Cubs 5, Reds 4: Rookie Kyle Schwarber hit a two-run homer to tie it in the ninth inning and send it to extras and then, in the thirteenth, hit a solo homer to put the Cubs ahead for good. He’s also from Middletown Ohio, just up the road from Great American Ballpark, so this homecoming was really damn sweet. Or at least the second homecoming. A little over a week ago he was the MVP of the Future’s Game in the same park. The future is now for him, however. In his two stints in the bigs this season Schwarber is 16 for his first 39 with three homers, two doubles, a triple and ten driven in.
Mariners 11, Tigers 9: This was . . . bad. After the Tigers battled back from a 5-1 deficit and led 8-6, Neftali Feliz came into the game in the eighth inning and loaded the bases, threw a wild pitch and then, after loading the bases again on an intentional walk, gave up a pinch hit grand slam to Franklin Gutierrez. Worse: as Feliz was busy imploding, there was no one warming in the Tigers bullpen. After the game, Brad Ausmus was asked about it and said he had two guys left: Joakim Soria and Alex Wilson. He said he was saving Soria for the ninth — apparently the idea of him getting a four-out save or even coming in to put out a fire when the game was on the line was anathema to Ausmus — and he didn’t bring in Alex Wilson because, according to Ausmus, he was the only guy left who could go multiple innings and he was being saved for extras.
How one is such a slave to the three-out closer and how one saves another pitcher for extra innings when the game is being lost right in front of his damn eyes in the eighth is an utter mystery to me. As Leo Durocher once said, “you don’t save a pitcher for tomorrow. Tomorrow it may rain.” The “tomorrow” part of that applies to extra innings too, and “rain” can be considered metaphorical here.
Yankees 3, Orioles 2: Brendan Ryan hasn’t done a heck of a lot this year but he hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the sixth inning of this one. A-Rod had a sac fly and Chase Headley had an RBI double as well as the Yankees put another game between themselves and one of their division rivals.
Mets 7, Nationals 2: The Mets’ lineup finally came through, with pinch hitter Eric Campbell coming through with a big hit with runners on in the seventh and then the rest of the offense pouring it on late with four runs in the ninth. Jacob deGrom struck out eight and picked up his tenth win. He only threw 82 pitches n six innings and probably could’ve gone eight innings or the distance even, but Collins use of Campbell in that key moment of the game is the sort of thing one has to do when the offense has been struggling so much. Worked out nicely.
Rays 1, Phillies 0: Aaron Nola made his MLB debut and it was a nice one, allowing only one run on five hits over six innings, striking out six. Unfortunately for him he got no run support at all as Nathan Karns and five Rays relievers combined to shut out the Phillies. The only run in the game: Karns hitting a homer off of Nola. He is the first AL pitcher to homer in a game in four years.
I guess you’re scrappy if you have almost no stuff — only 59 of Alex Wood’s 107 were strikes — and still win anyway. In Johnson’s case you’re scrappy if you spend the last few days demanding to be traded and then drive in a couple on a groundout and a single. Nominate them for the Heart and Hustle Award, I guess.
Cardinals 8, White Sox 5: Matt Holliday’s first homer since early May was a fourth inning grand slam that put the Cardinals up 7-0 and effectively ended the competitive portion of this game. Holliday singled and scored a run too. Prospect Stephen Piscotty made his major league debut for St. Louis as well and had an infield single and struck out twice.
Royals 3, Pirates 1: Jarrod Dyson hit a two-run single in the eighth inning and then came around to score on an Alcides Escobar single. The Pirates threatened in both the eighth and ninth, giving some scares to the usually dominant Wade Davis and Greg Holland, but each shook their way out of jams. This could be a World Series preview. Which would’ve been an insane thing to say just a couple of years ago.
Brewers 8, Indians 1:Matt Garza pitched six shutout innings in his return from the disabled list and Jean Segura — Jean Segura?! — hit a two-run homer. The Indians hit into three double plays.
Astros 8, Red Sox 3: Chris Carter was in an 0-for-20 slump before a single and then later hit a two-run homer. Carlos Correa drove in two. The Red Sox blew a 3-0 lead and have lost six straight.
Rangers 9, Rockies 0: Shin-Soo Choo hit for the cycle in this one, finished off with a leadoff triple in the ninth inning. He doubled in the second inning, homered in the fourth and singled in the fifth and finished with three RBI. Delino DeShields has four hits and fell a homer short of the cycle. Two in one game would’ve been trippy.
Marlins 3, Diamondbacks 0: Mat Latos could be traded before the deadline. If so, he just made himself look more attractive, tossing seven shutout innings and striking out seven. After the game he said “Right now I wear a Marlins uniform so I have to take care of business as a Marlin.” Our condolences to Latos and his family in this obviously difficult time.
Angels 7, Twins 0: Matt Shoemaker could lose his starting rotation gig when Jered Weaver returns from the disabled list. He’s trying to make that decision more difficult for Mike Scioscia, though, by doing things like striking out ten Twins in six shutout innings and allowing only two hits. Meanwhile, Chris Ianetta homered and drove in four on the night.
Blue Jays 7, Athletics 1: Russell Martin, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion each homered. Martin’s was a three-run shot. Mark Buehrle won his 11th, allowing one run and eight hits in seven innings. The game was a Buehrle Special too, lasting only two hours and thirty-eight minutes.
Giants 9, Padres 3: Chris Heston had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning and ended up allowing only that hit while pitching seven and a third. Hunter Pence, Brandon Crawford and Hector Sanchez all homered. Sanchez’s was a grand slam.
Here are the scores. Here are the highlights. The Orioles-Indians one is last and is really, really long, but I suspect a lot of you will appreciate it.
Pirates 2, Cubs 1: Adam Frazier socked a two-out, pinch-hit, 11th inning walkoff homer to earn a split for the Buccos. That it was a split was a minor miracle, really, given that the Cubs scored exactly four runs in the series. One run each game, in fact. They just happened to win 1-0 on both Thursday and Friday.
Rockies 4, Braves 2: Atlanta won five in a row last week and claimed first place and then went and got swept in a four-game series at home this weekend. Not that beating good teams is new to the Rockies. Colorado is 30-16 since June 26 and all 46 of those games have been played against winning teams. Or, at the very least, teams which were winning teams at the time. DJ LeMahieu was a killer this weekend. He hit a tie-breaking homer in extra innings on Saturday night and then he homered again here. Braves manager Brian Snitker, commenting on four straight losses on the heels of a five-game winning streak:
“In this business, every time you think you have something figured out, you get kicked right in the teeth”
If he’d have changed “this business” to “life” and then he’d really be dropping truth bombs. Lucky for him sometimes, even when you get kicked in the teeth, things don’t go as bad as they could, though. Such as the Phillies losing two in a row to the Mets and missing out on an excellent chance to make up more ground.
Marlins 12, Nationals 1: The Nats, meanwhile, dropped their seventh game in their last ten. They could do nothing against Jose Urena — and lucky they didn’t, or else maybe he’d try to hurt injure them — who tossed a complete game, allowing just the one run on only two hits. Starlin Castro had five hits and scored three times. JT Riddle and J.T. Realmuto each homered and drove in three, proving once and for all that the periods, or lack thereof, in their first names have no bearing on their baseball ability. That’s just science.
Rangers 4, Angels 2: Rougned Odor hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the seventh to give the Rangers their third win in the four-game series. Bartolo Colon was supposed to start this one for Texas but didn’t because of back stiffness. This is how, all the jokes about his size and his age aside, you know that Colon is a legit athlete. For all normal 45 year-olds — and I speak from personal experience here — back stiffness is more or less the default status, not the rare anomaly which interrupts one’s normal routine.
Rays 2, Red Sox 0: Five Rays pitchers combined to shut out the Sox, Joey Wendle and C.J. Cron went deep and Tampa Bay avoided the sweep. In related news, over the weekend some Rays fans on Twitter decided to take me to task for not thinking the Rays would be good this year. Even the Tampa Bay Times got into the act yesterday, citing yours truly by name.
On the one hand I will totally cop to thinking the Rays would be far worse than they are. Like a lot of predictions, I blew that one. Kudos to the Rays for beating mine and everyone’s expectations for them.
