And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

20 Comments

White Sox 5, Tigers 4: For want of some leather, the empire was lost. Or something like that.  The Tigers now find themselves three back of the White Sox with no more head-to-head games. This is pretty dire for the Tigers.

Braves 7, Marlins 5: Dan Uggla continues to kill his old team. He hit a three-run homer and actually had a nice defensive game too. Martin Prado went 4 for 4 while filling in for Chipper Jones at third.

Red Sox 5, Rays 2: What’s a better way to tell that the Rays are playing out the string, the fact that Evan Longoria was being rested when every game is do-or-die or the fact that they’re playing listless baseball anyway? Jacoby Ellsbury homered and drove in three.

Phillies 3, Mets 1: Cliff Lee looked great — ten strikeouts while allowing one run in eight innings — but every pitcher looks good against the Mets these days.  R.A. Dickey fails again to move toward 20 wins which, based on how that’s all that is mentioned in every game story after he pitches, is what everyone has apparently decided for some reason is necessary for his season to be successful. He still pitched pretty good baseball. The Mets just can’t score and Cliff Lee is still friggin’ good.

Orioles 10, Mariners 4: Nate McLouth hit a leadoff homer. Matt Wieters hit one too. No, not a leadoff homer. That would be ridiculous because you can’t have two of those. Oh, and Adam Jones and Chris Tillman each had great games too, which has to make the Mariners a little unhappy. I’m sure they have an Erik Bedard poster up someplace, though.

Giants 2, Rockies 1: Brandon Crawford doubled, tripled and scored on Wilin Rosario’s 20th (20th!) passed ball of the season. Madison Bumgarner walked five dudes but Colorado just couldn’t capitalize.

Pirates 3, Cubs 0: A nearly four hour rain delay because (a) the Pirates are still technically in contention; and (b) there is no room in baseball’s hastily-constructed schedule this year to play a makeup game if necessary. That led to everyone wanting to go home, which led to Kevin Correia striking out six and pitching seven shutout innings. Folks, if your game starts after 10:30 at night, you’re doing something wrong.

The Cubs live for another day, but death will come soon

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Cubs had a nice night last night. Javier Baez finally broke his hitless streak with not one but two homers. Willson Contreras hit a nearly 500-foot homer. Jake Arrieta, possibly pitching for the last time as a Cub, dug down for a gutsy performance, pitching into the seventh inning, working around some walks to allow only one run while striking out nine.

After the game, Cubs players sounded hopeful notes about believing in themselves, taking them one game at a time, getting the series back to L.A. for a Game 6 and Game 7. They’re professional athletes who know better than any of us that to achieve a thing you have to believe you can achieve that thing, so it’d be dumb to expect anything else from them in this situation. Ballplayers, quite admirably, don’t sound a note of defeat until they are actually defeated.

But let’s be realistic there: they’re still a dead team walking.

  • They’re dead because, as we have been reminded oh so many times, only once in 35 tries has a team come back to win a seven game series in which they’ve found themselves down 0-3. That team did so because Dave Roberts worked some magic. Dave Roberts is working for the other team now.
  • They’re dead because their biggest weakness this postseason — their bullpen — is not going to have its best pitcher, Wade Davis, available today in Game 5 after throwing 48 pitches in Game 4.
  • They’re dead because while the Dodgers used five relievers last night, none of them were worked particularly hard and neither Brandon Morrow nor Kenley Jansen were used at all, allowing them to come in and work hard and heavy tonight if need be.
  • They’re dead because the man on the mound to start tonight’s game is Clayton Edward Kershaw. Yes, he has had some less-than-glory-filled moments in the postseason in recent years, but all of those have come at the tail end of starts, when his managers have left him in perhaps an inning too long. See the above bullet point — and Dave Roberts’ early hook in Game 1 — if you think that’ll be a problem tonight.

The Dodgers lost last night, yes, but it was their first loss in the postseason. All teams have lost at least one postseason game since it went to the three-round format, so it was likely inevitable that L.A. would drop one. Heck, maybe they’ll drop two before the NLCS is over, but they’re not going to drop the next three in a row.

Last night’s Cubs win was nice for them, but it only delayed the inevitable.