Josh Collmeter

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Diamondbacks 4, Reds 0: Josh Collmenter with the three-hit shutout. And not just a shutout, but a Maddux, as he needed only 94 pitches to do it, while facing the minimum 27 hitters. The only other Dback who has gone a whole game while facing the minimum was Randy Johnson who did it while pitching a perfect game. Aaron Hill had a homer and an RBI single in support.

Mets 4, Phillies 1: A lot of people have been talking about the Mets’ struggles at Citi Field. They do just fine at Citizens Bank Park, thank you. They won their sixth straight in Philly to open up a five game series here this weekend. Zack Wheeler pitched into the seventh and struck out nine.

Rangers 5, Twins 4: Leonys Martin doubled twice and scored three times. One of his runs was the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, when he came hope on a sac fly, just barely beating the throw from Danny Santana, who was playing center field despite the fact that he’s a shortstop because, hey, you gotta have 13 pitchers on staff or else the friggin’ world will end.

Angels 7, Mariners 5: Erik Aybar’s three-run homer have the Angels a 5-0 lead in the fourth and they held on from there. The Angels rattled off 15 hits. They’re a game and a half behind Oakland and if the season ended today, well, that would be really damn weird considering it’s May 30 and I suppose we wouldn’t have a baseball playoffs because I’m guessing only national tragedy of some sort would cause the season to end today so forget that whole idea of the Angels being in the playoffs if it did. God, now I’m all depressed, even though I started this thought in order to say something uplifting about the Angels. Some sort of nuclear disaster, I’m guessing. Maybe two teams’ planes colliding. Not sure. Oh my God this is horrible.

Red Sox 4, Braves 3: The Braves had a bullpen and defensive meltdown late, allowing the Sox to rally for their fourth straight win and the series sweep. I, thankfully, did not see this. I was at an Eddie Izzard show downtown. When I turned on my phone after the show, it was full of people asking me stuff like “is Brooks Conrad now the Braves’ defensive coordinator?” and offering sarcastic “BARVES!” texts. Really glad I was at the show instead.

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

Giants 6, Cardinals 5: Michael Morse homered and drove in three runs and Pablo Sandoval homered too. The Giants are third in all of baseball in homers. I know I said that a week or two ago, but man, it’s still pretty darn notable.

Tigers 5, Athletics 4: Rick Porcello was shaky but won his eighth game. Joe Nathan was shaky but held on for the save. The A’s and Tigers split their four-game series.

Royals 8, Blue Jays 6: Edwin Encarnacion had two more homers — that’s 15 and 16 for May — but it wasn’t enough to extend the Jays’ winning streak. Every Royals hitter had a hit including Omar Infante’s two-run single in the 10th. Obviously it was new batting coach Dale Sveum’s work here. Quick, someone go ask Sveum what he did to make the Royals hit.

Pirates 6, Dodgers 3:  Russell Martin and Pedro Alvarez homered and the Pirates put up three in the seventh to back Gerrit Cole. It was just the Pirates third win in 20 games at Dodger Stadium.

Astros 3, Orioles 1: Holy crap, George Springer is on a rampage. He hit a tie-breaking two-run homer in the seventh, which was his seventh homer in seven games and ten for the month of May. Brad Peacock allowed one run on six hits with eight strikeouts in six innings.

 

Yordano Ventura represented the best and worst of baseball’s culture

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
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It was reported this morning that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. Former prospect Andy Marte was also killed in a separate car accident. Along with Jose Fernandez and Oscar Taveras, the baseball world has lost a lot of young, exciting talent in a very short amount of time.

Ventura was, like all of us, a complex human being. At his best, he was an exciting, talented, emotive pitcher who featured an electric fastball which sat in the mid-90’s and occasionally touched 100 MPH. At his worst, he was an immature, impressionable kid trying to fit in by exacting revenge against batters he felt had wronged him by slinging those electric fastballs at vulnerable areas of their bodies.

Baseball needed Ventura when he was at his best. It is players like him and Fernandez, not Mike Trout, that bring in new fans to the sport. To baseball die-hards, Angels outfielder Mike Trout is the pinnacle of entertainment because we know he’s an otherworldly talent. But to the average fan, Trout is just another player who hits a couple of homers and doesn’t do anything particularly interesting otherwise. Trout is milquetoast. Ventura was never an All-Star, but fans knew who he was because he made his presence felt every time he made a start. He was fun, if sometimes vengeful.

Ventura’s baseball rap sheet is rather lengthy for someone who only pitched parts of four seasons in the big leagues. Early in the 2015 season, Ventura found himself in a handful of benches-clearing incidents in quick succession. On April 12, he jawed with Trout, apparently misunderstanding the motivation behind Trout yelling, “Let’s go!” Though catcher Salvador Perez intervened, Trout’s teammate Albert Pujols ran in from second base and the benches cleared shortly thereafter. On the 18th, some drama between the Athletics and Royals continued. Ventura fired a 99 MPH fastball at Brett Lawrie, resulting in his immediate ejection from the game. More beanball wars ensued in the series finale the following day. Finally, on the 23rd, Ventura hit White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu with a 99 MPH fastball in the fourth inning. Ventura was not ejected… until after the completion of the seventh inning. Walking back to the dugout, Ventura barked at White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton and — you guessed it — the benches cleared. All told, Ventura was fined for his behavior with the Athletics and suspended seven games for the White Sox incident.

In August 2015, Ventura called Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista a “nobody” and accused him of stealing signs. He apologized shortly thereafter. Two months later, during his start in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, Ventura got into it with Jays first base coach Tim Leiper. Nothing happened beyond that, but apparently it was part of the Jays’ plan to try to put Ventura “on tilt.”

Most recently, in June this past season, Ventura hit Orioles third baseman Manny Machado with a pitch. Machado charged the mound and got in at least one punch before the players spilled out onto the field in a blob of royal blue and orange. Ventura was suspended for eight games.

Ventura was by no means a model of civility, but he was a product of baseball’s intransigent culture forcing players to assimilate or be ostracized. The old culture taught players to never show emotion. Hit a home run? Put your head down and circle the bases in a timely fashion or risk taking a fastball to the ribs. Players like Fernandez and Bautista — typically players from Latin countries — challenged those old cultural norms and are, as a result, the vanguard of the new culture. Ventura displayed aspects of each, the worst of the old culture and the best of the new. He was not a one-dimensional person; he was strikingly complex. At one moment willing to use a fastball as a weapon, the next stopping by some kids’ lemonade stand and giving out fist bumps. Baseball is made more entertaining and more interesting by its personalities and Ventura’s was a behemoth, for better or worse. His absence from the sport will be felt.

MLB remembers Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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Following the tragic passing of 25-year-old Yordano Ventura and 33-year-old Andy Marte, both of whom were killed in separate car crashes on Sunday morning, players and executives from around Major League Baseball expressed an outpouring of grief and support for the players’ families and former teams.

Fans have gathered at Kauffman Stadium in memory of the former pitcher.