Tag: Brian McCann

Bartolo Colon

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


source: Getty Images

Mets 6, Phillies 3: Wilmer Flores hit a three-run homer in the sixth to break a 3-3 tie and to help put Bartolo Colon in the win column for the the seventh time this year. Colon also singled and actually ran the bases and stuff. Like this:


Yankees 14, Royals 1: Jeremy Guthrie got shellacked, giving up eleven runs while recording only three outs. It’s the first time a pitcher has allowed 11 runs while recording three outs or fewer in eight years. It’s also the first time a pitcher allowed four home runs while recording three or fewer outs in ten years. Three RBI a piece for Brett Gardner, Chase Headley, Brian McCann and Stephen Drew. It was just the Yankees’ second win in 12 games. It should count for two or three at least, you figure.

Pirates 4, Marlins 2: Charlie Morton scattered eight hits and allowed two runs over seven innings in his first action of the year. According to the AP game story Morton is said to have gone on “a six-week journey to rebuild his delivery from the ground up” as he recovered from offseason surgery. Morton once famously remade his delivery to be just like Roy Halladay. I wonder who he picked this time. Is there a big glossy catalog to be leafed-through in a big shiny and futuristic delivery-remaking clinic from which you can choose? “I want to be . . . Fergie Jenkins this time!” “Excellent choice, Mr. Morton!” Or is it more of a back-alley kind of place, like how Jack Nicholson was patched up to achieve his Joker look in the Tim Burton Batman?

Blue Jays 6, White Sox 0: Drew Hutchison with The Maddux. Which is not, contrary to popular opinion, a performance in which he yelled “F**K!” so loud from the mound that it was picked up by TBS microphones and ignored by Skip Caray, followed by him peeing on the feet of his teammates in the shower. I mean, yes, those are classic Maddux trademarks. But I’m referring to the fun stat created by Jason Lukehart three years ago and which MLB and its Twitter feed continuously reference these days without any acknowledgment that Lukehart made it up. Oh well. As for Hutchison, he gave up only four hits, struck out eight and didn’t walk a soul.

Dodgers 6, Braves  3: L.A. hit three homers in the eighth inning — Andre Ethier, Alex Guerrero and Jimmy Rollins did the honors — to key the Dodgers’ win. Ethier also drew a bases-loaded walk. Braves starter Williams Perez allowed only that walked-in run and scattered seven hits in six innings. The homers came off of Nick Masset who, apparently, gets to stay in no matter how many homers he gives up in close games. Must be a weird provision of his deal or something.

Angels 4, Padres 3: Tied at three in the ninth with two men on, Bud Black decided to intentionally walk Mike Trout to pitch to Albert Pujols with the bases loaded. While walking the bases loaded to pitch to Pujols was unthinkable back during the Bush Administration, it’s pretty defensible these days, at least to get around Trout. But Pujols made Black pay by hitting a game-winning single to left field.

Rockies 5, Reds 4: Nolan Arenado homered, had three hits and drove in the go-ahead run with a sac fly in the ninth off of Aroldis Chapman. That’s nine straight losses for Cincinnati. Three wins in a row for Colorado.

Orioles 4, Astros 3: I guess Dallas Keuchel was going to lose eventually. Not that the Orioles totally murdered him. As a team they only got six hits in the whole game and went down in order in six of their eight innings at the plate. But when two of those six hits were two-run homers — from Caleb Joseph and Steve Pearce — and when your four pitchers don’t walk anyone and pitch out of trouble enough times, it’s sufficient.

Giants 8, Brewers 4: Weirdness abounded in this one. Carlos Gomez has a gold glove and a stellar defensive reputation, but he also had two errors in one inning to help fuel the Giants’ seven-run rally in the sixth. Also weird: Khris Davis hit a home run in the first, after which he was called out for allegedly failing to touch home plate. The Brewers challenged that call and he was then called safe. Davis homered again in the third inning. This time, when he scored, he stomped on home plate. I may have slid.

Twins 7, Red Sox 2: Ricky Nolasco pitched well and Trevor Plouffe hit a three-run homer. The Twins are 26-18 and are only two games back of the Royals in the AL Central. If the season ended today they’d be in the playoffs as the first Wild Card in the American League. And I’m not sure if the season ending on May 26 for some reason would be any more surprising than the Twins actually finishing the season in the playoffs. If they do make the playoffs, though, can we agree to officially abolish preseason predictions for eternity? Because it’s unseemly for people to pretend they’re experts and have any special, authoritative insight into a pursuit as random as baseball.

Nationals 2, Cubs 1: Denard Span and Wilson Ramos homered. Kris Bryant homered in a losing cause. Really, those three hits were the whole game.

Athletics 4, Tigers 0: Jesse Hahn pitched a four-hit shutout to give the A’s their third win in a row. This despite his infield committing three errors behind him. Marcus Semien’s made it 17 for him on the season. The A’s have 49 overall, leading the league.

