Getty Images

And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

21 Comments

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Seems like every game is nothing but a homer fest anymore. Baseball is nothing but dingers now. I wonder if chicks are gettin’ a bit tired of the longball.

Braves 9, Blue Jays 5Dansby Swanson hit a homer in the seventh inning, breaking a 5-all tie and helping the Braves take both games of the two-game set. Freddie Freeman went 2-for-4, walked and hit another homer, his 14th on the year. Overall the NL East may be the worst division, but it’s got the three best hitters in the NL so far this year with Freeman, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman.

Nationals 8, Pirates 4: Speaking of Harper and Zimmerman, the former went 2-for-4 with a homer and the latter doubled in two. Harper’s homer almost landed in the Allegheny River. After the game he said this:

“I don’t worry about hitting the ball in the water,” Harper said. “Matt [Williams] used to say, ‘It’s not how far. It’s how many.’ Just trying to put the ball in play, and sometimes it goes over the fence.”

Matt Williams was a great player, but man he seems kind of boring.

Rays 6, Indians 4: The Rays hit five homers in all. Corey Dickerson hit two of them, one of them went 450 feet. After the game Dickerson took issue with that estimate and said he thought it went farther than 450. Guess he never met Matt Williams. Danny Salazar gave up four of the homers. No word if he thinks that “you just have to tip your cap” to the Rays hitters.

Orioles 13, Tigers 11: An extra innings homer is pretty special. Chris Davis hit two of them. He led off the 12th with a solo shot as the O’s scored three. The Tigers matched those three runs in the bottom half, however, giving Davis another chance. In the 13th he hit a two-run drive to give the O’s their winning margin. OK, maybe Matt Williams was right about that whole quantity thing. In other news, the Orioles led 7-1 after three innings, only to squander that lead and then some, requiring a Mark Trumbo homer in the ninth to force extras. Seven total dingers in this game. J.D. Martinez drove in five in a losing cause.

Astros 12, Marlins 4: A huge early lead allowed Dallas Keuchel to have a short, 70-pitch night and leave after five, confident that he’d go on to get his 7th win of the year. Jake Marisnick hit two two-run bombs. The Astros have the best record in baseball.

Rangers 5, Phillies 1: Yu Darvish rung up nine strikeouts in seven one-run innings, notching his 50th career win. Maybe I should say he did it in “seven inning, in which he allowed one run overall.” “Seven one-run innings” could mean he allowed one run in each of them. It reminds me of an old SNL sketch in which Ed Asner played the supervisor of a nuclear power plant who told his employees “remember, you can never put too much water in a nuclear reactor.” He leaves and they’re not sure if that means don’t put too much in or, alternatively, that it’s impossible to put too much in. Then it explodes and everyone dies. That was in the Joe Piscopo years, I believe. I realize the Dick Ebersol SNL years don’t get as much pub as the Lorne Michaels ones, but those were the first ones I watched and there was some real quality there that has been lost to history. And not just the Eddie Murphy stuff. Anyway, (a) I’m old; and (b) The Rangers have won seven in a row and, after a horrific start, have pulled to .500.

Cubs 9, Reds 5Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber homered, giving the Cubs the win. It also happened to give Joe Maddon his 1,000th career win as a manager. He celebrated by drinking wine during the press conference:

Somewhere Darren Rovell is tweeting about how much that cost the Gatorade people in forgone postgame drink visibility rights or some nonsense.

Rockies 7, Twins 3Charlie Blackmon hit a two-run homer, drove in three and had three hits on the night. The Rockies early season success is notable enough, but it’s even more notable that they’re 12-5 on the road. Somewhere Darren Rovell is tweeting about how much damage the Rockies are doing to their brand, which was forged in part on road game futility. The AP gamer contains the sentence “Phil Hughes had another disappointing outing.” At least someone is keeping on-brand.

Red Sox 6, Cardinals 3: The second of two former World Series matchups on the night (first person to name the other one in the comments wins a free HBT subscription for life). Here Mookie Betts homered and drove in two, Jackie Bradley Jr. went deep too. Eduardo Rodriguez allowed three runs and five hits. It was only the Cardinals second loss in ten games.

Yankees 7, Royals 1: CC Sabathia tossed shutout ball into the seventh. Gary Sanchez hit a three-run homer and Chris Carter hit a two-run shot. Sabathia is 13-5 in 21 career starts at Kauffman, which ties him for the most career wins there by a visiting pitcher. “I love pitching here,” Sabathia said. “It’s my favorite park.” I’m too lazy to look at which visitor has the most wins at the K. Gonna guess Verlander — has to be someone from the unbalanced schedule era, right? — but I have no idea.

UPDATE:

Diamondbacks 5, Mets 4: Nothing is going right for the Mets lately. They botched a rundown and let Paul Goldschmidt steal home in the process, so that was fun. Yasmany Tomas hit a homer in his fifth straight game against the Mets. Zack Greinke allowed four runs on five hits while striking out eight in six and two-thirds. Not great, but good enough against a team that has taken shooting itself in the foot to new heights. Or depths.

Angels 7, White Sox 6: The Angels had a three-run lead in the ninth but couldn’t hold it. Then the Chisox took a 6-5 lead in the 11th, but couldn’t hold it. Cameron Maybin had five hits on the night, his final one a game-tying double. Then Albert Pujols singled home the winning run for the walkoff win. It was the Angels’ seventh walkoff win this year.

Athletics 9, Mariners 6: “Jesus, everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn’t end.” Unless you’re the A’s, as this one ended well in their view. They were down one heading into the ninth only to put up five runs thanks to a two-run homer from Matt Joyce and a three-run shot from Mark Canha. The former came off of Steve Cishek, the latter off of Marc Rzepczynski. This a day after their usual closer, Edwin Diaz, walked the whole dang ballpark. I’m no expert, but I think it’s possible the M’s have some bullpen issues.

Brewers 6, Padres 2: Five first inning runs for the Brewers held up. Milwaukee leads all of baseball in bombs, but all of those runs, plus their sixth run later, came without the aid of a home run. Chicks loved this one, I bet. At least the ones who showed up at Petco last night, which wasn’t many.

Giants 2, Dodgers 1: Rich Hill came back and allowed one run over five, but Ty Blach allowed only one run over seven for the Giants and his bullpen was better. Not that the Dodgers’ pen was bad or anything, but Brandon Crawford did single home a run in the sixth for the winning margin. Brandon Belt homered for the fourth time in six games. The Giants have won five of six.

In the playoffs, the Yankees’ weakness has become their strength

Elsa/Getty Images
8 Comments

Two weeks ago, when the playoffs began, the idea of “bullpenning” once again surfaced, this time with the Yankees as a focus. Because their starting pitching was believed to be a weakness — they had no obvious ace like a Dallas Keuchel or Corey Kluber — and their bullpen was a major strength, the idea of chaining relievers together starting from the first inning gained traction. The likes of Luis Severino, who struggled mightily in the AL Wild Card game, or Masahiro Tanaka (4.79 regular season ERA) couldn’t be relied upon in the postseason, the thought went.

That idea is no longer necessary for the Yankees because the starting rotation has become the club’s greatest strength. Tanaka fired seven shutout innings to help push the Yankees ahead of the Astros in the ALCS, three games to two. They are now one win away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 2009.

It hasn’t just been Tanaka. Since Game 3 of the ALDS, Yankees pitchers have made eight starts spanning 46 1/3 innings. They have allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on 25 hits and 12 walks with 45 strikeouts. That’s a 1.75 ERA with an 8.74 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9. In five of those eight starts, the starter went at least six innings, which has helped preserve the freshness and longevity of the bullpen.

Here’s the full list of performances for Yankee starters this postseason:

Game Starter IP H R ER BB SO HR
AL WC Luis Severino 1/3 4 3 3 1 0 2
ALDS 1 Sonny Gray 3 1/3 3 3 3 4 2 1
ALDS 2 CC Sabathia 5 1/3 3 4 2 3 5 0
ALDS 3 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 7 0
ALDS 4 Luis Severino 7 4 3 3 1 9 2
ALDS 5 CC Sabathia 4 1/3 5 2 2 0 9 0
ALCS 1 Masahiro Tanaka 6 4 2 2 1 3 0
ALCS 2 Luis Severino 4 2 1 1 2 0 1
ALCS 3 CC Sabathia 6 3 0 0 4 5 0
ALCS 4 Sonny Gray 5 1 2 1 2 4 0
ALCS 5 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 8 0
TOTAL 55 1/3 35 20 17 20 52 6

In particular, if you hone in on the ALCS starts specifically, Yankee starters have pitched 28 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on 13 hits and 10 walks with 20 strikeouts. That’s a 1.61 ERA.

While the Yankees’ biggest weakness has become a strength, the Astros’ biggest weakness — the bullpen — has become an even bigger weakness. This is why the Yankees, who won 10 fewer games than the Astros during the regular season, are one win away from reaching the World Series and the Astros are not.