Bases loaded walk

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

69 Comments

Tigers 8, Rays 6: All tied into the 11th when the Tigers scored three, the first of which came on a bases-loaded walk. Came off a guy named “Balfour” so maybe everyone shoulda seen it coming. I’m gonna guess teams that draw bases loaded walks win a lot of games. Less so because bases loaded walks suggest that they already had a lot of base runners and that the other team is getting ineffective pitching, both of which likely correlate well with the walking team winning and more so because giving up bases loaded walks utterly kill the issuing team’s soul and turns them into angry/emotional shells of their former selves. Or maybe that’s just fans of teams who issue bases loaded walks. Not sure. Oh, the next run that inning scored on a wild pitch. Let me tell you my psychological theories of wild pitches  . . .

Cardinals 5, Reds 4: Hmm. Wondering now if bases loaded HBPs are more soul-killing than bases loaded walks. Well, no matter, because this bases loaded HBP came in a tie game in the bottom of the ninth, giving the cards the walkoff plunk. Jon Jay was the plunkee,  J.J. Hoover the plunker. Hoover has a 5.37 ERA and a 1-10 record. Gives new meaning to the phrase “sucks like a Hoover.”

Marlins 4, Rangers 3: Giancarlo Stanton made an error in the seventh that led to the Rangers tying the game which led to extra innings which led to Giancarlo Stantion hitting the walkoff single. There are no accidents in this world. Everything is important. Everything means something. In other news, the Marlins now have more wins — 63 — than they had all last season. And they’re over .500 for the first time since late June. If they had Jose Fernandez around they’d probably be leading the NL wild card race.

Cubs 2, Giants 0: A rain-shortened win for the Cubs. Or, more to the point, a grounds crew-shortened win, as in the Chicago grounds crew couldn’t get the tarp on the field properly when the rains came. The rain lasted just 15 minutes. Because the tarp was all crooked and screwed up, though, it took three hours after the rain stopped for the crew to try to prepare the field for play. They couldn’t get it in good enough condition and the game was called. Bruce Bochy was not pleased:

“I hope they listen and watch what happened there,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who was visibly upset. “In this day and time, it shouldn’t happen. It can’t happen with the importance of these games. I’m going to leave it at that.”

The Giants are thought to be mulling a protest given that they’re in a pennant race, but the rules do not support a protest in this situation. Also: the Yankees and Rangers had this same situation earlier this year and that game was not resumed at a later date as it too was already a regulation game when the tarp follies began. This is a rain delay. We’ll have more on it later, obviously.

Nationals 8, Diamondbacks 1: Eight wins in a row for Washington. Stephen Strasburg gave up one run in eight. Ian Desmond drove in four, Asdrubal Cabrera knocked in three. This one not being close deprived Nats fans of yet another walkoff, but I’m guessing Matt Williams is cooler with it not being close.

Astros 7, Yankees 4: Chris Carter hit his 17th home run since July 1st, and it was a big one: a three-run shot in the ninth to snap a 4-4 tie. A hit like that will make striking out in your previous four at bats — which he did — not seem like such a big deal. Also, the fact that the ball went approximately five hundred miles will make you forget it too.

Mariners 5, Phillies 2: Hisashi Iwakuma struck out 11 in eight scoreless. The Phillies mounted a mini-rally in the ninth but it was too little to do anything besides aggravate Phillies fans and make them say things like “where was this five innings ago!” and stuff.

Angels 4, Red Sox 3: Tied up in the ninth when Chris Iannetta put the Halos up for good with an RBI double. This one could’ve been 4-0 Sox in the second inning, however, if it wasn’t for Kole Calhoun robbing Brock Holt of a three-run homer in right. He caught it right where Torii Hunter went arse-over-teakettle on the David Ortiz bomb during the playoffs last year. I didn’t see that cop anywhere this time, however.

