And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 5, Tigers 1: If I were to tell you that one of this game’s starting pitchers — Justin Verlander or Phil Hughes — was going to toss a complete game, I’m guessing none of you would have guessed it would be Hughes.  But that he did, allowing one run on four hits. Verlander loses his third in a row. Him pitching lights-out had been the last preseason expectation being met for the Tigers. Now they seem utterly lost.

Mets 6, Cardinals 1: Well, it took them 26 innings of a 27 inning series to actually score a run, but the Cards got on the board in this one at least. But, yeah, just a trainwreck of a weekend for St. Louis. Or, if you prefer, a buzzsaw of a weekend for Mets pitching. I mean, not often that the six innings of ten-strikeout, shutout ball that Jon Niese posted last night would be the third best pitching performance in a given series, but there you are.

Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 1: Quick, what’s this?  Answer: a plot of where the pitches Daniel Bard threw in Toronto yesterday ended up.  The Jays had a 5-0 lead after two innings with Bard having given up only one hit. Jose Bautista hit a three-run homer and was walked to force in a run. But really, I think Bard walked almost everyone in Ontario yesterday, so it’s not like it was that big a deal.

Diamondbacks 6, Padres 0: Trevor Cahill added to the parade of excellent pitching performances yesterday, twirling a six-hit shutout. Paul Goldschmidt homered and ran his hitting streak to 12 games. Note: you can’t really “twirl” many other things than a shutout. And using “ran” as a verb like I did there, while not exclusive to sports streaks, has a very high correlation with them.

Giants 2, Cubs 0: Barry Zito: does he (all together now) finally have it together, or is he merely a barometer of how bad the Cubs are? (8 .1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER).

Braves 3, Nationals 2: Halley’s Comet. The McRib. A Braves victory over the Nationals.  You savor them when the come because they are just so damn rare.

Royals 2, Athletics 0: Oakland was shutout again, this time by former A Vin Mazzaro who, with all due respect, shouldn’t be shutting out anyone for that long.  Of course it was the third time in the past four games the A’s have been blanked, so your Aunt Tilly could probably pitch six innings of shutout ball against them. They’ve lost 10 of 11.

Marlins 5, Phillies 1: Carlos Zambrano gave up one run over seven and two thirds and hit a homer.  Even before the homer, on paper, I think Zambrano was a bigger threat than the Phillies cleanup hitter: Hector Luna.

White Sox 4, Mariners 2: Chris Sale went the distance, allowing two runs against what has, recently anyway, been a pretty potent Mariners attack. He leads the AL with a 2.29 ERA. From the AP gamer: “Kevin Millwood was beset by control problems.” This is not a repeat of, well, most games since 2006 or so.

Rangers 7, Angels 3: the Rangers snap their four-game skid behind a couple RBI a piece from Nelson Cruz and Elvis Andrus and a decent showing from Matt Harrison.

Pirates 6, Brewers 5: James McDonald continues his fine work, striking out eight in six innings while allowing a single earned run. Brooks Conrad played a little shortstop in this one for Milwaukee. Which is an interesting choice.

Twins 6, Indians 3: Break up the Twinkies! They’ve won five of six. Since their tone-setting sweep of the Tigers, Cleveland is 2-7. So, so much for tone-setting.

Astros 5, Reds 3: Houston wins for the first time in nine tries. Jordan Lyles gave up only two earned runs over seven innings.

Rockies 3, Dodgers 2: Alex White shuts out the Dodgers into the seventh inning before running out of gas, but it was enough to give L.A. its sixth loss in seven games.

Rays 8, Orioles 4: Productive weekend as the Rays put the Orioles in the rear-view mirror in the AL East. It’s been a nice run for the O’s, but it’s probably over.

The umps have dropped their Ian Kinsler protest

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Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union —  launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.

Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:

“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”

As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.

I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.

 

Minor league teams prepare for a “total eclipse of the park”

Salem Volcanoes
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The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are a class-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Today, the path of totality of the big solar eclipse we’re not supposed to look at will pass right through the ballpark in which they play. What’s better: the Volcanoes are playing a game against the Hillsboro Hops as it happens.

This was by design: the team’s owner requested this home game when the schedule was made up two years ago specifically to market the heck out of the eclipse. They’re starting the game at 9:30 this morning, Pacific time, in order to maximize the fun. Spectators will receive commemorative eclipse safety glasses to wear. The game will be delayed when the eclipse hits and a NASA scientist named Noah Petro, who is from the area, will talk to the crowd about what is going on.

Salem-Keizer isn’t the only minor league game affected, by the way. There are six games in all which will feature a “total eclipse of the park.” Turn around, bright eyes.

There are no home MLB games going on in the path of totality, but MLB has put together a helpful guide in order to maximize your baseball and eclipse pleasure. If you line up some good beer with that you’l have your very own national pastime syzygy.