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And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

Sep 29, 2011, 5:55 AM EST

Rays' Evan Longoria runs to home plate as his teammates crowd around after his 12th inning home run to defeat the Yankees during their American League MLB baseball game in St. Petersburg, Florida

Can we breathe now? Look guys, you know what happened in these games, so forgive me if I’m light on the details. We have full breakdowns all over the place. I’m still in shock.

Rays 8, Yankees 7: Evan Longoria. Dan Johnson. Oh my gods. Did that really happen? [checks] Yes. Yes, it did happen.

Orioles 4, Red Sox 3: Congratulations to Robert F***ing Andino on the creation of his new middle name.

Cardinals 8, Astros 0: No doubt about it. Brilliant performance by Chris Carpenter. A two-hit shutout. 11Ks. Yes, the Braves collapsed, but don’t undersell the Cardinals’ surge. It takes both, and it does a disservice to the Cardinals to make this all about the Braves gack-job.

Phillies 4, Braves 3: And it was a gack-job, but let’s not be content to call this some episode of mass choking. There were real people responsible here. The blown save by Craig Kimbrel in the 9th? The broken-bat single by Hunter Pence in the 13th? Both are on Fredi Gonzalez in my view. Kimbrel was murdered this year. Pence should have been walked. I can think of a half dozen games that Fredi’s small-ball, small-brain approach cost the Braves in 2011. And sure, any fan can say the same of his team, and I could say that of any Bobby Cox-led team of the previous 20 years. But Cox wouldn’t have let his team be as tight as these Braves have been the past three or four weeks. Just don’t see that ever happening.  It’s been real, Atlanta, but you didn’t belong in the playoffs in 2011. It’s pretty easy to see that now.

Padres 9, Cubs 2: Four RBI for Will Venable as the Padres destroy Ryan Dempster.

Brewers 7, Pirates 3: Milwaukee wins its 96th game, which is a franchise best. Zack Greinke finishes with an 11-0 home record this year. Which is pretty neat. 0 for 4 night for Braun, so I guess the fact that Jose Reyes left the game early didn’t matter.

Twins 1, Royals 0: A Carl Pavano shutout to end the season. Bruce Chen threw eight shutout innings himself. Maybe the Red Sox should have traded for him a couple of months ago.

Rockies 6, Giants 3: The Giants world title defense is over. Can they all shave now?

Nationals 3, Marlins 1: Stephen Strasburg‘s late season return is like that episode where Q sends the Enterprise to another quadrant to see the Borg, just as a tease of what they’ll have to face in the future. Everyone in the NL East is gonna hate that dude for the next decade.

Rangers 3, Angels 1: Mike Napoli hit two homers. One wonders where this season would be for the Angels if Napoli still played for them instead of Texas.

Tigers 5, Indians 4: Nice, but the Rangers win means that Detroit has to go to New York to start the ALDS.

Blue Jays 3, White Sox 2: Chris Sale issued two bases loaded walks in the ninth. What an inspiring ending to the season for the White Sox, my AL Central pick back in March.

Mets 3, Reds 0: No one cared at all about this game outside of Jose Reyes taking himself out of it to guarantee his batting title. How very game-162.

Dodgers 7, Diamondbacks 5: Matt Kemp homered, giving him the home run and RBI crowns. He’s the first Dodger to do that in 70 years.

Athletics 2, Mariners 0: Gio Gonzalez starts the season the way he began it in spring training: dominantly. Of course on this night he could have thrown a 27-strikeout perfect game and it may not have led any of the highlights shows. Thems the breaks.

 

And another season ends. The day-by-day ho-hum of this feature is no longer operative as we head into the Everything Friggin’ Matters postseason.

I always have mixed feelings about this. The playoffs are great, sure. And last night — which was basically playoff baseball — was fantastic. Maybe the best night of regular season baseball I can ever remember.

But to me at least the beauty of baseball is all about those lazy Tuesday nights in June when nothing really matters. Baseball as a constant. As something we enjoy all evening but then let go when we go to bed because, hey, there are 15 more games tomorrow, and they’ll help us to forget our worries.

But that all happened already. It will happen again next year. Now it is over, and it’s time for the edge-of-your-seat stuff.

It’s been great seeing you all here each morning for our usual nonsense. Thanks for all of the fun folks.

  1. btwicey - Sep 29, 2011 at 6:28 AM

    Well done Craig, awesome stuff

  2. Tribe&Browns&Cavs - Sep 29, 2011 at 6:29 AM

    And just think, if MLB gets their stupid way, the Red Sox and Braves epic failures to clinch their respective wild card spots would be rewarded with… a different wild card spot.

  3. proudlycanadian - Sep 29, 2011 at 6:32 AM

    Congratulations on your personal survival Craig. I am sure that you know that your Braves were originally the Boston Braves. The stars were not aligned for Boston teams this month.

    In a game that meant nothing in the final standings, there was a nice touch by a Jay’s pitcher. After he had thrown his last pitch of the year, Casey Janssen threw his glove to a kid (a White Sox fan) who was sitting behind the Jay’s dugout. A few moments later he threw his hat.

  4. dl3mk3 - Sep 29, 2011 at 6:32 AM

    and thank you for the great updates all season.

  5. southofheaven81 - Sep 29, 2011 at 7:23 AM

    *Deep breath*

    GOOD TIMES NEVER SEEMED SO GOOD (SO GOOD!!! SO GOOD!!! SO GOOD!!!)

  6. philliesblow - Sep 29, 2011 at 7:32 AM

    Craig, as someone who saw his team choke a September lead to the Twins a couple years ago, my sympathy on the Braves collapse. There’s room on the bandwagon if you want to come back to root for your childhood team.

  7. Old Gator - Sep 29, 2011 at 7:33 AM

    Sheesh, this sounds like a valedictory. Hey, our Craig is still with us. The Dude endures.

    Definitely one of the great nights of baseball ever. Lots of hangovers out there this morning. For all sorts of reasons.Tough if you’re a Bravos or Beanbag fan, but in retrospect you’ll doubtless see the elements of Geek Tragedy in all this anyway – fractured hubris, strained obliques and pulled hemartias included. I really didn’t think the Razed had it in them to get over the hump – but then, I also didn’t think the Beanbags would really self-destruct like that. The Razed had the tougher final ten games by far, on paper, and pulled off an incredible comeback to win. The Beanbags got pushed over like Weebles™ by the division doormat. On the other hand, you could see the Bravos’ disaster coming all the way – Craig called it weeks ago. Then again, back in April I also wrote that the NL Wild Card would not be coming from the East. I’m putting my crow – larded and barded though it a;ready be – back in the freezer for next September. Too close for discomfort food.

    Now then, back to insignificance: the Feesh went out with a whimper, not just against Strasburg but also against the mediocre relievers who followed him. A total of three hits, which probably represent unintended focus and effort. If no one cared about this game, neither did the Feesh themselves who mailed in their messages in bottles and then went home to count the money they didn’t do much to earn. The Curmudgeonly Undead returns to his cryogenic chamber to chew on jimson stems and wait for a chance to outgeezer Connie Mack in about seven years. Good luck to him. Here’s hoping that Tweeter, his digital big mouth and his .145 average with RISP finds himself on some other team next spring and that by some minor miracle the Feesh find a way of unloading John “Mr. Useless” Buck without having to eat so much of his paycheck that it puts a serious dent in their – um – “budget.” Here’s hoping that Ricky Nolasco’s late season ERA improvement isn’t overshadowed by the utter lack of run support he peetched weeth, so that he can be unloaded for at least some EYPs, of which for the first time in yonks the Feesh are in dreadfully short supply.

    And of course here’s hoping that Slobbering Ozzie bungles into a chronosynclastic infundibulum or some other kind of spacetime warp and, piouyit! is squeezed into another dimension like a watermelon seed.

    • paperlions - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:44 AM

      Geek Tragedy?

      That is either brilliant or proof that we shouldn’t get an edit function.

      • Old Gator - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:35 AM

        It’s brilliant. It’s mine.

    • pbsenerchia - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:22 AM

      Mediocre relievers? Surely you jest.

      • Old Gator - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:35 AM

        I never jest. And don’t call me Shirley.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:56 AM

        Rumack: …This woman has to be gotten to a hospital.
        Elaine Dickinson: A hospital? What is it?
        Rumack: It’s a big building with patients, but that’s not important right now.

        RIP Mr. Nielsen

      • natstowngreg - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:49 PM

        He does not jest. He’s just wrong, at least about Clippard and Storen.

    • natstowngreg - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:02 PM

      Yesterday, you saw two Ghosts of Fish Future: Ozzie Guillen and Stephen Strasburg.

  8. urteamsux52 - Sep 29, 2011 at 7:38 AM

    hey redsox go ruin another neil diamond song called SEPTEMBER MOURN cause u now the biggiest callapse in september hope you like watching other teams so good so good sweet caroline papablom sucks good times…

  9. shaggylocks - Sep 29, 2011 at 7:47 AM

    It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart…

    • Old Gator - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:36 AM

      …A. Bartlett Giamatti.

      Who do you think you are, Joe Biden?

  10. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 29, 2011 at 7:55 AM

    Cross posting from another website from 4/4/11

    AL West – Oakland
    AL Central – White Sox
    AL East – Boston

    AL Wildcard – Yankees

    NL West – Rockies
    NL Central – Milwaukee
    NL East – Philly

    NL Wildcard – Braves

    Yeah I’m terrible at this =\

    • Jonny 5 - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:09 AM

      Here COPO, Laugh at everybody!!!

      http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/03/30/and-now-the-hardballtalk-staff-predictions/

      • proudlycanadian - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:25 AM

        They did get Philadelphia correct and missed big on Arizona.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:26 AM

        Thanks for the link, god how did we all miss the twinkies?

        And where the hell did BC go?

      • Jonny 5 - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:45 AM

        We could seriously have this very conversation every single season I think. Which would be cool, come to think of it…..

        And, yeah. Where the heck is BC at? Funny guy.

        Laugh about the Twinkies if you will, but Craig picked the WSox AND Cubs. LOL!!!

      • Francisco (FC) - Sep 29, 2011 at 9:03 AM

        Jonny, great call on that AL WC ;)

      • cktai - Sep 29, 2011 at 9:15 AM

        How about them Diamondbacks eh?

      • Jonny 5 - Sep 29, 2011 at 10:48 AM

        Hey FC, At least I can laugh at myself. Anyway I was half right. It did end in an upset. LOL!!!

  11. drewmunny - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:00 AM

    Couldn’t agree more Craig, in regards to the lazy Tuesdays. Watch a game, relax, conversate, and know that if nothing else, we always have tomorrow, the next day, or the upcoming series against that .500 team to look forward to, placate us, and possibly most importantly, give us something to talk about and bond together as fans. The end of the regular season has come and gone, and the memories are astounding, and will give us conversation for years to come. I’ll always remember 2011, pass some of the stories to my boy. Yeah, the end came and went, but without that ending to look forward to, the beginning and middle would mean nothing. Well-written, you definitely get a pass on the details as it were, and we’ll all still be here for the next year, and the year after that, and so on and so on.

  12. Jonny 5 - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:03 AM

    Pure awesomeness. This shall remind the world that baseball is the greatest sport “evah”.

  13. danandcasey - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:09 AM

    Game 162? Can’t be. Wasn’t it just last week that Craig observed some live in Matt Kemp at spring training?

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/02/26/scenes-from-spring-training-matt-kemp-shows-hustle/

    I guess time flies when you are … old.

  14. drmonkeyarmy - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:10 AM

    I said this at the time, I will say it again: if you are the Braves how do you let Hunter Pence beat you with Michael Martinez in the on deck circle?

    • Jonny 5 - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:16 AM

      I was scratching my head on that one Dr.. Pence has been an animal since he came to Philly.

      Conspiracy theory: Phills let Werth walk because they KNEW they wanted to trade for Pence.

      What do you all think?

      • bigxrob - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:28 AM

        It would take a ninja to pull that off.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:28 AM

        That and the ridiculous amount of money Washington offered. I think the Phillies had an eye on Pence for awhile and it just happened to work out this year. I believe that as soon as the Werth situation didn’t work out they were waiting for Pence to become available, which they knew he ultimately would…with the Astros sucking and losing the arbitration case.

      • paperlions - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:50 AM

        I am just gonna guess without bothering to look….but could it possible be that they pitched to Pence because it was a righty-righty matchup and that Martinez bats lefty? …and that the manager ignored the skill-level of the respective players in lieu of the matchup?

        I know Pence is a righty….I have no idea about the pitcher or Martinez….but this is the exact kind of stupidity to which I am subjected by my team’s manager every damned day of the season.

      • Jonny 5 - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:58 AM

        PL, I would have walked Pence with Howard behind him even, with the week he’s been having vs. the Braves. Martinez is a switch hitter that hasn’t had much playing time at all, and isn’t all that great when he plays.

