Texas Rangers v Tampa Bay Rays

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Rays 6, Rangers 2: A homer and three RBI for Wil Myers as the Rays send the Rangers spiraling ever further into despair. Because the Indians lost too the Rangers didn’t fall out of the wild card slot, but they did fall out of the top spot, meaning that they’re now closer to falling out of the playoff picture than Tampa Bay is for now. The Orioles are two games back while the Yankees and Royals are both 2 1/2 games back.

Phillies 12, Marlins 2: Cliff Lee has correctly determined that the best way to win with the Phillies is to go all Baseball Bugs on the opposition. Fourteen strikeouts and four RBI by virtue of a  bases-loaded two-run single, an RBI triple, and another RBI single. That has to be some sort of combined awesomeness high water mark for a pitcher this season and maybe in several years. Oh, and Lee passed the 200 inning and 200 strikeout mark for the year too.

Padres 2, Pirates 0: Andrew Cashner with a one-hitter. It was a Maddux too, completed in fewer than 100 pitches. No walks. seven strikeouts. Simply dominant.

Rockies 6, Cardinals 2: But thankfully for the one-hit Pirates, the Cardinals lost too, keeping them tied with the Cardinals. Or maybe it was “thankfully for the Cardinals, the Pirates were one-hit.” I suppose you can take your pick. Anyway, Charlie Blackmon had three hits and drove in three runs for the Rockies.

White Sox 12, Twins 1: A seven run first inning for Chicago killed every incentive for folks back in Minnesota to watch. Assuming they had that incentive in the first place. Erik Johnson pitched six scoreless innings and got his first major league win.

Brewers 6, Cubs 1: Three hits including a two-run homer for Caleb Gindl.  Wily Peralta allowed only an unearned run in six innings while allowing five hits and striking out seven.

Tigers 4, Mariners 2: Rick Porcello struck out ten and won his 13th. At one point during this game the camera focused on Raul Ibanez. The girlfriend: “he looks like an old man.” Me: “Well, he is.” A few minutes later I got up off the couch, making all kinds of pained noises and walking funny and hunched because I painted a room on Sunday and by last night I was stiff all over. Meanwhile, Ibanez was running his butt off around third base and scoring a run. Old is relative.

Royals 7, Indians 1: The Indians lost a chance to slide into wild card position. Of course, given what Texas is doing lately — and given that the Royals are the Indians’ toughest opponents for the remainder of the year — they have time.

Reds 6, Astros 1: Jonny Cueto is back and he pitched five scoreless innings. Next outing will be a bigger test, though, as he will presumably face major leaguer hitters. Zack Cozart homered and drove in four.

Diamondbacks 2, Dodgers 1:  The Dodgers continue their late season slide. They’re lucky to have all kinds of sliding room — win the next two against these Dbacks and they clinch — but they don’t look like the juggernaut of summer. Hey, at least they’re giving maximum effort, though. Paul Goldschmidt with another homer.

Angels 12, Athletics 1: Jarrod Parker’s unbeaten streak ends as he takes his first loss since May 22. C.J. Wilson won his 17th and he himself is now unbeaten in his last 13 starts. Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo each hit homers in the eighth.

Braves vs. Nationals: POSTPONED: I guess there’s just a meanness in this world.

Yordano Ventura represented the best and worst of baseball’s culture

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
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It was reported this morning that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. Former prospect Andy Marte was also killed in a separate car accident. Along with Jose Fernandez and Oscar Taveras, the baseball world has lost a lot of young, exciting talent in a very short amount of time.

Ventura was, like all of us, a complex human being. At his best, he was an exciting, talented, emotive pitcher who featured an electric fastball which sat in the mid-90’s and occasionally touched 100 MPH. At his worst, he was an immature, impressionable kid trying to fit in by exacting revenge against batters he felt had wronged him by slinging those electric fastballs at vulnerable areas of their bodies.

Baseball needed Ventura when he was at his best. It is players like him and Fernandez, not Mike Trout, that bring in new fans to the sport. To baseball die-hards, Angels outfielder Mike Trout is the pinnacle of entertainment because we know he’s an otherworldly talent. But to the average fan, Trout is just another player who hits a couple of homers and doesn’t do anything particularly interesting otherwise. Trout is milquetoast. Ventura was never an All-Star, but fans knew who he was because he made his presence felt every time he made a start. He was fun, if sometimes vengeful.

Ventura’s baseball rap sheet is rather lengthy for someone who only pitched parts of four seasons in the big leagues. Early in the 2015 season, Ventura found himself in a handful of benches-clearing incidents in quick succession. On April 12, he jawed with Trout, apparently misunderstanding the motivation behind Trout yelling, “Let’s go!” Though catcher Salvador Perez intervened, Trout’s teammate Albert Pujols ran in from second base and the benches cleared shortly thereafter. On the 18th, some drama between the Athletics and Royals continued. Ventura fired a 99 MPH fastball at Brett Lawrie, resulting in his immediate ejection from the game. More beanball wars ensued in the series finale the following day. Finally, on the 23rd, Ventura hit White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu with a 99 MPH fastball in the fourth inning. Ventura was not ejected… until after the completion of the seventh inning. Walking back to the dugout, Ventura barked at White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton and — you guessed it — the benches cleared. All told, Ventura was fined for his behavior with the Athletics and suspended seven games for the White Sox incident.

In August 2015, Ventura called Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista a “nobody” and accused him of stealing signs. He apologized shortly thereafter. Two months later, during his start in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, Ventura got into it with Jays first base coach Tim Leiper. Nothing happened beyond that, but apparently it was part of the Jays’ plan to try to put Ventura “on tilt.”

Most recently, in June this past season, Ventura hit Orioles third baseman Manny Machado with a pitch. Machado charged the mound and got in at least one punch before the players spilled out onto the field in a blob of royal blue and orange. Ventura was suspended for eight games.

Ventura was by no means a model of civility, but he was a product of baseball’s intransigent culture forcing players to assimilate or be ostracized. The old culture taught players to never show emotion. Hit a home run? Put your head down and circle the bases in a timely fashion or risk taking a fastball to the ribs. Players like Fernandez and Bautista — typically players from Latin countries — challenged those old cultural norms and are, as a result, the vanguard of the new culture. Ventura displayed aspects of each, the worst of the old culture and the best of the new. He was not a one-dimensional person; he was strikingly complex. At one moment willing to use a fastball as a weapon, the next stopping by some kids’ lemonade stand and giving out fist bumps. Baseball is made more entertaining and more interesting by its personalities and Ventura’s was a behemoth, for better or worse. His absence from the sport will be felt.

MLB remembers Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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Following the tragic passing of 25-year-old Yordano Ventura and 33-year-old Andy Marte, both of whom were killed in separate car crashes on Sunday morning, players and executives from around Major League Baseball expressed an outpouring of grief and support for the players’ families and former teams.

Fans have gathered at Kauffman Stadium in memory of the former pitcher.