And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights


Yankees 12, Rangers 11: This game should be on an episode of “I love the 90s” with play-by-play being done by Hal Sparks and Michael Ian Black. Homers galore, seven RBI from J.P. Arencibia, a seventh inning in which the teams combined for 84 pitches, some bad defense, 22 runs, 27 hits and a running time of nearly four hours. God, I’m surprised any of us survived that era.

Athletics 7, Astros 4:  Houston had a 4-1 lead in the ninth which, statistically speaking, is pretty safe. But as my luddite-leaning friends tell me, statististics don’t play baseball. Three RBI singles and an RBI double in the visitors half of the ninth gave Oakland the win, with Chad Qualls being the recipient of most of the beating. And to top it all off, a foul ball nearly killed the Astros’ social media director.

Dodgers 8, Braves 4: I watched four innings of this. Good: I got some Scully time, watched as the announcement of him coming back for 2015 was made and heard him throw some shade on Dan Uggla (really). Bad: It was a Beckett-Harang matchup, which meant lumbering, deliberate pitching that did not allow me to stay up late enough to catch most of it. Maybe for the best, though, as I didn’t have to witness Matt Kemp’s second homer and the Dodgers score four unanswered runs. Puig had four hits and the Dodgers have won four straight.

Twins 2, Royals 1: Kyle Gibson only allowed a couple of singles in seven shutout innings. The Royals offense has been frustrating all year, but this was one of their lesser performances. Or, as the Hall of Fame might say, one of their fewer performances.

Cubs 4, Rockies 3: People usually refer to the proceedings which outlawed various war crimes as “The Geneva Convention,” but really it was a series of conventions, agreements and protocols which we refer to collectively. You’ve got your protocol relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts, your protocol relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts, your protocol relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem, your Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, your Protocol for the prevention of 16 inning games between two teams you really don’t want to watch in the first place, etc. In any event, the people behind this game should be on trial in The Hague sometime soon. Their only defense is that this atrocity did allow for something positive to occur, and that’s a position player — Cubs catcher John Baker — pitching and getting the win. Six hours and 27 minutes.

Pirates 3, Giants 1: Francisco Liriano struck out 11 and allowed only one run over seven and the Pirates victimized Tim Hudson for two early homers to hand the Giants yet another loss. This combined with the Dodgers win puts the Giants three games back in the West. Somehow, however, the actual deficit seems to understand the difference between where the Giants are and where the Dodgers are.

Padres 3, Cardinals 1: Tyson Ross wasn’t his sharpest, but he won his third straight start, holding St. Louis to one run and four hits in six innings. It helped that the Cardinals defense wasn’t sharp either, committing three errors. Newcomer Yangervis Solarte homered and scored another run.

Rays 5, Brewers 1: Can’t stop the Rays. They won their 11th game in 12 chances with Alex Cobb strikes out 12 and Ben Zobrist homered and doubled. Since their June 11th nadir, the Rays are 29-12. Someone give me more facts with 11s and 12s in them, stat.

Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 2: Marcus Stroman faced the Sox last week and tied ’em up. He did it again last night. What’s your secret, Marcus? Did you do something special to come to dominate Boston?

“To be honest, no, just execute pitches.”

Such a great command of cliche for such a young man.

White Sox 11, Tigers 4: Jose Abreu homered and drove in four. His homer was his 31st of the year. He also has an 18-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 36 of 37. Detroit played awful defense and newcomer Joakim Soria was pretty terrible. I’m going up to Detroit to see their game on Saturday, so at least they got this stinker out of their system.

Marlins 3, Nationals 0: Henderson Alvarez allowed only three hits but he walked four. Nats never made him pay for it, though. The Marlins did make Jerry Blevins and the Nationals bullpen pay for not pitching well, though. And while I’ll admit I haven’t watched their games closely the past couple of days, based on the names appearing in the box score, it seems like the Nats’ choice of relievers at various points is . . . odd. What say you Nats fans?

Mariners 5, Indians 2: Hisashi Iwakuma was yet another pitcher who tossed seven strong innings last night. But then again, strong innings on the road are what he’s all about lately. Iwakuma is 9-0 with a 2.17 ERA in his last 14 road starts. Asked about it after the game he said he wasn’t aware of that and that he had no secret for his success on the road. Someday he’ll learn to say that he simply “executes pitches.”

Phillies 6, Mets 0: A grand slam for Chase Utley and Cole Hamels cruising for eight innings. It’s the kind of thing which makes Phillies fans pine for ’09, I suspect.

Orioles 7, Angels 6: A walkoff homer for Manny Machado in the 12th. The AP gamer starts out with “The Baltimore Orioles have a knack for winning in extra innings, and it has nothing to do with luck.” Huh. Remember back in 2012 when they won all of those one-run and extra inning games? And everyone said they had a skill for that? And then they didn’t do it in 2013 and everyone realized, hmm, maybe there’s some chance at play there? Nah, me neither. I have no idea what you’re talking about. In any event, if you have a skill at winning games in extra innings, perhaps you should apply that skill earlier in games to save your bullpen? Just a thought!

Reds 3, Diamondbacks 0: Mike Leake pitched shutout ball into the eighth and singled in a run himself. It was Cincy’s second win in 11 games.

