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And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Brewers 3, Cubs 2: Lorenzo Cain had four hits, Mike Moustakas scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch, and just like that the Cubs’ lead in the NL Central is down to a single game. Milwaukee has won seven of eight overall. The Cubs have dropped five of seven.

Rays 6, Indians 5: Early in the game Ji-Man Choi was hit by a Corey Kluber pitch with the bases loaded to push in a run. That’s the hard way to knock one in. He did it the much more fun way in the bottom of the ninth when he hit a two-out, two-run homer off of Brad Hand to give the Rays the walkoff win. The loss was doubly demoralizing for Cleveland, you have to imagine, as they fell behind 4-1 in the second inning behind an ineffective Kluber, yet still came back to claim a 5-4 lead. Then, bammo, like that they lost.

Astros 3, Tigers 2: Justin Verlander made his return to Detroit and it wasn’t a bad return: seven innings, two runs ten strikeouts. His counterpart Francisco Liriano was also facing a team he pitched for in 2017 and actually allowed fewer earned runs — all three of Houston’s were unearned — but one was on a wild pitch, with a guy he walked scoring, and the other two coming courtesy of three straight singles he allowed right after the wild pitch so, at least under the rules I would impose were I the Baseball Dictator, they’d be earned.

Reds 10, Dodgers 6: If the Dodgers miss the playoffs they can attribute it to a lot of reasons but losing all five games they’ve played against the lowly Reds this season is one that should stand out for them. Here Scooter Gennett had four hits and three RBI, Joey Votto hit a two-run double and Cincinnati jumped on Alex Wood for seven runs, six earned, in less than four innings. Los Angeles falls to one and a half games behind Colorado because . . .

Rockies 13, Diamondbacks 2: . . . the Rockies are taking care of their business. German Marquez struck out 11 over seven innings, Trevor Story hit a three-run homer during a six-run fifth inning and David Dahl hit a grand slam in their seven-run seventh. Charlie BlackmonTony Wolters and DJ LeMahieu each had three hits. Arizona is now three and a half back in the division and four in the Wild Card race.

Yankees 7, Twins 2: J.A. Happ tossed six shutout innings and Gary Sanchez had three hits including a long homer to kick off the game’s scoring in the six inning. The Yankees any pretense of this being a close game the following inning, however, when they put up a six-spot thanks to RBI doubles from Miguel Andujar, Giancarlo Stanton, and Didi Gregorius and an RBI single from Gleybar Torres. Andrew McCutchen‘s sac fly put a lid on things. New York has beaten Minnesota nine straight times if you include last year’s Wild Card game. Their ownership of that franchise is, like, decades long now.

Royals 4, White Sox 3: Walkoff homers are fun. Walkoff sac bunts which are thrown away by the pitcher trying to field it, allowing the runner he was trying to nail at third to score are just as effective, however. The bunter, Alcides Escobar. The pitcher throwing it away, Jeanmar Gomez. Probably an appropriate ending for a game between two of the, ahem, less-than-dominant teams in Major League Baseball this year.

Cardinals 8. Pirates 7: The Pirates took an early 4-0 lead but the Cards came back and Matt Adams‘ three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth turned a 6-4 deficit into a 7-6 lead which the Cards would not surrender. The win moved St. Louis two games ahead of the Dodgers for the second Wild Card.

Rangers 5, Angels 2: Mike Minor allowed on run on eight hits in six innings, Ronald Guzman homered and Joey Gallow drove in three to end the Rangers’ four-game losing streak. Shohei Ohtani had two hits and an RBI and both Mike Trout and Andrelton Simmons flashed serious leather in a losing cause and the Angels. That sort of feels like what will be the legacy for this era of Angels baseball, doesn’t it? Some big stars doing fun things but having it amount to nothing because the organization does not seem to know how to build a baseball team.

Braves 4, Giants 1: Atlanta keeps on rolling and the Giants keep on falling. It was close most of the game, but the Braves broke a 1-1 tie in the seventh thanks to Dansby Swanson hitting a sac fly and then put it away in the ninth when Ozzie Albies hit an RBI triple and Swanson squeezed him home with a bunt. I know I put up a lot of videos of big homers and spectacular defensive plays. Here’s a highlight for those of you who get off on fundamentally sound but boring plays:

The Braves now lead the NL East by five games, having taken four of five.

Nationals vs. Phillies — POSTPONED: This one doesn’t get covered by my rain song today because the circumstances of the postponement were not directly rain-related. Yes, it rained, but that happened over the weekend when the Phillies were in New York and they didn’t cover the field for whatever reason, so the infield dirt was soaked. They used friggin’ blowtorches to try to dry it out but it didn’t work. Anyway, they get a different song:

The times are tough now, just getting tougher
This whole world is rough, it’s just getting rougher
Cover me, come on baby, cover me
Well I’m looking for a lover who will come on in and cover me

Now promise me baby you won’t let them find us
Hold me in your arms, let’s let our love blind us
Cover me, shut the door and cover me
I’m looking for a lover who will come on in and cover me

Outside’s the rain, the driving snow
I can hear the wild wind blowing
Turn out the light, bolt the door
I ain’t going out there no more

This whole world is out there just trying to score
I’ve seen enough I don’t wanna see any more,
Cover me, come on in and cover me
I’m looking for a lover who will come on in and cover me

Marlins vs. Mets — POSTPONED: This was a straight rain postponement, so:

The leaves of brown came tumbling down
Remember in September in the rain
The sun went out just like a dying amber
That September in the rain
To every word of love i heard you whisper
The raindrops seemed to play our sweet refrain
Though spring is here to me it’s still September
That September in the rain

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.