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And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Rays 5, Yankees 4: Both Travis d'Arnaud and Aroldis Chapman done blew up. That’s good for one of ’em, of course. The Yankees took a 4-2 lead into the ninth — with both Rays runs coming on d’Arnaud solo homers — when Kevin Kiermaier reached to lead off the inning and Guillermo Heredia singled right after him. Chapman bore down and struck out two but  d’Arnaud connected with a full-count slider, sending it over the right field fence for his third dinger of the game which made it 5-4. After a quick bottom of the ninth, that was that. What a dang game for d’Arnaud.

Giants 19, Rockies 2: Giants 2, Rockies 1: Brandon Crawford went 5-for-6 with two homers and eight RBI. Mike Yastrzemski went 4-for-6 with a homer and Buster Posey went deep as well. And no, I’m never gonna get used to the fact that there’s a Yastrzemski in the big leagues again. I’m afraid if I acknowledge it I’ll look up and Gerald Ford will be in the White House or something. Or Nixon? Which now makes me think of that show “Life on Mars” that was on several years ago. It was solid as hell. OK, knowing what I know now, if you HAD to drop me back in the 1970s somehow, I think I could hack it pretty well. If it does happen, it’ll definitely because I’m watching Mike Yastrzemski play, I get dizzy and then when my vision focuses it’s Carl and — bammo — it’s 1971 and I’m forced to make my way as a ball writer, out-of-time.

Sorry for the digression. Crawford homered again in the nightcap of the doubleheader and Derek Rodríguez allowed one run over five as the Giants swept. Maybe as a baby step I’m watching Rodriguez pitch, things get blurry and when I focus again I’m watching his dad catch and it’s 1993 all over again? Although, gotta be honest, finding myself in 1993 again is probably more scary for a lot of reasons I’m having a hard time explaining.

Dodgers 16, Phillies 2: Phillies fans like talking about those times they’ve traveled en masse to Washington or someplace and have taken over opposing ballparks, turning road games into home games, more or less. Last night it seems that Dodgers fans — East Coast sleeper agents as opposed to travelers — took over Citizens Bank Ballpark. They had a lot to cheer for, too, as Cody Bellinger went 4-for-6, going deep twice and six Dodgers hitters knocked in at least two runs. Clayton Kershaw, meanwhile, allowed one run over six to win his eighth of the year. The Phillies have lost three of four. Feel like I’ve been saying that for a month running or more.

Indians 8, Tigers 6: A big day for multiple homers. In addition to the guys mentioned in the previous highlights, Edwin Enacarnación hit two in a losing cause in that Yankees-Rays game, as did Tyler O’Neill in St. Louis and George Springer for Houston. In this game two guys did it: Jordy Mercer for Detroit and Oscar Mercado for the Tribe. Mercado came into the game in a 1-for-25 skid but turned that around, with his second dong breaking a 5-5 tie in the seventh. Cleveland has won eight in a row against the Tigers and nine of ten on the year. They’re six back of the Twins.

Cardinals 7, Pirates 0: Two two aforementioned Tyler O’Neill homers and his four RBI paced the offense, but Miles Mikolas was the story here, tossing a far more rare complete game shutout, scattering eight hits and striking out three and needing only a cool 100 pitches to do it. After the game, Mikolas said “It’s pretty cool. Does anyone have two [shutouts] this year? I can be tied for the league lead in something. I like that.” Congratulations, Miles, no one has two. You are in a 17-way tie for first place in the big leagues with one shutout. Last year there were 19 guys tied for first place in baseball with one each. Never before 2018, in all of baseball history, had only one shutout led the league in that category, bit it stands a decent chance of being enough once again.

Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 8: Boston jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first thanks to a Michael Chavis grand slam, the Jays made it 5-4, Boston scored five more in the third to make it 10-4 and the Jays pulled to within two late but couldn’t get any closer. After the game Chavis talked about how he was happier that he walked twice than for hitting the grand slam. Guys say that sometimes — coaches and commentators do too — and I always hear it the same way you’d hear some A-student talking about how they like homework or summer reading lists or something. There are no teachers to kiss up to in baseball but I feel like they’re kissing up to the GM or some front office analyst when they do that.  

Reds 6, Cubs 3: Kyle Hendricks allowed two over six and left with the lead, but Curt Casali, the first batter a Cubs reliever faced in the game, homered to lead off the seventh to tie things up. Cincinnati would take the lead on a single, an error and a fielder’s choice later that inning and add two more runs in the eighth to complete the comeback win. Eugenio Suárez and Yasiel Puig homered for Cincinnati. The Reds have won seven of ten from the Cubs this year.

Braves 4, Brewers 2: Max Fried tossed five shutout innings and would’ve gone more if he hadn’t started developing a blister. Freddie Freeman‘s three-run homer in the fourth inning held up, with Austin Riley knocking in a run late for insurance. Atlanta has won five in a row and lead the Nats by seven and a half, which is the second biggest division lead in baseball.

Royals 5, White Sox 2: Kansas City has started the second half in frisky fashion, winning three of four. Here Jakob Junis struck out ten while allowing one run over seven and Nicky Lopez drove in a pair of runs. Junis beat Lucas Giolito, who has owned the Royals over his career, but who hasn’t owned anyone lately. After an eight-game winning streak which upped his record to 10-1, Giolito is 1-3 with a 6.48 ERA in his last five starts.

Angels 9, Astros 6: Albert Pujols picked up the slack for the sore-calfed/benched Mike Trout and had three hits and drove in three. Andrelton Simmons homered as the Halos came back from an early three-run deficit to win their fourth in a row and their seventh of ten. I’d not, in the normal course, say something like “. . . their seventh of ten since the death of Tyler Skaggs,” because it seems just, I dunno, off to say that, but the Angels themselves are saying that, with Kevan Smith saying after the game that “Skaggs is definitely smiling down on us right now,” and lauding the focus and energy of his teammates since his death. Which, hey, you never know how people will react to things. There are certainly worse ways to react to tragedy than pounding baseballs.

Consider the Concrete Donut

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Ben Schulman wrote a long, interesting article about stadium architecture over at The Hardball Times today. He asks us to consider the old concrete donut stadiums — multipurpose parks like Three Rivers and The Vet — and to think about what we have gained by their near-extinction. And what we’ve lost.

The article starts out with what I feared would be too much misplaced nostalgia for the Brutalist, functional places that no longer exist outside of Oakland, with the now de rigueur references to astroturf and weird 1970s baseball. It backs away from that early on, though, and presents what I feel is a thoughtful look at the various approaches to building a ballpark. Stadium geeks and architecture geeks will find much to love here.

From a personal perspective, I have a love/hate relationship with newer parks. I spent a good deal of time going to places like Riverfront Stadium when I was a kid and do not miss them at all. But I also think there have been a lot of missteps in the last 25 years or so too.

Most new parks are pleasant and comfortable places to take in a ballgame, but so many of them are totally unimaginative and uninspiring from an architectural point of view. I am not fan of nostalgia, and so many of them — particularly the ones built in the 90s — were fueled by a great deal of misguided retro-ism that looks backwards. I suspect this is the case because either (a) no one had the guts or vision to look forward; and/or (b) they felt they could make easier bucks by catering to people who think everything went to hell once Eisenhower left office than by doing something bold. To be fair, there are examples of newer parks that eschew the faux old-timey vibe to greater degrees — Target Field in Minneapolis and Marlins Park in Miami come to mind — and I tend to prefer those to more backward-looking places. Again, architecturally speaking.

I think the sweet spot — and the linked article touches on this a bit — are ballparks which think bigger than the bland and dreary functionalism of the 1960s and 70s but which eschew derivative, traditionalist approaches. Parks which were built with then-modern sensibilities and saw their vision through without compromise. Dodger Stadium is a fine, modernist example of this. So too is Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, about which I wrote a few years ago. They had a great opportunity to do this in Chicago in the late 80s but muffed it. I think Marlins Park could fall into that category if (a) there is ever anything approaching memorable baseball there; and (b) if they stop being afraid of its bold aspects and stop trying to turn it into a vanilla monument to its vanilla owner. The common denominator, I suppose, is that these parks weren’t and aren’t trying to cater to the childhoods of local fans.

Anyway, good read on a slow news day.