Freddie Freeman

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights


Braves 1, Reds 0: There were five shutouts in Major League Baseball yesterday. Three of those games and four of the teams involved were in the National League East. It’s as if a rift was created in the space-time continuum allowing for 1968 to become localized over certain portions of the eastern seaboard. I’m assuming red matter was involved somehow, but I need to consult Memory Alpha to get the details down accurately. Here it was all zeroes until Freddie Freeman singled home the game’s only run in walkoff fashion in the bottom of the 10th.

Phillies 2, Diamondbacks 0: A.J. Burnett tossed eight shutout innings to outduel Brandon McCarthy, who struck out a career-high 12 in seven innings. The Diamondbacks are now 8-20 and have a staggering -59 run differential.

Mets 4, Marlins 0: Quote of the day goes to David Wright, talking about Dillon Gee: “I’m not sure if Dillon is all that sexy of a pitcher. He just goes out there and gets the job done.” (1) I’d say three hits over eight shutout innings is sexy; and (2) even if it isn’t, someone who just goes out and gets the job done is often way better to have than someone who is sexy. The more superficial aspects of sexy go away after a while. Having someone who simply has their crap together is highly underrated.

Cardinals 7, Pirates 0: The starting pitcher was fantastic, shutting out the opposition until the bullpen carried the shutout the rest of the way. Meanwhile, the shortstop had two homers.

Cubs 4, Brewers 0: The starting pitcher was fantastic, shutting out the opposition until the bullpen carried the shutout the rest of the way. Meanwhile, the shortstop had two homers. No, this is not a copy-and-paste error. It was basically the same game as the Cards-Pirates thing. Only difference: Jason Hammel pitched seven shutout innings to Adam Wainwright’s eight and Starlin Castro’s two homers were solo shots while Jhonny Peralta drove in four. In other news, Hammel has four wins for a team that only has eight overall.

Astros 5, Athletics 1: Collin McHugh is Lou Gehrig to Scott Feldman’s Wally Pipp. Well, maybe not exactly — the Astros will find a place for Feldman when he comes back while someone like Lucas Harrell gets bumped — but there’s no question McHugh is parlaying his injury-necessitated callup into a full time gig. Here he allowed one run on two hits over eight and two-thirds while striking out seven. In his first start he shut out the Mariners into the seventh inning while striking out 12. Strong stuff.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $40,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7:10pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Padres 4, Nationals 2: Ian Kennedy gave up three hits, struck out nine and didn’t walk anyone over seven, retiring 16 straight batters at one point. Cameron Maybin made his first big league start of the season and had a couple of hits. The Nats couldn’t have had a worse couple of days. They put Bryce Harper on the DL and then their starter for this one, Taylor Jordan, showed up with the flu. He attempted to pitch but had nothing.

White Sox 9, Rays 2: Jose Abreu keeps doing it. He homered and drove in four, bringing his totals to ten bombs and 31 RBI, both of which are records for he first month of the season for a rookie. And true, Abreu is a much more seasoned rookie than most, but the guy whose records he broke in both of those categories is Albert Pujols, who was no typical rookie himself.

Rockies 6, Dodgers 1: The Rockies are quietly putting together a nice season so far. They’ve won four series in a row and are tied with the Dodgers for second place in the division at 14-12. Jorge De La Rosa allowed one run over seven and Josh Rutledge had a three-run homer.

Giants 4, Indians 1: Brandon Hicks hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth with the score tied 1-1. That gave the Giants a series sweep. Not bad for a dude who signed a minor league deal and wouldn’t even be here if Marco Scutaro wasn’t hurt.

Mariners 6, Rangers 5: Kyle Seager had two homers including a three-run shot in the eighth to complete the M’s come-from-behind victory. Seager is on fire: he has five home runs in four games, and he’s had at least two hits in all of those games as well.

Royals 9, Orioles 3:  Have yourself a day Omar Infante. The Royals second baseman drove in six, with an RBI groundout in the first, a sac fly in the third, a two-run double in the fifth and a two-run homer in the seventh. James Shields tossed seven innings of three-hit ball.

Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 1: The Blue Jays salvage one and end a four-game losing streak. The Jays’ lineup featured six players from the Dominican Republic, which is believed to be a record. I would like to think that this was John Gibbons’ direct rebuke to the unnamed Jays scout who was reported to have said “this team has too many Latinos on it to win” at some point last year.

Yankees 3, Angels 2: Tanaka struck out 11, Teixeira hit a homer from the left side of the plate and the Yankees scored what proved to be the winning run via a passed ball and a wild pitch.

Tigers vs. Twins: POSTPONED:

“The rain to the wind said,
You push and I’ll pelt.’
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged–though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.” 


John Lackey to start Game 1 of the NLDS for the Cardinals

John Lackey
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St. Louis has decided on John Lackey as the Game 1 starter in the NLDS versus the winner of tonight’s Wild Card game, manager Mike Matheny announced.

Lackey led the Cardinals in starts (33) and innings (218) this season while posting a 2.77 ERA and 175/53 K/BB ratio with 21 homers allowed.

Carlos Martinez being out for the playoffs with a shoulder injury took a big rotation option away from Matheny, but Lackey has a 3.10 ERA in 43 starts since joining the Cardinals in mid-2014 and also has a 3.08 ERA in 117 career postseason innings.

He’ll face either the Cubs or the Pirates, in St. Louis. No word yet on the order, but Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, and Jaime Garcia figure to follow Lackey in the rotation.

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.