And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Giants 3, Dodgers 0: The season nadir for the Dodgers who got swept by their arch rivals in three straight shutouts and lost their lead in the division. And, to add insult to injury, Andre Ethier got hurt. Wait, that’s adding injury to insult I suppose. Ah, you know what I mean. Oh, and Timmay is apparently back (7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 8K). It’s a brand new race in the NL West. And the Dodgers have two broken legs.

Mets 17, Cubs 1: Wow, that wind was really blowing out at Wrigley, eh? At least in the top half of the middle innings anyway. David Wright, drove in five while Ike Davis, Scott Hairston and Daniel Murphy each drove in four. That’s bloody efficient, yes?

Athletics 2, Mariners 1: Jarrod Parker pitched a gem while Kevin Millwood went down with a groin injury. Oh, and the A’s sported an infield with three Brandons in it: Moss, Hicks and Inge. When I saw Matthew’s headline to that effect there were a few seconds before I remembered who the Brandons would have been. My first thought: a bunch of 20-22 year-old rookies, all of whom were named by parents who were big fans of the “Beverly Hills 90210.” Sadly, all of these three are too old for that.

Brewers 8, Reds 4: Milwaukee breaks its four-game losing streak. If they turn their season around from this point, perhaps they’ll have Nyjer Morgan getting into it with some random Cincinnatian to credit.

Royals 5, Rays 4: Billy Butler hit what proved to be the game-winning homer in the eighth. And thank God, because it was hotter than, well, if we’re thanking God we can’t say it was hotter than Hell I suppose, but it was pretty darn hot. And Bill Butler knew it:

“It was really, really hot out there,” said Butler, who greeted reliever Burke Badenhop with his 15th home run. “It was over 100 degrees. Guys were starting to get dehydrated. It was not a good day to go extra innings.”

We all love day baseball, I realize, but I wonder if it’s at all possible to make some sort of flexible scheduling thing for places like Kansas City or Texas or wherever, allowing the games to be moved into the evening when the forecast calls for triple digits. Because no one can enjoy that except the swells in the luxury boxes.

Red Sox 10, Blues Jays 4: That’s the ninth win in the past 11 games for Boston and five straight series wins too. The Sox scored five off Ricky Romero in the first inning, who was all over the place. Four starters down, one wild as all get-out. One gets the sense that the Jays season is spiraling out of control.

White Sox 12, Twins 5: The Sox rattled off 21 hits. Chris Sale cruised through seven, never having to face more than four batters in an inning. Adam Dunn had three hits including a homer and drove in four. He was 0 for his last 24 coming in to the game.

Yankees 5, Indians 4: A win that felt like a loss for the Yankees, what with Andy Pettitte going down for six weeks after breaking his leg on a comebacker. Old Timers Day is coming up in New York pretty soon. The team may assign extra scouts when Ron Guidry and Whitey Ford take the mound.

Angels 13, Orioles 1: That’s a whuppin’ right there. And in addition to going 4 for 6, Mike Trout did this. Watch through to the slo-mo. That’s some serious air.

Astros 1, Padres 0: A six-hit shutout for Lucas Harrell. Clayton Richard didn’t do much worse. The whole affair was over in 1:58.

Marlins 5, Cardinals 3: John Buck and Logan Morrison went back-to-back in the seventh and the Cards’ win streak is snapped.

Braves 6, Diamondbacks 4: Jason Heyward stays hot, hitting a homer and Chipper Jones went long too. I suppose that will mean four days on the bench with ice packs on his knees, but it’s worth it. Craig Kimbrel has 47 strikeouts in 28 innings, by the way.

Rangers 13, Tigers 9David Murphy went 4-for-5 with two home runs. Roy Oswalt got the W, because he apparently just knows how to win, never mind the five runs on 13 hits.

Nationals 11, Rockies 5: Washington jumped out to an 8-0 lead by the third inning and everything else was pretty much academic after that. The 75-pitch limit for Rockies starters in that new four-man rotation is working out swell. Evereth Cabrera only threw 65 pitches. They came in two and a third innings, but the standards were adhered to!

Pirates 11, Phillies 7: Nice debut for Chase Utley — a homer in his first at bat and three hits overall — but the Pirates went crazy against the Phillies pen, which pitched the whole game as a bullpen special. Homers from Michael McKenry, Andrew McCutchen and Casey McGehee.

Former outfielder Anthony Gose is throwing 99 m.p.h. fastballs in the minors

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Anthony Gose played for five seasons as an outfielder in the big leagues. He never hit well enough to be a regular, and a series of altercations with his minor league managers and coaches didn’t do too much for his future either.

