Craig Calcaterra

Yoenis Cespedes

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Mets 5, Nationals 3: Three straight comeback wins for the Mets. Three straight bullpen implosions for the Nats. A series sweep and the functional end of the competitive portion of the Nationals season. Washington hasn’t seen a sacking this bad since the week of August 24, 1814. Kelly Johnson — on loan from the Braves to the hostile Mets given the presence of a mutual enemy in Washington — hit the tying homer. Yoenis Cespedes — who I like very much so it will pain me to have to tell people who argue that he’s the NL MVP that they’re unhinged lunatics — hit the go-ahead shot. Bryce Harper, who is in fact the real NL MVP, homered twice, doubled and scored three times. Some MVP voters will still somehow find a way to hold the Nats’ bullpen’s woes against him and ignore the fact that he has been literally the single most important player to any team in the National League this year. That’ll be fun.

Astros 11, Athletics 5Colby Rasmus, Evan Gattis, Carlos Gomez and Marwin Gonzalez all homered as the Astros took a 7-0 lead after the top of the fifth. Oakland battled back but Houston didn’t stop scoring either.

Mariners 6, Rangers 0: Vidal Nuno allowed one hit over seven shutout innings and Mark Trumbo and Kyle Seager each had four hits and a two-run homer to sink the Rangers, dropping them two back of the Astros.

Braves 8, Phillies 1: Julio Teheran allowed one run over seven. It got shaky in the seventh, though, as Teheran loaded the bases. Fredi Gonzalez stuck with him, though:

Asked if he considered pulling Teheran in that spot with the bases loaded, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez joked: “Have you seen our bullpen?”

With all respect to the AP reporter who wrote that, I don’t think Gonzalez was joking.

Pirates 5, Reds 4: Pirates won, blah, blah, blah, but the real takeaway here was Joey Votto goin’ totally bonkers after being ejected for arguing balls and strikes:

 

He had a point about the strikezone, but if he had changed any umpire minds about their view on it via his argument, it would’ve been the first time that happened in baseball history. But hey, at least he gave Reds fans something fun to watch. After the game, manager Bryan Price said this:

“I know that Joey looked over to the dugout and that’s my sign to get out there. He was already ejected before I could get there. Our argument is that if someone asks for time he should get it. Joey handled the situation professionally until he got upset,” he said. “You can argue about how you act when you’re upset. Joey was upset. Bill was upset. I was upset. There were a lot of upset people out there.”

That must be read in Peter Sellers’ “We’re all fine, Dmitri” voice from “Dr. Strangelove.”

Cardinals 4, Cubs 3: Stephen Piscotty hit a two-run double to cap a three-run rally in the eighth inning and Matt Carpenter tripled and scored twice as the Cardinals ended their three-game losing streak.

Orioles 5, Yankees 3: CC Sabathia made his first start since Aug. 23 and was OK, but couldn’t make it out of the fifth inning. He allowed one earned run while on the mound and left the bases loaded and two out before being pulled. The lead to which he was staked, however, went away when Stephen Drew booted the first ball after the big man’s exit, allowing two unearned runs to score.  Steve Pearce‘s eighth inning homer put Baltimore up for good.

Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 4: The Yankees loss fails to harm them in the standings as the Jays lost too, thanks in part to David Ortiz‘s 498th career homer. The Jays drop the series to the Sox. It’s only the second series they’ve dropped since late July.

 

Rays 8, Tigers 0: Jake Odorizzi tossed six shutout innings and Tigers pitchers gave up four homers. The 2015 Tigers aren’t worth discussing at this point, so let me point you back to what I wrote about a couple of 1970s-90s Tigers yesterday.

 

Marlins 5, Brewers 2: Koehler Flushes Brewers. I dunno. I always think of toilets when I hear his name. Nothing personal. Anyway, our boy Tom struck out ten and Christian Yelich had a tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh.

Indians 6, White Sox 4: Francisco Lindor homered, tripled and scored two runs. He feels like he’s been a prospect forever because we started hearing his name so early, but he’s still 21 and he has a line of .309/.347/.458 in 76 games this year. So many great young players are emerging around the league so it’d understandable if you’ve missed him this year, but he’s one not to overlook.

