And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Indians 3, Blue Jays 0: Amazing! A perfect game for Len Barker! It was cold and damp at Municipal Stadium last night, so it must have been hard to hit anyway, but regardless, Barker’s stuff was incredible.  He never even reached ball three against any Blue Jay hitter.  This Barker looks so fantastic that I’d be fine with my Braves trading away, oh,  Brett Butler, Brook Jacoby, Rick Behenna and $150,000 cash for him two years from now.

At least I assume this game happened last night, as it was on the channel that normally broadcasts Indians games around here. I watched it and, because it is my job, I dutifully report it to you. Gotta admit, though: it’s strange that the Blue Jays would sign Danny Ainge at this point. He’s 52-years-old for cryin’ out loud.

Mets 9, Rockies 5: Carlos Beltran. Carlos Beltran. Carlos Beltran. 3 for 5, 3 HR, 6 RBI.  And I assume that there are still Mets fans who think he’s one of the team’s big problems. For Colorado: Ubaldo Jimenez walked six in three and two-thirds.

Orioles 2, Mariners 1: Wow! Both starters — Jason Vargas and Zach Britton — shut out the opposition for nine innings and neither got a decision. Then, after Seattle finally broke through for a run in the top of the 12th, Baltimore strikes back with a single, two straight hit batsmen (really, Brandon League?) and a walkoff RBI single by J.J. Hardy.  Thirty-year-old perfect games are great and all, but I’m kind of pissed I didn’t watch this one.  I don’t know what it was like live, but I’ve got a pretty good sense of box scores, and this one reads like a ton of fun for pitching and randomness junkies like me.

Braves 6, Nationals 5: There were times in both of the first two games of this series when I said to myself “man, the Braves had a chance to win this, and blew it.”  In this one all I could say is “the Braves had no business winning this one but did.”  Or maybe they did in some ass backwards way inasmuch as Martin Prado and Brian McCann and a host of other talented Braves hitters could not be expected to continue to not come through as often as they have not come through in key spots so far this year (believe me; as I write that sentence on Thursday evening, it makes sense to me).  Anyway, a Prado grand slam tied things up in the seventh and a Brian McCann RBI single in the 10th won it, averting the sweep at the hands of the pesky Nats.

Royals 11, Yankees 5: A good old fashioned woodshedding. This series win for Kansas City has to make some of us who have been assuming the Royals will simply wither and die take heed.  They beat the crap out of the ball, and holding the Yankees to 11 runs in three games in their home park is pretty impressive in its own right. Oh, and Eric Hosmer: 3 for 5, 2B, HR and 3 RBI.

Giants 3, Diamondbacks 2: Matt Cain allowed two runs on seven hits in seven and two-thirds. And check out this throw by Nate Schierholtz to nail Gerardo Parra trying to stretch a single into a double. Mercy.  That’s six straight wins for San Francisco.

Rays 7, Indians 4: I hit this one up yesterday.  Rather strange to have a day-night double header with two different teams, but whatever. Kind of shocked not see Joe Charboneau play both ends of this one.

Cardinals 9, Cubs 1: Another great start for Jaime Garcia, who ups his record to 5-0 with a 1.89 ERA. Not too strong for Casey Coleman, who continues to be a disaster. Jon Jay fills in for Lance Berkman in right and goes 3 for 6 with a double and 3 RBI. Maybe it’s just something about right field on the Cardinals this year.  Either way, doppelganger Tony La Russa approves.

Dodgers vs. Pirates: POSTPONED: I try to tie all of these into a rain theme of some sort, and the first thing that popped into my head here was “I bless the rains down in Africa” from the Toto song “Africa.”  Which then led me to find this wonderful, irony-drenched cover of “Africa” by Low. And no, no amount of irony can atone for lyrics like “sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti.”  Note to simile writers: when the thing you’re comparing something to (Olympus) is less impressive than the thing you’re comparing (Kilimanjaro), your simile has failed.

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.