Rajai Davis

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights


Blue Jays 10, Yankees 7: Holy frijole, did you see Rajai Davis’ catch, robbing Casey McGehee of a home run in the seventh? The guy is like 5”9″ and the wall is like ten feet and he went Spud Webb on that bad boy. Or Spiderman. Or something. Just wow. Otherwise, the Jays beat the tar out of Phil Hughes. Oh, and Davis led the charge there too, doubling in five runs. That was on two different doubles, though. Because you really can’t drive in five runs on one double. That would create some sort of divide-by-zero error or something.

Phillies 8, Cardinals 7: These are weird times for me. I had to root for the Phillies here because the Braves need the Cardinals (or the Dodgers or Pirates or whoever) to lose more to give them a more comfortable wild card cushion. Meanwhile I’m going to Washington on Friday where I’ll be watching the Mets-Nationals game. I have no frickin’ idea what to do there. I want the Nats to start losing because of the NL East race but I can’t, on general principle, root for the Mets. Oh, Jimmy Rollins Juan Pierre won it with an RBI single in the 11th.

Dodgers 5, Marlins 0: Chris Capuano? More like Chris Capuwonderful!  Oh, God. I’m so sorry. I don’t know what came over me. 8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 10K.

Diamondbacks 7, Nationals 4: Wow, the Nats finally lost. It had been eight straight wins. Patrick Corbin gave up two runs, struck out seven and didn’t walk anyone. Unusual stuff on the bases: In the first, Bryce Harper reached first on an overthrown ball but couldn’t advance to second because he collided with the umpire. Then he was picked off. In the second, Paul Goldschmidt reached on an error, taking second on the play. Then stole third. Then scored when Kurt Suzuki threw the ball away.

Mariners 4, Angels 1: Wow, Jered Weaver finally lost. It had been nine straight wins. Jesus Montero homered twice. And while Weaver didn’t pitch too poorly overall — he was saved from giving up a homer to Miquel Olivo by a Mike Trout leaping catch — Jason Vargas outpitched him. Overall, actually, Vargas has outpitched Weaver since the beginning of July.

Giants 9, Rockies 6: The Giants jumped out to a 3-0 lead, blew it, fell behind 6-4 by the seventh and then put up five runs in the eighth, capped by Hunter Pence’s tie-breaking and game-winning three-run homer. Folks at AT&T Park got their money’s worth.

Rangers 8, Tigers 3: Josh Hamilton had three hits including a homer and three RBI. That helped make up for another shaky Yu Darvish performance. Sure, he only allowed three runs, but he walked five. In other news, no one in this game looked as good as anyone in Saturday night’s game. Dear God, look at how awesome those uniforms are.

Reds 3, Cubs 0: Johny Cueto stays in the NL Cy Young conversation (8 IP, 3 H, 0 ER). he wouldn’t be my pick if the season ended today, but he’s having an outstanding year.

Brewers 5, Astros 3: It’s not often that someone beating the Astros on the last day of a series prevents a sweep, but it applies to the Brewers. In fact, Milwaukee had lost 11 straight road games — a streak stretching back before the All-Star break. Yovani Gallardo gets the win. He has won 10 straight decisions against Houston. This being the Brewers, of course, nothing is easy and the game ended with Houston threatening.

Rays 7, Twins 3: Someone with some time on their hands: find out what year saw the most games with extra inning games ending with the road team winning by four runs or more. It seems like it’s happened a bunch this year. It’s as if bullpens all over the league just decided “Eh, who needs a long game? Let’s end this thing definitively.” By the way, the Rays are 6-0 since Evan Longoria came back. They’ve passed the Orioles, are five back of the Yankees and are at the top of the wild card standings.

Pirates 11, Padres 5: I’m not sure what’s more unlikely: Jason Marquis two-hit shutout on Saturday night or Clint Barmes grand slam yesterday. This series was run by space aliens who are conducting experiments on us or something.

White Sox 7, Athletics 3: I guess Chris Sale got his wind back thanks to that long rest a couple of starts ago. He struck out 11 here and didn’t walk any in six and two-thirds.

Orioles 5, Royals 3: Manny Machado homered again (in case you missed it he homered twice on Friday night). In the two games he hasn’t homered in he’s tripled and hit an RBI double. As far as hope-for-the-future goes, this kinda tops Rocky Coppinger for O’s fans. By a fair amount.

Red Sox 14, Indians 1: Boston beat Cleveland so hard their kids are gonna come out shaking. Jon Lester finally wins a game, striking out 12 in six innings.

Mets 6, Braves 5: The Mets bullpen made it interesting in the ninth, allowing four runs, but they managed to not totally screw up Jon Niese’s nice night (8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER). Ben Sheets reminded us that, no, a guy with a rebuilt everything can’t be counted on to pitch like an ace for half a season.

