Bryce Harper

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights


Nationals 7, Mets 6: The legend of Bryce Harper grows. A game-winning hit in the 12th inning. What say you, Harper?

“I’m happy to get the W, of course. I’m happy to get that walk-off hit, but I don’t like going 2 for 7,” Harper said. “I don’t like striking out twice in one game, either.”

Bryce … we talked about the me-first stuff …

“To get that moment at the end, that wipes everything away,” Harper said.

OK, good. Just checking, because everyone’s watching, kid.

Braves 11, Marlins 0: Tim Hudson with a five-hit shutout and Dan Uggla hit two homers and drove in five against his old team. Rookie Andrelton Simmons had three hits including a triple and drove in three. That’s coming up big. Of course everything about him’s big. Kid, do us all a favor and buy yourself a jock, OK? You’re gonna hurt someone out there.

Dodgers 2, Phillies 1: Cliff Lee: 12 strikeouts and two runs in 7 2/3 innings but he still took the loss. That’s nine starts and no wins despite a 2.92 ERA. Chad Billingsley tied up the Philly bats, allowing six singles, a double and only one run in seven innings.

Angels 6, Mariners 1: Mark Trumbo smacked two homers, doubled, singled and drove in four. His line on the year is .337/.384/.634.

Cubs 10, Brewers 0: Ryan Dempster gets out of the Cliff Lee club, finally gets some run support and a win. He was perfect through five innings, but the aw shucks Dempster wasn’t about to say anything about it:

“Yeah, I was thinking about a perfect game for sure,” Dempster said. “I’m not an idiot. I know that I hadn’t had anybody on base. But it’s the second-best thing: a win right here.”

Dude, talk to Bryce Harper’s media relations team, OK?

Diamondbacks 10, Rockies 0: Ian Kennedy struck out 12 in six innings. Afterwards he said a mechanical tweak was responsible. What tweak?  “It’s a secret,” Kennedy said. Fine, be that way. Jason Kubel drove in five.

Indians 4, Tigers 2: Ubaldo Jimenez has been a hot mess this year, walking the whole league, but the Tigers made him look like it was 2010 all over again. Asdrubal Cabrera, Lou Marson and Michael Brantley each hit RBI triples. I love triples. They’re so much damn fun.

Yankees 7, Rays 0: Andy Pettitte struck out ten while shutting out the Rays for seven. Russell Martin went 3 for 4 and hit a grand slam. New York has won 9 of 12.

Pirates 8, Reds 4: Clint Barmes had three hits and drove in three runs. The Pirates have hit seven homes in their last two games. Is what has been the worst offense in the NL starting to wake up?

Orioles 8, Red Sox 6:  Jim Johnson blew a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning but held on to vulture a win. Wasn’t a pure vulture-job in that he came back and shut the Sox down in the tenth. And given how good he’s been — he had saved 25 straight coming in — he’s entitled to one of those every now and again. Baltimore is 4-0 in Fenway this year.

Blue Jays 9, White Sox 5: Colby Rasmus went 5 for 5 with a double, homer and 3 RBI. Brett Lawrie lead off and went 3 for 5 and scored three times. Interesting. Phil Humber continues his quest to cement himself as the most fluky perfect game pitcher ever, as he allows five runs in five innings and runs his ERA up to 5.68.  Seriously: how many guys have thrown perfectos and lost their rotation job in the same season?

Astros 9, Cardinals 8: Houston led 6-1 after two innings, saw the lead shrink, built it back up again and managed to hold on as St. Louis put up four in the ninth. Jose Altuve responded to your collective snubbing of him in the All-Star voting by going 4 for 5 and scoring 3 runs. Jaime Garcia looks totally off, and is clearly not better after missing a start due to a sore elbow.

Royals 1, Twins 0: Bruce Chen shut ’em out for seven and the pen took over.

Rangers 6, Athletics 3: Texas survives Oakland’s offensive outburst. Well, an outburst for them. Derek Holland struck out two, walked two and allowed three runs on seven hits, so it’s likely that he avoided a spanking.

Padres 6, Giants 5:  Logan Forsythe’s first ever home run was a walkoff job:

“I was just trying to get on base for the guys. Luckily, it got out,” he said.

Kids these days with their selfish attitude.

Jessica Mendoza and Chris Archer were great in the booth

Jessica Mendoza

Not news: Jessica Mendoza, who has been excellent on all of the ESPN broadcasts she has done since taking over for Curt Schilling, was excellent last night too.

She was great on the nuts and bolts, continued to show that she can describe hitting mechanics better than most color commentators — way more of them seem to be more comfortable talking about pitching — and was a seamless presence in the booth in terms of flow, timbre and all of the aesthetic aspects of broadcasting. If she has a fault thus far it’s that she leans on some cliches about hitters’ mindsets and desire to win sometimes. This puts her in with approximately 100% of all other color commentators in baseball now and throughout the history of baseball, of course, so it’s not really a demerit.

Ultimately, the true test of a good commentator is whether they (a) add insight; and (b) do so without distracting or upstaging the game. In this Mendoza is superior to most commentators in baseball and clearly superior to the “stop and listen to me” brand of analysts the major networks have employed on national broadcasts in recent years.

Indeed, the best compliment I think I can give Mendoza is that she was — in the literal sense, not the judgmental sense — unremarkable. Meaning: during the game and after there was nothing she said or did that was worthy of the highly-critical remarks almost every broadcaster gets, going back through Schilling, Kruk, Harold Reynolds Tim McCarver, Joe Morgan and everyone else ESPN and Fox have forced upon us in their history doing playoff baseball. I’m on Twitter during most playoff games and sometimes the broadcaster bashing is more interesting than the game. Mendoza gives the would-be bashers very little material.

At least those who would bash on the actual merits. There remains a group of deadenders who are irked by her very presence in the booth because she is a woman. The New York times rounds up some of the less mouth-breathery types today, but God knows there are many, many worse. Some of them even in professional media. At least for now. Whether you choose to ignore those people or choose to engage them — which, their dead end opinions notwithstanding can be a useful exercise in my view — know that they are out there being miserable and sexist as God and the First Amendment intended them to be.

While there are many who slam Mendoza on the faulty premise that she lacks credentials and experience in the booth, there was one person in the ESPN booth last night, at least for a while, who was a total TV noob. His name was Chris Archer. He pitches a bit for the Tampa Bay Rays. And lo and behold, he was pretty damn good himself.

Archer needs some polish for style — he has a lot of “ummms” and “uhhhs” about him — but his analysis is both sharp and quick. Meaning he was RIGHT ON the points when he needed to be without any of the usual prompting guests in the booth need from the play-by-play guy. At one point he even flowed into play-by-play and did a pretty good job of it.  Chris: if that pitching stuff doesn’t work out, you have a bright, bright future in television.

So, on the first night of the playoffs, there were no complaints about the broadcast. Mostly because the broadcasters weren’t the stars of the show. The game was. And it was complemented nicely by a couple of good voices.

And John Kruk.

NL Wild Card Game: Cubs vs. Pirates lineups

Jake Arrieta

Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.

RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.