Tag: Bartolo Colon

Dan Uggla

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights


Nationals 13, Braves 12: You’d think that all of the money the Braves are paying Dan Uggla that he’d treat them with more respect than to hit a clutch three-run homer to complete a huge comeback against them. The nerve.

Seriously, though: while I don’t much care for Uggla and he was frustrating when he played for my team, I don’t hold him sucking while in Atlanta against him personally. Some do. Many do. Many in Atlanta these past two days booed him and felt bile. Why? Do they think he enjoyed sucking? Enjoyed losing his job and then being released? Of course he didn’t. He probably felt way worse about it than y’all did. Glad he’s gone, but he hasn’t deserved the sort of hatred you see of him among some Braves fans.

I’d rather Uggla hit this homer in a losing cause because, again, he’s playing my team. But if the Braves had to lose this game — and don’t even get me started about their crap defense and bullpen which caused them to — good for him for having a great moment in the ballpark that has been a house of horrors for him. I don’t believe it will turn him back into an All-Star or anything, but even so, he’ll remember this all of his life and have at least one good memory of the past few years of his career instead of nothing but bad ones. We should want human beings who have experienced some challenges to have good moments like that on the other side.

Blue Jays 11, Red Sox 8: Like a mini-Nats-Braves game, with the home team jumping out to a lead — here it was just 4-0 — and the road team roaring back against a bad pitching staff. Marco Estrada was the hero here for the Jays, entering the game in the fifth inning with nobody out and the bases loaded — walking in one guy but otherwise limiting the damage — and then going on to pitch three innings of hitless ball. The Sox can take solace in the fact that the Jays have beat the heck out of every pitching staff — they lead the league in runs per game — but it’s hard to imagine how Boston’s pitching could be much worse.

Royals 11, Indians 5: Yet another come-from-behind, big offense game. Kendry Morales hit a three-run homer capped a six-run seventh inning. Alex Gordon homered and drove in two. The Indians have lost 8 of 11 and possess the worst record in the AL.

Mariners 2, Rangers 1: In one of the more nerdy/embarrassing things I’ll ever admit to on this blog, I have had, ever since I was a kid . . . Thomas Jefferson fantasies. No, it’s not a sex thing. And I don’t know why it’s Thomas Jefferson over any other historical figure, but it is. Anyway, here’s the thing: I imagine that Thomas Jefferson was suddenly zapped to the present and is hanging out with me. My job is to attempt to explain the present to him and show him things like air travel and computers and modern cities and stuff like that. He asks me questions about them and I try to answer. I assume that I started doing this as some sort of means of challenging myself to explain my world in terms that do not assume prior knowledge. An intellectual, pedagogical game or whatever. And, again, I have no idea why it’s Thomas Jefferson, but it is. Anyway, I’ve done this since I was ten or eleven years old and still catch myself doing it sometimes.

The whole point of that is to say that, if we swapped out Thomas Jefferson for Walter Johnson or someone, we could play that game with baseball and try to explain to him how it took six pitchers for the Mariners to win a game in which they allowed only one run to the Rangers.

Cubs 6, Pirates 2: The Cubs have won their fourth in a row. Dexter Fowler had three hits and two RBIs, Travis Wood tossed seven strong innings. Conversation had after this game. One of these comments actually happened, as reported in the game story:

Mongol General: Hao! Dai ye! We won again! This is good, but what is best in life?

Mongol: The open steppe, fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair!

Mongol General: Wrong! Conan! What is best in life?

Conan: Crush your enemies! See them driven before you! Hear the lamentations of their women!

Mongol General: Wrong! Joe Maddon! What is best in life?

Joe Maddon: I love two-out runs, man. They really hurt the other side badly. When you get ’em, there’s nothing more glorious than that.

Mongol General: That is good! That is good!


Yankees 4, Rays 2: A win, but one overshadowed by the news that today’s scheduled starter, Masahiro Tanaka, has to go on the DL. Chase Whitley started here — it was just supposed to be a spot start — but it turned out to be an audition for a regular slot in the rotation. It went well, with Whitley allowing six hits and one run in five innings. That’s 10 of 12 for New York.

Reds 4, Brewers 2: This Brewers loss allowed MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince to offer up the joke/factoid of the night:

Johnny Cueto allowed two runs in eight innings, needing only 85 pitches. Joey Votto homered. He’s hitting .316/.429/.645 on the year and is on a 50+ home rune, 130+ RBI pace.

