And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Marlins 2, Phillies 1: The pitcher’s duel was as good as advertised, as neither offense broke out against Roy Halladay or Josh Johnson, each of whom pitched well enough to win even though neither did. This one was decided on the basis of mistakes. One of them was Halladay’s, as he inexplicably walked Johnson in the third inning — the first time he had ever walked a pitcher — and watched as he came around to score on a sac fly.  In the eighth the mistake was by Jimmy Rollins whose error allowed Omar Infante to reach and then Halladay, as his wild pitch let Infante get to second before scoring on a Chris Coghlan single.

Giants 1, Diamondbacks 0: Like Halladay and Johnson, I suppose Tim Lincecum (8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 9K) and Ian Kennedy (8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 8K) simply don’t know how to win.  The game’s only run scores on a Cody Ross single in the bottom of the ninth.

Mets 4, Rockies 3: Mike Pelfrey allowed three hits in six innings and drove in two with an RBI double. But as the box score establishes, he knows how to win. And because he won, he was clearly better than Halladay, Johnson, Lincecum and Kennedy last night. See how this works?

Rangers 7, Athletics 2: The Rangers scored their first run of the game on a bases-loaded walk. Lawyer ball, man.

Indians 5, Rays 4: Tampa Bay battled back after being down two in the seventh, but then Joel Peralta lost the thread  in the bottom of the ninth with a walk, a single, and then an intentional walk to load the bases with no one out.  He made way for Kyle Farnsworth who, despite having a nice year so far could not have been expected to put that fire out. He induced one out on a grounder, but the subsequent bases-loaded walk to Michael Brantley to end the game was rather Farnsworthy.

Cardinals 6, Cubs 4: No runs batted in, but a 4 for 5 night for Albert Pujols is encouraging. Unless you’re into silly speculation anyway. Daniel Descalso was the hero, driving in two on a single off Kerry Wood in the eighth to break the 4-4 tie.

Nationals 7, Braves 6: We all laughed at Chip Caray’s “Line drive! Base hit! Caught out there!” call from the playoffs a couple of years ago, but he really does have a hard time picking up the trajectory of the ball off the bat. In the ninth inning of this one Brooks Conrad hit a fly ball that, had it gone out, would have tied the game. Caray’s call made it sound like the Giants just won the 1951 pennant … before it was caught by Roger Bernadina.  Just annoying.  Although not as annoying as Tim Hudson not having his best stuff and the Braves being unable to do anything against Jason Marquis until the eighth inning.  The comeback was nice, but too little, too late.

Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 6: Jon Lester didn’t have it, giving up five runs on seven hits and walking five more. I didn’t watch any of it, but the box score makes it look like an ugly one. Jose Iglesias’ first official major league at bat resulted in a strikeout on which he reached first base due to the catcher muffing it. So that’s fun.

Yankees 3, Royals 1: Derek Jeter was 2 for 4 and drove one in while A-Rod drove in two, so that should hold off the “Oh noes! A-Rod and Jeter!” articles for a couple of days. Indeed, Jeter has a seven game hitting streak in which he’s 13 for 32 (.406).  Freddy Garcia allowed one run in six innings. I watched a couple of innings of this one here and there while the Phillies game was in a commercial and I remain just as surprised today as I did ten years ago that a guy like Garcia, who looks like he exerts as little effort as he does out there, still manages to get guys out. There’s probably some sort of lesson in that somewhere.

Dodgers 10, Pirates 3: After a prolonged offensive slump the Dodgers pounced on the Buccos for ten runs on fifteen hits, including a three-run jack for Matt Kemp. Indeed, the Dodgers’ 1-4 hitters were a combined 10 for 18 with six RBI. Andrew McCutchen hit two home runs in a losing cause. Unless he has his own agenda, of course, in which case his motives are inscrutable at best. No man knows what another thinks. Not really.

Reds 7, Astros 3: Homer Bailey turns in his second straight solid outing. More than solid, really, pretty damn fantastic: seven shutout innings on five hits with 5Ks and no walks. And Joey Votto did Joey Votto things like smack multiple extra base hits and drive in runs. Aroldis Chapman was terrible, though, walking four guys and hitting another while retiring no one to start off the eighth inning. And it wasn’t the first time he has struggled this year. Indeed, he has been unable to locate the strike zone for three straight outings. Something to keep your eye on.

Brewers 8, Padres 6: San Diego spotted Milwaukee an eight run lead and, despite the comeback, that was just too much to overcome. Jonathan Lucroy was 3 for 4 with three RBI. A strong outing from Shaun Marcum last night. A strong one from Zack Greinke on Monday. It’s almost the way they drew it up over the winter.

