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And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Diamondbacks 10, Cubs 8: Paul Goldschmidt went deep three times, knocking in six runs, including a solo shot in the ninth that broke an 8-8 tie after the Dbacks had blown a five-run lead. Goldschmidt is the ninth player to have a three-homer game this season, joining Yoenis CespedesMatt KempAnthony RendonScooter Gennett (four), Eddie RosarioCorey SeagerNolan Arenado, and Andrew McCutchen.

Red Sox 9, White Sox 5: Sox win! Rafael Devers hit a three-run homer in the first inning, Mookie Betts added a two-run shot and Andrew Benintendi went 3-for-3, reaching base five times, and scoring twice and driving in a run. White Sox rookie Nicky Delmonico hit his first career homer. Well done, Delmonico.

Brewers 2, Cardinals 1: Keon Broxton gave the Brewers a 2-1 lead with a single in the fifth, which would hold up. It would’ve been a 2-2 tie except he robbed Jose Martinez of a solo homer earlier in the game:

 

Matt Garza came off the DL to allow one run in five and two-thirds.

Rockies 5, Mets 4: What a way to lose a game. Tied 4-4 in the ninth inning, the Rockies rallied to win it in walkoff fashion, though you can give the Mets and reliever Hansel Robles a monster assist in that victory. The ninth inning sequence: Jonathan Lucroy getting hit by a pitch, a sac bunt, an intentional walk of Charlie Blackmon to put runners on first and second and then a  walk to D.J. LeMahieu and a walkoff walk to Nolan Arenado. Here was the last pitch to Arenado:

Juuuuust a bit high.

Tigers 7, Orioles 5: Detroit took a 7-0 lead by the top of the third and it held up, ending the O’s five-game winning streak. Ian Kinsler hit a leadoff homer and Justin Upton hit a two-run homer in the rain-interrupted game. The O’s did have a nice moment, however, in turning a sweet 5-4-3 triple play:

Pirates 6, Reds 0: Chad Kuhl tossed seven shutout innings as Andrew McCutchen and David Freese each drove in two and Starling Marte went 3-for-5 and scored three times . The Reds didn’t advance a runner past second base all game long.

Indians 5, Yankees 1: Corey Kluber tossed a complete game, striking out 11 and allowing one run on only three hits, overshadowing Sonny Gray‘s debut for the Yankees. Gray allowed four runs over six, but only two were earned thanks to the Yankees playing terrible defense behind him in the first inning, committing not one, not two, but three errors.

Dodgers 7, Braves 4: Alex Wood has lost only one game all year, and that was to the Braves. Here, facing his old mates again, he allowed one run in six innings to get the W. Although to be honest, most of them probably aren’t his “old mates.” Freddie Freeman, maybe. Nick Markakis. A couple of pitchers. Otherwise the roster has turned over. But relax, it’s a figure of speech.

Rangers 4, Twins 1: You’re not gonna believe this, but Joey Gallo went deep again. Here he hit a three-run shot in the fourth inning for his fourth homer in the past three games and his 29th on the year. He’s hitting .205 and is on pace for 44 bombs. That’s some Dave Kingman stuff right there.

Rays 5, Astros 3: Steven Souza Jr. homered and drove in three runs. Corey Dickerson added three hits. Houston loses their third in a row and their fifth in the past six games.

Royals 6, Mariners 4: Brandon Moss hit two home runs and Lorenzo Cain drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh as the Royals fought back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 to snap their three-game losing streak. Ned Yost was ejected for the second straight game. I would say that he learned from his old boss Bobby Cox about how to get ejected on purpose — if it was hot out Cox would pick a dumb fight with an ump and get himself sent to the air conditioned clubhouse — but it was pretty nice in Kansas City yesterday so maybe this was something else.

Angels 5, Phillies 4: Mike Trout hit a two-run homer early and the Angels came back late, with the go-ahead score coming on a wild pitch. “That was hard to take,” Philadelphia manager Pete Mackanin said afterward. He’ll probably say that on the afternoon of October 1 referring to the whole season, too.

Giants 11, Athletics 2: Giants starter Ty Blach pitched eight strong innings, allowing only two runs, and he hit a three-run homer to boot. And it wasn’t a cheapie. He hit out to dead center into the heavy Bay Area nighttime air.Brandon Belt hit a two-run homer and Jarrett Parker had three hits and three RBI in his first game back from the disabled list.