Marlins 4, Mets 3: The Marlins have won six of seven, this one thanks to Michael Morse’s tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth. Dee Gordon got two more hits. He’s batting .400 on the year.

Twins 3, Tigers 2: My girlfriend, a Tigers fan, hasn’t been able to see a lot of games yet this year because (a) the Tigers have played a lot of day games; and (b) they’ve played the Indians a lot and they’re blacked out on her MLB.tv here in Ohio. But she watched the game last night and offered this observation to me over Gchat: “I cant be the only one that finds it hilarious that Mike Pelfrey is good now that he’s with the Twins of all teams.” It is kind of hilarious, even if it may not last. Here he allowed one earned run in seven innings and the Twins won a back and forth affair. Kurt Suzuki had two hits and the go-ahead single in the seventh inning.

Cardinals 11, Phillies 5: Welcome to the big leagues, Severino Gonzalez. The Phillies starter allowed seven runs on ten hits and didn’t make it out of the third inning. Matt Carpenter tripled and doubled and scored three times. Mike Matheny juggled the batting order for this one and I imagine people will credit the offensive outburst for that, but really, I feel like this was more of a Severino-driven kind of thing.

Diamondbacks 12, Rockies 5: The Archie Bradley ball-to-the-face thing was the big story here, but thank goodness he walked off under his own power. They’ll make an assessment of him today, but he’s probably going on the DL. Offensively, things went much better: Mark Trumbo went 4 for 4 with a two-run homer and a two-run triple. Paul Goldschmidt went 3-for-3 with three RBI.

Athletics 6, Angels 2: The Angels jumped out to a 2-0 lead but the A’s took it right back with five in the bottom of the first. After that it was the Sonny Gray show. The A’s ace went eight innings, striking out six and allowing only those two first inning runs. Jered Weaver endured that bad first inning himself to last seven innings, but he’s having himself a terrible start to the year.

Giants 2, Dodgers 1: Kershaw vs. Bumgarner. Advantage: Bumgarner. The Giants notched two early runs off of the reigning MVP, but that’s all they’d need as the reigning World Series MVP allowed only one run and struck out nine in eight innings. Buster Posey did all of the damage here, with a solo homer and an RBI single. So yeah, the outcome here was determined by star power.

Astros 14, Padres 3: George Springer homered and drove in five runs. Jose Altuve had four hits. The Astros won again. Time to take them seriously, folks.

White Sox vs. Orioles: POSTPONED:  After two postponements, these two teams will play today at 2:05 Eastern. Except the game will be closed to the public. No fans. Empty seats. I put the over/under on guys describing this as “surreal” at 15, because that’s the go-to word these days for odd or different. Or, in some cases “too real,” but that’s another rant. And while all of this is occasioned by some really unfortunate events in Baltimore, let us look on the bright side. If one brave person can manage to sneak into the stands at Camden Yards undetected, and can sit in an empty, cavernous stadium for even a moment before he is caught, he will have the opportunity to offer the greatest “YOU SUCK!” in baseball history. Please, God, make this happen.

Pitchers batting is dumb and the DH should be universal

adam wainwirght getty

Adam Wainwright is likely done for the year after injuring himself while batting. Max Scherzer is likely going to miss his next start after jamming his thumb while batting. But hey, it was totally worth it. Because when you have a couple of guys who are a combined 117-for-622 for their careers at the plate, you have to have them take their hacks, right?

OK, that’s unfair. Everyone knows that Wainwright and Scherzer aren’t in there for their hitting skills. They’re on the hill every fifth day, when healthy anyway, because they are two of the best pitchers in all of baseball and they play for National League teams. Hell, the two of them could have been a career 0-for-622 and they’d still be on the mound and taking their hacks at the plate precisely because of that. The rules say that in the NL the pitchers bat so that’s what they have to do.

But it sure is a dumb rule. A positively stupid and senseless rule. A rule that, if we were starting anew today, we’d never adopt. But here we are, and there sit Wainwright and Scherzer, lost to their teams, one for a year and one for a little bit, because of the farce that is the National League rule.

