Ian Kinsler

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Rangers 7, Rays 1: The Rangers finally snap the skid. Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus homered and drove in three runs each to pull Texas back into a tie with Tampa Bay at the top of the wild card standings.

Indians 5, Royals 3: Kansas City took a 3-0 lead into the sixth with the Indians being able to do little if anything against rookie Yordano Ventura. They were able to do much more after it was handed off to the normally-reliable K.C. pen, however, scoring five-unanswered runs. Not that the pen was used optimally here. At least one of the runs came when Ned Yost stuck with Ventura a bit too long. Others came when the Royals failed to match the leverage of the situation with the talent of the relievers available. Cleveland is a half game back in the wild card. Kansas City three and a half.

Orioles 3, Red Sox 2: The O’s committed a bunch of errors and Scott Feldman walked six dudes but they somehow figured out how to get to Koji Uehara. Chris Davis hit his 51st homer, giving him sole possession of the Orioles’ team record. The Orioles are two back. Despite the loss the Red Sox’ magic number for the AL East is now three thanks to the Rays loss.

Blue Jays 2, Yankees 0: Four straight losses for the fading Yankees as they were totally stymied by R.A. Dickey. Homers from Colby Rasmus and Rajai Davis were all the Jays got but all the Jays needed.

Cardinals 11, Rockies 4: The Cardinals break the first place tie in the NL Central by tattooing the Rockies. Four hits including a two-run homer for Matt Holliday, who also robbed Todd Helton of extra bases on a play in the field. It was 10-0 before Colorado even put a run on the board.

Padres 5, Pirates 2: San Diego continues to play spoiler, taking its second straight from Pittsburgh. Jed Gyorko had three hits including a three-run homer. His family lives in Morgantown, West Virginia, which is about an hour away and many made the trip. I hope they stopped at the Eat ‘n Park in Kirwin Heights on the way there. I know people there.

Reds 10, Astros 0: Happy 100th loss, Houston. Mike Leake shut ’em out for eight innings. Jay Bruce drove in five, hitting his 30th homer.

Nationals 6, Braves 5; Nationals 4, Braves 0: Kind of depressing (and surprising)  if you’re a Braves fan. But the silver lining here is seeing all the Nats fans bringing out their “Natitude!” and “you just gotta believe!” and “no one will want to play us in October!” stuff on Twitter yesterday. I just want to hug them and tell them how great it is to see them again after five and a half months of silence. Don’t cancel your dinner reservations for wild card night, however, OK?

Phillies 6, Marlins 4: Six effective innings for Roy Halladay and four RBI for Chase Utley. Seems like old times. Well, except for the part where Halladay is a crafty nibbler with an 88 m.p.h. This may very well have been his last start ever for the Phillies at home.

Tigers 6, Mariners 2: Miguel Cabrera hit his 44th homer. It was his first since late August. The Tigers’ magic number is Al Kaline. Someone in the comments tell me what’s weird about that linked image, BTW. No prizes for a correct answer, but be satisfied that you learned something interesting.

Giants 8, Mets 5: Angel Pagan homered and tripled and drove in three. Walked twice too. Not a bad return to Citi Field for the former Met. Not so great for the former Giants property, Zack Wheeler, who gave up four runs in five innings.

White Sox 4, Twins 3: Effing Quintana … that creep can roll, man (6 IP, 8 H, 1 ER).

Brewers 4, Cubs 3: Just your run-of-the-mill walkoff suicide squeeze, executed by Logan Schafer. Check out Ron Roenicke after the game, talking up how much of a baller he is to call that squeeze there:

“Bases loaded, it’s not ideal. I have to think about it when we have the bases loaded because it’s a flip and a force play at home,” Roenicke said. “It’s so much easier than having to tag at home so most guys won’t do it there.”

I think we’ve found Roenicke’s new theme music. Also, his official logo.

Dodgers 9, Diamondbacks 3: L.A.’s magic number is now two. More important than that given that the playoffs are inevitable? Matt Kemp going 4 for 4 with two doubles and three RBI. If he’s a factor in the lineup the Dodgers are gonna be fierce come October.

Athletics 2, Angels 1: Josh Donaldson’s fantastic season continues with a walkoff bases-loaded single with two outs in the ninth. I can’t remember who said it, but someone I follow on Twitter recently said that Donaldson is the absolute best player in baseball whom you would not recognize if he was standing next to you on the subway.

Bryce Harper struck out four times in a game for the first time in nearly four years

Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper reacts after he struck out during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Thursday, April 28, 2016, in Washington. The Phillies won 3-0.(AP Photo/Nick Wass)
AP Photo/Nick Wass
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Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has not exactly been strikeout-averse over his five-year career, but he has been pretty good about not bunching them up. Entering Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, Harper had struck out three or more times in a game only 21 times in 533 games. He had registered two four-strikeout games, the last of which occurred on August 21, 2012 — his rookie season.

On Sunday, Harper struck out three times against Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez and once against reliever Seung Hwan Oh for the dreaded golden sombrero. The reigning NL MVP has now equaled his walk and strikeout totals at 17 apiece.

Despite the rough afternoon, Harper still owns a lusty .272/.390/.679 triple-slash line with nine home runs and 24 RBI.

Chase Headley doesn’t think Yankee Stadium is as hitter-friendly as advertised

New York Yankees Chase Headley (12) breaks his bat on a ground out to third during the third inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Monday, April 25, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
AP Photo/Brandon Wade
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Yankees third baseman Chase Headley finished April without registering an extra-base hit. Across 71 plate appearances, he registered only nine hits for an uninspiring .150/.268/.150 triple-slash line. Speaking to David Laurilia of FanGraphs, Headley said that Yankee Stadium isn’t as hitter-friendly as many people think it is, and added that the shift has helped to limit his offensive success.

“Everybody talks about how good of a ballpark Yankee Stadium is to hit in, but it’s pretty big with the exception of right field,” said Headley. “The rest of it plays as big, or bigger, than most yards. It’s maybe a better fit for guys who hit the ball high down the line than it for guys who hit the ball like I have for a lot of my career.”

[…]

“Because of the shifting that’s going on now, if you hit the ball on the ground, for the most part you’re out,” Headley told me. “I’m trying to get the ball elevated — I want to hit it hard in the air — and if I never hit another ball on the ground, I’ll be happy.”

According to StatCorner.com, Yankee Stadium is indeed better for left-handed hitters, and particularly so when it comes to extra-base hits. It lists park factors for handedness, setting 100 as average. A higher number means it’s more hitter-friendly. Here are the left-right numbers as of today’s writing:

  • Singles: 101 for left-handed hitters, 102 for right-handed hitters
  • Doubles and triples: 101 LH, 82 RH
  • Home runs: 137 LH, 127 RH

Headley’s hypothesis seems to have some merit. But his claim that shifts have been hurting him doesn’t seem to hold up to the numbers.

babip

Headley’s ground ball BABIP (batting average on balls in play) this season is only .022 behind his career average of .239. As he’s only hit 23 ground balls total this season, the difference between .239 and .217 is less than one hit.

Where Headley’s BABIP is notably lower is line drives. His career average line drive BABIP is .698, but it’s only .333 on nine line drives in 2016. This could be simple bad luck or it could mean Headley is making worse contact. FanGraphs’ batted ball data suggests Headley has been pulling significantly fewer balls (36 percent to his 45 percent career average), and he’s making “hard” contact less often (21 percent versus his 31 percent career average). Overall, there’s been very little change in his ground ball rate versus his fly ball rate.

Headley mentioned to Laurila that if he could, he would try to hit fly balls to the pull side more often. “I’m working on that,” he said.

Carlos Martinez sued for battery, negligent transmission of STDs, and more

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Carlos Martinez throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, April 26, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
AP Photo/Matt York
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Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez was given permission to leave the team on Friday in order to travel to Miami. Martinez was named in a lawsuit filed by a woman who claimed he knowingly trasmitted mutliple sexually trasmitted diseasese to her. She is seeking $1.5 million in damages for battery, negligent transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, fraud, and more, TMZ reported on Saturday.

Martinez rejoined the team and started on Sunday afternoon against the Nationals. His attorney called the allegations “100% false”.

The Cardinals are waiting for more information to find out if the league will investigate the matter under its domestic violence policy. Via Dan O’Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, GM John Mozeliak said, “We wait. And once we learn more, then we’ll have more of an idea. These are things you just learn as you go.”

Should obstruction have been called on Ryan Webb?

Toronto Blue Jays' Kevin Pillar gestures to the dugout after hitting a triple against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, April 8, 2016, in Toronto. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP)
Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP
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The Blue Jays had a comfortable 5-1 lead in the top of the ninth inning of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Rays, but one never knows when a base runner might be crucial. Kevin Pillar was on first base when reliever Ryan Webb threw over to first on a pickoff attempt and got him in a rundown.

First baseman Logan Morrison chased Pillar towards second base, lobbing the ball to shortstop Brad Miller. Miller sent Pillar back to first base, throwing to Webb covering the bag. Webb chased Pillar back towards second base and threw to second baseman Logan Forsythe. Forsythe chased Pillar back again, but Webb wasn’t able to get out of Pillar’s way. Second base umpire Mark Ripperger immediately signaled “no obstruction” and Pillar was easily tagged out after he was essentially bear hugged by Webb.

Here’s the MLB.com video.

Major League Baseball defines obstruction as “the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner.” Webb had already thrown the ball and Forsythe was in possession of it, so he couldn’t have been considered “in the act of fielding.”

At any rate, the Jays still won 5-1, giving them the series win over the Rays.