St Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh Pirates - Game Two

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

90 Comments

Pirates 2, Cardinals 1; Pirates 6, Cardinals 0: First. Place. Pirates. And the best record in baseball. A walkoff in the opener and a beatdown in the nightcap. Six straight losses by the reeling Cardinals, who lost Yadier Molina to the DL on top of it all. And maybe — just maybe — the end to the now-silly “are the Pirates for real?” talk.

Rangers 14, Angels 11: 1998 called and said it wants its final score back. Angels fans called and wants that last pitch from Daniel Stange back. The one he tossed to Leonys Martin, who hit the walkoff three-run homer.

Phillies 7, Giants 3: Philly finally wins a game, breaking their eight-game losing streak. Look for Ruben Amaro to give quotes today about how they are now competitive, followed by long-term contract extensions to Delmon and Michael Young and a trade for Vernon Wells.

Tigers 5, Nationals 1: Alex Avila hit a grand slam. But the biggest hit of the night came from Dave Dombrowski picking up Jose Iglesias as part of the Jake Peavy trade. He’s gonna look awfully good at short for the Tigers. Rick Porcello and Doug Fister may go and pick him up at the airport, actually.

Braves 11, Rockies 3: Two homers for Freddie Freeman as the Braves extend their division lead to a whopping ten games. Note: the Braves have not lost a game since they opened a Waffle House at Turner Field. This is a simple fact.

Dodgers 3, Yankees 2: Mark Ellis with the walkoff single. He’s hitting .415 with a homer and eight RBIs since the break. The Dodgers extended their NL West lead to three and a half games.

Orioles 4, Astros 3: Chris Davis hit his first homer since the All-Star break. If you believe some of my commenters and friends on Twitter, this is clear evidence that he stopped using steroids at the break and began again yesterday afternoon at, oh, 4pm. People are dumb.

Indians 7, White Sox 4: A four-run eighth inning keyed by a Ryan Raburn pinch hit RBI single. The Indians have won nine in a row at home.

Red Sox 8, Mariners 2: Brandon Workman gets his first win, striking out nine in six innings of work, on the night that the Sox pick up Jake Peavy.  Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run homer.

Mets 4, Marlins 2: Zack Wheeler took a no-hitter into the seventh but he allowed the Fish to tie it up that inning. The bullpen held after that, however, and John Buck hit an RBI single in the 10th to win it.

Rays 5, Diamondbacks 2: Fauxsto Caromona pitched a complete game and Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar each drove in a pair. Tampa Bay maintains its half-game lead in the AL East.

Brewers 6, Cubs 5Brewers 3, Cubs 2: Brewers sweep the twin-bill. Glad of that actually. Not for them, really, but that one of the teams won both games. As I’ve been saying for years, there is little more pointless in the world than a split doubleheader between non-contending teams. Inquiring about its significance is like a philosophical question from a depressed philosopher.

Royals 7, Twins 2: Two homers from Mike Moustakas and seven solid innings from the now apparently not-selling Kansas City Royals. Seven back in the Central and five back in the wild card race.

Blue Jays 5, Athletics 0: Mark Buehrle with seven shutout innings, extending his scoreless innings streak to 20.  Jose Bautista and Emilio Bonifacio each homered.

Padres 4, Reds 2: That’s five straight losses for the Reds, who need to get the heck back home. Nick Hundley’s two-run double in the eighth made the difference. Will Venable went 3 for 3 with a walk, a run scored and an RBI.

It’s trade deadline day, babies. Keep it locked on HBT and you won’t miss a thing.

Today is the anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s Iron Man streak ending

ADVANCE FOR USE MONDAY, MARCH 31 AND THEREAFTER - FILE - In this Oct. 5, 1938 file photo, New York Yankees' Lou Gehrig scores the first run of the 1938 World Series against the Chicago Cubs as he crosses home plate in the second inning of Game 1 at Wrigley Field in Chicago. A dozen years before Babe Ruth’s famed ‘Called Shot,’ teammate Lou Gehrig hit an equally dramatic homer. Gehrig was 17 when his high school team traveled to Chicago to take on a Chicago team. In the bottom of the ninth, with two outs and his team down 8-6, Gehrig hit a ball over wall and onto Sheffield Avenue to win the game. The historic ballpark will celebrate it's 100th anniversary on April 23, 2014. (AP Photo/File)
Associated Press
3 Comments

Today is a significant baseball anniversary. On this day in 1939 Lou Gehrig asked out of the lineup as the Yankees played the Tigers in Detroit. It both ended his Iron Man Streak at 2,130, but also marked the beginning of Gehrig’s very public acknowledgement of ALS, the disease which would come to bear his name. Gehrig would never play again.

