Los Angeles Dodgers Kershaw watches solo home run in eighth inning against San Francisco Giants during MLB National League baseball game in Los Angeles

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

56 Comments

Dodgers 4, Giants, 0: I watched part of this game with my kids after they got home from school. When they were showing the lineups, they showed Clayton Kershaw’s career .146 average and my son asked me why it was so low compared to the other players’. I explained to him that pitchers can’t really bat. I am thankful that we changed it over to the Tigers-Twins game before Kershaw hit that homer because I’d hate for my son to question his father’s wisdom.

Brewers 5, Rockies 4: I saw a guy in Arizona last month wearing a “Lucroy is my homeboy” t-shirt. You earn that shirt with walkoff sac-flies, right?

Cubs 3, Pirates 1: Jeff Samardzija allowed only two hits while striking out nine. And extended a streak, now entering its sixth year, in which I never actually type his name out, preferring instead to copy and paste it. Really, if I ever receive a call from someone telling me they’ve taken a loved one hostage and to free them I have to spell “Samardzija,” they’re pretty much already dead.

Mets 11, Padres 2: The Mets continue to kick butt in home openers, this being their 20th win in their last 22 Opening Days at Shea/Citi. Jon Niese pitched effectively into the seventh, had two hits, an RBI and scored a run. But really, I’m still telling my kids pitchers can’t hit.

Tigers 4, Twins 2: So cold that Justin Verlander actually wore a long-sleeved shirt under his jersey. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen that. But by far the coolest thing in the whole game was when Prince Fielder scored from third on a wild pitch. That man may be big, but he friggin’ moves. I bet he’s faster than several other first baseman in the game which, given his size, would not be something that would get you good betting odds. But I bet it’s true.

Nationals 2, Marlins 0: Harper + Strasburg = wins. That’s an equation that’s gonna hold together for several years. Two homers for the guy I picked to be the NL MVP mere hours before the first pitch of the game. Keep making me look smart, Bryce, and I’m gonna say even more nice things about you.

White Sox 1, Royals 0: Chris Sale outduels James Shields, pitching seven and two-thirds of shutout ball. Tyler Flowers’ homer was all the support he needed.

Red Sox 8, Yankees 2: Just a whole lot of blah for New York. It’s way, way too early to worry about CC Sabathia — anyone remember how bad he started out in 2008? And in a lot of other years — but in a year when the Yankees HAVE to have the rotation come through for them, this is not encouraging. Neither is a 3:37 game time for a ballgame this sloppy. But for two teams undergoing so much roster upheaval lately, that has to be some sort of comforting bit of continuity, yes?

Angels 3, Reds 1: Chris Iannetta was the hero, hitting a solo homer in the third and a bases-loaded single in the 13th inning to account for all of the Halos’ runs. Guessing Mike Scioscia and Dusty Baker were not really planning on Game One taking 12 pitchers between them. Insert that thing about battle plans never surviving engagement with the enemy.

Braves 7, Phillies 5: Three homers off Cole Hamels for Atlanta, which is pretty much how the Braves rolled all spring training and which is pretty much how most of their wins will go down this year. All season there will likely be a lot of feast/famine, methinks. Oh, and Fredi Gonzalez intentionally walked Michael Young once. That actually happened.

Diamondbacks 6, Cardinals 2: Arizona rattled out 15 hits — seven of which were doubles — giving the newly-extended Adam Wainwright a bad first game of the rest of his life. Meanwhile, Ian Kennedy allowed only two hits over seven innings while striking out eight. Gerardo Parra had three of those doubles in his four hits.

Mariners 2, Athletics 0: Felix Hernandez had a much better night among the newly-extended pitchers: seven and two-thirds innings, no runs, two hits, eight strikeouts. Both M’s runs came on a Franklin Gutierrez double. This may be the only day of the season Gutierrez isn’t suffering from some mystery ailment or 19th century disease, but it is nice to see him play when he is healthy.

Who should win the manager of the year awards? Who Will?

PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 15:  Manager Dave Roberts #30 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on from the dougout during the seventh inning of a MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on July 15, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

With the regular season ending on Sunday and most of the playoff spots locked up, there’s really only one big thing left to argue about: postseason awards. So let’s spend some time looking at who should win each of the four major awards and who will win them. Which are often totally different things. Next up: The Manager of the Year Awards

The Manager of the Year Award is pretty dumb. Numbers aren’t everything in any award, but there are literally zero numbers that gauge a manager’s effectiveness or performance apart from wins and losses and wins and losses are mostly a function of talent on the roster, for which the manager is not responsible. This is not to say managers aren’t important. Of course they are! They make important decisions every day and keep the clubhouse running smoothly and that’s important. It just so happens to be unquantifiable and subject to anecdote and projection.

For instance, Matt Williams won the Manager of the Year Award with he Nationals in 2014. He was run out of town on a rail in 2015. Did he suddenly forget how to manage? Or did he never really know but was blessed with good fortune and better players the year before?

