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And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

Apr 11, 2012, 6:02 AM EDT

Atlanta Braves v Houston Astros Getty Images

Braves 6, Astros 4: Chipper Jones came off the disabled list, singled in his first at bat and hit a home run in his second. Dude is on death’s door and he hasn’t had functional knees since Bush’s first term yet he’s still the best hitter on this team.  Tyler Pastornicky hit his first MLB bomb. In other news, the Astros wore their Colt .45 throwback jerseys and they looked totally amazing. Check out those stirrups, dude.

Rangers 1, Mariners 0: Neftali Feliz didn’t allow a run in his first ever — and long overdue — major league start. But according to my sources in the ATH Texas satellite office, he wasn’t all that crisp out of the gate, elevating pitches and the like. Guess there’s more of a margin for error when you’re facing the Mariners. Mike Napoli took an ugly one to the noggin but was OK.

Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 3: Daniel Bard got roughed up (5 IP, 8 H, 5 ER). Thankfully no one in Boston overreacts to such things and will give him all the time he need to ease into the rotation rather than freak the hell out and demand that he be moved to the pen. Meanwhile, Kyle Drabek gave up one run on three hits in five and a third. If he comes correct this season the Jays’ perceived rotation problems will be way less significant.

Nationals 6, Mets 2: Between learning about David Wright’s broken finger and losing their first game of the season, it seems that the Mets are not invincible after all. Jayson Werth went 4 for 5 and drove in two.  Ross Detwiler pitched five scoreless innings.

Brewers 7, Cubs 4:  The Brewers scored five in the first with the help of an Alex Gonzalez three-run homer.

Yankees 5, Orioles 4: Freddy Garcia threw five wild pitches. That’s special. Raul Ibanez doubled in the go-ahead run in the 12th. That’s unexpected.

Tigers 5, Rays 2: Work fast, throw strikes. It’s pretty easy, yes? Rick Porcesllo made it look so on a cold afternoon. Porcello allowed two runs on four hits in seven innings. Matt Moore was almost as effective for Tampa Bay, but the bullpen gave up three.

Dodgers 2, Pirates 1:  Andre Ethier hit a homer with two outs in the eighth to break a 1-1 tie on Dodger Stadium’s 50th anniversary. The Beach Boys sang the National Anthem. Brian Wilson was actually there, so it was the actual Beach Boys, not Mike Love and his Twisted, Depressing Beach Boys Tribute Band.

Cardinals 3, Reds 1: The Cardinals are 5-1, are hitting the ball well and are getting great pitching too. I guess they don’t quite miss Tony La Russa, Albert Pujols and Chris Carpenter yet. Homers from Carlos Beltran and David Freese.

Diamondbacks 4, Padres 2: Chris Young with a two-run homer in the 12th wins it. He hit it off Micah Owings, who probably should have been playing left field instead, but then again people have been saying that about Micah Owings for years and folks still let him pitch. The Snakes were lucky the game went extras given that their starter, Trevor Cahill, threw more balls than strikes while walking six dudes in six innings.

Royals 3, Athletics 0: Given the forecast I saw yesterday afternoon I’m surprised they even got this one in. But they did, even if it was rain-shortened. Danny Duffy allowed only one hit in six innings while striking out eight. According to the game story there were probably 150 people in the Coliseum taking this one in.

White Sox vs. Indians: POSTPONED: This one was postponed due to a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow. Well, rain, but since the temperatures were falling, it could very well have been snow eventually.

  1. proudlycanadian - Apr 11, 2012 at 6:54 AM

    As I wrote in the pre-season, I hope that the Jays get to face Bard several times this year. He is OK as a 5th starter, but the Jays own him.

    • proudlycanadian - Apr 11, 2012 at 10:29 AM

      A lot of Sox fans have commented that Bard did not pitch poorly. That is accurate; however, the Jays had success against him both last September and in spring training. His former pitching coach is the manager of the Jays and might know how to approach him. Against other teams, Bard will probably perform well in the rotation.

  2. spudchukar - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:09 AM

    The Pan is still flashing in St. Louis. David Freese, league leading 10 RBIs through first 6 games.

    • ajcardsfan - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:48 AM

      I just hope all of our current guys stay healthy. Berkman is aging and I’d hate for something to happen to him this early.

  3. educatedfools - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:59 AM

    Bard actually pitched pretty well last night. 6 Ks. 6 of the 8 hits were groundball hits, none of them hit very hard. 2 were hit past Youkilis who looks like Tejada did last year right now.

    • Ari Collins - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:41 AM

      Youkilis is certainly worrisome. He looks like he aged five years in the offseason. Maybe it’s just a small sample size, but the way he looks backs up his poor numbers. Here’s hoping he turns it around or Middlebrooks takes his step forward.

