And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Phillies 11, Yankees 8: A bright spot for the Phillies in this otherwise dark year: Maikel Franco. A prospect who’s actually young (22) and not just young for the Phillies. A prospect who’s good and not just good for the Phillies. And, last night, a prospect who broke the hell out, going 4-for-5 with two homers and five driven in. He also did this:

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Franco is hitting .312/.353/.574 with nine homers and 24 driven in in his 36 games. One of the great things about baseball: even when things are at their worst, there is the chance to see hope for the future.

Royals 4, Mariners 1: Have you ever said a nonsense sentence just for the sake of hearing it and for the sake of thinking “no one in the history of the world has EVER said this”?  I do that sometimes. Like, I’ll just be driving down the road and I’ll say something like “Don’t ride your bicycle into the paella, Marie Curie, for there are Bigfoots in it!” Really, in a thousand years of English, no one has EVER said that. It’s a neat and nerdy little game to play! Here, let’s do another one: “Joe Blanton outdueled Felix Hernandez.”

Angels 4, Astros 3: Yet another guy with two homers last night: Albert Pujols. Who now has 23 on the year — on pace for 52 — and a line of .275/.336/.581. Report/death/exaggerated. The fireworks notwithstanding, the Erick Aybar and Angels scored the go-ahead run on a safety squeeze. But man, Aybar probably should’ve been out. Watch the play and ask yourself what in the hell Chris Carter is doing throwing a shovel pass home like this:

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Fielding is fundamental.

 

Tigers 8, Indians 5: The Tigers own the Indians, particularly at Progressive Field. Ownership continued last night, with Yoenis Cespedes homering and driving in three. Miguel Cabrera singled twice and walked twice, once with the bases loaded. He’s 24-for-37 with five homers and 16 RBI against the Indians this year.

Blue Jays 8, Rays 5: Drew Hutchison wasn’t great — three runs and nine hits over five innings — but it was enough on a night when he got some good run support. Asdrubal Cabrera had an interesting night too, tossing his bat and helmet out on the field after getting ejected. Which were then confiscated by Joe West for some reason. Which is not a thing I’ve ever seen, but it’s Joe West and he’s his own man.

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Oh, and at one point in this game some of the lights in Tropicana Field went out for no reason. Because Tropicana Field.

Twins 13, White Sox 2: Kennys Vargas went 4-for-4 with a three-run homer and four RBI and Byron Buxton had three hits and scored three times hitting at the top of the order as God and Gleeman intended. Joe Mauer and Brian Dozier homered too, as the Twins romped.

Cubs 4, Dodgers 2: Two homers for Kris Bryant, one of which came off of a Clayton Kershaw curve ball. Six Cubs pitchers combined to stymie the Dodgers.

 

Ron Roenicke fired by Red Sox after one season

Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
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BOSTON — Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke will not return in 2021, the team said before its final game on Sunday, ending his tenure as a one-year, shotgun stopgap for a pandemic-shortened season with a last-place finish in the AL East.

Hired on the eve of spring training after Alex Cora was caught cheating during his time in Houston, Roenicke took over a roster that would soon shed 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts and 2012 AL Cy Young winner David Price, who were traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ace Chris Sale (Tommy John surgery) and Eduardo Rodriguez (COVID-19) never threw a pitch for the team this year.

Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom also commended Roenicke for navigating the coronavirus shutdown and for holding the team together when racial protests interrupted the season.

“He did a tremendous job under really challenging and basically unprecedented circumstances,” said Bloom, who met with Roenicke in Atlanta on Sunday morning to give him the news.

“As you would expect, he handled it really well. Probably better than I did,” Bloom said on a Zoom call. “I think he is just an incredible human being.”

Sure to get attention as a possible successor: Cora, who led the Red Sox to a World Series championship in 2018, his first season as a major league manager. The team split with him less than a month before spring training after he was identified as the ringleader in the Houston sign-stealing scandal; Cora’s one-year suspension for that scandal ends after the World Series.

With Cora gone, the Red Sox promoted Roenicke from bench coach to interim manager. They removed the temporary tag in April, during the coronavirus shutdown, when Roenicke was cleared in the commissioner’s investigation into sign-stealing by the Red Sox during their championship season.

He was not given an extension on the one year he had remaining on the contract he had signed as a bench coach — fueling speculation that Cora could be welcomed back after serving his penalty.

The Red Sox dismissed such suggestions dismissed such suggestions at the time, but on Sunday Bloom refused to rule a return either in or out.

“I thought Ron deserved to be evaluated without anyone looking over his shoulder,” Bloom said, declining to comment further because “I don’t want to say anything about Alex that I haven’t said to Alex.”

Roenicke, 64, spent five years as the Brewers manager from 2010-15, winning 96 games and the NL Central title in his first season and finishing as runner-up for NL manager of the year. In all, he led Milwaukee to a 342-331 record in five seasons.

He was 23-36 with the Red Sox entering Sunday’s games. Bloom said he wanted to break the news to Roenicke before the end of the season.

“If Ron wanted the chance to look his players in the eye before we part ways … I didn’t want to take that from him,” Bloom said.

An infielder on Boston’s 2007 champions, Cora was mentioned 11 times in Commissioner Rob Manfred’s decision on the Astros, which said Cora developed the cheating system. Cora left Houston to become Boston’s manager after the 2017 season and led the Red Sox to a franchise-record 108 regular-season wins and the World Series title.

But fallout from the Astros investigation caused Cora and newly hired New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran to lose their jobs.