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And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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There were a bunch of blowouts yesterday. Feels like a lot of teams could use a few days off. Guess it’s good that a week from today they get ’em.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 2, Blue Jays 1: Domingo German and Ryan Borucki battled, each allowing only a run and the pens tossed shutouts for the rest of regulation. Some small ball in the 10th was the difference, with Greg Bird getting plunked by former Yankee Tyler Clippard, Austin Romine sacrificing his pinch runner over and Brett Gardner singling him in for what would be the winning run. Blue Jays first base coach Tim Leiper was ejected in this one. I can’t for the life of me remember the last time I saw a first base coach ejected. They tend to be a timid lot, doing nothing more aggressive than patting a runner on the tush and yelling “BACK!”

Athletics 6, Indians 0: What looked like was going to be a bad weekend in Cleveland sure did turn around nicely for Oakland. They were on the verge of losing 3-0 to Corey Kluber on Saturday afternoon but rallied for three in the eighth as soon as he left and then won in extras. That momentum carried over into Sunday when Brett Anderson — fresh back after nearly two months on the disabled list — tossed five shutout innings and three relievers finished the job. Stephen Piscotty hit a two-run homer. If you haven’t been paying attention, the A’s have been playing great baseball lately. They have either won or split their last seven series and are now ten games over .500 for the first time in nearly four years. If they played in the AL Central, NL East or NL West they’d be in a dogfight for the division lead.

Rangers 3, Tigers 0: Austin Bibens-Dirkx, who is named like either the son of an Edwardian dandy who took a wife from Texas or, possibly, a mid-ranking official in a galaxy-spanning government in a science fiction novel, shut out the Tigers into the sixth inning and then handed it over to either his mates or his galactic comrades, depending on his provenance. The Rangers got all their scoring done by the second inning and this one was done in less than three hours. Shin-Soo Choo got an infield single in the ninth to extend his on-base streak to 47 consecutive games, setting a new Rangers record. The old record was held by Julio Franco, who set it when he was still relatively young. Which, without looking, I’ll say was 1939.

Rays 9, Mets 0: Nate Eovaldi was perfect through six and ended up tossing seven one-hit shutout innings, striking out nine. He knocked in a run in the fifth, too. C.J. Cron‘s first inning three-run homer was all the scoring Eovaldi needed, but Joey Wendle and Jake Bauers also homered for Tampa Bay because professionals don’t stop trying just because the other team is already beat.

Marlins 10, Nationals 2: Miami rattled off 22 hits, 20 of which were singles. Death by, um, a score of cuts I guess. J.T. Realmuto had five of them and Martin Prado had four of them. Not that the Marlins even get the bulk of the headlines. Mark Reynolds, who had 10 RBI on Saturday, played again, went 2-for4 with a walk and even pitched a third of an inning, retiring the only batter he faced. In other news, I’m going to choose to believe that the Marlins housing the Nats here was karmic payback for Dave Martinez trying to find something to bitch about when his team was actually playing well for the first time in weeks. Crash Davis once said what not to do with a streak, and I think that even applies to little streaks.

Pirates 4, Phillies 1: Nick Kingham allowed one over six and also knocked in the go-ahead run. Go-ahead two runs, actually, with a fourth inning double that turned a 1-1 game into a 3-1 game. Artist’s rendering of Nick Kingham.

Brewers 10, Braves 3: A five-run third inning capped by a three-run bomb from Hernan Perez set the tone here and sent Milwaukee on course for a blowout win. Jesus Aquilar homered twice, a solo shot in in the seventh and a three-run shot in the eighth. Aguilar has 11 homers in his last 20 games. The Braves left [mashes hand on calculator haphazardly while trying to forget the game) about 2,402 men in scoring position in this one. They’ve also lost five of six and are doing things like benching guys for lack of hustle. Which is to say that, yeah, they could use a break.

Twins 10, Orioles 1: Jake Odorizzi tossed six shutout innings but it was tight when he left. Thankfully his teammates put up an eight-run sixth to let him shower easily.  Mitch GarverEduardo Escobar and Brian Dozier homered. Dozier homered in the same inning in which he scored off of Escobar’s homer, in fact. Alex Cobb took his 11th loss. He’s on pace for 20. I hope Baltimore gives him a chance to do it. We need more noble and honorable ignominy in this world. People doing less-than-great things but still holding their head up high with dignity and all of that. You know, for the kids.

Astros 2, White Sox 1: Jose Altuve homered for one run. The second scored after a double, a sacrifice fly and a sac back to the pitcher from Marwin Gonzalez. And they say manufacturing is a dead sector in this country. Dallas Keuchel allowed one run over seven.

Red Sox 7, Royals 4: Boston sweeps Kansas City. After adjusting for team quality that goes down as a split somehow. Stats are weird. Andrew Benintendi had four hits and scored twice and Rick Procello scattered nine hits over seven innings, allowing three. Boston got two RBI a piece from Mitch Moreland, Xander Bogaerts and Eduardo Nunez. The Royals have lost nine in a row, 10 of 11 and . . . well, we could do that all the way back to the beginning of the season seeing as though they have the second worst record in baseball and look poised to challenge Baltimore for that mark all season long.

