And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

13 Comments

Giants 3, Cubs 2: A one run game in which the winning team scored one run when the losing team’s shortstop forgot that there was only one out and didn’t try to complete a would-be double play? Oh, Starlin.  Well, as they say, you can’t assume the double play. You can assume that your start shortstop won’t have a brain fart, though, right?

Dodgers 4, Phillies 3: The pattern of Jonathan Papelbon being great in save situations but not so great in non-save situations continues.  he came into a tie game in the ninth to give up an RBI single to Elian Herrera, plating Dee Gordon. And after he did that he absolutely unloaded on the home plate umpire he thought should have called Gordon out on strikes. More on this later this morning.

Mariners 8, Angels 6: Tom Wilhelmsen came into the game with the bases loaded and no one out in the eigth, the M’s lead down to two runs and Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo coming to bat. Ruh-roh, Raggy!  No worries, though: he got Pujols on a comebacker, got the runner on third in a rundown and then struck out Trumbo. *Wilhelmsen drops the mic, walks off*

Athletics 12, Rangers 1: Jarrod Parker taking a no-hitter into the eighth is impressive, but given how this A’s team has hit recently, the 12 runs may be more impressive. Brandon Inge drove in four runs. That’s the fifth time he’s done that since joining the A’s at the end of April.

Cardinals 5, Mets 4: The Cards’ offense finally wakes up.  At least the Allen Craig portion of it. Craig singled in a run in the fourth and hit a tie-breaking and, ultimately, game-winning two-run homer in the eighth.

Twins 10, Royals 7: Josh Willingham went 2 for 3 with a homer, drove in three and scored twice. Man he’s gonna be sought-after at the deadline.

Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 0: Christian Friedrich pitched four-hit ball for seven innings and the Rockies won their seventh of eight.  Dexter Fowler led the game off with a triple. He has a nine game hitting streak in which he’s hitting over .500.

Oh good, it’s “Yasiel Puig is a showboat” season

Getty Images
6 Comments

With the Los Angeles Dodgers punching their ticket to the World Series, Yasiel Puig is now going to be the subject of commentary by people who tend not to care about Yasiel Puig until it’s useful for them to write outraged columns or go on talk radio rants about baseball deportment.

We got a brief teaser of this last night when, after scoring the Dodgers’ ninth run on a Logan Forsythe double, TBS analyst Ron Darling criticized Puig for his “shenanigans” and “rubbing it in.” Never mind that his third base coach was waving him home and that, if he didn’t run hard, he was just as likely to be criticized for dogging it. In other news, baseball teams don’t stop trying in the fourth inning of baseball games, nor should they.

That was just an appetizer, though. The first real course of the “Puig is a problem” feast we’re likely to be served over the next week and a half comes from Phil Mushnick of the New York Post, who wrote it even before the Dodgers won Game 5 last night:

If you were raised to love baseball and to recognize the smart, winning kind from everything less, the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig is insufferable. As the sport is diminished by professionals who disregard the basic act of running to first base as a matter of style, Puig, an incurable home-plate poser, often makes turning doubles and triples into singles appear effortless . . . In the postseason, Puig continues to behave as if he’s in the Home Run Derby. He even seems to relish his high-risk flamboyant foolishness despite frequent backfires.

This may as well be a fill in the blanks column from 2013 or 2014, when “Puig is a flashy showboater who costs his team more than he gives it” columns were all the rage. It ignores the fact that Puig, commonly dinged for being lazy, worked his butt off in 2017, particularly on defense, to the point where he has a strong case for a Gold Glove this year. It also ignores his .455/.538/.727 line in the NLDS sweep of the Diamondbacks and his .389/.500/.611 line against the Cubs in the NLCS. In the regular season he set career highs for games, homers, RBI, stolen bases and almost set a career high for walks despite having seventy fewer plate appearances than he did back in 2013 when he walked 67 times. He’s not the MVP candidate some thought he might be, but he’s a fantastic player who has been a key part of the Dodgers winning their first pennant in 29 years.

But the dings on Puig from the likes of Mushnick have rarely been about production. They’ve simply been about style and the manner in which he’s carried himself. To the extent those issues were legitimate points of criticism — particularly his tardiness, his relationships with his teammates and his at times questionable dedication — they have primarily been in-house concerns for the Dodgers, not the casual fan like Mushnick. On that score the Dodgers have dealt with Puig and, by all accounts, Puig has responded pretty well. An occasional lapse to be sure, but nothing which makes him a greater burden than a benefit. I mean, if he was, would be be batting cleanup in a pennant-clinching game?

So if the beef with Puig is not really about baseball, what could Phil Mushnick’s issue with him possible be?

I, for one, have no idea whatsoever.