Eight Men Out

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights


It was a light schedule and my Braves played a late game, so I watched “Eight Men Out” last night. For, like, the 5th or 6th time. And that just made me want to watch “Matewan” again for, um, the 20th time or thereabouts. Maybe tomorrow night. Anyway, damn you John Sayles, damn you.

As for “Eight Men Out,” I think the best part of it is not the actual narrative, which most hardcore baseball fans know pretty well. I think it’s the player interaction during Game 1 of the Series. You can just feel the tension each of them have, whether they’re in on the fix or not. It helps bring current the reason for baseball’s hard line stance on gambling when, in this day and age, it feels a bit like a historical curio. It’s not, though. When you undermine competition like that so blatantly, and when players betray their own teammates, god, that’s the worst thing you can do in a competitive sporting atmosphere.

Anyway, good stuff. Worth going back to again if it’s been a while since you’ve seen it. And if you haven’t seen it, jeez, what’s your problem?

Angels 14, Red Sox 13: This game should be taken out and shot. NESN and Fox Sports are gonna be fined for obscenity for broadcasting it. If pregnant women were watching it they’re gonna be charged with child endangerment. It was just the stupidest, ugliest oh-my-god-fans-of-these-teams-probably-want-to-jump-off-of-a-bridge game of the year.

Cardinals 13, Astros 5: The Astros took a 4-0 lead after four, but they are the Astros so you sorta knew that wouldn’t last. David Freese and Matt Holliday each drove in four. Allen Craig had three, and Jake Westbrook got a boatload of run support on a day when he didn’t have much of anything.

Rays 5, Athletics 0: Alex Cobb with a four-hit shutout. Can’t do much with that.

Tigers 3, Blue Jays 2: I wrote this one up yesterday. But suffice it to say, Justin Verlander just doesn’t know how to win.

Rockies 1, Mets 0: In his big league debut Collin McHugh pitched two-hit ball over seven scoreless innings, but the bats couldn’t do anything to help him out. Or the defense. The only Colorado run scored when  Jordany Valdespin misplayed Tyler Colvin’s fly to center in the eighth. He basically pulled a Calcaterra — the play I perfected in Babe Ruth ball and which got me moved out of the outfield — running in several steps on a ball and then having to run back when he realized he misjudged it, letting it fall for a triple. Except unlike Valdespin, I did it on every single ball hit my way. Colorado completes a four game sweep.

Giants 5, Braves 2: I still think the Braves will hold on to win the wild card this year, but I gotta tell ya, when you let Barry Zito shut you out through eight innings, you probably don’t deserve it. The Giants now have a three game lead in the west.

Rangers 10, Twins 6: Josh Hamilton drove in five and Adrian Beltre hit his fourth home run in two games. Texas broke it open with a six run eighth inning, five of which were unearned because of two Twins errors. And there was some chippy stuff too: Roy Oswalt hit Joe Mauer and Scott Diamond retaliated by throwing behind Josh Hamilton, causing him and Ron Gardenhire to get ejected. The win was Ron Washington’s 500th.

Phillies 4, Reds 3: Extra innings and John Mayberry hit an RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning to win it. The Phillies bullpen — maligned all year — threw five no-hit innings.

A fan was attacked, injured outside Dodger Stadium on Friday

Dodger Stadium


The Los Angeles Times reports that there was a fight in the parking lot outside of Dodger Stadium on Friday night that put a fan in critical condition. The fight occurred following the Dodgers Game 1 loss to the Mets when an argument between fans escalated. It is unclear whether the fight was between fans of the rival teams.

Of course fan-in-fan violence is nothing new to Dodger Stadium and everyone recalls the Opening Day 2011 attack of Giants fan Bryan Stow which left him severely injured and brain damaged.

Here’s hoping the hospitalized fan recovers quickly.

Playoff Reset: The Cards and Dodgers have their backs against the wall

Clayton Kershaw

Historically speaking, the Cardinals and Dodgers are the class of the National League. A couple of organizations which have won a ton, have had a lot of classy alpha-types running their respective shows over the years, no shortage of glory, no shortage of history and enough evocative and grand footage in the can to make Ken Burns sepia with envy.

Meanwhile, the Cubs and Mets, while they’ve won some and have some wonderful history too, are far better known for their failures. For dubious achievements and fan bases which have, collectively, spent far more time smacking their own foreheads than high-fiving the guy in the seat next to them. Nevertheless, by the time we go to bed tonight it’s quite possible that the classy organizations with the long resumes of winning baseball will have been eliminated by the sad sacks and that we’re going to be treated to a Mets-Cubs NLCS.

In short: today’s NLDS contests are “the big game” sequences in any late-70s-mid-90s “slobs vs. snobs” comedy movie. Camp Mohawk vs. Camp Northstar. Lane Meyer vs. Roy Stalin skiing the K-12. Thornton Mellon vs. Chas in the diving meet. Once these things are over don’t be surprised to see someone on the Mets or Cubs kissing some girl way out of their league and to be asking yourself, “wait, why are there cheerleaders at a diving meet?”

Of course baseball isn’t as scripted as all of that and William Zabka is, according to IMDb, in pre-production on some Civil War project, so he can’t make it. I have no idea what that’s about. I can only assume he’s playing some stuck-up Confederate General who will lose to Curtis Armstrong’s disheveled Union general in The Big Battle, after which we cut to credits over some tossed-off Dave Edmunds song he wrote for the soundtrack just for the money.

Which is to say: we have to watch these games to see what happens:

The Game: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs
The Time: 4:37 p.m. ET
The Place: Wrigley Field
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: John Lackey vs. Jason Hammel
The Upshot: Wow, those were a lot of dingers given up by Michael Wacha and his friends last night, huh? The good news is that they’re running Lackey out there this afternoon and Lackey has owned the Cubs of late, going 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA in four starts against them, including his gem in Game 1 on Friday night. The bad news: even a half dozen recent starts aren’t great predictively speaking, and Lackey is on short rest. TBS will show highlights of Lackey pitching on short rest in the 2002 World Series today, but think about what you were doing in 2002 and whether you’d be just as good at it today as then. Hammel has the ball for the Cubs. He has not fared well against the Cardinals this season (5.37 ERA) but the same small sample stuff applies.

Injuries could be a key consideration here, as Addison Russell may be on the shelf for the Cubs following his hamstring tweak in last night’s game. Likewise Yadier Molina left early, apparently having aggravated his thumb injury. Otherwise: wear a helmet if you’re in the Bleachers at Wrigley this afternoon. Balls may be flying out your way.

The Game: Los Angels Dodgers vs. New York Mets
The Time: 8:07 p.m. ET
The Place: Citi Field
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: Clayton Kershaw vs. Steven Matz
The Upshot: The Clayton Kershaw Legacy Game. It’s not fair to Kershaw that, after eight years of completely dominating Major League Baseball people will deem him worthy or unworthy of, well, whatever, based on his 10th postseason start, but they will. If he falters today on short rest, with no reliable bullpen to bail him out, people will call him some sort of choke artist. If he dominates he’ll be considered redeemed, though he’s never been a guy in need of redemption. I don’t care much for that game, but it’s inevitable it will be played so let’s just silently roll our eyes and go with it. The Mets may have a bigger question mark on the mound in Steven Matz, who hasn’t pitched in a couple of weeks thanks to a tweak in his back in the last week of the season.

This should feel like a totally different game. The Utley drama has to subside now, especially given that he’s unlikely to get the start against a tough lefty. And that tough lefty is, with all due respect, no Brett Anderson. You can bet against Clayton Kershaw and win, but it’s not the sort of thing I’d make a habit of.

In any event, the Cubs and Mets should play this on a loop in the Clubhouse before today’s games. Because . . . it just doesn’t matter!

Yoenis Cespedes and his bat flip say good morning

Yoenis Cespedes

It was a late night last night. Especially for old farts like me. I turned on my TV at 12:30 yesterday afternoon and there was baseball on it for just about 12 hours straight. Not too shabby unless you happen to root for the Astros, Rangers, Cardinals or Dodgers. Oh well, today is another day. Or tomorrow if today is a travel day.

In the meantime, we have Yoenis Cespedes to keep us happy, alert and occupied. Again, unless you’re a Dodgers fan. Of course, if you are a Dodgers fan you got absolutely no right to be upset at a bat flip following a homer. And if I catch you complaining, you’re getting a time out.