And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Royals 3, Tigers 2: Jose Valverde was handed a 2-0 lead in the ninth with a runner on and promptly coughed it up by surrendering a homer to Lorenzo Cain. Phil Coke added his own brand of kerosene to the fire on the 10th as Eric Hosmer singled in the winning run. After the game he was, and I am not making this up, was given a celebratory BBQ sauce shower. Which, on the one hand is kind of fun. On the other hand it suggests that the Royals really don’t know how to handle the rituals of winning. Like, I guess they can ask Miguel Tejada or Jeff Francoeur what they’re supposed to do when they win, but they may not remember.

Angels 9, Orioles 5: Down 4-2 entering the seventh and the Angels put up a six-spot. The six spot was aided by an Erick Aybar bases-loaded triple and an Albert Pujols homer. Chris Davis homered again too, giving him 21 on the year.

Reds 2, Cubs 1: Mike Leake out-dueled Travis Wood. Would really like to see the phrase “out-dueled” expand in use a bit. We could apply it to two people who enter a nearly-full parking lot at the same time. I’m sure there are others. If you have some potential “out-dueled” applications please leave them in the comments.

Padres 5, Braves 3: And the sweep. Edinson Volquez struck out nine in seven innings and Chris Denorfia hit a two-run homer. The Padres have won six of eight. The Braves finish a dismal L.A.-San Diego road trip 2-5.

Pirates 12, Giants 8: Pirates surging, Giants, um, well, there isn’t a word that is both the opposite of and rhymes with surging. Barry Zito got tattooed for eight runs and saw his road ERA balloon to 11.28 (it’s 1.94 in San Francisco). Starling Marte had four hits and scored four runs.

Red Sox 2, Rays 1: We’ve secretly replaced Alfredo Aceves with a pitcher who doesn’t stink. Let’s see if anyone notices! The Red Sox’ complicated swingman allowed one run over six innings. A 2-1 game required 11 pitchers and went nearly three and a half hours. Viva AL East baseball.

Mets 5, Cardinals 1: Dillon Gee had his third straight start in which he only allowed one run. Shelby Miller had his worst start in his young career. Still struck out ten in that worst start. Homers for David Wright, Lucas Duda and Marlon Byrd.

Indians 5, Rangers 2: A home run and three hits overall for Jason Kipnis. Cleveland entered this series on a losing skid but took two of three from the Rangers, who have lost five of seven.

Brewers 10, Marlins 1: Three driven in for Carlos Gomez. Seven shutout innings for Alfredo Figaro. Kind of a quintessential 2013 game for the Marlins.

Twins 4, Phillies 3: You can’t stop Clete Thomas, you can only hope to contain him. The [insert intimidating nickname for Thomas here when we think of one] was 4 for 4 with a couple of RBI doubles as the Phillies dropped their fifth straight.

Nationals 5, Rockies 1: Ross Ohlendorf made his Nats debut and allowed one run over six innings. I got to see him pitch here in Columbus a couple of weeks ago and got a load of his new, old-timey, hands over his head windup. It’s a treat. Enjoy it Nats fans.

Diamondbacks 8, Dodgers 2: The day after fisticuffsmanship, the Snakes rattle out 20 hits. They needed all 20, though, as this one went into the 12 inning. The Dbacks have done quite well in extras this year, however. And they’ve taken four straight series from the Dodgers.

Athletics 5, Yankees 2: Two homers for Brandon Moss. The A’s have won ten in a row at home.

Astros 6, Mariners 1: Houston scored all six runs in a ninth inning rally as eight shutout innings from Jeremy Bonderman — Jeremy Bonderman! — go to waste.

Blue Jays vs. White Sox: POSTPONED: I should have guessed that you’d stand me up. Why did I even go, now? And I guess it goes to show the snow may well thaw out, but it goes right down the drain. You left me, You left me, You left me, You left me, You left me standing in the rain.

Odubel Herrera flips his bat on a fly ball, gets benched for lack of hustle

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Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera has been a polarizing figure in his young career. He’s talented and at times has shined, inspiring the Phillies to give him a long term contract this past offseason. At other times, however, he’s aggravated the snot out of his manager, his teammates and his team’s fans. Last night, in the Phillies-Astros game, he did the latter and was the subject of mockery of the opposing team to boot.

In the first inning he hit a long fly ball to center. He thought it was going out but . . . it didn’t. When the ball came off of his bat, however, he flipped his bat like he went yard. You know our view about bat flips — who cares? Flip away! — but you flip at your own risk. Just because you’re allowed to flip it whenever you want doesn’t mean you’re not gonna get mocked if you flip prematurely. That’s what Herrera did, and he was mocked for the flip by the Astros from the dugout:

If that was all that happened in the game, life would go on just fine. I mean, it’s just a bat flip. But later in the game he committed a more substantive transgression: he failed to hustle in a hustle situation.

In the sixth inning Herrera struck out swinging on a 1-2 curveball. The catcher didn’t hold on to it, though, and the ball went in the dirt. Herrera didn’t bother to run to first base and Pete Mackanin pulled Herrera from the game in a double switch right after that. Asked if Herrera was benched for not running that ball out, Mackanin said “It had something to do with it . . . I’m going to talk to him tomorrow.”

If you’re a veteran and you have hamstring issues or something you can take a dropped strike three off and no one is gonna say anything. If you’re hitting like Herrera has been hitting of late (i.e. pretty well) and you otherwise have no issues with your manager along these lines, it’s doubtful anyone will hold that sort of play against you either as long as it’s an isolated incident.

Herrera is not in that position, however. He’s raised Mackanin’s ire in the past for ignoring signs and taking what Mackanin believed to be a lackadaisical approach to the game. Whether that’s a fair assessment of Herrera or not — we can’t fully know everything about their interaction from the outside — is sort of beside the point. He has to know by now that Mackanin is going to get after him for that stuff and he has to know that him not being in the game is neither good for the Phillies or for Herrera.

Are these growing pains or a signs of a growing problem? That, it would seem, is up to Odubel Herrera.

Video: Minor leaguer bounces a home run off of an outfielder’s head

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Jose Canseco hit 462 homers, was the 1986 Rookie of the Year, the 1988 MVP and played for 17 years in the big leagues, winning two World Series rings and making the playoffs five times. Yet he’s not remembered for any of that. At least not very often.

No, he’s remembered for his ignominy. For his role in participating in and, subsequently, exposing baseball’s PED-fueled world of the 1990s. For his continued insistence that he was blackballed by Major League Baseball and his continued attempts to play via the independent league route. For his crazy post-playing career antics in which he spent a few years tweeting about aliens, conspiracy theories and non-sequiturs of every stripe.

Mostly, though, people remember Canseco for one random play: the time he helped the Indians’ Carlos Martinez to a home run when a fly ball bounced off of Canseco’s head and over the wall back in 1993:

 

Well, Canseco now has a friend in infamy. That friend: Zach Borenstein of the Reno Aces, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate. Yesterday Borenstein pulled a Canseco on what should’ve been an Alex Verdugo F-9:

Borenstein’s glove may have gotten a piece of that — the announcer seemed to think so anyway — and I have a hard time figuring that his head would give it that much bounce. I mean, look how far he was from the wall! He wasn’t even to the warning track. That’s a serious assist.

Still: gonna rule this a Canseco anyway. It’s too good not to.