Rangers 10, Indians 8: Six wins in a row for the Rangers and the end of a six-game winning streak for the Indians. This game marked the return of Josh Hamilton, though he didn’t do much. He was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, but he did walk and score once. Prince Fielder hit his fourth homer in four games and is now at .365/.417/.575 on the year and is on pace to hit 32 homers and drive in 126. Last year, when everyone said his bat would come alive in Texas? They were right. Just a year and a healthy Prince Fielder too early.

Cardinals 3, Diamondbacks 2: Jhonny Peralta with the walkoff homer in the 10th. This was the Cards’ eighth extra-innings win this year, which leads all of baseball. And, given that most analysts believe that, over time, extra innings wins tend to be heavily influenced by luck and random chance, it is evidence that the Cardinals possess black demon magic from an unholy source powering their success.

Mariners 4, Rays 1: Robinson Cano went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs, so I guess he’s not dead. Factoid of the day courtesy of the Associated Press:

This was the first-ever matchup of major league managers who played in the Little League World Series. McClendon was with Gary, Indiana, in 1971, while Cash was part of the 1989 Tampa, Florida, team.

Alrighty then.


The best and worst MLB lineups have had to offer so far

Dee Gordon

This is a quick look at lineup spots by team through the first five weeks of the season, which have been the most productive and which have been the least. I’m just using OPS, so don’t take this as a study of any sort.

No. 1 hitters
1. Marlins – .894 (.422 OBP)
2. Cardinals – .894 (.387 OBP)
3. Rockies – .880 (.359 OBP)

league avg – .727 (.326 OBP)

28. White Sox – .580 (.287 OBP)
29. Reds – .500 (.233 OBP)
30. Athletics – .487 (.223 OBP)

The Marlins and Yankees are the lone teams getting a .400 OBP from the leadoff spot this year, and while that’s always been the ideal to shoot for, there’s hardly any chance of any team staying that high all season. Last year, only the Cardinals (.369) and Astros (.353) had even .350 OBPs from the leadoff spot.

No. 2 hitters
1. Reds – 1.084
2. Blue Jays – 1.001
3. Angels – .939

league avg – .751

28. Rangers – .560
29. Braves – .551
30. Brewers – .489

The Reds started off with Joey Votto batting second, and he was awesome, amassing an 1.173 OPS with a .474 OBP, six homers and 15 RBI in 17 games. So, of course, they dropped him back to third. Fortunately, Zack Cozart and Marlon Byrd have been pretty great in the two hole themselves, but that’s not going to last.

No. 3 hitters
1. Diamondbacks – 1.074
2. Cubs – 1.056
3. Dodgers – 1.045

league avg – .803

28. Nationals – .614
29. Rays – .557
30. Phillies – .515

The Diamondbacks are exclusively Paul Goldschmidt: he’s started all 32 games batting third.

No. 4 hitters
1. Mariners – 1.155
2. Nationals – .986
3. Royals – .975

league avg – .778

28. Twins – .608
29. Phillies – .576
30. Angels – .574

And the Mariners are all Nelson Cruz: he’s started every game in the cleanup spot and blown away the field.

What’s shocking, or at least would have been over the winter, is that this is the first of four appearances for the Angels in the bottom trio. The cleanup spot used to be Josh Hamilton’s. Now it’s 16 games from David Freese, 12 from Matt Joyce and five from Kole Calhoun (whom they much prefer hitting leadoff).

No. 5 hitters
1. Rockies – .949
2. Athletics – .949
3. Cubs – .846

league avg – .737

28. Angels – .614
29. Phillies – .588
30. Yankees – .576

Just because of the difference in hitting environments, Oakland’s .949 is more impressive than Colorado’s .949. They’re primary No. 5 hitter, Ike Davis, is at .867, but Stephen Vogt has provided quite a boost, with five homers in eight games batting fifth.

No. 6 hitters
1. Yankees – 1.023
2. Royals – .930
3. Dodgers – .869

league avg – .722

28. Cardinals – .549
29. Red Sox – .546
30. Reds – .535

The Yankees being dead last at No. 5 and way out in front at No. 6 is some sort of bizarre fluke. Brian McCann, primarily the No. 5 hitter, has a respectable .704 OPS in 21 games there, but Carlos Beltran (.407 in seven games) and Chase Headley (.435 in four games) have been horrible, dragging it down. On the other hand, both Beltran (.848 in nine games) and Headley (.824 in nine games) have been just fine as No. 6 hitters and they’re further bolstered by Chris Young (1.271 OPS, four HR in seven games) and Alex Rodriguez (2.528 OPS, three HR in three games)

No. 7 hitters
1. Dodgers – .933
2. White Sox – .828
3. Orioles – .787

league avg – .658

28. Red Sox – .434
29. Rangers – .425
30. Angels – .423

It’s the third of four appearances for the Dodgers in the top three. This one is truly a committee. Juan Uribe has started 15 of 32 games as a No. 7 hitter, but he has a modest .668 OPS. Alex Guerrero, Andre Ethier, Yasmani Grandal and Joc Pederson have combined for 15 starts and hit .444 with five homers in 54 at-bats.

Boston, which entered the year with seemingly the game’s deepest lineup, shows up near the bottom for the second straight spot, courtesy of Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino and Allen Craig. Their No. 7 hitters have combined for seven RBI in 33 games, five of them coming in Daniel Nava’s six starts.

No. 8 hitters
1. Reds – .932
2. Dodgers – .898
3. Marlins – .846

league avg – .673

28. Diamondbacks – .474
29. Angels – .392
30. Cubs – .297

The Reds take the cake for the most inconsistency by lineup spot this year. They top the list at No. 2 and No. 8 while also being last at No. 6 and next to last at No. 1. They don’t have any lineup spot in the .700-.800 OPS range. Their presence here is Cozart doing Cozart things, with some help from Brayan Pena. Even Skip Schumaker went 3-for-5 with two RBI in his one game batting eighth and he’s 4-for-27 with no RBI over the rest of the year.

The Cubs at No. 30 gets a big asterisk here; they’ve exclusively gone with their pitcher batting eighth. For the record, their No. 9 hitters have a .630 OPS.

No. 9 hitters (AL only)
1. Angels – .721
2. Blue Jays – .671
3. Tigers – .648

league avg – .583

13. Royals – .484
14. Rays – .480
15. Indians – .476

We’re taking the NL teams out of this mix and just looking at the AL squads. Oddly enough, the Angels top the list; their No. 9 hitters, mostly Johnny Giavotella, have a higher OPS than any of the spots from No. 3 through No. 8.

So, the absolute best of the lineups to date:

1. Marlins – Dee Gordon
2. Reds – Joey Votto
3. Diamondbacks – Paul Goldschmidt
4. Mariners – Nelson Cruz
5. Rockies – Nolan Arenado
6. Yankees – Chris Young
7. Dodgers – Alex Guerrero
8. Reds – Zack Cozart
9. Angels – Johnny Giavotella

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

Daniel Murphy

Mets 3, Marlins 1: Amazin.’ Daniel Murphy hit a go-ahead/come-from-behind three run bomb and Mets improve to 15-5. Murphy also made a nifty play in the field the next half-inning. Adrenaline is a hell of a thing. The Mets have a 4.5 game lead in the East and are eight games up everyone’s favorites, the Nationals. Which, wow.

Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 5: MookieMania is running wild, brother. Betts with the walkoff RBI single through a drawn-in infield. Betts said he “got a decent pitch to hit.” He’s only 22 but his cliche game is that of a seasoned veteran.

Royals 6, Indians 2: Mike Moustakas got four hits and Alex Gordon drove in two, which ain’t too bad against the reigning Cy Young Award winner. Bonus from this game came from the Royals’ booth, where I am told Fox Sports Kansas City’s Rex Hudler was talking about my annual Baseball’s Most Handsome Managers rankings. Hudler was quoted by viewers as saying “Did you say it was a guy that made that list up?” Yes, Rex, it was. And have a nice, heteronormative day yourself.

Braves 8, Nationals 4: The Braves beat up the Nats in a game that featured some chippiness following a hard Andrelton Simmons’ slide into third base which led to a cut on Yunel Escobar’s hand. There were warnings and then Simmons was hit by a pitch. And even though he wasn’t in the game Jonny Gomes got ejected for running out of the dugout. Which, hey, he has a personal brand to maintain. The key thing here, though, is the Nats are now 7-13 and sit eight games back with only one team in all of baseball — the Brewers — featuring a worse record than them. Which is quite a thing.

Oh, and another broadcast datapoint: the Braves booth which has, in the past, engaged in all kinds of silly and unwarranted hatred and hostility with respect to Bryce Harper here said, at one point, “He’s a good player. Easy not to like him, but a good player.” I suppose that’s progress. Maybe in another year or two they’ll acknowledge that no one gives a crap if they like him.

Yankees 4, Rays 1: Brian McCann homered, Adam Warren pitched effectively and the Yankees’ winning combination so far — good defense, just enough hitting and a shutdown bullpen — kept things chugging along. A-Rod did not tie Willie Mays in this game as he went hitless. But someone asked Brian McCann about it afterward and McCann said A-Rod’s place on the all-time home run list is “an amazing accomplishment.” I presume the Yankees will fine him now given his failure to follow team policy which prohibits the stating of the bleedin’ obvious.

