Tag: Joey Votto

Johnny Cueto

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights



Reds 5, Nationals 0: Johnny Cueto has submitted his resume to the other 29 teams, nailed the interview and now awaits offers. Or at least the Reds do, and they’re likely going to get a nice haul for him. A complete game two-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts and not a care in the world that his opponent was Max Scherzer. Joey Votto didn’t much care that he was facing Scherzer either, as he went 3-for-5 with a double, homer and three driven in. Neither Votto nor Cueto was selected for the All-Star team, by the way.

Pirates 3, Padres 2: A couple of Pirates, including Gregory Polanco got a save here. As in helping save a groundscrew member who was being swallowed up by the tarp during a third inning rain delay:

Later an even better highlight: Justin Upton stone-cold robbing Andrew McCutchen of what would’ve been a go-ahead homer in the fifth:


The Pirates got the win anyway, again with help from Polanco, who hit a go-ahead triple in the eighth.

Royals 9, Rays 5Royals 7, Rays 1: The walkoff grand slam by Paulo Orlando in the first game was only soured a tad for the Royals in that it came against Brad Boxberger, who Royals manager Ned Yost had just added to the All-Star team the day before. Maybe rethinking the omission of Corey Kluber is in order? Eh, maybe not. In the second game it was the Alex Gordon show, as he drove in four on a 4-for-5 night. The Royals are now four and a half up in the Central, tied for the biggest division lead in all of baseball with the Cardinals.

Cubs 7, Cardinals 4Cubs 5, Cardinals 3: The Cardinals’ lead was reduced thanks to dropping both ends of this twin bill. Jake Arrieta held their bats at bay and Anthony Rizzo homered. Worse: Kolten Wong went out with a head contusion. Addison Russell helped lead a comeback in the nightcap, giving the Cubs the first doubleheader sweep of the Cardinals since 1992. Note: the Addison Russell hit in that comeback was REALLY controversial. More on that later.

Athletics 4, Yankees 3: Bad day for All-Star relievers, eh? Here Brett Lawrie homered off Dellin Betances in extras. Not that Lawrie dominated the night — he struck out thrice and was behind in the count to Betances, almost to the Golden Sombrero — but he certainly made up for it. Oakland has strangely owned the Yankees of late, having won 12 of their last 15 meetings.

Red Sox 4, Marlins 3: The Sox came from behind with a three-run seventh, with all of those runs coming off the bat of Xander Bogaerts, who cleared the bases with a single. Wade Miley struck out nine.

Indians 2, Astros 0: Corey Kluber: not an All-Star, but he did shut down one of the scariest lineups in the American League, tossing shutout ball into the seventh. Michael Brantley was 3-for-4 with a homer.

Diamondbacks 4, Rangers 2: Robbie Ray took a shutout into the eighth inning, outdueling Yovani Gallardo, whose long-playing scoreless innings streak ended at 33 and a third.

Blue Jays 2, White Sox 1: Felix Doubront started this one, his first start since last year. It went well: six and two-thirds innings, one earned run and six strikeouts. Josh Donaldson’s fourth inning homer was the eventual game-winner, as the Jays played a rare low-scoring game.

Braves 4, Brewers 3: Manny Banuelos put up his second nice start to begin his major league career, allowing one run in five and a third. This after his debut in which he pitched five and two-thirds shutout innings against the Nats. A.J. Pierzynski homered and had three hits in all. Pierzynski is hitting .289 on the year and has an OPS of .778. I never would’ve guessed he’d be that solid, but he’s been a solid pickup for Atlanta.

Twins 8, Orioles 3: Miguel Sano hit his first career homer — a two-run shot — and walked with the bases loaded. He has hit safely in all six games since he was called up. This has been an absolutely nuts year for great young players being called up.

Angels 10, Rockies 2: Four homers from the Angels’ bats: Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Matt Joyce and Chris Iannetta. The Angels have won four straight, scoring 43 runs in those games. It’s almost as if playing the Rangers in Texas and the Rockies in Colorado is good for offense.

Mariners 7, Tigers 6: Robinson Cano with a walkoff single in the bottom of the 11th. Cano also hit a solo homer. The Tigers had their chances in the 10th and 11th innings, having the go-ahead run at third both times, but couldn’t deliver.

Phillies 7, Dodgers 2: Chad Billingsley faced his old mates in Dodger Stadium and notched his first win in over two years. A nice story after the dude had two elbow surgeries. Not a lot of guys could come back from that. The Phillies beat up Brett Anderson a bit, who didn’t look completely right after slipping on the mound early on, but he apparently didn’t hurt himself or anything. Maybe it was my imagination.

Giants 3, Mets 0: Hunter Pence comes back and just like that the Giants’ seven-game losing streak ended. Pence made a sweet sliding catch to turn a double play and drove in two runs on a single and a fielder’s choice. Matt Cain tossed six shutout innings.

Looking at the All-Star team snubs and surprises

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For all of the complaining people like to do about All-Star teams, the voting process and all of that, the fact is that All-Star squads of the past several years have been pretty good. Part of that is that the rosters are so big now that it’s hard to truly “snub” someone. Also operating here is the unspoken fact that a good many guys beg out because of injuries — or “injuries” and ultimately most of the guys who truly want to be there and deserve to be there are actually there.

Still, there are always some weird things and oddities with All-Star rosters so, in the wake of last night’s announcement of the rosters and the Final Vote guys, let’s look at a couple of them.

Most interesting thing: None of the specific players chosen or not chosen is the most interesting thing to me. No, the most interesting thing is what seems to be Ned Yost’s desire to actually win this game and manage it like a regular game. His selection of relievers Darren O’Day, Brad Boxberger and Kelvin Herrera, along with choosing Brock Holt, who is basically a utility guy, as his Red Sox representative makes his roster look more like an actual baseball team than an All-Star team. Mixing and matching, hard-throwing relievers and a super-sub give Yost flexibility to manage the heck out of the game, for better or for worse.

Biggest Snubs: Like I said above, there are no shockers or atrocities here. Brian Dozier not making it stinks — some people think he’s the best second baseman in the game — but with Jose Altuve and Jason Kipnis in the AL, it’s hard to add him. Bruce Bochy picked his guy Madison Bumgarner over Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Martinez and Johnny Cueto, even though all three of them are having better seasons than Bumgarner is, Cueto and Martinez by a decent margin. Justin Turner could be the NL equivalent of Brock Holt — someone who can play many positions — and is hitting the daylights out of the ball, but Bochy is looking at things differently than Yost, apparently.

The Final Vote: A-Rod and Joey Votto not even making the Final Vote thing is lame, but (a) A-Rod isn’t winning any final vote unless I’m 51% of the electorate; and (b) both of them are either old or fragile enough to where they could use some time off. The same excuse doesn’t hold for Carlos Correa, who may be one of the most exciting young players in baseball and plays short at a time when shortstop is a wasteland. He should be on there, but the remaining guys are more famous, so that’s how it goes. The NL has only one position player in the Final Vote — Troy Tulowitzki — which means that there’s a good chance that the NL All-Star team is going to have 14 pitchers. Wheeee!

The Upshot: This is the All-Star Game we have now. It’s geared toward not having ties, not running out of players, especially pitchers, and not showcasing the biggest names in the game for more than a couple of innings. Everyone gets a representative, almost everyone gets to play and it resembles baseball as we know it far less than anything else that happens during the season. In light of that we don’t have a lot of snubs — almost everyone gets to come! — but we likewise don’t get to truly see a clash of the Best vs. Best, and that’s a little sad.

Albert Pujols is hitting like ALBERT PUJOLS again


At age 35 and after three underwhelming Angels seasons Albert Pujols seemed to have settled into being a good but not great player, but suddenly he’s hitting like the pre-free agency Cardinals version–also known as ALBERT PUJOLS–again.

Pujols homered twice Monday night against the Astros, giving him 15 homers in his last 24 games and a league-leading 23 homers on the season.

His current .917 OPS is Pujols’ highest since 2010, when he finished runner-up in the MVP voting to Joey Votto of the Reds. And once you adjust for offensive levels being down across baseball, his OPS+ of 156 is well above his mark of 128 for the Angels from 2012-2014 and a shade below his mark of 170 for the Cardinals from 2001-2011.

Pujols’ great overall production in St. Louis involved huge batting averages, outstanding strike-zone control, and big-time power. Right now it’s mostly just the big-time power, because he’s hitting .275 and has just 21 walks in 283 plate appearances for a walk rate that’s nearly half of what is was during his peak. However, during his last 35 games Pujols has hit .328 with 17 homers, more walks than strikeouts, and a 1.168 OPS.