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And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

Aug 2, 2010, 5:00 AM EDT

A dark cloud looms over Jerry Manuel and the Mets.

Diamondbacks 14, Mets 1: I was tempted to say that Adam LaRoche’s two three-run home runs yesterday are just the latest example of second-half greatness from a great second-half player, but check out his month-by-month OPSeseses: April: .953; May: .787; June: .698; July: .669. Contrary to his reputation, he’s gotten worse as the season has gone on. I wonder if those bombs are the opening salvo to a furious August and September to salvage that reputation.  Jerry Manuel on the Mets’ performance: “We didn’t pitch, we didn’t hit, we didn’t play defense.”

Rays 3, Yankees 0:
That’s eight of nine for the Rays, who pull to within one of the
Bombers. Joe Girardi felt obligated to use all of his shiny new toys —
Kearns! Berkman! Wood! — while giving A-Rod and Brett Gardner the day
off.  Made the box score look all Central Divisiony to me.

Reds 2, Braves 1: Some shaky defense and tons and tons of stranded runners by the Braves wastes an excellent performance by Tommy Hanson. Both Reds runs were the result of Braves’ defensive miscues: if Jason Heyward didn’t try to make a diving catch on Brandon Phillips’ triple it would have at best been a double with no run scoring, and of course, Alex Gonzalez’ error gave the Reds their second run. I’d rather they just get beat 14-1. When that happens I just let the game fall out of my head. These coulda-shoulda-woulda games stick with me all damn afternoon.

Phillies 6, Nationals 4: Philly had to come from behind and then get two RBI singles in the 11th to avoid a sweep by the Nats. Charlie Manuel had no problem giving Brad Lidge the ball to close this one despite him giving up the walkoff homer on Saturday night. Ryan Howard sprained his ankle in the first inning and was hobbling around the clubhouse in crutches after the game. For as bad as the Braves have been playing lately, if Lidge keeps closing and key players keep getting hurt for Philly, you have to like Atlanta’s chances.

Angels 4, Rangers 1: Jered Weaver and Cliff Lee are probably the two best starters in the AL this year. The former outpitched the latter yesterday. The Angels are still way back, but taking two of three from Texas may be the start of something, right?

Padres 5, Marlins 4: Josh Johnson has his worst start of the year, giving up five earned runs. Indeed, it was the first time he had given up more than three since his first start back on April 5th.  Ryan Ludwick gets a pinch hit and comes around to score in his Padre debut.

Rockies 8, Cubs 7: The Rockies are a streaky bunch. They take their fourth in a row after that big losing skid coming out of the break. Dexter Fowler saved the game with this awesome catch in the ninth, but he probably bought himself some time on the DL too. Way to take one for the team, Dex. Bad day medically all around, as Cubs’ starter Carlos Silva left the game in the first with an irregular heartbeat.

Cardinals 9, Pirates 1: I know it’s statistically impossible, but it at least seems like every single time Adam Wainwright pitches his line looks like this: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 5K.

Twins 4, Mariners 0: Francisco Liriano struck out 11 and gave up only two hits. The M’s have lost seven in a row, three of which have been shutouts. Just terrible, terrible baseball. Who gets fired first: Wakamatsu or Manuel?

Astros 5, Brewers 2: See, all the Astros needed to do in order to go on a tear was trade away their best pitcher and best hitter. Seems obvious in hindsight. A pinch hit grand slam in the seventh by Jason Michaels was the big blast here.

Royals 5, Orioles 4: Bruce Chen was in a hell of a jam in the sixth — bases loaded, no one out — but reliever Kanekoa Texeira bailed him out. Texeira after the game: “I told Bruce today, ‘Big guy, I got your back. Bruce, don’t worry.” Amazing. No, not Texeira’s foresight, but rather that was the first time in his 33 years on Earth that anyone has ever called Bruce Chen “big guy.” By the way: anyone know what ever happened to Jung Bong?

White Sox 4, Athletics 1: A complete game with 11 strikeouts for Gio Gonzalez, but it was not enough on a day when Gavin Floyd had a perfect game into the sixth inning. Dude’s been on fire for basically two months and the Chisox simply don’t lose at home anymore.  Speaking of New Comiskey: I was chatting with my HBT Daily/Extra cohort Tiffany the other day, who just got back from a trip to Chicago. She contends that a day at Comiskey is way better than a day at Wrigley. I’ve not been there, but based on her and others’ descriptions — and based on my own experiences at Wrigley — I think I can see that. I bet that, rooting interests notwithstanding, serious Chicago baseball fans would make a strong case for the South Side simply because you don’t have all of that party atmosphere baloney going on down there. Thoughts?

Red Sox 4, Tigers 3: Nice vulture job by Papelbon, as he blows the save in the ninth yet was the pitcher of record when the Tigers threw the ball away to allow the winning run score on a bunt single in the bottom of the ninth. I wonder if some day Clay Buchholz will have 288 wins or something and some baseball writer will keep him off his Hall of Fame ballot because he “just didn’t know how to win.”

Indians 5, Blue Jays 4: If Cleveland could play Toronto 162 games a year they’d be, like, the best team ever. They’ve taken six of seven from the Jays, this one on the strength of a two-run homer from Asdrubal Cabrera.

Giants 2, Dodgers 0:
Matt Cain threw shutout ball into the eighth, and both Giants runs came
in on an Edgar Renteria triple in the sixth. I usually watch a good bit
of the Sunday night game if not all of it, but I randomly picked up
“Ball Four” last night and started thumbing through it. By the time I
looked up I realized that the damn game was most of the way over.
I certainly consider it time well spent, however.

  1. PhillySoxFan - Aug 2, 2010 at 6:53 AM

    Craig… got that right about baseball in Chicago. As someone who was born and raised in a Sox household on the southwest side I can say that while our fanbase may be smaller than the Scrubs, it is definitely more knowledgable and passionate about the game. We actually care if we win or lose….

  2. PhillySoxFan - Aug 2, 2010 at 6:56 AM

    Craig….you got that right about baseball in Chicago. As someone who was born and raised in a Sox household on the southwest side, I can honestly say that while our fanbase may be smaller than the Scrubs, it is certainly more knowledgable and passionate about the game. We actually care if we win or lose.

  3. Old Gator - Aug 2, 2010 at 8:32 AM

    You can afford to care. You do actually win sometimes.

  4. YankeesfanLen - Aug 2, 2010 at 8:36 AM

    Girardi got my goat yesterday playing with his “shiny new toys”. Did he really think this was an “important series”? Do not see how when half the lineup is mixed up, figuratively and literally.If it was just giving ARod the day off so he didn’t have to play turf 3 days in a row, that’s ok.
    Berkman, in Swisher’s two hole, accomplished nothing and playing first for Tex looked like latter-day Giambi.
    With Shields pitching a gem against us, uncharacteristically not blowing up in the fourth, there was no chance the newbies would assist. Why didn’t you put the toys away til you got home, Joe?

  5. Jonny5 - Aug 2, 2010 at 9:04 AM

    That’s right, yet another key player goes down, and yet another blown save for Lidge. He’s no longer capable of being a closer and hasn’t been for a loooong time. Yet the Phillies keep trotting him out there because they won’t admit to themselves (because of his sweet contract I’m guessing) he just plain stinks. He used up all of his luck in 2008 and now he’s fresh out of it. Been out of it for some time now.
    And Craig, It’s cool, rub it in… I can take it. I still think the Phills have a pretty good shot at the NL East title. Utley will be back soon, but not soon enough, have you seen Dobbs try to play 3rd? What a frigging joke. Polanco makes playing 3rd look too easy, thank god we have him to hop from 3rd to 2nd right now. The team isn’t playing too badly though with all the issues thrown at them so far, it’s only 2.5 games, and as we saw for the last couple of weeks, 5 games can be gained quite quickly for 1st place.

  6. Steve C - Aug 2, 2010 at 9:18 AM

    Where is the “OMG Lee walked two batters” post?

  7. Old Gator - Aug 2, 2010 at 9:34 AM

    Bad day in a good week for the Feesh.
    They come home splitting with the Jints and taking 2 of three from the Padres, who were wearing some kind of cockamamie camouflage jerseys yesterday that made me feel oddly like calling in a predator drone strike. But Josh Johnson’s meltdown yesterday wasn’t a stand-alone phenomenon; that’s the second straight game he’s pitched when he didn’t have his bottled lightning and this was worse than the last. The spectacle of JJ running out of gas just as the Feesh are gaining a bit of traction – they’ve made up three point five in the division standings on the Bravos in a little over a week – is not encouraging.
    On the positive side, the Feesh find themselves a workable six point five behind the Bravos and only two behind the Feelies, both teams with big question marks right now. They’ve rid themselves of their third base defensive nightmare when they traded Cantu, got themselves a lefty middle reliever that they needed about as desperately as the Donner Party needed a can opener for their cases of Beefaroni, and seem to have figured out that it is important to drive in the guy on second when they’re down by a run in the eighth. Dan Uggla’s on fire just as Gaby Sanchez has gone flat and Hanley Ramirez still can’t seem to find his sweet stroke, but Mike Stanton is crushing pitches like the gravity on Jupiter and really beginning to look like the real real thing. Jury’s out on Logan Morrison so far.
    Are the Feesh suddenly for real? Their little trade-week surge, combined with the strange feeling that the league office and player’s association are looking over his sloping shoulders, seems to have convinced Scrooge McLoria not to blow the team up in frustration – yet. Tomorrow Team Horsemeat and Velveeta comes in for a High Noon series, what with games within the division all suddenly seeming crucial. In this case, with the Feesh right up against the halocline, this series is beginning to look like a moment of truth.
    Pass me the popcorn and put plenty of Beck’s N/A on ice. Got a good week coming up here, all you Feesh fans out there. That’s right, I mean all ten of you.

  8. BC - Aug 2, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    When asked about his team’s execution, Jerry Manuel replied that he was in favor of it.
    (Apologies to the late, great, eminently quotable John McKay)

  9. minnesconsin_ad - Aug 2, 2010 at 9:47 AM

    sure, if you want to ride the red line down to the ghetto and risk life & limb, baseball on the south side is wayyyyy better than at wrigley.

  10. Kevin S. - Aug 2, 2010 at 9:56 AM

    Taking the Red Line then walking a block to the Cell is hardly risking life and limb. Walking the two miles from MSI to the Green Line because you only had enough cash for one train fare while dusk was rapidly approaching… that’s risking life and limb.
    Regarding the game atmosphere, I agree that Wrigley’s too much of a party, while US Cellular doesn’t really have any atmosphere to speak of. Of course, that actually allows one to focus on the game for a change. Novel concept, really.

  11. Jonny5 - Aug 2, 2010 at 9:56 AM

    Becks makes N/A beer?

  12. Old Gator - Aug 2, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    Duh-uhhh, my stoopid. It’s Buckler’s.

  13. Old Gator - Aug 2, 2010 at 10:31 AM

    And you can stop at Leon’s for some of the greatest northern-style ribs on the planet. Cubbie Yuppies prefer the prefabs at Carson’s.

  14. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 2, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    “the Feesh find themselves a workable six point five behind the Bravos and only two behind the Feelies, both teams with big question marks right now.”
    Your Guppies are actually 4 behind Borg II right now. No matter what happens with Howard’s injury and Lidge’s impotence, H2O is about to bring us 10 of 12 and first place by August 15th

  15. Jonny5 - Aug 2, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    Ahh, you must really want a Becks instead…. Just do it man. One won’t kill ya..

  16. Sara - Aug 2, 2010 at 11:42 AM

    Re Wainwright: Except when it’s 9 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 5K, but yeah.

  17. Kiwicricket - Aug 2, 2010 at 12:04 PM

    And Mr West’s holding up the game, showing up the player…..then mathmatically measuring a distance with a wooden bat? Has anyone ever seen that before??? Me thinks it might of been because it was Sunday night baseball (SF – LA). Complete ass regardless.

  18. Old Gator - Aug 2, 2010 at 12:23 PM

    Yeah, four. I meant the Feelies were two back of the Bravos and the entire race is tightening up. Moreover, following the Chihuahua’s recent announcement that the Feesh’s farm team was going to be moved directly behind home plate at the impending Macondo Banana Massacre Stadium, you’d know that those aren’t “guppies,” which are freshwater, but clown feesh. And anyway, if you’ve been reading my posts all year, you know what I really think of the Feesh’s chances. Hell, for a bunch of guys bought on blue light days at K-Mart, 13 out of 20 is a nice run. As I said someplace else here within the last few days, by ridding themselves of Cantu, with that glove soaked in Jimmy Stewart’s wood repellent from It Happens Every Spring and their addition of a midgrade lefty for the boolpen, they have definitely put themselves in position, at the very least, to inflict some ugly spoilage next month.
    Besides all of which, I’m having fun watching the Feelies clawing their way to within snap-yo-ass distance of the Bravos. Watch the lines deepen in Craig’s face with each successive HBT Extra. It beats watching the weather channel when Nicole is on vacation.

  19. Old Gator - Aug 2, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    It’s a matter of principle. I yearn for the good old days of Prohibition, when women were loose and Simian Immune Deficiency Virus was still the proprietary concern of monkeys.

  20. Old Gator - Aug 2, 2010 at 12:29 PM

    And, I repeat Cromwell’s line from A Man for All Seasons as a cautionary to the Mutts skeeper: “If I plant his death, I fear I bring about my own.” Maybe Shakespeare would be more appropriate, for the way that Manuel’s quiet backstabbing of Willie Randolph, whose jockstrap Manuel isn’t good enough to carry, is about to come back to haunt him.

  21. The Rabbit - Aug 2, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    “See, all the Astros needed to do in order to go on a tear was trade away their best pitcher and best hitter.” That and face Brewers pitching. If the Houston could play Milwaukee 162 games a year they could be, like, the best team ever, too. :-)
    Jung Bong? In case you really wanted to know…playing in Korea. Friend of mine saw him while he was visiting last year.
    Who gets fired first: Wakamatsu or Manuel? Wow, that’s a tough one. They’re both so deserving.

  22. APBA Guy - Aug 2, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    My ex was a Northsider. She actually threw one of her patented tantrums when I wanted to go see the Sox and O’s play. “We’ll see them when they come to Baltimore” she said. Of course, we did not. Divorce proceeded forthwith.
    As Gator sagely observes, the Carson’s ribs are one step above a melamine sandwich. For ribs I have to give the nod to Rudy’s down in Texas, but that’s probably due to my preference for Texas sauce over the Memphis inspired sauces used in Chicago. That said, I would kill for the porterhouse at Gene and Georgetti’s, and I order Lou Malnati’s deep dish by mail whenever I have a few spare bucks. Can’t touch those.
    On a less violent note, Gio didn’t walk anybody yesterday. A parade was held this morning in Oakland, marred by only small incidents of celebratory mayhem, as Gio’s pitching line was carried by honorary Young A’s through the streets around the Mausoleum. The A’s are now 52-52, and the young starters have the following ERA’s:
    Cahill: 2.93, Age 22
    Anderson: 3.25, 22
    Braden: 3.63, 26
    Gio: 3.69, 24
    Mazzaro: 4.04, 23
    On the other hand, I don’t look at the stats for Carlos Gonzalez, Andre Ethier, or Nelson Cruz, hitters the A’s have traded. Too depressing.

  23. Old Gator - Aug 2, 2010 at 8:11 PM

    You had a better reason to divorce than I did. I merely couldn’t stand her on general principles. That’s what I got for proposing while in a protracted vegetal state.
    Meanwhile, though the ribs at Carson’s were about as overrated as George W. Bush’s stable of “expert advisors,” they did keep a huge pile of freshly chopped liver and a bottomless bowl of assorted crackers in the bar that you could munch on until your table was ready. When the doctor finally tells me I need a triple bypass and the anaesthesia begins to take hold, I know I will look back fondly at that Close Encounters heap of cholesterol and sigh just as I lose consciousness.

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