CC Sabathia

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights


Yankees 14, Red Sox 5: It started off with lots of laughs for the Red Sox, but then the Yankees leapt out to a 7-0 lead by the top of the third and never looked back. Yangervis Solarte drove in four, Jacoby Ellsbury three, and Mark Teixeira hit his first homer of the year. More importantly: on the heels of losing Ivan Nova to Tommy John surgery and Michael Pineda to a suspension, CC Sabathia put up his second strong start in a row, allowing two runs over six innings with eight strikeouts.

Athletics 10, Astros 1: Just clown shoes from the Astros. Five errors and a nine-run loss is bad as it is, but then tossing on some gratuitous unwritten rule enforcement — from an incident in a totally different game, in a totally different series — is just ridiculous. You know, my original defense of Jed Lowrie bunting with a big lead in that first game was “hey, the A’s should stop trying only when the Astros say they’ve stopped trying.” But really, I don’t think that’s applicable anymore because the Astros are acting like they’re not even playing baseball these days.

Reds 2, Pirates 1: Tony Cingrani allowed one run on six hits in six inning while striking out seven. Cincinnati has won seven of nine and have reached .500 after a slow start.

Indians 5, Royals 1: The Royals make Corey Kluber look like Sandy Koufax (CG 4, H 0 ER, 11K, 0 BB). According to the AP, Kluber is the first Indians pitcher to throw a complete game while recording 11 strikeouts, no walks or earned runs since Len Barker’s perfect game in 1981. Kinda cool.

Mets 4, Cardinals 1: Nice outing for Bartolo Colon, who gave up only one run on four hits over seven. And an odd sight:  Daisuke Matsuzaka as a closer. He saved his first game since playing in Japan back in 2000. I don’t know this experiment will work — Dice-K is pretty much the opposite of what you want from a closer — but it’s kinda fun to see. Well, to the extent you can ever describe watching Matsuzaka “fun.”

Tigers 7, White Sox 4: Miguel Cabrera had two hits and drove in three, showing that his bat is waking up after hitting the snooze bar several times since the season began. Wait, are there snooze bars anymore? I’m sorta picturing an analog clock radio here when I suspect all you kids use your iPhones and stuff as an alarm clock. My unfamiliarity with this is not a function of me being old, though. It’s a function of me not sleeping that much.

Diamondbacks 5, Cubs 2: Mike Bolsinger snagged his first major league win, allowing one unearned run on four hits in six and two-thirds. He even hit an RBI single to [all together now] help his own cause.

Twins 9, Rays 7: Minnesota takes three of four in St. Pete. Aaron Hicks hit a three-run homer, Kurt Suzuki drove in three and Sam Fuld drove in two. 

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $60,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Friday evening MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $8,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on FridayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Padres 4, Nationals 3: A costly win for the Padres as they lost both Chase Headley and Seth Smith to injuries, but a win all the same. Xavier Nady hit an RBI single in the top of the 12th to put the Pads ahead. The Nats blew a ton of opportunities, going 0 for 16 with runners in scoring position and leaving 14 men on base.

Orioles 11, Blue Jays 4: Ten runs Wednesday night, 11 last night. I think it’s safe to say the O’s can hit the ball and/or the Jays staff has issues. Chris Davis drove in three. Nelson Cruz had two hits and drove in two. He’s had RBI in seven straight games. 

Phillies 7, Dodgers 3: Four runs in the ninth for the Phillies to turn a tie game into a laugher. Carlos Ruiz had the big hit, with a tiebreaking two-run double. Brian Wilson gave up all four of those runs on three hits and a walk. His ERA now stands at 15.75.

The Yankees were booed last night. Did they deserve it?

Masahiro Tanaka

The boos came raining down from the Yankee Stadium faithful last night. They started when Brett Gardner grounded out in the eighth inning. More came later. A lot of it was, no doubt, based on Gardner’s disappointing performance late in the season. A lot of it was because, around that time, it seemed like the Yankees had zero shot whatsoever to mount a comeback. Which, in fact, they didn’t. A lot of it was pent-up frustration, I assume, from a late season skid which saw the Yankees lose their lead in the AL East and wind up in the Wild Card Game in the first place.

