Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 6.32.39 AM

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

34 Comments

Athletics 9, Nationals 1: A pair of three-run homers for Derek Norris off the guy for whom he was traded to Oakland in Gio Gonzalez. A three-game sweep for the A’s, in which they outscored Washington 21-4. Oh, and Gio got mad at a teammate for missing a fly ball and flashed some Natitude at him:

Angels 9, Blues Jays 3: Hank Conger hot a three-run homer and drove in five. Even walked once. He also was shocked in the seventh inning when Jered Weaver — who had a pretty good game going — walked a dude and then, during the subsequent mound discussion, told pitching coach Mike Butcher that he needed to come out of the game because he was gassed. Which ended up being the right call, but was kinda weird. No one ever admits that. Usually a manager or a pitching coach has to make that judgment call with the starting pitcher usually claiming he’s good to go even if he’s missing several limbs like the Black Knight in “Monty Python and The Holy Grail.” Personally, I like the honesty. Weaver has nothin’ to prove. Good to see a guy risk violating baseball’s rules about pitchers always having to say they want the ball for the good of the team.

Brewers 6, Yankees 5: Mark Teixeira tied things up with a homer in the top of the ninth but then Mark Reynolds’ drove home Rickie Weeks from third with two outs in the bottom half for the walkoff win. K-Rod gave up that homer to Teixeira, blowing his first save of the year. But he did vulture a win, so good for him.

Red Sox 5, Rangers 2: One man on in the first inning — THE FIRST INNING — and Ron Washington intentionally walks David Ortiz to get to Mike Napoli. This even though a lefty was on the mound. All three guys ended up scoring. Someone probably needs to check on Joe Posnanski to see if he didn’t stroke out or anything when that happened.

Twins 4, Tigers 3: I went up to Detroit for the game on Saturday. On the way up there I learned that Don Kelly, and not Rajai Davis, was playing left. I was kinda sad because I’d never seen Davis play in person before and sort of wanted to see his defense and maybe see him steal a base. Yes, I realize that’s kinda pathetic, but some players just sorta interest me and Davis is one of them. Anyway, in the first inning Kelly makes a leaping catch to rob someone of a homer and the next inning Ian Kinsler or someone stole a base, so I got all of that defense and base running jones out of my system. Then a day later this game happens, Davis gets the nod in left and lets a ball skip past him, helping the Twins rally in the eighth. Can’t predict baseball.

Braves 5, Cubs 2: Homers from Evan Gattis and Jason Heyward and another solid start from Aaron Harang help the Braves to a series sweep. Harang struck out nine Cubs in six innings and Braves pitchers struck out 14 overall. Even more can’t predict baseball.

Diamondbacks 5, White Sox 1: Chase Anderson — who could easily be the name of a secondary male character in an airport bookstore-quality espionage thriller — made his major league debut and acquitted himself quite well, allowing one run on two hits in five and a third. Gerardo Parra and Miguel Montero each hit homers. And then Anderson was killed passing along the microfilm to the main character who, however broken up he acted about his faithful sidekick’s death, totally forgets about it for the rest of the story.

Mets 5, Phillies 4: The Mets ended their five-game skid after a late three-run rally and then won it in the 11th after loading the bases ahead of Ruben Tejada’s walkoff single. Cole Hamels struck out 10 in seven innings while throwing 133 pitches but was denied his first win of the year and the 100th win of his career.

Indians 6, Rays 5: Nyjer Morgan and Michael Bourn each drove in two. One of those for Morgan came on a solo homer in the eighth which was his first big league homer since July of 2012. Cleveland took two of three.

Reds 4, Rockies 1: Aroldis Chapman can’t be bargained with. He can’t be reasoned with. He doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And he absolutely will not stop, ever, until he notches 102 on the radar gun in his first appearance back since having his bran pan cracked by that comebacker. Homer Bailey allowed one run in seven and a third.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $45,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $7,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Astros 5, Orioles 2: The Astros avoid a sweep and halt the O’s five-game winning streak. I feel like any time the Astros win in Game 3s or Game 4s of series this year it will halt the opponents’ extended winning streak.

Royals 9, Mariners 7:  Dustin Ackley hit two homers and Kyle Seager hit a two-run shot to give the M’s a 7-5 lead but then Johnny Giavotella hit a three-run homer in the seventh so there went that. The Mariners committed five errors which, God.

Giants 7, Dodgers 4: Sergio Romo blew the save to sent it to extra innings but the Giants pulled it out. Of course they did. It’s Dodger Stadium and the Giants have owned Dodger Stadium of late, having taken five of six from their rival in Chavez Ravine.

Padres 5, Marlins 4: They lost to the Marlins in dramatic fashion on Thursday night but the Padres came back and took three of four. Bud Black:

“It’s a much better vibe, there’s less tension in the clubhouse and in the dugout. When you don’t score there’s tension. And it’s been released a little bit and the guys are playing a little more relaxed. That is what winning does. When you don’t score, things get a little tight.”

And here I thought winning is caused by a positive attitude, not the cause of it. Crazy.

Cardinals 6, Pirates 5: Pittsburgh tried to climb back late with a ninth inning rally but Trevor Rosenthal squelched it. Allen Craig and Yadier Molina had RBI singles in a four-run first inning which probably caused a lot of folks to switch away from ESPN.

Settling the Scores: Memorial Day edition

ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 21:  American flags are shown after being placed by members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment at the graves of U.S. soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in preparation for Memorial Day May 21, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. "Flags-In" has become an annual ceremony since the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) was designated to be an Army's official ceremonial unit in 1948  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Getty Images
9 Comments

Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died in military service. At some point in the past couple of decades, however, it has become an all-purpose flag-waving, patriotism-declaring, civilians-in-camouflage holiday. It’s understandable why this is the case. We, as a country, haven’t always done mourning well. I think it’s part of our national cultural DNA that we don’t and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make days like this difficult.

