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.

Oh good, it’s “Yasiel Puig is a showboat” season

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With the Los Angeles Dodgers punching their ticket to the World Series, Yasiel Puig is now going to be the subject of commentary by people who tend not to care about Yasiel Puig until it’s useful for them to write outraged columns or go on talk radio rants about baseball deportment.

We got a brief teaser of this last night when, after scoring the Dodgers’ ninth run on a Logan Forsythe double, TBS analyst Ron Darling criticized Puig for his “shenanigans” and “rubbing it in.” Never mind that his third base coach was waving him home and that, if he didn’t run hard, he was just as likely to be criticized for dogging it. In other news, baseball teams don’t stop trying in the fourth inning of baseball games, nor should they.

That was just an appetizer, though. The first real course of the “Puig is a problem” feast we’re likely to be served over the next week and a half comes from Phil Mushnick of the New York Post, who wrote it even before the Dodgers won Game 5 last night:

If you were raised to love baseball and to recognize the smart, winning kind from everything less, the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig is insufferable. As the sport is diminished by professionals who disregard the basic act of running to first base as a matter of style, Puig, an incurable home-plate poser, often makes turning doubles and triples into singles appear effortless . . . In the postseason, Puig continues to behave as if he’s in the Home Run Derby. He even seems to relish his high-risk flamboyant foolishness despite frequent backfires.

This may as well be a fill in the blanks column from 2013 or 2014, when “Puig is a flashy showboater who costs his team more than he gives it” columns were all the rage. It ignores the fact that Puig, commonly dinged for being lazy, worked his butt off in 2017, particularly on defense, to the point where he has a strong case for a Gold Glove this year. It also ignores his .455/.538/.727 line in the NLDS sweep of the Diamondbacks and his .389/.500/.611 line against the Cubs in the NLCS. In the regular season he set career highs for games, homers, RBI, stolen bases and almost set a career high for walks despite having seventy fewer plate appearances than he did back in 2013 when he walked 67 times. He’s not the MVP candidate some thought he might be, but he’s a fantastic player who has been a key part of the Dodgers winning their first pennant in 29 years.

But the dings on Puig from the likes of Mushnick have rarely been about production. They’ve simply been about style and the manner in which he’s carried himself. To the extent those issues were legitimate points of criticism — particularly his tardiness, his relationships with his teammates and his at times questionable dedication — they have primarily been in-house concerns for the Dodgers, not the casual fan like Mushnick. On that score the Dodgers have dealt with Puig and, by all accounts, Puig has responded pretty well. An occasional lapse to be sure, but nothing which makes him a greater burden than a benefit. I mean, if he was, would be be batting cleanup in a pennant-clinching game?

So if the beef with Puig is not really about baseball, what could Phil Mushnick’s issue with him possible be?

I, for one, have no idea whatsoever.