Don’t misunderstand me. I am not so naive, sensationalistic and alarmist to say that the NL rule is dumb simply because Adam Wainwright and Max Scherzer got hurt. No, that’s not what I’m saying at all. I appreciate that Wainwright and Scherzer’s injuries — and Chien-Ming Wang’s and any other injury which happened to a pitcher while batting — were freak occurrences. They could’ve happened while they were fielding their positions or messing with frozen hamburger. Two bad instances like this are not, in and of themselves, justifications for scotching the rule even if they are the impetus for thinking about the rule.

No, the NL rule should be scrapped because pitchers can’t hit a lick, there is no rational basis for not having the DH in both leagues and, as such, the risks to NL pitchers while batting, however small, are unacceptable.

As for the first point, we can agree that pitchers can’t hit, right? They’re almost all awful. Even the ones who we laud for being “good hitters” suck. Zack Greinke is usually the first one mentioned. His career line: .214/.263/.325. That’s an OPS+ of 62. That’s worse than Mark Lemke’s career line. It’s roughly the same as Rey Ordonez. It’s only a little bit better than guys like Mario Mendoza and Ray Oyler who are historic punchlines for their futility at the plate. And this is the best we can do with pitchers batting. This is the guy we look at and say “hey, for a pitcher, he’s dangerous!”

So, why do they bat? Because they’ve always batted. Because that’s what they did for the first 100 years of the game in both leagues and have continued to do so in the NL. It’s the American League rule and the designated hitter which are somehow unnatural. Which are aberrations. Which are abominations, even.

I actually like that my friend Chris used that term — “abomination” — by the way, because it gives up the whole game for most anti-DH people. The word “abomination” is a religious term. And adherence to pitchers batting is more religion than it is reason. Based on beliefs, history and faith rather than reason and objective evidence. People who like pitchers batting tend to lean heavily on the idea that they did back when the game was invented. As if baseball, its setting and its rules as they were in the 19th century were given to us by Jehovah Himself, carved into stone, infallible. Every bit as infallible as all of the other rules of baseball which always have and always remain inviolate. You know, like the one that put the pitching rubber 45 feet from home plate and the one in which a baserunner is out if you throw the ball at him and hit him. Rules which are every bit a part of the original essence of the game as nine players facing off against nine players with nary a tenth to be seen.

“OK, so maybe the rules do change over time when it makes sense to do so,” my pro-NL rule friends may say, “but not in such a gimmicky way as we see with the DH.”

That’s a word you hear tossed around by anti-DH people a lot. “Gimmick.” As if it’s just a fad. Something like pet rocks and mood rings and other inventions of the 1970s, that most unfortunate of decades. Except that the DH has been a bit more enduring than that.

It’s been longer since the advent of the DH to today than it was between Babe Ruth’s called shot and the advent of the DH. My friend Chris Jaffe points out that the first DH game is closer in time to the last four Cubs NL pennants than it is to the present. It’s older than the lifespans of Akry Vaughan, Edgar Allen Poe, Glenn Miller, Malcolm X, Amelia Earhart, Che Guevera and Stonewall Jackson. The DH began eleven days before Federal Express issued its first package. Based on how long it’s been around, to call the DH a “gimmick” today, in 2015 is the same as calling commercial broadcast TV a “gimmick” in 1987. The thing is established at this point.

Which isn’t to say “hey, it’s here, you’re stuck with it.” It’s to say that if you want to argue against the DH — or any other baseball convention which has been around for pushing a half century — you have to do better than merely decry it as new and gimmicky and not natural and somehow against the spirit of baseball. You have to assess it on its own merits, not merely say it’s wrong because it hasn’t been around since Alexander Cartwright walked the Earth.

One non-tradition-based argument against the DH is “OK, fine, replace the pitcher with a DH. Then why not replace a shortstop with a DH? A second baseman? Why not have a whole team of designated fielders?” That sort of argument sounds compelling, but only for a second. In reality it’s the classic slippery slope fallacy. The belief that, because a step has been taken in one direction there is no way we could reasonably stop the “slide.” With the DH we have a couple of things arresting the inexorable slide into Designated Damnation. That clear delineation between your average hitting pitcher (terrible) and your average hitting position player (substantially better). You have a 42-year lab experiment in which every organized baseball league in the world not named “National” and “NPB Central” has utilized it without there being greedy calls for more designated positions. You have the limitation in roster size that can and has easily accommodated that extra hitter but cannot reasonably accommodate nine extra designated players. There’s a clear argument for replacing pitchers with a DH and nowhere close to a compelling argument to replace anyone else.

We see this in practice too, by the way. Major league teams have all but abandoned teaching their pitchers to hit. They just don’t see the point in it anymore. They can’t do it and, even if they play in the NL, they’re willing to punt pitchers’ hitting ability if it means more time for them to work on what they’re really there for: pitching. Teams still care if glove-first shortstops hit, though. It’s still important because they still get results by doing so.There’s no slippery slope here. There’s a clear, bright line between how pitchers’ batting is presented and how poor hitting by glove-first players or poor fielding by bat-first players is treated. The former has been totally abdicated. The latter has not.

So, if the DH isn’t some crazy fad, if it actually works and if it’s not the road to damnation, what’s the argument for keeping the NL rule? At least one not based merely on tradition? That it allows for pinch hitting and double switching. The old NL strategy thing. Intrigue. Cunning, etc. As if those are riveting events at the heart of baseball. And as if there isn’t pinch hitting in the AL. But sure, we’ll give the NL rule people that. It’s their aesthetic choice — heck, it’s my aesthetic choice as an NL guy — but it that’s all it is. An aesthetic choice, on equal footing with the aesthetic choices of people who don’t like to see .109 hitters flail ridiculously and ineffectively. Who, while they enjoy laughing at Bartolo Colon taking a swing at a pitch as much as the next guy, maybe think that the sideshow element of that spectacle isn’t worth it.

And certainly isn’t worth it when you think about the risks. About how the two favorites in the National League this year just lost pitchers to injuries that never needed to happen. Injuries that, yes, could’ve happened to a position player hitting. Or could’ve happened to Wainwright and Scherzer while they were on the mound. But injuries which, in those cases, wouldn’t have been sustained in the pursuit of a pointless exercise. In an effort to keep a couple of 117-for-622 hitters on the field and to keep the tradition of 19th century baseball intact.


And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

Royals White Sox

Royals 3, White Sox 2: Fisticuffsmanship! After a couple of hit batsmen — Yordano Ventura hitting Jose Abreu followed by Chris Sale hitting Mike Moustakas — you kind of figured everyone was even. Guess not. Adam Eaton hit a comebacker and, as Ventura made the putout, the two of them barked at each other and it all went to hell. Like, into a real fight, the likes of which you rarely see in baseball these days because everyone is rich and happy and no one really wants to get hurt.

Why on Earth anyone is barking at anyone on that play is beyond me. Why the Royals — as we have discussed — want to be known for something as stupid as being “bad boys,” let alone be called something that stupid is beyond me, but I suppose if they don’t mind being thought of that way who the heck are we to stop them?

As it was, Ventura has started four games this year. He left the first two with muscle cramps and the last two due to brain cramps. Maybe you should chill out a bit, my man? Maybe your teammates are getting sick and tired of having to deal with the crap that you and your dumb temper set in motion?

Marlins 9, Phillies 1: Ryne Sandberg after this game: “We’ve got some work to do. It was not a good game for us.” Phillies writers CTRL-C’d that so they can CTRL-V it another 90-95 times this year. I’m just happy that I got my Jeff Francoeur shirt in time for this weekend’s Braves-Phillies series. A series which should come with a warning label or phone numbers for emergency counseling or something.

Yankees 2, Tigers 1: Masahiro Tanaka pitched one-run ball into the seventh and struck out six and, I’ll be damned, all of those orthopedic surgeons in the New York media who were prescribing Tommy John surgery after his first start are suddenly quiet.

Mets 6, Braves 3: Make it 11. Daniel Murphy drove in four, Bartolo Colon showed off his wheels. As a lot of people observed yesterday afternoon when the game was still close, this is the sort of game the Mets of old and bad teams in general somehow find a way to lose. The Mets of 2015 have played a few like this and they find ways to win. It’s a fine line between good and bad in the age of parity, but when you’re on the good side of that line as often as the Mets have been in the early going, you’re probably actually pretty good.

Brewers 4, Reds 2: The eight game losing streak is snapped. Kyle Lohse gave up three hits, walked one and struck out four over seven solid innings. After the game Bryan Price said this:

“We have to come in throwing strikes and challenging opponents,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “We’ve taken some leads into the late innings and they’ve gotten away from us so we have to be better.”

Throw strikes? Be better? Jeez, Bryan, are you sure you wanna be telling the press what your strategy is going forward? How does that help the Reds?