His fastball, however, may eventually make up for all of that.

Toward the end of spring training it was reported that Gose would begin work as a pitcher. Given that he was a highly regarded high school pitching prospect with a plus fastball, it wasn’t a crazy notion. When Tigers camp broke, Gose stayed in Lakeland in extended spring training, throwing bullpen sessions and stuff.

Now he’s seeing game action. As the Detroit Free Press reports, Gose threw an inning for the Class-A Lakeland Flying Tigers against the Palm Beach Cardinals last night. He allowed one run on one hit with one strikeout and one walk, lighting up the radar gun at 99 m.p.h. This is the tweet from Lakeland’s assistant general manager:

The Free Press says that the Tigers’ vice president of player development, Dave Littlefield, is “very optimistic” about Gose’s progress.

Given that he’s still only 26 and he’s a lefty it wouldn’t shock me at all if he makes his way back to the bigs someday soon.

There is no need to lament the loss of “The Great Hollywood Baseball Movie”

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Today in the New York Times Jay Caspian Kang writes about what he calls the loss of “The Great Hollywood Baseball Movie.” About how there are few if any big baseball movies anymore. Movies which traffic in baseball-as-metaphor-for-America with Jimmy Stewart (or Kevin Costner)-types playing characters which seem to transcend time, elevate our emotions and rack up the dollars at the box office.

It’s a bit of meandering column, with just as much time spent on Kang’s seeming dissatisfaction with modern baseball and baseball telecasts as his dissatisfaction with baseball cinema, but he winds it up with this, which sums his argument up well enough:

Baseball’s cinematic vision of Middle America no longer means what it once did. The failing family enterprise and the old, forbearing white — or Negro Leagues — ballplayer now remind us of an extinct vision of the country and the growing distance between Middle America and the coasts. The attempts to update the archival, sun-kissed, Midwestern vision — whether on last year’s “Pitch,” the Fox TV show about a woman pitching in the majors, or “Million Dollar Arm,” the 2014 Disney movie in which Jon Hamm goes to India to convert cricket bowlers into pitchers — are canceled or bomb at the box office.

You won’t be surprised that I take a great deal of issue with all of this.

Mostly because it only talks about one specific kind of baseball movie being AWOL from cinemas: the broad works which appeal to the masses and which speak to both the past, present and future, often with a hazy nostalgia in which love of baseball and love of America are portrayed as one and the same.

It’s worth noting, though, that such films are extraordinarily rare. There was a brief time when such things existed and did well at the box office — the 1980s had “The Natural,” “Field of Dreams,” “Bull Durham” and “Major League” in a relatively short period of time — but that’s the exception, not the rule.

Baseball movies are almost always niche flicks. Biopics made of recently deceased stars like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Weird slices of life like “The Bad News Bears” or “The Sandlot.” Quirky comedies that are baseball offshoots of larger cinematic trends like “Little Big League,” which was just the latest in a series of “kids doing adult things” movies popular at the time. Or “Rookie of the Year” which is essentially baseball’s version of one of those body-switch movies that come and go. Or “Mr. Baseball” which was just a fish-out-of-water comedy like any other.

We still get those kinds of smaller baseball movies fairly often. They’re still pretty decent and still do pretty decently at the box office, even if they’re no one’s idea of a blockbuster.

“Moneyball” was done well and did well, not as a mass appeal movie, but as one of many business/Silicon Valley flicks that have popped over the past few years. “Sugar” was a great movie, but a small movie, exploring a culture about which most people aren’t aware and basically serving as a character study. “42” is just an updated (and much better) version of those old biopics of baseball stars. “Everybody Wants Some” may be the quintessential niche baseball movie in that it’s a story about characters which just happen to have a lot of baseball in their lives. “Bull Durham” was like that too, but it just came along at the right time to become a massive hit. As many have noted, baseball was more background than plot in that movie, even if the background was amazingly well done. I’d argue that most good baseball movies use baseball like that rather than put it squarely in the foreground.

There will likely always be baseball movies, but they will almost always be smaller ones, not large blockbusters or Oscar bait with an epic sweep. Most baseball movies are like baseball itself in that they lack a grand consensus. Baseball is not The National Pastime anymore — it’s just one of many forms of sports and entertainment available to the masses — so it follows that the movies which deal with it will likewise not have that massive cross-market appeal.

I think that’s a good thing. Smaller baseball movies more accurately reflect the sport’s place in the culture. To portray baseball as something larger than what it actually is opens the door to a lot of artistic and cultural dishonesty and runs the risk of creating some really bad art.

I mean, have you seen “Field of Dreams?” Bleech.