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And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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There were only 14 games in Major League Baseball, as the Cardinals and Twins were idle. Which is really, really weird, because I can’t remember the last time teams had a scheduled off-day on a Wednesday. I know the schedule is different this year due to some changes about travel days to the west coast and whatnot, but it’s really disorienting for a guy who does what I do each morning. After ten years, “15 games on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and a usually lighter schedule on Monday and Thursday” is how I arrange my life from April through September. Oh well.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 9, Red Sox 6: It all happened so fast. Both the blown lead in the game and the blown lead in the standings. As for the former: the Sox had rallied to take a 6-5 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth and called on Craig Kimbrel for a five-out save, bringing him into the game with runners on the corners and one out to face Brett Gardner. Gardner tripled in both runners and, the very next batter, Aaron Judge, homered to bring home two more. As for the latter: on April 20, the Red Sox led the Yankees by seven and a half games. They’re now a game behind, as the Yankees won their 17th game in their last 18 contests.

Pirates 6, White Sox 5: Chicago had a 4-0 lead heading into the sixth inning and a 5-2 lead in the ninth. That’s when Nate Jones came on to close it out, but, as noted baseball analyst Robert Burns once said, “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/Gang aft agley/An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain/For promis’d joy!”

Or something like that.

The Pirates scored four off of Jones in the ninth via a two-run ground rule double from Elias Diaz and then a Colin Moran two-run shot immediately thereafter. White Sox manager Rick Renteria:

“I couldn’t have scripted it any better today. We did exactly what we wanted to do, got to the back end of the game. We had the guy we wanted to close it out, and we didn’t. That’s it. We played a really good ballgame, I thought.”

See, he’s read Burns. Rick knows what time it is.

Cubs 13, Marlins 4: It was all over after the Cubs put up an eight-spot in the third, but they kept playing because those are the rules. Anthony Rizzo hit a three-run homer and a pair of run-scoring doubles to give him five RBI on the day. Kris Bryant hit his 100th career homer. It came on the third anniversary of his first homer. He should’ve made a diving stab instead, because everyone knows that the third anniversary gift is leather. Wood is for the fifth year. My god, do they not teach kids the important things these days?

Reds 2, Mets 1: The Mets batted out of order in this one, it cost the team a chance to score and they ended up losing by one run in extra innings. So, yes, the mistake may very well have cost them a game. Adam Duvall‘s 10th inning walkoff homer was the more visible game-decider, however, as the Reds take two of three from the Mets. New York has lost 16 of 23 and is now in fourth place in the NL East.

Braves 5, Rays 2: Julio Teheran shut out the Rays for six innings and left with a 5-0 lead thanks to a Nick Markakis three-run homer and RBI from Freddie Freeman and Ender Inciarte. Markakis is hitting .338/.419/.554 with seven homers. His high in homers over his last nine seasons is 18. I’m going to assume this is some sort of 1980s movie-style body-swap situation, possibly involving an enchanted object of some kind. Just gotta figure out who he’s body-swapped with. Possibly Marcell Ozuna?

Blue Jays 5, Mariners 2Yangervis Solarte and Justin Smoak both doubled in a eighth inning rally, the former tying things up and the latter putting the Blue Jays ahead as Toronto bounced back from being no-hit on Tuesday night. Wade LeBlanc started for the Mariners. He has zero career shutouts in 80 starts. That’s not a lot of starts over a ten year career, but I’ve always hoped I’d get the chance to write “Wade LeBlanc LeBlanks [opposing team].” Maybe someday.

Phillies 11, Giants 3: Nick Pivetta tossed five innings of shutout ball and Carlos Santana went hog wild, driving in five. The Phillies are 20-11 since a 1-4 start. “I just try to focus and make contact,” Santana, who had slumped terribly until very recently, said after the game. “It’s been a big difference.” What was he doing before?

Padres 2, Nationals 1: Gio Gonzalez and Joey Lucchesi dueled, each allowing one run, and Matt Szczur‘s go-ahead RBI double in the seventh decided it. “I was just trying to get something good to hit,” said Szczur after the game. “I knew I had to get something in the air and I put a good swing on it.” Huh. Really makes you think.

Indians 6, Brewers 2: The Indians climb back to .500 thanks to a dominant outing from Carlos Carrasco, who tossed a 14-strikeout complete game. He likewise singled in a run (all together now) helping his own cause. A three- run homer from Tyler Naquin and a solo shot from Francisco Lindor helped it even more.

Rangers 5, Tigers 4: Nomar Mazara hit a solo homer in the seventh to tie the game and to eventually force extras. Then he hit a walkoff solo shot in the bottom of the tenth to win it. Not as notable in the box score but pretty darn impressive too: Delino DeShields drew four walks, all leading off innings.

 

Angels 8, Rockies 0: Jaime Barria and four relievers combined to shut out the Rockies and Rene Rivera, Justin Upton and Zack Cozart all homered. Andrelton Simmons‘ 12-game hitting streak ended but he did take a walk with the bases loaded. I wonder how many times the Rockies have been shut out at Coors Field. I’m guessing fewer than most teams have been shut out at home, pro-rated for ballpark age.

Astros 4, Athletics 1: Gerrit Cole wasn’t as sharp as he was in his last outing, but let us not make the perfect the enemy of the good. Cole continued his fantastic 2018 season by allowing one run over six innings while striking out nine. Back-to-bak homers from Max Stassi and Derek Fisher in the seventh and a two-run double from Yuli Gurriel constituted the Astros’ offense. He leads the league in strikeouts with 86 and trails only teammate Justin Verlander in ERA, 1.43 to Verlander’s 1.17. Houston sweeps Oakland, outscoring them 25-5 in the series.

Orioles 5, Royals 3: Baltimore puts an end to their seven-game skid. Mark Trumbo hit a tiebreaking, two-run single in the eighth, Chris Davis homered and Andrew Cashner pitched respectably in a no-decision.

 

Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 3:  Yasiel Puig came back from a stint on the disabled list and went 3-for-4 with two runs scored as the Dodgers avoid being swept by the Dbacks. These two teams do not meet again until August 30. given how often they’ve played each other so far this year, I think everyone could use the break. It’s been like when there were two teams doing spring training in Tucson and they didn’t want to drive up to Phoenix or something.

Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay lead newcomers on the 2019 Hall of Fame ballot

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The Baseball Hall of Fame has released its ballot for 2019.

The newcomers to the ballot, two of whom I presume will be first-ballot inductees, include Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay:

  • Roy Halladay
  • Todd Helton
  • Andy Pettitte
  • Mariano Rivera
  • Rick Ankiel
  • Jason Bay
  • Lance Berkman
  • Freddy Garcia
  • Jon Garland
  • Travis Hafner
  • Ted Lilly
  • Derek Lowe
  • Darren Oliver
  • Roy Oswalt
  • Juan Pierre
  • Placido Polanco
  • Miguel Tejada
  • Vernon Wells
  • Kevin Youkilis
  • Michael Young

Given his PED associations — and the writers’ curious soft touch about them when it comes to him vs. other players who got caught up in that stuff — Pettite will be an interesting case which we will, without question, be talking about more between now and the end of January. There will be more than mere novelty votes thrown at Helton, Berkman, Tejada, Youkilis and Young, but I don’t suspect they’ll make it or even come particularly close. Everyone else will either be one-and-done or receive negligible or even non-existent support.

The holdovers from last year’s ballot, with vote percentage from 2018:

Edgar Martinez (70.4%)
Mike Mussina (63.5%)
Roger Clemens (57.3%)
Barry Bonds (56.4%)
Curt Schilling (51.2%)
Omar Vizquel (37.0%)
Larry Walker (34.1%)
Fred McGriff (23.2%)
Manny Ramirez (22.0%)
Jeff Kent (14.5%)
Gary Sheffield (11.1%)
Billy Wagner (11.1%)
Scott Rolen (10.2%)
Sammy Sosa (7.8%)
Andruw Jones (7.3%)

This is Edgar Martinez’s last year on the ballot. He’s so close to the 75% threshold that one hopes — and suspects — that he’ll get over the line in 2019, especially given that four guys were cleared off the ballot last year. It should be a move-ahead year for Mike Mussina too, who has suffered from criminally low support given his numbers and the era in which they came. That Jack Morris is now in should further strengthen his case given that he was a far, far better pitcher than Morris.

The rest of the candidates all either have long-discussed PED-associations that should prevent them from getting the required support, were too far out in vote totals last year to expect them to spring to 75% support in a single ballot or are Curt Schilling, who basically everyone hates.

Results of the voting will be revealed on January 22nd and, of course, we’ll be talking at length about this year’s ballot over the next two months. At the outset, though, I’ll go with a gut prediction: Rivera, Halladay, Martinez and Mussina will be inducted.

Your predictions start now.