      • paperlions - Sep 29, 2011 at 9:04 AM

        Yes, you would have walked Pence….I would have walked Pence….but we aren’t morons that think “handedness” should trump ability.

      • Francisco (FC) - Sep 29, 2011 at 9:05 AM

        Howard had two big hits already in that game, Howard seems to either ALL fire or all cold lately. But they DID intentionally walk Pence to pitch to Martinez a couple of innings before, WHY they didn’t do it again is weird to say the least. Lose by 1, Lose by 2, same diff man, go for the throat! not go for the choke!

  15. levistahl - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:21 AM

    As a Cardinals fan, I still can’t quite believe this. Derrick Goold in the Post-Dispatch cited an odds site (Coolplayoffodds?) that gave the Cards a 1.1% chance on 8/25, and only a 1.4 on 9/5, the end of the last weekend before they started playing great ball.

    MLB Network was fantastic last night: I got home from a piano lesson at 10, astonished at what had happened while I was gone, and that the other three games were still going on, and were nailbiters. MLB jumped from game to game to game and caught it all.

    What a night. Even if the Cards go three and out against the Phils–whom they did just take three of four from a week ago–it will have been a great season.

    • leerosenthall - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:49 PM

      I was watching the Phillies-Braves game on my TV while monitoring the Yankees-Rays and Red Sox-Orioles games on my laptop (the Cards had already won) via MLB.TV, so I already knew what was going down, but it was still worth watching MLB network’s coverage. I absolutely love Harold Reynolds and Dan Plesac. Those outtakes they showed at the end of the evening of the two of them flipping out off-camera (“Are you f–king kidding me???”) were the cherry on top of one of the best nights of baseball I have ever seen.

      Good luck to your Red Birds!

      • leerosenthall - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:56 PM

  16. bigxrob - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:26 AM

    The rain delay in Baltimore could not have been more perfectly timed. Having the Baltimore-Boston game and Rays-Yankees game end within three minutes of each other was amazing.

    • levistahl - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:41 AM

      You’re right: that was like a special throw-in from the gods of baseball. Watching the Rays react to the scoreboard, then, moments later, react to their own win, was amazing.

    • Jonny 5 - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:48 AM

      The baseball gods have blessed us. Well, those of us who aren’t Boston or Atlanta fans anyway… I had to keep flipping channels because my PIP stopped working!!!

    • indaburg - Sep 29, 2011 at 9:26 AM

      It was perfect. If I saw something like last night in a movie, I would have rolled my eyes and said, “Only in the movies. That would never happen!”

  17. 78mu - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:29 AM

    The Braves lose by a run and Uggla gets thrown out at home because as he rounded third he spends 5 strides looking at Pence as if to say ‘he’s not going to throw it home is he?’

    Starting in the third grade, we coached our teams to look at the coach and not to look back at the ball. By the 8th grade they had all learned the lesson. Uggla is getting paid millions and can’t execute a simple, fundamental thing like rounding third and going home that millions of 8th graders have mastered.

    • sportsdrenched.com - Sep 29, 2011 at 9:53 AM

      Don’t forget about the double steal that cost the Braves a run too.

      I hate the stolen base.

  18. kvanhorn87 - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:48 AM

    Mr. Lucky eliminates Braves. How appropriate!

    How about a story on the Phillies registering 102 wins? Let’s not ignore the most wins in team history. How about something about Uncle Charlie becoming the winningest manager in franchise history?

    how about an article highlighting how the Phillies own the Braves in meaningful series? Or about Chipper Jones saying that he wasn’t afraid of the Phils?

    You goat us enough even though we make up 75% of your reader base. Throw us a bone?

    • Jonny 5 - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:52 AM

      Dude, chill. It’s not even 9 AM yet. And the world doesn’t revolve around the Phillies. Not for a couple of weeks anyway….. ;)

    • paperlions - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:52 AM

      Yeah, those poor Phillies and Phillie fans…they don’t get any stories written/posted about them.

    • Alex K - Sep 29, 2011 at 9:19 AM

      75% is quite a generous number. There is no chance that 75% of readers/commenters are Phans. I would be reluctant to put it at more than 10%.

      And also- it is Mr. Overrated that got the hit.

    • drewmunny - Sep 29, 2011 at 9:48 AM

      Its about resonating or identifying with your reader or fan base as a whole. No one likes to lose, suffer the heartbreak of defeat. But unfortunately, as people, these are the storylines that seem to resonate best with us. The Phillies season, while wholly remarkable, is the equivalent of the average Joe winning the lottery, marrying a supermodel, then winning the lottery again, all in one year. Yes, the Phillies have accomplished something great, but at the end of the day, we identify more with the loss, the emotions and storylines that go with it, the incredulity of the seasons collapse as it were. Just my .02.

      • phillyfrank - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:12 PM

        Nah, kvan has a point. And it’s not just HBT, but the entire national sports media. I was watching the ESPN sports shows last night after all the games and the first half-hour of two different one hour shows concentrated exclusively on the Yankees and Red Sox games (AL East bias, anyone?). When they did cover the Phils-Braves game, only one of the three talking heads said the word “Phillies”–only once–and spent the rest of the time describing everything the Braves did or didn’t do during the game. And that segment lasted no longer than 5-6 minutes during the 2nd half hour. Very little mention of the Phils setting a new franchise record in wins, little said about Manuel becoming the franchise’s winningest manager…you can bet if the Yanks or Sox had done either of those things, there would be a special commemorative magazine coming out today. But that’s OK…to paraphrase another noteworthy Philadelphian, Todd Rundgren: “Go ahead. Ignore us.”

  19. cshearing - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:49 AM

    Greatest night of baseball since an October night in ’92. Awesome stuff all around.

  20. kvanhorn87 - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:56 AM

    Throughout areas in Philly suburbs last night, local sports networks, espn and espn news all went out in the 8th inning. Every other channel worked. Came back on in the 12th. Maddening to miss the entirety of the classic night in baseball.

    • leerosenthall - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:02 PM

      I live in the Philly ‘burbs and MLB network and CSN were working just fine last night, on FIOS at least.

  21. frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 29, 2011 at 9:23 AM

    You know, last night didn’t even hurt. There was a certain amount of inevitability that crept in over the last week that made me strangely numb to last nights final gasp for the Braves.

    And to be honest with you I am very happy that it felt that way: In years past I would have shut off the TV and been beside myself with anger, sadness, an whatever other negative feelings one might after watching ones team collapse. But because it was expected it didn’t affect me like that and I was able to turn the channel and really enjoy the rest of a classic Rays finish.

    So while my team was on one of the losing ends to one of the most storied finishes a baseball season has ever witnessed, it was awesome to see the Rays come from 7 down at the end and ultimately win.

    Now if you will excuse me, I have some work to do this morning…

    /tightens noose

  22. kvanhorn87 - Sep 29, 2011 at 9:23 AM

    I thought mr. Lucky was Howard and would have sworn it. But then one of PFT articles this am referenced Pence as Mr. Lucky with a link. Sorry!

  23. loungefly74 - Sep 29, 2011 at 9:27 AM

    amazing drama on the final night. ya gotta love baseball.

  24. El Bravo - Sep 29, 2011 at 9:38 AM

    It was a fun ride. It was a stressful one. It was enough for me to drop Jason Heyward off my name. Seriously, screw that guy. El Bravo is sufficient. Good baseball yesterday. MLB.tv might be the best thing ever to come to the internet. Everything seemed so perfect but totally ruined at the same time. Oh well, the sadness shall pass soon (alcohol works great).

    Go Rays in the AL (or Tigers I guess). Go not-Phillies or Cards in NL. Rah Rah…bleh….I’m not ready for this….

    Just for kicks, my preseason playoff picks:

    Red Sox
    White Sox
    Rangers
    WC: Yanks

    Phils
    Cards
    Giants
    WC: Braves

  25. sportsdrenched.com - Sep 29, 2011 at 9:50 AM

    For some fun retrospect. Check out this thread at the end of the winter meetings last December:

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/12/09/saying-goodbye-to-the-winter-meetings/

    El Bravo, How did your fantasy team do?

    • El Bravo - Sep 29, 2011 at 10:01 AM

      Well, I didn’t draft any Royals so I came in 4th of 10 teams, which of course, is the first spot NOT to win any money. It pretty much goes right in line with my real baseball hopes for the Bravos…dreams dashed, aspirations crushed, close-but-no-cigar. Really, I have no idea how I keep positive as a baseball fan. Everything goes the opposite of my way. Everything.

      • sportsdrenched.com - Sep 29, 2011 at 10:03 AM

        Hey, I was just excited the Royals won 70 games. The most exciting 70 win team ever.

        But yeah, if the Royals were in the Braves position I would have been a wreck yesterday, and in a dark, dark place this morning.

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