Twins 3, Royals 2: Speaking of great young players, Miguel Sano hit a homer with two out in the top of the 12th to give the Twins the win. Nice way to break an 0-for-14, 11-strikeout slump. I’m sort of agnostic on the question of the Twins vs. the Rangers for the second wild card, but it would be pretty sweet for the rest of the country to get a look at Sano.

Padres 11, Rockies 4Matt Kemp and Jedd Gyorko homered. Gyorko was recently moved to shortstop. I haven’t seen a game with him yet — who is watching the Padres in September? — but the word is that his glove is solid. On offense, since the switch, he’s hitting 16 for 47 (.340) with six home runs and 14 RBI.

Diamondbacks 2, Giants 1Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a two-run homer for the Dbacks’ only runs and, when the Giants threatened late, Chip Hale ordered an intentional walk to Buster Posey with runners on the corners. That, obviously, put the go-ahead run at second base. You don’t see that very often, but it paid off for him.

Angels 3, Dodgers 2: Garret Richards pitched lights out to take a lead into the eighth, but Chase Utley tied it up with a double. No worries, though, as Albert Pujols drove in Calhoun with the tiebreaking single in the bottom half to help the Angels avoid the sweep.

 

It’s time for the Tigers to retire Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker’s numbers

Trammell Whitaker
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Here’s an anniversary that’s special to me: on this day in 1977, in the second game of a doubleheader in Boston, Tigers rookies Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell debuted together.

They would hold down the second base and shortstop jobs, respectively, for the next 19 years. They would both retire as Tigers and never play an inning for another team. They would lead the Tigers to the 1984 World Series title and the 1987 AL East crown and served as the heart and soul of a Tigers team that finished above .500 for 11 straight years during their primes. No double play combination in baseball history has ever played together as long as they did.

Whitaker would finish his career with a career line of .276/.363/.426, which translated to a 117 OPS+, excellent for a second baseman of his era. Trammell would finish with a line of .285/.352/.415, which was a 110 OPS+, outstanding for a shortstop of his time as well. Whitaker won three gold gloves and could’ve won more. Trammell won four gold gloves, could’ve won more and should’ve won the 1987 MVP award. They played in a combined 11 All-Star Games.

Most importantly, they were the stars of an entire Tigers era which featured some truly fantastic baseball. Kirk Gibson was big, but was often hurt and played elsewhere. Jack Morris and Lance Parrish eventually left town too. For Tigers fans, Whitaker and Trammell were the faces of that team from the time they debuted — just a couple of years after Al Kaline retired and while he still was the most famous Tiger — and arguably remained the club’s biggest stars until Miguel Cabrera arrived. For anyone who came of baseball-watching age in Detroit for a 20+ year period, those two were the first two players implanted in their consciousness.

As we’ve noted many times around here, both Whitaker and Trammell got really short shrift in the Hall of Fame vote. Which, I suppose, is understandable for a lot of reasons, even if they’re dumb reasons. But there is absolutely no excuse for them to have gotten the short shrift they have within the Tigers organization.

At present Whitaker’s number 1 is being worn by Jose Iglesias. Trammell’s number 3 is being worn by Ian Kinsler. They’re both fine players and, I presume, good men. But there is no reason whatsoever those numbers should be worn by anyone but Trammell and Whitaker. There is no reason their numbers should not be out on that brick wall in the outfield alongside Charlie Gehringer’s 2, Hank Greenberg’s 5, Al Kaline’s 6, Sparky Anderson’s 11, Hal Newhouser’s 16, and Willie Horton’s 23. Simply put, the biggest stars of every Tigers era have been honored by the team except for the era which may have seen its greatest sustained success. This is unconscionable.

The Tigers are entering a period of uncertainty. They have suffered a bad year, a front office shakeup and could see their manager fired. The organization should give the fans, who have flocked to Comerica Park for years and years, a special day next spring. A day on which Jose Iglesias and Ian Kinsler present Trammell and Whitaker with their numbers and The Tigers present Trammell and Whitaker with the honor they deserve.

Who wouldn’t want to see that? Why hasn’t it happened yet? Why shouldn’t it happen now?

Yadier Molina broke his bat tapping it on home plate

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 5.06.04 PM
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Maybe it was a hard tap, but I can’t say I’ve ever seen anyone breaking their bat doing this.