Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
Getty Images

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights


Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Mariners 16, Padres 4: It was 10-0 by the third inning and 16-0 by the fifth. James Shields is being talked about as a trade target, but giving up ten runs on eight hits and four walks in two and two-thirds isn’t exactly gonna foment a bidding war. Five homers by the Mariners, two by Seth Smith. A position player, Christian Bethancourt, pitched and lit up the radar gun. A fun time was had by all. Well, all except anyone affiliated with or partial to the San Diego Padres.

Astros 8, Diamondbacks 5: George Springer singled, doubled, homered and drove in four. Batting order politics are usually silly and a lot of players say it doesn’t matter to them where they hit, but Springer was recently moved to the leadoff spot and he’s 17-for-35 with three home runs there. It’s either working for him or there are some correlation/causation illusions afoot.

Rangers 7, Indians 3: Colby Lewis tossed six shutout innings and Bryan Holaday and Jurickson Profar homered. That’s nine of 11 for them. “He knows how to pitch,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said of Lewis after the game. “We didn’t have to teach him. Last guy came in here threw the ball with his butt cheeks and thought the point was to let the batter hit the ball,” Banister did not add, except for in my fanciful imagination in which managers say totally hilarious and nonsensical things like that to see if the reporters are actually listening or if they’re merely holding their tape recorders up while day dreaming about opening a restaurant of finishing that novel they started five years ago.

Red Sox 6, Orioles 2: Mookie Betts was a one-man wrecking crew, hitting three homers and driving in five. Dustin Pedroia drove one in too so I suppose it was technically a two-man wrecking crew, though Betts did most of the wrecking. He went home after the game and told his wife “people say Dustin and I are quite a two-man wrecking crew, but I do most of the wrecking and he makes more money than me. It’s politics, man.” Mrs. Betts nodded thoughtfully and rubbed Mookie’s back. She knows. He never has to explain anything to her. He never has to justify himself. That’s the power of their relationship.

Nationals 5, Phillies 1: Daniel Murphy continues to be ridiculous, notching two more hits and pushing his average up to .397. Only downside of this is that it’s gonna cause a bunch of people to write “Can Murphy hit .400?” columns. The answer to that is “no, he cannot, unless he gets up to .400 this week and then is placed on the DL with some odd 19th century disease that flummoxes physicians until after the regular season is over.” The dirty secret of certain impossible to reach milestones from the Golden Age of Baseball is that they were set because there was less overall talent in the game then than now, allowing those who were supremely talented like Ted Williams to tower far more over their opposition than a player can today. Think of it like college football: a college running back can do things like average six or seven yards a carry because half of the teams he plays are fielding dudes who sort of suck by comparison. He could never do it in the NFL. The same goes for baseball. Ted Williams was great, but a lot of pitchers and defenses (and grounds crews and official scorers) from 1941 aren’t nearly as good as the ones with which Daniel Murphy has to contend today. The tougher overall level of competition and the more difficult context mitigates strongly against a .400 hitter. And that’s before you remember, “hey, this is Daniel Murphy here, not Ted Williams.” Nice season still, but don’t bother with the “can he hit .400?” columns.

Blue Jays 4, Yankees 1: The Jays have beaten the Yankees in 12 of their last 16 meetings. Yankees fans in my Twitter timeline have become increasingly cranky about the Blue Jays since last year. Coincidence? I think not. Kevin Pillar singled in the go ahead run in the seventh. He also made a sweet grab, flying like a freakin’ bird:


Marlins 3, Pirates 1: Jose Fernandez tossed seven scoreless, striking out six and allowing only three hits while throwing 62 of 88 pitches for strikes. He’s pretty good.

Giants 4, Braves 0: Jake Peavy tossed seven scoreless, allowing only one hit and having that dude erased on a double play, so he faced only 21 batters. George Kontos allowed one walk in relief but the pen was otherwise perfect. The Braves are pretty bad.

White Sox 6, Mets 4: The White Sox end their seven game losing streak thanks to Tyler Saladino hitting a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning to help Chicago come back after being down four early. Todd Frazier hit a two-run homer. That’s 16 for him on the year.

Cardinals 10, Brewers 3: Four hits for Matt Carpenter. Who had four hits the day before. If he has four hits today some people are going to assume he’s doing some sort of Sim City-style money cheat thing. If I remember correctly, if you used that cheat too many times in Sim City it caused earthquakes or giant lizards to run amok or something. Please Matt Carpenter, do not cause earthquakes or lizards. Think of the innocent civilians.

Royals 10, Rays 5Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez are all injured, so of course the Royals offense has improved lately. That’s just totally predictable logic and stuff. Lorenzo Cain drove in four. Kansas City was seven games out of first on May 10. They’re two up in first place now. Watch out for earthquakes and lizards on the other side of Missouri too.

Dodgers 5, Cubs 0: Scott Kazmir and the pen combine to blank the Cubbies on a one-hitter. Chicago lost a Jake Arrieta start for the first time since the middle of last season — a span of 23 starts — despite the fact that he tossed seven scoreless innings himself. As that suggests, this game was closer than the final score would suggest. Corey Seager hit a three-run homer off Trevor Cahill in the ninth for some breathing room after the Dodgers plated two in the eighth against the Cubs’ pen. It was the Dodgers’ seventh win in nine games, despite the fact that their offense has been sputtering.

Rockies 17, Reds 4: The Rockies hit seven homers on the night, tying a franchise record for homers in a single game. Charlie Blackmon had two of them, a solo shot and a grand slam, on his five-RBI night. Nolan Arenado likewise went deep twice and drove in four. The Reds pitching staff: not great.

Angels 11, Tigers 9: This was a wild one. C.J. Cron hit two homers, including a two-run walkoff blast to break a ninth inning tie. It shouldn’t have even been tied as the Angels had a 9-2 lead entering the sixth inning, but where there’s a will, the Tigers bullpen will find a way. The clubs combined for nine homers. Jefry Marte and Mike Trout each hit a bomb for L.A. as well.

Athletics 7, Twins 4: Four in a row for Oakland. Danny Valencia homered and drove in three runs. Stephen Vogt had three hits and drove in two. Marcus Semien and Billy Burns each had two hits and drove in a run as well. The A’s have beaten the Twins in Oakland 15 of the last 18 times. Given the unbalanced schedule, that dates back to [mashes hands on calculator] 1942. Which was when this would’ve been a Washington-Philadelphia matchup. That can’t be right. [throws calculator in the trash].

Atlanta Braves trade reliever Jason Grilli to the Toronto Blue Jays


Multiple reporters including Robert Murray of Baseball Essential, Mark Bowman of and David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution report that the Atlanta Braves are trading reliever Jason Grilli to the Toronto Blue Jays for a prospect. Murray says the prospect is minor league reliever Sean Ratcliffe

Grilli is having a subpar year but was a more or less effective closer last season. For 2016 he’s got a 5.29 ERA in 21 appearances and has a K/BB ratio of 23/13 in 17 innings. Nice strikeout total, but oof those walks. Last year he saved 24 games for a bad Braves team and posted a 2.94 ERA, struck out batters at the same rate and walked many fewer. Maybe a change of scenery and an adjustment would do him good.

Ratcliffe was an 18th round pick in 2013 for Toronto. He has only played in rookie ball and low A. He hasn’t pitched yet in 2016. Nothing in his previous three seasons shouts “great prospect” but you never know.

First American League All-Star voting totals are in, Sal Perez leads in the voting


It seems early, but this is when it happens: Major League Baseball announcing the early results for All-Star Game voting. Voting started in April which makes it kind of hard to weigh-in with any sort of certainty about how anyone is doing, but it probably doesn’t matter much. It doesn’t matter much for a lot of reasons. Among them:

  • There are different schools of thought about who should be an All-Star. Some people think the biggest stars should always make it. Others think it’s a reward for a good first half of the season. I really don’t care either way, but if you’re a “biggest stars” person, April is fine for voting. Famous stars are no less famous because they’ve had a bad couple of months.
  • Despite the fact that the All-Star Game “counts” for home field advantage, the way it is played ensures that who starts is not super critical. Starters will be gone after a couple of innings. No matter the vote totals, the same general bunch of players will decided the game one way or the other, early or late. It’s the All-Star Game. It’s kind of a circus regardless.
  • Major League Baseball does not really care about the integrity of voting. They encourage you to vote a gabillion times, and it’s all very clearly aimed at getting people to visit lucratively-sponsored web pages in order to do it. Which, hey, good for them for making money, but that’s not how you run a tight voting operation.

That last bit is sort of key. I don’t want to overstate how important this is because, again, it’s just the All-Star Game, but there is laughably obvious fraud going on with the votes. Over the past few weeks I’ve gotten emails from and thanking me for my maximum five votes that day. Stuff like this:

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 3.33.32 PM

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 3.32.59 PM

That was from a while back. Last I checked it thinks I’ve voted, like, 60 times or something. I haven’t voted once and, obviously, I haven’t listed the Royals as my favorite team. Someone is using my email address or ID or whatever. In my case it’s for Royals players. Maybe people from 29 other teams are hacking other people in their team’s favor too, but the point of this isn’t the specific votes. It’s that this isn’t exactly a high-integrity operation.

Because it’s just All-Star votes I sort of don’t care too much, but it’s at least smart to take the vote totals, especially the early ones, with a grain of salt, sit back and wait for the Home Run Derby and just remember that the All-Star Game is kind of a crazy non-serious event, no matter what people say about home field advantage. For now, here are the voting leaders:

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 3.55.26 PM

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 3.56.05 PM

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 3.56.43 PM

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 3.57.08 PM