Francisco Rodriguez

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Phillies 7, Brewers 6: It’s hard to imagine a more demoralizing series than the one the Brewers just experienced. In all three games they fell victim to last inning rallies. This one after their own rally brought them back from a 5-1 deficit, tied with a Ryan Braun homer in the eighth. Then they take the lead in the tenth, only to see K-Rod blow it. Again. Just brutal.

Athletics 16, Blue Jays 0: Disastrous by any measure for Toronto. They lost their catcher to a broken hand, their “ace” was tagged for eight runs in an inning and a third and they were shut the hell down by the A’s staff, who struck out 13 Blue Jays batters. It was the worst shutout loss in team history. On the bright side, it was the biggest shutout win in A’s history!

Padres 6, Giants 3: Two homers for Jesus Guzman. One for Chase Headley. Another craptacular outing for Tim Lincecum (4.2 IP, 7 H, 5 ER). I really won’t know what to think about the universe if Tim Lincecum doesn’t stop being awful soon. I already subscribe to a world view that it is arbitrary and uncaring and anything bad that happens is insignificant to most anyone other than the person who is affected because that’s just what life in a vast, empty inanimate void is all about.  But if we are deprived of awesome Tim Lincecum forever, I will believe that it has turned cruel.

Yankees 5, Mariners 2: The Yankees end a dreary west coast road trip with a win. Seattle scored both of their runs in the first inning and then didn’t get another hit until the ninth.

Braves 7, Marlins 1: It’s quite an accomplishment to walk seven times and steal seven bases and only score one run, but the Marlins figured out how. Plenty of good Marlins seats available for the rest of the season, guys.

Angels 11, Royals 6: Jered Weaver keeps on winning. That’s a win in his seventh straight start. He’s now 13-1 with a 2.26 ERA. He’s also on a contract paying him $59 million less than the one Cole Hamels just signed. Nice work, Angels.

Pirates 3, Cubs 2: I assume this was Ryan Dempster’s last start as a Cub. he ended it by destroying the Gatorade cooler in the dugout like he was friggin’ Carlos Zambrano or something. Stupid media’s fault.

White Sox 8, Twins 2: Dayan Viciedo homered and drove in four. White Sox sweep the Twins. Ron Gardenhire’s assessment of the series: “They whacked it, and they pounded us — scored a lot of runs, and we got dominated here.” Alrighty then.

Tigers 5, Indians 3: Remember when Derek Lowe was having a great season? Nah, me neither.

Rays 10, Orioles 1:  Ryan Roberts homered in his Tampa Bay debut and David Price won his MLB-leading 14th game. The nine-run spread is gonna lead to more “the myth of run differential!” stories, I guess.

Nationals 5, Mets 2: After Stephen Strasburg’s last start, Davey Johnson said he needed to attack the strike zone more. Mission accomplished: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 11K.

Cardinals 3, Dodgers 2: Hanley Ramirez tripled in his first at-bat with the Dodgers and later added an RBI single. But they lost in 12 innings. Former Dodger Rafael Furcal drove in the game-winner.

Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 2: Jeff Francis, who Colorado picked up off the scrap heap, continues to be their best starter. He allowed two runs in six innings and despite Colorado’s 75-pitch limit for starters, he threw 97 pitches. My official reaction to that.

Reds 5, Astros 3: The Astros are the Renaissance men of losing. They lose big or lose close. They sometimes lose late, sometimes early. Really, any look you want, they can give you. Here they lost when Drew Stubbs hit a a two-out, two-run double in the ninth. That’s seven straight wins for the Reds, all without Joey Votto.

Rangers 5, Red Sox 3: Josh Beckett hit Elvis Andrus in the seventh and then Andrus ended up scoring on a wild pitch. Which Bobby Valentine actually called “a damn shame” after the game. I like that a lot for some reason. Derek Holland cruised for most of the game, retiring 22 of 23 batters at one point.

Twins pitcher barfs before almost every appearance

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 18:  Ryan O'Rourke #61 of the Minnesota Twins reacts after loading up the bases in the seventh inning against the New York Yankees on August 18, 2015 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Twins righty Ryan O'Rourke has pitched in 54 big league games. He has barfed before almost every one of them.

No, really:

Through his first 54 big-league outings over the last past two years, O’Rourke estimates he emptied the contents of his stomach close to every time.

