Tag: Michael Brantley

Houston Astros v New York Yankees

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights


Astros 15, Yankees 1: The Astros beating the hell out of the Yankees is the secondary story here. The primary story is the benches clearing after the Yankees took issue with Carlos Gomez’s deportment. Sure, Gomez and Evan Gattis both homered and drove in four runs and sure Dallas Keuchel got his 15th win, but this happened too:


Which is absolutely dumb. The Yankees were mad at Gomez for being upset that he popped out. And after the game Joe Girardi actually said Gomez should “play the game the right” and to “show some professionalism.” This from the guy managing the bench where dudes not even playing in the game were barking at Gomez. Much the same came from Yankees catcher John Ryan Murphy — “there’s a right way and a wrong way to play the game,” he said. Dude is 24. We’ve covered that kind of thing a bunch of times around here and I’ll have a bigger post on it later, but it’s beyond stupid. If the behavior of a guy on a team with a big lead bugs you, maybe don’t get your asses beat so bad by that team and it’ll never come up. How about YOU play the game the right way? Like literally correctly and in a fashion where you aren’t losing by a ton and thus quick to anger at any perceived slight?

Nationals 8, Padres 3: The Nationals got some offense — a Ryan Zimmerman grand slam chief among them — and Stephen Strasburg allowed two runs over six. Entering play last night the Nationals were only a game or so closer to a playoff spot than the Padres by the way. And they didn’t make up any ground on the Mets because . . .

Mets 6, Phillies 5: . . . the wheels fell off for Jerome Williams and Jeanmar Gomez in the sixth inning allowing the Mets to rally. Things got testy here too when, in the seventh, Hansel Robles quick-pitched Darin Ruf, causing Jeff Francoeur and the Phillies to bark and Larry Bowa to get ejected. Bowa got his money’s worth too:


Quick pitch politics are far more rare than bat-flip and frustration politics. So rare, in fact, that not even everyone knows the rules. Get this:

“I was surprised they were mad about it,” Robles said through an interpreter. “The batter was in the box and the umpire pointed to me.”

Said [Terry] Collins, “Until they make the (quick) pitch illegal, you can do it.”

It is illegal, Terry!

Rule 8.01(b) Comment: With no runners on base, the pitcher is not required to come to a complete stop when using the Set Position. If, however, in the umpire’s judgment, a pitcher delivers the ball in a deliberate effort to catch the batter off guard, this delivery shall be deemed a quick pitch, for which the penalty is a ball. See Rule 8.05(e) Comment.

. . .

Rule 8.05(e) Comment: A quick pitch is an illegal pitch. Umpires will judge a quick pitch as one delivered before the batter is reasonably set in the batter’s box. With runners on base the penalty is a balk; with no runners on base, it is a ball. The quick pitch is dangerous and should not be permitted.

Oh well.

Angels 8, Tigers 7: Man, what got into everyone last night? Bad vibes all around. Jered Weaver was seen yelling in the dugout after Mike Trout lost a ball in the lights. He also hit a batter and, a couple batters later, it looked like Miguel Cabrera was sort of pointing at him and taunting although that wasn’t 100% clear. In any event, Weaver pitched poorly but good enough to win as the Angels blew a 4-0 lead but then piled four more on. And Trout atoned for that ball he lost in the lights:

Indians 11, Brewers 6: Michael Brantley homered twice and Josh Tomlin survived giving up three homers of his own and got his first win at Progressive Field in a dog’s age.

Rockies 5, Braves 1: Braves third baseman Adonis Garcia had a couple of big hits right after he came up. But between is defense and the impending arrival of Hector Olivera, his days are numbered. Nights in which he commits three errors allowing four unearned runs merely hasten that process along. It was Atlanta’s 12th loss in 15 games. Wheeeeeee!

Dodgers 5, Reds 1: The Dodgers snap a five-game losing streak thanks to Alex Wood taking a shutout into the sixth inning and JimmyRollins and Justin Turner each hitting two-run home runs. The Dodgers turned three double plays behind Wood too, making life easier.

Marlins 5, Pirates 2: Dee Gordon stole four bases, reaching on a couple of infield hits. He’s also still batting .333 on the year which I wouldn’t have guessed. Haven’t paid that much attention to him since his hot start and since the Marlins feel out of relevance early in the year. I’ll be damned. Our friend Old Gator pointed out to me that in the 7th inning the Marlins had a triple, a walk and four stolen bases – and they scored zero runs that inning. That’s pretty hard to do, one assumes.

Twins 11, Rays 7: That’s five straight wins for the Twins, who are only a half game out of the wild card. Brian Dozier, Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario homered.

Blue Jays 6, Rangers 5: Down by one in the ninth the Blue Jays rallied for two and the win. Troy Tulowitzki had three hits, including the game-tying RBI single in the ninth. The go-ahead run scored on an Adrian Beltre throwing error. Which, man, you don’t see that sort of thing happen too dang often.

White Sox 5, Red Sox 4: Sox win. Trayce Thompson drove in three runs. He was a homer shy of the cycle. He was called up at the beginning of the month and has gone 12-for-23 in part time play. The White Sox rattled off 15 hits in all.

Royals 3, Orioles 2: Kansas City had a 3-0 lead after three innings and it held up. Leads hold up, even early leads with small margins, when you got Luke Hochevar, Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis going for you. They didn’t even need Greg Holland. Ho-hum, Kansas City fans say, when do the playoffs start?

Cardinals 9, Diamondbacks 1: A four-run first inning was all the Cardinals needed. Tommy Pham singled twice and tripled, scoring three times. The Cards win their 80th game.

Mariners 6, Athletics 5: Oakland blew an early 5-0 lead. Robinson Cano doubled. According to the Associated Press, he became the first player to have at least 30 doubles in his first 11 seasons in the major leagues, passing Albert Pujols. In a year where you’re hitting .277, I suppose any accomplishment is worth celebrating.

Cubs 8, Giants 4: Jake Arrieta allowed only an unearned run over six innings, lowering his ERA to 2.22 and notching his 16th win on the year. Not that he needed to be so good as he had an 8-0 lead by the time the sixth inning rolled around. Kyle Schwarber homered. He does that a lot.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

Madison Bumgarner Buster Posey


Giants 3, Astros 1: Madison Bumgarner doing Madison Bumgarner things. Allowing one run in a complete game in which he struck out 12. He only threw 105 pitches too, which is hard to do when you strike out that many guys. In support, Belt belted two homers. I’m sure no one has ever used the “Belt/belt” combination with him before. My use of it there was totally novel, I guarantee it.

Blue Jays 4, Athletics 2: Blue Jays fans, for good reason, are getting excited:

Toronto is just a half game back of the Yankees. They were seven back of the Yankees on July 28. I finally submitted that passport application on Monday, so go ahead and make the World Series, Toronto. I’m totally prepared for it.

Indians 5, Yankees 4: Michael Brantley hits a walkoff single in the sixteenth inning. That’s four straight losses for New York. The four runs, though, is something of an offensive outburst for them lately so, um, progress?

Marlins 5, Red Sox 4: The Sox had a 4-0 lead in the sixth and blew it. Which seems to have happened to them a number of times recently. In the tenth Dee Gordon tripled to lead off and then scored on a walk-off single by Justin Bour. After the game Marlins starter Justin Nicolino said this:

“Guys like David Ortiz and (Pablo) Sandoval and growing up watching them was really cool, but actually getting to facing them and seeing them in the batter’s box was pretty cool, too.”

The other day I felt old when someone mentioned their dad liking Bartolo Colon. But for cryin’ out loud, Ortiz didn’t even play 100 games in a season until 2000. Sandoval debuted in 2008. Kids are ruining this game for the rest of us, quite frankly.

White Sox 3, Angels 0: Carlos Rodon struck out 11 Angels in seven shutout innings and Melky Cabrera doubled in a couple of runs. Trayce Thompson hit his first career home run. If you had asked me who “Trayce Thompson” was before this game I probably would’ve said “Um, the woman who replaced Vicki Lawrence as Carol Burnett’s second banana when Lawrence left for her own variety show?” Which is just wrong, as she stayed with Carol until the end, God bless her. Fun Fact: Vicki Lawrence also appeared on “The Love Boat” in five different episodes as five different characters. TV was way different back then, you guys. You know, way before Justin Nicolino was born.

Mets 4, Rockies 0: There were a few starts in there a little while back when people were worrying about Matt Harvey. They need not have worried. Here he shut out Colorado for eight innings on four hits and didn’t walk anyone. In fact, it’s the third straight start in which he hasn’t walked anyone.


Rays 2, Braves 0: Kevin Kiermaier hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning and Erasmo Ramirez pitched seven innings of shutout ball and that was basically that. Braves starter Williams Perez tossed a complete game loss. You don’t see a ton of those these days.

Cubs 6, Brewers 3: Chicago has won 11 of 12. With this win and the Pirates’ loss they’re only two and a half behind Pittsburgh for the first Wild Card. Not that that matters a ton, but jeez, a home playoff game for the Cubs in 2015? Could you even imagine that a year ago?

Royals 6, Tigers 1: I had my brother visiting from last Saturday until this morning. He is nominally a Tigers fans and has been since he was a kid, but he has sort of let baseball go in the past decade or so and is really just a hardcore hockey fan now. Yesterday we were in the car for two hours coming back from a trip to an amusement park with the kids and he decided to quiz me about how the Tigers are doing. He is generally aware that they aren’t doing good this year, but wasn’t sure why. When I got to the part about the bullpen he said “is Phil Coke still there?” My first impulse was to laugh. My second impulse was to think “heck, maybe he’d help these guys? Maybe he could even start!” At any rate, they lost again, with Lorenzo Cain going 4-for-4 and homering and Mike Moustakas homering and driving in three. K.C.’s lead in the division is a silly 12 games.

Twins 3, Rangers 2: The Twins may be sliding out of the playoff picture, but they’re not packing it in like some teams we could mention. Here they showed some late fight, scoring all three of their runs in the eighth and ninth inning, capped by Eduardo Escobar’s two-out double in the ninth. Making the playoffs this year was never expected and that they contended as long as they did was a nice surprise, but certainly give them credit for showing some fight and being generally entertaining.

Cardinals 4, Pirates 3: Another of many comeback wins last night as the Cards rallied when down 3-1 in the fifth behind a Jason Heyward RBI single and an RBI double from Yadier Molina. Stephen Piscotty singled in the go-ahead run. Meanwhile Carlos Martinez got stronger as the game went on, pitching eight solid innings. The Cards maintain a six-game lead in the Central.

Diamondbacks 13, Phillies 1: There are some things you just don’t come back from and an 11-run second inning is one of those things. The Dbacks rocked David Buchanan like a hurricane for all 11 of those runs. Not that they needed them all as Jeremy Hellickson allowed only one run in eight. David Peralta hit a grand slam. Hellickson himself went 2-for-3 and drove in three. The 7-8-9 hitters in Arizona’s lineup went 7-for-13 with seven driven in.

Mariners 6, Orioles 5: Austin Jackson singled in the winning run in the tenth. Nelson Cruz and Mark Trumbo homered. Cruz’s homer extended his hitting streak to a career-high 21 games, which is tied for the longest in baseball this season.

Dodgers 5, Nationals 0: The Yasiel Puig show: he tripled with the bases loaded and hit a two-run homer, driving in all five of the Dodgers’ runs. Zack Greinke, meanwhile, recovered from his last rocky start to shut out the Nats for six innings. Puig’s triple should’ve probably been a fly out or, at the very least, should’ve scored one run, as it was a shallow fly down the right field line that Clint Robinson misplayed badly. But that’s how the Nats are rolling these days.

Padres 11, Reds 6: Colin Rea made his MLB debut, pitched well and got a hit. Hard to beat that. And staked to an 8-0 lead after two innings, he could relax some too. Jedd Gyorko drove in two for him, singling home two runs in the first and hitting a two-run homer in the second.


Looking ahead to the second half: The Indians are a good bet to improve

Francisco Lindor

The top of the AL Central is not terribly surprising. There the Royals sit with the biggest lead of any of the division leaders, four and a half games over the Minnesota Twins. Many people, of course, figured that the Twins wouldn’t be anyplace close to the top of the division and many suspect that they’ll falter as the second half wears on.

I can’t say I agree with that completely as the Twins have a lot of young talent and young talent has a way of not adhering to the expectations, both good and bad, people have for it. They’re not aware they’re supposed to falter, so maybe they won’t?

However the Twins shake out, it’s safe to say that no one expected the Indians to be in last place. Indeed, with their excellent rotation and big bats in Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley, Carlos Santana, Yan Gomes and Lonnie Chisenhall, they were thought to be a favorite to win the Central or, at the very least, give the Tigers and Royals a run for their money.

Except of that group, only Kipnis has been a big bat this year, getting a lot of help from David Murphy. Brantley has been OK, but far less of a threat than last year. Gomes and Chisenhall have fallen into the abyss, in part due to injuries. Carlos Santana has struggled mightily. While the rotation has continued to pitch well —-Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco, and Trevor Bauer all notched 100+ strikeouts in the first half — the Indians defense has been about the worst in the game, betraying its pitchers over and over again. That’s how a promising team winds up 11 games back and tied for last place.

But that really doesn’t seem sustainable for me. For one thing, the teams above Cleveland look to falter. Perhaps the Royals won’t collapse — there’s far too much talent there — but the Tigers are already in something of a freefall and will be without Miguel Cabrera for weeks. Those Twins, again, have overachieved and could very well slip. The team with which Cleveland is tied for last place, the Chicago White Sox, has been rumored to be in sell mode at the trade deadline and could be punting 2015, creating an opening for the Tribe.

More fundamentally, however, the Indians have to get better because they can’t be worse.

There has apparently been nothing wrong physically with Carlos Santana. He’s a streaky hitter and always has been, and in the final two series before the All-Star break, went 9-for-23 (.391) with a double, triple, home run and four RBIs over seven games. If he carries that momentum into the the second half, the Indians will have another weapon on offense.

The biggest challenge will be to right the ship defensively. And even a little ship-righting will be huge, because the Indians pitchers are just dandy at run prevention. Fortunately for Cleveland, that process has already begun.

Shortstop Francisco Lindor and third baseman Giovanny Urshela were called up in June and, while they haven’t done much at the plate, they have totally revamped the left side of the Indians’ previously porous infield. Both have been dynamite with the glove and have drastically improved the Indians’ defensive efficiency in their short time. Perhaps that’s an anomaly and perhaps, with more time in the game, they’ll come back down to earth a bit. But both have good defensive pedigrees and couldn’t possibly be worse than what came before. Also, one or both of them could start hitting a little too to help even things out.

All of which brings us back to where we were before. The Indians are a wildly talented team with a great rotation and a couple of big stars on offense. On paper, it’s a team that should challenge for a playoff spot. Given the weakness of the non-Royals members of this division, they still may very well be able to in the second half, an 11-game deficit notwithstanding.