And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

18 Comments

Johan Santana sitting.jpgPhillies 11, Mets 5: Look, there are about 17 different ways in which
Johan Santana’s awful night could be described, but I think the fact
that he walked Jamie Moyer with the bases loaded in the fourth pretty
much tells you all you need to know. The Victorino grand slam that
immediately followed was less troublesome than that in my mind. Final line for
Santana: 3.2 IP, 8 H, 10 ER, 4 HR. On the bright side, after the
Phillies put up the nine-spot in the fourth, I was able to turn off the
game and go through the cool stuff I bought at the baseball card show I
went to yesterday. My favorite find: the SI issue from 1972 with Dick
Allen smoking a cig and juggling baseballs in the White Sox dugout on the cover
. It’s
totally going up on the wall of my office. You know, for inspiration.

Rays 1, Royals 0:  Gary Gooper in “High Noon” had more help than Zach Greinke has whenever he takes the hill. He ought to throw his badge in the dirt and get on the train with Grace Kelly and leave town. Four hit, a single earned run, six strikeouts and another loss. He’s gonna wind up dying all alone on some dirty street. For what? For nothing. For
a tin star.

Tigers 5, Angels 1: Justin Verlander had been as inefficient as a Rube Goldberg machine his past couple of starts, but he streamlined things nicely — at least for him — with a three-hit, 7K, 0BB 120-pitch outing against the Halos. He retired 23 straight Angels at one point.

Dodgers 9, Pirates 3: Eight strong innings from Hiroki Kuroda, four hits from Blake DeWitt, a 3 for 4 day from James Loney and a 3 for 5 with two homers from Andre Ethier help the Dodgers complete a ship-righting series against the Pirates.

Rockies 4, Giants 1:  Jason Giambi apparently created some sort of infinite improbability field in the fourth inning which allowed him to commit the quite improbable act of a lummox like him stealing second base. This no doubt rattled Jonathan Sanchez to no end, because he walked three straight batters after that, giving the Rockies a 1-0 lead. The rest of the game promptly vanished in a puff of ill-logic, at least from the Giants’ perspective.

Rangers 3, Mariners 1: Tough luck no-decision for Doug Fister, who was perfect into the sixth inning and gave up only three hits through eight, but then had David Aardma come in and blow the save. Not that he was rocked or anything. In fact, the Rangers won this one without the benefit of a single extra-base hit, which isn’t something you see every day.

Padres 8, Brewers 0: The Brewers were shutout in three of the four games of this series and were outscored 21-2. To say that they’re reeling would be such an insult to reels everywhere that the Zebco corporation would probably consider filing suit.

Orioles 3, Red Sox 2: And the sweep. Nice start from Josh Beckett, but Jason Varitek getting gunned down at home by a mile in the eighth (why was he not pinch-run for again, Terry?) and Jonathan Papelbon failing to get the job done in the tenth (his second inning of work) doomed Boston.   The Orioles have seven wins on the season. Four of them have come against the Bosox.

Cubs 10, Diamondbacks 5: The Cubs take three of four from Arizona on the strength of Alfonso Soriano’s four homers and 10 RBIs. The Cubs have won 7 of 10.

Blue Jays 9, Athletics 3: Shaun Marcum snags the win with plenty of run support after a handful of tough luck losses. The Jays are back to .500, confounding my expectations of them being some trainwreck of a 90+ loss team this year.

Cardinals 6, Reds 0: Chris Carpenter toyed with the Redlegs (7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 8K). Albert Pujols had a bases loaded double. Aaron Harang has had a nightmare of a season so far, but he was decent enough yesterday, giving up three runs over six innings, striking out six and not walking anyone. The Reds highlight of the day, however, came up on Columbus at that card show I went to, when I spotted an autographed photo of Pete Rose flipping the bird while wearing a loud and garish 1970s business suit. Dude wanted too much for it, though, so I gave it a pass. I’m regretting it this morning.

Yankees 12, White Sox 3: Seven shutout innings from Phil Hughes and an offensive onslaught gives the Yankees yet another series win. Someone told Mark Teixeira it was May (4 for 5, 2B, 2 RBI).

Braves 7, Astros 1: A much-needed sweep for the Braves. Jason Heyward went 2 for 3 with 3 RBI (Yawn). Melky Cabrera went 2 for 3 with 3 RBI and Derek Lowe pitched well (someone alert the authorities).

Marlins 9, Nationals 3: Hanley Ramirez hit a pair of homers and had 4 RBI. Someone told Hanley it’s May too, because as soon as the calendar changed, he got hot.

Twins 8, Indians 3:  Catcher Wilson Ramos, filling in for the injured Joe Mauer, gets four hits in his major league debut. That’s a pretty rare feat, as it has been 12 years since the last time someone had four hits in his major league debut. Francisco Liriano was relatively mortal for once, giving up three runs in seven innings, but he still struck out nine, and with 20 hits behind him, he didn’t need to throw a one-hitter or anything crazy like that.

If you’re wanting to nitpick I suppose you could wonder how a team that got 20 hits and five walks only scored eight runs, but I’m not really in the mood to nitpick: I have a whole box of baseball card show swag to mess with this morning, and that’s way more fulfilling than talking about hitting with runners in scoring position and all that jive.

There was another miscommunication between the Phillies and Pat Neshek

Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Back in June 2017, then-manager of the Phillies Pete Mackanin and reliever Pat Neshek had some miscommunication. In a series against the Cardinals, Neshek worked a five-pitch eighth inning and it was believed he would come back out for the ninth inning, but he never did. Mackanin said Neshek said he didn’t want to pitch another inning. Neshek said he was never asked. There was also some miscommunication the game prior. Neshek thought he had the day off; Mackanin said Neshek said he wasn’t available to pitch.

Mackanin is no longer the Phillies’ manager, but the miscommunication between Neshek and the team apparently persist. Neshek was notably absent during the Phillies’ hard-fought 5-4 win over the Cubs on Monday night. The game featured a struggling Seranthony Domínguez pitching two innings, yielding three crucial runs in his second inning of work.

Manager Gabe Kapler called the bullpen and instructed Neshek to begin warming up to prepare to face Albert Almora, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Kapler rang the bullpen after Domínguez walked Jason Heyward, who batted ahead of Almora. Neshek wasn’t warmed up yet. Domínguez was able to retire Almora on a sacrifice bunt, which was reviewed and gave Neshek some extra time to get ready. He was ready for the next batter, Daniel Descalso, but at this point Kapler no longer wanted to bring Neshek into the game. Descalso lined a triple to left-center field, scoring two runs and came home himself when shortstop Jean Segura‘s throw caromed off of his foot out of play.

Recounting the situation, Neshek said, “I got on the mound and threw two pitches. [Kapler] said, ‘Is he ready?’ And I said, ‘No. I’m not ready yet. I’ve thrown two pitches.” Neshek was asked how long it takes him to get ready. The veteran said, “A minute. Not 20 seconds. I’m, like, the best in the league at getting ready. My whole career has been coming in like that.”

The Phillies were able to eke out a 5-4 win. Had they lost the game, Kapler and Neshek would likely have been under the microscope for the awkward situation leading to a crushing defeat. Kapler drew plenty of criticism over his bullpen management last year in his rookie managerial season. That included bringing in lefty reliever Hoby Milner into a game in which he hadn’t yet warmed up.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that the manager who struggled with bullpen management last year nearly mucked up a win last night, and maybe it’s just a coincidence that a reliever who’s had prior issues with communication had another communication mix-up. Maybe it’s not. It’s worth noting that the Phillies needed three innings from the bullpen to protect a 2-1 lead over the Cubs on Tuesday. Kapler called on rookie Edgar Garcia for two outs, lefty José Álvarez for four, and then brought in Juan Nicasio to close things out in the ninth. No Neshek, even as Nicasio got into trouble. Nicasio would surrender the tying and go-ahead runs, resulting in a deflating 3-2 loss.