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And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Brewers 3, Pirates 2: FISTICUFFSMANSHIP! No one distinguishes themselves here, but this much is true: if Gerrit Cole simply takes the ball and goes back to the mound without jawing at Gomez, (a) Gomez looks like a guy who misjudged his hit and almost got thrown out foolishly; and (b) no brawl happens. But in baseball it’s not enough to let someone look a bit silly and take the high road. No, you must tell the other guy that his looking silly somehow offended your honor or some crazy crap and you must escalate things because, well, that’s how it’s done. “How dare you think that ball you just hit 399 feet was about to go 400 feet?!” you must exclaim. “You are a bad person for doing that!” I wish Gomez didn’t respond to Cole’s provocation with dumbass hostility of his own (and he’s gonna get righteously suspended or fined for throwing his helmet).But how awesome would it have been if he had simply smiled and said “yeah, I shouldn’t have assumed that triple I just smoked off of your crappy pitch was a home run. How WRONG of me,” and then blown Cole a kiss? He didn’t do that, of course, but the fact remains that no fight happens if Cole doesn’t decide to start hurling F-bombs at Gomez because Honor and Rules and bullcrap like that which doesn’t belong in 21st century sports.

Reds 8, Cubs 2: Hope you all had a happy Easter. Or, as we refer to it at our house, Spring Thanksgiving. That’s not an attempt to secularize it for anyone else. I get how important Easter is to Christians and don’t mean to denigrate their faith. It’s just an acknowledgment that my family isn’t religious so we basically just treat Easter as a family meal and coming together thing. Oh, it’s also the one time every year my mom tells the “Peter . . . I can see your house from up here . . .” joke, which is her absolute favorite joke ever. Kinda odd because, really, my mom is the only one of us who still considers herself a Catholic and goes to mass and stuff. I guess you have more of a right to be sacrilegious if it’s actually your religion than someone else does. Anyway, in a major shocker, my mom did not tell the “Peter . . . I can see your house from up here . . .” joke this year. Guess she forgot. Kind of a surprise. Not a surprise? The Reds taking two of three from the Cubs at Wrigley, where they’ve won 17 of the last 19.

Giants 4, Padres 3: San Francisco only had three hits — and none after the second inning — but that’s all they needed because one was a two-run homer and the other a two-run single. Tim Lincecum got his first win of the year.

Dodgers 4, Diamondbacks 1: Puig hit a three-run homer and threw Miguel Montero the heck OUT at second base when he tried to stretch for a double. Which, to be fair, would be a double against most right fielders, but like I said, he got thrown the heck OUT. Note: Puig did not hit the cutoff man in throwing Montero. He threw it right over him. Because, in this case, hitting the cutoff man would’ve slowed things down. But if anyone wants to lecture Puig about it, go ahead. I’ll be over here rolling my eyes and doing that wanking motion thing.

Athletics 4, Astros 1: The sweep. Josh Donaldson homered and doubled twice. The A’s have won 11 of 13. The Astros have lost seven in a row. None of this is particularly surprising.

White Sox 16, Rangers 2: Jose Abreu and Jordan Danks each hit two homers and the Sox win in a laugher. That ends the Rangers’ five-game winning streak.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $15,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Nationals 3, Cardinals 2Mets 4, Braves 3: The Nationals won on a walkoff sac fly, the Braves lost on a walkoff sac fly. This is important. This means something. [Craig sculpts things out of his mashed potatoes]. In the Nats-Cards game, Denard Span hit the sac fly against the Cardinals’ five-man infield. Span:

“I counted: one, two, three, four, five,” Span said. “Right there I told myself a groundball probably not going to do it. Try to get the ball in the air somehow.”

That he counted so quickly is proof positive that activating him from the seven-day concussion DL was the right call. If he saw ten infielders they would’ve put him back on there.

Twins 8, Royals 3: Phil Hughes got a win. It’s the first time that’s happened since last July. Which means Phil Hughes’ wins have the same frequency as, like, Christmas.

Marlins 3, Mariners 2: The Marlins sweep Seattle. Christian Yelich hit a double and scored the tying run in the eighth, which was official only replay overturned the initial out call. That brings Yelich’s hitting streak to 14 games. The double, I mean. He’d still have the hitting streak even if he was out at home. That’s a baseball rule. 

Yankees 5, Rays 1: Two five inning starts and some solid bullpen work from each team had this one tied at one in the 12th. Then Dean Anna walked with the bases loaded to put the Yankees ahead. The Rays are “The Extra 2%” team. In that instance the had a 25% surplus of walks and/or base runners. Subsequent RBI singles from Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann took the math out of the equation. Wait, if you take math out of the equation, is it still an equation? I think I just blew my mind thinking about this. Probably shouldn’t write game recaps on 4/20.

Tigers 2, Angels 1: Clown shoes defense by the Angels and heads-up base running by Ian Kinsler gave the Tigers their first run. A second error by Hank Conger led to the Tigers’ second run. Remember back when Mike Scioscia teams used to be lauded for being fundamentally sound and all that? That was cool. Feels like a million years ago, but it was cool.

Indians 6, Blues Jays 4: The Indians avoid a sweep. The AP gamer credits a pep talk by Terry Francona for the win. If there was anything to that I’d totally give pep talks before every game, dude.

Phillies 10, Rockies 9: Jimmy Rollins hit a homer and then drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth. This was a pretty significant offensive outburst for a team which had gone four games without an extra base hit.

Red Sox 6, Orioles 5: On a day when dumb defense impacted a couple of games dumb defense decided this one. Here, Dustin Pedroia scored the winning run on a David Lough throwing error. Lough caught a liner, Pedoria tagged from third but then headed back realizing Lough would likely nail him at the plate. Then Lough sailed one home. The O’s gave this game away in a lot of ways, and not just by virtue of blowing a five-run lead. Pedoria was able to advance to third in the first place thanks to a wild pitch.

Report: Extension talks between Mets, Neil Walker are “probably dead”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: Neil Walker #20 of the New York Mets sits in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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On Sunday, it was reported that second baseman Neil Walker and the Mets were discussing a potential three-year contract extension worth “north of $40 million.” Those discussions took a turn for the worse. The Mets feel extension talks are “probably dead,” according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.

Walker underwent a lumbar microdisectomy in September, ending his 2016 season during which he hit .282/.347/.476 with 23 home runs and 55 RBI over 458 plate appearances.

The Mets may not necessarily need to keep Walker around as it has some potential options up the middle waiting in the minor leagues. Though Amed Rosario is expected to stick at shortstop, Gavin Cecchini — the club’s No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline — could shift over to second base.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
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The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.