walks. Felix Hernandez, in the meantime, allowed one run over eight. Ichiro tripled in a run and singled in two. I’m guessing that, in light of all of this, my friends in the Japanese media have a lot to write about today.

Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 1: Matt Treanor, Andre Ethier and James Loney all homered. Chris Capuano is now 6-1. When people ask later why no one thought the Dodgers would contend, folks like me in the analysis business will say things like “we didn’t expect Chris Capuano to post an ERA more than two runs lower than his career norms.”

Giants 4, Brewers 3: Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer in the eighth to tie things up, but Hector Sanchez with a 14th inning homer to win it.  Lost in no-decision land was Madison Bumgarner who struck out 10 over seven and a third.

Athletics 2, Angels 1: The A’s have now won 5 of 7 matchups against the Angels. And we’re running out words to describe the Angels offense. Just perusing the thesaurus, I got: anemic, debilitated, decrepit, delicate, effete,enervated, exhausted, faint, feeble, flaccid,flimsy, forceless, fragile, frail, hesitant,impuissant, infirm, insubstantial, irresolute,lackadaisical, languid, languorous, limp,makeshift, out of gas, powerless, prostrate,puny, rickety, rocky, rotten, senile, shaky, sickly,sluggish, spent, spindly, supine, tender, torpid,uncertain, undependable, unsound, unsteady,unsubstantial, wasted, wavering, weakened,weakly, wobbly.

Pick a winner.

Concerns over Jon Lester’s throwing ability much ado about nothing

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 20: Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game five of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 20, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)
Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

Going into Thursday night’s NLCS Game 5, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts planned to have his team be annoying and distracting on the base paths for Cubs starter Jon Lester. Lester, you see, has a hard time making throws when he’s not pitching from the rubber, as seen here.

The Dodgers got an immediate opportunity to test their strategy, as Enrique Hernandez drew a four-pitch walk to start the game in the bottom of the first inning. Hernandez was taking leads between 15 and 25 feet, just taunting Lester to throw over to first base. Lester never did. And despite being given the luxury of such a large lead, Hernandez never attempted to steal second base.

It ended up costing the Dodgers a run. After Justin Turner struck out, Corey Seager lined a single to center field. Hernandez, large lead and all, should’ve been well on his way to third base, but he settled for staying at second base. Carlos Ruiz then flied out to right field on what should’ve been a sacrifice fly. Hernandez instead just advanced to third. Howie Kendrick grounded out to end the inning with the Dodgers having scored no runs.

In the bottom of the second inning with two outs, Joc Pederson dropped down a bunt, but Lester was able to field it and make a bounce-throw to Anthony Rizzo at first base to end the inning. Lester stared angrily into the Dodgers’ dugout as he walked off the field. If it were me, I’d have been glaring angrily not because the opposing team was attempting to exploit my weakness, but because the strategy is so poor.

The bunting would continue in the seventh inning as first baseman and noted power hitter Adrian Gonzalez tried to sneak a bunt past Lester on the right side of the infield. Second baseman Javier Baez was able to scoop it up and fire to first. Gonzalez was initially ruled safe, but the call was overturned upon replay review.

Lester countered the Dodgers’ bunting and greedy lead-taking by just pitching his game. He went seven innings, allowing just one run on five hits and a walk with six strikeouts on 108 pitches. The Cubs went on to win 8-4, taking a 3-2 lead in the NLCS. A worthy consideration for the National League Cy Young Award based on his regular season performance, Lester now has a 0.86 ERA in 21 innings spanning three starts this postseason. Turns out, the yips isn’t debilitating if you’re really good at your main job.

Cubs swat their way past the Dodgers 8-4 in NLCS Game 5

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 20:  Addison Russell #27 of the Chicago Cubs hits a two-run home run in the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game five of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 20, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

During the regular season, the Cubs had the second-best offense in baseball behind the Rockies, averaging 4.99 runs per game. It was the best after debiting the Rockies for playing in Coors Field. There was no way, after getting shut out in NLCS Games 2 and 3, that the offense was going to stay dormant much longer. They broke out for 10 runs in a Game 4 victory on Wednesday night. They scored eight more to beat the Dodgers 8-4 in Game 5, taking a 3-2 NLCS lead.

The Cubs took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when leadoff batter Dexter Fowler greeted Kenta Maeda with a single to center field. He’d come around to score on a one-out double by Anthony Rizzo who, like teammate Addison Russell, hadn’t hit much until breaking out in Game 4.

Starter Jon Lester was able to silence the Dodgers’ offense despite their strategy of attempting bunts and taking big leads, knowing Lester has trouble throwing when it’s not from the pitching rubber. They managed just one run, coming around in the fourth inning to knot the game at 1-1 when Howie Kendrick doubled, stole third base, and scored on an Adrian Gonzalez ground out.

Ultimately, Lester lasted seven innings, holding the Dodgers to five hits and a walk with six strikeouts on 108 pitches. Addison Russell allowed him to leave with a lead, slugging a two-run home run off of reliever Joe Blanton in the sixth to break the 1-1 tie.

The Cubs tacked on plenty of insurance in the top of the eighth against reliever Pedro Baez, which proved to be rather necessary. Russell reached on an error by Baez, Willson Contreras singled, and Albert Almora, Jr. moved both runners up a base on a sacrifice bunt. Dexter Fowler then hit a single to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, but Baez didn’t break to cover first base. Gonzalez wasn’t able to beat Fowler to the bag, allowing the Cubs’ fourth run to score. Kris Bryant hit a weak grounder to third base and he was able to beat that out as well, pushing across another run in the process. Anthony Rizzo lined out, but Baez prolonged the inning by walking Ben Zobrist. Ross Stripling relieved Baez, but he served up a bases-clearing double to Javier Baez, making it an 8-1 ballgame. Jason Heyward, as has often been the case, popped up feebly, mercifully ending the inning with the Cubs having hung up a five-spot.

Pedro Strop took over for Lester in the bottom of the eighth. He gave up a double to Andrew Toles, then hit Justin Turner to begin the inning. Though Strop was able to induce a ground ball double play from Corey Seager, Carlos Ruiz followed up with a double to left-center to push in a run. Howie Kendrick flied out to send the game to the ninth.

Closer Aroldis Chapman took over with a six-run lead in the bottom of the ninth. He issued a leadoff walk to Gonzalez, then served up a single to Yasiel Puig. Joc Pederson grounded out, but Josh Reddick knocked in Gonzalez and moved Puig to third with a single to center. Toles plated Puig with a sacrifice fly, making it 8-4. Turner grounded out to shortstop to end the game, finalizing the victory for the Cubs.

The two clubs will take Friday off to travel back to Chicago. Game 6 will take place at Wrigley Field at 8:00 PM EDT. Clayton Kershaw will start for the Dodgers opposite the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks.