And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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I’m gonna be honest here: I didn’t want any games last night. Instead I watched “Serenity,” which seemed necessary after finishing up the entire 14-episode run of “Firefly” on the treadmill over the past couple of weeks.  The verdict: not bad, but I liked the series better. As “Star Trek: The Next Generation” showed, when you don’t have unlimited time and money for special effects, your drama is better. That said, watching Summer Glau go all killing machine on everything was pretty sweet.

Fun happening: As I was watching it, my daughter Mookie came downstairs to get a drink of water. I just introduced her to “Star Wars” recently. She saw a spaceship and said “is this ‘Star Wars?'”  I said no. Then she saw Mal and she said “but he’s just like Han Solo.”  From the mouths of babes.

Sorry. Got caught in a geek hole there for a second. Won’t happen again. At least until the next time it happens. The scores:

Twins 4, White Sox 1: Here’s how it is: I always love it when I tape a radio spot for an overnight show and then, after taping but before it airs, something happens that makes whatever I said on the show sound dumb. Stuff like “Carl Pavano is kind of a mess,” which is what I said on the show I was on last night. Pavano: CG, 6 H, 1 ER.

Red Sox 3, Rays 0: Something else that made me sound retro-stupid: I exchanged some emails with HBT Daily’s Tiffany Simons yesterday, talking about potential segment topics. One of them was to riff on some ESPN reader poll about who the four or five best pitchers in baseball are, a list which included Josh Beckett. I went on about how Beckett doesn’t belong and then a few hours later he tosses a freakin’ one-hitter. Shows you what I know. And hey, Mitt was in the house!

Nationals 10, Cardinals 0: Livan Hernandez really took St. Louis to the cleaners. You could even say he laundered ’em. Eh, OK, that was a little forced. Still: CG SHO 3 H, 6K.

Rockies 6, Padres 3: From the actual AP game story:

Jhoulys Chacin is starting to make a name for himself, even if few can properly pronounce it.  For the record, it’s yo-LEES cha-SEEN.

I can’t say I ever saw that in a game story. But hey, at least I know how to pronounce it now.

Reds 7, Dodgers 2: Cincy sweeps the Dodgers, taking this one thanks to three hits and three RBI from Scott Rolen. Oh, and it was Dusty Baker’s birthday yesterday. He turned 62. Which means that he’s about eight months younger than my mom. Which is kind of weird to think about.

Phillies 8, Marlins 1; Phillies 5, Marlins 4: I’m sure all of you placed large wagers on Kyle Kendrick having a more dominant outing than Roy Halladay and are now on your way to your bookie’s place to collect your winnings?

Blue Jays 4, Orioles 1: Ricky Romero had 12Ks in eight innings and the Jays had three homers. None from Jose Bautista, though, who has had a very mortal June. I guess he stopped taking all of those undetectable steroids once John Harper of the Daily News got on his trail during that series in New York.

Indians 6, Tigers 4: The Tribe rallied from being down 3-0 in the fourth and Orlando Cabrera put them ahead in the fifth. O-Cab (eh, why not?) was 3 for 4 with two RBI. Cleveland is back in first place by percentage points.

Yankees 12, Rangers 4: When the Yankees lineup for the game was announced yesterday afternoon, all the Yankees fans on my Twitter feed bitched and moaned about Jones, Nunez, Cervelli and Pena filling up the back end of the lineup. Guess it was OK, because for the second night in a row the Yankees win by a 12-4 score. This time some of the 12 came courtesy of two Mark Teixeira home runs.

Brewers 9, Cubs 5: Rickie Weeks homered and hit two doubles, powering Milwaukee into sole possession of first place in the Central. For Chicago, I defer to an email I got from reader Kerry N., who had a few observations about the “strength” of this Cubs lineup:

How do you know when you need a new left fielder?  When he’s batting 7th.  Blake DeWitt can’t even get ABs as a backup middle infielder, but tonight he starts in a corner outfield slot. But wait, there’s more!  The Cubs starting OF had four home runs coming into tonight.  Reed did just hit another, but … wow.

It’s always more satisfying to outsource criticism of a team to a fan, because only a fan can truly capture a team’s faults.

Giants 5, Diamondbacks 2: Madison Bumgarner gave up a couple of homers — which he doesn’t do very often — but he was otherwise effective and the Giants gave him some run support, which they don’t do often.

Pirates 7, Astros 3: Xavier Paul came in as a pinch hitter and doubled, so he stayed in the game and then hit a two-run homer and a single. Neil Walker drove in three. Pittsburgh is a over .500 now.

Mariners 3, Angels 1: Seeing Erik Bedard effective (7IP, 3 H, 0 ER) is not the most surprising thing in the world because he’s an excellent pitcher. Seeing him actually take the ball every fifth day, however, is kind of strange.

Mets 4 Braves 0: Probably good that I watched “Serenity,” because if’n I was going to watch baseball, I probably would have watched this and would have been been dealt the dual frustrations of long rain delays and Dillon Gee totally flummoxing my team. The Braves mustered only two hits on this long night. The Mets are at .500.

Athletics 2, Royals 1: Josh Outman shuts out Kansas City on four hits over seven innings. Bob Melvin gets his first win as an A’s manager at home, delighting the no doubt dozens in attendance.

Alex Bregman shows how easy it is to manufacture “controversy” in baseball

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In most sports it takes legitimate trash talk to create off-day “controversy.” In baseball, it takes the weakest sauce. We saw how weak that sauce was yesterday.

Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros are going to face off against Nate Eovaldi and the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALCS tonight. It’s worth noting that earlier this season, they hit back-to-back-to-back home runs off of Eovaldi when he was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Yesterday, in an act which was likely somewhat inspired by self-motivation, somewhat inspired by getting in Eovaldi’s head and somewhat inspired by a simple interest in having fun, Bregman took the video of those back-to-back-to-back homers off of Eovaldi and posted it to his Instagram:

Of course, since this is baseball, where even farting off-key can be construed as “showing up” the opposition or somehow disrespecting the game, it became a thing. Or at least people tried to make it become a thing.

Indeed, it took them a bit to find someone who would help them make it a thing, because Eovaldi himself didn’t care about it a bit, nor did Astros manager A.J. Hinch or Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Eventually, however, they hit pay dirt. Here’s Sox infielder Steve Pearce talking to WEEI.com:

“Wow. I don’t know why he would do that. We do our talking on the field. If he wants to run his mouth now we’ll see who is talking at the end of the series.”

My guess is that almost no one on the planet, Steve Pearce included, would care about this in a vacuum or if they allowed themselves to think through it for more than a second. Baseball culture, though — and let’s be clear about it, baseball media culture — has conditioned most of its players and participants to think that stuff like this is supposed to be controversial, so it actually takes effort not to start dancing to this kind of tune on auto-pilot.

Kudos to Hinch, Cora and Eolvaldi for exerting that effort and not dancing to it. To the press that automatically sought out comment on this and Pearce who dutifully gave it: hey, I get it. It’s hard to resist one’s conditioning. Maybe you’ll be able to resist it next time.