Pirates 5, Cubs 4: The Cubs had the matchup they wanted in a tie game with a man on second — lefty Phil Coke against lefty Gregory Polanco — but Polanco came through, hitting the go-ahead RBI single. Polanco finished 3-for-4 with two driven in. Kris Bryant played center field because during that extra week in Triple-A he met a sensei who transformed him from a not-ready-for-the-bigs apprentice to a master of all defense via a series of life lessons and philosophical sayings.

Rockies 2, Padres 1: A 2-1 game in Coors field that took less than three hours? Yup, it’s getaway day. Corey Dickerson homered in the fifth, making it three homers in two games for the guy. The other Rockies run came in the first when Tyson Ross walked a run in with the bases loaded. You really shouldn’t do that.

Giants 3, Dodgers 2: Second walkoff win for the Giants in as many days. This a come-from-behind win after the Dodgers went up 2-0 early. Justin Maxwell served up the game-winning single here in the 10th after failing to come through when the Giants had a chance to tie the game up during an eighth inning would-be rally. The Giants sweep the Dodgers and have won four of five following an eight game losing streak.

Cardinals 4, Nationals 1: Michael Wacha allowed one run and five hits in seven innings, outdueling Max Scherzer. In Wacha’s last three starts he’s drawn Scherzer and then Johnny Cueto twice. Pretty rough duty, but he’s been up to the task. The Cards have won seven of eight.

Angels 2, Athletics 0: Athletics pitchers combined to toss a one-hitter. Not bad! But the one hit was a two-run homer and their offense did diddly squat. That’s bad! Nick Tropeano — who I am pretty sure was one of the minor characters in “Batman: Dark Victory” — tossed six shutout innings and three relievers finished it off.

Blue Jays 7, Orioles 6: A sweep for the Jays. They ran out to a 7-0 lead thanks in part to a Josh Donaldson homer and then held on. Some may want to read a lot into the Orioles’ slow start and this series in particular, but this sort of feels right to me:

Sometimes that just happens. Especially against good-slugging teams in hitters parks.

Rays 2, Red Sox 1: Rene Rivera delivered the game-winning RBI single in the ninth. After the game Rivera said “I think any walkoff is great. You win the game. You enjoy it. It’s a great feeling.” He added “Well, it’s good that you’re fine, and – and I’m fine. I agree with you. It’s great to be fine.”

Bartolo Colon picks off a baserunner. By running him down all by himself.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 4.16.16 PM

[Braves clubhouse — some time in the not-too-distant future. A.J. Pierzynski surrounded by reporters]

Reporter: So, when did you know it was time to retire, A.J.?

Pierzynski: Well, you know, you just get to that point when it feels right. There’s no one specific moment or anything like that.

If he does say that, he’s lying. Because this has to be the moment:

I have no idea what Pierzynski was doing. He doesn’t steal bases or anything. All I know is that, after that happened, that Fox broadcaster chair has to look pretty inviting.

As for Colon, nothing he does at this point would surprise me. He has transcended baseball. He’s a phenomenon.

Settling the Score: Friday’s results

Bartolo Colon

The Mets might be…good? Bartolo Colon tossed seven innings of one-run ball and also did some damage with the bat in a 4-1 win over the Marlins last night at Citi Field. The Mets have now won six straight for the first time since 2011 and sit at 8-3 on the young season.

Colon scattered six hits while walking none and striking out five. The only run scored on a solo homer from Giancarlo Stanton in the first inning. The ageless wonder is now 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA with an 18/1 K/BB ratio in 20 innings across his first three starts.

After hitting an RBI single on Sunday, Colon also hit a sacrifice fly last night. And he got a really nice piece of it, too. Check out the video below:

Colon currently has more RBI (two) than any pitcher in baseball. Silver Slugger coming?

Your Friday box scores:

Marlins 1, Mets 4

White Sox 1, Tigers 2

Padres 5, Cubs 4

Orioles 2, Red Sox 3

Phillies 2, Nationals 7

Braves 8, Blue Jays 7

Yankees 5, Rays 4

Brewers 3, Pirates 6

Athletics 4, Royals 6

Reds 1, Cardinals 6

Indians 2, Twins 3 (11 innings)

Angels 6, Astros 3

Rockies 3, Dodgers 7

Diamondbacks 9, Giants 0

Rangers 3, Mariners 0