Actor Sherman Hemsley dies at age 74 portrayed George Jefferson

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights


Holy moley, an awful lot of big news happened overnight. Ramirez a Dodger? Cole Hamels almost remaining with Philly? There were even some games!

Athletics 7, Blue Jays 2: The A’s are streaking. That’s six in a row. Derek Norris hit a two-run homer and Yoenis Cespedes drove in three with a single. The A’s success at this juncture of the season is almost as surprising as me learning that the late Sherman Hemsley was into 1970s prog rock and LSD and was all kinds of crazy and different than you’d imagine. Seriously. I have no idea how to process this information. It was bad enough when I realized yesterday that he was younger than I am now when “The Jeffersons” premiered.

Phillies 7, Brewers 6: The second straight day the Phillies rip the Brewers’ hearts out. Or the Brewers choked their guts out. Depends on your point of view. Zack Greinke was fantastic for seven innings, allowing one run and even hitting a homer of his own.  But then the bullpen came in, giving the Phillies a six-run eight inning. Milwaukee: trade Zack Greinke because you’re out of it and you need to get something for him. But also trade him out of basic human compassion.

Cardinals 8, Dodgers 2: The Dodgers stopped streaking as Clayton Kershaw was rocked for eight runs in five and two-thirds. Adam Wainwright [all together now] helped his own cause with an RBI double and taking a walk with the bases loaded.

White Sox 11, Twins 4: Adam Dunn went 3 for 5 with a double a homer and drove in four. Josh Willingham hit two bombs but that’s all the Twins could muster.

Reds 4, Astros 2: What a depressing night for the Astros. First they trade away one of their last bona fide major leaguers in Wandy Rodriguez and then they go and blow a one-run lead in the ninth. Will the last person remaining in Minute Maid Park turn out the lights?

Braves 4, Marlins 3: Jason Heyward hit a sac fly and later singled home Martin Prado to break a 3-3 tie in the seventh. After a shaky start Tim Hudson was solid, retiring the last 16 batters he faced. I suppose now that they’re selling off players that it’s worth watching to see when the Marlins have officially given up on the field.

Red Sox 2, Rangers 1: Clay Buchholz gave the Red Sox a much needed solid start, allowing one run over seven. He didn’t get the win — Vicente Padilla got that when Mike Aviles broke a 1-1 tie with an RBI single in the ninth — but the Sox needed that kind of outing from a starter.

Nationals 5, Mets 2: R.A. Dickey’s 11-game winning streak is over, though he did strike out Bryce Harper three times, which was fun. Gio Gonzalez notched his 13th win to match Dickey, pitching his longest game in two months.

Indians 3, Tigers 2:  The Indians are 6-1 against the Tigers this year. Too bad they can’t play ’em all season long.

Cubs 5, Pirates 1: Paul Maholm is en fuego. He won his fifth straight start, beating his old team which had been rumored to maybe want to trade for him again before snagging Wandy Rodriguez. Maholm has allowed just four earned runs in 38 and a third innings in that winning streak.

Rays 4, Orioles 1: In contrast to good streaks like Maholm’s and good streaks ending like Dickey’s, Jeremy Hellickson has had a bad streak: he had’t gotten a win in nine straight starts.  Well, that changed last night. He gave up one run and three hits in six and a third and didn’t walk anyone.

Mariners 4, Yankees 2: Bad night for A-Rod. His 2000th career strikeout followed by a broken hand. Oh, and since he was in Seattle, he was booed mercilessly. Splendid.

Giants 3, Padres 2: Angel Pagan may have made the play of the year to end the eighth and then Brandon Crawford delivered the game-winning hit in the ninth. Pablo Sandoval left the game after three innings with a left hamstring strain while stretching for a ball at first base.

Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 2: Five straight wins for Arizona. Joe Saunders allowed only three hits and a walk over seven innings while striking out nine.

Royals 4, Angels 1: Will Smith shut down the Angels. Later today several hack headline writers and highlight show anchors will be fined $100 each for saying he “got jiggy with it.”

MLB games were six minutes shorter this year

Pitch Clock
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According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.

The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.

Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.

It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.

Billy Beane promoted to VP, David Forst named A’s general manager

billy beane getty

I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.

The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.

Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”

Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.