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.

Who should win the manager of the year awards? Who Will?

PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 15:  Manager Dave Roberts #30 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on from the dougout during the seventh inning of a MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on July 15, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
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With the regular season ending on Sunday and most of the playoff spots locked up, there’s really only one big thing left to argue about: postseason awards. So let’s spend some time looking at who should win each of the four major awards and who will win them. Which are often totally different things. Next up: The Manager of the Year Awards

The Manager of the Year Award is pretty dumb. Numbers aren’t everything in any award, but there are literally zero numbers that gauge a manager’s effectiveness or performance apart from wins and losses and wins and losses are mostly a function of talent on the roster, for which the manager is not responsible. This is not to say managers aren’t important. Of course they are! They make important decisions every day and keep the clubhouse running smoothly and that’s important. It just so happens to be unquantifiable and subject to anecdote and projection.

For instance, Matt Williams won the Manager of the Year Award with he Nationals in 2014. He was run out of town on a rail in 2015. Did he suddenly forget how to manage? Or did he never really know but was blessed with good fortune and better players the year before?

Joe Maddon won the award last year, in large part because the Cubs outperformed expectations. This year the Cubs are the best team around. But everyone expected them to be because of all that talent! Does that mean that Maddon’s 2015 award was fraudulent? The product of poor expectations assessment on behalf of the media? At the same time, there’s a pretty strong vibe that he won’t win it this year, so are we to say that winning between 101 and 104 games is . . . a worse job than last year? Don’t even get me started on arguments that Bruce Bochy somehow became a lesser manager this year, because I suspect — and bear with me on this — something else is going on with the Giants.

Manager of the Year has always been about narratives and expectations of people on the outside looking in who nonetheless purport to know how the manager performed his job in the most inside baseball kinds of ways. It’s poppycock. It may as well be the Golden Globes.

So, rather than just break it down the way we did the other awards, let’s just thrown this out like the big mess that it is:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Bill and Ashley say that Terry Francona should be the American League Manager of the Year. Bill’s reasoning: “The Indians went essentially the whole year without Michael Brantley and their pitching staff imploded in September. Francona deserves a lot of credit for holding the team together.”

Hey, works for me too! Let’s give it to Tito. Even if we can tell a compelling story about John Farrell and the Red Sox and even if Brian Banister, the reigning AL Manager of the Year, improved by anywhere from 6-9 games in the standings this year over last in a division most people thought the Astros would win.

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Bill says Dusty Baker, arguing that “The Nationals had all kinds of bullpen issues and Stephen Strasburg wasn’t able to pitch the final two months of the season. They could’ve easily folded but they didn’t, and I think that’s a reflection on Baker.”

Ashley says Dave Roberts. She didn’t give me her reasoning, but I bet she’d agree with me if I said “The Nationals Dodgers had all kinds of bullpen rotation issues and Stephen Strasburg Clayton Kershaw wasn’t able to pitch for two months of the season. They could’ve easily folded but they didn’t, and I think that’s a reflection on Baker Roberts.” You could throw in some stuff about how Yasiel Puig was managed by Roberts (i.e. better, though his come-to-Jesus demotion may have been the front office’s doing). I think I’ll go with Roberts, simply because I feel like it’d be bad precedent to give it to a Nationals manager every even numbered year simply because that dang franchise is inconsistent.

What about the Cubs? Here’s Bill again:

I considered Joe Maddon of the Cubs, but the team was so good I think the Cubs could’ve had a kitten manage the team to a playoff berth.

I say we give it to a kitten. Kittens are the best.

Who Should win the Rookie of the Year Awards? Who Will?

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 05:  Corey Seager #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to his three run homerun for a 6-0 lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fifth inning at Dodger Stadium on September 5, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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With the regular season ending on Sunday and most of the playoff spots locked up, there’s really only one big thing left to argue about: postseason awards. So let’s spend some time looking at who should win each of the four major awards and who will win them. Which are often totally different things. Next up: The Rookie of the Year Awards

This is a whole heck of a lot easier than the MVP and Cy Young Awards, that’s for sure. It’s a two horse race in the AL and a one-horse race in the NL.

Who should win the AL Rookie of the Year Award?

It seemed like Tigers starter Michael Fulmer would be the no-brainer choice for a good long while, as his low ERA and solid performance helped carry the Tigers when their starting pitching wasn’t doing them any favors. But then the Yankees called up catcher Gary Sanchez at the beginning of August and all he’s done since then is hit .303/.378/.672 with an astonishing 20 homers in his first 51 games. Fulmer has continued to be solid — he’s just short of qualifying for the ERA title, but does have the league’s lowest ERA at 3.06 — but Sanchez has been spectacular.

The MVP and Cy Young Award require full season contributions. Not everyone takes the Rookie of the Year Award quite as seriously, it seems, and are thus more willing to entertain smaller samples of excellence over large samples of solid work when it comes to the award. That’s how Bill and I think about it anyway, giving the nod to Sanchez’s historic two-month run. Ashley, however, favors Fulmer’s larger volume of work. You can’t really go wrong with either choice:

Craig: Sanchez
Bill: Sanchez
Ashley: Fulmer

Who will win the AL Rookie of the Year Award?

Hard call. I have no idea what voters will do on that quantity/quality calculation. I’ll guess Fulmer, but it’s just a guess. I could just as easily see Sanchez given some quasi-MVP credit for helping the Yankees remain relevant after the trade deadline and throw it his way.

 

Who should win the NL Rookie of the Year Award?

If you say anyone other than Corey Seager, and his .311/.369/.519 26 homer batting line, the state has authorized me to have you taken to a hospital for 48 hours of examination, at which point your competence to reenter society will be gauged. But there is ice cream there.

Craig: Seager
Bill: Seager
Ashley: Seager

 

Who will win the NL Rookie of the Year Award?

If any BBWAA voter lists anyone other than Corey Seager at the top of his or her Rookie of the Year ballot, the state has authorized me to have them taken to a hospital for 48 hours of examination, at which point their competence to reenter society will be gauged. They will not, however, be allowed to have any ice cream because, really, they should know better. They’re professionals.