Puig Out

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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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.

Collins worried David Wright might go on disabled list

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
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NEW YORK (AP) Mets manager Terry Collins is worried David Wright may wind up on the disabled list because of a neck injury.

New York’s captain and third baseman was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day Monday because of his neck. He was given anti-inflammatory medicine over the weekend.

Now 33, Wright was on the disabled list from April 15 to Aug. 24 last year when he strained his right hamstring and then developed spinal stenosis. He has a lengthy physical therapy routine he must go through before each game.

“With the condition he’s been playing in and the condition he’s in right now, yeah, I’m concerned about it,” Collins said Monday. “Is it going to happen? I can’t tell you. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. I know this guy plays with a lot of discomfort. He always has. And when he can’t play, he’s hurt.”

Wright homered in three straight games last week before getting hurt. He is batting .226 with seven homers, 14 RBIs and 55 strikeouts in 137 at-bats.

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)
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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)
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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
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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: