Christian Bethancourt was supposed to be the future behind the plate for the Atlanta Braves. But at present he kinda stinks. As such, the Braves just optioned him to Triple-A.
The at-one-time highly thought-of catcher hasn’t hit at all, posting a line of .208/.231/.297. Which would even be difficult to carry if he was a modern day Johnny Bench, defensively speaking. Which he has decidedly not been. Yesterday he allowed a run to score on a passed ball. His fifth passed ball in 27 games this year. He had six in 31 games last year. Former Braves catcher Evan Gattis had five passed balls in 93 games last season, and he’s considered to be a disaster defensively. A.J. Pierzynski, meanwhile, has two in 36 games.
Add in the fact that there is no suggestion that Bethancourt is good at handling pitchers or framing — he often looks crossed-up — and all you’re left with at the moment is a guy with a great arm behind the dish — he does throw out baserunners at a better-than-average pace — and a lot of unfulfilled promise. He needs some seasoning and he needs it on a stage smaller than the big leagues.
Ah, it’s good to be back. If you’re curious about where I was, you can read what I wrote about it here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. If you’re not curious, well, let’s get right back into it, shall we?
Tigers 8, Indians 1: All Miguel Cabrera does is hit 450+ foot homers against the Indians. He did it on Friday and again here yesterday, this time tagging Corey Kluber. Also, if you ever visit Miguel Cabrera’s house, ask him to show you the bill of sale for when he acquired Kluber. For he certainly owns him: he’s 20-for-35 with five homers against him in his career.
Mets 10, Braves 8: The Braves were up five at one point, but the Mets just bashed the living hell out of them to come from behind. Four homers in all for New York, including Juan Lagares’ go ahead three-run homer in the sixth to cap the scoring in a game that looked like the American League circa 2000. Oh, and I should note that Dana Eveland pitched in this one for the Braves. He was acquired by them while I was gone, and I did not get to make mention of it. Long time readers will know of my fascination with Eveland and the fact that he has the EXACT name I would use if I was a pretty young starlet in 1940s Hollywood. And which I bet at some point some starlet did use, only she didn’t make it big because she wouldn’t sleep woth Howard Hughes or some such thing and got buried in RKO B-movies. Sure, she came back once in a “Murder, She Wrote” episode in the late 80s and John Waters stunt-casted her a couple of times, but it wasn’t much of a career, frankly.
Rockies 4, Marlins 1: I’ll always remember where I was when Jorge De La Rosa passed Aaron Cook for the all-time Rockies franchise win record. Specifically, I was . . . um. Wait. I did some laundry yesterday. And I met some friends for an early dinner. Hmm, not sure when this game ended so I can’t really be sure. OK, guess I won’t always remember where I was, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado homered in this one.
Dodgers 4, Padres 2: Adrian Gonzalez drove in three, including a two-run single in the top of the 12th to put the Dodgers over. I did not say “put them ahead,” because I wanted to use a wrestling term there in honor of the Late, Great Dusty Rhodes who died last week. I don’t follow wrestling now but I sure as hell followed it back in the mid-80s and Georgia/Mid-Atlantic was my circuit of choice. Rhodes owned that world, jack, telling us all about “Hard Times” and lamenting the time Baby Doll — that Jezebel! — spent $5,000 of his hard-earned dollars on assorted men and papaya juice. RIP, American Dream.
Rays 2, White Sox 1: Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two-run homer off Chris Sale in the seventh and that’s all the Rays would need. Which was unfortunate given how well Sale pitched otherwise, striking out 12 and allowing only two hits apart from that mistake to Cabrera. Sale was clearly tiring, however and finished that inning with 125 pitches on the day.
Yankees 5, Orioles 3: The Yankees kept pace and maintained their percentage points lead over Tampa Bay with a victory here. Free passes helped key the Yankees’ rally. Two Orioles pitchers managed four straight walks to force in a run and then John Ryan Murphy hit a two-run double.
Blue Jays 13, Red Sox 5: The last time I did an “And That Happened” was ages ago. June 3, to be exact. And that is the last time anyone around here was able to write about a Blue Jays’ loss, which last happened the evening before. Now it’s 11 straight for Toronto, and they stand only a game behind the Yankees and Rays. Some things are the same as before I went on my little trip: the Red Sox sucked then and they suck now. Ryan Goins homered, doubled and drove in five in this one.
Pirates 1, Phillies 0: Josh Harrison drove in Neil Walker with two outs in the bottom of the 11th for the win, but it was really A.J. Burnett and Cole Hamels who owned the day. Burnett pitched nine, shutting out the Phillies in regulation on five hits. Hamels only went seven but he too shut out the opposition, striking out 12. It’s a shame neither of them figured in the decision and one of their team’s had to come out on the losing end.
Nationals 4, Brewers 0: Max Scherzer must’ve been feeling right yesterday: 1 hit, 16 strikeouts and the complete game shutout. All he’s done this year is post a 1.93 ERA with a 113/14 K/BB ratio over 93 1/3 innings. Yet he’s only 7-5 and the Nationals aren’t in first place, meaning that he really has not done his job, right?
Astros 13, Mariners 0: The Astros take two of three from Seattle. In the two wins they outscored the M’s 23-0. Not too bad. Here Lance McCullers had a no-hitter going through five but was nonethless pulled. That’s what happens when you’re a well-regarded kid and you’ve already tossed 90 pitches in those five innings. Four relievers came in after him and helped to combine for a two-hitter. Evan Gattis had four hits. Colby Rasmus and Hank Conger each drove in three. Houston: still in first place after Flag Day. Who’da thunk it?
Twins 4, Rangers 3: Byron Buxton made his big league debut. No hits and he struck out twice, but he scored the go-ahead and winning run from first base in the top of the ninth after reaching on a botched sac bunt in which the lead runner was thrown out.
Athletics 8, Angels 1: The A’s are double-digits behind the division leaders but Sonny Gray has done his job at least. He allowed only one unearned run in seven and two-thirds to lower his ERA to 1.60. Ben Zobrist — likely coming to a contender near you in the next month or so — went 3-for-5 and scored three times.
Diamondbacks 4, Giants 0: Good day for De La Rosas. Jorge set a team record and Rubby took a shutout into the ninth. He couldn’t seal the deal but he did get his first win in ages. Chris Heston, alas, did not pull a Johnny Vander Meer, allowing a hit in the second and being chased after five after giving up three runs.
Cubs 2, Reds 1: For the second game in a row Starlin Castro got a walkoff hit. This one in the 11th. Chicago took three of four. They’re seven games over .500. Six and a half back and in third place, mind you, but they’d be leading three other divisions and, given how strong the NL Central is, it’s totally possible three playoff teams come out of that division anyway.
Royals vs. Cardinals: POSTPONED: Another rainy day, we’re trapped inside with a train set
Chocolate on the boil, steamy windows when we met
You’ve got the attic window looking out on the cathedral
And on a Sunday evening bells ring out in the dusk
(sorry; I saw Belle and Sebastian in concert last night, so everything is nice and twee today)
And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights
Yankees 5, Mariners 3: Comeback win for the Bombers, who tied it in 9th when Fernando Rodney couldn’t hold a one-run lead and then won it in the 11th thanks to a Garrett Jones three-run HR. The tie came via a two-out double from Stephen Drew who offered some keen insight into his accomplishment: “Just trying to get a good pitch to hit. Not try to do too much.” He ACTUALLY SAID THAT. And people wonder why I don’t go into clubhouses to talk to players after ballgames.
Yuck. Let’s cleanse the cliches from our palate with Lloyd McClendon going crazy after his catcher got ejected in the third inning for flipping out after a bad check swing call on an A-Rod walk:
This is Lloyd’s second stint as a manager and he spent years coaching. I feel like having all of that time in the dugout, much of which he spent learning at Jim Leyland’s elbow, really helped his showmanship here. That’s one of the things we’re losing with all of these handsome, low-experience managers in the game. They still think like players. More apt to offer those “good pitch to hit, not trying to do too much” cliches rather than let the old id loose. I don’t want to go back to the days of Billy Martin because he was a big jackass, but once in a while I’d like to see some friggin’ fire out there. Thank you, Lloyd, from giving us a break from the BradMathenyCashBots.
Rangers 15, White Sox 2: Welcome to the big leagues Joey Gallo! We covered the highlights last night here and here. He finished his major league debut with four RBI. The kid has amazing power and has gotten better each year in the minors and he’s going to be something special to watch. He wasn’t the only one kicking butt here, of course — Carlos Corporan drove in five himself — but I feel like this will always be remembered in Texas as “the Joey Gallo Game.”
Nationals 2, Blue Jays 0; Blue Jays 7, Nationals 3: Game 1 featured Jordan Zimmermann shutting down the Jays and the game ending in 2:17. Which adds fuel to my theory that teams intentionally buzz through Game 1 of a doubleheader in order to get more time to chill in between games. Game 2 featured Kevin Pillar hitting two home runs off Max Scherzer. Which adds fuel to my theory that baseball is about the most random thing possible.
Rockies 6, Dodgers 3: Dodgers 9, Rockies 8: Big homers were the order of the day here. First, big in distance — Joc Pederson’s two massive blasts definitely fit that bill — including one in the first game and again in the second game which, went even farther. Or, if you watch that video, “further,” which is Charlie Steiner’s choice of words. But if I remember my schoolin’ accurately, it should be “farther” which is more often used for physical distance while “further” is more often used for figurative journeys. They may be interchangeable, however.