Joe Maddon won the award last year, in large part because the Cubs outperformed expectations. This year the Cubs are the best team around. But everyone expected them to be because of all that talent! Does that mean that Maddon’s 2015 award was fraudulent? The product of poor expectations assessment on behalf of the media? At the same time, there’s a pretty strong vibe that he won’t win it this year, so are we to say that winning between 101 and 104 games is . . . a worse job than last year? Don’t even get me started on arguments that Bruce Bochy somehow became a lesser manager this year, because I suspect — and bear with me on this — something else is going on with the Giants.

Manager of the Year has always been about narratives and expectations of people on the outside looking in who nonetheless purport to know how the manager performed his job in the most inside baseball kinds of ways. It’s poppycock. It may as well be the Golden Globes.

So, rather than just break it down the way we did the other awards, let’s just thrown this out like the big mess that it is:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Bill and Ashley say that Terry Francona should be the American League Manager of the Year. Bill’s reasoning: “The Indians went essentially the whole year without Michael Brantley and their pitching staff imploded in September. Francona deserves a lot of credit for holding the team together.”

Hey, works for me too! Let’s give it to Tito. Even if we can tell a compelling story about John Farrell and the Red Sox and even if Jeff Banister, the reigning AL Manager of the Year, improved by anywhere from 6-9 games in the standings this year over last in a division most people thought the Astros would win.

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Bill says Dusty Baker, arguing that “The Nationals had all kinds of bullpen issues and Stephen Strasburg wasn’t able to pitch the final two months of the season. They could’ve easily folded but they didn’t, and I think that’s a reflection on Baker.”

Ashley says Dave Roberts. She didn’t give me her reasoning, but I bet she’d agree with me if I said “The Nationals Dodgers had all kinds of bullpen rotation issues and Stephen Strasburg Clayton Kershaw wasn’t able to pitch for two months of the season. They could’ve easily folded but they didn’t, and I think that’s a reflection on Baker Roberts.” You could throw in some stuff about how Yasiel Puig was managed by Roberts (i.e. better, though his come-to-Jesus demotion may have been the front office’s doing). I think I’ll go with Roberts, simply because I feel like it’d be bad precedent to give it to a Nationals manager every even numbered year simply because that dang franchise is inconsistent.

What about the Cubs? Here’s Bill again:

I considered Joe Maddon of the Cubs, but the team was so good I think the Cubs could’ve had a kitten manage the team to a playoff berth.

I say we give it to a kitten. Kittens are the best.

Who Should win the Rookie of the Year Awards? Who Will?

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 05:  Corey Seager #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to his three run homerun for a 6-0 lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fifth inning at Dodger Stadium on September 5, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Getty Images
3 Comments

With the regular season ending on Sunday and most of the playoff spots locked up, there’s really only one big thing left to argue about: postseason awards. So let’s spend some time looking at who should win each of the four major awards and who will win them. Which are often totally different things. Next up: The Rookie of the Year Awards

This is a whole heck of a lot easier than the MVP and Cy Young Awards, that’s for sure. It’s a two horse race in the AL and a one-horse race in the NL.

Who should win the AL Rookie of the Year Award?

It seemed like Tigers starter Michael Fulmer would be the no-brainer choice for a good long while, as his low ERA and solid performance helped carry the Tigers when their starting pitching wasn’t doing them any favors. But then the Yankees called up catcher Gary Sanchez at the beginning of August and all he’s done since then is hit .303/.378/.672 with an astonishing 20 homers in his first 51 games. Fulmer has continued to be solid — he’s just short of qualifying for the ERA title, but does have the league’s lowest ERA at 3.06 — but Sanchez has been spectacular.

The MVP and Cy Young Award require full season contributions. Not everyone takes the Rookie of the Year Award quite as seriously, it seems, and are thus more willing to entertain smaller samples of excellence over large samples of solid work when it comes to the award. That’s how Bill and I think about it anyway, giving the nod to Sanchez’s historic two-month run. Ashley, however, favors Fulmer’s larger volume of work. You can’t really go wrong with either choice:

Craig: Sanchez
Bill: Sanchez
Ashley: Fulmer

Who will win the AL Rookie of the Year Award?

Hard call. I have no idea what voters will do on that quantity/quality calculation. I’ll guess Fulmer, but it’s just a guess. I could just as easily see Sanchez given some quasi-MVP credit for helping the Yankees remain relevant after the trade deadline and throw it his way.

 

Who should win the NL Rookie of the Year Award?

If you say anyone other than Corey Seager, and his .311/.369/.519 26 homer batting line, the state has authorized me to have you taken to a hospital for 48 hours of examination, at which point your competence to reenter society will be gauged. But there is ice cream there.

Craig: Seager
Bill: Seager
Ashley: Seager

 

Who will win the NL Rookie of the Year Award?

If any BBWAA voter lists anyone other than Corey Seager at the top of his or her Rookie of the Year ballot, the state has authorized me to have them taken to a hospital for 48 hours of examination, at which point their competence to reenter society will be gauged. They will not, however, be allowed to have any ice cream because, really, they should know better. They’re professionals.