Royals Braves Basaeball

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 6, Royals 3: I suppose the Braves will lose again at some point. I just don’t know when that point is. The team has 25 homers in 13 games.

Yankees 4, Diamondbacks 2: I wasn’t watching this, but as I was going to bed people on Twitter were noting that Mariano Rivera was coming into the game and saying stuff about the 2001 World Series. Which, sure, I guess I understand. But holy mother of heck, that was nearly 12 years ago. Think about your life 12 years ago and ask yourself how relevant anything that was happening to you then is now. Then ask yourself whether you honestly think someone like Rivera is really affected by the 2001 World Series in April 2013.

Rangers 4, Cubs 2: Craig Gentry made a diving catch with two outs in the ninth inning and the bases loaded on a Darwin Barney shot to left that would have at least tied it if it weren’t caught and would have likely won it if Gentry had dived and totally missed. Craigs are pretty clutch, though, so he had it the whole way.

Orioles 5, Rays 4: It wasn’t pretty but Jake Arrieta got his first win since last June. Tampa Bay has lost four in a row and seven of eight.

Rockies 8, Mets 4; Rockies 9, Mets 8: A freezing, snowy doubleheader? Mmm, sounds like a total blast. David Wright had two blasts in the opener in a losing cause. Jordan Pacheco had the game-winning hit in the 10th in the night cap. I’m going to guess that this is the most miserable pair of games the Mets have endured in ages, simply because of weather and crap.

Red Sox 7, Indians 2: Ubaldo Jimenez was, like, 15-1 to start the season a couple of years ago. It’s true. I remember it. If the Indians were smart he’d end this year 0-2, having never thrown another pitch. Because something ain’t right with this guy (1.2 IP, 2 H, 7 ER, 5 BB).

White Sox 4, Blue Jays 3: The White Sox rallied for two in the ninth then held off as the Jays tried to claw back in the bottom of the inning. After the game Paul Konerko said “It was a gritty win.” After which he was sued for copyright infringement by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Marlins 8, Nationals 2: Ryan Zimmerman’s defensive problems continue, as his throwing error in the fourth led to four unearned Marlins runs. Those four runs were more than the Marlins had scored in all but one of their previous 13 games. Zimmerman has had four errors in the past five games.

Twins 8, Angels 6: Joe Mauer is 8 for 10 in this series so far after going 4 for 5 with three RBI in this one. Talk to some random Twins fans, though, and they’ll still say he’s a problem for some reason that eludes me entirely.

Brewers 10, Giants 8: Just when we finally get the Barry Zito bandwagon all booked up with passengers, gassed up and onto the on-ramp, it throws an engine rod. Two and two-thirds inning, eight hits, nine runs for Barry, including a grand slam to Yunieskey Betancourt for cryin’ out loud.

Athletics 4, Astros 3: Remember that stuff about how the NL Central teams are gonna miss having the Astros to kick around this season? The A’s here are the other side of that coin, as they’ve beaten Houston five times already. Meanwhile, AL East and AL Central teams have to face real baseball teams as they compete with AL West teams for the wild card. Because the unbalanced schedule is so fair.

Tigers 6, Mariners 2: Miguel Cabrera drove in four and Doug Fister gave the Mariners another reminder that, welp, maybe they shouldn’t have traded him away (7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER).

Padres 9, Dodger 2: Alexi Amarista drove in four and Jason Marquis tied the Dodgers up. Look, when you face that kind of star power, you’re just not gonna win often, Dodgers fans. On the bright side I suppose there’s a decent chance that Vin Scully got to fill time with more legends and tales from the ancient and classical canon, so there’s that.

Phillies 0, Reds 0: SUSPENDED: This game will be picked up where it left off, scoreless in the ninth inning. They should make all the players stay in uniform on the field in the exact positions they were sitting/standing when the game was called. That would be bitchin’.

Cardinals vs. Pirates: POSTPONED: Nothing that happened in the two innings they got in will actually count. It’s like it never happened. For example, if Andrew McCutchen had murdered Yadier Molina in the first inning, he would do no jail time for it and Molina would have been resurrected. THAT’S how this rule works.

It’s May 4 and Daniel Murphy is still out-hitting Bryce Harper

Washington Nationals' Daniel Murphy hits an RBI single during the first inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday, April 30, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
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Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy flirted with the cycle in Wednesday afternoon’s 13-2 drubbing of the Royals, as he went 4-for-5 with a pair of singles, a two-run double, and a solo home run. That brings his triple-slash line on the season up to .398/.449/.663. Comparatively, teammate Bryce Harper — the defending NL MVP and arguably the best player in baseball — is currently hitting .266/.372/.649.

Murphy has always been an above-average hitter, but this level of hitting is something else. Of course, he flashed it in the post-season last year when he homered in six consecutive games, helping the Mets advance past the Dodgers in the NLDS and sweep the Cubs in the NLCS.

The Nats signed Murphy to a three-year, $37.5 million contract in January. If Neil Walker, acquired from the Pirates to replace Murphy, wasn’t hitting so well, the Mets would probably be jealous. Walker is hitting .296/.330/.582 with nine home runs and 19 RBI.

Video: Jon Lester tosses his glove to get the out

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester throws against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, May 4, 2016, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic
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It’s always fun when this happens. Cubs starter Jon Lester snagged a grounder hit back up the middle by Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli in the bottom of the second inning. The only problem was that the ball got stuck in the webbing of his glove. Rather than fight to pry the ball out, Lester just lobbed his glove over to first baseman Anthony Rizzo to get the first out of the inning.

Lester has had issues throwing baseballs to first base, so maybe it was a good thing the ball got stuck in his glove.

Lester did this last year, too, by the way.

Alex Rodriguez lands on the 15-day DL with a strained hamstring

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez follows through on a single to right off a pitch from Texas Rangers' Shawn Tolleson in the ninth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, April 27, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. The Yankees lost 3-2. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez strained his right hamstring running out a ground ball in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s loss to the Orioles. The club announced it has placed him on the 15-day disabled list and recalled pitcher James Pazos from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Rodriguez lands on DL hitting .194/.275/.444 with five home runs and 12 RBI in 80 plate appearances.

Dustin Ackley replaced Rodriguez in Tuesday’s game, but the Yankees will likely cycle a handful of players in and out of the DH spot while Rodriguez heals.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Wednesday evening’s action

Philadelphia Phillies' Aaron Nola pitches to a Milwaukee Brewers batter during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, April 22, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)
AP Photo/Tom Lynn
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We were treated to a handful of games this afternoon but we still have eight night games left. Let’s talk about the Phillies.

I wrote this preview of the Phillies just before the season started, predicting them to win only 65 games, which would mark only a marginal improvement over their 63-win season last year. In my defense, I wasn’t alone, as almost every expert as well as the projections had them finishing under 70 wins. And yet, here they are 27 games into the season with 16 wins. That’s on pace for a 96-win season. What the heck.

Aaron Nola pitched seven shutout innings against the Cardinals in a 1-0 victory on Tuesday, marking the Phillies’ sixth shutout of the year, the best mark in the majors. Even as the Phillies prepared to draft him, Nola was described as “major league ready” but no one expected him to be quite this dominant. In his first 19 major league starts, Nola has a 3.37 ERA with a 112/26 K/BB ratio over 117 2/3 innings. This year, not only has Nola been extremely stingy with the walks, but he’s been missing bats at an elite level. He’s only 22 years old.

Nola is joined in the rotation by Vincent Velasquez, the pitcher who highlighted the return from the Astros in the Ken Giles trade. The right-hander made headlines in April with a 16-strikeout performance against the Padres and currently stands with a 1.44 ERA with a 39/10 K/BB ratio in 31 1/3 innings. Unlike Nola, Velasquez was billed as a future ace or a dominant eighth- or ninth-inning guy.

Then there’s Jerad Eickhoff, who came over in the Cole Hamels trade last year. Though he has a ho-hum 4.15 ERA, Eickhoff is occasionally dominant as evidenced by his 32/5 K/BB ratio over 30 1/3 innings. He has a pretty curve. Look at it. Eickhoff probably won’t be an ace, but he wasn’t considered to be a future mainstay in the rotation when the Hamels trade went through. All he’s done so far is exceed expectations. Nola-Velasquez-Eickhoff makes for an outstanding start to a long-term starting rotation.

The offensive tools aren’t quite where the pitching is yet for the Phillies, as third baseman Maikel Franco has wavered between looking like Mike Schmidt and looking completely lost at the plate. He has only five hits (zero home runs) in his last 37 plate appearances. Shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford isn’t there yet, nor is outfielder Nick Williams, catcher Jorge Alfaro, and outfielder Cornelius Randolph. There’s certainly a lot of hope on the horizon.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a Phillies fan, but wearing rose-colored glasses isn’t a crime of which I’ve been often accused over the years. It has been one headache after another being a Phillies fan between 2012-15. The front office under former GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. was stubborn and out of touch. Now, under new president Andy MacPhail and GM Matt Klentak, the team has a goal and is seeing it through. No, the Phillies won’t win 96 games this year — they probably won’t even win 80 — but they’re certainly further along than a lot of us gave them credit for being.

The Phillies play game three of a four-game set in St. Louis tonight at 8:15 PM EDT. Lefty Adam Morgan will oppose the Cardinals’ Mike Leake.

The rest of Wednesday’s action…

Detroit Tigers (Anibal Sanchez) @ Cleveland Indians (Corey Kluber), 6:10 PM EDT

New York Yankees (CC Sabathia) @ Baltimore Orioles (Tyler Wilson), 7:05 PM EDT

Texas Rangers (Colby Lewis) @ Toronto Blue Jays (Aaron Sanchez), 7:07 PM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks (Rubby De La Rosa) @ Miami Marlins (Jose Fernandez), 7:10 PM EDT

Los Angeles Dodgers (Alex Wood) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Drew Smyly), 7:10 PM EDT

Boston Red Sox (Clay Buchholz) @ Chicago White Sox (Carlos Rodon), 8:10 PM EDT

Minnesota Twins (Phil Hughes) @ Houston Astros (Mike Fiers), 8:10 PM EDT