Kansas City Royals v New York Yankees

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights


Yankees 8, Royals 4: Jeter returns. And got a hit! And an RBI! And scored a run! And left with a strained quadricep! Oy vey.

Braves 6, Reds 5: Freddie Freeman wins the Final Vote than goes out and has himself a nice night (3 for 4, 4 RBI). Bad news, though: Jason Heyward left with a strained hamstring.

Phillies 3, Nationals 1: And the Phillies take three of four from the Nats. This after winning series against the Braves and Pirates. Now they have the White Sox leading up to the break. It feels like they’re doing better. They’re not gaining much ground on Atlanta, however. They’ve been back eight or nine games at times this year, but 7.5 games back is basically where they’ve been hovering forever now. It’s hard to dig out of a hole.

Indians 4, Blues Jays 2: Rookie Danny Salazar was most impressive, pitching six innings while allowing only one run on two hits and striking out seven. He’s proof that you can ply your trade in Columbus, Ohio and then, one day, make it to the big time.

Rays 4, Twins 3: That’s eight straight for the streaking Rays. And the 13th win of the year for Matt Moore, who struck out ten in seven and a third innings. Luke Scott, who has been hot in his own right of late, hit a homer.

Cubs 3, Cardinals 0: The good Edwin Jackson showed up and tossed seven shutout innings. All three of the Cubs runs were batted in by Anthony Rizzo. Matt Holliday joined Jason Heyward in the left-the-game-early-because-of-a-hamstring club.

Diamondbacks 5, Brewers 3: Wade Miley gave the snakes what they needed: a long outing following a 14-inning game. He pitched eight and the Diamondbacks snapped their three-game skid.

White Sox 6, Tigers 3: There was some bench-clearing action after some purpose pitches but nothing too chippy went down. Josh Phegley hit a grand slam and Chris Sale finally broke his string of winless starts, getting the first real run support he’s had in a dog’s age.

Dodgers 6, Rockies 1: The Dodgers are now above .500 after Chris Capuano tossed six shutout innings and Mark Ellis drove in four. That’s 16 of 20 for the men in blue. Well, mostly white with a splash of blue. There’s a touch of red in there too. The men in blue are umpires, really. Although I think it’s way more black these days than blue. Man, it’s hard to keep track of such things.

Red Sox 8, Mariners 7: Seattle took a 5-1 lead but the Sox came back and eventually forced extras. This is not to be confused with Tuesday’s game in which they also found themselves down 5-1 and won.

Giants 4, Padres 2: Madison Bumgarner: stopper. For the third straight time he came out with the Giants on a four-game losing streak and won. I guess when your team is terrible overall it’s easier to be seen as a “stopper.” Pitch for the Cardinals or Red Sox or something and there isn’t all that much to stop.

Orioles 3, Rangers 1: Chris Davis hit his 34th homer and drove in his 86th run. His home run snapped an 0 for 17 slump. He went on to strike out twice after the homer, though.

Game 2 is going to be the poster child for pace of play arguments this winter

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 26:  Zach McAllister #34 of the Cleveland Indians is relieved by manager Terry Francona during the fifth inning against the Chicago Cubs in Game Two of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on October 26, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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In August, it was reported that Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred would like to implement pitch clocks, like those in use in the minor leagues for the past two seasons, to improve the pace-of-play at the major league level. You can bet that last night’s Game 2 will be the lead argument he uses against those who would oppose the move.

The game was moved up an hour in order to get it in before an impending storm. By the time the rain finally started falling the game had been going on for three hours and thirty-three minutes. It should’ve been over before the first drop fell, but in all it lasted four hours and four minutes. It ended in, thankfully, only a light rain. The longest nine-inning game in postseason history happened a mere two weeks ago, when the Dodgers and Nationals played for four hours and thirty two minutes. There thirteen pitchers were used. Last night ten pitchers were used. Either way, the postseason games are dragging on even for those of us who don’t mind devoting four+ hours of our night to baseball. It is likely putting off more casual fans just tuning in for the Fall Classic.

It’s not all just dawdling, however. Yes, the pitchers worked slowly and a lot of pitching changes took place, but strikeouts, walks and the lack of balls in play contribute to longer games as well. We saw this both last night and in Game 1, which was no brisk affair despite each starting pitcher looking sharp and not working terribly slowly. Twenty-four strikeouts on Tuesday night had a lot to do with that. Last night featured 20 strikeouts and thirteen — thirteen! — walks. It’s not just that the games are taking forever; the very thing causing them to drag feature baseball’s least-kinetic forms of excitement.

But no matter what the cause for the slower play was — and here it was a combination of laboring pitchers, the lack of balls in play and, of course, the longer commercial breaks in the World Series — Manfred is likely to hold Game 2 up as Exhibit A in his efforts to push through some rules changes to improve game pace and game time. So far, the centerpiece of those efforts is the pitch clock, which has proven to be successful and pretty non-controversial in the minor leagues. It would not surprise me one bit if, at this year’s Winter Meetings in Washington, a rule change in that regard is widely discussed.

Kyle Schwarber is the feel-good story of the 2016 postseason


Most baseball fans and even the Cubs had resigned themselves to most likely not seeing Kyle Schwarber in game action until spring training next year after he suffered a gruesome knee injury in a collision with teammate Dexter Fowler back in early April. Schwarber suffered a fully-torn ACL and LCL in his left leg.

To the surprise of everyone, including manager Joe Maddon, Schwarber was cleared by doctors to play if the Cubs wanted to put him on the World Series roster. So they did. And, boy, are they glad they did it. In preparation, Schwarber saw over 1,000 pitches from machines and pitchers in the Arizona Fall League.

Schwarber essentially crammed for the final exam and unlike most students who do it, it has panned out well thus far. No one was expecting him to look outstanding against Indians ace Corey Kluber in Game 1, but in his first at-bat — his first in the majors since suffering the injury in April — Schwarber worked a 3-1 count before eventually being retired on strikes. Schwarber came back up in the fourth and drilled a Kluber sinker to right field for a two-out double.

In the seventh inning, facing one of the American League’s two scariest left-handed relievers in Andrew Miller, Schwarber worked a full count before drawing a walk. During the regular season, Miller walked exactly one lefty batter. Schwarber made it two. Schwarber would face Miller again in the eighth, going ahead 2-1 before ultimately striking out. He finished 1-for-3 with a walk and a double in the Cubs’ 6-0 loss. Considering the circumstances, that’s amazing.

Schwarber continued his great approach in Game 2 in what turned out to be a 5-1 victory. He struck out against Trevor Bauer in the first inning, but returned to the batter’s box in the third inning and singled up the middle to knock in the Cubs’ second run. Schwarber made it 3-0 in the fifth when he singled up the middle again, this time off of Bryan Shaw, to make it 3-0. Facing Danny Salazar in the sixth, Schwarber drew a four-pitch walk to put runners on first and second base with two outs. Finally, he struck out against Dan Otero in his eighth-inning at-bat, finishing the evening 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles and a walk.

But now, as the Cubs return to Chicago for World Series Games 3, 4, and 5 at Wrigley Field, they have to contest with National League rules, a.k.a. no DH. Will Maddon risk Schwarber’s subpar defense to put his dangerous bat in the lineup? Even if Schwarber is not put in the starting lineup, he can at least serve as a dangerous bat off the bench late in the game when the Indians send out their trio of relievers in Shaw, Miller, and closer Cody Allen. At any rate, what Schwarber has done already in the first two games of the World Series is mighty impressive.