And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Torrealba dropping popup.jpgDodgers 1, Padres 0: The Dodgers sweep the West-leading Padres despite being two-hit. Maybe
I’m being overly pessimistic, but I’m starting to get the feeling that
you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look west, and with the
right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark — that
place where the Padres’ wave finally broke and rolled back.

Reds 7, Cardinals 2: “Their hitters were on, their pitcher was on. They just beat us,” Tony La Russa said after the game, declining to offer some lame, hair-splitting excuse or citation to some obscure rule or custom following a loss for the first time since anyone can recall. The Reds win for the eighth time in ten games and are now in first place
in the NL Central. It’s the first time a team other than the Cardinals
has held that slot since last July.

Giants 4, Astros 3: According to the game story, several Astros’ players
walked the two miles from their team hotel to AT&T Park when taxis
refused to drive around the hubub caused by the annual Bay to Breakers foot
race
. He’ll deny it until the cows come home, but I have it on
pretty good authority that Brett Myers joined in with the runners for
three-quarters of a mile wearing buttless leather pants, as is the
custom for many of the race’s participants.

Twins 6, Yankees 3: You don’t see the Yankees suffer a bullpen implosion like this very often, as Joba loaded the bases and Rivera walked one in and then allowed a grand slam to Jason Kubel. Thank God Javier Vazquez is being sent down to the pen to help those amateurs out.

Tigers 5, Red Sox 1: Neither John Lackey nor the Boston bats were very sharp yesterday, with the former allowing nine hits and walking four, and the latter mustering only seven hits of their own. A two-run homer for Ramon Santiago may be even more rare than that Yankees bullpen implosion.

Angels 4, Athletics 0: Remember over the winter when everyone was not signing Joel Piniero because, um, well, I can’t really remember why, but I’m sure they were very good reasons (CG, SHO, 1 BB, 5K).

Rockies 2, Nationals 1: Jeff Francis didn’t get the win but he was the man of the day, allowing one run on seven hits over seven. Most of the seven hits weren’t all that hard, either. If Colorado is going to shake off the cobwebs and jump into this race, Francis’ return to form will be necessary.

Royals 5, White Sox 3: Brian Bannister after his win: “It was a good enough outing, not a great outing. I
was savvy. I always try to be savvy.”  I can’t decide if that quote is awesome or lame.

Cubs 4, Pirates 3: The Pirates bullpen has actually done a pretty spiffy job of protecting the late leads they have had, but they didn’t do it yesterday, walking dudes and throwing pitches in the dirt and stuff. Xavier Nady had the game winning hit.

Rays 2, Mariners 1: Cliff Lee took a 1-0 lead into the seventh having allowed only two hits, but then doubles by B.J. Upton and Sean Rodriguez tied it and an eighth inning Carl Crawford triple + sac fly gave the Rays the win. Tough luck loss for Lee, who struck out ten.

Braves 13, Diamondbacks 1: Martin Prado went crazy, going 4 for 6 with two homers, as the Braves offense continues to wake up from its season-long slumber. Nice day for Tim Hudson who, while he’s been doing OK, hadn’t been striking out too many fellas. I’ll take six Ks in eight innings against one walk, though.

Indians 5, Orioles 1: Jake Westbrook has won two in a row, allowing only two runs in fifteen innings. Sure, those were against the Royals and Orioles, but you figure a couple of the GMs to whom the Indians will be offering Westbrook this summer will fail to realize that.

Marlins 10, Mets 8: A day on which good fundamental baseball laid down and died for the Mets results in their fifth straight loss and seventh of eight. Chris Coghlan pinch hit in the seventh inning and fouled off six two-strike pitches before hitting a three-run jack which is always fun. Jonathan Niese hurt his hamstring, which is scary considering he needed surgery on it last year. 

Blue Jays 5, Rangers 2: Brandon Morrow on the mechanical flaw he fixed prior to this game: “When I’m really bad mechanically, like I was in Boston, I have a
tendency to break down on my back side and become really rotational and
spin open.”  I hate it when that happens.

Phillies 4, Brewers 2: Six straight losses at home for the Brew Crew. On the bright side, this is the only one of those six losses that was even remotely close.

Adrián Beltré is a slam dunk Hall of Famer

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Rangers third baseman Adrián Beltré officially announced his retirement on Tuesday, ending months of speculation about his future. The 39-year-old put together one of the greatest careers we have ever seen, spending time with the Dodgers, Mariners, Red Sox, and Rangers across 21 seasons.

Beltré will be eligible for the Hall of Fame five years from now. Given how much more analytically-literate the electorate has become in recent years, Beltré will very likely get the requisite 75 percent of the vote to earn enshrinement in Cooperstown. In a just world, he would get 100 percent of the vote, but no player has ever gone into the Hall of Fame unanimously.

Beltré retires having hit .286/.339/.480 with 477 home runs, 1,707 RBI, 1,524 runs scored, and 121 stolen bases in 12,130 plate appearances. Beltré hit for the cycle three times: in 2008 with the Mariners, and in 2012 and 2015 with the Rangers. He won four Silver Sluggers and made the All-Star team four times, both of which seem criminally low. He also won five Gold Gloves and two Platinum Gloves. For the bulk of his career, he was arguably the best defensive third baseman if not just in his league then in all of baseball. Injuries slowed Beltré in his 30’s, particularly in the last two seasons, but despite that, he showed when he was healthy that he could still hang with the young guns in his old age. No one would have been surprised if he hung around for one more season. Despite health issues, Beltré still hit around the league average with above-average defense.

Among Hall of Famers who played at least 50 percent of their career games at third base, Beltré’s career 95.7 WAR ranks behind only Mike Schmidt (106.8) and Eddie Mathews (96.6), per Baseball Reference. He’s ahead of Wade Boggs (91.4), George Brett (88.7), and Chipper Jones (85.2). Those six are the only third basemen in the 80’s when it comes to WAR.

As Jon Morosi points out, Beltré is the only third baseman in baseball history with 3,000-plus hits and 400-plus home runs. Individually, the 3,000-hit club boasts only 32 members while the 400-homer club has 55 members. Beltré’s 3,166 hits and 477 homes rank 16th and 30th, respectively.

Beltré’s numbers are absurdly good, but beyond that, he was a character. He took the game quite seriously, but he was still able to have fun. He became one of the most .gif-able players in the game. Beltré didn’t like his head being touched, so when he approached or went through the dugout collecting high-fives after hitting home runs, his teammates would oftentimes playfully pat him or rub his head. Beltré would pretend to go after them in revenge.

Beltré once borrowed groundskeeping equipment in order to avoid Gatorade baths.

Beltré wasn’t afraid to drop to one knee to hit a homer, either.

Beltré played games with his opponents after successfully swiping a base.

Beltré got into standoffs with opposing players, further proving he’s anything but an easy out.

Beltré made relevant cultural references.

Beltré once trolled the umpire, who asked him to get back into the on-deck circle, by moving the on-deck circle.

Happy trails to not only one of the best players of his generation, but to one of the most entertaining as well. Baseball will be poorer without Adrián Beltré. His Hall of Fame induction ceremony should be tremendous, though.