And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

34 Comments

Angels 8, Mariners 1: The Angels become the first team to clinch a playoff spot. It took a couple of bumps and bruises to get there. Matt Shoemaker got the took a shutout into the eighth inning, but felt some discomfort in his left side after leaving the game. Albert Pujols left with a hamstring injury. Both injuries appear to be minor. David Freese and Brennan Boesch each went deep. Pujols had a three-run double. Seattle is now two back in the wild card.

Royals 4, White Sox 3: Last week Ned Yost took a lot of crap — from this corner of the Internet included — for trying to run his way into a rally by having pinch runner Jarrod Dyson steal third. Here it set off a much more happier sequence. In the bottom of the ninth inning with the White Sox up 3-2, Dyson stole third base and kept on running after a wild pitch to score the tying run. Nori Aoki then doubled and was replaced by pinch-runner Terrance Gore. Lorenzo Cain then drove Gore in with an infield chopper which allowed Gore to come all the way around from second base to score the winning run. So viva speed and viva Ned Yost. At least for last night.

Nationals 4, Braves 2: The Nats inch closer to their inevitable NL East title. Stephen Strasburg pitched seven scoreless innings. The Braves rallied a bit in the ninth but it ended when B.J. Upton — who was somehow allowed to bat while a rally was in progress — grounded out to end it. The Nats can clinch if they win tonight. If they do, they’ll dance on the Turner Field while the Braves watch. And then, this offseason (a) no Braves coaches will be fired because someone will say “hey, it wasn’t the coaches’ fault”; and (b) no wholesale personnel moves will be made either because “[insert comments about believing in these players].” Accountability for this uninspiring disaster of a season is pretty unlikely. Wheeee!

Orioles 5, Blue Jays 2: The O’s too are within one win of a division title. Wei-Yin Chen won his 16th. Ryan Flaherty homered and Adam Jones had three hits and an RBI as the Orioles won their eighth of nine.

Marlins 6, Mets 5: Jacob deGrom continues his fantastic rookie season, this time striking out 13 Marlins hitters in seven innings while allowing three runs. He struck out the first eight batters in the game, actually, before allowing a single to the opposing pitcher of all people. The win, however, eluded him thanks to the Marlins rallying for three against him and then three more against his compatriots in the bullpen. The Mets old friend Jordany Valdespin hit a two-run single. Adeiny Hechavarria hit a two-run single of his own.

Dodgers 11, Rockies 3: Those eight-run sixth innings will really hurt ya, ya know? L.A. got seven hits that innings, including a Justin Turner two-run double. Matt Kemp hit a homer. He also had words with Yasiel Puig in the dugout over something no one would talk about afterward. I presume it was about Puig asserting that Pitt the Elder was the superior prime minister while Barney argued for Lord Palmerston.

Diamondbacks 6, Giants 2: Mark Trumbo hit a grand slam off Ryan Vogelsong and the Giants couldn’t muster much against Wade Miley. That puts San Francisco four games back of L.A. in the West.

Tigers 8, Twins 6: The Tigers keep their one and a half game cushion over K.C. by winning their fourth straight. Tied in the ninth, Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera went back-to-back. The Tigers get six more games against the Twins after this one. That helps matters.

Astros 3, Indians 1: Jose Altuve went three for four with a triple and an RBI single, raising his average to .342. Altuve is one hit away from tying the Astros’ single-season hit mark, held by Craig Biggio. Four straight losses for Cleveland. They can start putting deposits on their October vacations as well.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $60,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Cubs 1, Reds 0: Anthony Rizzo with the walkoff homer was the only offense here. It was his first game back after missing 18 games due to back problems. I could’ve shoe-horned a Berman-esque “back, back, back” there to add a few more “backs” but that would not be in keeping with the high quality craftsmanship to which you are accustomed in this feature. Back.

Padres 1, Phillies 0: Andrew Cashner tosses a two-hit shutout and helped plate the game’s only run by reaching on an E-5 thanks to which Rene Rivera scored. This one ended in a cool 2:09. Everyone involved in this one probably has a rockin’ October vacation planned and they’re doing what they can to hasten its arrival.

Rays 1, Yankees 0: The third 1-0 game of the night and the second which ended on a walkoff. This time a single by Ben Zobrist. This time in a game that lasted 3:28 because, god, who the heck knows. The Yankees were eliminated from contention for the division title.

Justin Verlander laughed at after saying Astros were “technologically and analytically advanced”

Getty Images
9 Comments

Justin Verlander was at the annual Baseball Writers Association of America banquet last night, on hand to accept the 2019 Cy Young Award. Normally such things are pretty routine events, but nothing is routine with the Houston Astros these days.

During his acceptance speech, Verlander made some comments about the Astros’ “technological and analytical advancements.” The comments were greeted by some laughter in the room as well as some groans. At least one person on hand claimed that other players present were visibly angry.

It’s hard to tell the context of it all without a full video — maybe Verlander meant it as a joke, maybe the reactions were more varied than is being described — but here’s how reporters on hand for it last night are describing it:

If it was a joke it was ill-timed, as not many around the game think the sign-stealing stuff is funny at the moment. Especially in light of the fact that, despite having several opportunities to do so, Astros players have failed to show any accountability for their cheating.

And yes, that includes former Astros Dallas Keuchel, who was praised for “apologizing” at a White Sox fan event on Friday, but whose “apology” was couched in a lot of deflection and excuse-making about how it was just something that was done at the time and about how technology was to blame. Keuchel also tried to minimize it, saying that the Astros didn’t do it all the time. Which is rich given that the most prominent video evidence of their trash can-banging scheme came from a blowout Astros win in a meaningless August game against a losing team. If they were doing it in that situation, please, do not tell me they weren’t doing it when games really mattered.

Anyway, I’d like to think Verlander was just trying to take a stab at a joke here, because Verlander is the wrong guy to be sending to be sending any kind of messages diminishing the cheating given that he has a pretty solid track record of holding other players’ feet to the fire when they get busted.

For example, here he was in 2018 after Robinson Canó got busted for PEDs:

Of course, consistency can be a problem for Verlander when his teammates are on the ones who are on the hook. Here was his response to Tigers infielder Jhonny Peralta being suspended in the wake of the Biogenesis scandal:

“Everybody makes mistakes. He’s my brother. We fight and bleed and sweat together on the baseball field. If my brother makes a mistake, especially if he owns up to it and serves his time, I don’t see how you can hold a grudge or anything like that. “It’s one thing to step up and be a man and own up to his mistake.”

Verlander, it should also be noted, was very outspoken about teams engaging in advanced sign-stealing schemes once upon a time. here he was in 2017, while still with the Tigers, talking about such things in a June 2017 interview with MLive.com.

“We don’t have somebody, but I’m sure teams have a person that can break down signals and codes and they’ll have the signs before you even get out there on the mound.  It’s not about gamesmanship anymore. It used to be, ‘Hey, if you can get my signs, good for you.’ In the past, if a guy on second (base) was able to decipher it on a few pitches, I guess that was kind of part of the game. I think it’s a different level now. It’s not good.”

Which makes me wonder how he felt when he landed on the Astros two months later and realized they had a sophisticated cheating operation underway. If the feelings were mixed, he was able to bury the part of them which had a problem with it, because he’s said jack about it since this all blew up in November. And, of course, has happily accepted the accolades and the hardware he he has received since joining Houston, some of which was no doubt acquired by virtue of a little extra, ill-gotten run support.

Anyway, wake me up when someone — anyone — associated with the Astros shows some genuine accountability about this.