And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

108 Comments

Angels 2, Athletics 1: Collin Cowgill with a two-out, walkoff homer in the bottom of the 14th inning. Which was great and gave the Angels their fifth straight win, but may not have been as impressive as the throw Yoenis Cespedes made in the eighth inning to nail Howie Kendrick at the plate:

I mean, sure, he deserves to have all of us respect-the-gamesplain to him that one shouldn’t airmail it past the cutoff man like that, but apart from his nearly inexcusable fundamental lapse there, it was, like, maybe the best throw any of us will ever see in our lifetimes.

Cardinals 1, Rays 0: Adam Wainwright won his ninth game after tossing seven shutout innings. Two more shutout innings for the Cards pen brings the Rays’ scoreless streak up to a whopping 28 innings. They have lost 14 of 15 too. The Cards have three straight shutouts too, but it’s the good kind. You know, the kind you win.

Mets 6, Brewers 2: Taylor Teagarden hit a grand slam in his Mets debut. Travis d’Arnaud sighs mightily from Las Vegas. Also: Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched six effective innings, lowering his ERA to 2.95 and upping his record to 3-0. So, yeah, it was a pretty good night for heretofore uninspiring castoffs.

Twins 4, Blue Jays 0: The power-packed Blue Jays are suddenly punchless, having been shutout for the third time in four games. See, above comment about the Cardinals for an explanation of that. Kevin Correia allowed six hits, walked one and struck out one in six innings.

Phillies 5, Padres 2: Marlon Byrd hit a three-run homer and A.J. Burnett was effective. Hard not to be effective against the Padres these days.

Diamondbacks 4, Astros 1: My daughter, Mookie, is on summer vacation. Yesterday it was raining and she walks downstairs and turns on the TV. I hear her flipping around a bit in the next room as I’m working. She passes silly documentaries about killer bees that she usually eats up like crazy, passes Nickelodeon sitcoms aimed at tweens. She lands on the only baseball game on TV — this one — and starts watching. Two last place teams on a Tuesday afternoon had the full attention of my ten-year-old daughter for a good hour or more. I walked by once to check and she was engrossed. Not in some showy way in which she was wanting to demonstrate that she likes baseball. Not because she stopped changing channels then and just got stuck. She just wanted to watch baseball on TV and did, and I can’t think of anything that would make me happier than that.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $35,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Wednesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on WednesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Cubs 7, Pirates 3: Gregory Polanco’s debut is why this game was interesting, but Anthony Rizzo‘s homer, two doubles and three RBI is why this game was won. Polanco went 1 for 5 and had one of Rizzo’s double bounce off his wrist so, yes, there will be better days for the big prospect.

Nationals 2, Giants 1: Doug Fister outduels Madison Bumgarner, allowing no runs over seven to Bumgarner’s two runs over seven.

Royals 9, Indians 5: The Indians scored 17 runs on Monday but they were shut out by Jason Vargas into the eighth inning last night. After that he and the pen faltered a bit, but nine runs — three driven in by Eric Hosmer — is a good cushion to play with.

Braves 13, Rockies 10: The Braves jumped out to a 7-0 lead and, given the way Coors has been playing for the past week or so, and given the Braves’ bullpen woes of late, I thought “eh, maybe get a few more just in case.” They added a touchdown and missed the extra point but they pretty much needed all of that. Atlanta had a season-highs of 16 hits and 13 runs, including a grand slam from Andrelton Simmons.

Yankees 3, Mariners 2: An RBI single for Jacoby Ellsbury helped the Yankees win and helped him extend his hitting streak to 14 games. Also, Derek Jeter was reanimated for the evening: he had two hits and scored two runs.

Red Sox 1, Orioles 0: Brandon Workman handled the first six and two-thirds innings of the shutout and the bullpen carried the rest. The game’s sole run came on a Mike Napoli RBI single in the third.

Dodgers 6, Reds 1: Josh Beckett with six shutout innings, with seven strikeouts and one walk. This after a two-hour rain delay. Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier and Justin Turner each had two hits and Beckett had one of his own. L.A. has won three in a row and four of five.

Marlins 8, Rangers 5: I had no idea they had such a streak going, but the Marlins win was their 13th in a row vs. an American League opponent. Christian Yelich had four hits and four RBI.

Tigers vs. White Sox: POSTPONED: Another rainy day New York City. Softly sweet, so silently it falls. Crosstown traffic crawls. Windy, wet and gray New York City. No one here I really want to see. Friends and family. Suddenly serene. The air is fresh and clean. Another rainy day New York City.

It’s another rainy day
Just a rainy, rainy day
It’s another rainy day
Just a rainy, rainy day

It’s another rainy day
Just a rainy, rainy day
It’s another rainy day
Just a rainy, rainy day

It’s another rainy day
Just a rainy, rainy day
It’s another rainy day
Just a rainy, rainy day

The Nats are sniffing around for relief pitching help

Getty Images
1 Comment

The Nationals began the year with Blake Treinen as their closer. That didn’t last long, and now Koda Glover seems to be Dusty Baker’s man in the ninth inning. He earned a save for the second consecutive game yesterday. Glover has been pretty darn good in the early going, posting a 2.35 ERA and striking out six batters and walking only one in seven and two-thirds. That obviously a small sample size, and anything can happen. If it does, Baker has Shawn Kelley as an option.

Not many household names there, which is probably why the Nationals are reported to be interested in the White Sox’ David Robertson and Alex Colome of the Rays. That report comes from Jim Bowden of ESPN, who also notes that the A’s have a number of guys with closing experience on staff and are likely to be sellers too. The David Robertson thing may have more legs, though, given that Mike Rizzo and Rick Hahn pulled off a pretty major trade in the offseason. If you know a guy well, you call that guy first, right?

As far as problems go this isn’t a huge one. The Nats sit at 13-5 and, as expected by most prognosticators, are in first place in the National League East. The Cubs had some questions in the pen this time last year too. They had the luxury of trying to figure it out before making a massive trade for a closer. The Nats do too, and likely will. But expect them to be a part of any trade rumor conversation for the next couple of months.

 

The big flaw in modern ballparks

Getty Images
8 Comments

Travis Sawchik writes about the post-Camden Yards generation of ballparks over at FanGraphs. The ones everyone loves because they’re nice and clean and friendly and are full of amenities. And that’s true! They are nice! But they all have a huge flaw: unless you’re in expensive seats, you’re too far away from the action.

Sawchik uses cross sections of ballparks — available at Andrew Clem’s website — to show that fans sitting in the upper decks of ballparks are way higher and way farther back than they used to be at many old ballparks such as Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium, Old Comiskey, Tiger Stadium and Ebbets Field.

A lot of this has to do with an admirable impulse: to eliminate the beams which obstructed the view of many seats in those old parks. If you want to move that upper deck closer to the field, you have to have the beams because one can only achieve so much via cantilever effect. But that’s not the only impulse and probably not the primary one. More expansive lower bowls — which feature more expensive tickets — push the upper deck back and up. As do the luxury suites and club level amenities in between the lower and upper decks. Exacerbating this is the fact that most newer parks are built on vast tracts of land with few architectural constraints. If you can sprawl, you will, which leaves the most affordable seats in the land of binoculars.

I don’t agree with everything Sawchik writes here. He spends a lot of time talking about how much better neighborhood parks like Wrigley Field are and how it’d be better if newer parks were built in neighborhoods. I agree, neighborhood parks are ideal, but the fact is, most places don’t have mass transit like Chicago does. In most cities you have to have a place for 40,000 people to park.

That’s a quibble, though. Mostly, it’s a good look at an important thing most folks overlook when they praise the new parks. Important because, if you don’t have an enjoyable experience at the ballpark, you’re not likely to come back. And if you’re not fortunate enough to be able to buy expensive tickets, you may not have a great experience at the ballpark.