Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Mets 5, Phillies 0: It’s getting close to the time for us to break out all of that “we are all witnesses” kind of hyperbole for Matt Harvey. Not that it’s really hyperbole. He’s simply toying with hitters at this point, throwing ungodly stuff in just about every count. Seven innings, three hits, ten strikeouts, no walks and if it wasn’t for the heat he wouldn’t have broken a sweat.

Brewers 1, Marlins 0: Caleb Gindl with the walkoff homer in the 13th. Not gonna lie: never heard of that dude before I clicked this box score. If you had asked me who Caleb Gindel was yesterday afternoon I would’ve guessed that he was lawful-good ranger in some D&D campaign involving some high school kids which has been going on for about a year or so. The kid who plays the ranger isn’t that into it, but he’s crushing hard on the girl who plays the halfling magic user so he plays every week. Sad part for poor Caleb is that no matter how much he tries to protect her, she’s really into the DM. You know, that kid who just got big into Society for Creative Anachronism and is making his own armor and stuff? And the worst part is, that kid sees all of this and tailors the campaign in such a way as to make Caleb look like a yutz at every turn. And he’s not even into the halfling! He’s just being a dick. All I’m saying is that it’s complicated. And that, um, I have no experience with anything like this whatsoever. Nope. Anyway: it’s now been 11 days since I’ve written an ATH in which I had to put a number next to the Marlins score. OK, that’s a bit misleading as they did score runs during the weekend before the All-Star break, but man, they are rolling 1s and 2s when attacking and are missing all of their saving throws.

Rays 4, Blue Jays 3: A three game sweep for the Rays whose roll was not disrupted by the All-Star break one bit. Homers for Luke Scott, Evan Longoria and Kelly Johnson. Tampa Bay has won 13 of 14 and now face the Sox with first place in the AL East on the line.

White Sox 3, Braves 1: Lots of leather here. Casper Wells robbed Reed Johnson of a homer in the eighth. Jeff Keppinger had a diving stop. Johnson smacked a liner that was snagged by Alexi Ramirez, who doubled off Brian McCann. Tons of missed chances and stranded runners for the Braves. Tons of nice plays for the Sox, who took two of three.

Pirates 3, Reds 2: Weird aggregate pitching lines: Pirates pitchers allowed only three hits but they walked seven. Meanwhile Homer Bailey struck out 12 in six and a third yet got the loss. It’s the last time the Reds and Pirates meet until September. They finish the year playing six of their last nine against each other.

Tigers 4, Royals 1: I watched Miguel Cabrera hit his first inning homer off James Shields. It’s cute how pitchers think they can bust him inside. But you know what? You really can’t. He just pulls his hands in and jacks that mother. There’s really no one like him in that regard in the game right now. Tigers avoid the sweep.

Dodgers 9, Nationals 2: Matt Kemp came back off the DL, kicked some butt, hitting a homer, a double and driving in three, got hurt on the base paths and my guess is that he’ll go back on the DL. I imagine 50 years from now they’ll be calling that “pulling a Matt Kemp.” Dodgers sweep the Nats.

Indians 7, Twins 1: Justin Masterson took a no-hitter into the seventh, having faced the minimum (his one baserunner was a hit batsmaen who was then caught stealing). A bloop single broke it up but such is the way of the world.

Mariners 12, Astros 5: The M’s are hot, having won six in a row. Nick Franklin hit a grand slam and Felix Hernandez did Felix Hernandez things (6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 7K).

Cardinals 3, Padres 2: Adam Wainwright went eight innings and picked up his 13th win. I looked at the box score for this game and noticed that the lineup Mike Matheny used yesterday had OBP’s of .399, .384, .376, .346, .359 in the 1-5 slots.

Athletics 6, Angels 0: Per ESPN: Bartolo Colon is the first pitcher over the age of 40 to have more than one shutout in a season since Randy Johnson did it in 2004. Per a Twitter search for “Bartlo Colon steroids” people on Twitter aren’t all that impressed. No matter: dude is on pace for 21 wins and 225 innings pitched.

Diamondbacks 3, Giants 1: The Dbacks avoid the sweep — holding off an error-and-infield-single-driven would-be ninth inning rally by the Giants — and just barely hold on to their lead in the NL West.

Rockies 4, Cubs 3: Tyler Chatwood tossed six decent innings. Nolan Arenado drove in the go-ahead run on a sixth inning single and an insurance run scored on the same play via a throwing error.

Orioles 4 vs. Rangers 2: I talked to Chris Tillman for a bit at the All-Star Game. No other media member was talking to him. I asked him if he was cool with more or less being ignored. He said “Yep, that’s good for me. I like it that way just fine.” Here he allowed two runs in eight innings and got the win. And probably had to answer questions about that from the press, the poor sod.

Red Sox 8, Yankees 7: Mike Napoli with a walkoff homer in the 11th. It was bookended with his three-run shot in the third. The Yankees can take a moral victory away having scored seven runs, right? No? Eh, well, OK. But it was something seeing them score seven runs.

Collins worried David Wright might go on disabled list

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
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NEW YORK (AP) Mets manager Terry Collins is worried David Wright may wind up on the disabled list because of a neck injury.

New York’s captain and third baseman was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day Monday because of his neck. He was given anti-inflammatory medicine over the weekend.

Now 33, Wright was on the disabled list from April 15 to Aug. 24 last year when he strained his right hamstring and then developed spinal stenosis. He has a lengthy physical therapy routine he must go through before each game.

“With the condition he’s been playing in and the condition he’s in right now, yeah, I’m concerned about it,” Collins said Monday. “Is it going to happen? I can’t tell you. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. I know this guy plays with a lot of discomfort. He always has. And when he can’t play, he’s hurt.”

Wright homered in three straight games last week before getting hurt. He is batting .226 with seven homers, 14 RBIs and 55 strikeouts in 137 at-bats.

Settling the Scores: Memorial Day edition

ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 21:  American flags are shown after being placed by members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment at the graves of U.S. soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in preparation for Memorial Day May 21, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. "Flags-In" has become an annual ceremony since the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) was designated to be an Army's official ceremonial unit in 1948  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died in military service. At some point in the past couple of decades, however, it has become an all-purpose flag-waving, patriotism-declaring, civilians-in-camouflage holiday. It’s understandable why this is the case. We, as a country, haven’t always done mourning well. I think it’s part of our national cultural DNA that we don’t and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make days like this difficult.

I feel like the flag-waving and troop-supporting stuff is some sort of subconscious reaction to death. It’s our way of instantly trying to justify those deaths or to explain how they were not in vain, much the same way we might tell someone upon the death of a loved one that they’re in a better place or that they had a full life. Feeling the pain of loss is hard. We want to soften it in any way we can and make our pain serve a larger, better purpose. And so we get today, when Major League Baseball puts its players in camouflage caps and in jerseys with camouflage logos. They’ll sell them too, with proceeds going to good and noble veterans charities. The intent is noble and the ultimate effect of it all is beneficial. But it’s also a little beside the point. Maybe not beside the point as much as mattress sales or big celebratory barbecues which have come to characterize Memorial Day for so many, but still not exactly the purpose of the holiday.

I don’t condemn it. As I wrote last year, the men and women who actually fought and died in wars were hoping that they were, ultimately, making a better and happier world for those they left behind. And they no doubt hoped, among everything else they hoped, that others didn’t have to face what they were facing. They wanted our lives to be happy and our country to be safe and part of a happy and safe country involves 300 million people doing whatever it is they damn please, even if it’s just having barbecues and wearing camo at the ballpark.

I won’t say have a happy Memorial Day because that seems odd. Have any kind of Memorial Day you want, really, even if it includes barbecuing, drinking beer and wearing a cam ballcap. But as you do, please make sure you take some time to think about those who died in military service. And remember that they didn’t get to have as many days like the one you’re having as they were meant to have. And make at least some effort to offset your happy, patriotic or silly pursuits with some mourning and reflectiveness. It’s OK for that to stand on its own.

The scores:

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3
Orioles 6, Indians 4
Yankees 2, Rays 1
Nationals 10, Cardinals 2
Brewers 5, Reds 4
Royals 5, White Sox 4
Cubs 7, Phillies 2
Rangers 6, Pirates 2
Astros 8, Angels 6
Athletics 4, Tigers 2
Twins 5, Mariners 4
Giants 8, Rockies 3
Diamondbacks 6, Padres 3
Marlins 7, Braves 3
Dodgers 4, Mets 2

 

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: