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And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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I won’t do an “And That Happened” after today’s game 163s, as they’ll each be entitled to their own stories, so this is it for the year.

It was my 11th year of doing daily recaps. It has always been and always will be my favorite thing I do each day. It’s the regular season boiled down to its essence: the cool stuff, the silly stuff, the important stuff and, of course, the unimportant stuff that, I’m not gonna lie, I love the most.

Today’s games count in the regular season standings and stats, but for all practical purposes, we’re now in the postseason. Which is great, because that’s the most important stuff that happens all year, but, if I’m being honest, it’s not what jazzes me the most about baseball. I dig the regular season the most. I probably always will.

So, for the last time of the regular season, here are the scores. And here are the highlights:

Rockies 12, Nationals 0: Charlie Blackmon hit for the cycle — his homer was a two-run shot — and drove in three runs in all. David Dahl and Nolan Arenado also knocked in three a piece and Tyler Anderson pitched shutout ball into the eighth as the Rockies routed Washington. That, combined with the Dodgers win, puts both teams at 91-71 and that means a tie and a tie-breaking game 163 today at 4PM Eastern time.

Oh, by the way: Arenado’s three driven in came courtesy of two homers, the second of which put him past Christian Yelich and Matt Carpenter for the NL lead. That’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things but in addition to possibly giving him the home run crown, it could very well deprive Yelich of the triple crown. Today’s stats count for that.

Dodgers 15, Giants 0: A similar story in San Francisco, with Rich Hill tossing seven two-hit shutout innings, Matt Kemp driving in three and Brian Dozier, Max Muncy and Austin Barnes all going deep. Probably worth noting that there were not two more disappointing teams than the Nationals and Giants in the National League this season and each of them turned up supremely disappointing final weekend performances in order to give us this extra day of baseball today. So . . . thanks?

Cubs 10, Cardinals 5:  Anthony Rizzo picked up four hits and a walk and scored three times and Willson Contreras homered as the Cubs overcame an early deficit to win easily. Thanks to this and the Brewers’ win it’s a showdown for the NL Central crown at 1PM Eastern today. It was a nice second half run for the Cards, but they dug themselves too much of a hole early to make up for it. St. Louis missed out on the playoffs for a third straight year for the first time since 1997-99.

Brewers 11, Tigers 0: Gio Gonzalez tossed five shutout innings, Jesus Aguilar and Travis Shaw went deep and the Brewers, who were six games back in the NL Central at one point in late August, finished the slate of 162 tied with Chicago. As noted above, Yelich needs one homer today — and to hope that Nolan Arenado does not homer — and needs two more RBI than Javier Baez gets in today’s game to win the Triple Crown. Not likely, but certainly not impossible.

Orioles 4, Astros 0Jimmy YacabonisPaul Fry and Mychal Givens combined on a one-hitter. Which really is something the Orioles should’ve been doing all year. You know, calling the “toss a combined one-hitter against good teams” play. Maybe not totally easy given that, for the most part, the teams they were playing against had something to play for and weren’t just trying to stay healthy until the ALDS starts. In other news, Baltimore still lost more games than any team in the past 15 years.

Red Sox 10, Yankees 2: Win 108 for the Red Sox. It came courtesy of the Yankees keeping their powder dry for the Wild Card game, but a win is a win. I guess the Sox were keeping their powder dry too given that they went through eight pitchers. In the process, Mookie Betts ended his season as the AL batting champ and the likely MVP. J.D. Martinez won the RBI crown. Or is it a sash? I think the home run king gets a crown, the batting champ gets a sash and the RBI guy gets, like, maybe some cool cufflinks? I don’t know. Nobility is foreign to me. When the socialists take over baseball there will be no more batting crowns and home run kings. There will be collectives of 81-win teams, all happy for having played the game.

Phillies 3, Braves 1: Atlanta needed a win for a puncher’s chance at home field advantage in the NLDS but that didn’t happen. Eh, it’s all gravy. Home field in baseball matters less than in other sports. In other news, the Phillies were 15 games over .500 on August 5 and they end the season a game under .500. Atlanta now waits to see who wins today’s Dodgers-Rockies game and travels to the home town of the winner.

Angels 5, Athletics 4Taylor Ward hit a walkoff two-run homer in the ninth to give the Angels the win in what was Mike Scioscia’s final game as their manager. He’s had the gig since 2000. It’s rather stunning to think of how much time that is in baseball terms. A-Rod was still playing for the Mariners. Jason Giambi was playing for the A’s and leading baseball in OBP. A twenty-something Darin Erstad was leading the AL in hits and at-bats for Scioscia’s own Angels. As of now he has been a coach at Nebraska for over eight years. Tim Belcher was on that team for cryin’ out loud and he turns 57 years-old in a couple of weeks. I think it’s time for Scioscia to move on and for the Angels to head in a different direction, but MY GOD, it’s been a ride.

