And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Royals 3, White Sox 2: Fisticuffsmanship! After a couple of hit batsmen — Yordano Ventura hitting Jose Abreu followed by Chris Sale hitting Mike Moustakas — you kind of figured everyone was even. Guess not. Adam Eaton hit a comebacker and, as Ventura made the putout, the two of them barked at each other and it all went to hell. Like, into a real fight, the likes of which you rarely see in baseball these days because everyone is rich and happy and no one really wants to get hurt.

Why on Earth anyone is barking at anyone on that play is beyond me. Why the Royals — as we have discussed — want to be known for something as stupid as being “bad boys,” let alone be called something that stupid is beyond me, but I suppose if they don’t mind being thought of that way who the heck are we to stop them?

As it was, Ventura has started four games this year. He left the first two with muscle cramps and the last two due to brain cramps. Maybe you should chill out a bit, my man? Maybe your teammates are getting sick and tired of having to deal with the crap that you and your dumb temper set in motion?

Marlins 9, Phillies 1: Ryne Sandberg after this game: “We’ve got some work to do. It was not a good game for us.” Phillies writers CTRL-C’d that so they can CTRL-V it another 90-95 times this year. I’m just happy that I got my Jeff Francoeur shirt in time for this weekend’s Braves-Phillies series. A series which should come with a warning label or phone numbers for emergency counseling or something.

Yankees 2, Tigers 1: Masahiro Tanaka pitched one-run ball into the seventh and struck out six and, I’ll be damned, all of those orthopedic surgeons in the New York media who were prescribing Tommy John surgery after his first start are suddenly quiet.

Mets 6, Braves 3: Make it 11. Daniel Murphy drove in four, Bartolo Colon showed off his wheels. As a lot of people observed yesterday afternoon when the game was still close, this is the sort of game the Mets of old and bad teams in general somehow find a way to lose. The Mets of 2015 have played a few like this and they find ways to win. It’s a fine line between good and bad in the age of parity, but when you’re on the good side of that line as often as the Mets have been in the early going, you’re probably actually pretty good.

Brewers 4, Reds 2: The eight game losing streak is snapped. Kyle Lohse gave up three hits, walked one and struck out four over seven solid innings. After the game Bryan Price said this:

“We have to come in throwing strikes and challenging opponents,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “We’ve taken some leads into the late innings and they’ve gotten away from us so we have to be better.”

Throw strikes? Be better? Jeez, Bryan, are you sure you wanna be telling the press what your strategy is going forward? How does that help the Reds?

Pirates 5, Cubs 4: The Cubs had the matchup they wanted in a tie game with a man on second — lefty Phil Coke against lefty Gregory Polanco — but Polanco came through, hitting the go-ahead RBI single. Polanco finished 3-for-4 with two driven in. Kris Bryant played center field because during that extra week in Triple-A he met a sensei who transformed him from a not-ready-for-the-bigs apprentice to a master of all defense via a series of life lessons and philosophical sayings.

Rockies 2, Padres 1: A 2-1 game in Coors field that took less than three hours? Yup, it’s getaway day. Corey Dickerson homered in the fifth, making it three homers in two games for the guy. The other Rockies run came in the first when Tyson Ross walked a run in with the bases loaded. You really shouldn’t do that.

Giants 3, Dodgers 2: Second walkoff win for the Giants in as many days. This a come-from-behind win after the Dodgers went up 2-0 early. Justin Maxwell served up the game-winning single here in the 10th after failing to come through when the Giants had a chance to tie the game up during an eighth inning would-be rally. The Giants sweep the Dodgers and have won four of five following an eight game losing streak.

Cardinals 4, Nationals 1: Michael Wacha allowed one run and five hits in seven innings, outdueling Max Scherzer. In Wacha’s last three starts he’s drawn Scherzer and then Johnny Cueto twice. Pretty rough duty, but he’s been up to the task. The Cards have won seven of eight.

Angels 2, Athletics 0: Athletics pitchers combined to toss a one-hitter. Not bad! But the one hit was a two-run homer and their offense did diddly squat. That’s bad! Nick Tropeano — who I am pretty sure was one of the minor characters in “Batman: Dark Victory” — tossed six shutout innings and three relievers finished it off.

Blue Jays 7, Orioles 6: A sweep for the Jays. They ran out to a 7-0 lead thanks in part to a Josh Donaldson homer and then held on. Some may want to read a lot into the Orioles’ slow start and this series in particular, but this sort of feels right to me:

Sometimes that just happens. Especially against good-slugging teams in hitters parks.

Rays 2, Red Sox 1: Rene Rivera delivered the game-winning RBI single in the ninth. After the game Rivera said “I think any walkoff is great. You win the game. You enjoy it. It’s a great feeling.” He added “Well, it’s good that you’re fine, and – and I’m fine. I agree with you. It’s great to be fine.”

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.