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And That Happened: Wednesday's scores and highlights

Sep 24, 2009, 5:36 AM EDT

Brewers 3, Cubs 2: Prince Fielder pads his stats with a homer
and a couple of RBI. It’s easy to forget in all of the Cub-drama that
Chicago is actually a few games ahead of Milwaukee in the standings.

Astros 3, Cardinals 0: And look! The Cubs are technically still
alive! If St. Louis just loses its last nine while the Cubs win their
remaining. . . er, well, let’s just never mind, shall we? According to
the game story, St. Louis “had 25 cases of champagne waiting in the
clubhouse, but the bottles will remain corked for at least another
day.” Twenty-five cases? They got, what, 38 guys on the roster
right now? Add in eight or ten coaches and trainers and such. This is a
road game, so figure that front office staff is light: the GM, an
assistant or two, random traveling secretary types. Being generous,
we’ll call it a complement of 60 people with the team, and then some
random media guys who don’t care if partying up with the team hurts
their credibility. Tops — absolute tops — you have 75 people that
could even hope to be shooting champagne over one another, though many
of these people would never touch a bottle in such a situation because,
really, it’s the players’ thing. Twenty-five cases of champagne makes
for 300 bottles. I love drinkin’ as much as the next guy, but ain’t
that overdoing it a bit? And that’s before the beer cans you always see
guys throwing into the celebratory shower. Oh, one more thing: The Cubs
play tomorrow and the Cardinals don’t, which means that they can clinch
on their day off if Chicago loses to San Francisco. What the hell
happens to those 300 bottles if they clinch while on a day off? Do soup
kitchens take booze?

Giants 5, Diamondbacks 2: Bruce Bochy: “We’re still breathing. There’s still hope.” Four games back.

Braves 5, Mets 2: The ghost ship that is the New York Mets
continues to drift aimlessly around the National League, its crew
having all but abandoned it, a lamentable calm having descended over
its decks. The Braves, like the Giants, sit four back of Colorado.

Tigers 11, Indians 3: Four RBI and two homers for Carlos Guillen keep the Tigers two and a half up on Minnesota.

Twins 8, White Sox 6: The lights went out in U.S. Cellular Field.
What’s worse, they hung my brother before I could say that the tracks
he saw while on his way to Andy’s house and back that night were mine.

Red Sox 9, Royals 2: Josh Beckett gave up 12 hits, but they weren’t as big as the ones Luke Hochevar gave up.

Marlins 7, Phillies 6: Brad Lidge in the playoffs is gonna be
something special to behold. Last year’s Mr. Automatic blows yet
another save, this one a one-run lead in the ninth. He was apparently
getting the calls too, because Fredi Gonzalez was ejected with two out
in the ninth for arguing balls and strikes. Lidge wouldn’t record
another one, however, and his legend continues to grow.

Rays 5, Mariners 4: B.J. Upton had three RBI and made a spiffy
catch to rob Bill Hall of extra bases to end the game. Game story:
“Seattle 1B Russell Branyan (back) took 35 swings off a tee.” Despite
this, his downswing is too steep, his swing path is too outside-in, and
his clubface is open. Mariners’ hitting coach Alan Cockrell is watching
him closely, but he’s still cutting across the ball and pull-slicing it.

Reds 12, Pirates 2: Homer Bailey is 4-1 with a 1.99 ERA over the
past month. It will be fun to see how many fantasy players key on this
strong finish to the season, declaring Bailey a sleeper, without
realizing that three of those wins came against Pittsburgh. And now,
Deep Thoughts, with your host, John Russell: “Obviously, when you don’t
score runs, it doesn’t look like you’re playing very good. That’s one
of the things that always looks bad — you don’t score and the other
team’s scoring a lot, then they look a whole lot better than you do.”

Blue Jays 7, Orioles 3: Thirty years ago this fall, the Orioles played the Pirates in the World Series. May as well have been a billion years ago.

Nationals 5, Dodgers 4: Andre Ethier dropped a fly ball in the
ninth, allowing the Nats to win the game. If they had won this one,
they would have clinched the west because . . .

Padres 6, Rockies 3: The Rockies lost in San Diego, who were powered by Will Venebale’s four RBI.

Yankees 3, Angels 2: The Angels struck out 15 times in this one.
Ian Kennedy loaded the bases and then slithered out of the jam in his
first work in over a year. The Yankees took two of three from their
potential ALCS foe.

Rangers 9, Athletics 8: Of all of the stuff that could be
mentioned about this game, this bit — the last thing in the little
notes section of the game story — is the most interesting: “The
Rangers stole four bases and moved past the Angels into second in the
AL with 143 steals.” I’ve said it many times this year, but this is not
your older brother’s Rangers team.

  1. Shely - Sep 24, 2009 at 10:43 AM

    Hey Redbirds and TLR. You had better learn to hit with men on base, or this is the last time you will uncork those bottles, this year anyway.
    Shely in Cincinnati

  2. Skeet Skeeterson - Sep 24, 2009 at 11:20 AM

    How you reds doing! Keep your comments to yourself until you win something this century

  3. Fractured Psyche - Sep 24, 2009 at 11:32 AM

    Nice comment coming from someone in a city that has not won anything since 1990.

  4. Shely - Sep 24, 2009 at 11:42 AM

    To both of you homer Boozos (and Skeet). Keep shooting the messenger.
    They are terrible with men on base. I follow the Central closely. The Dead Birds leave 6 to 12 men on almost every game. That will get them no where in the playoffs. You should write to TLR and advise him that he will lose from here on out with that approach, and not make fun of a struggling team with mostly minor league players. Why can’t he close out one of the worst teams in baseball with a sweep, when so much hangs on the line? Just like they failed to do with the Cubs last Sunday. That is what you should worry about, not the Reds.
    Shely

  5. H-town Steve - Sep 24, 2009 at 11:47 AM

    Well, even if Dave Clark never wins another MLB game as a head coach, he can take pride in having screwed StL for one night. That’s about all the Astros have going for them right now. Bust up that team, fire the GM, and sell it. Lets start fresh.

  6. Shely - Sep 24, 2009 at 11:56 AM

    To H Town. I agree with you completely. Something happened to Houston, and they need an entire revamp with management. Maybe bring some of the Round Rock guys in to run things. I don’t know, but they need a boost somewhere or somehow. Who may be available is TLR, if the birds do not resign him. With all the Houston money, he may jump.
    Shely

  7. Whistle blower - Sep 24, 2009 at 11:56 AM

    The Rockies/Padres game was in Denver last night, not San Diego. That makes the loss even worse.

  8. Drewshan - Sep 24, 2009 at 11:56 AM

    Not worried about the CArds hitting with runners on base, they will be just fine. But, the Phillies better start worrying about who is going to close out there games in the playoffs!
    TG in ST Louis

  9. KrisT - Sep 24, 2009 at 11:57 AM

    I’m sure TLR is well aware of the issues with the Cards and doesn’t need any advice from people who are not coaches of a major league team. People like you are the same ones who criticized the Cards for “backing into” the World Series in 2006, yet they won the World Series. That’s what I like about baseball, the suspense and the unpredictability. You’re dealing with human beings here, who may be trying too hard or a pitcher who is “on his game” each and every night, regardless of whether their team is good or bad. While these are teams, you’re watching individuals playing here.
    This team will be just fine when they win their division and head into the playoffs. They may go into the World Series or they may not. I’m still a true blue (red) St. Louis Cardinals fan, born and raised, and nothing will change that. I support my team just like you should be supporting the Reds.

  10. Shely - Sep 24, 2009 at 12:44 PM

    Kris:
    Glad you know all about me. However, I never said the 06 birds were anything but lucky in the series. They hit a very cold Tiger team and they played very well. No comments about backing into anything. I know TLR is a good manager, but if he can’t fix the hitting with men on base problem, it is lights out for them, even (or especially) if they play Colorado in the first round. They have such a good record against the Rockies, right? If they are lucky, the get to play in LA.
    Shely

  11. Mike - Sep 24, 2009 at 12:48 PM

    Mike reply to comment from Shely
    Cardinals are not in bad company based on LOB stats. My calculations show that the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, Phillies, Angels and Cardinals all average approximately 8 LOB per game based on 150 games played this season. Not bad company since one of these teams will probably win the World Series!

  12. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Sep 24, 2009 at 1:13 PM

    from espn.com:
    OPS:
    STL 14 (.751)
    OPS with RISP
    STL 15 (.762)
    http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/team/_/stat/batting/split/39/sort/OPS/order/true
    So they actually hit better with RISP than without. Hmm…

  13. Shely - Sep 24, 2009 at 1:26 PM

    Yes, you are correct. Lets look further into the stats. Even with all those runners LOB, the good teams do score most of the time. The Bosox at least scored 1 run off the Cy Young leader in the A-L. If the Cardinals would at least score a run or two against a poor team in a clutch game off a pitcher with about a 4.0 ERA, I might agree. They do not take advantage of the situations like this. They have been swept by teams with less than 60 victories. What is up that? It is like the Yankees being swept by KC or the Nats, in a crucial series. It shouldn’t happen to a W-S contender. How many games have the birds been shut out by lesser teams? Too many. Take a look at the pitchers who shut them out. They are not in the Smoltz, Carpenter or Wainwright class.
    Shely

  14. Robert L. Noe - Sep 24, 2009 at 1:40 PM

    WOW! I didn’t know a team won ballgames by not leaving men on base. Sure, you’d like to drive everyone in but that is impossible. But to leave men on base you need to reach first, first. :)
    I’ll take my Birds any day.
    Oh, by the way. 25 cases of champagne? I wonder how much of that is really consumed? It looks like 95% or better ends up on the walls, clothing and down the drain.

  15. Mike - Sep 24, 2009 at 2:19 PM

    Shely,
    Hard for the Cards to score off their own pitchers, Carp and Wainwright are leaders for Cy Young in NL this season in my opinion. The only game against previous Cy Young winner (Lincecum) they did get shut out. Your point is well taken and only the playoffs will be the final measure of whether or not they can score enough runs. It is very hard to explain why any of the W-S contenders lose games to teams that are playing less than .500 but it does happen year-in and year-out, but that makes the season fun. Finally, I grew up in Cincy (parents and brother still live there) and am still a very big Reds fan too. Just wish things would all come together for Cincy again. Nice chatting!

  16. KrisT - Sep 24, 2009 at 2:20 PM

    Shely – Sorry if I offended you as, no, I don’t know you that well and I apologize for that statement. However, I get on the defensive when you talk about my Cardinals!
    We’ll just all have to wait and see what happens, as nothing can be predicted where baseball is concerned. Hopefully, the Cards reach the WS and play the Yankees. That would be a heck of a series!!!
    Robert – I agree, I think most of the champagne gets wasted in the clubhouse. Maybe a few bottles get consumed, but I can’t wait to see the celebration! I don’t know if I can stay up that late to see the Cubs lose, so I’ll wait until tomorrow night and hope they can clinch it or have it clinched (tonight) already! GO CARDS!!!!!

  17. Shely - Sep 24, 2009 at 2:20 PM

    OK:
    All you guys are correct. Wait until the playoffs. When the bases are loaded with less then 2 outs and one of the birds GIDP with a top RBI guy at the plate, lets talk again.
    Shely
    P,S. It might even be Lidge on the mound.

  18. KrisT - Sep 24, 2009 at 2:32 PM

    Shely – I hope it is Lidge on the mound, then Albert can do what he does best. At least they are familiar with him and know what he’s capable of. It’s the pitchers they aren’t familiar with that scare me! lol!

  19. Paul Sousa - Sep 24, 2009 at 3:35 PM

    This never gets old every year every sport
    They had the champagne in their locker room!
    They already have their bags packed!
    They already have a parade route!
    Who cares!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Michael - Sep 24, 2009 at 5:43 PM

    That’s a bit disingenuous to Andre Ethier. There was one out, a runner on 1st AND 3rd and it was a deep fly ball to right field. The best arm in the MLB is not making that catch and throw to home to get Maxwell, who was tagging. So yeah. Nice.

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