And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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I woke up just before 4AM because nightmares are amazingly cool and good. When I did, the Dodgers-Diamondbacks game had just ended — it went five hours and forty-six minutes — and the beat writers and stuff were still awake and on Twitter and everything. Thank god for pace-of-play initiatives such as the mound visit rule and the bullpen carts or else they’d STILL be playing!

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Pirates 5, Twins 4: The Pirates jumped all over Lance Lynn in his Twins debut, touching him for five first-inning runs and walking six times. I liked the Twins picking up Lynn — they got a great deal on him — but maybe they shouldn’t have let him pitch against the Pirates, who have a history of handing it to him. He’s pitched in 23 games against Pittsburgh in his career and has a 5.10 ERA. Last year he allowed 15 runs on 23 hits in 19.2 innings against the Buccos. The big blow here was a first inning grand slam by Colin Moran which gave the Pirates a 5-0 lead in the first, which would hold up despite a sixth-inning rally by Minnesota. A shameful rally, really. I mean, how dare they try hard when down 5-0? That’s not good for baseball, right Brian Dozier?

Tigers 6, Royals 1: Francisco Liriano impressed in his Tigers debut, allowing one run on four hits while pitching into the seventh. Victor Martinez drove in three on a 2-for-3 day. The Royals are now the last winless team in the American League. The Padres are the last winless team in the NL.

Cardinals 8, Brewers 4: Cards pitcher Miles Mikolas, making his first start in the bigs since returning from three years in Japan, got the win and (all together now) helped his own cause with a tie-breaking two-run homer in the fifth. He needed to hit that bomb too as he allowed Eric ThamesLorenzo Cain and Manny Pina the courtesy of hitting dongs for Milwaukee.

Reds 1, Cubs 0: Tyler Mahle shut the Cubs out on one hit for six innings and three relievers finished the job for a two-hit shutout overall. The only run in the game scored via an Adam Duvall groundout in the fourth. Cubs starter Tyler Chatwood walked six dudes, but walks didn’t lead to that one run and otherwise didn’t harm him. The game took two hours and thirty-three minutes, which means they could’ve played it twice and gotten about 2-3 innings into a third play of it in the time it took for the Dodgers and Diamondbacks to play their game out in Arizona.

Astros 6, Orioles 1: Houston unveiled its World Series banner before the game, giving them fond memories of 2017. Chris Tillman allowed four runs on seven hits in four innings and walked four guys, giving him and the Orioles less-than-fond memories of his 2017. Charlie Morton shut the O’s out for six and Derek Fisher drove in a couple courtesy of a triple and a sac fly. Marwin Gonzalez went deep for Houston. My Opening Day joke about the Orioles — who have the game’s worst run differential on the young season thus far — still holds:

Everyone knows that you can’t win without pitching. What the Orioles 2018 roster presupposes is: what if you can?

Blue Jays 4, White Sox 2Russell Martin hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh inning. Josh Donaldson and Aledmys Diaz each hit solo shots. Wellington Castillo hit two homers in a winning effort in a losing cause for the Chisox. All of the game’s runs came on home runs, in fact. I’m so old I remember when baseball games used to feature balls in play.

Red Sox 7, Marlins 3: Brian Johnson allowed one run over six innings as the Bosox got their fifth straight solid starting pitching outing in five games. They’ve needed those outings too, as the Sox offense hadn’t been much to write home about yet. Last night Hanley Ramirez and Mookie Betts and homered, though, which helped give the Red Sox their best offensive game on the season.

Nationals 8, Braves 1: Bryce Harper walked in the first inning, destroyed a baseball in the second inning and then walked, walked and walked in his remaining plate appearances because the Braves wanted no part of him whatsoever. He did manage to get something on which he could make contact in the ninth inning but grounded out. Until then he had drawn five walks and hit three home runs over a span of eight trips to the plate. It doesn’t come any more locked in then that. Despite this — and despite the Braves complete and utter fear of giving Harper a pitch to hit — numbskull Braves fans chanted “over-rated!” at Harper, just as Reds fans had the day before. Maybe people should stop doing that.

Indians 6, Angels 0: Edwin Encarnacion is not a fast man nor a small man but he hit an inside-the-park homer because Justin Upton is not a good defensive man:

This is why the triple will always be the most exciting play in baseball. Yes, they can be the result of a defensive miscalculation, but the truly bad ones tend to be inside-the-parkers. Yonder Alonso and Tyler Naquin hit more conventional homers. In other news, Mike Clevinger — who tossed shutout ball for Cleveland into the sixth inning –was a 2011 draft pick and then farmhand of the Angels. They traded him to Cleveland in 2014 for Vinnie Pestano, who has not thrown a major league pitch since 2015. Guessing they’d like to have that one back.

Athletics 3, Rangers 1: Matt Chapman homered and Jed Lowrie hit a tie-breaking two-run double in the seventh to give the A’s the win. Andrew Triggs and Bartolo Colon each allowed one run, Triggs over five innings, Colon over six.

Rockies 7, Padres 4: Charlie Blackmon homered again. He has four already in the Rockies first four games, all on the road. Last year he was a pretty extreme Coors Field hitter, so the fact that he’s raking on the road could be pretty scary for opposing pitchers. Unless of course hit first series at Coors ruins him for the road, as some people used to think — still think? — about Rockies hitters. Ian Desmond homered too and drove in three on the evening. DJ LeMahieu also went yard. The Padres have yet to win a game. They also lost Wil Myers to a triceps injury which he said afterward was due to him making throws in from the outfield, to which he was just shifted after spending a couple of years at first base. No one expected Myers to challenge for a Gold Glove out there, but if he can’t make the throws without being injured, the whole Myers-to-the-outfield plan isn’t going to go very well.

Diamondbacks 8, Dodgers 7: A fifteen inning, nearly six-hour marathon, occasioned primarily by the Dbacks rallying for three runs against Kenley Jansen after he recorded two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Chris Owings three-run jack sent them to extras where Chase Utley put the Dodgers ahead with an RBI single in the top of the 15th. With Dave Roberts out of pitchers, Wilmer Font of the Dodgers entered his fifth inning of work in the bottom of the frame but could not save it, allowing Nick Ahmed to double in Jake Lamb to tie it and then allowing Jeff Mathis — who would’ve been pitching for Arizona if the game went to the 16th — to single in Ahmed with his 74th pitch of the game. Jansen lost his first appearance of the season by giving up a homer to Joe Panik. Not being able to hold a three-run lead in his second appearance is concerning. After the game he said he was having mechanical issues but felt fine. Guess we’ll see.

Rays vs. Yankees; Phillies vs. Mets — POSTPONED:

There’s a storm outside, and the gap between crack and thunder
Crack and thunder, is closing in, is closing in
The rain floods gutters and makes a great sound on concrete
On a flat roof, there’s a boy leaning against the wall of rain
Aerial held high, calling, “Come on thunder, come on thunder”

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.