Seattle Mariners v Texas Rangers

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Mariners 21, Rangers 8: Look, we can point to Justin Smoak driving in a half dozen runs, Jesus Montero nearly hitting for the cycle or any number of other things as being the cause of this bloodbath. But the fact is, Derek Holland shaved his mustache the other day, and there is likely a causal link there.

Rockies 13, Astros 5: Carlos Gonzalez hit homers in the 5th, sixth and 8th innings. He’s 10 for 16 with five home runs in his past four games.

Pirates 2, Reds 1: A.J. Burnett didn’t allow any earned runs over seven innings. Aroldis Chapman didn’t pitch in this game. Based on how his last week or so has gone, I’m going to assume he was unavailable because he was either running from Interpol, involved in a long con involving a phony off-track betting parlor or was compelled to participate in some underground Russian roulette ring in Saigon by circumstance and his own mental scars.

Braves 10, Cardinals 7: Freddy Freeman got his new sports glasses yesterday. And then, in his first at bat since his eye problems got intolerable, hit hit a home run. He added a double and finished with three RBI. Ze goggles! Zay do zomething!

Marlins 5, Nationals 3: Johnson beats Wang. Wang didn’t go long in this one, but he allowed no home runs, so no one was hard on him. In other news: “That’s OK, I brought an erector set.” “Throw a towel over it!” “Do some pushups Pablo, Maybe it will go away!” If you get that — and if you’re anyone other than Old Gator — kudos.

Blue Jays 4, Orioles 1: The O’s lose their fifth straight after giving up four solo homers to the Jays. But bad news for T.O.: Brandon Morrow left the game early after getting plunked on the shin by a line drive. Just a contusion, and he should make his next start.

White Sox 4, Rays 3: The winning streak is now at eight, this despite losing starting pitcher Jose Quintana via ejection and the whole Hawk Harrelson freakout and everything. The Rays have lost 9 of 13 at home. Joe Maddon: “We’re not really playing a high level of baseball right now,” Maddon said. “Too many mistakes on the field.”  As opposed to too many mistakes at the golf course or in the Matrix or wherever.

Cubs 8, Padres 6: Darwin Barney had a two-run walkoff homer. After the game he said “That was the first walk-off home run I’ve had at any level, I didn’t even see it go out.” Maybe it didn’t happen then? Maybe … Barney doesn’t himself believe in Darwin!  In other news, my Padres tickets probably just got another buck cheaper.

Phillies 10, Mets 6: The Phillies win, but since Lee went six and since they scored nine of their ten runs in the seventh inning and beyond, he doesn’t get the win. I guess chemistry didn’t help the back end of the Mets bullpen.

Red Sox 6, Tigers 4: David Ortiz and Will Middlebrooks each hit two-run homers and Kevin Youkilis had a solo shot. Miguel Cabrera went 4 for 5 with three doubles in a losing cause. The Red Sox have won 14 of 19. Tigers fans are the most dour bunch on the planet right now. And now that their division deficit is 5.5 games, ugh, maybe they should be.

Twins 4, Athletics 0: Oakland stinks on ice right now. Letting Francisco Liriano — who had been one of the worst starters in all of baseball so far this year — shut you out on three hits over six innings is damn nigh inexcusable. Josh Willingham homered and drove in three. He has to be serious trade bait at the deadline, right?

Royals 6, Indians 3: Kansas City finished May 15-13. It was their first winning May in 12 years. Cleveland has lost five of six.

Diamondbacks 4, Giants 1: Tim Lincecum pitched better than he has but Ian Kennedy pitched better than Tim Lincecum, allowing one run in seven and two-thirds. Paul Goldschmidt has had only 13 at bats against Lincecum but already has four home runs off him, the most of any player.

Brewers 6, Dodgers 3: One Matt Kemp injury was survivable for the Dodgers. But, uh oh, here’s another. Well, the same one re-aggravated. “It feels worse than the first time,” Kemp said. Not good.

Yankees 6, Angels 5: New York avoids the sweep and LAA sees its winning streak end. The Yankees blew a four run lead first, but it was all OK in the end. Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson homered.

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: