Craig Calcaterra

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

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Reds 9, Cubs 5: On June 8, John Lackey won his seventh game of the season and saw his ERA reduced to a crisp 2.63. Since then he’s lost three starts and got no-decisions in the other two, one of which the Cubs won, one of which they lost, and his ERA is up to 3.50. Here he allowed six runs, five earned. Overall the Cubs have dropped 5 of 6 and 10 of 15. It’s July so we can’t call it a June Swoon, but it’s certainly fair to say that both Lackey and the Cubs have had a bad month or so.

Indians 12, Tigers 1: The Tribe so thoroughly owns the Tigers that they’ve decided to take out an equity loan to consolidate some bills, reduce their interest rate and get a little tax break out of the deal. They got the Royals and the White Sox calling them, asking if they can rent the Tigers for a couple of weeks this summer while the Indians go to the beach. The Indians’ grandkids are already bickering with each other over who will get the Tigers when the Indians die. They’re secretly concerned that the Indians’ new wife may sell the Tigers altogether and have consulted with a family lawyer to ask what rights they have, laying the groundwork for a rancorous probate case. For now, though, the Indians are enjoying their property, living the dream all Americans have about one day becoming Tiger Owners.

Marlins 5, Mets 2: Giancarlo Stanton went yard twice: a two-run homer in the seventh inning to bring the Marlins back from a 1-0 deficit and a three-run homer in the eighth to put the game out of reach. Jose Reyes made his return, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Mets fans cheered him in his first at bat, inspiring a hat tip from Reyes. I don’t begrudge a man working for a living, no matter his past, but I wonder what would inspire people to cheer a guy who pulled his wife off a hotel bed, grabbed her throat and then shoved her into a sliding glass door, bruising her in multiple places and causing the hotel staff to be so concerned that they called 911 after which medics decided to transported her to the hospital. But cheer for what you want, I guess.

Pirates 5, Cardinals 2: Eric Fryer just got released by the Cardinals and was picked up by the Pirates on waivers on Sunday. This was his first game for his new club and it came against his old club. All he did was knock two hits and drive in three. Steven Brault made his major league debut for the Pirates, pitching well enough, but not going long enough to get the win. He forgot his glove in Indianapolis so he used someone else’s. Maybe he stopped at a fast food station before getting on the plane and saw this wicked beautiful lady there. I dunno, Either way, before his next start he’s gotta get, he’s got-got ta get it.

Brewers 5, Nationals 2: The Nats couldn’t do much off of Zach Davies while Aaron Hill went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI and Hernan Perez hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the sixth. The Nats have lost three of four. For some reason the Brewers have kinda owned them in the five games they’ve played this year.

Rangers 7, Red Sox 2: A close game in the ninth, with the Rangers holding a one-run lead. Boston has a good offense, though, so a one-run lead can be surmounted. To that end, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel to pitch in a non-save situation to keep things close. He didn’t keep things close. He allowed four runs on three hits and walked a guy, with the big shot being a Robinson Chirinos homer. Now, I presume, we’re gonna get a day or two of talk about how save situations are different and how you can’t use a closer in anything but save situations because it throws off his chi and angers the gods and all of that hogwash. Hell, maybe we’re to a point where people have been saying that for so long that it’s actually true, with an entire generation of relievers born and raised around such talk, their minds conditioned to believe it.

Yankees 9, White Sox 0: The Yankees rattled off 20 hits in a laugher. Yankees fans I know on Twitter are actually kind of annoyed at this because it might fool the brass into thinking the team is competitive, forestalling all of the trades they think they should make to break up the team and rebuild. In addition to the offensive explosion, Masahiro Tanaka pitched shutout ball into the eighth, with Chasen Shreve finishing things off. Good thing they didn’t use one of their ace relievers. In a non-save situation they probably would’ve blown the lead.

Phillies 5, Braves 1: Peter Bourjos, Cody Asche, Maikel Franco and Tommy Joseph all hit homers. Zach Eflin had the best start of his young career, pitching a complete game in which he gave up one run on six hits. Maybe now Phillies well let him pitch against major league teams too.