Braves 11, Pirates 3: Andrew McCutchen made his return but went 0 for 4 and the Pirates lost yet again. Their losing streak is now at seven. The Braves’ winning streak is now at five thanks to Justin Upton driving in five and Evan Gattis hitting one of the longest homers you’ll see in PNC Park.

Orioles 5, White Sox 1: Chicago batters really had trouble in this one. As did Chicago hitters. And Chicago lost this one.

Yes, I’m trying to wind you up, Orioles fans. I’ve done these recaps for seven seasons and while fans of almost every team claim I am biased against them and in favor of someone else, Orioles fans are basically the only ones who get angry if they feel I don’t properly credit their guys with winning games instead of the other team losing. Totally serious: when it comes to complaints of this nature, like we saw in the comments of yesterday’s ATH, about 90% of them have historically come from Orioles fans. I really don’t get it — an ace like Chris Sale getting rocked is news to everyone but you guys — but that’s how you roll I guess. Which is weird given that you guys are the ones most likely to actually know what happened in the previous night’s Orioles game and thus don’t need some national person saying what happened in the form of little recaps which are, by design, superficial and not aimed at fans of any specific team. But sure, Chris Tillman did good here too. Feel better?

Indians 7, Twins 5: Yan Gomes had three hits including a home run and Tyler Holt hit a go-ahead two-run double in the sixth. This after Holt was just called up from Columbus that day and barely made it to the park in time. Good job, Tyler, but dude: you can go to Grandpa’s Cheese Barn at Exit 186 on an off day. Next time drive faster to Cleveland.

Brewers 6, Blue Jays 1: Mike Fiers allowed only one run on two hits over seven. The Brewers hit four RBI doubles.

Athletics 6, Mets 2: The A’s end their five-game losing streak. Coco Crisp hit a tiebreaking three-run triple in the fourth inning and Scott Kazmir got his 14th win. The A’s remain a half game behind the Angels in the West.

Royals 7, Rockies 4: Three doubles for Omar Infante, with four RBI. The Royals win their 22nd in 27 games and give Ned Yost a nice 60th birthday. Which is weird, because I thought that all men named Ned were automatically born at age 60 — ask yourself: you ever meet a 16-year-old kid named Ned? — but I guess not.

Dodgers 8, Padres 6: The Dodgers snap a three-game skid. They have not lost more than three in a row all year. The last time they had a season without a four-game losing streak was 1988. This is important. This means something.

Clint Barmes retires

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 29:  Shortstop Clint Barmes #12 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws to first to complete a double play to end the seventh inning after forcing out Chone Figgins #18 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

Veteran infielder Clint Barmes has announced his retirement.

Barmes was playing for Triple-A Omaha in the Royals system and he simply came to the decision to hang it up during a recent game when he was replaced late in the game to make way for a younger player. He tells Jessica Kleinschmidt of FanDuel that it was a cold night, he was stiffening up and, in a rather matter-of-fact tone, says he just decided that he had played enough.

Barmes, 37, played eight years with the Rockies, three with the Pirates and one each with San Diego and Houston. He was one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball for several years but one 23-homer season in 2009 notwithstanding, he never really hit and once the range started to go so too did his justification for being on a big league roster. Last season he hit just .232 with a .633 OPS in 98 games for the Padres. He hadn’t topped a .700 OPS since 2009. His hope to snag a utility infielder role on the Royals this spring didn’t pan out but the club signed him to a minor league deal after releasing him and it’s not crazy to think that he would’ve gotten a chance to play in Kansas City at some point this season.

Still, he sounds pretty fulfilled and content with his decision to hang ’em up. And, unlike a lot of guys, he got the chance to make the decision himself rather than have someone else make it for him.

Bartolo Colon: not always a longball threat

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 05:  Bartolo Colon #40 of the New York Mets heads back to the dugut after he struck out swinging in the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles on May 5, 2015 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
9 Comments

The baseball world went batty when Mets starter Bartolo Colon hit a homer a couple of weeks ago. That, combined with a few other nice offensive performances from pitchers in the days surrounding that led to a mini groundswell of “this is why the DH is dumb! Pitchers batting provides us with such wonderful entertainment!” chatter.

