Rajai Davis

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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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.

Collins worried David Wright might go on disabled list

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
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NEW YORK — Mets manager Terry Collins is worried David Wright may wind up on the disabled list because of a neck injury.

New York’s captain and third baseman was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day Monday because of his neck. He was given anti-inflammatory medicine over the weekend.

Now 33, Wright was on the disabled list from April 15 to Aug. 24 last year when he strained his right hamstring and then developed spinal stenosis. He has a lengthy physical therapy routine he must go through before each game.

“With the condition he’s been playing in and the condition he’s in right now, yeah, I’m concerned about it,” Collins said Monday. “Is it going to happen? I can’t tell you. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. I know this guy plays with a lot of discomfort. He always has. And when he can’t play, he’s hurt.”

Wright homered in three straight games last week before getting hurt. He is batting .226 with seven homers, 14 RBIs and 55 strikeouts in 137 at-bats.

Settling the Scores: Memorial Day edition

ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 21:  American flags are shown after being placed by members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment at the graves of U.S. soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in preparation for Memorial Day May 21, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. "Flags-In" has become an annual ceremony since the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) was designated to be an Army's official ceremonial unit in 1948  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died in military service. At some point in the past couple of decades, however, it has become an all-purpose flag-waving, patriotism-declaring, civilians-in-camouflage holiday. It’s understandable why this is the case. We, as a country, haven’t always done mourning well. I think it’s part of our national cultural DNA that we don’t and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make days like this difficult.

I feel like the flag-waving and troop-supporting stuff is some sort of subconscious reaction to death. It’s our way of instantly trying to justify those deaths or to explain how they were not in vain, much the same way we might tell someone upon the death of a loved one that they’re in a better place or that they had a full life. Feeling the pain of loss is hard. We want to soften it in any way we can and make our pain serve a larger, better purpose. And so we get today, when Major League Baseball puts its players in camouflage caps and in jerseys with camouflage logos. They’ll sell them too, with proceeds going to good and noble veterans charities. The intent is noble and the ultimate effect of it all is beneficial. But it’s also a little beside the point. Maybe not beside the point as much as mattress sales or big celebratory barbecues which have come to characterize Memorial Day for so many, but still not exactly the purpose of the holiday.

I don’t condemn it. As I wrote last year, the men and women who actually fought and died in wars were hoping that they were, ultimately, making a better and happier world for those they left behind. And they no doubt hoped, among everything else they hoped, that others didn’t have to face what they were facing. They wanted our lives to be happy and our country to be safe and part of a happy and safe country involves 300 million people doing whatever it is they damn please, even if it’s just having barbecues and wearing camo at the ballpark.

I won’t say have a happy Memorial Day because that seems odd. Have any kind of Memorial Day you want, really, even if it includes barbecuing, drinking beer and wearing a cam ballcap. But as you do, please make sure you take some time to think about those who died in military service. And remember that they didn’t get to have as many days like the one you’re having as they were meant to have. And make at least some effort to offset your happy, patriotic or silly pursuits with some mourning and reflectiveness. It’s OK for that to stand on its own.

The scores:

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3
Orioles 6, Indians 4
Yankees 2, Rays 1
Nationals 10, Cardinals 2
Brewers 5, Reds 4
Royals 5, White Sox 4
Cubs 7, Phillies 2
Rangers 6, Pirates 2
Astros 8, Angels 6
Athletics 4, Tigers 2
Twins 5, Mariners 4
Giants 8, Rockies 3
Diamondbacks 6, Padres 3
Marlins 7, Braves 3
Dodgers 4, Mets 2

 

Should Dave Roberts have taken Clayton Kershaw out of Sunday’s game?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will likely be second-guessed heavily during Monday’s news cycle. Starter Clayton Kershaw had pitched a terrific ballgame, as is his tendency, but with 114 pitches to his name, Roberts decided to pull him from the game in the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on first base.

Roberts opted not for closer Kenley Jansen, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, but for another lefty in Adam Liberatore. He was playing the numbers, with the left-handed-hitting Curtis Granderson coming up. Liberatore, much to Roberts’ chagrin, served up what turned out to be a game-tying triple to Granderson, hitting a rocket to right-center just out of the reach of a leaping Yasiel Puig.

Jansen has, for six years, been one of the game’s elite relievers. Kershaw, though at a high pitch count, doesn’t seem to suffer from the times through the order penalty like most pitchers. Kershaw’s opponents’ OPS facing him for the first time was .525 coming into Sunday. Twice, .597. Three times, .587. Four times, .526 (but this suffers from survivorship bias so it’s not exactly representative).

Furthermore, Kershaw held lefties to a .546 OPS over his career. Liberatore, in 99 plate appearances against lefty hitters, gave up a .575 OPS. Jansen? .560. It seems that, faced with three decisions, Roberts arguably made the worst one. Playing conservative with Kershaw at 114 pitches is defensible, but only if Jansen comes in. If Roberts wanted the platoon advantage, Kershaw should have stayed in.

Luckily for the Dodgers, Mets closer Jeurys Familia didn’t have his best stuff. He loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth on a single and two walks, then gave up a two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Jansen came on in the bottom half of the ninth and retired the side in order to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Royals sweep White Sox over the weekend on three late rallies

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 28:  Brett Eibner #12 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his game-winning RBI single with teammates in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium on May 28, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 8-7. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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The Royals had themselves a pretty good weekend. The quickly fading White Sox, not so much.

On Friday, the Royals fell behind 5-1 after the top of the sixth. They would score once in the bottom of the sixth, four times in the seventh, and once in the eighth to steal a 7-5 win facing pitchers Miguel Gonzalez Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and Nate Jones.

On Saturday, the Royals entered the bottom of the ninth down 7-1. They scored seven runs on closer David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to win 8-7.

On Sunday, the Royals were down 4-2 after the top of the eighth. They plated three runs in the bottom half of the eighth against Jones and Albers, going on to win 5-4.

Coming into the weekend, the Royals were 24-22 in third place. The White Sox were 27-21, a half-game up in first place. Now the Royals are in first place by a game and a half, and the White Sox are in third place, two games out of first.

Here’s video of the Royals’ comeback on Saturday, since it was so unlikely: