Getty Images

And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

11 Comments

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Mets 14, Twins 4: This one was close most of the way. The Twins led 3-2 heading into the top of the seventh, in fact. That’s when Dominic Smith hit a three-run homer to give the Mets the lead and then the floodgates opened in the eighth and ninth. Amed Rosario went 4 for 4 with a home run and three RBI. Pete Alonso hit a moon shot homer that went almost 480 feet. Seven of the runs the Mets scored were unearned as the sloppy, slumping Twins’ lead in the AL Central fell to only four games.

Indians 7, Tigers 2: Mike Clevinger allowed one over six and struck out 12 Tigers — he struck out the side in both the first and second frames and had nine Ks through four — and Indians pitchers punched out 17 of ’em in all. Oscar Mercado had a two-run double, Jose Ramirez went 3-for-4, Mike Freeman had two hits, including a run-scoring bunt single, Greg Allen doubled home a pair, Jason Kipnis had an RBI single and  Francisco Lindor homered. The four games that separate Cleveland and Minnesota now is the closest they’ve been since mid-May.

Cardinals 6, Pirates 5: A Tyler O’Neill homer in the fifth brought the Cards to within one run and a three-run blast by Paul Goldschmidt put them up for good. St. Louis takes two of three from Pittsburgh who has dropped five of six.

Brewers 5, Braves 4: Christian Yelich hit his third homer in four days and Manny Pina hit a two-run homer and drove in three to help the Brewers to a 5-0 lead by the end of the sixth. Keston Hiura had two doubles and ended up 8-for-11 in the series. Atlanta rallied late, with four Josh Donaldson RBI in the eighth and ninth but it ended up being too little as well as late.

Cubs 5, Reds 2: Yu Darvish tossed six shutout innings to outduel Sonny Gray and to get his first ever win at Wrigley Field which is quite a dang thing to say given that he’s more than halfway through his second season as a Cub. Kris Bryant and Addison Russell homered for Chicago, which were the only two hits Gray gave up. The Cubbies have won five of six.

Giants 11, Rockies 8: The Giants were on an extended stretch of offensive futility earlier this year but lately it seems like they’re scoring 8, 9, 10 runs or more on the regular. Here all eight position players in the lineup got hits in San Francisco’s 18-hit attack, led by Donovan Solano who had four hits including a tie-breaking homer. Stephen Vogt homered and doubled. Pablo Sandoval hit a two-run double. Brandon Belt had an RBI single among his three hits. The Giants sweep the four-game series, have won five straight and 12 of 14 to pull themselves to within two and a half games of the second Wild Card. It’d be rather exciting I suppose if it wasn’t reported that they plan to sell off parts at the trade deadline regardless. I mean, I get it given where this team is now and given that their surge has a lot to do with the National League simply sucking, but it’s still a hell of a thing and says a lot about the state of baseball in 2019.

Athletics 10, Mariners 2: Homer Bailey debuted for the A’s and there aren’t many teams better to give you a nice warm welcome than the Mariners. The same Mariners Bailey shut out into the eighth inning a month ago gave him no more trouble yesterday as he allowed two runs over six to pick up his first win with his new team. It helped that he had six homers hit by his teammates, with Mark Canha and Jurickson Profar both homering twice and Chad Pinder and Ramón Laureano each went deep as well. The A’s had some bad news, though, losing Matt Chapman to an ankle injury. Oakland has won six straight and 12 of 14.

Dodgers 7, Phillies 2: Six Dodgers pitchers combined on a two-hitter, keeping things close until David Freese hit a tie-breaking two-run homer in the seventh and Justin Turner hit a two-run blast in the eighth. A long rain delay in this one for nearly three hours, causing it to end at pushing 2AM. And hey, day game today. An early one too, starting at 12:35PM. Should be a crisp affair.

The rain delay was fun, though:

Orioles 9, Nationals 2: Seems like it’s been awhile since we’ve had a good old Nationals bullpen collapse but I suppose like avalanches in the Rockies and tornados in Kansas they’re always bound to happen again. Starter Erick Fedde dominate the Baltimore Orioles for six innings but that passed as Trey Mancini hit two homers for Baltimore, Anthony Santander and Chris Davis each hit RBI singles, and Rio Ruiz hit a sacrifice fly as Baltimore scored eight runs between the seventh and eighth innings.

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 4: Rafael Devers homered and drove in four of the five Boston runs, Eduardo Rodriguez allowed two while pitching into the seventh inning and Brandon Workman worked in and out of trouble in locking down a one and two-thirds innings, 45-pitch save. Teoscar Hernandez hit two solo homers and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. had one, but the Jays nonetheless lost their seventh in ten games.

Padres 3, Marlins 2: Chris Paddack took a no-hitter into the eighth but lost it when Starlin Castro led off the inning with a solo home run to left field. Oh well. Paddack still got the win, though, allowing the one run while striking out eight in seven and two-thirds. Austin Hedges hit a two-run homer. Paddack was a draft pick of the Marlins, by the way. The Marlins got Fernando Rodney for him in 2016. Guessing they want that deal back. They probably want a lot of deals back, really.

Diamondbacks 19, Rangers 4: It was 12-0 after two and 14-3 after three so I guess Dbacks and Rangers fans got to go to bed early. Eduardo Escobar homered twice and drove in five. Kevin Cron, Jarrod Dyson and Carson Kelly also homered for Arizona. The Snakes had 21 hits in all. The teams combined to hit eight homers overall.

Royals 7, White Sox 5: Jorge Soler and Nicky Lopez hit back-to-back RBI singles twice and Danny Duffy was effective in getting the win for the Royals. That’s six straight losses for Chicago. Ian Kennedy got the save. Not gonna say I haven’t paid much attention to the Royals this year but this is, actually, the first time I believe I’ve noticed he’s a reliever now.

Astros 11, Angels 2: Gerrit Cole did Gerrit Cole things, striking out 11 while allowing one run seven innings of work. Jake Marisnick shrugged off boos to notch three hits. He’s 5-for-7 in these past two games against the Angels so I imagine he’d love them to keep booing him. Michael Brantley and George Springer went deep for Houston.

Rays vs. Yankees — POSTPONED:

‘Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue the road was full of mud
I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form
Come in, she said
I’ll give ya shelter from the storm

And if I pass this way again, you can rest assured
I’ll always do my best for her, on that I give my word
In a world of steel-eyed death, and men who are fighting to be warm
Come in, she said
I’ll give ya shelter from the storm

Nats’ success shouldn’t be about Bryce Harper

Getty Images
7 Comments

Bryce Harper turns 27 years old today. As an early birthday present, he got to watch his former team reach the World Series for the first time in franchise history. His new team finished exactly at .500 in fourth place, missing the playoffs. These were facts that did not go unnoticed as the Nationals completed an NLCS sweep of the Cardinals at home last night.

Harper spent seven seasons with the Nationals before hitting free agency and ultimately signing with the Phillies on a 13-million, $330 million contract. The Nationals offered Harper a 10-year, $300 million contract at the end of the 2018 regular season, but about $100 million of that was deferred until he was 65 which lowered the present-day value of the offer. The Nats’ offer wasn’t even in the same ballpark, really.

Nevertheless, Nationals fans were upset that their prodigy jilted them to go to the Phillies. He was mercilessly booed whenever the Phillies played in D.C. Nats fans’ Harper jerseys were destroyed, or at least taped over.

Harper, of course, was phenomenal with the Nationals. He won the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 2012, then won the NL MVP Award several years later with an historically outstanding 1.109 OPS while leading the league with 42 homers and 118 runs scored. Overall, as a National, he had a .900 OPS. Pretty good. He was also productive in the postseason, posting an .801 OPS across 19 games, mostly against playoff teams’ best starters and best relievers. Furthermore, if the Nats had Harper this year, he would have been in right field in lieu of Adam Eaton. Harper out OPS’d Eaton by 90 points and posted 2.5 more WAR in a similar amount of playing time. The Nationals would have been even better if they had Harper this year.

The Nationals lost all four Division Series they appeared in during the Harper era. 3-2 to the Cardinals in 2012, 3-1 to the Giants in ’14, 3-2 to the Dodgers in ’16, and 3-2 to the Cubs in ’17. They finally get over the hump the first year they’re without Harper, that’s the difference, right? I saw the phrase “addition by subtraction” repeatedly last night, referring to Harper and the Nats’ subsequent success without him.

Harper, though, didn’t fork over four runs to the Cardinals in the top of the ninth inning in Game 5 in 2012. He didn’t allow the Dodgers to rally for four runs in the seventh inning of Game 5 in ’16 before ultimately losing 4-3. He didn’t use a gassed Max Scherzer in relief in 2017’s Game 5, when he allowed five of the seven Cubs he faced to reach base, leading to three runs which loomed large in a 9-8 loss. If certain rolls of the dice in those years had gone the Nationals’ way, they would have appeared in the NLCS. They might’ve even been able to win a World Series.

The Nationals saw how that looks this year. It was the opposing manager this time, Dave Roberts, who mismanaged his bullpen. Howie Kendrick then hit a tie-breaking grand slam in the 10th inning off of Joe Kelly to win the NLDS for the Nats. The playoffs are random. Sometimes a ball bounces your way, sometimes an umpire’s call goes your way, and sometimes the opposing manager makes several unforced errors to throw Game 5 in your lap.

Reaching the World Series, then thumbing your nose while sticking out your tongue at Harper feels like a guy tagging his ex-girlfriend on his new wedding photos. It’s time to move on.