On the other hand, the level of aggression I got from the Rays folks over the weekend was pretty hilarious given that, overachieving notwithstanding, we’re still talking about a team that has hovered around .500 all year and is around 25 games out of first place and 11 back in the Wild Card race. The Oakland A’s they are not. It also doesn’t take into account that most of my criticism was about the Rays front office making financial moves, not baseball moves, and doing it pretty cynically and pretty transparently. That those moves have happened to turn out far better for them than expected does not change the fact that they were financial moves that were and remain pretty hostile to casual fans, most of whom are looking for a connection to their team and some continuity to that end, and who do not give a flying frick about how many prospects are playing in Princeton or wherever and are not as jazzed by a three-year plan as they might be by, you know, having a front office who has as at least part of its mission to put an entertaining product on the field. There’s a certain swath of Rays fandom who does not understand that and, in fact, seems aggressively opposed to even trying to understand it.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m just not appreciating the glory of their accomplishment in 2018. Rather than merely receiving a respectful nod for doing far better than anyone expected and a mea culpa from those of us who got it wrong, maybe the Rays should hoist a “Most wins per dollars spent” banner to go with the Wild Card banner they put up a couple of years back to show the haters exactly what they’re dealing with.
Yankees 10, Blue Jays 2: Greg Bird hit a grand slam in the first inning and everything after that was cream cheese. J.A. Happ won for the fourth time in four starts as a Yankee, this one against his old mates. It wasn’t all good news, though: Didi Gregorius hurt his left heel in a collision at first base and left the game with a deep bruise that could land him on the disabled list. New York sweeps the three-game series.
Reds 11, Giants 4: Cincy put up a seven-run third inning ending this one before it even got going. Eugenio Suarez and Jose Peraza each hit two-run homers and Billy Hamilton tripled twice and drove in three. The Reds sweep the Giants, who fall eight games back in the west and three games under .500. They scored six runs in the whole series.
White Sox 7, Royals 6: Kansas City took a 6-0 lead into the fourth inning but the Chisox put up a tying six-spot that inning and added a decisive seventh run in the fifth. Omar Narvaez tied it up at six with a homer and then knocked in that decisive run I mentioned with an RBI single. Avasail Garcia hit a three-run bomb.
Twins 5, Tigers 4: Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler and Jake Cave all went deep as the Twinkies won their fifth of six. Does anyone call them the Twinkies anymore? I haven’t heard that one for a long time. Then again, I don’t really watch a lot of Twinkies games and never watch sports network highlight shows so maybe I’m just missing it.
Brewers 2, Cardinals 1: Mike Moustakas‘ two-run double in the third held up thanks to Jhoulys Chacin‘s six shutout innings. The win puts the Brewers back ahead of St. Louis for the second Wild Card and ends Milwaukee’s three-game losing streak.
Astros 9, Athletics 4: Houston salvages one and in so doing regains their lead in the AL West. Justin Verlander got the W, earning the 200th win of his career. It wasn’t a pretty win — he didn’t make it out of the sixth and gave up four runs in the process, with three of those runs coming on Khris Davis homers — but as we so often note around here, wins are team-dependent and here his team picked him up. Most of that picking up came via the longball, with Yuli Gurriel, Evan Gattis, Martin Maldonado, Alex Bregman and Marwin Gonzalez going deep.
Dodgers 12, Mariners 1: Clayton Kershaw hasn’t gotten a lot of that team support this year but he got five runs before he even had to throw a pitch here and then cruised to his 150th career win. Maybe the Dodgers’ batters were pissed over losing in extra innings on a walkoff balk the night before. I know I would be. Difference with me is that, when I’m mad, I don’t usually do better work. Justin Turner hit a three-run homer and drove in five. Kershaw allowed one run on four hits in seven innings. L.A. did not gain any ground in the West though, thanks in part to that Rockies win over the Braves and thanks in part to . . .
Diamondbacks 4, Padres 3: . . . the Snakes beating the Friars. A.J. Pollock‘s ninth inning homer was the difference. Arizona had tied it at 3 thanks to Daniel Descalso‘s solo homer in the eighth. The Diamondbacks have won four of five. They retain a half-game lead over Colorado.
Mets 8, Phillies 2: Amed Rosario had three hits and drove in three runs, Jeff McNeil had a two-run single and Jason Vargas was effective into the sixth inning as the Mets beat the Phillies in Williamsport, Pennsylvania in the Little League Classic. The Phillies have lost seven of 11 and drop a half game behind Atlanta in the East.
Indians 8, Orioles 0: Melky Cabrera hit a grand slam in Cleveland’s six-run fourth inning, Mike Clevinger shut the O’s out for six and three relievers finished it off as the Tribe takes two of three from the O’s.
In related news, I took my kids to the first game of this series on Friday night. They’re not really big baseball fans, but they like going to games. Partially because it’s fun and there’s junk food, but mostly because it provides them a new venue for the sort of savage and absurdist commentary for which Gen-Z kids are quickly becoming famous.
I’ve watched this from a front row seat for a couple of years now. Anyone who follows me on Twitter is familiar with how brutally my daughter Anna, 14, owns me via text messages (and some old timers around here may remember her greatest hits from WAY back in the day). Others who follow me know how deeply into absurdist and envelope-pushing meme culture my son, Carlo, 13, happens to be. Every day is a new, eye-opening adventure. I’m impressed by the level of savagery they’re capable of in their early teens and terrified at what they’re going to capable of once they reach adulthood.
I’m likewise suffering from no small amount of whiplash. I mean, I once thought my fellow Gen-Xers and I had perfected ironic emotional detachment and that whole “whatever, nothing matters anyway” stance. I also thought that a decade’s worth of Millennials restoring an earnestness and emotional honesty to the lexicon of our nation’s youth — the likes of which we haven’t seen for probably 60 or 70 years — had all but buried that jaded sentiment once and for all.
Nope. The Gen-Z kids are going to stomp on the Millennials’ throats and pour acid all over their hopes, dreams and pretensions of an earnest and hopeful world. Then they’ll laugh mockingly at the Gen-Xers as we’re exposed for the amateurs that we are, and will rhetorically kill us, like some warrior coming back to vanquish their sensei. The only saving grace is that whatever Boomers are still left as this happens will just die of shock and outrage. Gen-Z will not be attending their funerals either unless they need some pics of dead grandpa for a devastating meme or two (Carlo has already told my father that he’s going to meme him once he passes away; my father does not quite know what to make of that, mostly because he’s 74 and does not know what a meme is).
Anyway, I’ve blocked out most of what they had to say during the game as a means of psychological self-defense, but trust me when I say that it was three straight hours of running commentary at turns hilarious, frightening and truly disturbing in ways that are hard to pin down. I do, however, remember or have documentation of a few things that went down in between the hot dogs and bon mottes:
My son is well aware of my Chief Wahoo stance and, thankfully, agrees with it. Nevertheless, he kept threatening to say “my dad said you’re a racist” to everyone who was wearing Wahoo gear because he said it’d be fun to see what happened. Which, given that he’s basically an agent of chaos — here’s a video of him in action — was a fairly plausible threat. Thankfully he did not do it;
My daughter said to my son that Orioles’ outfielder Joey Rickard looked like “that kid Kyle, in your grade.” My son agreed. For the rest of the game, every time Rickard came up, they yelled “don’t mess up, Kyle!” Rickard went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and all the way home they would fill silences with “Dammit, Kyle” and shake their heads after which they’d laugh hysterically. They then said that, at school today, they were going to tell Kyle he sucked but not tell him why. I think it’s 50/50 that they do it;
Slider, the Indians’ mascot came up to our section. This is a screencap from my daughter’s Snapchat:
All of that being said, I don’t want you to get the impression that Anna and Carlo’s entire existence is savage owns and joking and ironic detachment. They are actually smart, sweet and sensitive kids who, when they’re not joking around, possess more empathy for their fellow humans than most adults who have seen and experienced far more than they have do. I am proud of my kids for that. Truly proud. Indeed I worry that the jaded exterior I’ve been describing is a defensive perimeter they and their generation have been forced to erect because the generations which came before them have thrown so much fear into their world and, perhaps, are even ruining it before my kids get a chance to live in it as adults. That’s a lot to put on anyone, but the fact that we’ve put that sort of weight on our children is a tragedy. Knowing that the’ll have to cope with what we have done to make their lives harder and, quite possibly, shorter, breaks my heart.
Those thoughts were swirling around my head as the game neared its end Friday evening. As they did, I looked over to Carlo and Anna sitting next to me. They were watching the game intently. And, even though it had started raining, quite contently. They seemed happy. The cynicism and the wiseguy routines had been left back in the middle innings somewhere. When Cody Allen struck out Kyle, er, I mean Joey Rickard, for the game’s final out, they both stood up and cheered a genuine and exuberant cheer. When they did, I figured it was a good opportunity for some rare heartfelt sincerity.
“So, Baseball. You like it, eh?” I said in my proudest dad voice, thinking that, just maybe, we had bonded over something near and dear to my heart. Anna looked at me and smiled. Then she said something I’ll never forget.
“Not really. But I guess I sort of have to respect it because if it wasn’t for baseball you’d be unemployed and I’d probably be homeless.”