Lou Whitaker snubbed from the Hall of Fame again

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Long time Tigers second baseman Lou Whitaker has long been one of baseball history’s most underrated players. He and Hall of Fame shortstop Alan Trammell formed one of the best up-the-middle combos ever, teammates since Whitaker’s debut in 1977 to his final year in 1995.

Trammell is actually a great jumping-off point to support Whitaker’s candidacy. Here are their career counting stats:

  • Whitaker: .276/.363/.426, 420 doubles, 65 triples, 244 homers, 1084 RBI, 1386 runs, 143 stolen bases, 1197 walks (9967 plate appearances)
  • Trammell: .285/.352/.415, 415 doubles, 55 triples, 185 homers, 1003 RBI, 1231 runs, 236 stolen bases, 850 walks (9376 plate appearances)

Whitaker also had slightly more Wins Above Replacement over his career according to Baseball Reference, besting Trammell 75.1 to 70.7. FanGraphs’ version of WAR puts both players slightly lower but with Whitaker still in the lead, 68.1 to 63.7.

Trammell, like Whitaker, did not make the Hall of Fame through initial eligibility on the ballot voted on by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, beginning five years after their retirement. Trammell was elected two years ago on the Modern Era ballot. Whitaker fell off the ballot in his only year of eligibility, earning just 2.9 percent of the vote in 2001. Whitaker was again snubbed on Sunday night, receiving just six of the 12 votes necessary for induction. Trammell became eligible on the BBWAA ballot in 2002 and had a 15-year run, with his support running as far down as 13.4 percent in 2007 and peaking at 40.9 percent in his final year in 2016.

Trammell and Whitaker critics cited things like never leading the league in any important categories and never winning an MVP Award as reasons why they shouldn’t be enshrined. That last reason, of course, ignores that both contributed to the Tigers winning the World Series in 1984, but I digress.

Trammell should have been elected to the Hall of Fame on the BBWAA ballot. And, since the distinction matters to so many people, he should have been inducted on the first ballot. Among Hall of Fame shortstops (at least 50 percent of their games at the position), Trammell has the eighth-highest WAR among 21 eligible players. He has ever so slightly more WAR than Barry Larkin (70.4), who made it into the Hall of Fame in his third year of eligibility with 86.4 percent of the vote.

Now, what about Whitaker? Among Hall of Fame second basemen (at least 50 percent of games at the position), Whitaker’s 75.1 WAR would rank sixth among 20 eligible second basemen. The only second basemen ahead of him are Rogers Hornsby (127.0), Eddie Collins (124.0), Nap Lajoie (107.4), Joe Morgan (100.6), and Charlie Gehringer (80.7). Whitaker outpaces such legendaries as Ryne Sandberg (68.0), Roberto Alomar (67.1), and Craig Biggio (65.5). Sandberg made it into the Hall in his third year on the ballot; Alomar his second; Biggio his third.

Among the players on the 2001 BBWAA ballot, the only player with more career WAR than Whitaker was Bert Blyleven (94.4), who eventually made it into the Hall of Fame. Dave Winfield (64.2) and Kirby Puckett (51.1) were elected that year. Also receiving hefty support that year were Gary Carter (70.1 WAR), Jim Rice (47.7), Bruce Sutter (24.1), and Goose Gossage (41.2) and each would eventually make the Hall of Fame.

WAR is not, by any means, a perfect stat, so the WAR argument may not resonate with everyone. Dating back to 1871, there have been only 66 players who hit at least 400 doubles and 200 home runs while stealing 100 bases. The only second basemen (same 50 percent stipulation) to do that are Whitaker, Hornsby, Morgan, Sandberg, Alomar, Biggio, Chase Utley, and Ian Kinsler. Additionally, Whitaker drew more walks than strikeouts over his career, 1197 to 1099. The only second basemen to do that while hitting at least 200 career homers are Whitaker, Morgan, Hornsby, Bobby Doerr, and Joe Gordon.

Whitaker was not without accolades: he won the 1978 AL Rookie of the Year Award. He was a five-time All-Star and took home four Silver Sluggers along with three Gold Gloves to boot. Trammell took home a similar amount of hardware: though he never won a Rookie of the Year Award, he did make the All-Star team six times. He went on to win four Gold Gloves and three Silver Sluggers.

In a just world, Whitaker would have been on the ballot for the then-maximum 15 years. In a sentimentally just world, he would have gone in side-by-side with Trammell in 2002. Whitaker’s candidacy certainly shouldn’t have fallen to the Modern Era ballot, and it shouldn’t have been further fumbled by a committee that gave him as many votes as Steve Garvey.