Cubs 6, Reds 5: The second walkoff walk we’ve seen in a week, this one coming in the tenth inning when Jackson Stephens issued a free pass to David Bote. Stephens issued three walks that inning — one intentional — and uncorked a wild pitch. Chicago has won eight of ten, all by coming from behind.

Mariners 6, Rockies 4: Ryon Healy homered and drove in five via a two-run double and a three-run homer. Not bad for a guy who was 0 for his last 13 heading into the game. Charlie BlackmonCarlos Gonzalez and Trevor Story hit the homers off of M’s starter Wade LeBlanc, but he still got the win. Between the contract extension he signed and the trail magic here it was a pretty good week for LeBlanc.

Giants 13, Cardinals 8: There wasn’t much in the way of pitching here. Pablo Sandoval had five RBI, though, Andrew McCutchen and Alen Hanson had three hits and Brandon Belt and Gorkys Hernandez had two. Greg Holland gave up five runs on four hits in two-thirds of an inning. He now has an 8.27 ERA, has given up 29 hits in 20.2 innings and has walked only one fewer batter than he has struck out. Everyone said the Cardinals got a bargain with that one-year, $14 million deal they gave him but, boy howdy.

Padres 4, Diamondbacks 3: Sixteen innings of baseball were concluded with Wil Myers hitting a homer off of . . . Jeff Mathis? Yep, Jeff Mathis. The catcher. If it’s any consolation to Mathis, Myers said he was the best position player he’d ever seen pitch. And yeah, it wasn’t terrible apart from the gopher ball. The homer is in this video sequence, but check out how he froze Carlos Asuaje with that perfectly-placed 81 m.p.h. fastball:

Easy gas, man.

Angels 4, Dodgers 3: Yasiel Puig hit a three-run homer off of his former teammate Andrew Heaney (note: Heaney was a Dodger for a few hours when he was traded there in December 2014; he was traded to Anaheim that same day. I wonder what his best memory was of being a Dodger?) but that’s all L.A. would get off of him. Justin Upton singled in two runs in the third to make it 3-2 and then Albert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani hit solo homers in the sixth and seventh, respectively, to give the men from Anaheim the victory.

Justin Verlander laughed at after saying Astros were “technologically and analytically advanced”

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Justin Verlander was at the annual Baseball Writers Association of America banquet last night, on hand to accept the 2019 Cy Young Award. Normally such things are pretty routine events, but nothing is routine with the Houston Astros these days.

During his acceptance speech, Verlander made some comments about the Astros’ “technological and analytical advancements.” The comments were greeted by some laughter in the room as well as some groans. At least one person on hand claimed that other players present were visibly angry.

It’s hard to tell the context of it all without a full video — maybe Verlander meant it as a joke, maybe the reactions were more varied than is being described — but here’s how reporters on hand for it last night are describing it:

If it was a joke it was ill-timed, as not many around the game think the sign-stealing stuff is funny at the moment. Especially in light of the fact that, despite having several opportunities to do so, Astros players have failed to show any accountability for their cheating.

And yes, that includes former Astros Dallas Keuchel, who was praised for “apologizing” at a White Sox fan event on Friday, but whose “apology” was couched in a lot of deflection and excuse-making about how it was just something that was done at the time and about how technology was to blame. Keuchel also tried to minimize it, saying that the Astros didn’t do it all the time. Which is rich given that the most prominent video evidence of their trash can-banging scheme came from a blowout Astros win in a meaningless August game against a losing team. If they were doing it in that situation, please, do not tell me they weren’t doing it when games really mattered.

Anyway, I’d like to think Verlander was just trying to take a stab at a joke here, because Verlander is the wrong guy to be sending to be sending any kind of messages diminishing the cheating given that he has a pretty solid track record of holding other players’ feet to the fire when they get busted.

For example, here he was in 2018 after Robinson Canó got busted for PEDs:

Of course, consistency can be a problem for Verlander when his teammates are on the ones who are on the hook. Here was his response to Tigers infielder Jhonny Peralta being suspended in the wake of the Biogenesis scandal:

“Everybody makes mistakes. He’s my brother. We fight and bleed and sweat together on the baseball field. If my brother makes a mistake, especially if he owns up to it and serves his time, I don’t see how you can hold a grudge or anything like that. “It’s one thing to step up and be a man and own up to his mistake.”

Verlander, it should also be noted, was very outspoken about teams engaging in advanced sign-stealing schemes once upon a time. here he was in 2017, while still with the Tigers, talking about such things in a June 2017 interview with MLive.com.

“We don’t have somebody, but I’m sure teams have a person that can break down signals and codes and they’ll have the signs before you even get out there on the mound.  It’s not about gamesmanship anymore. It used to be, ‘Hey, if you can get my signs, good for you.’ In the past, if a guy on second (base) was able to decipher it on a few pitches, I guess that was kind of part of the game. I think it’s a different level now. It’s not good.”

Which makes me wonder how he felt when he landed on the Astros two months later and realized they had a sophisticated cheating operation underway. If the feelings were mixed, he was able to bury the part of them which had a problem with it, because he’s said jack about it since this all blew up in November. And, of course, has happily accepted the accolades and the hardware he he has received since joining Houston, some of which was no doubt acquired by virtue of a little extra, ill-gotten run support.

Anyway, wake me up when someone — anyone — associated with the Astros shows some genuine accountability about this.