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And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Royals 11, Tigers 8: The Royals win their eighth in a row and pull to within a half game of the Tigers for first place. They did so here by beating the tar out of Justin Verlander, who gave up seven runs on 12 hits in six innings. Of 99 qualifying pitchers, Verlander’s ERA — 4.98 — is 91st. In other news, the five-year, $140 million extension he signed doesn’t kick in until next year.

Phillies 6, Braves 1: There was a time — oh, from about 2004 through a week or two ago — when if the Braves were down late, you knew it was over. They just had no catchup gear and their fate was pretty much sealed. The late great Mac Thomason used to call it “hibernation mode,” and while it was annoying, it was rather handy if you wanted to get to bed early or go walk the dog. Twice in the past week the Braves have found that gear and avoided hibernating, tying things up late. Both times they the gave up a crap-ton of runs in extra innings. Well, David Hale did, but he speaks for all Braves when he’s on the mound. Anyway guys, I love this newfound catchup ability, but that late collapse thing is way worse than hibernation mode ever was. Cut it out.

Red Sox 1, Twins 0:  Rubby De La Rosa one-hit the Twins through seven innings. When I first saw this guy in Dodgers camp a few years ago I was super impressed. Glad to see him doin’ thangs at the big league level like this.

Indians 4, Angels 3:  Carlos Santana snoozed for April and May, but he’s 13 for 39 with three homers and nine RBI in June, including a bomb last night. In other news, when I mentally say “Angels and Indians” as I write up the recap to these matchups, I always think “Angels and Indians” would be the name of a halfway decent indie film.

Mariners 5, Padres 1: Walking seven guys in five and two-thirds is no way to go through life, Tyson Ross. Shutting out the opposition for six innings is much better, Chris Young.

Dodgers 6, Rockies 1: Dee Gordon goes 4 for 4 with three singles and a triple, and he came all the way home on the triple thanks to Charlie Blackmon kicking the ball around in the left field corner. Gordon never stopped running so, even though the scoring wasn’t as such, it looked like an inside-the-park homer. The second highlight here has it. He just flies.

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

Rangers 14, Athletic 8: Four homers — two by Donnie Murphy — and 16 his in all as the Rangers romp. This is Texas’ fourth straight win in Oakland. At least someone likes playing in that ballpark.

Brewers 9, Diamondbacks 3: It was all tied up heading into the eighth but then Milwaukee put up three-spots in each of the last two innings, spoiling a solid Brandon McCarthy start.

Rays 5, Orioles 4: For the second straight game Jerry Sands came off the bench and delivered a big pinch hit. Here a tie-breaking pinch-hit homer in the eighth. Also: periodic reminder that “Jerry Sands” is the first name every writer in need of a fictitious standup comedian and/or nightclub singer for their novel set in the 1960s and 1970s uses for their character. Most change it during revisions because it’s too obvious. Sort of like naming the lead character of your fantasy novel “Valiant Goodknight.”

Cardinals 6, Mets 2: The Cards are hot, winning their seventh of eight. Allen Craig and Matt Adams each had two RBI and four pitchers, led by Carlos Martinez, subbed for the skipped Adam Wainwright to subdue the Mets’ bats. Not that they weren’t already subdued.

Cubs 5, Marlins 4: When you play 13 innings and basically empty your bench, you have to do things like use a starting pitcher as a pinch-hitter. Travis Wood got the call for the Cubbies n the 13th and all he did was double in a run to put the Cubs ahead. Of course, he does have a line of .276/.323/.552 on the year, so he’s no slouch. Indeed, by OPS he’s the Cubs’ second best hitter.

 

 

Twins pitcher barfs before almost every appearance

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 18:  Ryan O'Rourke #61 of the Minnesota Twins reacts after loading up the bases in the seventh inning against the New York Yankees on August 18, 2015 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Twins righty Ryan O'Rourke has pitched in 54 big league games. He has barfed before almost every one of them.

No, really:

Through his first 54 big-league outings over the last past two years, O’Rourke estimates he emptied the contents of his stomach close to every time.

“I don’t do it in the public’s eye,” O’Rourke said Tuesday. “I go in the bathroom, or sometimes it’s just on the back of the mound. But, yeah, it happens.”

I wonder if I’ve barfed 54 times in my entire life. I doubt I have. Then again, I’m not doing anything in front of tens of thousands of people with potentially millions of dollars at stake.

Yet he who is without sin hurl the first, um. Well, never mind.

The new intentional walk rule isn’t a big deal but it’s still dumb

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 06:  Anthony Recker #20 of the New York Mets calls for an intentional walk as Paul Goldschmidt #44 of the Arizona Diamondbacks looks on during the eighth inning at Chase Field on June 6, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
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Let us preface this by stipulating that the new rule in which pitchers will no longer have to throw four balls to issue an intentional walk is not a big deal, objectively speaking. Teams don’t issue many IBBs to begin with. A couple a week, maybe? Fewer? Moreover, the times when a pitcher tosses one to the backstop or a batter reaches out and smacks a would-be intentional ball may be a lot of fun, but they’re extraordinarily rare. You can go years without seeing it happen.

So, yes, the intentional walk rule announced yesterday is of negligible consequence. We’ll get used to it quickly and it will have little if any impact on actual baseball. It won’t do what it’s supposed to do — speeding up games — but it won’t harm anything that is important either.

But let us also stipulate that the new rule is dumb.

It’s dumb because it’s a solution in search of a problem. Pace of play is a concern, but to listen to Rob Manfred and his surrogates in the media tell it, it’s The Most Pressing Issue of Our Time. Actually, it’s not. No one is abandoning baseball because of 5-15 minutes here or there and no one who may be interested in it is ceasing their exploration of the game because of it. And even if they were, IBBs are rare and they’re not time-consuming to begin with, so it’s not something that will make a big difference. It’s change for change’s sake and so Rob Manfred can get some good press for looking like a Man of Action.

It’s also dumb because it’s taking something away, however small it is. One of my NBC coworkers explained it well this morning:

I agree. Shamelessness is a pretty big problem these days, so let’s not eliminate shame when it is truly due.

Picture it: it’s a steamy Tuesday evening in late July. The teams are both way below .500 and are probably selling off half of their lineup next week. There are, charitably, 8,000 people in the stands. The game is already dragging because of ineptitude and an understandable lack of urgency on the part of players who did not imagine nights like this when they were working their way to the bigs.

Just then, one of the managers — an inexperienced young man who refuses to deviate from baseball orthodoxy because, gosh, he might get a hard question from a sleepy middle aged reporter after the game — holds up four fingers for the IBB. The night may be dreary, but dammit, he’s going to La Russa the living hell out of this game.

That man should be booed. Boo this man. The drunks and college kids who paid, like, $11 to a season ticket holder on StubHub to get into this godforsaken game have earned the right to take their frustrations out on Hunter McRetiredBackupCatcher for being a wuss and calling for the IBB. It may be the only good thing that happens to them that night, and now Rob Manfred would take that away from them. FOR SHAME.

And don’t forget about us saps at home, watching this garbage fire of a game because it beats reading. We’re now going to have to listen to this exchange, as we have listened to it EVERY SINGLE NIGHT since the 2017 season began:

Play-by-Play Guy: “Ah, here we go. They’re calling for the intentional walk. Now, in case you missed it, this is the way we’re doing it now. The new rule is that the manager — yep, right there, he’s doing it — can hold up four fingers to the home plate umpire and — there it goes — he points to first base and the batter takes his base.”

Color Commentator, Who played from 1975-87, often wearing a mustache: “Don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. There was always a chance the pitcher throws a wild pitch. It happened to us against the Mariners in 1979 [Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice: it didn’t] and it has taken away something special from the game. I suppose some number-cruncher with a spreadsheet decided that this will help speed up the game, but you know what that’s worth.

No matter what good or bad the rule brings, this exchange, which will occur from April through September, will be absolutely brutal. Then, in October, we get to hear Joe Buck describe it as if we never heard it before because Fox likes to pretend that the season begins in October.

Folks, it’s not worth it. And that — as opposed to any actual pro/con of the new rule — is why it is dumb. Now get off my lawn.