Orioles 7, Mariners 6:  Seattle took the lead in the 13th inning but Baltimore scored two on Felix Pie and Matt Weiters singles in the bottom of the inning to give the O’s the game.

Angels 6, White Sox 2: Alberto Callaspo drove in three runs. Howie Kendrick started in left field for the first time ever and didn’t get a ball hit to him.

Tigers 10, Twins 2: Someone asked me last week what I thought the chances were of Francisco Liriano having a strong outing in the wake of his no hitter. You can choose to believe me or not, but I swear that my answer was “slim and none.”  His no hitter wasn’t the result of some mechanical breakthrough or a step forward in the quality of his stuff. It just happened by good fortune and some poor offense by the White Sox. Last night he had the usual stuff working but less fortune and, despite the extra rest, he was coming off his longest ever start. Ergo: 3 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 3 BB. If the hail doesn’t come to chase him random illness doesn’t get to him, he still loses this game. Victor Martinez was 3 for 4 with a couple of doubles and 4 RBI.

Mookie Betts, Christian Yelich win MVP Awards

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Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts and Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich were announced on Thursday evening as the winners of the 2018 Most Valuable Player Awards as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Betts, 26, led baseball with a .346 batting average, a .640 slugging percentage, and 129 runs scored. He also put together a .438 on-base percentage with 32 home runs, 80 RBI, and 30 stolen bases while ranking among the best defensive outfielders. According to Baseball Reference, Betts was worth 10.9 WAR, the highest total by a position player since Barry Bonds in 2002 (11.8). It was the 21st time a player compiled a 10.9 WAR or better since 1871. The others to do it along with Betts and Bonds: Cal Ripken, Jr., Joe Morgan, Carl Yastrzemski, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, Ty Cobb, and Honus Wagner.

Betts is the first Red Sox player to win the MVP Award since second baseman Dustin Pedroia in 2008. Other members of the Red Sox to win the award include Mo Vaughn (1995), Roger Clemens (1986), Jim Rice (1978), Fred Lynn (1975), Carl Yastrzemski (1967), Jackie Jensen (1958), Ted Williams (1946, ’49), Jimmie Foxx (1938), and Tris Speaker (1912).

Angels outfielder Mike Trout and J.D. Martinez each received one first-place vote with Betts receiving the other 28. Trout finished in second place with 265 overall points, Indians infielder José Ramírez finished third with 208, and Martinez finished fourth with 198. They were followed by Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor, Matt Chapman, Khris Davis, Blake Snell, Justin Verlander, Mitch Haniger, Aaron Judge, Xander Bogaerts, José Altuve, Blake Treinen, Andrelton Simmons, Whit Merrifield, Edwin Díaz, Giancarlo Stanton, Didi Gregorius, Jed Lowrie, Trevor Bauer, Aaron Hicks, and Chris Sale.

Trout is now one of four players to finish second in MVP Award voting four times, joining Stan Musial, Ted Williams, and Albert Pujols. Trout was the runner-up behind Miguel Cabrera in 2012-13 and Josh Donaldson in 2015.

Yelich, 26, led the National League with a .326 batting average, a .598 slugging percentage, and a 1.000 OPS. He also put up a .402 on-base percentage with 36 home runs, 110 RBI, 118 runs scored, and 22 stolen bases while playing above-average defense in the outfield.

Yelich is the first member of the Brewers to win the MVP Award since outfielder Ryan Braun in 2011. The other Brewers to have won the MVP Award are Robin Yount (1982, ’89) and Rollie Fingers (1981).

Nearly a unanimous choice, Yelich was voted in first place on 29 of 30 ballots with NL Cy Young Award winner getting the other first-place vote. Cubs infielder Javier Baéz finished in second place with 250 points and Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado finished in third place with 203 points. They were followed by Freddie Freeman, deGrom, Paul Goldschmidt, Lorenzo Cain, Trevor Story, Matt Carpenter, Max Scherzer, Anthony Rendon, Ronald Acuña Jr., Aaron Nola, Justin Turner, Max Muncy, Jesús Aguilar, Anthony Rizzo, Nick Markakis, and Eugenio Suarez.

Coincidentally, both MVP Award winners hit for the cycle this season. Betts achieved it on August 9 while Yelich did it twice, on August 29 and September 17. Yelich also finished two home runs and one RBI short of the Triple Crown.

The BBWAA voters submitted their ballots before the start of the postseason, so the fact that the Red Sox won the World Series and that the Brewers made it to Game 7 of the NLCS had no impact on the award results. That the Red Sox won a franchise record 108 games during the regular season and the Brewers won the NL Central tiebreaker over the Cubs certainly could have been factors for many voters, however.