And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Pirates 5, Phillies 4: All of you who predicted that A.J. Burnett was going to rattle off eight straight wins at some point this year, please cut it out because you’re lying. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go piss off a bunch of Yankees fans by suggesting that Brian Cashman should trade for Burnett to shore up the depleted pitching staff.

Rangers 7, Athletics 6: Because you want to play an almost four-hour nine-inning game in steamy hot Arlington, Texas, the ten pitchers these teams trotted out there combined to throw 345 pitches.

Rockies 11, Nationals 10: This one was probably fun for no one either. The Rockies jumped out to a 7-0 lead, totally squandered it when Josh Outman couldn’t live up to his name, then finally pulled it out on a Marco Scutaro RBI single in the 11th. Jim Tracy said after the game “we made it a lot harder on ourselves than we needed to.” That describes most of the 19 years of Colorado Rockies baseball, no?

Padres 7, Astros 3: Kind of a wild one. Andrew Cashner had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning but left that inning poised to be the loser. Then San Diego rallied for six runs in the ninth, capped by an Alexi Amarista grand slam.

Diamondbacks 3, Braves 2: Trevor Bauer made his big league debut, but wasn’t efficient and didn’t figure in the decision. Chris Young hit a ninth inning homer to win it.

Tigers 5, Rays 2: Four straight losses for the Rays. Weird stat line: James Shields allowed 14 hits, but still pitched seven and two-thirds innings. How often do pitchers who get knocked around like that go almost eight?

Angels 9, Blue Jays 7: The Jays loaded the bases against Ernesto Frieri in the ninth, but he slipped out of it. Two run homers each for Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo. We’ve been calling their numbers all year.

White Sox 4, Yankees 3: Any team can have a closer blow a two-run lead in the ninth, but it takes a special team to have three relievers more or less combine to do it. Cody Eppley and Clay Rapada each put a runner on base in the ninth — Rapada thanks to his own throwing error which should have resulted in a double play — and then David Robertson gave up a three-run homer to Dayan Viciedo.

Indians 7, Orioles 2: The Tribe snap a five-game losing streak. How did they do it? Likely some sort of Faustian bargain. How else to explain a Johnny Damon three-run home run off a lefty?

Giants 5, Reds 0: Madison Bumgarner: one-hitter complete game. That’s four straight shutouts for San Francisco pitching. Eventually, I presume, a team will score a run against the Giants. I’m just not sure when.

Mariners 1, Red Sox 0: Wow, another awesome pitching performance out west. Living in the eastern time zone sucks, dudes. I saw the ugly games last night and missed the gems. Felix Hernandez: CG SHO 13K.

Mets 3, Dodgers 2: L.A. is reeling, but hey, at least they ended their 33-inning scoreless streak. David Wright hit a solo homer and RBI double. Fifth straight loss for the Dodgers.

Matthew Stafford audibles with “Kershaw! Kershaw!”

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Last night the Detroit Lions played the New York Giants. During the game Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford called an audible. The call itself referenced Stafford’s childhood friend and high school baseball teammate, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. From the Freep:

Matthew Stafford stepped to the line of scrimmage late in the third quarter and surveyed the Giants defense.

With five pass rushers across the front and three Giants cornerbacks showing a press-man look, Stafford looked at his two receivers to the left and invoked the name of his childhood friend, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

“Give me Kershaw here, Kershaw,” Stafford said, repeating his friend’s name two more times as he spun around at the line of scrimmage.

The audible did not result in a pick-4 to Aaron Altherr. It called for a run up the middle. And it worked nicely, gaining eight yards.

You may suggest the results of other starting pitcher-themed audibles in the comments. I’ll start: “Harvey! Harvey!” is where the QB fakes a handoff, drops back, looks deep and then his arm falls completely off. Damndest thing.

Matt Harvey has a 13.19 ERA since coming back from the disabled list

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Matt Harvey‘s season was mostly a loss due to extended time on the disabled list. He’s been given a chance, however, to end the season strong and make a case for himself in the Mets’ future plans. Unfortunately, he has been unable to make that case. He was shelled again last night, and his late season opportunity has been a disaster.

Last night Harvey gave up seven runs on 12 hits and struck out only two batters in four innings against a Marlins team that, until facing him anyway, had been reeling. It was his fourth start since going on the shelf in mid-June and in those four starts he’s allowed 21 runs, all earned, on 32 hits in 14.2 innings, for an ERA of 13.19. In that time he’s struck out only eight batters while walking seven. His average fastball velocity, while ticking up slightly in each of his past four starts, is still below 95. Back when he was an ace he was consistently above that. His command has been terrible.

Injury is clearly the culprit. He had Tommy John surgery just as he was reaching his maximum level of dominance in 2013. While he came back strong in 2015, he was used pretty heavily for a guy with a brand new ligament. Last year he was felled by thoracic outlet syndrome and this year a stress injury to his shoulder. Any one of those ailments have ended pitchers’ careers and even among those who bounce back from them, many are diminished. To go through all three and remain dominant is practically unheard of.

Yet this is where Matt Harvey is. He’s 28. He’s still arbitration eligible, for a team that is, to put it politely, sensitive to large financial outlays. While his 4-5 start opportunity to end the year may very well have been seen as a chance to shop Harvey to another team, his trade value is at an all-time low. It would not be shocking if, on the basis of his recent ineffectiveness, the Mets considered non-tendering him this offseason, making him a free agent.

Someone would probably take a chance on him because famous names who once showed tremendous promise are often given multiple chances in the big leagues (See, Willis, Dontrelle). But at the moment, there is nothing in Harvey’s game to suggest that he is capable of taking advantage of such a chance. All one can hope is that an offseason of rest and conditioning will allow Harvey to reclaim at least a portion of his old form.