Torii Hunter

Charlize Theron

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Apart from the Bryce Harper ejection, which I’ll talk about below, not that dang much interesting seems to have happened last night. Which is part of that ebb-and-flow, yin-and-yang of the 2,400-game season I was talking about last week. Some Wednesday nights just sort of happen, and that’s a good thing. Baseball was there whether it was interesting or not and whether we saw it or not and that has its own value.

If anything cool happened I didn’t see it. Instead I went to go see “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which was every bit as exciting as it was made out to be. Though I think it’s possible people overstated what the movie actually is. There’s a lot of talk about its feminist underpinnings and commentary and a lot of hilariously awful people have denounced the movie in their sad little ways. Sure, there is some element of that here, but it’s not an overtly political movie. At least not any more political than the other Mad Max films which are all premised on the idea that some idiots have ruined the world and the other idiots who now run it do so in brutal fashion. It just so happens that those idiots are, Tina Turner notwithstanding, men.

Here the big to-do seems to be that It’s — gasp! — a movie with a strong woman in the lead and some strong women characters doing cool things and kicking a little War Boy ass. Which I suppose passes for radical these days, sadly. But if it wasn’t for the fact that most movies deliver pretty boring and cliche gender roles, people wouldn’t have made much of a note of it. All of which is to say that, to the extent “Fury Road” and its kickass women stick out in this regard it’s because everything else is so damn awful. If you put Trinity in the lead in “The Matrix” it would’ve worked just as well. Maybe better because she was amazing. But Hollywood tends not to do that and, as a result, we all act confused/surprised/excited/angry when Charlize Theron drives the War Wagon instead of some scruffy man.

As for the flick on its own terms, it’s a fantastically well-done, visually arresting B-movie which, if you know me, you know is not an insult at all. The other Mad Max flicks and most big action movies are basically B-movies at heart, even if their budgets and stars are big. “Fury Road” knows exactly what it’s doing, does it well and smashes up all kinds of crap in fun, explosive fabulousness in the process. Which is exactly what you need a couple of times a summer, especially on nights when the baseball really doesn’t deliver. Anyway:

Nationals 3, Yankees 2: Denard Span helped drive the comeback victory, hitting a bases-loaded single off reliever Justin Wilson in the seventh. The bases were loaded due to an error and a couple of walks which, well, not too great for the Yankees.

Of course everyone here was talking about the ump show, which was ridiculous, with home plate umpire Marvin Hudson (a) missing a call; (b) getting super defensive about it; and (c) ejecting Bryce Harper because, in Hudson’s view, he didn’t get back in the batter’s box fast enough. Of course, given that (a) Harper only left the box because Hudson had taken his mask off to jaw at the Nats’ dugout; and (b) pace-of-play issues are not supposed to be dealt with via ejections, Hudson’s only possible complaint was that Harper was bruising his wrongfully-substantial ego. Ridiculous. But of course there is no public accountability for umpires so it’s highly unlikely that we’ll hear of any discipline Hudson receives, however well-deserved it is.

 

Diamondbacks 6, Marlins 1: Six straight losses for Miami as they couldn’t figure out Chase Anderson. Who is a pitcher now but, if he existed in the 1980s, would be the evil, preppy rival of our hero who would be vanquished in The Big Game or The Big Match or something at the end of the movie. Then the hero would get the girl who would, somehow, have spent the middle part of the movie with Chase Anderson before coming to her senses. Why our hero is even interested in someone so fickle to begin with is beyond me and I bet that, later, they have some difficult conversations about the basis of their relationship. Or not. They’re in high school for Pete’s sake.

Angels 4, Blue Jays 3: Marc Krauss hit a go-ahead two-run double in the seventh after the Jays pitched around Mike Trout to get to him. As Krauss said after the game, it was a wise decision to pitch around Trout to get to Krauss and, even if it burned them here, anyone should be doing that regardless. Krauss was in the game, by the way, because Albert Pujols got hit in the hand with a pitch. He’s day-to-day.

Astros 6, Athletics 1: Dallas Keuchel won his eighth consecutive decision dating back to last season, allowing just one run, unearned, in seven innings.  His ERA on the year is now 1.67. Evan Gattis’ two-run homer in the sixth put Houston up for good and everything after was insurance. The Astros sport the best record in the AL. Just as everyone predicted they would.

Rangers 2, Red Sox 1Phil Klein made his first big league start and it went well: five and a third innings, five hits one run. The Sox had their chances but stranded runners like it was their job.

Mariners 4, Orioles 2: Roenis Elias, whose name I like to say more than most ballplayers because it just flows, man, allowed one run, six hits and no walks in seven and two-thirds. Justin Ruggiano homered scored twice and drove in two.

Twins 4, Pirates 3: Joe Mauer hit his first homer since last August and it came at a good time: the 13th inning. Torii Hunter went 3-for-5 with three RBI. The Pirates are 0-6 in extra innings.

Tigers 5, Brewers 2: Nick Castellanos hit a bases-clearing triple in the eighth. After runs were hard to come by in the past couple of games against Milwaukee, this had to seem like floodgates opening.

Braves 2, Rays 1: Rookie Williams Perez gave up one run over five innings and had seven strikeouts in his first major league start and rookie Todd Cunningham drove in the tiebreaking run with a groundout. That feeling when you really don’t know who the hell plays for your team anymore but, hey, you’ll take the win.

Cardinals 9, Mets 0: Matt Adams homered. Jason Heyward homered. Matt Holliday and Kolten Wong both had three hits. Bartolo Colon got shelled and the Mets fell out of their first-place tie in the East. Colon walked two batters. He had only walked one guy all season before yesterday.

Indians 4, White Sox 3: Shaun Marcum made his first big league start since July 2013 and got the win here after two years of battling shoulder ailments. Carlos Rodon made his third start for the White Sox and, while he did generally OK, pitching six innings and giving up one run on four hits, he walked five. He’s walking way too many guys.

Royals 7, Reds 1: Six shutout innings from Jeremy Guthrie as the Royals won for the fifth time in six games. That win improves their record to 26-14, with is KC’s best-ever record after 40 games.

Phillies 4, Rockies 2: Ryan Howard had three hits, including a homer. Howard is hitting .328 with four homers and 10 RBI in 64 at bats in May.

Cubs 3, Padres 2: A defacto bullpen game for the Cubs as Tsuyoshi Wada only lasted four and two-thirds, but he struck out nine guys regardless. His only mistake was allowing a two-run homer to Justin Upton.

Giants 4, Dodgers 0: The Tim Lincecum renaissance continues. He won his third straight, lowering his ERA to 2.08 after shutting down the Dodgers on three hits over seven shutout innings. Buster Posey hit a two-run homer in the seventh. Five wins in a row for the Giants, who are now only two and a half back of L.A.

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

Corey Kluber
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source:

*The first recap of the morning was written, collectively, by everyone’s mid-50s-year-old drunk uncle who peaked during Reagan’s first term and has hated everything since*

Indians 2, Cardinals 0: Eighteen strikeouts and one hit allowed in eight innings? Bah! Call me back when he can go nine. Kids these days are soft! Coddled by their parents since preschool, begging out of their responsibilities the moment things start to get tough. Jack Morris had 175 complete games in his career! You can bet, knowing that his team had the lead in this one, that he’d pitch to contact late and save the bullpen!

 

Cubs 2, Mets 1: I was on a radio show yesterday that billed this as “Matt Harvey vs. Kris Bryant.” Thing about baseball, however, is that you can’t do that. You can’t tease any one baseball game as star vs. star because even if he’s fantastic like Matt Harvey was (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 9K), the first star may get a no-decision and not figure in to the game’s ultimate outcome. Likewise, the second star may go 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. Maybe that kind of tease gets some people to watch who wouldn’t, but if you promise greatness from superstars in baseball you’re going to, statistically speaking, end up burning your audience more often than not. At least the casual fans who were only attracted by you hyping the stars. And if you do burn fans enough, maybe they don’t stick around until the ninth inning and see a walkoff walk to Chris Coghlan. You can’t hype things like walkoff walks in advance because you never know what you’re gonna get. You can, however, hype the fact that you never know what you’re gonna get.

Angels 2, Rockies 1: Mike Trout put on a defensive clinic in extra innings. Two plays, each of which would’ve caused the Angels to lose the game if he did not make them. Wait, make that three: the home-run theft, the running catch with the man on third and then, after that catch, the throw home to nail the runner tagging up. And the dude didn’t even make it look hard:

Best all-around player in the game and it’s not particularly close.

 

Nationals 9, Diamondbacks 6: Michael Taylor hit a grand slam in the ninth inning with the Nats down one. No biggie.

Best part: he was only in the game because Bryce Harper had been ejected in the seventh inning for arguing balls and strikes.

Reds 5, Braves 1: Rookie Raisel Iglesias baffled the Bravos, allowing one run on two hits in eight innings. Not to take anything away from him — he was great and the Braves sorta stink — but this was such a getaway day game. Lasted two hours and six minutes and after three games in Ohio where they dealt with rain, cold and then cold again, the Braves have an offday in Miami today. Mentally speaking they were on the dang beach and eating at Joe’s Stone Crab by the third inning.

Red Sox 2, Athletics 0: Wade Miley pitched shutout ball into the seventh. He wasn’t totally cruising — he allowed five hits and walked four — but he worked out of every jam he faced. The Sox needed that.

Orioles 6, Blue Jays 1: The O’s scored five in the second thanks in part to three doubles. Miguel Gonzalez allowed only three hits while pitching into the seventh. The Jays’ only run came on a passed ball.

Phillies 3, Pirates 2: Jeff Francoeur nailed a runner at the plate for the final out of the game. An out which made Jonathan Papelbon the all-time Phillies saves leader:

 

Am I the only one who wondered if, maybe, since the ball was foul, Francoeur shoulda let it drop so that there was no chance the tying run could tag up and come home? Maybe that’s too harsh. You should take the outs that are given to you whenever you can. Instincts are hard to overcome and it’s possible that Francoeur didn’t know if he was in fair or foul territory by the time he got to the ball. Nice throw either way and obviously the good result. That cannon he carries is the biggest reason he still has a job in the majors. Good to see him get to use it.

Twins 6, Tigers 2: Ricky Nolasco wasn’t efficient or sharp in an absolute sense but he certainly was compared to the way he’s been pitching lately. Torii Hunter homered and Joe Mauer hit a three-run triple.

Rays 3, Yankees 2: Asdrubal Cabrera drove in a run on a double that served as his 1,000th career hit. Pretty sweet. The Rays have allowed the fewest runs per game in the American League this year.

Marlins 5, Dodgers 4: Dee Gordon had four hits, including two doubles, against the team that dealt him away this past offseason and Giancarlo Stanton had a two-run single. I assume even his RBI singles go 500 feet somehow. The Marlins avoid the sweep and snap the Dodgers’ five-game winning streak.

Rangers 5, Royals 2: Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo each homered and the Rangers won. That’s the sort of thing a lot of people expected to happen last year and it didn’t. See the above Mets-Cubs recap about the unpredictability of stars power.

White Sox 4, Brewers 2: Jose Quintana had a 3-0 lead before he tossed his first pitch and then proceeded to strike out ten Brewers in seven innings. F***ing Quintana. That creep can roll, man.

Astros 4, Giants 3: George Springer had been out a week with concussion symptoms but looked no worse for the cobwebs and rust, hitting the go-ahead homer in the eighth. Buster Posey had three hits, including a two-run homer in a winning effort in a losing cause.

Padres 4, Mariners 2: James Shields allowed one run in six innings and moved his record to 5-0. Weird thing: perfect record but has given up 12 homers this year which leads all of baseball. I guess if that’s the only thing you do wrong and if you get some run support you’ll be alright. Will Middlebrooks homered.

Video: Alfredo Simon throws Torii Hunter two eephus pitches. Maybe.

Alfredo Simon
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I don’t know if this is technically an eephus pitch. Someone will likely chime in and say that, actually, an eephus pitch is not just some slow junk pitch designed to throw the hitter off guard but really has to arc way up high like 30 feet and come back down to truly be called that.

Maybe that’s the case, but it’s also the case that “literally” doesn’t mean “figuratively” and “non-plussed” is supposed to mean “surprised and confused,” not “unimpressed,” but usage by people who don’t know what they’re talking about has quite literally changed their definition according to the folks who write dictionaries.

As person who thinks words actually mean things, these developments have me non-plussed. Almost as non-plussed as Torii Hunter looked after getting the first of two eephus pitches from Alfredo Simon last night:

 

Ultimately, I have learned to give in to the mob with these sorts of things. I doubt I’ll ever intentionally and seriously use “literally” to mean “figuratively,” but I may slip on “non-plussed” at some point. And I’m willing to call any non-knuckleball that doesn’t exceed 65 miles per hour an eephus pitch. Life is too short to fight over crap like that.