Clayton Kershaw

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

63 Comments

Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 1: Eight innings, ten strikeouts no earned runs for Clayton Kershaw. Ho-hum. It’s his third straight start with double digits in strikeouts. Ho-Hum. He’s 16-3 with a 1.73 ERA. Ho-hum. The guy leads MLB in wins despite spending five weeks on the disabled list. Ho-effeing-Hum.

Pirates 3, Cardinals 1: Ike Davis with a long two-run shot in the second ended up being all the scoring the Pirates would need as Jeff Locke allowed only one run over seven, outdueling Adam Wainwright. After the game Wainwright said he had a dead arm. Which is way better than an undead arm. Although there are fixes for that too.

Rangers 12, Mariners 4: Rougned Odor hit a grand slam, Tomas Tellis drove in three and everyone on the Rangers was detained by the Seattle police for suspected fraud and identity theft because there is no way those are real people’s names.

Phillies 8, Nationals 4: The Phillies sweep the Nats, with Grady Sizemore’s two-run pinch hit homer in the sixth putting them ahead. If the Phillies keep winning like this Ruben Amaro is going to go into next season thinking that this group is totally dandy, isn’t he?

Yankees 8, Tigers 4: The Yankees banged out nine straight hits off David Price in their eight-run third inning. Meanwhile, every baseball analyst, present company included, is spending their morning deleting old posts and columns in which we claimed that the Tigers picking up Price ensured them a playoff spot and made them World Series favorites.

Rays 3, Orioles 1: Meanwhile, the other part of the David Price trade — Drew Smyly — was just dandy, allowing one run on two hits over seven innings. We pundits will not be deleting anything we said about Smyly. At least those of us who said that he was a really solid young pitcher who the Rays will be happy to have. He’s certainly been showing that so far.

Reds 7, Cubs 5: Jorge Soler was called up yesterday and made his big league debut. Not a bad one — 2 for 4 with a homer and an RBI single — but it wasn’t enough. Mat Latos stuck out ten and the Reds bats chased Jacob Turner in the fourth. Not that it was all his fault: the Cubs committed three errors. They threatened in the ninth too, but it came up short.

Braves 3, Mets 2: The Braves snap their losing streak thanks in part to a lead-saving, mind-blowing freakout of a play by Andrelton Simmons. I saw people comparing his range-right, jump-throw to first play to Derek Jeter. And I suppose it was in form. But I’d love to see a video overlay of Simmons’ play with any of Jeter’s from the past, oh, 15 years. I’d bet the farm there was none in which Jeter was a deep in the hole as Simmons was here.

Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2: Danny Valencia had a pinch-hit, go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh. In a bleak season, Boston’s bullpen had actually been pretty OK until recently. Now even it is disappointing.

Padres 3, Brewers 2: Rene Rivera took care of everything here, tying the game with a home run in the ninth inning, and winning it with an RBI single in the 10th. He also allowed a run to score on a passed ball, so he really did dominate this game in every way.

White Sox 3, Indians 2: The Sox end a seven game losing streak that had them actually tied with the Cubs for the worst record in Chicago (which is a thing I just made up). Jose Abreu hit a pair of RBI singles. Corey Kluber lost his second straight start after not taking a loss since June before that.

Royals 6, Twins 1: Phil Hughes shut Kansas City down until the eighth inning, then they broke through for four runs against him and two more off the pen. Sal Perez and Billy Butler had the big hits. The Royals gain another game in the standings and they now lead Detroit by two and a half.

Giants 4, Rockies 2: Buster Posey had two homers on Tuesday and then broke a 2-2 tie — and ended the game — with a walkoff two-run homer. Tim Hudson, who pitched excellently despite the no-decision,  notched his 2,000th career strikeout. Bruce Bochy got his 1,600th career win.

Athletics 5, Astros 4: Sam Fuld broke a tie with a two-run homer in the ninth. Man, there were a lot of tie-breaking homers last night. The A’s have won 12 games this year when trailing after the seventh inning. That’s the most in baseball. Now they face the Angels in a [pick your adjective which generally means important] four-game series.