      But totally agree on Bard. He actually looked pretty fantastic out there, got ground balls and strikeouts, and was the victim of terrible defense behind him. While it sucks to be 1-4 now, it’s early yet, and Bard answered some of my doubts last night, which is very promising for his next 20-30 starts.

      • 18thstreet - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:05 AM

        The belief that Youkilis could play third might be one of the most important choices the Sox made this decade. It meant letting Adrian Beltre go, and trading for Adrian Gonzalez. (I’m sure I spelled some names wrong there. Forgive me.)

        At this moment, leaving Youk at first and keeping Beltre would probably have been a better decision. And that one’s on Theo. Still a few years to see how this plays out — it certainly makes sense to send Youkilis to DH next year and let Ortiz go, to call up Will Middlebrooks to play third. I hope it works. But Youkilis is not aging well.

      • Old Gator - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:14 PM

        Are you kidding? Youkilis is so ugly that you can’t even say he spent his youth well.

  4. natstowngreg - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    The actual Beach Boys, with Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, and Bruce Johnston? Cool. More important, hope Vin Scully is feeling better.

    Surprisingly, the Nats did not fail to score runners from second and third. Especially fun was Wilson Ramos’ daring dash (well, not exactly a dash) home on a Ryan Zimmerman short fly to right. Lucas Duda’s throw was cut off by Justin Turner, and Ramos beat the relay. Jayson Werth getting four hits was a welcome surprise as well.

  5. 18thstreet - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    Actually, most Red Sox’ commentary is about how Bard was a little unlucky with seeing-eye grounders. Lots of swings and misses. He looked great, results notwithstanding.

    I’m panicked about a lot of things; Bard as fifth starter is not presently one of them.

  6. l0yalr0yal - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    Duffy had good, good stuff last night. Several times, A’s batters looked silly at the plate. His command will come, but I don’t expect to see him pitching any complete games this year. What we saw last night was promising, I think he’s got the right stuff to be a star.

    • APBA Guy - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:54 AM

      Duffy’s had good games before, so his issue is consistency. Also don’t forget, he’s facing the A’s, probably the 2nd most inept offense in MLB, better only than the Mariners.

      And speaking of bad weather, it was mainly drizzle through 6 last night, and with some better preparation, the game could have started on time. But the A’s only have 5 guys on the grounds crew, since it rarely rains during the season. There’s a good chance they get tonight’s game in, but there could be thunderstorms (wtf) before it’s over. Thunder storms are common in the East, not so much here because of the lower humidity and relatively smooth temperature gradient, but tonight colder air comes in. That will cause the ball to carry even less in the Mausoleum.

  7. sportsdrenched.com - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    Since the Royals game started at 945 local. I did not see Danny Duffy pitch. It sounds like I should have. he needs to take a step forward this year. The Royals starting pitching has been stellar. The offense has been slow. I think eventually the Royals offense and starting pitching will trade places in effectivness.

    • kopy - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:42 AM

      The Royals are going to be even more interesting this year than originally thought. It reached the press when Torii Hunter came to Minneapolis for this current series, and told his former team that the KC bullpen he just finished facing is nasty.

    • l0yalr0yal - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:43 AM

      Yeah dude, I sat at buffalo wild wings waiting for the game to start, and on my way out the door they rolled up the tarp, so I had to go back to the bar. He lit it up, like I said, very promising stuff. He’d throw a 97 mph cutter, and come back with some nasty 74-77 offspeed pitch. I expect the offense to be potent, but to what degree remains to be seen. I think the pitching will fall off some, but hopefully stay in the middle of the pack to give us a chance to win games. I don’t think this staff can keep up the excellent start, but I remain guardedly optimistic that we’re going to see a winning record this year.

  8. yankeesfanlen - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    Best aggressive play so far for the Universe: Sending Swish home from first. Had he been a younger man he probably would have made it. Therein lies the point- don’t wait too long in life

    • deathmonkey41 - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:39 AM

      I swear, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Yankee thrown out at the plate as much as Swisher has…and that’s from a team that had Matt Nokes and Jorge Posada running for years.

    • Kevin S. - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:02 PM

      Not sure I necessarily agree with that. If Swisher holds it’s 2nd and 3rd, 0 out with A-Rod/ Teix/Granderson coming up. Doesn’t seem like the right place to take that kind of risk.

  9. napoleonblownapart6887 - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    I wish I could take issue with the fact that the only interesting thing with the Pirates game has to do with the national anthem… but yeah I don’t know what else to put.

    Through the first few gahttp://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/04/10/chris-carpenter-undergoing-battery-of-tests-on-shoulder/mes this year though the Pirates starting pitching has been solid… baby steps.

    • napoleonblownapart6887 - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:57 AM

      Uh… how did that URL end up in my post… I don’t think I put it there…

  10. Old Gator - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    Simon and Garfunkel reference alert! Craig, you are our rock; you are our island.

    • ptfu - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:55 AM

      But does that rocky island have a bridge over troubled water?

      • spudchukar - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:08 AM

        Top 40 overplay can kill a song, and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” has succumbed to the deluge of torrential radio airing, but on an evening in St. Louis at Kiel auditorium when Simon and Garfunkle’s first live performance occurred the proverbial pin could be heard drop.

      • Old Gator - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:16 PM

        It’s still a gorgeous song, their late masterpiece and a great note on which to go out hating each other’s guts. Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee must be laughing their asses off somewhere.

  11. plummer2512 - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    I watched Bard’s start with the Sox and it wasn’t as bad as people are making it out to be. He had a bunch of bleeders, broken bat singles and a couple really late swings that somehow made it by 80 year old Kevin Youkilis. A little unlucky but overall I was impressed at his fastball and both sliders. Like to see him mix in a couple change-ups every so often but that will come. I think I saw him throw maybe 3 changeups all night and none until the 4th or 5th inning.

    Sox were unlucky too. Hit some balls pretty hard but right at people. Someone get Youk a walker and Salty needs to get in the cages more. Too many K’s from him and he looks lost up there on most at bats.

  12. RickyB - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    The only reason Ibanez hit the game-winning double is because Strop was too dense to realize that Ibanez couldn’t catch up to his fastball and threw a hanging slider right down Broadway. Which I was happy to see, but I don’t think Ibanez makes it through the season on the roster. Enjoy his successes while you can, though.

  13. El Bravo - Apr 11, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    A few additional game notes courtesy of El Bravo and his avid viewship of MLB.TV via XBox (which is a gift from God…or Bud N Gates or something):

    1. “Guess there’s more of a margin for error when you’re facing the Mariners.” Yu Darvish has words about this sentence.

    2. The Beach Boys are terrible by every definition of the term. Which is one, and they’re that. My God, I hope they never make the ATH or HBT ever again. Damn them. Damn them to Full House and the Tanners.

    3. Despite Cahill’s poor outing, he still pulled off a Quality Start. Thus, Cahill is, by definition, still quality.

    4. Chipper F@cking Jones, B!tches!

    • dowhatifeellike - Apr 11, 2012 at 10:43 AM

      mlb.tv is a godsend. I’m still on my way home from work when the east coast games start, but when I get home I can start from the beginning and fast-forward through the commercial breaks.

    • El Bravo - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:02 AM

      5. Those Colt 0.45 unis are the best in baseball. They’re amazing. They need to stay. I’d consider rooting for that team if they changed their name too.

  14. dowhatifeellike - Apr 11, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    The strike zone in the NYY/BAL game was maddening. Strikes were being called to the chalk of the batter’s boxes on both sides of the plate. It was consistent but batters spend their whole lives trying not to swing at those pitches. The teams combined for 29 strikeouts in 12 innings – that’s 40% of all outs recorded.

  15. bravojawja - Apr 11, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    Did you see Brian McCann score all the way from first? I missed part of it — I thought he’d stop at second, so I went to the bathroom, did my thing, washed my hands (hygiene!), and made it back to the TV to see him rounding third for home. Good fundamental defense from the Colts nearly got him, too.

    • foreverchipper10 - Apr 11, 2012 at 1:50 PM

      Yup. Saw that and the close play with Bourn. Couple those with Lee being thrown out at home and there was a lot of action around the plate last night.

  16. spudchukar - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Kyle Lohse continues to dazzle, defying those who predict his pitching to contact approach is unsustainable. Goes 6 striking out 2, lowering his ERA to 1.35 and his WHIP to an extraordinary .53 recording his second straight win.

    • paperlions - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:30 AM

      Are you being obtuse on purpose? No one predicts that pitching to contact is bad. You are isolating an argument never made in isolation. Those you are referring to say that pitchers need to be able to control 2 of 3 things to be successful:

      1) contact rates (Ks)
      2) walk rates
      3) ground ball rates

      Duncan’s philosophy was never to pitch to contact (he never encouraged guys with swing and miss stuff to try to miss fewer bats). What he encouraged was for guys to control walk rates and to use a 2-seamer low in the zone to encourage ground balls.

      Lohse didn’t issue any unintentional walks, and ground balls ruled the day.

      • spudchukar - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:12 PM

        Oh, Bullshit!!!!!

      • paperlions - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:28 PM

        So….that’s a “yes”.

      • spudchukar - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:29 PM

        This is revisionist history at its finest. What Duncan actually preached was STRIKE ONE!!! Encouraging ground balls is the essential pitching to contact definition. NO pitching to contact theorist proposes pitching to flyball contact, you would have to be a drooling idiot. The Strike One theory incorporates minimizing walk rates. To suggest Duncan encouraged pitchers to use a 2-seam fastball low in the zone is rather self-apparent. Where else would sinker ball pitchers throw it?

        Over and Over I have to defend those pitchers who do not strike out many. This is why the BABIP metrics are so awful, they unnecessarily reward the unimportant strikeout.

        PL, try and dodge your previous stance on the issue if you choose, but you are not fooling me.

      • paperlions - Apr 11, 2012 at 1:27 PM

        BABIP doesn’t reward anything.

        ….and for all of their “awfulness”…you want FIP-type metrics predict better than ERA? Future ERA.

        You are being myopic to the extreme….isolating aspects of discussion as if they were the entire discussion instead of a specific point.

        As to strikeouts being unimportant. You know how often strikeouts become hits? 0% of the time. You know how often batted balls become hits? About 30% of the time. It is not unlike the difference between how often ground balls become HRs compared to fly balls.

        ….also, Holliday sucks….that attempted play was freaking horrible.

      • spudchukar - Apr 11, 2012 at 5:03 PM

        Of course BABIP suggests strikeouts are important. Plus strikeouts also indirectly leads to base hits. Jaime Garcia today and throughout his career is the perfect example, always trying to make the perfect pitch particularly when he has 2 strikes on a hitter, elevating pitch counts and falling behind in counts forcing him into dangerous situations that he cannot always get out of.

        Where this 2 out of 3 axiom came from is a mystery to me. But any metric that exhorts the importance of strikeouts will always have significant anomalies, which by definition renders it a predictive failure.

        Now true scientists, not the dogmatic statistical adherents I read here, would go back to the drawing board and try to find out where the hypothesis was faulty. Over and over again I read how unfavorable BABIP rates cannot be sustained and still be an effective pitcher. But year after year there are so many outliers that now I read all the caveats. Some of these caveats are useful, mostly those challenging the too general category “Batted Ball”.

        However, the primary error is the most basic. And you, PL, are stuck with a false premise. And that is that pitchers ultimate goal is to avoid bats. Cute phrases like how many KO’s result in hits just deflects an intelligent analysis. If a pitcher can get an out by throwing one pitch, and at times get 2 with one pitch, where is the brilliance in exerting all the energy to throw three unhittable pitches, most often more than that, when almost no pitcher has the capability of finishing a game, much less 6-7 innings. And this doesn’t even include the overall stress on arms and of course the resultant injuries.

        I wish it were as simple as I make it sound above, but of course it isn’t. Certain situations call for strikeouts. Some pitchers cannot adjust to this style. Some defenses are so bad, making the approach ridiculous (See Detroit Tigers). But what is so unjust, and so egregious is the attempt to pigeon hole all pitchers into a formula that either predicts or claims their success is due to luck. Yes, the bats are round and so is the ball, but when one is thrown for 200 innings, and the other swung 500+ times, the outcomes are not due to fortune.

        The reality is some pitchers, and most probably many more, can be very successful without the strikeout being an integral part of their respective arsenals.

    • ajcardsfan - Apr 11, 2012 at 5:17 PM

      I’d like thank both of you for a good debate to read while I’m waiting for my day at work to finish lol

  17. Loose Changeup - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Wei-Yin Chen looked good last night, except for his first and last 15 pitches.

    • dowhatifeellike - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:58 PM

      It looked like he got over his nervousness after the first inning but ran out of gas at the end. Very good in between though. I think he gets the W if the O’s had a competent 3rd baseman. Reynolds botched 2 plays and probably should have had that line drive toward the end of the game as well.

      I defended Reynolds most of last year but even I am getting tired of him. Everyone knows he can’t hit a breaking ball but he won’t swing at the heat with less than 2 strikes either. All night the NYY pitchers were laying strike 1 in there, and nobody was swinging. I understand that patience is important but sometimes, as in last night, strike 1 is the best pitch you’re going to get.

      I’m not a fan of Betemit, but let him play third and have Chavez/Paulino share DH duty. Both of them were making good contact in spring training and I think Chavez hit close to .500 in March.

  18. Mike Luna - Apr 11, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Don’t diminish what Feliz did last night. He walked Chone Figgins to start the game and then walked Ichiro two batters later.

    Those were his only two walks. He really turned it on in the 3rd, gaining outstanding command of his change-up and slider. His fastball became almost marginal as the game went on.

    A lot of people worried that Feliz wouldn’t be able to go so many innings and would have trouble mixing in effective off-speed pitches. He proved that he could do both last night.

    A very fine performance.

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