Anyone who buys a ticket has a right to boo. Especially when they buy a ticket as expensive as Yankees tickets are. It’s obviously understandable to be disappointed when your team loses. Especially when your team is eliminated like the Yankees were. And last night’s game was particularly deflating, with that 3-0 Astros lead feeling more like 10-0 given how things were going.

But isn’t booing something more than a mere manifestation of disappointment? Isn’t a step beyond? Booing isn’t saying “I’m sad.” It’s saying “you suck!” It’s not saying “I’m disappointed,” it’s saying “you should be ashamed of yourselves!” And with all respect to Yankees fans, the 2015 Yankees have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

This was a club expected to miss the playoffs, full stop. Maybe some people allowed for an if-everything-breaks-right flight of fancy, but hardly anyone expected them to play meaningful games late in the year, let alone a playoff game. They were too old. Too injured. There weren’t enough young reinforcements to fill the gaps. Some even went so far as to claim that they were about to spend years in the wilderness.

But then A-Rod broke out of the gate strong. And Michael Pineda had a really nice first couple of months. And Mark Teixeira put up numbers that wouldn’t have been out of place for him several years ago. The bullpen did what it was supposed to do and more, Masahiro Tanaka held together somehow and, eventually, a couple of young players like Greg Bird and Luis Severino came in to reinforce things. The not-going-anywhere Yankees were contenders. And they led the division for a good while. Of course they stumbled late. And of course they lost last night, but by just about any reasonable measure, this was a good team — better than expected — and, unlike a lot of Yankees teams in the past, was pretty darn enjoyable to watch.

Then the boos. I just can’t see how this Yankees team deserved that.

I realize a lot of people in the media have duped a lot of people into thinking that a team with a high payroll is supposed to be dominant. And I realize George Steinbrenner duped a whole lot of people into thinking that anything less than a World Series championship for the New York Yankees is failure. But that’s rhetoric and branding, not reason. In the real world where baseball players play baseball games World Series titles are rare, even for the Yankees. At the end of the season all but one of 30 teams are either at home for the playoffs or went home after suffering a gut-wrenching playoff loss. The Yankees are the most dominant franchise in the history of American professional sports yet they still have finished their year without a title over 75% of the time.

With that as a given, fans are left to judge their team’s performance based on its talent, its health, its heart, its entertainment value and the strength of the opposition which ultimately vanquished it. The Yankees weren’t nearly as talented as many, yet made the playoffs anyway. They were a walking hospital ward, let limped on. They never quit and never got pulled down into the sort of muck a lot of New York teams find themselves in when things start to go sideways. And, ultimately, they were simply beat by a better team. By any reasonable measure the 2015 Yankees were a good story, a successful enterprise, a resilient bunch and no small amount of fun.

It’s OK to be sad that it ended as it did. But that doesn’t deserve to be booed. Not by a long shot.

Collin McHugh will start Game 1 of the ALDS for the Astros

Collin McHugh Astros

After using ace left-hander Dallas Keuchel to get past the Yankees in the Wild Card game the Astros will turn to right-hander Collin McHugh in Game 1 of the ALDS versus the Royals.

McHugh had an up-and-down year, posting a 3.89 ERA compared to his 2.73 mark last season, but thanks to good teammate support he had a 19-7 record and his 171/53 K/BB ratio in 204 innings was solid. He was particularly good down the stretch, posting a 2.89 ERA and 69/20 K/BB ratio in 72 innings after August 1.

McHugh will match up against Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura in Game 1. Houston hasn’t named a starter for Game 2 yet, while Kansas City is going with Johnny Cueto. And then the Game 3 matchup figures to be Dallas Keuchel versus Edinson Volquez.