While it was clear that Gehrig’s body was betraying him and his baseball skills were abandoning him in the first few games of the 1939 season, some say the ultimate impetus for Gehrig asking out of the lineup happened earlier that day. The story goes that Gehrig collapsed on the grand staircase of the Book-Cadillac hotel where the Yankees were staying and that later, as he sat in the hotel bar, he told manager Joe McCarthy that he couldn’t play anymore.

The Book-Cadillac is still there. It deteriorated over the years and then was renovated. It’s a Westin now — the Westin Book-Cadillac. It’s a wonderful hotel and the bar area still has much of its old charm, but the grand staircase is gone, replaced with a couple of escalators. I stay there whenever I’m in Detroit. I’m friends with one of the Book-Cadillac’s bartenders and I try to see him whenever I’m there. When I sit in that bar I often wonder if Gehrig sat near where I was, telling McCarthy that he just couldn’t do it anymore. There are a lot of ghosts in Detroit. Gehrig’s is mostly in New York, but there’s a little bit of him in Detroit too.

Cal Ripken would later break Gehrig’s record. I doubt anyone breaks Cal’s. But in some cases the record holders are less interesting than those who were surpassed.

More talk of a juiced ball

VIERA, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Washington Nationals practice balls  during spring training workouts on February 18, 2014 in Viera, Fl.  (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
12 Comments

At the end of March we linked a story from Rob Arthur and Ben Lindbergh at FiveThirtyEight which sought to figure out why home run rates have spiked. Their theory was that it was either randomness or a juiced ball. They tested baseballs and found no evidence of a different ball, so that seems to have ended that.

Except it didn’t end it because, as so often is the case in the early part of a season, we are seeing some statistical, well, let’s just call it “interestingness” and people don’t like to let such interestingness go. To that end Yahoo’s Jeff Passan — acknowledging the Lindbergh/Arthur study — asks once again if the balls are funky.

It’s all based on exit velocity of baseballs, which Passan notes has spiked. He doesn’t come to any conclusions — just not enough data — but the very act of asking the question in a column and Passan’s acknowledgment that he sounds like a conspiracy theorist tell you that that’s his hunch. And it could be the case. I still think the ball got juiced in 1987 and again, on a more permanent basis, in 1993, but there’s no evidence to really support that. Just one of those “can’t think of anything better” sort of situations.

For now, though, it’s May 2. And I suspect that for as long as there have been May 2nds in a baseball season, people have looked at the stats and suspected something weird was afoot. Maybe something weird is afoot. We just can’t really know.

A-Rod knows how to keep his bat dry

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez watches his RBI single during the first inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday, April 19, 2016, at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
6 Comments

Alex Rodriguez had a big night in a losing effort last night. He homered and drove in four. In the past week or so he’s raised his average over 50 points and may be finally shaking off the offseason rust. When you’re over 40 it takes you longer to do everything.

But even if it takes his reflexes some time to get up to speed, you can never take away the knowledge and experience of a savvy veteran with a high baseball I.Q. For example, whether he’s hitting or not, the man knows that it’s important to keep your bat dry on a rainy night:

Sean Burnett opts out of his Dodgers deal, to sign with the Braves

Washington Nationals relief pitcher Sean Burnett walks off the mound after being pulled during the eighth inning in Game 2 of baseball's National League division series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
2 Comments

In early April the Dodgers agreed to a minor league contract with pitcher Sean Burnett after he didn’t make the Washington Nationals’ roster out of spring training. He was assigned to Triple-A Oklahoma City. As is usually the case, veterans like him have an opt-out if they don’t make the big club after a certain amount of time, and Burnett has opt-ed out, realizing that he’s likely not in the Dodgers’ plans.

But he could be in the Braves’ plans. They stink on ice. Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that he’s signing with them and will report to Triple-A Gwinnett tomorrow.

Burnett, 33, hasn’t appeared in the majors since he pitched three games for the Angels in 2014 and hasn’t pitched regularly in the bigs since 2012. Tommy John surgery will do that to a guy. He did toss eight and two-thirds scoreless innings for the Nationals during spring training and has allowed only two earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings of relief work for Oklahoma City. There may still be something there. Innings will need to be eaten in Atlanta this year. Burnett may be able to eat them.