Puig Out

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights


Reds 4, Dodgers 1: Like I said yesterday, I took the kids to this one. And we dressed up in Dodgers gear because why the heck not. And because we were pretending to be big Dodgers fans for the day — maybe the kids were more than pretending; hard to say — we rooted for Yasiel Puig. Then that one inning came in which he hit into a fielder’s choice causing one out and then got caught stealing (by a mile) in a strike-em-out-throw-em-out double play, requiring me to explain to my children how sometimes even the best players around can do dumbass stuff like cause, directly or indirectly, all three outs in an inning and, boy, isn’t baseball tough sometimes? It was all good, though, because their shallow rooting for the Dodgers easily allowed for them to be excited and thrilled by Aroldis Chapman pumping 102 m.p.h. fastballs in the ninth inning. So all in all a good day at the old ballpark. Except for the Dodgers, who looked pretty listless and seemed to have an eye on the clock and their minds on the plane out of Cincinnati.

Giants 7, Nationals 1: The Giants avoid the sweep thanks to Tim Hudson continuing to be awesome. Seven innings and only one unearned run allowed, which lowered Hudson’s ERA to 1.81 on the year. Between his time with the Braves and the Giants, Hudson has beat the Nationals 17 times in 30 starts. No one has beat the Nats that many times.

Rockies 10, Braves 3: My real rooting interest fared worse than my temporary/fake rooting interest. Jhoulys Chacin pitched seven scoreless innings and the Rockies had an 8-3 lead when things got chippy because, for some reason, David Carpenter of the Braves apparently thought that Corey Dickerson hit Braves catcher Gerald Laird with his bat on the backswing on purpose. He said he didn’t, but he plunked the next batter with a pitch, which caused Carpenter to get ejected and which caused Walt Weiss to come out and argue and get ejected himself. And which then caused a Rockies pitcher to plunk a Braves batter later, causing him and the Rockies acting manager tossed too. I think Walt Weiss said it best:

“If you think a guy can foul a ball off and then at the same time hit the catcher on the backswing on purpose, you got no clue,” Weiss said. “They made their decision. They made a bad choice.”

Not the first time the Braves overreacted to something and then put on their police hats.


Phillies 7, Padres 3: Pinch-hitter Reid Brignac hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the sixth and spot-starting John Mayberry Jr. hit a three-run homer. And the Phillies swept. Let’s hear it for the fill-ins of the world.

Red Sox 5, Indians 2:  Jon Lester pitched 7+ decent innings and David Ortiz hit a two-run homer. The Red Sox won for the third time in ten games. Which I suppose is better than losing for the eighth time in ten.

Orioles 4, Blue Jays 2:  Kevin Gausman gave up one run over six innings and Delmon Young homered. In other news, Delmon Young is still alive and playing major league baseball. In other news, I guess Mark Buehrle is not going to win 29 games this year or whatever.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $40,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Friday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on FridayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Tigers 4, White Sox 0: With Justin Verlander faltering, Max Scherzer doing things like stopping the bleeding with a three-hit shutout is gonna go a long way towards making that decision to not take the $140 million contract he was offered last spring look smart.

Brewers 5, Mets 1: Your standard four-run rally in the 13th inning. The Mets stranded seven runners between the ninth through the 11th including a bases-loaded situation. It was New York’s ninth loss in 11 games.

Yankees 6, Mariners 3: Jeter comes alive. Three hits, two RBI and two runs scored. Jacoby Ellsbury had a two-run homer. The Yankees sweep.

Pirates 4, Cubs 0: Andrew McCutchen had two doubles and two RBI. He’s 18 of 42 this month (.428), with 15 of his hits going for extra bases. Which is sort of insane.

Astros 5, Diamondbacks 4: Miguel Montero tied it at four in the top of the ninth with a homer but Chris Carter hit a walkoff homer to lead off the 10th to give it to the Astros. He homered twice on Wednesday, so that’s a good couple of days.

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi
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You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.

Keuchel, Astros cruise past Yankees in AL Wild Card Game

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Dallas Keuchel faced the Yankees two times during the regular season and was fantastic in each outing, striking out 12 in a complete-game shutout on June 25 and whiffing nine batters over seven scoreless frames on August 25.

The 2015 Cy  Young Award candidate continued that trend in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, limiting the Yankees to three hits and one walk over six innings of scoreless ball as the Astros earned a 3-0 win and advanced to a best-of-five ALDS with the top-seeded Royals.

Keuchel was working on three days of rest but didn’t show very many signs of fatigue, whiffing seven and needing only 87 pitches to get through six. He sure looked like he could have gone an inning longer, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to turn the game over to his bullpen and they added three more big zeroes to the scoreboard at a very loud then very boo-heavy Yankee Stadium. Tony Sipp worked around some early jitters to throw a scoreless seventh, Will Harris kept the Yankees off the bases entirely in a scoreless eighth, and closer Luke Gregerson went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Impending free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus provided the first burst of offense for the Astros in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homer against Masahiro Tanaka. And then deadline acquisition Carlos Gomez, who missed a bunch of time down the stretch with an intercostal strain, got to Tanaka for another solo shot in the top of the fourth. Houston scored its third run on a Jose Altuve RBI single in the top of the seventh.

This is a young, talented Astros team with an ace at the head of its rotation.

Kansas City could have a problem.