Which is fine as far as it goes. But for every yin of a serendipitous pitcher home run comes the yang of pitcher hitting futility. Or, in some cases, pitchers not even trying. Colon himself took that to the next level last night, telling the opposition to just groove him fastballs at which he promised not to swing due to a sore back:

At the plate, Colon did his best to not contribute to Gonzalez’s rough night, telling catcher Wilson Ramos he wasn’t going to swing.

“I swing at the balls pretty hard and I thought, not worth making my back worse, so I told their catcher from the beginning, `Just throw it right down the middle, I’m not swinging,'” Colon said through a translator. “After that first at-bat and they threw me that changeup, I was like: `No, I promise you. Throw it right down the middle. I am not going to swing.'”

And he didn’t swing. He struck out looking all three trips he took to the plate, watching fourteen pitches sail by in the process.

This is a venial sin, not a mortal one, as pitchers have been mailing it in at the plate since the game was invented (pitchers’ inability and lack of need to hit was being noted in the 19th century). But it is rather ironic that the majority of anti-DH sentiment comes from people who like to cite the purity of the game and all that jazz. I get the strong sense that folks who care about such things would, in all other instances, lose their minds if a player not only took three plays off in a game but literally told the opposition he wasn’t going to try.

Tony Gwynn’s family sues tobacco companies for wrongful death

Tony Gwynn
Associated Press
13 Comments

The widow of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn and their two children, former major leaguer Tony Gwynn Jr. and Anisha Gwynn-Jones, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court arising out of Gwynn’s death of oral cancer in 2014.

According to the lawsuit, Gwynn started dipping as a 17-year-old while playing baseball for San Diego State. According to the complaint, “Once Defendants got Tony addicted to their products, he became a self-described `tobacco junkie”‘ who used 1 1/2 to 2 cans of Skoal per day.” The suit seeks unspecified damages against Altria Group Corp., the parent company of Philip Morris, and US Smokeless Tobacco Co. LLC.

It will not be an easy lawsuit for the Gwynn family to win. While Gwynn himself cited his copious tobacco use as the cause of the salivary gland cancer which eventually killed him — and while it makes a lot of intuitive sense to assume that smokeless tobacco use + time = oral cancer — Gwynn’s specific form of cancer, of the parotid gland, is not associated with tobacco use. The gland which developed the cancer was around his ear and there has been no observed link between smokeless tobacco use and cancer of that particular gland, let alone any sort of consensus on the matter. There are strong links, obviously, between smokeless tobacco use and cancer of the stomach, esophagus, pancreas, mouth, and throat, in addition to other health problems.

None of which is to say definitively that tobacco didn’t cause Gwynn’s cancer — there just isn’t enough medical data on this form of cancer to be so certain — or that the defendants in this case may not settle with the Gwynn family to avoid the expense, risk and bad p.r. of defending a suit arising out of the death of a beloved figure. But it is certainly not a slam dunk by any stretch of the imagination, and Gwynn’s family will have the burden of proof.

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 23:  Hunter Pence #8 and Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants celebrates after Pence hit a walk-off rbi single to score Brandon Belt #9 (not pictured) against the San Diego Padres in the bottom of the ninth inning at AT&T Park on May 23, 2016 in San Francisco, California. The Giants won the game 1-0.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Getty Images
8 Comments

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Dodgers 1, Reds 0: Clayton Kershaw with a two-hit shutout. And he only needed 102 pitches to do it. His opponent, Brandon Finnegan was almost as good, allowing one run over eight innings. And that run came on a double play. Low offense and both pitchers going the distance led to a game time of two hours eleven minutes. Welcome to 1966.

Giants 1, Padres 0: Johnny Cueto tossed a two-hit shutout of his own. And he had to, as the Giants and Padres traded zeroes until the ninth inning when Hunter Pence doubled in Brandon Belt for the walkoff win.

Mets 7, Nationals 1David Wright, Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker all homered, with Cespedes and Walker going back-to-back in the fifth inning. Bartolo Colon allowed only one run over seven innings. Colon also did this, due to a stiff back:

At the plate, Colon did his best to not contribute to Gonzalez’s rough night, telling catcher Wilson Ramos he wasn’t going to swing.

“I swing at the balls pretty hard and I thought, not worth making my back worse, so I told their catcher from the beginning, `Just throw it right down the middle, I’m not swinging,” Colon said through a translator. “After that first at-bat and they threw me that changeup, I was like: `No, I promise you. Throw it right down the middle. I am not going to swing.”

If you’re going to all gaga and anti-DH when pitchers hit homers, you kinda gotta contend with this too, do you not?

Cardinals 4, Cubs 3Randal Grichuk hit a walkoff homer. He’s also the latest addition to the “Describe in Literal Terms What Happened” All-Star Team:

“I was trying to battle and get a pitch in the zone and put good wood on it and get on. Luckily, I was able to get a homer.”

ESPN is busy preparing a seven figure offer sheet for him to be an analyst when his playing career is over.

White Sox 7, Indians 6; Indians 5, White Sox 1: The old Doubleheader of Existential Stasis, as the clubs split and ask themselves if it would have been better to never have left bed that morning. Todd Frazier hit a solo shot and Brett Lawrie hit a three-run homer for the White Sox in the first game. In the nightcap Jose Ramirez, Rajai Davis and Juan Uribe went deep for the Tribe. It doesn’t matter, I’ll probably get hit by a car anyway. Eat at Arby’s.

Pirates 6, Rockies 3: A scary moment when Pirates starter Ryan Vogelsong was hit in the face with a pitch. He’s been admitted to a hospital but seems alright. Wilfredo Boscan was the emergency reliever, allowing two runs on two hits and himself hitting an RBI single in four innings. It was a bad game all around for folks near home plate: umpire Jeff Nelson left the game after some debris hit him in the eye during a play at home.

Tigers 5, Phillies 4: Two homers for Miguel Cabrera who apparently did not feel any bad effects from that bruised knee on Sunday. Miggy also doubled and scored a run on a Victor Martinez single. J.D. Martinez and Nick Castellanos also homered for Detroit, which has won six of seven.

Marlins 7, Rays 6: Four hits for Ichiro, bringing the future Hall of Famer to 2,960 in the U.S. portion of his career. More importantly, one of his singles contributed to an eighth inning rally which helped the Marlins come from behind. Suzuki is 10 for 13 in the past three games. As a part time player he ain’t exactly as important to Miami as David Ortiz is to Boston, but he too is going out on top, presuming he is going out, hitting .417/.478/.467 on the season.

Angels 2, Rangers 0: The Angels were supposed to be a carcass on the highway after losing 40% of their pitching staff to ligament injuries but they’ve won eight of 11 because, well, baseball. Albert Pujols‘ homer in the third inning was his 569th, which ties him for 12th in career homers with Rafael Palmeiro. Nick Tropeano allowed four hits and one walk while striking out six while pitching into the seventh inning.

Royals 10, Twins 4: Sal Perez went 5-for-5, hitting a double, a triple and three singles while driving in one. Omar Infante only had one hit, but it was a two-run double and he added a sac fly to give him three driven in on the night. Ricky Nolasco gave up six runs on eight hits in less than three innings of work, so that continues to be a great situation for the Twins. Between this season, next season and his inevitable buyout, Nolasco is owed $25 million by the end of next year. The Twins have the worst record in baseball, which is saying a lot given that the Braves are in this league.

Athletics 5, Mariners 0: Rich Hill tossed eight shutout innings and notched his seventh win of the year, which is a pretty good trick for a guy pitching for a team that’s in fourth place and six games under .500.