Reds 9, Brewers 6: Jay Bruce homered and drove in three. Jason Marquis allowed two runs and seven hits in eight innings. He also hit an RBI single, probably to spite me.

Mariners 3, Rangers 1: Taijuan Walker allowed one unearned run in seven innings in his second solid start following a couple of disasters to open up the season. Both of these teams had to be exhausted, as they didn’t get into Texas until the wee hours of the morning due to severe storms which diverted their flights. Then this one started an hour late due to a rain delay. Hope their cell phones are on Do Not Disturb this morning.

Cubs 4, Pirates 0: Kris Bryant was 2-for-4 and drove in two. Jason Hammel tossed eight shutout innings. The Cubs won their third straight and snapped the Pirates’ five-game winning streak. Bryant has driven in nine in ten games. Scary moment here, though, as a fan was taken away in an ambulance after being hit by a flying bat during an Addison Russell plate appearance.

Tigers 5, Twins 4: Yoenis Cespedes had a homer, a double and three RBI. Jose Iglesias hit a homer and a triple, notching three hits in all. He’s hitting .397. All of us wanted to talk about how the Tigers would do after losing Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello in the offseason, but between those two it’s as if the Tigers added two plus bats to an already potent lineup.

Phillies 4, Cardinals 1: Cole Hamels doesn’t need a ton of run support, so when he even gets a little bit here that’s enough. As it was he struck out nine in seven innings and allowed only one run. Don’t tell anyone, but the Phillies have won three of four and are ahead of the Nats in the standings.

Rockies 5, Diamondbacks 4: Justin Morneau hit a three-run homer in the first. Tyler Matzek limited the Diamondbacks to two runs on five hits in five innings. He had to leave early with a leg cramp, though, and the bullpen just barely held on. The Rockies have won five in a row against Arizona.

Dodgers 8, Giants 3: Joc Pederson and Justin Turner went yard. Pederson also doubled in a run and made a sweet play in the field, ranging back to the wall, catching it with his back to the field and then turned around and doubled off Nori Aoki, who had broke from first on the play. Pederson is hitting .296/.458/.556 on the year and doing that kind of crap in the field. Mercy.

Astros 9, Padres 4: Colby Rasmus homered and drove in three as the Astros won their fourth in a row. Jed Lowrie and Jason Castro also homered. The book on Astros hitters this year was that they’d lead the AL in strikeouts and be near the top of the league in homers. At the moment they lead the AL in strikeouts and are fourth in homers, two off the league lead. So, yep.

White Sox vs. Orioles: Postponed: Unrest in Baltimore continues, which may move this series out of the city and down to Washington or someplace else. Baseball, however, seems very, very unimportant compared to what’s happening there. But this is important. You should probably read this.

BREAKING: Brett Gardner is trying to get Alex Rodriguez to grow a mustache

Alex Rodriguez, Caleb Joseph

It’s well known that the Yankees have a strict team policy regarding facial hair, but their players are still allowed to grow mustaches. They are taking advantage of it in a big way this season, with Brett Gardner, Dellin Betances, Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley, and Brian McCann among those sporting ‘staches or at least their best attempt at one. However, a certain someone has yet to participate. Could that change?

Rodriguez is off to a strong start after his year-long PED suspension, batting .269/.424/.558 with four home runs and 11 RBI over 16 games, but growing a mustache would pretty much clinch the AL Comeback Player of the Year Award for him, no? It’s of utmost importance that this happens. We here at HardballTalk wish Gardner luck in his efforts.

Rays designate Grant Balfour for assignment

Grant Balfour

Per the Rays on Twitter, the club has designated reliever Grant Balfour for assignment. To take Balfour’s spot on the 25-man roster, the Rays have promoted reliever Brandon Gomes from Triple-A Durham.

Balfour hadn’t been scored upon in 3 2/3 innings coming into Saturday night’s game against the Yankees. That, however, changed rather abruptly. The seventh inning began with starter Jake Odorizzi allowing a lead-off single. Manager Kevin Cash immediately replaced Odorizzi with C.J. Riefenhauser, but the Yankees continued to rally, scoring twice on two singles, a double, and a sacrifice fly.

Balfour entered with runners on first and second and one out. He walked Alex Rodriguez to load the bases, induced a sacrifice fly from Mark Teixeira, hit Brian McCann to re-load the bases, allowed a grand slam to Chris Young, walked Chase Headley, uncorked a wild pitch, walked Stephen Drew, and finally got Gregorio Petit to foul out to end the inning. The Yankees led 9-0, the score by which they would eventually win. Balfour’s line: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 1 HR. His ERA ballooned to 6.23.

The 37-year-old Balfour is earning a $7 million salary from the Rays. Considering he struggled immensely last season and his velocity has fallen from 93.4 MPH on average in 2013 to 91.6 last season and 89.7 MPH this season, Balfour may not draw much interest from other teams.