And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Dodgers
6, Reds 2
: Clayton Kershaw gave up one run on seven hits with seven
strikeouts. At least one of those strikeouts was baloney, though.  Check out the call here by Hunter Wendelstedt.
Rolen and Dusty Baker got run, sure, but it’s not like they didn’t have
a beef. Bonus: lip readers among you can easily figure out exactly what
Dusty thought of that call!

Braves 6, Rays 2:  Things I haven’t had to say in several years: the Braves win, staying just ahead of the Mets in the race for the N.L. East lead. Seven scoreless innings for Tommy Hanson, who looked pretty damn dominant.

Mets 8, Indians 4: I totally should have gone up to Progressive Field to watch this one from the Tribe Social Deck. Why? Because for the first time this year a home run was hit into the assembled bloggeratti. What’s more, it was hit by Shelley Duncan!  If I had been there, my daughter Anna would have gotten a souvenir from her favorite player. That is, if I could have fought off the vicious, vicious bloggers.

Rangers 6, Marlins 3: Michael Young broke the Rangers’ all-time hit record, passing Ivan Rodriguez.  I’m going to go out on a limb and guess 3-5:  Pete O’Brien, Bump Wills and Cesar Tovar. Am I right? Nah, don’t bother looking. I’m pretty sure I’m right.

Red Sox 6, Diamondbacks 2: The young starter goes seven strong, many contribute on offense and the home team wins 6-2. So this was pretty much a carbon copy of the Braves-Rays game. Well, except for Dustin Pedroia hitting a home run and then, after the game saying I’m strong – I drink milk.”

Angels 5, Brewers 1: Pfun stupf: Brandon Wood played shortstop. I did not know he did that. Were it the late 1960s or early 19-teens, his bat might even play there.

Blue Jays 7, Padres 1: John Buck hit his third home run of the series. Yesterday’s smacked off the balcony on the fourth floor of the Western Metal Supply Co.
Building in the left-field corner. You can hit the ball farther than that to other parts of the park and not get a homer, but it’s more impressive to measure home runs in building-based units such as supply companies, railroad warehouses and the like.

Phillies 6, Yankees 3: Jamie Moyer goes eight innings, allowing only three hits and Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth hit back-to-back homers for the first time in forever. By the way, the thing in all the game stories — Jamie Moyer is the oldest pitcher to ever beat the Yankees! — is another of those silly, “we’re only talking about it because it’s a New York team” things. Moyer is the oldest pitcher to beat a whole bunch of teams, I’d imagine, and we generally don’t care. But because he’s facing New York, which means that there are a bunch more writers covering it, all of whom are looking for an angle, we get factoids disguised as records like this one.

Giants 6, Orioles 3: Lincecum allowed eight hits, walked four and got smacked in the shoulder with a batted ball, but he also struck out ten Orioles and got the win.  His shoulder will be OK — Bruce Bochy says ’tis but a scratch; a mere flesh wound — but he certainly ain’t making anything easy for himself this year.

Tigers 8, Nationals 3: I’ve been waiting, not eagerly or anything, but waiting all the same, for the real Livan Hernandez to show himself this year. And that he did, giving up eight runs on seven hits in six and two-thirds, while issuing six free passes. Verlander had 11K. Brennan Boesch continues being a beast, going 3-4 with a homer and 4 RBI.

White Sox 7, Pirates 2: Pedro Alvarez was 0-2 with a strikeout, a walk and scored a run in his debut, but that and $5.79 will get you a knockwurst & cheese at Primanti Bros., because the Pirates lost again. Alvarez had an error too, but he wasn’t alone as Pittsburgh committed six of them. John Danks handcuffed the Pirates all night, but these days so too would the pitching machine from a fun-park batting cage. Yellow balls and everything.

Cubs 6, Athletics 2: Derek Lee was 2-4 with a homer, breaking up his current slump. Or maybe just interrupting it. When does anything really begin, anyway? And let us not forget, today is the first day of the rest of your life.

Twins 2, Rockies 1: Scott Baker was positively Strasburgian: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 12K.  And he needed to be as the Twins couldn’t do much more off the Rockies.

Mariners 2, Cardinals 1: Matt Holliday struck out with the tying run at third in the eighth inning and went 0 for 4 on the night. You have to assume he’ll hit soon enough, but its understandable why Cardinals fans are starting to get restless about him.

Astros 4, Royals 2: Oswalt holds the Royals — who unleashed a 15-run attack the night before — to two runs on six hits. If he can get two more wins before he gets traded, he’ll be the Astros’ all-time win leader. Joe Niekro holds the mark right now at 144.

Red Sox look to punch their ticket to the World Series tonight

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Thanks to some amazing defense, some big hits and — to continue to beat this horse, a bad call by Joe West — the Red Sox have a 3-1 lead in the ALCS and look to clinch the AL Pennant tonight down in Houston.

If you believe in momentum, you’d have to say it’s on Boston’s side. If you believe that momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher, however, you’d have to say things favor Houston more than the standing of the series would suggest. All of which makes me wish Game 5 was starting right now, because it figures to be a tense and exciting affair.

ALCS Game 5

Red Sox vs. Astros
Ballpark: Minute Maid Park
Time: 8:09 PM Eastern
TV: TBS
Pitchers: David Price vs. Justin Verlander
Breakdown:

If someone told you that you had to win one baseball game against the Martians to save the human race, you could do far worse than calling on Justin Verlander to be your starting pitcher. Among the pitchers still in the postseason, he’d almost certainly be your choice right now.

Does Verlander himself appreciate the situation? This is what he said about that yesterday:

“I mean, these are all must-win games at this point. Every time you take the mound I don’t think there’s any difference whether it’s 2-2 or 3-1.”

Look, we’re asking him to beat the Martians here, not win the National Math Bee, so let’s let that go. The point is that after all of these years he’s still one of the most dominant pitchers in the game and after the exhausting, see-saw battle of Game 4, he stands the best chance of giving Houston what it needs: a quick, quiet and drama-free win.

Not that the Red Sox are likely to roll over for that. They didn’t the first time they faced Verlander in this series. They Astros won, yes, and Verlander limited them to two runs on two hits. But he also issued four walks and wasn’t his sharpest overall. Boston didn’t capitalize on his mistakes as best they could, but he’s not invincible.

For Boston it’s David Price. He allowed four runs on five hits and four walks over four and two-thirds innings in Game 2, not factoring in the decision. That’s not great, but given the talk leading up to that game being all about how Price is a postseason flop, the fact that the Sox won it in the end had to bouy him at least a little. As does the fact that, here, tonight, it’s not 100% on his shoulders. Sure, the Sox want to close this out, but with a 3-1 lead there is less pressure on Price than on his former teammate Verlander. Worth noting, though: Price is on short rest and warmed up in the bullpen last night in case he was needed to bail out Craig Kimbrel. He may not go deep into this game.