Another homer was big given the moment it was hit: Alex Guerrero’s two-out grand slam in the ninth inning of the nightcap, giving the Dodgers the lead. Which, unlike a lot of leads in Coors Field, held up:
Phillies 5, Reds 4: The Phillies don’t come back late very often — they were 1-30 when trailing after seven coming into this game — but Maikel Franco tied this one in the eighth with a two-run homer and then Darin Ruf hit a walkoff single with one out in the ninth. The only reason Franco got to bat in the eighth was because Jay Bruce lost a liner in the lights that should’ve been out number three. That’s another thing wrong with today’s game. Lights, consarnit! What’s wrong with playing in the daytime! If it was good enough for Rogers Hornsby back in nineteen dickety five, it’s good enough for these whippersnappers!
Athletics 5, Tigers 3: Ben Zobrist hit a grand slam to cap a five-run seventh inning to give the Tigers their fifth loss in a row and their eighth defeat in their past ten games. Look, I know it’s early June and a lot can happen, but I’m starting to get a bad feeling about the Tigers’ chances. I don’t believe in omens and hardly anything that happens in a baseball season can truly be seen as a symbol for anything, but this one feels ominous. Like they’ll look back and say “yeah, that stretch against the Angels and Athletics in June. That’s when we kind of knew we were screwed.”
Red Sox 1, Twins 0: Clay Buchholz (8 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 8K) only needed one run of support here and he got it via Rusney Castillo’s RBI single in the seventh. Mike Pelfrey was no slouch himself (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER).
Miami Marlins left-hander Brad Hand stood at his locker eager to talk about a rare win, but the clubhouse stereo made conversation impossible, so he just smiled while rapper 2 Chainz’s “Birthday Song” blared away.
“I like that song,” Hand said.
Easily the highlight of the Marlins’ season so far.
Indians 2, Royals 1: Michael Brantley hit a two-out RBI single in the eighth inning to break a tie. Off of Wade Davis, no less, who hasn’t been in the business of giving up two-out RBI singles much lately. Brantley probably shouldn’t have made it to the plate, however, as there was a disputed safe call at first on a would-be double play earlier in the inning that both the umpire AND the replay officials blew. Of course, if the Royals scored more than one run off of Carlos Carrasco we’re not even having that conversation.
Astros 6, Orioles 4: Baltimore took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the third, but we play nine around these parts. Evan Gattis hit a three-run homer and Luis Valbuena knocked himself in for the go-ahead run with a solo shot as part of yet another Houston Astros comeback win. Their 17th to be exact, which leads all of baseball.
Cardinals 1, Brewers 0: Lance Lynn tossed shutout ball into the eighth. Fun times: Matt Holliday had his National League record on-base streak halted at 45. In part because he struck out on a bad call from Joe West (shocker) who then proceeded to eject Holliday. Probably would’ve been Holliday’s last plate appearance anyway, but thank goodness we had Joe West around to make sure it ended definitively. People pay to see that master work.
Diamondbacks 7, Braves 6: A see-saw game ended with the Dbacks up high — or down low? How does one “win” at see-saw? — thanks to A.J. Pollock’s two-out, two-run home run in the seventh which landed in the dang swimming pool.
Rays 6, Angels 1: Chris Archer was as dominant as all get-out, striking out 15 in eight innings of work. That tied James Shield’s franchise record. Three of those Ks were of Mike Trout. The lone Angels run came on Albert Pujols’ 534th career homer, which ties him with Jimmie Foxx on the all-time list. The homer also put him past Foxx and Ted Williams on the all-time extra-base hit list.
Padres 7, Mets 2: Noah Syndergaard had allowed only two earned runs in his previous three starts. Had. San Diego lit up the rookie sensation for seven runs on ten hits in four innings. All of which makes me wonder about the choice of headline in ESPN.com’s version of the game story:
Sorry, You do not get to be mentioned in an “Outdueled” headline if you give up seven runs on ten hits in four innings. That’s like saying “ant outduels foot.”
Pirates 7, Giants 4: Remember when Andrew McCutchen started slow? Nah, me neither. Here he had four hits and drove in two runs. He’s now hitting .398 (37-for-93) over his past 26 games, with 11 doubles, a triple, five homers, 21 RBI and 17 runs scored.
There will be some business. I have a couple of non-baseball projects I’m messing around with and I do plan on hitting up a the Rays-Mariners game in Seattle on Saturday night. I may post something at HBT if anything notable happens there, or if some Craig-bait PED story happens. But otherwise I’ll be putting up periodic updates of my trip on Tumblr and Twitter.
D.J., Drew and Bill will be putting up Settling the Scores threads in the mornings. Aaron will be here all day. Please try to find things to be outraged about while I’m gone.