And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Mets 4, Braves 3: Good news: two solo homers for David Wright and five scoreless innings from the bullpen. Bad news: The reason the pen was needed for five innings is that Jon Neise had to leave the game with shoulder problems. Braves news: ugh, you guys have looked positively crappy of late.

Tigers 4, Red Sox 3: Down 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Jhonny Peralta hit a walkoff homer. Tigers players were then dispatched to the Red Sox clubhouse to teach Boston players how to cope with their bullpen failing them, seeing as they have so much experience in that area. It’s kind of like an Alanon mentor thing.

Nationals 5, Rockies 1: Roy Oswalt returns. Roy Oswalt strikes out 11 batters in five innings. Roy Oswalt also gives up four runs on nine hits, including an Ian Desmond homer and a two-run triple to Adam LaRoche. Which I have to go and see video of now, because Adam LaRoche is the slowest dude in baseball. I’m assuming the center fielder was eaten by a lion or a bear or something as he was going to field the ball and the other two outfielders stopped to render assistance, followed by a mourning period. When that was over and they had distributed the center fielder’s belongings to his friends and family and had taken a long road trip to clear their own heads and reflect on the loss of their teammate, one of them probably picked up the ball and threw it to third where they still probably just missed nailing LaRoche.

Pirates 5, Reds 3: A homer, double and single for Pedro Alvarez, who drove in all five Pirates runs. And there was a HBP in this game — Andrew McCutchen hit by Homer Bailey. A batter has been plunked in each of the ten games Cincinnati and Pittsburgh have played.

Twins 8, White Sox 4: The sweep. John Danks gave up four homers as part of a 12-hit, six run outing. Sheesh.

Rangers 4, Athletics 3: The Rangers take three of four from the A’s and pull to within a game in the west. This one ended with Josh Donaldson getting nailed at the plate on what would have been the game-tying run.

Astros 7, Brewers 4: Carlos Pena has been veteran presence, a good mentor and, given his poor .223/.332/.383 line, not much else for the Astros. Last night he provided something else, however, smacking a three-run walkoff homer in the tenth.

Cardinals 6, Cubs 1: Lance Lynn wins his tenth game of the year, allowing one run over six innings. Matt Holliday homered and had an RBI single.

Rays 8, Yankees 3: Two homers for Evan Longoria and three driven in overall to put him above 500 RBI for his career. The Yankees have lost seven of nine.

Padres 6, Dodgers 3: Pedro Ciriaco homered, tripled and drove in three. Yasiel Puig homered again, but at this point I presume he’s always gonna get his and that was more or less the only bright spot for L.A.

Marlins 2, Giants 1: Marcell Ozuna came in as a pinch hitter and smacked a two-run single to bring the Fish back from behind. Tom Koehler got his first career win and was given a beer shower after the game. He said “I smell like a bar … Other than the day I met my wife, this is probably the happiest moment of my life.” So … wedding was third?

Angels 10, Mariners 9: The Mariners jumped out to a 7-0 lead and had Felix Hernandez on the hill. I guess Hernandez doesn’t know what to do with that kind of run support because he ended up surrendering seven runs of his own on 12 hits in five innings as the Angels bullpen allowed only two runs in seven innings of their own after Tommy Hanson got knocked out of the box. Three RBI for Mark Trumbo.

Theo Epstein named The World’s Greatest Leader

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Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.

For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.

So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?

The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.

I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.

Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.

But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.

 

 

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.