Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Rangers 6, Astros 5: Rougned Odor hit a walkoff RBI double. Quite the knockout punch. The Rangers so thoroughly own the Astros right now that Houston has to ask permission before making any renovations at Minute Maid Park and have to pay them $30 extra a month if they want to keep a pet around.

Yankees 5, Angels 2: Carlos Beltran hit a three-run homer, breaking a 2-2 tie in the eighth. After the game he said “The plan isn’t to go out and hit homers. It’s a terrible plan.” This is sort of like how I tell my kids it’s horrible to sit in front of the computer all day. Do as Carlos Beltran and I say, not as Carlos Beltran and I do. We’re creating monsters.

Orioles 4, Royals 1: Mark Trumbo, Matt Wieters and Manny Machado all went deep as the Orioles take their fifth win in six games, all of which were come-from-behind victories.  Quite a week for O’s starter Mike Wright. Last time out he got shelled by Boston and was sent down to the minors. He was recalled the next day due to an injury and was given a second chance and all he did was allow one run on five hits over seven innings against the World Series champs. Five straight losses for the Royals, who are probably going to file a lawsuit against the Orioles today for infringing on their “relentless” patent.

Tigers 11, Blue Jays 0: The Tigers jumped all over J.A. Happ early, grabbing a 6-0 lead by the third inning thanks to homers from James McCann and Justin Upton. The two of them would combine for six RBI in all. Rookie Michael Fulmer remained impressive, tossing six shutout innings. He’s won four straight, allowing just one run, in total, over those four games.

Cubs 6, Phillies 4: Jon Lester tossed eight shutout innings and struck out nine. The Cubs had a 6-0 lead entering the ninth. They held on but Philly made it interesting, plating four, as Justin Grimm certainly was. This is why the putatively best team in baseball does stuff like sign the nearly undead Joe Nathan.

Rays 6, Diamondbacks 4: Big game for Desmond Jennings who had three hits, including a homer. Tim Beckham homered too. Four straight for Tampa Bay, the only team in baseball not named after a city or a state.

Indians 3, Mariners 1: Six in a row for the Indians who were powered by Trevor Bauer‘s ten strikeouts in seven and two-thirds innings. Things are bouncing just right for Cleveland. One of their runs scored on a send of Carlos Santana which should have had him nailed at the plate but Chris Iannetta dropped the throw home. Then another run scored after that.

Rockies 6, Dodgers 1: Tyler Chatwood (eight innings) and Gonzalez Germen (the ninth) held the Dodgers to one hit — a Howie Kendrick single in the second inning — and Trevor Story and Gerardo Parra homered. Afterward Chatwood said”It wasn’t my best outing, I didn’t have good command early . . .” I was going to call BS on that but he allowed no runs over seven innings on May 27 and tossed eight shutout innings on May fourth so I suppose he’s allowed to say so. Nice year for Chatwood so far (7-4, 2.79 ERA).

Padres 7, Braves 2Yangervis Solarte hit a three-run homer in the third and Matt Kemp drove in two as the third worst team in the NL beat the worst. The AP game story described Solarte’s homer as “a towering shot that landed a few rows behind a party deck atop the right-field wall.” Imagine having a party at a Braves-Padres game.

Mets vs. Pirates — POSTPONED: I never wanted to be your weekend lover
I only wanted to be some kind of friend
Baby, I could never steal you from another
It’s such a shame our friendship had to end

Purple rain, purple rain

Juan Lagares has a torn thumb ligament

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Mets center fielder Juan Lagares has been diagnosed with a partially torn ligament in his left thumb. He will rejoin the team and the Mets will see if he can play through it, so the DL will wait for now.

Lagares is now a fourth outfielder for New York, hitting .276/.315/.402 in 93 plate appearances on the year, as Yoenis Cespedes has gotten most of the work in center and Lagares playing there when Cespedes gets a breather or moves to a corner. So if the play-through-it plan doesn’t work out, it won’t be as big a loss as it would’ve been a year or two ago. Still, having his leather around is awful nice for the late innings.


Noah Syndergaard hates the home run sculpture in Miami


When the Marlins introduced the home run sculpture in their new ballpark back in 2012 there was great consternation. Most people thought it was garish and ugly. Some Marlins players even wondered if it was going to interfere with their sight lines and harm the team competitively. That was silly, of course. Only Jeff Loria has harmed the team competitively in any meaningful way since then. The sculpture has been a benign amusement.

Still, most people don’t much care for it. Add Mets starter Noah Syndergaard to the list. He tweeted this yesterday as the Mets left Miami at the end of their series against the Marlins:

I realize Syndergaard is in the strong majority as far as is opinion about that thing goes, but I kind of like it. I don’t want a replica of it for my mantle or desk and, if I ever build a ballpark myself, I won’t install one. But there’s something to be said for being a bit out there design-wise. I feel that way about the entire park in Miami, which many have criticized for its bright colors and modern design.

Baseball is insanely conservative, aesthetically speaking. This is not necessarily bad. Baseball’s conservatism has led to a lot of tasteful things like the Dodgers, Yankees and Tigers looking fantastic, day-in, day-out, with venerable uniform styles. It also led to some good back-to-basics ballpark design in the early 90s which pushed back against utilitarian buildings which made watching games kind of miserable. I tend to lean in favor of innovation and new stuff, but not everything new is good. Conservatism can rein-in the worst excesses of the visionaries.

But it’s a balance which can be tipped too far in either direction, I think, and in a lot of ways it has been tipped a bit too far in recent decades. Conservatism in uniform design has led to some bland choices. It also led to some comically self-conscious retro-designs in ballparks which don’t make a lot of sense historically speaking. Places like Marlins Park, Target Field and Nats park have started to work against that, thankfully.

The Marlins sculpture may not be everyone’s taste, but at least it’s trying something. It’s bold. The same goes for the Diamondbacks new uniforms which I don’t much care for at all but for which you still have to give them some points for creativity. Maybe they’re a miss, but maybe someone will take their cue, get creative and come up with a hit.

In the meantime, if some corneas get burnt, eh, that’s the price of progress.