And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Dodgers 4, Giants, 0: I watched part of this game with my kids after they got home from school. When they were showing the lineups, they showed Clayton Kershaw’s career .146 average and my son asked me why it was so low compared to the other players’. I explained to him that pitchers can’t really bat. I am thankful that we changed it over to the Tigers-Twins game before Kershaw hit that homer because I’d hate for my son to question his father’s wisdom.

Brewers 5, Rockies 4: I saw a guy in Arizona last month wearing a “Lucroy is my homeboy” t-shirt. You earn that shirt with walkoff sac-flies, right?

Cubs 3, Pirates 1: Jeff Samardzija allowed only two hits while striking out nine. And extended a streak, now entering its sixth year, in which I never actually type his name out, preferring instead to copy and paste it. Really, if I ever receive a call from someone telling me they’ve taken a loved one hostage and to free them I have to spell “Samardzija,” they’re pretty much already dead.

Mets 11, Padres 2: The Mets continue to kick butt in home openers, this being their 20th win in their last 22 Opening Days at Shea/Citi. Jon Niese pitched effectively into the seventh, had two hits, an RBI and scored a run. But really, I’m still telling my kids pitchers can’t hit.

Tigers 4, Twins 2: So cold that Justin Verlander actually wore a long-sleeved shirt under his jersey. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen that. But by far the coolest thing in the whole game was when Prince Fielder scored from third on a wild pitch. That man may be big, but he friggin’ moves. I bet he’s faster than several other first baseman in the game which, given his size, would not be something that would get you good betting odds. But I bet it’s true.

Nationals 2, Marlins 0: Harper + Strasburg = wins. That’s an equation that’s gonna hold together for several years. Two homers for the guy I picked to be the NL MVP mere hours before the first pitch of the game. Keep making me look smart, Bryce, and I’m gonna say even more nice things about you.

White Sox 1, Royals 0: Chris Sale outduels James Shields, pitching seven and two-thirds of shutout ball. Tyler Flowers’ homer was all the support he needed.

Red Sox 8, Yankees 2: Just a whole lot of blah for New York. It’s way, way too early to worry about CC Sabathia — anyone remember how bad he started out in 2008? And in a lot of other years — but in a year when the Yankees HAVE to have the rotation come through for them, this is not encouraging. Neither is a 3:37 game time for a ballgame this sloppy. But for two teams undergoing so much roster upheaval lately, that has to be some sort of comforting bit of continuity, yes?

Angels 3, Reds 1: Chris Iannetta was the hero, hitting a solo homer in the third and a bases-loaded single in the 13th inning to account for all of the Halos’ runs. Guessing Mike Scioscia and Dusty Baker were not really planning on Game One taking 12 pitchers between them. Insert that thing about battle plans never surviving engagement with the enemy.

Braves 7, Phillies 5: Three homers off Cole Hamels for Atlanta, which is pretty much how the Braves rolled all spring training and which is pretty much how most of their wins will go down this year. All season there will likely be a lot of feast/famine, methinks. Oh, and Fredi Gonzalez intentionally walked Michael Young once. That actually happened.

Diamondbacks 6, Cardinals 2: Arizona rattled out 15 hits — seven of which were doubles — giving the newly-extended Adam Wainwright a bad first game of the rest of his life. Meanwhile, Ian Kennedy allowed only two hits over seven innings while striking out eight. Gerardo Parra had three of those doubles in his four hits.

Mariners 2, Athletics 0: Felix Hernandez had a much better night among the newly-extended pitchers: seven and two-thirds innings, no runs, two hits, eight strikeouts. Both M’s runs came on a Franklin Gutierrez double. This may be the only day of the season Gutierrez isn’t suffering from some mystery ailment or 19th century disease, but it is nice to see him play when he is healthy.

And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 4, Mariners 3: A pair of first inning two-run homers — from Aaron Judge and Miguel Andujar — were all the Yankees needed, even with a less-sharp-than-usual Luis Severino.

In other news, reporters asked Aaron Boone after the game yesterday if the Yankees are too reliant on homers. Boone was, quite understandably, incredulous that someone was asking him that.

Can someone please tell me why people who cover the Yankees, nearly every single year, go through a “are the Yankees too reliant on home runs?” phase? Seriously, go search “Yankees” and some variation of “home run-reliant” or “home run-dependent” or whatever. It’s an evergreen. Hell, they did it TEN DAYS AGO. As if hitting homers is bad. I mean, I know I’m not a seasoned beat reporter and don’t know nothin, but I’m pretty sure homers are awesome and are literally the best thing you can do when you’re batting.

