Braves Diamondbacks Baseball

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 10, Diamondbacks 1: Justin Upton went 4 for 5 with a homer and 2 RBI. Chris Johnson went 3 for 4 with a homer and 3 RBI. Martin Prado had a couple of hits and I suppose he was gritty. Gonna say that the first visit to Arizona for the Braves post-trade falls to their advantage.

Twins 10, White Sox 3: Aaron Hicks hit two home runs and robbed one from Adam Dunn in center. If I remember by college accounting course, that’s a +3 in the home run column.

Indians 1, Yankees 0; Yankees 7, Indians 0: An old-timey doubleheader with no multi-hour break in the middle and one ticket buying access to both games. Don’t see that happen much anymore. Takes a couple of rainouts to make it happen I guess. Justin Masterson was outstanding in the first, shutting out the Yankees and striking out nine. Vidal Nuno, I’m guessing a hair stylist/cosmetics mogul, pitched five innings of shutout ball himself in the second game, backed by a couple of RBI each from Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay. Those three names, if I had told you were important parts of a Yankees game before the season started, would have likely had you thinking the team was in last place. They’re, instead, a game up in the AL East, tied for the best record in the American League.

Cardinals 6, Mets 3: Rick Ankiel’s Mets debut: 0 or 3 with two strikeouts. And he made a diving stab at a catch in the seventh inning, but just missed it, which led to the Cardinals scoring three runs. He said after the game if he had his own glove — which was still back in Houston — that he would have caught it. Instead he had to use a pitcher’s glove. I’m actually inclined to believe him here. Outfielder gloves are gigantic.

Brewers 5, Pirates 1: Milwaukee stole six bases off Pirates backup catcher Michael McKenry. I haven’t seen a defender so abused since Jerry Rice embarrassed Charles Dimry back in 1990. Maybe Jerry Glanville thought McKenry could handle throwing out Brewers base runners like he thought Dimry could cover Rice in man-to-man.

Cubs 9, Rockies 1: Travis Wood joins the increasingly long list of pitchers making the Rockies look lost at the plate lately, tossing seven shutout innings. The AP gamer said “He’s the first Cubs pitcher since Hippo Vaughn in 1919 to start with eight quality starts.” I’m guessing that Hippo Vaughn had no idea what a quality start was. And even if he did, it wouldn’t fit the same definition of “quality start” we know today. In 1919 it probably included cigarettes, Spanish Flu masks and trips to a brothel.

Tigers 7, Astros 2: A grand slam for Andy Dirks and, ouch, a dislocated jaw for Jose Altuve. These losses are getting increasingly painful for the Astros.

Nationals 6, Dodgers 2: Bryce Harper needed 11 stitches on his chin and he jammed his shoulder hitting the outfield wall. This is the quintessential “guy who plays really freakin’ hard” kind of injury, I suppose. He actually hit a chain link fence which sits in front of a scoreboard. Don Mattingly said after the game “That fencing we have is a little dangerous,” he said. “If you hit that, you’re going to feel it, especially face first.” You know THAT’s gonna be thrown back in Mattingly’s face during his deposition. Man.

Royals 11, Angels 4: Five hits and five RBI for Billy Butler, breaking a horrendous slump for Country Breakfast. Speaking of nicknames, Ned Yost called pitcher Luis Mendoza “Mendy” after the game, extending his streak of awful, unimaginative nicknames for his players to, like, 15. He and Eric Wedge probably have a little cheat sheet with every player’s name on his team with a little “y” next to it in case they need to use a nickname in a postgame interview.

Athletics 5, Rangers 1: Eight Ks for A.J. Griffin. Back to back homers for Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Moss. The A’s needed this one after dropping six of their last seven.

Should Dave Roberts have taken Clayton Kershaw out of Sunday’s game?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will likely be second-guessed heavily during tomorrow’s news cycle. Starter Clayton Kershaw had pitched a terrific ballgame, as is his tendency, but with 114 pitches to his name, Roberts decided to pull him from the game in the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on first base.

Roberts opted not for closer Kenley Jansen, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, but for another lefty in Adam Liberatore. He was playing the numbers, with the left-handed-hitting Curtis Granderson coming up. Liberatore, much to Roberts’ chagrin, served up what turned out to be a game-tying triple to Granderson, hitting a rocket to right-center just out of the reach of a leaping Yasiel Puig.