Game 2 is going to be the poster child for pace of play arguments this winter

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 26:  Zach McAllister #34 of the Cleveland Indians is relieved by manager Terry Francona during the fifth inning against the Chicago Cubs in Game Two of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on October 26, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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In August, it was reported that Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred would like to implement pitch clocks, like those in use in the minor leagues for the past two seasons, to improve the pace-of-play at the major league level. You can bet that last night’s Game 2 will be the lead argument he uses against those who would oppose the move.

The game was moved up an hour in order to get it in before an impending storm. By the time the rain finally started falling the game had been going on for three hours and thirty-three minutes. It should’ve been over before the first drop fell, but in all it lasted four hours and four minutes. It ended in, thankfully, only a light rain. The longest nine-inning game in postseason history happened a mere two weeks ago, when the Dodgers and Nationals played for four hours and thirty two minutes. There thirteen pitchers were used. Last night ten pitchers were used. Either way, the postseason games are dragging on even for those of us who don’t mind devoting four+ hours of our night to baseball. It is likely putting off more casual fans just tuning in for the Fall Classic.

It’s not all just dawdling, however. Yes, the pitchers worked slowly and a lot of pitching changes took place, but strikeouts, walks and the lack of balls in play contribute to longer games as well. We saw this both last night and in Game 1, which was no brisk affair despite each starting pitcher looking sharp and not working terribly slowly. Twenty-four strikeouts on Tuesday night had a lot to do with that. Last night featured 20 strikeouts and thirteen — thirteen! — walks. It’s not just that the games are taking forever; the very thing causing them to drag feature baseball’s least-kinetic forms of excitement.

But no matter what the cause for the slower play was — and here it was a combination of laboring pitchers, the lack of balls in play and, of course, the longer commercial breaks in the World Series — Manfred is likely to hold Game 2 up as Exhibit A in his efforts to push through some rules changes to improve game pace and game time. So far, the centerpiece of those efforts is the pitch clock, which has proven to be successful and pretty non-controversial in the minor leagues. It would not surprise me one bit if, at this year’s Winter Meetings in Washington, a rule change in that regard is widely discussed.

Kyle Schwarber is the feel-good story of the 2016 postseason


Most baseball fans and even the Cubs had resigned themselves to most likely not seeing Kyle Schwarber in game action until spring training next year after he suffered a gruesome knee injury in a collision with teammate Dexter Fowler back in early April. Schwarber suffered a fully-torn ACL and LCL in his left leg.

To the surprise of everyone, including manager Joe Maddon, Schwarber was cleared by doctors to play if the Cubs wanted to put him on the World Series roster. So they did. And, boy, are they glad they did it. In preparation, Schwarber saw over 1,000 pitches from machines and pitchers in the Arizona Fall League.

Schwarber essentially crammed for the final exam and unlike most students who do it, it has panned out well thus far. No one was expecting him to look outstanding against Indians ace Corey Kluber in Game 1, but in his first at-bat — his first in the majors since suffering the injury in April — Schwarber worked a 3-1 count before eventually being retired on strikes. Schwarber came back up in the fourth and drilled a Kluber sinker to right field for a two-out double.

In the seventh inning, facing one of the American League’s two scariest left-handed relievers in Andrew Miller, Schwarber worked a full count before drawing a walk. During the regular season, Miller walked exactly one lefty batter. Schwarber made it two. Schwarber would face Miller again in the eighth, going ahead 2-1 before ultimately striking out. He finished 1-for-3 with a walk and a double in the Cubs’ 6-0 loss. Considering the circumstances, that’s amazing.

Schwarber continued his great approach in Game 2 in what turned out to be a 5-1 victory. He struck out against Trevor Bauer in the first inning, but returned to the batter’s box in the third inning and singled up the middle to knock in the Cubs’ second run. Schwarber made it 3-0 in the fifth when he singled up the middle again, this time off of Bryan Shaw, to make it 3-0. Facing Danny Salazar in the sixth, Schwarber drew a four-pitch walk to put runners on first and second base with two outs. Finally, he struck out against Dan Otero in his eighth-inning at-bat, finishing the evening 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles and a walk.

But now, as the Cubs return to Chicago for World Series Games 3, 4, and 5 at Wrigley Field, they have to contest with National League rules, a.k.a. no DH. Will Maddon risk Schwarber’s subpar defense to put his dangerous bat in the lineup? Even if Schwarber is not put in the starting lineup, he can at least serve as a dangerous bat off the bench late in the game when the Indians send out their trio of relievers in Shaw, Miller, and closer Cody Allen. At any rate, what Schwarber has done already in the first two games of the World Series is mighty impressive.