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.

Derek Jeter calls Bryant Gumbel “mentally weak”

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Derek Jeter has not covered himself in glory since taking over the Miami Marlins. His reign atop the team’s baseball operations department has been characterized by the slashing of payroll in order to help his new ownership group make more money amid some pretty crushing debt service by virtue of what was, in effect, the leveraged buyout of the club. A club which is now 5-16 and seems destined for five months more and change of some pretty miserable baseball.

Jeter has nonetheless cast the moves the Marlins have made as good for fans in the long run. And, yes, I suppose it’s likely that things will be better in the long run, if for no other reason than they cannot be much worse. Still, such reasoning, while often accepted when a lesser light like, say, White Sox GM Rick Hahn employs it, isn’t accepted as easily when a guy who has been defined by his hand full of championship rings offers it. How can Derek Jeter, of all people, accept losing?

That’s the question HBO’s Bryant Gumbel asked of Jeter in an interview that aired over the weekend (see the video at the end of the post). How can he accept — and why should fans accept — a subpar baseball product which is not intended to win? Jeter’s response? To claim that the 2018 Marlins are totally expected to win and that Gumbel himself is “mentally weak” for not understanding it:

JETER: “We’re trying to win ball games every day.”

GUMBEL: “If you trade your best players in exchange for prospects it’s unlikely you’re going to win more games in the immediate future–”

JETER: “When you take the field, you have an opportunity to win each and every day. Each and every day. You never tell your team that they’re expected to lose. Never.”

GUMBEL: “Not in so–”

JETER: “Now, you can think — now– now, I can’t tell you how you think. Like, I see your mind. I see that’s how you think. I don’t think like that. That’s your mind working like that.”

. . .

DEREK JETER: “You don’t. We have two different mi– I can’t wait to get you on the golf course, man. We got– I mean, I can’t wait for this one.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “No, I mean–”

DEREK JETER: “You’re mentally weak.”

I sort of get what Jeter was trying to do here. He was trying to take this out the realm of second guessing among people who know some stuff about sports and subtly make it an appeal to authority, implying that he was an athlete and that only he, unlike Gumbel, can understand that mindset and competitiveness of the athlete. That’s what the “get you on the golf course” jazz was about. Probably worth noting at this point that that tack has never worked for Michael Jordan as a basketball executive, even if his singular competitiveness made him the legend he was on the court. An executive makes decisions which can and should be second-guessed, and it seems Jeter cannot handle that.

That being said, Gumbel did sort of open the door for Jeter to do that. Suggesting that baseball players on the 2018 Marlins don’t expect to win is not the best angle for him here because, I am certain, if you ask those players, they would say much the same thing Jeter said. That’s what makes them athletes.

No, what Gumbel should have asked Jeter was “of COURSE you tell your players to win and of COURSE they try their hardest and think they can win every night. My question to you is this: did YOU try YOUR hardest to get the BEST players? And if not, why not?”

Question him like you’d question Rick Hahn. Not like you’d question Future Hall of Fame Shortstop, Derek Jeter.