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And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


Cardinals 8, Rockies 0: Matt Adams had two homers and drove in six. After the game he was asked why he’s been so dialed-in lately and he said “I’m laying off the sliders and the curveballs from the lefties.” One of his homers was off a righty last night, but let him go he’s on a roll.  In other news Lance Lynn allowed only three hits in eight shutout innings. It was the first time the Rockies were shutout at Coors Field since July of last year.

Mariners 12, Red Sox 3: Logan Morrison joined Adams in the two-homer club last night. If they take their ticket stubs to Dairy Queen they are entitled to a free Dilly Bar. Or was it a Mr. Misty? I forget. Probably not important. Anyway, this was the fourth straight win for Seattle and the first winning decision for Felix Hernandez since the beginning of the month, despite the fact that he’s pitched fantastically in his two no-decisions and one loss since then. Amazing what a little run support will do.

Marlins 4, Phillies 0: Nate Eovaldi with six shutout innings and four relievers to finish it off. Eovaldi had been shelled the last few times out and 12 of his 19 outs here were fly balls, so he was kind of dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight (in other news happy birthday Tim Burton’s Batman). But results matter most, so let’s not imagine what might have happened if Eovaldi were facing a team that squared him up a bit more last night.

Orioles 6, White Sox 4: Someone on a radio show asked me yesterday who I thought had an extra gear in the AL East. I said Baltimore, because Chris Davis hasn’t been Chris Davis so far this year and if he turns it around it’s like adding a big time slugger during the season. Yesterday, despite starting the game on the bench because of his general suckitude of late and because Chris Sale was pitching, Davis came in for a pinch-hit, three-run walkoff homer.

Nationals 4, Brewers 0: That “add a big piece by merely fixing one of your previously-existing broken ones” thing works for the Nationals and Gio Gonzalez too. After ineffectiveness and a stint on the DL, Gonzalez was sometimes shaky — he waled four guys in six innings — but otherwise shut the Brewers out while he was in the game. His mates shut them out while they were in the game. Adam LaRoche hit a three-run homer for all the O the curly W’s would need.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $35,000 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.

Blue Jays 8, Yankees 3: The Yankees have given a name to their pain, and it is Adam Lind. A three-run homer and four RBI, to hand the Yankees their third straight loss.

Reds 6, Cubs 1: Tied 1-1 into the ninth and then — bam! — a five-run inning, capped by a Devin Mesoraco grand slam. It was his fourth game in a row in which he hit a homer.

Pirates 8, Rays 1: Pedro Alvarez had a three-run homer in the fourth and Edinson Volquez rebounded from a nightmare start last Wednesday to allow one run over eight. The Rays hit into three double plays behind him.

Padres 6, Giants 0: Odrisamer Despaigne made his big league debut, taking the place of Andrew Cashner, and he did not disappoint. All he did was throw seven scoreless innings. He was signed just a couple months ago by Josh Byrnes, who just got canned. I wonder if he watched the game and if he did, I wonder how he felt.

Royals 5, Dodgers 3: The Royals beat up their old friend Zack Greinke and snapped their four game losing streak. Well, maybe he’s not their old friend. A lot of them didn’t even play with him. Of those who did,, maybe he was a jerk to them. Maybe he was really close friends with, like, Billy Butler but he and Alex Gordon had a falling out over a poker game? You never can know these things.

Wild Card, Division series umpires announced

Angel Hernandez
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Major League Baseball just released the umpire assignments for the Wild Card Game and the Division Series. As always, the basis for these assignments is a proprietary, scientific calculation undertaken by Major League Baseball, mixing in (a) skill; (b) seniority; and (c) trolling of baseball bloggers who, unlike 99% of the rest of the world actually know the names and track records of various umpires and who are easily riled.

Which is to say that, while we have no Joe West in the early playoff rounds this year — too obvious, perhaps? — we do get an Angel Hernandez.

Here are the assignments. The asterisks represent the crew chief of each unit. Guys with little up arrows next to their names are regular season crew chiefs in their own right. Print this out and keep it near your television so you know who to yell about before the broadcasters tell you who to yell at:

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Which teams improved and declined the most in 2015?

Joe Maddon

I was curious about which MLB teams changed their fortunes the most this season compared to last year, so I crunched the numbers.

First, here are the biggest win total improvements from 2014 to 2015:

+24 Cubs
+21 Rangers
+16 Astros
+15 Diamondbacks
+13 Twins
+11 Mets
+10 Blue Jays
+10 Cardinals
+10 Pirates

The top five teams on the biggest-improvement list all had managers in their first season on the job, led by Joe Maddon joining the Cubs after tons of success with the Rays. Also worth noting: Of the nine teams with the biggest win total improvement, eight made the playoffs. Only the Twins improved to double-digit games and still failed to make the playoffs.

Now, here are the biggest win total declines from 2014 to 2015:

-20 Athletics
-16 Tigers
-15 Orioles
-14 Brewers
-13 Nationals
-13 Angels
-12 Braves
-12 Reds
-11 Mariners

Not surprisingly, a whole lot of those teams have changed managers, general managers, or both. And a couple more may still do so before the offseason gets underway. Oakland retained manager Bob Melvin despite an MLB-high 20-win dropoff and just promoted Billy Beane from general manager to vice president of baseball operations.