And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 5, Tigers 4: If I told you that Mariano Rivera blew two saves in a three game series you’d probably assume the Yankees had a bad series. Except in this case they won both of the games Mo blew. Baseball is weird. Miguel Cabrera homered off of him again on Sunday — he’s only the third right hander with two career home runs off Rivera — but the Yankees pulled it out in the ninth with a Brett Gardner walkoff.

Mariners 2, Brewers 0: King Felix was his usual dominant self, tossing eight scoreless and striking out nine. Wily Peralta was almost as good but he gave up one gopher ball and allowed a run to score on a wild pitch. The game lasted a mere two hours eleven minutes. It was like friggin’ 1914 or something out there.

Reds 3, Padres 2: Joey Votto with a sac fly in the bottom of the 13th. It’s gonna be awesome when Votto finishes the year with something like his current .322/.437/.509 batting line and gets almost no MVP love because he doesn’t have 100 RBI.

Braves 9, Marlins 4: The wining streak ended with a 1-0 loss on Saturday but the Braves got back on the horse Sunday and handed Miami their sixth loss in seven games. Four hits for Jason Heyward, three for Evan Gattis, a three-run homer for Freddie Freeman and the go-ahead RBI for B.J. Upton. Just so many contributors right now.

Nationals 6, Phillies 0: Stephen Strasburg shuts ’em out on 99 pitches — it’s a Maddux!  In other news, is there anything more depressing than being a Phillies fan at the moment?

Rangers 6, Astros 1: The Rangers are surging. Seven straight wins, in fact. Martin Perez had a shutout into the ninth. It was broken up by a Chris Carter solo homer, but Perez still finished the complete game, allowing only four hits while striking out eight.

Royals 4, Red Sox 3: The Royals keep on rolling, upping their record to 18-5 since the break. They’re 4.5 back in the wild card.

Twins 5, White Sox 2:  Kevin Correia pitched seven shutout innings, Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer each homered and the Twins take three of four. They, like a lot of teams, admittedly, have owned the White Sox this season.

Athletics 6, Blue Jays 4: Bob Melvin picks up the 700th win in his managerial career thanks to Alberto Callaspo’s tiebreaking, two-run double in the eighth. The A’s stay a game back of the Rangers.

Indians 6, Angels 5:  The Angels had a five-run lead heading into the bottom of the sixth and they woofed it away, thanks in part to a pair of two-run homers from two-run homers by Nick Swisher and Mike Aviles in the sixth.  With it the Indians snap their six-game losing streak that put them way the heck back in the AL Central. An awful week but not a bad salvage job.

Cardinals 8, Cubs 4: St. Louis ends a four-game losing streak and avoids a sweep. Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig each had three hits and drove in a run. Jon Jay and David Freese each drove in two.

Rockies 3, Pirates 2: Chad Bettis allowed two runs early but settled down and the Rockies’ pen pitched three scoreless. Jeff Locke walked four batters in five and two-thirds. He’s not been going very deep into games lately. You have to wonder if he’s getting a bit tired.

Dodgers 8, Rays 2: Clayton Kershaw is awesome, which, well, duh.  But how come every time I click on a Dodgers box score there’s some random Ellis doing cool things? Ellises are the new inefficiency.

Mets 9, Diamondbacks 5: This was an ugly-fest. Lots of unearned runs and a dude has his hip dislocated. But Andrew Brown had a three-run pinch hit homer, and that’s uplifting, yes?

Orioles 10, Giants 2: J.J. Hardy hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh inning, but then the Orioles piled it on. Ron-Burgundy-Boy-That-Escalated-Quickly-Dot-Tumblr.com.

The Nats want Trea Turner to attempt 75-80 stolen bases this year

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When it comes to cliche spring training stories, we talk a lot about “Best Shape of His Life.” Sometimes we talk about the “[Pitcher] has been working on a changeup” or “[Hitter] has made an adjustment to his swing” stories too. Then there’s the “we’re really going to focus on fundamentals” quotes managers love to give in February and March. They’re evergreens. 

Another one in that category is the “we’re going to run more” or “we plan to be aggressive on the base paths this year.” You hear that from at least one or two managers every spring. I imagine because, like the fundamentals one, it deals with something over which they have at least some moderate control. It’s a good quote.

We’re hearing it from Nats training camp this year with respect to one particularly speedy player in Trea Turner. From Mark Zuckerman at MASN:

Davey Martinez called Trea Turner into his office this week and told the speedy shortstop he wants him to attempt more stolen bases this season. How many? Let’s just say even the ultra-aggressive Turner was taken aback.

“Yeah, he gave me a number,” Turner said. “And I was like: ‘Wow, all right.’”

Martinez later revealed to assembled reporters that he thinks if Turner “attempts 75-80, we’ll be in great shape.”

Turner led the National League with 43 stolen bases on 52 attempts in 2018. The year before he attempted 54, which was his career high. Only only four players have attempted 80 or more stolen bases in the past ten years, so yes, 75-80 would be quite the escalation.

Which is not to say it’s silly. On a very basic level, yeah, if he is stealing bases more often, even without changing his basic approach, the Nats WILL be in great shape because it’ll likely mean that he’s on base more, and that’s good. If it’s merely a matter of him being more aggressive in the same number of times on base, well, let me know, but I’m not holding my breath.

I guess it’s nice to have goals, though.