Max Scherzer

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Tigers 5, Pirates 2: Max Scherzer got his 14th win and struck out 14 men in eight shutout innings. J.D. Martinez helped account for the Tigers’ first three runs with a homer, a bases-loaded walk and an infield single which forced in a run on a Pirates error.

Brewers 6, Cubs 2: Mike Fiers became only the seventh pitcher in the last 100 years to strike out as many as 14 batters in six or fewer innings. This after his first start of the season last weekend saw him outduel Zack Greinke. Khris Davis and Mark Reynolds homered.

Dodgers 6, Braves 4: Dee Gordon three hits and scored four runs. Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez each had three hits as well. The Braves have lost 12 of 14. After the game Freddie Freeman said “We can still make something of this if we keep grinding.” Maybe start grinding first?

Royals 7, Athletics 3: A five-run seventh for the Royals who took five of seven from the A’s in the season series. The A’s may still be the best team in baseball, but the Royals — who have won 18 of 22 — are certainly baseball’s hottest team.

Nationals 4, Mets 1: Two-run homers from Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche and a nice start from Stephen Strasburg gave the Nats their 11th straight win against the Mets on the road. Someone on the Nats is gonna take Chipper Jones’ example and name their kid “Citi.”

Red Sox 9, Astros 4: A seven-run sixth inning for the Sox put this one away. The other day I said something like “teams which score seven runs tend to win games.” Brandon Isleib had my back:

So post-those seven-run innings, take the other eight innings off, win a lot of games and conserve your energy, guys.

Marlins 5, Diamondbacks 4: Marcell Ozuna doubled home Garrett Jones with the winning run in the 10th. Mike Dunn got his 10th win as a reliever. That’s a very 1970s-80s kind of thing. I like it.

Rays 6, Rangers 3: Evan Longoria homered and drove in three. Logan Forsythe had three hits and a two-run homer of his own. After the game Joe Maddon said this of pitcher Jake Odorizzi:

“He’s swaggering out to the mound, and swaggering back in. The whole group is confident.”

This must be Odorizzi’s sweet ride.

Cardinals 4, Padres 3: A disputed call at the plate when Alex Amarista came home with what would have been the tying run. He was called out on a play at the plate. After a lengthy review, the replay officials upheld the out call, but they really appeared to have missed this one. A.J. Pierzynski’s swipe tag looks to have missed, and both he and Amarista acted as if he missed, with Amarista going back to touch the plate and Pierzynski trying desperately to tag him again. Neither guy acts like that if a tag is applied. And, given that there wasn’t a fantastic camera angle on this, my guess is that the replay guys felt like they couldn’t overturn Bob Davison’s initial bad call. Which he made rather tentatively.

Rockies 7, Reds 3: Charlie Culberson hit a three-run homer and Jorge De La Rosa allowed three runs over seven. Culberson is Troy Tulowitzki’s replacement. Before the game the Rockies announced Carlos Gonzalez was done for the year. Just not how anyone drew this up.

Adam Wainwright is not a fan of the proposed strike zone changes

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 09:  Adam Wainwright #50 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 6 to 1 in Game Five of the National League Division Series at Busch Stadium on October 9, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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It’s probably not a big shocker that a pitcher is not a big fan of the strike zone being made smaller, but Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals and he tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he is not a fan of the proposed changes to the strike zone we wrote about recently, calling the proposal “a horrible, horrible idea.”

Horrible, he acknowledges, because he’s a pitcher with a vested interest so, yes, let’s give Wainwright credit for self-awareness and for disclosing his self-interest. But he thinks it’s a bad idea for another reason too: more hits will lead to more balls in the gap and thus longer games.

I get the intuitive nature of that — the longer it takes to retire a side the longer games go — but it doesn’t necessarily follow that offense and game times are related in the way Wainwright implies. There was a lot more scoring in the 1990s and early 2000s and games were actually shorter then than now. Partially because of other factors (i.e. there were not quite as many pitching changes and because guys played at a faster clip). Partially, I suspect, because there were fewer strikeouts and strikeouts take a longer time than guys grounding out or having some of those balls in the gap caught on the run by a fast outfielder.

As I said last week, I suspect that we’ll see fewer balls in the gap than Wainwright implies and, rather, a lot more walks as pitchers test umpires to see if they’re really taking away that low strike. In the short term that’ll actually make games longer, though not for the reason Wainwright thinks.

 

 

Report: Jonny Gomes has retired

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 28:  Jonny Gomes of the Kansas City Royals looks on before Game Two of the 2015 World Series between the Royals and the New York Mets at Kauffman Stadium on October 28, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
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SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo hears from a source that former major leaguer Jonny Gomes has decided to retire from baseball. The 35-year-old spent the 2016 season with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Japan Pacific League, but he struggled at the plate, batting .169/.280/.246 in 75 plate appearances. Gomes left the Eagles by mutual consent back on May 11.

Gomes won a championship with the Red Sox in 2013 and the Royals last year. He ends a 13-year major league career having hit .242/333/.436 with 162 home runs in 4,009 trips to the plate.

Gomes was known as a clubhouse leader during his playing career, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he ends up coaching or managing in some capacity in the future.

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

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 14:  Marcell Ozuna #13 of the Miami Marlins celebrates a triple in the second inning against the Washington Nationals  at Nationals Park on May 14, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
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Craig previewed this afternoon’s action. We have eight more games left in the evening, though.

The pitching match-ups aren’t at all exciting, sadly, but there are a few streaks to pay attention to tonight. Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. is on a 28-game hitting streak, tying him with Wade Boggs for eighth-most in Red Sox history. Teammate Xander Bogaerts is on a 17-game hitting streak as well.

Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna has reached base in 31 consecutive games. And to think that owner Jeffrey Loria would have traded him during the offseason if not for manager Don Mattingly and hitting coach Barry Bonds speaking up in favor of keeping Ozuna.

The match-ups for Wednesday evening…

Arizona Diamondbacks (Rubby De La Rosa) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Jeff Locke), 7:05 PM EDT

Toronto Blue Jays (Marco Estrada) @ New York Yankees (Ivan Nova), 7:05 PM EDT

Colorado Rockies (Chad Bettis) @ Boston Red Sox (Steven Wright), 7:10 PM EDT

Miami Marlins (Justin Nicolino) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Matt Andriese), 7:10 PM EDT

Milwaukee Brewers (Junior Guerra) @ Atlanta Braves (Mike Foltynewicz), 7:10 PM EDT

Baltimore Orioles (Tyler Wilson) @ Houston Astros (Collin McHugh), 8:10 PM EDT

Cincinnati Reds (Dan Straily) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Scott Kazmir), 10:10 PM EDT

Oakland Athletics (Zach Neal) @ Seattle Mariners (Hisashi Iwakuma), 10:10 PM EDT

Video: Minor League Manager goes on epic rant

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Frisco RoughRiders manager Joe Mikulik got his money’s worth last night. He was ejected after arguing an automatic double play on an enforcement of the slide rule, and he didn’t go gently into that goodnight.

Rather, he threw things, kicked things, threw things and then subsequently kicked those same things, gave overly-demonstrative slides and safe signs and basically went all Earl Weaver/Lou Piniella on everyone.

Double-A baseball is the best minor league because you tend to see more prospects there than you do at Triple-A. But it’s also the best because, when you’re a manager who is not quite a heartbeat away from getting your shot at the big leagues, you’re a little less uptight about things. Or at least Mikulik was. Or maybe he was more uptight. I don’t know. He just went with it, and going with it has its charms.

 

(h/t Big League Stew)