Corey Kluber

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Indians 4, Royals 1: You can’t stop Corey Kluber, you can only hope to contain him. And I don’t mean that in the ironic, 1990s-Dan Patrick way. I really mean it. He allowed only one run on four hits while pitching into the ninth while striking out 10 in this one, but he’s been doing this stuff all year. His record is only 8-6, but he has struck out 137 dudes in 125.2 innings while walking only 30. He’s sporting a 2.86 ERA and a WHIP of 1.18.

Marlins 8, ,Cardinals 4: Henderson Alvarez is the National League’s Corey Kluber (i.e. that dude you really didn’t realize was having a fantastic season, but by gum he sure is. One run allowed in seven innings here, a 2.27 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP on the season. While his record is nothing to write home about, the Marlins have won his last ten starts.

Angels 6, Astros 1: Garrett Richards allowed one run in seven and a third while striking out 11 and notching his tenth win of the year. His ERA is 2.71, his strikeout rate is great, he has the lowest batting average against in the AL and he doesn’t walk too many dudes. Didn’t make the All-Star team, though, because. Well, I don’t know exactly. He’s in that final five thing with a bunch of other pitchers, including our friend Corey Kluber, but gee zooey, what’s a guy got to do?

Pirates 6, Phillies 2: The sweep. Jeff Locke gave up two runs — only one earned — on three hits and a walk in eight innings. Both Marlin Byrd and A.J. Burnett returned to face their former mates in Pittsburgh. It went better for Byrd, who homered, than it did for Burnett.

Diamondbacks 3, Braves 1: The Braves’ nine-game winning streak comes to an end thanks in part to a two-run homer to Paul Goldschmidt. B.J. Upton’s 11-game hitting streak came to an end too, thanks in part to B.J. Upton.

Mets 8, Rangers 4: The Mets scored five in the first and cruised from there. Which is probably the least Mets thing to happen in quite some time, but every dog has his day. Anthony Recker hit a three-run homer in the first. Recker? Damn near killed him! Wait.

Reds 4, Brewers 2: Jay Bruce was 0 for his last 26 before hitting a tie-breaking two-run homer in the eighth. That’s two of three from first place Milwaukee and 10 of 15 overall for the Reds. I feel like this NL Central race is gonna get freaky and crazy within the next month or so.

Nationals 2, Cubs 1: Denard Span’s wheels helped win this one. He led off the eighth with a hit that would’ve been a single for most guys but he busted hard out of the box and just beat the tag sliding into second. Two outs and an intentional walk later, Ryan Zimmerman singled in Span for the go-ahead run. Otherwise, a nice pitching duel between Jake Arrieta and Jordan Zimmermann.

White Sox 1, Mariners 0: Hector Noesi is on his third team of the season and yesterday he faced his first team this season, shutting them out into the seventh inning. The Sox had just two hits and scored their lone run on a wild pitch. In other news, how a 1-0 game with only seven hits in it lasts close to three hours is a bloody mystery.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $25,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Yankees 9, Twins 7: The Yankees took a 9-0 lead and then held on just hard enough as the Twins charged back. Jacoby Ellsbury homered, doubled and drove in four. More impressive: Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki each had three hits. Not bad for a couple of dead guys.

Dodgers 8, Rockies 2:  Matt Kemp had four hits and drove in two, Adrian Gonzalez drove in three and Juan Uribe had three hits as L.A. takes three of four. Josh Beckett allowed three hits in five scoreless, but still threw 82 pitches and it took him around an hour and a half to get that far. This is somewhat comforting to me. I had begun to grow discombobulated by quick and efficient Josh Beckett starts. This, however unwatchable it was, does restore some semblance of normalcy to the cosmos.

Giants 5, Padres 3: Tim Lincecum would very much like to pitch against the Padres forever. Two starts after no-hitting them, he allowed one run while pitching into the seventh. Overall, Lincecum had tossed 23.1 scoreless innings before Brooks Conrad hit a homer in the seventh. After the game Bruce Bochy and Lincecum each talked about how this resurgence may be the real deal, and that after several years of talking about how he has to make adjustments and learn to reinvent himself, he finally has. I hope so, because I really think baseball is more fun when The Freak is dominating, but I think I need to see more than three starts against poor offenses before I’ll buy in.

Athletics 4, Blue Jays 2: Jeff Samardzija made his Oakland debut and he immediately showed why the A’s wanted him. He allowed one run on four hits and a walk in seven innings, helping the A’s finish off the sweep against the Jays. Samardzija also learned yesterday that he made the NL All-Star team. He won’t pitch, however, and he’ll actually be in the AL dugout. He’ll still get more run support doing that than he ever got in Chicago.

Orioles 7, Red Sox 6: The O’s and Red Sox played a day-night doubleheader on Saturday and then went 12 innings here. The Orioles blew a 6-1 lead in the seventh but then David Lough hit a triple in the 12th and then scored on a J.J. Hardy single to give Baltimore their sixth win in seven games.

Rays 7, Tigers 3: Rick Porcello had been on a roll, but his roll was slowed by the Rays, who scored seven runs on 11 hits off him. David Price, in contrast, was in control until the ninth when he gave up a leadoff homer and then lost his mojo and couldn’t get the complete game, but by then it was academic. Tampa Bay took three of four from the Tigers and have won 8 of 10 overall.

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)
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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:

Report: Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there”

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 24: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers waits to hit during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on May 24, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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In Saturday’s column for The Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo notes that, according to a scout, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there.” Braun has been bothered by neck and back issues this year, missing on Sunday his eighth start out of the Brewers’ last 14 games, but he has still put up a quality .351/.424/.583 triple-slash line in 170 plate appearances this year.

More importantly for an acquiring team, Braun is in the first year of a five-year, $105 million contract. He’s earning $19 million this season and in the ensuing two seasons, and then his salary decreases slightly to $18 million in 2019, $16 million in 2020, and $15 million if both sides pick up his mutual option (else a $4 million buyout would be exercised).

Per Cafardo, the Astros, Cardinals, Red Sox, Phillies, Mets, Giants, and White Sox are potential landing spots for Braun.