Angels 6, Marlins 1: Mike Trout notches his 30th homer of the year. Trout leads the majors with 71 extra-base hits and 283 total bases. I look forward to someone trying to construct an argument about how he’s not the American League MVP.

Mets owners get some breathing room on their Bernie Madoff settlement payments

New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon stands on the field before baseball's Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Associated Press
1 Comment

For years the central fact of life of the New York Mets has been that their owners, the Wilpon family and Saul Katz, lost a ton of money after investing it with friend and business partner Bernard Madoff, perpetrator of the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. It has hampered their payroll and led to huge amounts of borrowing and restructuring that, before last year’s pennant run, seemed like it’d be a millstone on the Mets competitive prospects for years to come.

In addition to losing money, it was later determined that Katz and the Wilpons unfairly gained in some other respects and thus they ended up having their phony earnings clawed back via a settlement with the trustee managing the fallout of the Madoff scandal.  The upshot: the Wilpons and Katz, in addition to their losses, were ordered to pay nearly $60 million dollars back, half payable this week, half payable next year. That’s a lot of money for anyone to fork over and this week’s payment loomed large.

Now, however, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Wilpons and Katz will get some breathing room. Specifically, they have modified their agreement with the trustee and some of the owed money has been deferred. Instead of some $29 million payable this week, they will only have to pay $16 million. The remainder will be paid in four installments — from 2017 through 2020 — with an interest rate of 3.5 percent on the unpaid balance, Rubin says.

Now, there obviously was no promise that the $13 million saved this week be invested in the baseball team, but it’s probably a good thing overall for the Mets if their owners’ debt payments are reduced a bit.

Mike Napoli hit a homer for a fan with cancer

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 30: Mike Napoli #26 of the Cleveland Indians rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers at Progressive Field on May 30, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
4 Comments

Last night a fan named Kathi Heintzelman showed up at Progressive Field in Cleveland with a sign asking Indians first baseman Mike Napoli to hit a home run for her and to give her a hug. But there was a reason beyond her love for Mike Napoli. She’s starting chemotherapy today and the hug and homer would be a nice thing.  Hard to disagree with that, even if everyone knows that ballplayers can’t hit homers on demand.

Well, most players can’t. Mike Napoli did the easy part before the game, giving her a hug. Then in the sixth inning, he went yard:

 

Whether you believe that such things can be fated or if you merely acknowledge that Heintzelman asked Napoli for a homer at a good time — he’s on a hot streak right now and has hit bombs in four of his last 11 games — it’s a great story.

 

The Twins recall Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton
Getty Images
9 Comments

Byron Buxton has been recalled from Triple-A Rochester by the Twins.

Buxton will replace Danny Santana, who was placed on the disabled list following a hamstring injury. But the bigger picture here is that Buxton will get a fresh go-around to show that he is the future of the Twins like so many assume he will be. The 22-year-old hasn’t hit so far in the majors, but he batted .336/.403/.603 with six homers, four steals, and a 26/11 K/BB ratio over 129 plate appearances after his demotion to Triple-A last month.

At this point the Twins, who stink on ice, need to just put their top young player in the game and let him learn to swim at the big league level rather than try to squeak out a few extra relatively meaningless wins with guys who won’t be part of the next contending Twins team.

92-year-old World War II vet throws a nifty ceremonial first pitch

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 9.04.09 AM
10 Comments

Think of how many bad ceremonial first pitches you’ve seen. From the worm burners from local business owners and pillars of the community at minor league games to ex-big leaguers who obviously haven’t picked up a ball since they retired to the famous celebrity ones that go viral the next day, there are probably a lot more bad first pitches out there than good ones.

But when the good ones come, they’re really enjoyable. And few are more enjoyable than the one which preceded yesterday’s Padres-Mariners game in Seattle. The pitcher: Burke Waldron, a 92-year-old veteran of World War II. He did it in his dress whites. He ran out onto the field beforehand. And though his catcher didn’t set up the full 60 feet, six inches away from where Waldron threw it, it was still a spiffy pitch. Way better than most: