Rene Rivera

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And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Astros 10, Rangers 1: Remember last year when the Rangers owned the Astros, losing 14 out of 19? That’s over. Houston takes its third in a row off of Texas, powered by Marwin Gonzalez‘s fourth homer in the past three games. Carlos Correa and Brian McCann each hit solo homers and Correa went 4-for-5.

Royals 6, White Sox 1: Nate Karns allowed only one hit over six shutout innings. The AP headline for their recap on this is “Nate Karns Dazzles.” That was also the working title for my coming of age dramedy series I’ve been trying to sell to Netflix, but I guess THAT’s gotta change now. Politics, man.

Yankees 8, Blue Jays 6: Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but Aaron Judge homered again. Gonna go out on a limb here and say that maybe people should stop throwing him strikes? Matt Holliday hit a homer, his 300th. And Brett Gardner got four big hits too. Except they were all on a trash can:

Nationals 2, Diamondbacks 1: Gio Gonzalez allowed one run over five and (all together now) helped his own cause with a RBI groundout. Ryan Zimmerman, the Player of the Month for April, is doin’ OK in May as well, doubling in Bryce Harper for the go-ahead run in the sixth inning.

Red Sox 4, Orioles 2: Before the game there was a conference call with the umps and the league and everyone in which it was stated that there would be a zero tolerance policy for shenanigans given all that has happened between these two teams this year. Apparently no one on the call mentioned the fact that zero tolerance policies are almost always dumb. And this was all dumb. Kevin Gausman threw a first-pitch slider to Xander Bogaerts that stayed too far inside and hit him. It was clearly not intentional, but home plate umpire Sam Holbrook immediately ejected him anyway. Later in the game Adam Jones was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. The game itself: Boston built a 4-0 lead by the fourth inning and that was kind of it. One more game in this series to get through. My preview:

Indians 3, Tigers 2: Carlos Carrasco (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER 5K) outdueled Matt Boyd (7.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER 4K). Andrew Miller struck out four in two scoreless innings, his first multi-inning outing of the season. There will be more. Or his arm will fall off. Hard to say.

Reds 7, Pirates 2: Billy Hamilton, who hadn’t hit a homer since *mashes fingers on calculator* the Ford Administration, hit a three run blast. Wait, my calculator is broken *looks it up* it was Hamilton’s first homer since June 28 of last year. Devin Mesoraco ended a home run drought of a couple of years, but he had the excuse of being on the disabled list since *mashes fingers on calculator* the Ford Administration.

Marlins 10, Rays 6: The Fish break out for ten runs on 17 hits, including a stretch in the sixth inning when they strung together seven consecutive hits. J.T. Realmuto drove in four runs. Marcell Ozuna hit a homer that went 468 feet. Before the game players’ families played a charity softball game and Ozuna’s wife — Genesis Ozuna — hit a homer of her own:

Give that woman a contract.

Mets 16, Braves 5: Jose Reyes had five RBI, Rene Rivera drove in three and Michael Conforto and Jacob deGrom had two RBI apiece. It’s been a bad stretch for the Mets, but playing the Braves is quite a tonic for what ails ya. The victim of much of that abuse: former Met Bartolo Colon, who surrendered five runs on seven hits in four innings.

Cubs 5, Phillies 4: Willson Contreras hit a two-run double and then came around to score on a Matt Szczur infield hit on which he had no business scoring. Watch it here. Freddy Galvis held the ball forever, apparently thinking Contrearas wouldn’t try to score, but Contrearas just kept running. Then the throw stunk, otherwise he’d be out. Joe Maddon appreciated the run but you can tell the whole thing gave him heartburn:

“You plug into this guy. As he learns to play with his hair on fire — maybe not a forest fire, maybe just the burning bush or something, I don’t know — he’s going to learn how to control all that.”

Then Maddon said this:

Twins 7, Athletics 4: Kenny Vargas hit a three run homer and drove in five. Hector Santiago allowed three run over six, and pitched while wearing custom cleats showing an airbrushed picture of the late grandmother Nelly. Gettin’ dusty in here. The Twins have won seven of ten.

Mariners 8, Angels 7: A late rally for Seattle, with Jarrod Dyson hitting a two-out, two-run double in the eighth to tie things up and Jean Segura following that with a two-run single to put the M’s over. The only reason Seattle had to come back was because their bullpen blew a four-run lead by allowing six runs to the Angels in the sixth inning, but let’s try to forget that, shall we?

Giants 4, Dodgers 1Jeff Samardzija allowed only one unearned run and three hits while striking out eleven in eight innings, but he couldn’t get much in the way of run support — and Julio Urias and a handful of Dodgers relievers matched him — so we went to extras. In the 11th, Brandon Belt and Gorkys Hernandez each singled in a run and Hunter Pence hit a sac fly. All of this on the night Vin Scully was inducted into the Dodgers Ring of Honor, with the club hanging up a sign with a microphone and Scully’s name. Scully, watching the Giants rally late, said “Jesus, you frickin’ bums. Way to ruin my night — BIG VIN’s NIGHT! I’m insulted.” Then he spit on the ground and threw a few bucks at the Dodgers relievers and told them to go buy some class. Retirement has changed Scully, man.

Rockies 11, Padres 3: Ian Desmond was just activated on Sunday after missing 25 games. He hit two homers last night off of Jered Weaver, who is great to face after coming off of an injury, because it helps make up for all of that batting practice you miss when you’re hurt.

Brewers vs. Cardinals — POSTPONED:

The song came and went
Like the times that we spent
Hiding out from the rain under the carnival tent
I laughed and she’d smile
It would last for awhile
You don’t know what you got till you lose it all again
Listen to the mandolin rain
Listen to the music on the lake
Listen to my heart break every time she runs away
Listen to the banjo wind
A sad song drifting low
Listen to the tears roll
Down my face as she turns to go

Puerto Rico steamrolls Venezuela 13-2 in World Baseball Classic

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Team Puerto Rico will enter the World Baseball Classic semifinals as one of two undefeated teams on Monday. They dominated Venezuela on Saturday afternoon, capitalizing on a strong showing from starter Jose De Leon and putting up a five-spot in the seventh inning en route to a 13-2 finish.

Jose De Leon and Giovanni Soto combined for five scoreless frames to start the game, limiting Venezuela to just four total baserunners before Hiram Burgos took the mound in the sixth. Team Venezuela promptly bounced back with a two-run homer from Rougned Odor, but failed to build on that momentum during the last three innings of the afternoon.

While Venezuela struggled to find their footing, Puerto Rico tacked on another five runs in the seventh inning. They boosted their advantage to an eight-run lead with a handful of RBI singles from Mike Aviles and Angel Pagan, a double from Rene Rivera and a sacrifice double play off the bat of Carlos Correa. A throwing error gave them an extra run in the eighth inning, and by the ninth, their eight-run surplus had ballooned to eleven runs after Kennys Vargas went deep in Puerto Rico’s only home run of the game.

The semifinals are scheduled to kick off in Los Angeles on Monday, when Team Puerto Rico will take on the Netherlands at 9 PM EDT. The winner of the Dominican Republic-USA game on Saturday night will determine which Pool F runner-up will face Japan (and their undefeated 6-0 record) on Tuesday.

Madison Bumgarner has built a legacy off of his postseason performances

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Giants starter Madison Bumgarner has never won a Cy Young Award. In fact, he has never even finished in the top-three in voting, though that might change when the results come in for the 2016 season. But with his track record in the postseason, Bumgarner is absolutely the No. 1 pitcher opposing hitters do not want to see.

Entering Wednesday night’s start against the Mets in the National League Wild Card game at Citi Field, Bumgarner had a career 2.14 ERA with a 77/15 K/BB ratio in 88 1/3 innings in the postseason. He had twice pitched a complete game: in the 2014 Wild Card game against the Pirates and in Game 5 of the 2014 World Series against the Royals.

Bumgarner added another playoff shutout to his ledger, holding the Mets to four hits and a pair of walks with six strikeouts on 119 pitches. The closest the Mets came to scoring was in the bottom of the fifth when T.J. Rivera led off with a double. Rivera was quickly erased when he made a base running blunder on a Rene Rivera fielder’s choice ground out.

Bumgarner now has a 1.94 ERA in the postseason and has already won three World Series rings. We’re at the point now where Bumgarner isn’t maybe one of the best postseason starters of all time. He is one of the best of all time.

Curt Schilling, considered by many to be at least the greatest postseason starter of the last 25 years, compiled a 2.23 ERA and a 120/25 K/BB ratio across 133 1/3 postseason innings between 1993-2007. That includes four complete games of which two were shutouts. He won three World Series rings.

Josh Beckett tossed three shutouts across 13 playoff starts, including the World Series Game 6 clincher for the Marlins in 2003 against the Yankees. Overall, he has a 3.07 ERA with a 99/21 K/BB ratio over 93 2/3 innings.

Cliff Lee made 11 postseason starts for the Phillies and Rangers between 2009-11, putting up a 2.52 ERA and an 89/10 K/BB ratio in 82 innings. Three of those starts were complete games.

John Smoltz had a 2.67 ERA with a 199/67 K/BB ratio in 209 playoff innings between 1991-2009. He completed the game on three occasions, including one shutout (Game 7 of the 1991 NLCS against the Pirates).

The Cardinals’ Chris Carpenter finished with an even 3.00 ERA and a 68/36 K/BB ratio in 108 innings spanning 18 starts. One of those starts was a shutout.

Orel Hershiser made 18 postseason starts and four relief appearances for the Dodgers, Indians, and Mets from 1985-99. The right-hander spun a 2.59 ERA with a 97/43 K/BB ratio in 132 innings. Four complete games, two shutouts.

Dave Stewart made 22 postseason appearances for the Dodgers, Athletics, and Blue Jays and compiled a 2.77 ERA with a 73/48 K/BB ratio over 133 innings. That included three complete games of which one was a shutout. Stewart has three World Series rings.

Bob Gibson only made nine postseason starts but threw 81 innings to the tune of a 1.89 ERA and a 92/17 K/BB ratio for the Cardinals between 1964-68.

Whitey Ford made 22 postseason starts for the Yankees between 1950-64. He owned a 2.71 ERA with a 94/34 K/BB ratio in 146 innings. He completed seven starts including three shutouts. Ford earned the most World Series rings of anyone on this list at six.

Of course, it’s hard to top former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who limited the opposition to 11 earned runs (0.70 ERA) with a 110/21 K/BB ratio in 141 playoff innings en route to five World Series rings. But it might be proper to separate starters and relievers for this conversation, as Rivera never had to pitch the ninth inning with a pitch count over 100.

As you can see, Bumgarner’s numbers are, in one way or another, better than everyone on this list. He is only 27 years old but we may be looking at the best postseason starter of all time. We’ll have to see where the next decade takes him before we write that in ink rather than pencil, however.