ALDS, Game 2: Rangers vs. Blue Jays lineups

1 Comment

Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 2 of the ALDS in Toronto:

CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mitch Moreland
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton
2B Rougned Odor
C Chris Gimenez
3B Hanser Alberto

SP Cole Hamels

Adrian Beltre is out of the starting lineup after leaving Game 1 with what appeared to be a significant back injury, leaving Hanser Alberto to fill in at third base. With a right-hander on the mound Mike Napoli goes to the bench and Mitch Moreland starts at first base, and manager Jeff Banister also switched up the batting order a bit without Beltre in the No. 3 spot. Robinson Chirinos homered in Game 1, but he takes a seat in Game 2 so that Chris Gimenez can catch Cole Hamels.

LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Chris Colabello
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar

SP Marcus Stroman

Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista are both in the starting lineup after leaving Game 1 with injuries, which is particularly good news in Donaldson’s case because he suffered a potentially serious head injury sliding into second base. Toronto’s only change from Game 1 is subbing Chris Colabello for Justin Smoak at first base with a left-hander on the mound. There’s right-handed power all over the place, so Hamels’ changeup may be the key to the entire game.

Royals will bring back Yordano Ventura to start Game 4

Yordano Ventura
Leave a comment

Thursday night’s rain delay cut Yordano Ventura‘s start short after just two innings, as the Royals opted to turn to reliever Chris Young instead of bringing the 24-year-old right-hander back out to the mound following the delay.

One benefit to that is what manager Ned Yost has decided to do now, which is use Ventura to start Game 4 on Monday. Had he thrown, say, 102 pitches instead of 42 pitches Ventura likely would have started Game 5, forcing the Royals to go four starters deep in their ALDS rotation.

Ventura struggled before the delay Monday, allowing three runs in two innings. However, he finished the regular season by going 7-1 with a 2.38 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 68 innings over his final 11 starts, which was enough to convince Yost he was the right pitcher to start Game 1 rather than trade deadline pickup Johnny Cueto.

Playoff Reset: Four games in one day!

Cole Hamels

Oh baby.

There’s baseball from noon to midnight today, with a pair of Game 2s in the American League and a pair of Game 1s in the National League.

Tons of great starting pitchers–including the best in the world and a trio of big-name trade deadline acquisitions–and we’ll find out if a home team can actually win a game after starting the playoffs 0-4.

The Game: Texas Rangers vs. Toronto Blue Jays
The Time: 12:45 PM Eastern
The Place: Rogers Centre, Toronto
The Channel: MLB Network
The Starters: Cole Hamels vs. Marcus Stroman
The Upshot: Stroman coming back from what was deemed a season-ending knee injury in spring training to start Game 2 of the ALDS is a helluva story and the Blue Jays need him to come up big after David Price failed to do his part in Game 1. Yovani Gallardo somehow wriggled out of trouble against Toronto’s scary lineup, but as a left-hander Hamels has an even tougher assignment versus the never-ending right-handed power. Assuming it’s all in the lineup, of course. There are big health question marks for both sides, as Adrian Beltre, Josh Donaldson, and Jose Bautista all exited Game 1 with injuries and their respective statuses could swing the balance of power in the series.

The Game: Houston Astros vs. Kansas City Royals
The Time: 3:45 PM Eastern
The Place: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City
The Channel: FOX Sports 1
The Starters: Scott Kazmir vs. Johnny Cueto
The Upshot: Two headline-grabbing trade deadline pickups with a lot to prove, as Kazmir and Cueto both struggled for their new teams. Cueto was bumped back to Game 2 after being acquired to front the Royals’ rotation and there was some speculation that Kazmir might not even have a spot in the ALDS rotation. Kansas City losing Game 1 last night and Houston having Dallas Keuchel waiting in the wings for Game 3 puts a ton of pressure on Cueto’s shoulders. Generally one of the toughest pitchers to homer against, he allowed 10 homers in 13 starts for the Royals and the Astros’ power-packed lineup will put him to the test all afternoon. Can the defending AL champs get off the mat quickly or will they head to Houston in need of a win to keep the season alive?

The Game: Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals
The Time: 6:45 PM Eastern
The Place: Busch Stadium, St. Louis
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: Jon Lester vs. John Lackey
The Upshot: Former Red Sox teammates Lester and Lackey square off in Game 1 of the first ever playoff series between two of the biggest rivals in baseball, with the Cubs fresh off their Wild Card game triumph over the Pirates and the Cardinals coming off an MLB-high 100 wins. Yadier Molina‘s ability to play through a thumb injury will be key for the Cardinals and it’ll also be interesting to see how much faith manager Mike Matheny has in Adam Wainwright to get late-inning outs as a reliever after returning from a torn Achilles’ tendon.

The Game: New York Mets vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Time: 9:45 PM Eastern
The Place: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: Jacob deGrom vs. Clayton Kershaw
The Upshot: Quite a way to finish an entire day of baseball, as the Mets go looking for their first playoff win since 2006 and Kershaw tries to cement his legacy as an all-time great by dominating in the playoffs like he does in the regular season. And don’t overlook deGrom, because last year’s Rookie of the Year winner has a 2.61 ERA and 349 strikeouts in 331 innings since debuting last May. Among all starters with at least 300 innings during the past two seasons Kershaw ranks first in ERA and deGrom ranks fourth, with Jake Arrieta and Zack Greinke in the 2-3 slots. This is a speculator pitching matchup.