Author: Craig Calcaterra

Puig Kemp

Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp exchange words in the dugout


No one would talk about this after the game. Don Mattingly called it “family business.” And then said “we’re like the A’s. The ’72 A’s.” Matt Kemp, in response to a question about it said “It’s a good game we played today, huh? Go Dodgers.” But Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp had some words during last night’s victory over the Rockies:

I assume the dustup was about isolation vs. interventionalism. Or perhaps the proper role of civil disobedience in effecting political change. These are the sorts of issues which vex the Dodgers, as they vex all men.

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Angels 8, Mariners 1: The Angels become the first team to clinch a playoff spot. It took a couple of bumps and bruises to get there. Matt Shoemaker got the took a shutout into the eighth inning, but felt some discomfort in his left side after leaving the game. Albert Pujols left with a hamstring injury. Both injuries appear to be minor. David Freese and Brennan Boesch each went deep. Pujols had a three-run double. Seattle is now two back in the wild card.

Royals 4, White Sox 3: Last week Ned Yost took a lot of crap — from this corner of the Internet included — for trying to run his way into a rally by having pinch runner Jarrod Dyson steal third. Here it set off a much more happier sequence. In the bottom of the ninth inning with the White Sox up 3-2, Dyson stole third base and kept on running after a wild pitch to score the tying run. Nori Aoki then doubled and was replaced by pinch-runner Terrance Gore. Lorenzo Cain then drove Gore in with an infield chopper which allowed Gore to come all the way around from second base to score the winning run. So viva speed and viva Ned Yost. At least for last night.

Nationals 4, Braves 2: The Nats inch closer to their inevitable NL East title. Stephen Strasburg pitched seven scoreless innings. The Braves rallied a bit in the ninth but it ended when B.J. Upton — who was somehow allowed to bat while a rally was in progress — grounded out to end it. The Nats can clinch if they win tonight. If they do, they’ll dance on the Turner Field while the Braves watch. And then, this offseason (a) no Braves coaches will be fired because someone will say “hey, it wasn’t the coaches’ fault”; and (b) no wholesale personnel moves will be made either because “[insert comments about believing in these players].” Accountability for this uninspiring disaster of a season is pretty unlikely. Wheeee!

Orioles 5, Blue Jays 2: The O’s too are within one win of a division title. Wei-Yin Chen won his 16th. Ryan Flaherty homered and Adam Jones had three hits and an RBI as the Orioles won their eighth of nine.

Marlins 6, Mets 5: Jacob deGrom continues his fantastic rookie season, this time striking out 13 Marlins hitters in seven innings while allowing three runs. He struck out the first eight batters in the game, actually, before allowing a single to the opposing pitcher of all people. The win, however, eluded him thanks to the Marlins rallying for three against him and then three more against his compatriots in the bullpen. The Mets old friend Jordany Valdespin hit a two-run single. Adeiny Hechavarria hit a two-run single of his own.

Dodgers 11, Rockies 3: Those eight-run sixth innings will really hurt ya, ya know? L.A. got seven hits that innings, including a Justin Turner two-run double. Matt Kemp hit a homer. He also had words with Yasiel Puig in the dugout over something no one would talk about afterward. I presume it was about Puig asserting that Pitt the Elder was the superior prime minister while Barney argued for Lord Palmerston.

Diamondbacks 6, Giants 2: Mark Trumbo hit a grand slam off Ryan Vogelsong and the Giants couldn’t muster much against Wade Miley. That puts San Francisco four games back of L.A. in the West.

Tigers 8, Twins 6: The Tigers keep their one and a half game cushion over K.C. by winning their fourth straight. Tied in the ninth, Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera went back-to-back. The Tigers get six more games against the Twins after this one. That helps matters.

Astros 3, Indians 1: Jose Altuve went three for four with a triple and an RBI single, raising his average to .342. Altuve is one hit away from tying the Astros’ single-season hit mark, held by Craig Biggio. Four straight losses for Cleveland. They can start putting deposits on their October vacations as well.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $60,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Cubs 1, Reds 0: Anthony Rizzo with the walkoff homer was the only offense here. It was his first game back after missing 18 games due to back problems. I could’ve shoe-horned a Berman-esque “back, back, back” there to add a few more “backs” but that would not be in keeping with the high quality craftsmanship to which you are accustomed in this feature. Back.

Padres 1, Phillies 0: Andrew Cashner tosses a two-hit shutout and helped plate the game’s only run by reaching on an E-5 thanks to which Rene Rivera scored. This one ended in a cool 2:09. Everyone involved in this one probably has a rockin’ October vacation planned and they’re doing what they can to hasten its arrival.

Rays 1, Yankees 0: The third 1-0 game of the night and the second which ended on a walkoff. This time a single by Ben Zobrist. This time in a game that lasted 3:28 because, god, who the heck knows. The Yankees were eliminated from contention for the division title.

Mike Hessman, 15 homers shy of the all-time minor league mark, contemplates his future

Mike Hessman

Back in July we made note of Mike Hessman breaking the all-time home run record for the International League with his 259th IL homer. He finished the year with 28 for Toledo, second in the International League. In this story by John Wagner of the Toledo Blade, Hessman talks about his bumps and bruises and about how much of a grind it is for a 36-year-old to go through a minor league season. But if he goes through one more, he can make some more history:

Hessman’s 28 home runs give him 317 in affiliated minor-league baseball, the third-highest total of all-time. While he needs four more homers to pass Nick Cullop and move into second place, he still stands 15 shy of tying the record set by Buzz Arlett. Hessman said he is not sure that would be enough to entice him to return to the field next season.

More enticing: the Tigers and Hessman are talking about possible coaching gigs.

I’m sure someone will put in a word for him with the organization.There might be an opening at Visalia next year.

Masahiro Tanaka pitches another simulated game

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Masahiro Tanaka pitched another simulated game in Tampa today as he continues to try to come back from a partially torn elbow ligament. They say he tossed five scoreless innings, scattering six hits, feeling no discomfort in his elbow.

Of course, since this was simulated it’s hard what to think. Have you ever had a dream, Masahiro, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world? How do you define ‘real’? If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain. You have to let it all go, Masahiro. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind.

But Tanaka knows you’re out there. He can feel you now. He knows that you’re afraid… you’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. He doesn’t know the future. He didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. He came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. He’s going to hang up this phone, and then He’s going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. He’s going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice he leaves to you.

Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins both likely to return next year

Terry Collins

Andy Martino of the Daily News reports that the Mets will announce the status of GM Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins at the end of the season. But that both are believed to be coming back for 2015.

Both are under contract for next year, with the team holding an option on Alderson it’s expected to exercise. Collins’ last season under contract is 2015, with a 2016 option. There are no new deals in place yet, so it’s unclear if Alderson will be extended, if Collins will play out 2015 on his current deal or get a new one.

The vigilante group, known to authorities as The Songs of Wally Backman, will no doubt have a response to this. Look to their usual columns in the major New York dailies to see them.