“I don’t do it in the public’s eye,” O’Rourke said Tuesday. “I go in the bathroom, or sometimes it’s just on the back of the mound. But, yeah, it happens.”

I wonder if I’ve barfed 54 times in my entire life. I doubt I have. Then again, I’m not doing anything in front of tens of thousands of people with potentially millions of dollars at stake.

Yet he who is without sin hurl the first, um. Well, never mind.

The new intentional walk rule isn’t a big deal but it’s still dumb

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 06:  Anthony Recker #20 of the New York Mets calls for an intentional walk as Paul Goldschmidt #44 of the Arizona Diamondbacks looks on during the eighth inning at Chase Field on June 6, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
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Let us preface this by stipulating that the new rule in which pitchers will no longer have to throw four balls to issue an intentional walk is not a big deal, objectively speaking. Teams don’t issue many IBBs to begin with. A couple a week, maybe? Fewer? Moreover, the times when a pitcher tosses one to the backstop or a batter reaches out and smacks a would-be intentional ball may be a lot of fun, but they’re extraordinarily rare. You can go years without seeing it happen.

So, yes, the intentional walk rule announced yesterday is of negligible consequence. We’ll get used to it quickly and it will have little if any impact on actual baseball. It won’t do what it’s supposed to do — speeding up games — but it won’t harm anything that is important either.

But let us also stipulate that the new rule is dumb.

It’s dumb because it’s a solution in search of a problem. Pace of play is a concern, but to listen to Rob Manfred and his surrogates in the media tell it, it’s The Most Pressing Issue of Our Time. Actually, it’s not. No one is abandoning baseball because of 5-15 minutes here or there and no one who may be interested in it is ceasing their exploration of the game because of it. And even if they were, IBBs are rare and they’re not time-consuming to begin with, so it’s not something that will make a big difference. It’s change for change’s sake and so Rob Manfred can get some good press for looking like a Man of Action.

It’s also dumb because it’s taking something away, however small it is. One of my NBC coworkers explained it well this morning:

I agree. Shamelessness is a pretty big problem these days, so let’s not eliminate shame when it is truly due.

Picture it: it’s a steamy Tuesday evening in late July. The teams are both way below .500 and are probably selling off half of their lineup next week. There are, charitably, 8,000 people in the stands. The game is already dragging because of ineptitude and an understandable lack of urgency on the part of players who did not imagine nights like this when they were working their way to the bigs.

Just then, one of the managers — an inexperienced young man who refuses to deviate from baseball orthodoxy because, gosh, he might get a hard question from a sleepy middle aged reporter after the game — holds up four fingers for the IBB. The night may be dreary, but dammit, he’s going to La Russa the living hell out of this game.

That man should be booed. Boo this man. The drunks and college kids who paid, like, $11 to a season ticket holder on StubHub to get into this godforsaken game have earned the right to take their frustrations out on Hunter McRetiredBackupCatcher for being a wuss and calling for the IBB. It may be the only good thing that happens to them that night, and now Rob Manfred would take that away from them. FOR SHAME.

And don’t forget about us saps at home, watching this garbage fire of a game because it beats reading. We’re now going to have to listen to this exchange, as we have listened to it EVERY SINGLE NIGHT since the 2017 season began:

Play-by-Play Guy: “Ah, here we go. They’re calling for the intentional walk. Now, in case you missed it, this is the way we’re doing it now. The new rule is that the manager — yep, right there, he’s doing it — can hold up four fingers to the home plate umpire and — there it goes — he points to first base and the batter takes his base.”

Color Commentator, Who played from 1975-87, often wearing a mustache: “Don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. There was always a chance the pitcher throws a wild pitch. It happened to us against the Mariners in 1979 [Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice: it didn’t] and it has taken away something special from the game. I suppose some number-cruncher with a spreadsheet decided that this will help speed up the game, but you know what that’s worth.

No matter what good or bad the rule brings, this exchange, which will occur from April through September, will be absolutely brutal. Then, in October, we get to hear Joe Buck describe it as if we never heard it before because Fox likes to pretend that the season begins in October.

Folks, it’s not worth it. And that — as opposed to any actual pro/con of the new rule — is why it is dumb. Now get off my lawn.