And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 14, Indians 1: “Man, where are the Yankees going to get any offense with all of their big hitters on the DL?” no one is asking today like they asked so much last week. I guess nowadays everybody wanna talk like they got somethin to say, but nothin’ comes out when they move their lips — just a bunch of gibberish — and Yankee haters act like they forgot about Cano (4 for 6, 5 RBI).

Astros 16, Mariners 9: Meanwhile, in the other west coast park with a shorter porch, two teams not known for offense combined to hit eight homers, including two from Chris Carter and another one — a baseball-leading sixth — for Mike Morse. That 16-spot from Houston goes a long way towards covering up some overall offensive ineptitude on the stat sheet.

Phillies 8, Mets 3: Everything else may be going sideways, but Cliff Lee is still Cliff Lee. Two earned runs in eight and two-thirds with six strikeouts. Ryan Howard and Michael Young went back-to-back in the third inning, each their first homer of the year. Miguel Cabrera had his first homer of the year yesterday too, so you can totally say that Howard and Young are on an MVP-pace if you’re so inclined.

Nationals 8, White Sox 7: Adam LaRoche went 0 for 15 until hitting two straight homers in this one. Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth hit bombs too. All needed given some overall sloppiness and bad bullpen play in this one.

Padres 9, Dodgers 3: Will Venable drove in four for the Padres who are happy to finally be home after ugly series in New York and Colorado. The new fences in Petco Park gave Juan Uribe a homer that would have been an out last year.

Tigers 7, Blue Jays 3: Miguel Cabrera went 4 for 5 with four RBI and that homer I mentioned. It’s almost like he’s awesome or something. Worst start since 2004 for the new-look Jays.

Braves 3, Marlins 2: Kris Medlen’s second start looked a lot more like his 2012 second half. I guess facing the Marlins helps (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER). Justin Upton didn’t go yard, but he did hit a looong RBI double which would have been out in all but two or three parks. Homer for rookie Evan Gattis, who is making it pretty difficult for the front office to figure out what to do when Brian McCann comes back.

Rangers 6, Rays 1: Rangers’ fifth starter Nick Tepesch makes his major league debut and all he does is go seven and a third allowing one run on four hits.

Royals 7, Twins 4: Jeremy Guthrie won his seventh straight decision, getting all the run support he needed in a five-run first inning. The Royals are 5-3, by the way. It’s the tenth anniversary of that Mike Sweeney-led Royals team which made everyone think they were back in contention, only to falter later. Same thing going on again, or have they truly turned the corner and become the 2012 Orioles, redux?

Cubs 6, Brewers 3: Kiwicricket sent me the part of the box score which makes your head explode: “W: Marmol (1-1, 12.27) ; L: Axford (0-2, 24.30) ; SV: Fujikawa (2).” Always fun to see a game come down to a battle of Proven Closers. And Axford wasn’t even closing.

Athletics 9, Angels 5: Five runs in the seventh for Oakland, led by John Jaso’s pinch-hot three-run homer. A seesaw game, as Oakland had a 4-0 lead once, fell behind 5-4 and then this rally. Josh Hamilton went 0 for 4 and is now hitting a cool .138. The Angels join the Jays in 2-5 land. I guess winning the Hot Stove League doesn’t carry over.

Cardinals 5, Reds 1: The new-and-improved Lance Lynn struck out ten in six innings while allowing only one run. Bronson Arroyo cruised into the sixth and then gave up a pinch hit homer to Matt Adams.

Pirates 6, Diamondbacks 5: Garrett Jones had three hits and two RBIs. The Pirates had 11 hits overall, winning their second straight game and finally waking up on offense. Brandon McCarthy has surrendered 19 hits in 11 and two-thirds innings thus far.

Giants 9, Rockies 6: Tim Lincecum was shaky as all get-out for one inning, acceptable for four others, but overall allowed six runs in six innings while walking four. The Giants’ bats rescued him, however, led by a Brandon Crawford three-run homer in the sixth and then some general hit-parade fun. Lincecum got the win in his first outing despite walking the park and a no-decision here despite melting down for a while. You feel like he’s walking on the edge of a knife, though.

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.

U.S. blanks Puerto Rico 8-0 to win first World Baseball Classic title

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The United States handed Puerto Rico its first loss in the World Baseball Classic, winning 8-0 for its first title in the fourth iteration of the tournament.

Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo was matching Marcus Stroman zero-for-zero through the first two innings, but the U.S. broke out for a pair of runs when Ian Kinsler deposited a two-run home run just beyond the fence in left-center at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Stroman was dealing. The right-hander, normally seen in a Blue Jays uniform, held Puerto Rico hitless through his first six innings, giving up just a lone walk. The U.S. put together a long rally in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Stroman came back out for the seventh but immediately served up a double down the left field line to Angel Pagan. U.S. manager Jim Leyland immediately lifted Stroman from the game, bringing in Sam Dyson who escaped the inning without any further damage.

Pat Neshek allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina to begin the eighth, but induced a double-play, then worked around a two-out walk by striking out Kenny Vargas to end the frame.

In the ninth, David Robertson took over. He induced an infield pop-up from Enrique Hernandez. After Pagan singled up the middle, Francisco Lindor sharply grounded out to Eric Hosmer at first base for the second out. Finally, Robertson closed it out, inducing Carlos Correa to ground out to third base, making the U.S. 8-0 victors over Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico had an admirable run, defeating Venezuela, Mexico, and Italy to get out of Pool D undefeated. Then, in Pool F, it beat Venezuela again as well as the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to move to the semifinals. It narrowly edged Netherlands 4-3 in the semifinals to get into the finals.

The U.S. lost to the D.R. but beat Canada and Colombia to get out of Pool C. In Pool F, the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico and defeated the D.R again as well as Venezuela. The U.S. took down Japan in the semifinals to advance to the finals to play Puerto Rico.

The U.S. joins Japan (twice, 2006 and ’09) and the Dominican Republic (2013) as countries to win the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 tournament was a rousing success, setting attendance records, drawing over one million fans to ballparks to take in the games. It will hopefully encourage commissioner Rob Manfred and others to make a concerted effort to make the 2021 tournament bigger and better.