And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 5, Cardinals 2: That was somewhat unexpected. A less-than-dominant Braves team sweeps the best team in the National League. The key was Kris Medlen allowing two runs on eight hits. The key all series was good starting pitching from the Braves. So of course the big talking point everyone has is how Jason Heyward hit leadoff, as if that made all the difference.

Dodgers 1, Reds 0:  I was gonna say “1968 called and wants its game back,” but in 1968 this would have ended with a bunt single, a passed ball, a steal of third and then a sac fly. As it was we had eleven innings of shutout ball for Dodgers pitchers. Ten innings of shutout ball for Reds pitchers and 20 strikeouts too. Then Yasiel Puig ended it with a walkoff homer. A lot of people would call this game a drag. This is something close to ideal for me.

Tigers 12, Phillies 4: Eight run difference, eight unearned runs allowed by the Phillies. All in one inning. Eight losses in a row. At the moment the Phillies are dog poop in a paper bag placed on a doorstep and lit on fire. Someone is stepping on it and its a big mess because it’s dog poop in a bag that’s on fire, see, and that’s what you do and oh my good what a stinky fiery mess these Phillies are.

Marlins 3, Pirates 2: Jose Ferenandez struck out 13. Seventy-four of his 97 pitches were for strikes. Man this kid is good.

Indians 6, Rangers 0: The second straight shutout for the Indians over the Rangers. Ubaldo Jimenez did the heavy lifting here, allowing only two hits over eight innings. The sweep for Cleveland and four straight overall. The Indians were supposed to have a lot of questions marks in the pitching department this year — and they are just below league average in runs allowed per game — but they lead all of baseball with 14 shutouts.

Nationals 14, Mets 1: The first game of that doubleheader on Friday was a disaster, but the next three were pretty spiffy. They held the Mets to three runs in those three games and yesterday saw this offensive explosion. Wilson Ramos with a grand slam.

Yankees 6, Rays 5: Welcome back Derek Jeter. The Captain homered in his first at bat following his time off for the quad injury and five innings of scoreless bullpen work saved Phil Hughes’ bacon.

Cubs 2, Giants 1: Travis Wood did it all. One unearned run over seven and a 2 for 3 day at the plate with a run driven in. The Cubbies sweep the Giants, who are now in last place, ten games back. If it makes anyone feel better they have the second best record of any last place team in baseball. Hmm, that doesn’t make anyone feel better? Welp.

Blue Jays 2, Astros 1: it was a rough day until the ninth inning for Colby Rasmus, but then he drove in Emilio Bonifacio with a game-winning single. Not a bad year for Rasmus. Pretty good one in fact, after it looked like he had hit a developmental dead end these past couple of seasons.

Rockies 6, Brewers 5: Troy Tulowitzki homered and doubled, helping the Rockies come from behind after the bullpen Rockied all over itself. Michael Cuddyer, Dexter Fowler and Corey Dickerson also homered.

Red Sox 5, Orioles 0: David Ortiz went 4 for 4 and managed not to destroy any inanimate objects this time. Jon Lester looked like April-vintage Lester and the Sox win the series and regain first place. It was their first series win over Baltimore in two years.

Padres 1, Diamondbacks 0: One run in the first was all Patrick Corbin allowed, but that was one more than Tyson Ross and Huston Street did. Ross tossed eight shutout innings, allowing only three hits.

Royals 4, White Sox 2: A two-run homer for Alex Gordon in the 12th proved to be the game-winner. That’s six straight for Kansas City, which pulls them up to .500. They are seven games back in the central and five back in the wild card. I don’t personally think they have the mojo to move up more than this, but if they do it would be a humdinger, wouldn’t it?

Athletics 10, Angels 6: Yoenis Cespedes drives in four, shaking off the rust and pain from the All-Star break and the Home Run Derby. Oakland now has a six game lead in the west. That’s their biggest margin of the year. And in years, in fact.

Mariners 6, Twins 4: Nick Franklin with two homers, giving him ten on the year to go along with his line of .277/.340/.492. Not too shabby for a guy who didn’t make his debut until late May.

The umps have dropped their Ian Kinsler protest

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Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union —  launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.

Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:

“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”

As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.

I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.

 

Minor league teams prepare for a “total eclipse of the park”

Salem Volcanoes
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The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are a class-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Today, the path of totality of the big solar eclipse we’re not supposed to look at will pass right through the ballpark in which they play. What’s better: the Volcanoes are playing a game against the Hillsboro Hops as it happens.

This was by design: the team’s owner requested this home game when the schedule was made up two years ago specifically to market the heck out of the eclipse. They’re starting the game at 9:30 this morning, Pacific time, in order to maximize the fun. Spectators will receive commemorative eclipse safety glasses to wear. The game will be delayed when the eclipse hits and a NASA scientist named Noah Petro, who is from the area, will talk to the crowd about what is going on.

Salem-Keizer isn’t the only minor league game affected, by the way. There are six games in all which will feature a “total eclipse of the park.” Turn around, bright eyes.

There are no home MLB games going on in the path of totality, but MLB has put together a helpful guide in order to maximize your baseball and eclipse pleasure. If you line up some good beer with that you’l have your very own national pastime syzygy.