Jansen has, for six years, been one of the game’s elite relievers. Kershaw, though at a high pitch count, doesn’t seem to suffer from the times through the order penalty like most pitchers. Kershaw’s opponents’ OPS facing him for the first time was .525 coming into Sunday. Twice, .597. Three times, .587. Four times, .526 (but this suffers from survivorship bias so it’s not exactly representative).

Furthermore, Kershaw held lefties to a .546 OPS over his career. Liberatore, in 99 plate appearances against lefty hitters, gave up a .575 OPS. Jansen? .560. It seems that, faced with three decisions, Roberts arguably made the worst one. Playing conservative with Kershaw at 114 pitches is defensible, but only if Jansen comes in. If Roberts wanted the platoon advantage, Kershaw should have stayed in.

Luckily for the Dodgers, Mets closer Jeurys Familia didn’t have his best stuff. He loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth on a single and two walks, then gave up a two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Jansen came on in the bottom half of the ninth and retired the side in order to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Royals sweep White Sox over the weekend on three late rallies

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 28:  Brett Eibner #12 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his game-winning RBI single with teammates in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium on May 28, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 8-7. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The Royals had themselves a pretty good weekend. The quickly fading White Sox, not so much.

On Friday, the Royals fell behind 5-1 after the top of the sixth. They would score once in the bottom of the sixth, four times in the seventh, and once in the eighth to steal a 7-5 win facing pitchers Miguel Gonzalez Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and Nate Jones.

On Saturday, the Royals entered the bottom of the ninth down 7-1. They scored seven runs on closer David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to win 8-7.

On Sunday, the Royals were down 4-2 after the top of the eighth. They plated three runs in the bottom half of the eighth against Jones and Albers, going on to win 5-4.

Coming into the weekend, the Royals were 24-22 in third place. The White Sox were 27-21, a half-game up in first place. Now the Royals are in first place by a game and a half, and the White Sox are in third place, two games out of first.

Here’s video of the Royals’ comeback on Saturday, since it was so unlikely:

Report: Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there”

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 24: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers waits to hit during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on May 24, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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In Saturday’s column for The Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo notes that, according to a scout, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there.” Braun has been bothered by neck and back issues this year, missing on Sunday his eighth start out of the Brewers’ last 14 games, but he has still put up a quality .351/.424/.583 triple-slash line in 170 plate appearances this year.

More importantly for an acquiring team, Braun is in the first year of a five-year, $105 million contract. He’s earning $19 million this season and in the ensuing two seasons, and then his salary decreases slightly to $18 million in 2019, $16 million in 2020, and $15 million if both sides pick up his mutual option (else a $4 million buyout would be exercised).

Per Cafardo, the Astros, Cardinals, Red Sox, Phillies, Mets, Giants, and White Sox are potential landing spots for Braun.

Mets unhappy with Dodgers’ request to make outfield markings to position fielders

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28:  The 1986 New York Mets are honored before the game between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on May 28, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.The New York Mets are honoring the 30th anniversary of the 1986 championship season.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Mets have asked MLB for clarification on the Dodgers’ use of a laser rangefinder for defensive positioning over this weekend’s series at Citi Field. The Dodgers notified the Mets’ ground crew that they wanted to mark certain positions in the outfield grass after determining positions with the rangefinder. The grounds crew said they could leave two marks in center field and one in left field.

However, the grounds crew then went to their superiors and told them that the Dodgers threatened to dig holes in the outfield grass with their cleats, so the grounds crew was then instructed to “erase or obliterate” any of the Dodgers’ markings.

According to Rosenthal, Major League Baseball reinforced a few weeks ago that teams aren’t allowed to use markers to aid defensive positioning. The Dodgers haven’t been accused of doing anything nefarious during a game. Howie Kendrick was seen pulling something out of his pocket in the outfield, but Brett Anderson clarified on Twitter that it was just a piece of paper with notes for defensive positioning.

The series between the Mets and Dodgers has been heated, as Noah Syndergaard was ejected for throwing at Chase Utley on Saturday. Utley then responded by hitting two home runs, one of which was a grand slam. The Mets may have a legitimate concern, or it may just be gamesmanship.