I feel like the flag-waving and troop-supporting stuff is some sort of subconscious reaction to death. It’s our way of instantly trying to justify those deaths or to explain how they were not in vain, much the same way we might tell someone upon the death of a loved one that they’re in a better place or that they had a full life. Feeling the pain of loss is hard. We want to soften it in any way we can and make our pain serve a larger, better purpose. And so we get today, when Major League Baseball puts its players in camouflage caps and in jerseys with camouflage logos. They’ll sell them too, with proceeds going to good and noble veterans charities. The intent is noble and the ultimate effect of it all is beneficial. But it’s also a little beside the point. Maybe not beside the point as much as mattress sales or big celebratory barbecues which have come to characterize Memorial Day for so many, but still not exactly the purpose of the holiday.

I don’t condemn it. As I wrote last year, the men and women who actually fought and died in wars were hoping that they were, ultimately, making a better and happier world for those they left behind. And they no doubt hoped, among everything else they hoped, that others didn’t have to face what they were facing. They wanted our lives to be happy and our country to be safe and part of a happy and safe country involves 300 million people doing whatever it is they damn please, even if it’s just having barbecues and wearing camo at the ballpark.

I won’t say have a happy Memorial Day because that seems odd. Have any kind of Memorial Day you want, really, even if it includes barbecuing, drinking beer and wearing a cam ballcap. But as you do, please make sure you take some time to think about those who died in military service. And remember that they didn’t get to have as many days like the one you’re having as they were meant to have. And make at least some effort to offset your happy, patriotic or silly pursuits with some mourning and reflectiveness. It’s OK for that to stand on its own.

The scores:

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3
Orioles 6, Indians 4
Yankees 2, Rays 1
Nationals 10, Cardinals 2
Brewers 5, Reds 4
Royals 5, White Sox 4
Cubs 7, Phillies 2
Rangers 6, Pirates 2
Astros 8, Angels 6
Athletics 4, Tigers 2
Twins 5, Mariners 4
Giants 8, Rockies 3
Diamondbacks 6, Padres 3
Marlins 7, Braves 3
Dodgers 4, Mets 2

 

Should Dave Roberts have taken Clayton Kershaw out of Sunday’s game?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
21 Comments

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will likely be second-guessed heavily during tomorrow’s news cycle. Starter Clayton Kershaw had pitched a terrific ballgame, as is his tendency, but with 114 pitches to his name, Roberts decided to pull him from the game in the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on first base.

Roberts opted not for closer Kenley Jansen, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, but for another lefty in Adam Liberatore. He was playing the numbers, with the left-handed-hitting Curtis Granderson coming up. Liberatore, much to Roberts’ chagrin, served up what turned out to be a game-tying triple to Granderson, hitting a rocket to right-center just out of the reach of a leaping Yasiel Puig.

Jansen has, for six years, been one of the game’s elite relievers. Kershaw, though at a high pitch count, doesn’t seem to suffer from the times through the order penalty like most pitchers. Kershaw’s opponents’ OPS facing him for the first time was .525 coming into Sunday. Twice, .597. Three times, .587. Four times, .526 (but this suffers from survivorship bias so it’s not exactly representative).

Furthermore, Kershaw held lefties to a .546 OPS over his career. Liberatore, in 99 plate appearances against lefty hitters, gave up a .575 OPS. Jansen? .560. It seems that, faced with three decisions, Roberts arguably made the worst one. Playing conservative with Kershaw at 114 pitches is defensible, but only if Jansen comes in. If Roberts wanted the platoon advantage, Kershaw should have stayed in.

Luckily for the Dodgers, Mets closer Jeurys Familia didn’t have his best stuff. He loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth on a single and two walks, then gave up a two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Jansen came on in the bottom half of the ninth and retired the side in order to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Royals sweep White Sox over the weekend on three late rallies

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 28:  Brett Eibner #12 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his game-winning RBI single with teammates in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium on May 28, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 8-7. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
5 Comments

The Royals had themselves a pretty good weekend. The quickly fading White Sox, not so much.

On Friday, the Royals fell behind 5-1 after the top of the sixth. They would score once in the bottom of the sixth, four times in the seventh, and once in the eighth to steal a 7-5 win facing pitchers Miguel Gonzalez Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and Nate Jones.

On Saturday, the Royals entered the bottom of the ninth down 7-1. They scored seven runs on closer David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to win 8-7.

On Sunday, the Royals were down 4-2 after the top of the eighth. They plated three runs in the bottom half of the eighth against Jones and Albers, going on to win 5-4.

Coming into the weekend, the Royals were 24-22 in third place. The White Sox were 27-21, a half-game up in first place. Now the Royals are in first place by a game and a half, and the White Sox are in third place, two games out of first.

Here’s video of the Royals’ comeback on Saturday, since it was so unlikely:

Report: Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there”

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 24: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers waits to hit during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on May 24, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
27 Comments

In Saturday’s column for The Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo notes that, according to a scout, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there.” Braun has been bothered by neck and back issues this year, missing on Sunday his eighth start out of the Brewers’ last 14 games, but he has still put up a quality .351/.424/.583 triple-slash line in 170 plate appearances this year.

More importantly for an acquiring team, Braun is in the first year of a five-year, $105 million contract. He’s earning $19 million this season and in the ensuing two seasons, and then his salary decreases slightly to $18 million in 2019, $16 million in 2020, and $15 million if both sides pick up his mutual option (else a $4 million buyout would be exercised).

Per Cafardo, the Astros, Cardinals, Red Sox, Phillies, Mets, Giants, and White Sox are potential landing spots for Braun.