Blue Jays 8, Royals 3: Josh Donadlson hit two homers. Troy Tulowitzki and Ezequiel Carrera each went deep too. Chris Young gave all of those dongs up in the first three innings. He leads all of baseball in gohper balls. After he left, the Royals outscored the Jays 3-2, but unfortunately for Kansas City, we don’t handle baseball games like that.

Angels 13, Rays 5: A big day for dudes homering twice, as C.J. Cron joined Josh Donaldson, Giancarlo Stanton and Addison Russell, who did it in a losing cause, in that club. Thirteen runs from the Angels despite Mike Trout being given the night off. Not too shabby.

Twins 11, Athletics 4: Nearly three-hour rain delay due to severe storms in the area followed by a non-competitive game in a mostly empty ballpark between two teams going absolutely nowhere. This, my friends, is what separates the casual fans from the hard core addicts. Tommy Milone gave up one run over six innings against his old laundry.

Astros 5, Mariners 2: Dallas Keuchel‘s first half was a nightmare, but he’s coming around. Here the reigning Cy Young winner allowed five hits and two runs in six innings. It was his third straight win after losing eight of his previous nine decisions. Homers from Luis ValbuenaColby Rasmus and A.J. Reed.

Diamondbacks 7, Padres 5Rickie Weeks hit a three-run homer and Paul Goldschmidt had two RBI. It was the smallest crowd in Chase Field history. Clearly the Diamondbacks need a new stadium.

Orioles 4, Dodgers 1: Manny Machado hit a three-run homer in the fifth to break a 1-1 tie and that was all that O’s needed. Baltimore broke its five-game losing streak, the Dodgers broke their five-game winning streak.

Rockies 7, Giants 3: The Giants had a 2-0 lead after six shutout innings from Madison Bumgarner, but then the bullpen came in and loused it all up. Well, Nolan Arenado helped, hitting a two-run homer in the seventh as the Rockies pummeled George Kontos, Cory Gearrin and Hunter Strickland. If you’re dangling a reliever, call Bobby Evans.

BREAKING: A minor league team is wearing a jersey covered in cats

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If I found a genie in a lamp just now, two of my three wishes would be (1) winning the Mega Millions tonight; and (2) making a single time-travel trip to 2002 in order to convince Fox not to cancel “Firefly.” I think we can all agree that that’s how we’d use two of our wishes. They’re fairly non-negotiable.

Wish number three could be “world peace,” “immortality” or “Carla Gugino lifting that totally bogus restraining order,” but to be honest, it’d probably now be “Kevin Kiermaier gets traded to the Phillies and immediately goes on a rehab assignment with the Lakewood BlueClaws.” Why? Because of this:

 

For those unaware of why this would be perfect for Kiermaier, you can read that here.

Now: who’s getting me that jersey? I take a large.

Brayan Pena is joining the army reserves

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There have been a lot of players who served in the military, either before or during their career. Almost all of them, however, did so either during wartime or when we still had a draft.

Since the end of the Vietnam War, however, not many have. Mitch Harris, who pitched for the Cardinals last year, is a graduate of the Naval Academy and served. There may have been some other guys who served in the reserves, but not many. And in all cases, these guys did so before becoming established players, if indeed they ever did so.

Cardinals catcher Brayan Pena is an established player. A 12-year veteran, in fact. At age 34, it’s probably safe to say that his career is winding down. But don’t worry about him getting bored:

Pena is a Cuban native who defected when he was 16 years-old. You can read his account of that and his journey from being a poor, possibly marginal player in Cuba, to becoming a major leaguer and, eventually, a U.S. Citizen here.

It’s not common for a veteran athlete to go join the army. It’s not common for a 34 year-old to do it in any case (the age limit for the army reserves is 35). But don’t tell Pena he can’t do something. He’s already done more than anyone thought he could. He’ll probably end up a general.