Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 6.23.57 AM

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

29 Comments

source: AP

Brewers 4, Reds 3: I usually don’t put up a feature photo like that but that’s such a cool one I can’t not. Occasioned by Jonathan Lucroy’s walkoff homer to lead off the bottom of the ninth. He hit one in the sixth inning too. It wasn’t a walkoff, though. If it was, whichever team was left on the field would have won due to a forfeit. Might not’ve been the worst thing for the Reds, though. They’re 0-5 since the break. A forfeit would look pretty sweet at the moment.

Giants 9, Phillies 6: A save in this one for proven closer Tim Lincecum. He was needed in relief as this one went 14 innings. Brandon Crawford gave the Giants the lead that frame with a bases-clearing double. This whole thing went as long as it did thanks to Buster Posey hitting a homer off Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth. It was the first homer anyone had hit off him all season. Posey had four hits, including two doubles, two runs and an RBI. Crawford drove in four.

Yankees 2, Rangers 1: Another marathon. Sort of a marathon of ineptitude, as each of these teams made the other’s starters look like Koufax and Drysdale as opposed to Chase Whitley and Nick Martinez. But the new guy came through: Chase Headley, just acquired earlier in the day and only having landed in New York at 6:30pm for a 7pm start, hit the game-winning single in the 14th. I suppose that’s the record for becoming a True Yankee.

Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 3: The Sox’ winning streak ends at five as Dioner Navarro and Jose Reyes homered and J.A. Happ tossed six shutout innings. After the game John Farrell was asked about the poor night at the plate for Sox’ hitters a day after rattling off 18 hits:

“There’s no bank that we can take runs and put them in and take a loan out the next day, unfortunately,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “It would have been nice to be able to do that today.”

Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, why not? If you’ll excuse me, I have a business to start.

Royals 7, White Sox 1: It was Greek Heritage Night at U.S. Cellular Field. Mike Moustakas is of Greek Heritage. Mike Moustakas also hit two homers. Opa!

Cubs 6, Padres 0: It was a big night for guys hitting two homers. Here Anthony Rizzo did it against his old organization. I’d say that would really steam the Padres GM, but at the moment the Padres GM is, like, a temp from Adecco or a team of monkeys at typewriters or something.

Marlins 6, Braves 5: Mike Minor was smacked around, giving up six runs on 10 hits and walking two. The Braves are looking sluggish just as the Nats are embarking on a pretty favorable part of their schedule. Washington now has a two-game lead in the division. My prediction that the Nats would pull away in the second half is looking pretty good, unfortunately.

Pirates 12, Dodgers 7: Gregory Polanco hit a solo home run and a two-run single in the sixth that broke a 4-4 tie. Neil Walker and Ike Davis also came up big. Josh Beckett looked rusty coming back from a hip injury and ended up lasting only three and two-thirds and giving up three homers.

Indians 8, Twins 2: Carlos Sanata homered and collected four hits and Danny Salazar, who had been exiled to Columbus of all places, made his first start in the bigs since May 15. It was a good one too, as he allowed one earned run and struck out six while pitching into the sixth. Columbus is a great place to get your head together, allowing you to go on and do better things elsewhere. Just ask James Thurber or George Bellows if you happen to run into them.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $30,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Wednesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on WednesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Orioles 4, Angels 2: Miguel Gonzalez took a two-hit shutout into the eighth against one of the best offenses in baseball. Jonathan Schoop homered and J.J. Hardy hit two RBI doubles. The loss means that the Angels’ streak of ten consecutive home series wins is over.

Rays 7, Cardinals 2: Six in a row for the Rays whose hot streak is going on two months now. That’s pretty great, and they’re better off now than they were in early June when they were 15 games back. But they still have only gained a game and a half on the division leader in the month of July and still sit eight back. Such is the difficulty of digging out of holes several months into the season. Five and a half out of the wild card but, again, a lot of teams to climb over.

Astros 3, Athletics 2: L.J. Hoes with a homer in the 12th. It was a requested home run. Hoes after the game:

“It’s a really good feeling considering it was my mom’s birthday, and that was the last thing she told me to do, to get a homer for her,” Hoes said. “To be able to do that for her was a special thing.”

I got my mom a set of those wireless headphones old ladies who are going deaf can use so they can hear the T.V. I suppose a homer is nice too, but my mom can now watch “Jeopardy!” cranked to 11 in the living room while my dad watches documentaries about trains in the bedroom without being disturbed. Who got the better gift L.J.? Hmmm?

Nationals 7, Rockies 4: Adam LaRoche with a tiebreaking homer in the seventh. It was the Nats’ fourth straight win. Some bad news though: Ryan Zimmerman left the game with a strained hamstring. He’ll have an MRI this morning.

Mets 3, Mariners 1: Jacob DeGrom continues his nice run of late, allowing one run in seven innings while striking out seven. Over his last six starts he’s 4-1 with a 1.59 ERA. He’s 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA over his past three, walking three and striking out 26.

Diamondbacks 5, Tigers 4: Three RBI and a game-ending gem of a play at second base for Aaron Hill. David Peralta had two triples and continued the streak of “Every Player in Major League Baseball Named Peralta Reminding Me of the Giant Powell-Peralta Bones Brigade Poster I Had on my Wall in High School:

source:

No, I wasn’t a big skater. But a lot of my friends were and I hung out with them at the skate store with the half-pipe in the back. While they were skating I found out the store was going out of business and was able to buy the poster off the owner super cheap. Then I flipped it to a kid I knew who was a real skater when I left home for college. Since then I just wait for a baseball team to pair up a player named Powell and a player named Peralta in a double play combo so I can call them the “Bones Brigade” which will amuse around five readers. At most.

 

It’s May 4 and Daniel Murphy is still out-hitting Bryce Harper

Washington Nationals' Daniel Murphy hits an RBI single during the first inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday, April 30, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
1 Comment

Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy flirted with the cycle in Wednesday afternoon’s 13-2 drubbing of the Royals, as he went 4-for-5 with a pair of singles, a two-run double, and a solo home run. That brings his triple-slash line on the season up to .398/.449/.663. Comparatively, teammate Bryce Harper — the defending NL MVP and arguably the best player in baseball — is currently hitting .266/.372/.649.

Murphy has always been an above-average hitter, but this level of hitting is something else. Of course, he flashed it in the post-season last year when he homered in six consecutive games, helping the Mets advance past the Dodgers in the NLDS and sweep the Cubs in the NLCS.

The Nats signed Murphy to a three-year, $37.5 million contract in January. If Neil Walker, acquired from the Pirates to replace Murphy, wasn’t hitting so well, the Mets would probably be jealous. Walker is hitting .296/.330/.582 with nine home runs and 19 RBI.

Video: Jon Lester tosses his glove to get the out

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester throws against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, May 4, 2016, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic
Leave a comment

It’s always fun when this happens. Cubs starter Jon Lester snagged a grounder hit back up the middle by Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli in the bottom of the second inning. The only problem was that the ball got stuck in the webbing of his glove. Rather than fight to pry the ball out, Lester just lobbed his glove over to first baseman Anthony Rizzo to get the first out of the inning.

Lester has had issues throwing baseballs to first base, so maybe it was a good thing the ball got stuck in his glove.

Lester did this last year, too, by the way.

Alex Rodriguez lands on the 15-day DL with a strained hamstring

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez follows through on a single to right off a pitch from Texas Rangers' Shawn Tolleson in the ninth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, April 27, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. The Yankees lost 3-2. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
4 Comments

Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez strained his right hamstring running out a ground ball in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s loss to the Orioles. The club announced it has placed him on the 15-day disabled list and recalled pitcher James Pazos from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Rodriguez lands on DL hitting .194/.275/.444 with five home runs and 12 RBI in 80 plate appearances.

Dustin Ackley replaced Rodriguez in Tuesday’s game, but the Yankees will likely cycle a handful of players in and out of the DH spot while Rodriguez heals.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Wednesday evening’s action

Philadelphia Phillies' Aaron Nola pitches to a Milwaukee Brewers batter during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, April 22, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)
AP Photo/Tom Lynn
3 Comments

We were treated to a handful of games this afternoon but we still have eight night games left. Let’s talk about the Phillies.

I wrote this preview of the Phillies just before the season started, predicting them to win only 65 games, which would mark only a marginal improvement over their 63-win season last year. In my defense, I wasn’t alone, as almost every expert as well as the projections had them finishing under 70 wins. And yet, here they are 27 games into the season with 16 wins. That’s on pace for a 96-win season. What the heck.

Aaron Nola pitched seven shutout innings against the Cardinals in a 1-0 victory on Tuesday, marking the Phillies’ sixth shutout of the year, the best mark in the majors. Even as the Phillies prepared to draft him, Nola was described as “major league ready” but no one expected him to be quite this dominant. In his first 19 major league starts, Nola has a 3.37 ERA with a 112/26 K/BB ratio over 117 2/3 innings. This year, not only has Nola been extremely stingy with the walks, but he’s been missing bats at an elite level. He’s only 22 years old.

Nola is joined in the rotation by Vincent Velasquez, the pitcher who highlighted the return from the Astros in the Ken Giles trade. The right-hander made headlines in April with a 16-strikeout performance against the Padres and currently stands with a 1.44 ERA with a 39/10 K/BB ratio in 31 1/3 innings. Unlike Nola, Velasquez was billed as a future ace or a dominant eighth- or ninth-inning guy.

Then there’s Jerad Eickhoff, who came over in the Cole Hamels trade last year. Though he has a ho-hum 4.15 ERA, Eickhoff is occasionally dominant as evidenced by his 32/5 K/BB ratio over 30 1/3 innings. He has a pretty curve. Look at it. Eickhoff probably won’t be an ace, but he wasn’t considered to be a future mainstay in the rotation when the Hamels trade went through. All he’s done so far is exceed expectations. Nola-Velasquez-Eickhoff makes for an outstanding start to a long-term starting rotation.

The offensive tools aren’t quite where the pitching is yet for the Phillies, as third baseman Maikel Franco has wavered between looking like Mike Schmidt and looking completely lost at the plate. He has only five hits (zero home runs) in his last 37 plate appearances. Shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford isn’t there yet, nor is outfielder Nick Williams, catcher Jorge Alfaro, and outfielder Cornelius Randolph. There’s certainly a lot of hope on the horizon.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a Phillies fan, but wearing rose-colored glasses isn’t a crime of which I’ve been often accused over the years. It has been one headache after another being a Phillies fan between 2012-15. The front office under former GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. was stubborn and out of touch. Now, under new president Andy MacPhail and GM Matt Klentak, the team has a goal and is seeing it through. No, the Phillies won’t win 96 games this year — they probably won’t even win 80 — but they’re certainly further along than a lot of us gave them credit for being.

The Phillies play game three of a four-game set in St. Louis tonight at 8:15 PM EDT. Lefty Adam Morgan will oppose the Cardinals’ Mike Leake.

The rest of Wednesday’s action…

Detroit Tigers (Anibal Sanchez) @ Cleveland Indians (Corey Kluber), 6:10 PM EDT

New York Yankees (CC Sabathia) @ Baltimore Orioles (Tyler Wilson), 7:05 PM EDT

Texas Rangers (Colby Lewis) @ Toronto Blue Jays (Aaron Sanchez), 7:07 PM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks (Rubby De La Rosa) @ Miami Marlins (Jose Fernandez), 7:10 PM EDT

Los Angeles Dodgers (Alex Wood) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Drew Smyly), 7:10 PM EDT

Boston Red Sox (Clay Buchholz) @ Chicago White Sox (Carlos Rodon), 8:10 PM EDT

Minnesota Twins (Phil Hughes) @ Houston Astros (Mike Fiers), 8:10 PM EDT