Jerad Eickhoff

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And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Tigers 10, Pirates 0: Are the Astros and Tigers still talking about Justin Verlander? Is he showing off to encourage a trade to Houston? I dunno, but he was fantastic here, allowing only one hit in eight innings of work. He was dealing with a small lead for most of that time, as the Tigers scored seven of their ten runs from the seventh inning on. Nick Castellanos and Ian Kinsler did most of the damage, driving in five and four, respectively.

Nationals 10, Marlins 1: Gio Gonzalez allowed one run over seven while Ryan Zimmerman did heavy damage with two homers on his 4-for-4, two-homer, four-run, five-RBI night. Zimmerman passed Tim Wallach as the all-time RBI leader for the Expos-Nationals franchise, which I realize makes many Nats fans grumpy because they like to pretend the franchise just sprung into existence out of the head of Zeus in 2005 or whatever.

Rockies 3, Indians 2: Jonathan Lucroy doubled in Carlos Gonzalez to tie things up in the ninth and Charlie Blackmon hit a homer in the top of the 12th to give Colorado the win. Blackmon is on pace for 38 homers and 105 runs and has a 1.004 OPS. He’s the leadoff hitter.

Rangers 5, Mets 1: Martin Perez allowed one run on three hits over eight innings and Joey Gallo homered again, a two-run shot. The Rangers’ other three runs scored on a balk, a fielder’s choice and a bases-loaded walk. The Mets are playing inspiring baseball.

Mariners 6, Athletics 3: Kyle Seager hit a three-run homer in the first inning and Nelson Cruz homered twice. Seattle has won four of five and is tied for the second Wild Card.

Angels 5, Orioles 1: Ten-year minor league veteran Cesar Puello got called up to make his debut and, with his first big league hit, singled in the go-ahead run in the fourth inning. Don’t stop doing what you want to do until you’re really, really sure it’s something you don’t want to do anymore.

Giants 3, Cubs 1: Madison Bumgarner allowed one run and struck out seven, scattering five hits over seven innings, Hunter Pence homered and the Giants won. It’s like 2014 or something.

Red Sox 8, Rays 2: Eight wins in a row for Boston. This one broke open when Eduardo Nunez hit a ball that slammed into Rays starter Jake Odorizzi‘s foot, knocking him out of the game and allowing the Sox to feast for five runs off of the Tampa Bay bullpen. Odorizzi’s X-Rays came back negative, which is a positive. Porcello allowed two runs and four hits in six innings. At one point he threw 19 consecutive strikes. Despite nine pitchers being used, the game lasted just less than three hours. That bit about working fast and throwing strikes is still the best pitching advice there is.

 

Reds 8, Padres 3: Joey Votto had a double and a single to extend his hitting streak to 14 games and Stuart Turner homered as the Reds won easily. Asher Wojciechowski got the win for the Reds. He also got his first big league hit. It was a single to right field, but he’s not fast and Padres right fielder Hunter Renfroe almost threw him out at first base. I love that play when the outfielder gets the putout. It has to be the most embarrassing thing for a base runner. Or base jogger, I guess.

Yankees 11, Blue Jays 5: Todd Frazier homered and doubled in a couple more runs for his best game as a Yankee.  Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius homered as well and Garrett Cooper had four hits. They needed all of that offense as Masahiro Tanaka issued five walks and three runs in four innings of work. Five Yankees relievers combined to allow two runs over the final five frames.

Phillies 3, Braves 2Odubel Herrera maintained his hot hitting of late, tripling in a run with another run scoring on the same play due to a Braves error. He’d hit another triple as well. Freddy Galvis singled in the Phillies other run while Jerad Eickhoff pitched into the seventh. The Phillies are 11-2 against Atlanta this year.

White Sox 7, Astros 1: Miguel Gonzalez flummoxed the Astros, allowing one run over eight innings and the Sox beat up on Collin McHugh for seven runs in less than six innings of work. Tim Anderson homered and drove in three and Leury Garcia and Yolmer Sanchez each had two-run singles. Houston has now dropped eight of 11 and are ensured a series loss against one of the worst teams in baseball this year.

Twins 4, Brewers 0: Bartolo Colon looked finished not too long ago, but now he’s won two straight, the last a complete game, and this one consisting of seven shutout innings. A couple more of these and someone may give the dude a major league contract next spring. Brian Dozier homered, doubled and singled.

Cardinals 8, Royals 5: The Royals had a 5-4 lead in the sixth inning when Yadier Molina came up with the bases loaded and deposited one in the left field seats for a grand slam. But don’t thank Yadi: thank the Rally Cat.

Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 2: Joc Pederson doubled in the tying run off of Zack Greinke in the seventh and Yasiel Puig singled in Pederson for the go-ahead run two pitches later to give the Dodgers a comeback win. It was their 80th win of the year. If they go 1-48 in their final 49 games, they’re a .500 team.

And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 8, Blue Jays 1: Sometimes I’ll talk about a “quintessential [team] win.” When I say that I mean a win that seems like something that someone in the team’s marketing department would dream up. The stuff of program and media guide covers. Something that dovetails nicely with a season ticket sales campaign. The most obvious version of that is “Team Ace pitches wonderfully, Team Leader hits well and Team wins.” This game fit that mold, constituting a quintessential Cleveland Indians win. In it Corey Kluber fanned 14 Jays in seven and two-thirds innings while allowing one run on five hits while Michael Brantley singled home one run and knocked in two more with a homer. If the Indians were mapping out their season back in February, there would be a healthy number of games like this. It’s almost enough to make you want to say that a team should get one-and-a-half wins for such an outcome instead of just one.

Reds 6, Marlins 3: Sal Romano allowed one run over six innings and doesn’t seem to hold a grudge about being unceremoniously dumped from the art department of Sterling Cooper after season three. Scooter GennettEugenio Suarez and Tucker Barnhart all homered as the Reds avoid a sweep. Really, though: how do you not show Sal in the “Mad Men” series finale? How do you not let us know what happened to him? I’m still salty about that.

Athletics 3, Mets 2: Marcus Semien, Khris Davis and Matt Chapman all homered for Oakland, with Chapman’s breaking a 2-2 tie in the seventh. That made up for him getting picked off third base with no outs in the fifth, which is not a cool thing to do. Daniel Gossett got the win after allowing two runs over six. This was Bob Melvin’s 999th win as a big league manager.

Rangers 6, Rays 5: Two homers for Rougned Odor, the second one coming back to back with a Carlos Gomez bomb in the eighth. The Rangers sweep and the Rays, once again, lose a game in which they held a lead. They’ve done that 31 times this year, actually, which leads all of baseball. They’re 51-48 and 3.5 games out of first place. Imagine if they were even slightly better at locking down leads.

Orioles 9, Astros 7: The Astros fell behind by three runs twice but came back each time. They actually took a one-run lead in the sixth, but Baltimore tied it back up. That’s where it stood, tied 7-7 in the eighth, when the O’s scored two to take the lead. That set the stage for Zack Britton‘s first save since April. It was a record-breaking save, too: his 55th consecutive save without blowin’ on, breaking the AL mark set by Tom Gordon almost 20 years ago. The MLB mark is still a ways away: Eric Gagne’s 84 straight from 2002-04. Of course Gagne was juiced to the gills, but a record is a record.

Phillies 6, Brewers 3: Rookie Nick Williams remained hot, homering driving in three. Howie Kendrick knocked in two himself. Starter Jerad Eickhoff got into the act too, smacking two hits and driving in two himself. He also pitched six strong innings.

Tigers 9, Twins 6: This one was tied at two in the seventh when everyone apparently woke up and started to hit, with Detroit scoring seven runs in the final three frames and Minnesota scoring four. Seven is more than four, though, so you know how this ended. Ian Kinsler hit a two-run homer in the seventh and he, James McCann and Alex Presley had three hits apiece. The game lasted four hours and nineteen minutes. Woof.

Royals 5, White Sox 4: Nine straight losses for Chicago. This one stung, too, as they had a 4-3 lead in the eighth. That’s when Whit Merrifield homered to tie things up. In the ninth, Mike Moustakas singled and then Alcides Escobar was hit by a pitch. New White Sox reliever Tyler Clippard was brought into the game and promptly gave up a walkoff double to Brandon Moss. The trade deadline brings lots of changes in baseball, but some things remain the same.

Rockies 13, Pirates 3Trevor Story, Pat Valaika and Mark Reynolds each hit two-run homers in the sixth inning, a frame in which the Rockies scored seven in all, so yeah. Kyle Freeland got his first start since July 9 (he made one relief appearance to keep sharp) and he allowed two runs on six hits over six innings.

Angels 3, Red Sox 2: Rick Porcello was dealing quite efficiently, but a Mike Trout homer tied it at two in the sixth inning and a Luis Valbuena solo shot put the Angels up for good in the seventh. That efficiency allowed Porcello to pitch the entire game, needing only 96 pitches, giving him the rare CG-loss. Cool? Angels starter Parker Bridwell and two Angels relievers were also efficient, needing a combined 106 pitches to get through the whole thing, meaning this contest lasted only two hours and thirteen minutes. It came one day after the 20th anniversary of Greg Maddux needing only 76 pitches to toss a complete game against the Chicago Cubs. That one lasted two hours and seven minutes.

Padres 5, Giants 2: All the scoring was over with by the fourth inning. The fact that the Padres scored four in that inning was the difference. Wil Myers homered in the first — the third straight game in which he went deep — and Jabari Blash doubled in two in the fourth. Padres starter Dinelson Lamet allowed two runs in all and pitched into the seventh.

Yankees 6, Mariners 4: The Yankees take three of four, winning their first series in six weeks, a stretch in which they went 0-8-2, series-wise. The bullpen had been a big reason for all of those losses, but they shined here, with Chad GreenDellin Betances and Daniel Robertson combining for 4.1 perfect innings before Chapman bent but didn’t break in closing it out. For all of the crap they’ve gone through, New York remains a mere two and a half back of Boston.

Dodgers 5, Braves 4: A win, but an unpleasant one for Los Angeles, as starter Clayton Kershaw had to leave after two innings due to pain in his back that is going to place him on the disabled list. He’s suffered from back issue in the past, costing him a good bit of time. We’ll know more how much time after he undergoes an MRI today. As for the game, the Dodgers had a three-run lead in the eighth before Matt Adams tied it up with a three run homer off of Kenley Jansen of all people. Logan Forsythe saved his and everyone else’s bacon, however, with a walkoff RBI single in the 10th. Nice win, but a bad day for the Dodgers.

Nationals 6, Diamondbacks 2: The Dodgers weren’t the only one to lose a starter after two innings: Stephen Strasburg was knocked out of this one with “achiness” in his forearm. That was his term, not the medical staff’s, as they did not go to the Hollywood Upstairs Medical College. Dusty Baker turned things over to the bullpen and five relievers combined to allow two runs over seven innings to give Washington the win. They had a cushion, though, as Brian Goodwin hit a leadoff homer and the Nats scored four runs in the first.

Cubs 5, Cardinals 3: Willson Contreras hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth. Kyle Schwarber went deep as well and Jose Quintana allowed three runs over six innings to give the Cubs their eighth win in nine games, pulling them into a tie for first place, a mere tenth of a percentage point ahead of the Brewers. We were all waiting for the Cubs to wake up. They’re up.

The Phillies played some embarrassing baseball tonight

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The Phillies have been embarrassing for the last two months. It’s no secret, as the club entered Wednesday’s game against the Cardinals at 22-47, a full three games worse than the next-worst team (Padres, 27-46). There’s not a whole lot they’ve done right this year. The Phillies have the third-worst offense in baseball, the fifth-worst pitching staff, and they have the fifth-worst stolen base success rate. The bullpen had blown 12 saves, tied for the fifth-most in baseball.

Somehow, the Phillies managed to raise the bar for embarrassment on Wednesday night. The game was fine through eight innings, as the Phillies were holding onto a 5-4 lead. Hector Neris took the mound to start the ninth, looking to lock down the save. After getting Yadier Molina to fly out, Neris served up a game-tying solo home run to Tommy Pham, blowing the save. That moved the Phillies into a tie with four other teams for the major league lead in blown saves.

The Phillies, to their credit, rallied in the bottom of the ninth as Howie Kendrick singled with one out. Odubel Herrera reached after hitting into a 5-4 force out at second. Freddy Galvis then hit a weak line drive down the third base line that bounced off of the facing of the stands, back into shallow left field. Herrera is fast, but not score-from-first-on-a-grounder-to-left-fast. Herrera wheeled around third base as third base coach Juan Samuel threw up the stop sign. Herrera ignored it and was thrown out by a good 15 feet by Pham from left field.

It gets worse. Edubray Ramos started the 10th inning of a 5-5 game. He immediately allowed a double to Jose Martinez, putting the go-ahead run at second base. During Matt Carpenter‘s at-bat, Ramos balked, moving Martinez to third. After striking Carpenter out, Dexter Fowler was intentionally walked. Aledmys Diaz pinch-hit for Brett Cecil. During Diaz’s at-bat, Ramos attempted to pick Fowler off at first base, but airmailed the throw to Tommy Joseph. Martinez scored the go-ahead run easily and Fowler advanced to second base. Adam Morgan relieved Ramos and got Diaz to fly out. Morgan then intentionally walked Jedd Gyorko to bring up Yadier Molina, who singled to right field, giving the Cardinals a crucial insurance run. Pham struck out looking to mercifully end the inning.

The Phillies again rallied in the bottom of the 10th, scoring a run to close the gap to 7-6, but would eventually lose when closer Seung-Hwan Oh struck out Aaron Altherr swinging. Last night, Ramos and Casey Fien combined to allow seven runs in the 11th inning to lose to the Cardinals 8-1. That inning included back-to-back walks to lead off the inning, a Maikel Franco error, and home runs from Molina and Pham.

I’ve been a Phillies fan since before I could even talk. I lived through the absolutely dreadful teams the Phillies put together between the mid-1990’s and the mid-2000’s. The rosters were chock full of relatively untalented players who lacked fundamentals in one way or another. Having watched this year’s iteration of the Phillies, now 22-48 and losers of 39 of their last 50 games, I feel confident in saying that the 2017 Phils are the worst team, fundamentally and otherwise, of my lifetime. Wednesday’s game was, to date, the apex of their season-long bout of incompetence.

Fans have become increasingly frustrated, and understandably so. A team committed to a rebuild has yet to show any positive signs. Franco and Herrera (until recently) have punched well below their weight. No. 1 prospect J.P. Crawford has a .562 OPS at Triple-A. Young pitchers like Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Aaron Nola, and Hector Neris have had inconsistent seasons at best. As the 2011-14 Astros showed us, however, sometimes you have to play really bad baseball before you play really good baseball, so there is precedent for teams as bad or worse than the Phillies eventually recovering. It’s just really hard to watch right now.