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And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Tigers 4, Yankees 3: David Price didn’t get the decision in his Tigers debut but he pitched just fine, thank you. Eight and two-thirds innings, three runs ten strikeouts and no walks. Alex Avila had an RBI single off of Hiroki Kuroda n the seventh to force extras and then smacked the go-ahead and, eventually, game-winning homer in the top of the 12th. Joba Chamberlain pitched and retired all four batters he faced, but he was booed like crazy by Yankees fans. Which I totally get. I mean, he had the nerve to have his career in New York screwed up by injury, by the Yankees taking three years to figure out a role for him and by being far too overhyped and then over-criticized by the New York press. How dare he?

Reds 9, Indians 2:  This was . . . odd. The Indians were starting a little rally in the seventh on an RBI double by Yan Gomes that sent baserunner David Murphy toward third. Murphy tried to score when he saw the ball rolling on the field but it turned out it was merely a ball, not the ball. Specifically a ball that had gotten loose from the Reds bullpen, fooling Murphy into thinking it was the ball in play. Meanwhile, the ball in play was relayed to third where Murphy was tagged out. Not sure why the umpires didn’t call the play dead once the second ball came onto the field or why they didn’t use their handy-dandy replay in order to set this right, but they didn’t. Terry Francona’s comments after the game suggest that he did not have too big an issue with all of this so if he’s not mad I guess we shouldn’t be. But still: bizarre.

Rangers 16, White Sox 0: Adam Dunn pitched. ADAM DUNN PITCHED. That’s all you really gotta know, dudes. Robinson Chirinos homered twice, J.P. Arencibia drove in four and Colby Lewis pitched a six-hitter. He coulda pitched a six runner and been fine. Maybe the most amazing part of this was that a sixteen-run game with position players pitching took less than three hours.

Cubs 6, Rockies 5: Welcome to the big leagues, Javier Baez! He hit the go-ahead homer in the top of the 12th that proved to be the game winner. Before that he struck out in three of his five at bats, but no one will remember that. Heck, given where the Cubs and Rockies are in the standings, no one will remember anything about this game other than the Baez bomb.

Orioles 9, Blue Jays 3: Chris Davis, Caleb Joseph and Jonathan Schoop all homered for the O’s and afterward O’s pitcher Bud Norris called it a “big statement game.” Whatever. As O’s manager Earl Weaver once said, “we do this every day.” There are 162 of these things, man. None of them are ever really statements.

Twins 3, Padres 1: Kennys Vargas — which is also the proper plural form for when there are mutiple men named “Kenny Vargas” around — hit a three-run homer in the sixth which is all the Twins needed.

Phillies 2, Astros 1: This one took 15 innings but ended on a Ryan Howard RBI single. He had some incentive to do some damage too, as they walked Chase Utley to get to him. I mean, I know he’s not what he used to be, but Ryan Howard still has some pride, dammit, and he made ’em pay.

Marlins 6, Pirates 3: A five-run eighth inning rally which featured a based loaded walk to Marcell Ozuna, who drove in two on the night. Tough for Charlie Morton who pitched seven sharp innings allowing only one run before having to witness his bullpen cough it all back up.

Brewers 4, Giants 3: This one ended on an overturned 4-3 play n which the Giants runner was originally called safe. After the game Bruce Bochy grumbled about the call, saying that he wasn’t sure how what he saw on the video could be called “conclusive.” Oh wells. Gerardo Parra had a nice game, with a go-ahead homer in the seventh and a sweet catch on a foul ball that was slicing away from him in the eighth.

Cardinals 3, Red Sox 2: Jon Jay hit an RBI single with two outs in the eighth inning to break the tie and put the Cards up for good. The rally that inning was started by recent Red Sox and current Cards catcher A.J. Pierzynski, how smacked a two-out hit. The Cards have won three and a row and four of five. The Sox have lost three straight. The World Series was a long time ago.

Mets 6, Nationals 1: Zack Wheeler started didn’t have his best stuff and started slowly but got on track and ended up winning his fourth straight. He’s now 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his last seven appearances.

Athletics 3, Rays 0: Jason Hammel had lost four straight starts and had an ERA pushing ten since coming to Oakland from Chicago and had even been subject to trade and/or waiver rumors, but he tossed five and two-thirds shutout innings here. Drew Smyly was not so effective in his Rays debut, allowing three over five and a third. Coco Crisp had an RBI single in his first start in a week and a half.

Royals 12, Diamondbacks 2: Billy Butler had a three-run homer and had four hits and Nori Aoki hit a grand slam, giving Danny Duffy all the run support he needed. Wade Miley was forced to wear this one a good while before coming out, having given up ten runs.

Mariners 4, Braves 2: Ho-hum, the Braves lose again. It’s cool, I wasn’t too invested in having strong personal emotions about baseball this October anyway. To be honest, I wasn’t all that invested in the Braves winning this one either given that they had to face Felix Hernandez. The King struck out eight over eight innings allowing one run. He has now made 15 straight starts in which he has gone at least seven innings and allowed two runs or fewer, which a record. Speaking of records, his is now 12-3, which projects out to 17-4. Which for him is insane. Just give him the Cy Young now and save all the waiting.

Dodgers 5, Angels 4: Clayton Kershaw was human — he gave up three runs over seven innings and walked a couple dudes — but the Dodgers prevailed thanks to an errant David Freese throw to the plate in the ninth which allowed Juan Uribe to score the winning run. If Freese’s throw is on target he probably gets Uribe too. It just took Chris Ianetta out of position too far to handle it, let alone snag it and make the tag.

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.