Pirates 6, Reds 5:  Pablo Reyes scored on Jackson Stephens‘ wild pitch in the top of the 10th inning giving the Pirates their winning margin. Starling Marte and Josh Bell homered for the Pirates who, though finishing well out of the playoff chase, made some moves this year that may position them for contention in the short to mid term. Meanwhile the Reds finish a season that, while seeing them lose 95 games, felt weirdly positive much of the time given how awfully they began it and how certain it seemed for a time that they’d lose well over 100. They still have a long way to go, but there are some green shoots emerging after a long figurative winter. Which should make the actual winter pretty interesting for them. And for the Pirates for that matter.

Mets 1, Marlins 0: Noah Syndergaard tossed a five-hit shutout to end the Mets season. A weird season to be sure. It started fast, went deep into the pits of hell, and then ended remarkably respectably, resulting in a seven-win improvement over 2017. Which is still somewhat disappointing, but there’s reason for hope with a 1-2-3 punch of Jacob deGrom, Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler next season. Now, if the front office will quit dicking around with blah moves on offense, New York could actually do something next season. We say such things every season, though, don’t we? And then they center their offseason on signing Jay Bruce or someone like him.

Padres 4, Diamondbacks 3: San Diego won on a walkoff dropped third strike:

Manuel Margot reached on a triple there, homered and stole a base on his 3-for-5 afternoon. What a way to end the season.

Rays 9, Blue Jays 4: The Rays, appropriately for their season, went with an opener and pitched a bullpen game in their final contest of the season. And they, appropriately, won it. For the year Tampa Bay went 46-38 with regular starters and 44-34 in bullpen games. That’s 90 wins for the year, which is much better than anyone thought they’d get. Here Ryan Yarbrough got the win. It was his 16th on the year, 14 of which came in relief. I’ve been arguing with Rays fans all year about whether 2018 was successful. Of course it was on one level. They won 90 games and that’s pretty darn good and for that you have to give Kevin Cash and his players a ton of credit. One wonders, though, what might’ve happened if they did not spend the offseason dumping salary. Were there seven more wins to be found, which would’ve put them in the postseason? Maybe, maybe not, but one would hope that they’d look to add like a winner adds this winter rather than repeat their reshuffling winter of 2017-18.

Indians 2, Royals 1: Carlos Carrasco picked up his 17th win with five innings of one-run work and Francisco Lindor hit his 38th homer on the year. More importantly, Trevor Bauer pitched four shutout innings in relief. It’ll be interesting to see how Terry Francona deploys Bauer in the postseason. No matter what he does, he figures to be an important weapon. Whit Merrifield got a hit to extend his hitting streak to 20 games, which will continue at the beginning of 2019. He finished the season with 192 hits and 45 stolen bases, leading the majors in both categories.

Mariners 3, Rangers 1: Having recapped every series involving every team for the entire season, I can tell you that the Mariners and Rangers have played each other ten times more than any other teams have played each other this season. I estimate, conservatively, that they met 180-190 times in the 2018 season. I realize that reference to the stats and the actual schedule will not show that, but those sources are wrong. I know better. They’ve played each other hundreds and hundreds of times, and this the last. As it went, Roenis Elias was sharp and the Rangers offense couldn’t get going, but it mattered little for anyone.

It mattered, however, for Adrian Beltre and every one of us who enjoyed his career, which is likely now over. And which will, without question, lead him to induction in Cooperstown a few years from now. He might decide to play next year, but most doubt it. Assuming most are right, here are his final moments on a baseball field:

Twins 5, White Sox 4: Joe Mauer hasn’t announced that he’s retiring either but he most likely is. To that end, the Twins gave him an unofficial goodbye, and it was a good one. They let him catch one last time:

This is what I was talking about above, by the way. This will matter not a bit come 1PM today, let alone a couple of weeks from now when we’re entering the stomach-turning portion of the postseason and everything is on the line. Here, though, a moment happened. A moment that will not change Joe Mauer’s legacy and will not change the history of baseball or even that of the Twins. But it was a moment that could be appreciated as it occurred and can be appreciated as we think of it now before it drifts away. And the moment was beautiful. Beautiful for what it was. Beautiful simply because it happened.

Enjoy the postseason, my friends. Even if part of us wants to jump ahead to next year when the days begin to unfold one after another in wonderful, relative meaninglessness once again.

Myles Garrett and Mason Rudolph: meet Juan Marichal and John Roseboro

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Last night the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Cleveland Browns. No one is gonna be talking nearly as much about the outcome today, however, as they are the carnage.

Specifically, the carnage that led to Browns defensive end Myles Garrett getting ejected from the game after ripping Steelers’ quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet off, swinging it at him and connecting with Rudolph’s skull as the game came to a close. Things were already chippy as all get-out, but that obviously led to a brawl which will lead to a ton of suspensions, including a possibly record-breaking one for Garrett. For all your analysis on that, check out PFT, obviously.

The incident will dominate the sports shows today because malicious attempts to injure another player with a piece of equipment are pretty rare in professional sports. There was at least one incident in baseball history, however, that was analogous to what went down in Cleveland last night.

It took place on August 22, 1965 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco during a Dodgers-Giants game. That’s when Giants ace Juan Marichal, playing the role of Garrett, took a baseball bat to the head of Dodgers catcher John Roseboro, standing in for Rudolph.

The Dodgers and Giants are rivals, of course, and in 1965 the two teams were in a pitched battle for the N.L. pennant, with the Dodgers leading San Francisco by a game and a half as the day began.

Pitchers in 1965 were a bit more aggressive about claiming the inside part of the plate than they are today, and on that day, everyone seemed cranky. Marichal knocked Dodgers shortstop Maury Wills down with some chin music in the top of the second for, it appears, committing the terrible transgression of bunting for a single in his first at bat of the game. In response Koufax fired a fastball over Willie Mays’ head, sending the ball to the backstop. So everyone was even, yeah?

Nah. Marichal responded in the top of third with an inside fastball that sent Dodgers first baseman Ron Fairly sprawling to the dirt. At that point home plate umpire Shag Crawford issued a warning, indicating that that the next close pitch from either team would result in an ejection. Walter Alston’s Dodgers, though, were a clever bunch. Sure, maybe a close pitch was going to get an ace ejected in a pennant race, but there are other ways to buzz someone’s tower, right?

Pitchers batted in every game back then, of course, and Marichal came to bat in the bottom of the third. Koufax didn’t throw at him, though. Instead, Roseboro, catching for L.A., threw the ball back to Koufax in such a way as to have it sail close to Marichal’s head as he stood in the batter’s box. He later admitted in his autobiography that it was no accident, he was trying to intimidate Marichal.

Marichal flipped out, clubbing Roseboro with his bat, after which all hell broke loose (all photos, and the original caption from 1965, are from Getty Images):

 

Juan Marichal holding bat, John Roseboro attacked, and Sandy Koufax closes in.

 

Roseboro throws a punch at Marichal while latter swings bat and Koufax comes in to try and break it up.

 

On deck batter Giant Tito Fuentes pulls Roseboro away while Marichal wields bat at Koufax while umpire Shag Crawford and Giant coach Charlie Fox try to break it up.

 

Umpire Shag Crawford wrestles with Marichal while Dodgers Jim Gilliam (19) and Koufax come in. Rear is Giants coach Charlie Fox. Marichal falls to the ground on top of Shag Crawford while Giants Orlando Cepeda joins the melee.

 

Umpire Shag Crawford is shown here wrestling with Marichal as Dodgers Jim Gilliam (#19) and Sandy Koufax join in. In the rear is Giants’ coach Charlie Fox.

 

Identifiable L-R: Dodger Jim Gilliam (19); John Roseboro (with chest protector); Giants Orlando Cepeda (30); Cap Peterson (17); Warren Spahn; and Mgr. Herman Franks (3).

Willie Mays was credited with keeping the brawl from getting worse. Roseboro had military and martial arts training and, as you can see in the second photo, he was not slowed by his head injury — an injury that would require 14 stitches — from trying to take Marichal apart. Mays was the one who ultimately pulled Roseboro away and out of the fracas. He even held a towel to Roseboro’s head which by then had begun to bleed profusely. The fight eventually ended, with several players sustaining injuries due to kicks and accidental spikings of hands and legs and stuff.

The incident delayed the game for 14 minutes but the fallout beyond that was pretty tame compared to today’s standards. Marichal got an eight day suspension which, because of scheduled doubleheaders, caused him to miss ten games. He was also fined $1,750, which is around $15,000 today. Roseboro only missed two games due to his injury. The Dodgers would lose this game thanks to a big homer from Mays off of Koufax, but the Dodgers would go on to win the pennant and defeat the Minnesota Twins in the World Series.

There was additional fallout: Roseboro sued Marichal for $110,000 in damages. They’d eventually settle, with Roseboro receiving $7,500 from Marichal.

But there was no lingering bad blood. In interviews after the incident both players admitted that there was much more on their minds in 1965 that might’ve contributed to their aggression on that day. There was the rivalry, of course, and the pennant race. But Marichal had been much more personally distracted by a civil war in his native Dominican Republic that raged in 1965 and would not end until September. Roseboro had been, understandably, affected by the Watts Riots in Los Angeles which had taken place just over a week before this game. When you feel helpless about situation A, you often channel your feelings into situation B and both men said that something like that was probably simmering.

Marichal would play for the Dodgers for two games in 1975, the final year of his career. Roseboro had already retired, but Marichal’s cup of coffee with L.A. allowed them to meet up at a Dodgers old-timers game in 1982. There they posed for this photo: 

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“There were no hard feelings on my part,” Roseboro told the L.A. Times in 1990. Roseboro died in 2002. Marichal was an honorary pallbearer at his funeral.

Let’s check in with Garrett and Ruldolph in 37 years to see how they’re doing.