And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Reds 4, Brewers 3: Bronson Arroyo had a no-hitter through seven and then ended up with a no-decision. Guess that happens when you ask a starter who usually throws less than seven innings a start to go eight, eh?  Still a nice game until that eighth, and a win for the Redlegs.

Giants 2, Dodgers 0: Two games against the their division-leading rivals, two shutouts by the Giants. This one led by Ryan Vogelsong, who blanked L.A. for seven innings, out-pitching Clayton Kershaw. This is NOT the Dodgers team we saw in April and May. They have dropped seven of eight, being outscored 35-13 during that time.

Cubs 5, Mets 3: Anthony Rizzo’s Cubs debut: 2 for 4 with an RBI, with said RBI putting the Cubs ahead to stay in the fourth inning.

Cardinals 5, Marlins 2: Carlos Zambrano has blown up in the past when a fielder makes an error which leads to a big inning. Last night Zambrano made a throwing error in the first that led to five unearned runs. No word on whether he yelled at himself. In other news, Miami is in freefall mode, losers of 17 of their last 20.

Red Sox 5, Blues Jays 1: Aaron Laffey, pressed into service as a starter after spending the last couple of years in the pen, pitched really well, shutting out the Sox over six innings. Then the Jays pen came in and the Sox rallied for five runs in the seventh and eighth innings. That came against the backdrop of an effective Daisuke Matsuzaka start (5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 5K).

Rangers 7, Tigers 5: Yu Darvish struck out ten Tigers in seven innings and won his tenth game. Josh Hamilton homered for the second straight night, so maybe his recent swoon is ending.

Braves 8, Diamondbacks 1: Hudson beats Hudson. Tim over Daniel to be precise. The former cruised for eight innings, giving up a single run. The latter was beaten up for five in an inning and two-thirds before leaving with forearm tightness as the Braves racked up 17 hits against Dbacks pitching.

Angels 7, Orioles 3: Anaheim had 17 hits of their own last night — four of them homers — with everyone in the lineup reaching at least once and six guys having multiple hit nights. Brian Matusz gave up 13 of them in his five innings. The Angels have won 12 of 16 overall and 12 of their last 13 on the road.

Nationals 12, Rockies 5: Pfft, 17 hits? How about 21? Well, 21 may translate to something less than 17 after adjusting for Coors, but it was still quite an offensive eruption for the Nats, especially considering that 11 of them were for extra bases. Including Adam LaRoche, who hit two homers. Ian Desmond added a 4 for 5.

Yankees 6, Indians 4: Phil Hughes is something of an adventure. He pitched eight shutout innings last night after a start in which he gave up six to the Braves last Wednesday. Also an adventure: Cory Wade who allowed four runs to the Tribe in the ninth before Rafael Soriano had to be summoned on a night that didn’t figure to require a save before the ninth inning.

Phillies 5, Pirates 4: Carlos Ruiz had three hits and a homer to raise his average to .361. Man, where would Philly be without him?

Royals 8, Rays 2: A couple of errors by Sean Rodriguez put Chris Archer in the danger zone in the third inning, but Brandon Gomes allowing four runs in a third of an inning later on doomed any chance Tampa Bay had. Bruce Chen, meanwhile, pitched seven effective innings and Jeff Francoeur hit a three-run bomb to put the game out of reach. The Rays have dropped five of seven games.

White Sox 3, Twins 2: Chicago took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth behind Gavin Floyd’s seven shutout innings and Matt Thornton’s one, but then Addison Reed allowed two runs on two hits and a walk. He held on, though. Just wanted to make sure everyone was awake, you know.

Astros 5, Padres 1: Kip Wells got a spot start — his first big league action in years — and, not surprisingly, didn’t do that well (5 IP, 7 H, 5 ER and a run-scoring wild pitch).

Mariners 3, Athletics 2: Brendan Ryan hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth. I searched all over this this box score for something else interesting and I swear I couldn’t find anything.

Nats’ success shouldn’t be about Bryce Harper

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Bryce Harper turns 27 years old today. As an early birthday present, he got to watch his former team reach the World Series for the first time in franchise history. His new team finished exactly at .500 in fourth place, missing the playoffs. These were facts that did not go unnoticed as the Nationals completed an NLCS sweep of the Cardinals at home last night.

Harper spent seven seasons with the Nationals before hitting free agency and ultimately signing with the Phillies on a 13-million, $330 million contract. The Nationals offered Harper a 10-year, $300 million contract at the end of the 2018 regular season, but about $100 million of that was deferred until he was 65 which lowered the present-day value of the offer. The Nats’ offer wasn’t even in the same ballpark, really.

Nevertheless, Nationals fans were upset that their prodigy jilted them to go to the Phillies. He was mercilessly booed whenever the Phillies played in D.C. Nats fans’ Harper jerseys were destroyed, or at least taped over.

Harper, of course, was phenomenal with the Nationals. He won the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 2012, then won the NL MVP Award several years later with an historically outstanding 1.109 OPS while leading the league with 42 homers and 118 runs scored. Overall, as a National, he had a .900 OPS. Pretty good. He was also productive in the postseason, posting an .801 OPS across 19 games, mostly against playoff teams’ best starters and best relievers. Furthermore, if the Nats had Harper this year, he would have been in right field in lieu of Adam Eaton. Harper out OPS’d Eaton by 90 points and posted 2.5 more WAR in a similar amount of playing time. The Nationals would have been even better if they had Harper this year.

The Nationals lost all four Division Series they appeared in during the Harper era. 3-2 to the Cardinals in 2012, 3-1 to the Giants in ’14, 3-2 to the Dodgers in ’16, and 3-2 to the Cubs in ’17. They finally get over the hump the first year they’re without Harper, that’s the difference, right? I saw the phrase “addition by subtraction” repeatedly last night, referring to Harper and the Nats’ subsequent success without him.

Harper, though, didn’t fork over four runs to the Cardinals in the top of the ninth inning in Game 5 in 2012. He didn’t allow the Dodgers to rally for four runs in the seventh inning of Game 5 in ’16 before ultimately losing 4-3. He didn’t use a gassed Max Scherzer in relief in 2017’s Game 5, when he allowed five of the seven Cubs he faced to reach base, leading to three runs which loomed large in a 9-8 loss. If certain rolls of the dice in those years had gone the Nationals’ way, they would have appeared in the NLCS. They might’ve even been able to win a World Series.

The Nationals saw how that looks this year. It was the opposing manager this time, Dave Roberts, who mismanaged his bullpen. Howie Kendrick then hit a tie-breaking grand slam in the 10th inning off of Joe Kelly to win the NLDS for the Nats. The playoffs are random. Sometimes a ball bounces your way, sometimes an umpire’s call goes your way, and sometimes the opposing manager makes several unforced errors to throw Game 5 in your lap.

Reaching the World Series, then thumbing your nose while sticking out your tongue at Harper feels like a guy tagging his ex-girlfriend on his new wedding photos. It’s time to move on.