John: “I hit a double.”
Charlie: “I hit a homer.”

CHARLIE WINS

My god, if you can’t think of an angle, at least stop going back to the tired and dumb ones you take every year. Or, at the very least, if you’re going to continue to worry about the Yankees being too reliant on homers, acknowledge that the Yankees HIT A METRIC BUTT-TON of homers, they’re hit by guys who are expected to hit a lot of homers so it’s not a fluke and it’s all good.

But, hey, congratulations on getting a quote out of Boone. Your copy is complete and turned in and you can go home now.

Red Sox 9, Twins 2: Rick Porcello tossed one-hit shutout ball for seven innings. No one asked him if he’s too “getting guys out”-reliant. Missed opportunity, really. Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi went deep and the Sox racked up 16 hits in all.

Rockies 6, Mets 4: Nolan Arenado hit a three-run jack early — his third homer in as many days — and knocked in five runs in all. Dude drove in nine runs against the Mets over the past three games, in fact, so I imagine New York is happy to be leaving town. Kyle Freeland went six innings, allowing two, and got out of jams with double plays on three occasions.

Nationals 4, Orioles 2: Max Scherzer allowed two over seven and struck out nine but didn’t get the win because his mates decided not to take a lead until the eighth inning. It happens. That lead came via a two-run double from Juan Soto, who is now batting .326 with 16 RBI in 28 games, despite the fact that I literally — yes, literally — have t-shirts in my regular rotation that are older than he is. Anthony Rendon homered.

Diamondbacks 9, Pirates 3: Arizona jumped out with eight runs before the third inning was even over, giving license to my friends in Pittsburgh for the SABR convention this weekend to leave early and go raise hell. And believe me, you do NOT want to get in the way of a bunch of baseball historians when they’ve had a few drinks and have time on their hands. You’ll just be walking down the street and then all of a sudden you’re cornered by some guys in dad jeans lecturing you about Hank Greenberg’s season with the 1932 Beaumont Explorers of the Texas League and asking you if there’s a good place to find some beer nearby, but “nothing too hoppy because, man, my system just can’t take that since I hit 50.”

Reds 6, Cubs 2: Cincinnati enjoyed a six-run sixth inning, thanks to a bases-loaded walk drawn by Eugenio Suarez, a grand slam by Jesse Winker and an RBI single from Billy Hamilton. In other news, yesterday on Twitter there was a lot of discussion about how MLB could do a better job of marketing players. My friend Jeff, who works in P.R. and used to work for Major League Baseball, said a lot of very smart things about that, explaining why it’s not so simple as to say “MLB should market its stars better.” One of the minor points in that is that ballplayers, by virtue of the culture of the game, are conditioned to not draw attention to themselves and to downplay their stardom lest someone think they’re a hot dog or a glory hound or whatever. I’m not going to suggest that Jesse Winker is a budding superstar which MLB should be marketing hard, but his quote after the game illustrates the point:

“Guys put together great at-bats in front of me. Obviously, you can’t hit a grand slam unless guys get on base.”

There’s a certain admirable humility to that. It’s also nothing that’s gonna sell t-shirts, posters or make 12-year-olds say “WOW, WINKER IS THE MAN!”

Brewers 11, Cardinals 3: Brent Suter allowed two over seven and the Cardinals threw and bobbled the ball all over the place, allowing the Brewers to score six unearned runs. Eric Thames drove in three and Travis Shaw and Jesus Aguilar knocked in a couple a piece.

Angels 8, Blue Jays 5: Luis Valbuena homered twice and Kole Calhoun connected for the second consecutive game. The Jays have lost nine of ten on the road. Also, this happened:

That was the first tweet I saw when I woke up this morning and I’m still chuckling. It’s John Lamb, by the way. I hope he has a good sense of humor about this.

Giants 3, Padres 0: Madison Bumgarner is back. I mean, he’s been back, but now he’s BACK. The Giants’ ace tossed eight shutout innings, allowing only three hits and struck out eight. He also knocked in the Giants’ first and, as it happens, only necessary run, with a sac fly. Giants fans can finally relax, knowing that, in some ways at least, the old order has been restored.

Athletics vs. White Sox — POSTPONED:

Hmmm
Sunshine, blue skies, please go away.
My girl has found another and gone away.
With her went my future, my life is filled with gloom.
So day after day, I stayed locked up in my room.
I know to you it might sound strange.
But I wish it would rain. (How I wish that it would rain)
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah