Andrelton Simmons

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

80 Comments

Braves 10, Nationals 2: Freddie Freeman and Justin Upton each hit two-run homers and Andrelton Simmons added a three-run shot of his own. The Nats have lost five times this season, all of the at the hands of the Braves. This continues the pattern from last season when the Braves took 13 of 19 from Washington.

Padres 5, Tigers 1: Max Scherzer has started three times this season. The Tigers have scored three runs for him. Contrast this with last season when he enjoyed some of the best run support in baseball. Not that he was all that sharp here. Jedd Gyorko and Xavier Nady homered and the Padres took two of three from the Tigers.

Giants 5, Rockies 4: A walkoff bomb into McCovey Cove for Brandon Crawford. Just like the Braves own the Nats, the Giants own the Rockies, at least at home. They have beaten Colorado 15 of the last 18 times these two have played in AT&T Park.

Athletics 3, Mariners 0: Scott Kazmir and four relievers combine for the shutout and Yoenis Cespedes broke a scoreless tie in the eighth with a two-run homer. And even though he got the no-decision, hats off to Chris Young. He started his first game since September 2012 and tossed six shutout innings. Not bad for a guy who battled shoulder trouble all last year and then was released just before the end of spring training.

Cardinals 6, Cubs 4:  And we should come up with a definition for an Edwin Jacksonian start. This one seemed pretty Jacksonian, as he threw 114 pitches, walked a lot of guys and gave up four runs on eight hits. Like, it’s not bad. Not good either, of course. Generally inefficient. Kind of frustrating. Certain points where you watch him and think “man, he should be doing better than this.” You know, the sort of pitching in which Jackson has specialized for his entire career. Anyway, Matt Carpenter drove in three. The Cubs drop their ninth straight series.

Angels 14, Mets 2: Bartolo Colon gave up three homers in the space of seven pitches in the first inning, to Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Raul Ibanez, respectively. Hank Conger hit one off him later. In contrast to Max Scherzer, C.J. Wilson has had 23 runs of support in his last two starts. Of course he was excellent here anyway, allowing two runs over seven innings.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $35,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s just $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Brewers 4, Pirates 1: The Brewers have won nine straight and are now 10-2 on the season. It’s the best start the Brewers have had since they went 13-0 to begin the 1987 season. That was one of my favorite teams ever, by the way. Just so many cool dudes on that club and they were insanely fun to watch when you got the chance (which wasn’t often because, dudes, it was 1987 and there wasn’t nearly as much baseball on). Of course one of the things that made them fun was their wild unpredictability. After starting 13-0 they all but negated that with a 12-game losing streak in early May on the way to a 91-71 record. Which looks nice, but was only good enough for third place in the excellent AL East that season. Anyway, I’m sure they’re hoping for a little more consistence in the early going this year.

Rangers 1, Astros 0: Martin Perez tossed eight scoreless and had four double plays behind him. The Astros dropped two 1-0 games to the Rangers in this three game series.

Phillies 4, Marlins 3: Chase Utley had three hits including a homer and is now sporting a pretty spiffy line of .500/.565/.875 on the young season. He’s got six doubles, three home runs and 10 RBI. All this even though he missed three games with the flu. Makes you wonder how his past few seasons would’ve been with healthy knees. The Phillies sweep the Marlins. 

Twins 4, Royals 3: Kind of a crazy game. The Royals had a 3-2 lead entering the bottom of the eighth. Minnesota took the lead when, with the bases loaded,  Chris Herrmann hit one back to pitcher Wade Davis. Instead of an easy home-first double play, Davis tossed it clear past the catcher, allowing two runs to score. And the game ended with Mike Moustakas being called out when he looked at a pop fly and got in the way of catcher Kurt Suzuki who was trying to field it. That’s interference and it was the last out of the game. Good effort, Royals.

Blue Jays 11, Orioles 3: The Jays rattled off 17 hits and Mark Buehrle won his third game of the season, lowering his ERA to 0.86. Also: a game in which a team scored 11 runs and had 21 base runners ended in two hours and forty five minutes. Last week there was a game that ended 1-0 that lasted nearly three and a half hours. God Bless Mark Buehrle. Would that more pitchers worked as quickly as he does.

Reds 12, Rays 4: Chris Heisey hit a grand slam and and Devin Mesoraco homered and drove in four. In other news, I went down to the Reds-Rays game on Saturday and spent the night at the same hotel at which the Rays were staying. When I was leaving to come home yesterday morning, all of the Rays’ suitcases were lined up by the valet waiting to be taken to the charter flight. David Price’s golf clubs were sitting there — his uniform number on a tag on the bag — with no one nearby. I feel like you all should congratulate me for my restraint in not stealing David Price’s golf clubs when I totally, totally could’ve.

Dodgers 8, Diamondbacks 6 : The sweep. Adrian Gonzalez homered for his fourth straight and drove in ten during this three-game series. The Dbacks have started the season out abysmally, and already find themselves six games back of the Dodgers.

White Sox 4, Indians 3: Alexei Ramirez hit a two-run homer off John Axford in the ninth to rally the Sox from one down.

Yankees 3, Red Sox 2: A two-run homer for Carlos Beltran and seven and a third solid innings from Ivan Nova. The Yankees’ third run came on a fielder’s choice which was originally ruled a double play. Joe Girardi challenged, however, and batter Francisco Cervelli was ruled safe at first on the replay. John Farrell came out and yelled at the umpiring crew about it and was immediately ejected because, well, you just can’t do that. But the day before baseball admitted it got a replay call wrong that went against Boston and Farrell was obviously still steamed. After the game he said it was “extremely difficult to have any faith in the process that’s being used” for replay. Expect more on this in the coming days.

Is Bud Black the favorite to be the next Braves manager?

Bud Black
2 Comments

We talked last week about how Fredi Gonzalez is likely a dead man walking as the Braves manager. They stink, he’s a lame duck and part of the team’s whole marketing thrust is “2017 will be a new beginning,” what with the new ballpark and all. It stands to reason that Mr. Gonzalez doesn’t have long for this world.

Last week I suspected he’d be fired tomorrow, the Braves off day before a home stand. They’ve won in the past week, but it still wouldn’t shock me. Even if firing Gonzalez would be an act of scapegoating. It’s the roster that’s the problem, not the manager, even though Fredi doesn’t exactly inspire anyone.

Today Bob Nightengale throws this into the mix:

As of yet he hasn’t followed that up with an actual column or more tweets about who, exactly, considers Black to be the heavy favorite, but there’s a definitiveness to that which makes me think he’s heard something solid.

Black, as you know, was the long time Padres manager who had an unsuccessful flirtation with the Nationals before they hired Dusty Baker this past offseason. Black is now cooling his heels with his longtime boss Mike Scioscia in Anaheim, in what is clearly a “wait for his next managing opportunity” posture.

Could it be in Atlanta? At least one national writer and some nebulous group of insiders believe so, it would seem.

The Reds bullpen set a record for futility

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher J.J. Hoover reacts after giving up a solo home run to Chicago Cubs' Javier Baez, left, during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, April 22, 2016, in Cincinnati. The Cubs won 8-1. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Associated Press
4 Comments

I mentioned this in the recaps this morning but it’s worthy of its own post.

The Cincinnati Reds’ bullpen gave up two runs last night. In so doing it made for the 21st consecutive game in which it has allowed at least one run. That’s a new major league record, having surpassed the 2013 Colorado Rockies’ record of 20, according to Elias.

Last year the Reds set a record — shattered it, really — by going with rookie starting pitchers in 64 straight games to end the season. Those guys aren’t rookies anymore, but they’re still really inexperienced. They could probably use some better bullpen help than they’ve been getting.

Headline of the Day– A-Rod: “Trophy Boyfriend”

Alex Rodriguez
3 Comments

For as long as there have been couples, the woman in a couple has been publicly defined by the man’s life and accomplishments. It doesn’t matter if the woman cures cancer, walks on the moon or wins the Eurovision Song Contest, when news stories or obituaries are written, she is invariably referred to as “wife of ___” or “girlfriend of ___.” Even if the guy is a grade-A schmuck.

While that pattern still persists, it’s nice to see someone flip the script on it once in a while. Like The Cut did in its story about a new, high-profile couple going public:

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 9.51.05 AM

The couple: Alex Rodriguez and Anne Wojcicki. Who, if you were unaware, is a Silicon Valley biotech CEO and a billionaire. She went to Yale, played varsity hockey in college and is a mother. Alex Rodriguez is accomplished and famous, but outside of the sports bubble he’s a padawan to Wojcicki’s master Jedi. Despite this, in places other than The Cut, it would still not be surprising to see her referred to as “A-Rod’s girlfriend,” because that’s just how people roll. Here’s hoping others take The Cut’s lead when referring to women in the public sphere more often.

A related note: in the rare cases when a famous male personality is identified in reference to his female partner and not the other way around, people like to make jokes and like to question the masculinity of the man. Which is equally stupid. And, to the man in question, should be utterly beside the point.

To that end, I think it’s worth noting that Alex Rodriguez has been involved with several women who, outside of baseball, are far more famous than he is and it’s never seemed to be an issue for him whatsoever. People like to say a lot of things about A-Rod’s ego and personality, but in this respect I bet he’s a hell of a lot better adjusted, grounded and self-assured than the vast majority of men who might find themselves in his place.

Video: Jeff Samardzija breaks a bat over his knee after striking out

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 8.23.03 AM
3 Comments

Jeff Samardzija had a great night last night. He allowed one run on three hits over eight innings and picked up the win. In the early going he’s proving wrong those who thought that the Giants overpaid for him and is providing solid performance from the third spot in the Giants rotation. It’s all good.

But good is not always good enough for a professional athlete. Especially one like Samardzija, who excelled in multiple sports and likely can count his lifetime athletic failures on one hand. No, when you’re wired like that you get upset even when you’re excellent because sometimes you want to be perfect.

For example, most pitchers don’t get too worried about striking out. They’re there to pitch, not bat. They turn on their heel and calmly walk back to the dugout. Samardzija, however, got a bit irate when he struck out. Then he did this: