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And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

Jul 16, 2012, 5:40 AM EDT

Ben Sheets

Braves 6, Mets 1: Ben Sheets emerges from the restorative chemical waters of the Lazarus Pits to throw six shutout innings against the Mets. Too bad this series is over. I heard the Braves were going to run Rich Harden out there tonight and maybe Mark Prior on Tuesday to see if the Mets are just as prone to zombies then as they were yesterday afternoon.

Nationals 4, Marlins 0: Stephen Strasburg put up a Ben Sheetsian performance, throwing six shutout innings. Meanwhile, Ozzie Guillen becomes just the latest person who should know better trying to intimidate Bryce Harper. And once again, Harper refuses to take the idiot’s bait. At some point are people gonna just let the kid play instead of making themselves look stupid?

Angels 10, Yankees 8: A-Rod popped out with the bases loaded to end the game. I’m sure no one’s gonna talk about this in the papers or on the radio today. Or the fact that, in defending him, Brian Cashman called him “above average.” I mean, that’s a few ticks above Vance Law, right? Approaching Richie Hebner almost, yes? Ah, I’m just stirring poop. A-Rod did hit a homer and had another hit. And if the Yankees had figured out a way to keep the Angels from scoring a ten spot, he wouldn’t have had to be the hero in the ninth. Or if, you know, he hadn’t gotten thrown out at home earlier. Oh well. Moving right along …

Brewers 4, Pirates 1Yovani Gallardo struck out 14 while allowing one run over seven innings. People have been asking me if I think the Pirates are for real. I say that they’re not until they can prove that they have a big boy offense. Because as of now, they have the worst on base percentage in the National League.

Cubs 3, Diamondbacks 1: Matt Garza threw seven shutout innings a day after Ryan Dempster kept his scoreless streak alive. As far as trade deadline showcasing, Jed Hoyer could not be any happier if he tried.

Athletics 9, Twins 4: Yoenis Cespedes went 4 for 5 with a homer and three driven in. Don’t look now, but the A’s are three games over .500 and are only a half game out of a wild card spot. But the same caveat I applied to the Pirates applies to them: gotta get on base at a greater than .300 clip to truly stay in it, I reckon.

Phillies 5, Rockies 1: Cole Hamels pitched brilliantly, giving the Phillies their first series win since the last time they played the Rockies. Now, if they can just figure out how to play the Rockies all the time, they may be in business.

Rangers 4, Mariners 0: Matt Harrison threw a five hit shutout. He only struck out three and walked four, suggesting that the Mariners had no idea what they were doing at the plate.

White Sox 2, Royals 1: Chris Sale allowed ten hits, but he only gave up one run in eight innings. Since I was being pessimistic about the Pirates and A’s, let’s keep that up and note that Sale has now thrown 110 innings and is on pace to break 200. His annual innings pitched totals as a pro, majors and minors combined: 2010: 33.2; 2011: 71.0.  If he tires — and there is a lot of reason to think he might — the Sox may find themselves in some pitching trouble.

Red Sox 7, Rays 3: Remember back before James Shields died? Nah, me neither. Shields (5 IP, 11 H, 6 ER) was killed again, and the Rays weren’t able to take advantage of a pretty sick Josh Beckett. As in actually ill, not sick meaning impressive, as the cool children often say.

Tigers 4, Orioles 0: Apparently Justin Verlander took the blue pill, preferring not to stay in rabbit-hole filled Wonderland that he experienced during the All-Star Game. The Tigers’ ace struck out eight shutout innings.

Giants 3, Astros 2: Houston has lost 13 in a row on the road. And usually people are better off when they leave Houston. Huh.

Blue Jays 3, Indians 0: Carlos Villanueva walked five dudes, but he avoided danger by allowing only three hits and striking out eight.

Padres 7, Dodgers 2: Chris Capuano ran out of gas and the Padres beat up on him and the pen.

Reds 4, Cardinals 2: Does it make me a bad baseball fan to admit that I watched the “Breaking Bad” premiere and not this game? Nah, didn’t think so. In any event, Aroldis Chapman is the one who knocks.

  1. sdelmonte - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:48 AM

    A-Rod will get his share of NY media lumps, but he should be the other story behind all the shenanigans the local basketball team is dealing with. Seems there is a contract out there that makes the A-Rod deal seem sane.

    • deathmonkey41 - Jul 16, 2012 at 8:13 AM

      ” And if the Yankees had figured out a way to keep the Angels from scoring a ten spot, he wouldn’t have had to be the hero in the ninth. Or if, you know, he hadn’t gotten thrown out at home earlier.”

      Or if they hadn’t gotten 4 runners thrown out on stupid plays early or if someone on the f#%king team could actually bunt if their life depended on it.

      • bravojawja - Jul 16, 2012 at 10:28 AM

        Bunting is for the NL and the playoffs.

  2. proudlycanadian - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:57 AM

    Villanueva has earned a spot in the Jay’s rotation. Darren Oliver pitched in game #692 of his career. He recorded the 6th save of his career as he was asked to go 2 innings because mighty Casey had pitched in the previous 2 games. At the age of 41, Oliver is having a career year. The “crafty lefty” is 2 & 2 with 1 save. His ERA is 1.30.

    • cur68 - Jul 16, 2012 at 10:51 AM

      Did you see that, PC? Did you see what Craig just did? He wrote ONE SENTENCE about the Indians/Beaver Men series. One sentence after all that…jeez. This is the HBT equivalent of “Yadda, Yadda-ing” sex. Lets expand this a bit, shall we?

      The entire bullpen is being carried by three guys right now: Oliver, Frasor & Jansen. The starting rotation is being held together with duct tape, prayer and Tiger Balm. There’s a post op ward filled with Beaver Pitching even as I type this. The manager is giving pre-game interviews practically begging people to walk in off the street and to try and throw strikes. Somehow, SOMEHOW, these guys are still in it. Still in it when they should have faded into dust long ago. Still in it with some gutsy pitching from Villanueva, Cecil, and PitcherToBeDecidedOnGameDay (but, until the offence can’t pick him up, its Aaron Laffey…yeah, just typing that made me cringe. Good luck, Aaron Laffey). Of the original starting rotation, only Romero & Alvarez remain and they just barely. And yet they remain in contention.

      This should not be unremarked upon. Our Blogger in Chief spared what Car-Vill did a mere one sentence. He didn’t even mention the prolific offence and their knack for getting on base, swiping bags, and hitting bombs: the very OBP he cites that contending teams like the A’s & Pirates DON’T have. Now this may not last & perhaps may only be worth one sentence because everyone beats the Indians, 2-3, right? Right? Or maybe not…its a bit hard to say with that weak AL Central, but something about what I typed seems…untrue.

      The next week sees The Beavers taking this dog & pony show on the road, only this time at New York and then Boston. Lets see what we see come next Monday, eh? By then (please Dog, let it be so) Morrow should be back in the Starting Rotation, and Aaron Laffey can sit next to Francisco Cordero and compare change-up grips. Maybe AA can do some of that voodoo and get Garza, maybe Dempster . . . hell maybe the fruit of Vince Papale is out there in Toronto with a cannon arm, just waiting for a shot at baseball glory (I really gotta stop smoking this crack) WHATEVER, just get some pitching before Oliver, Frasor and/or Jansen’s arms fall clean off.

      Lets see if we get more than one sentence then.

  3. Old Gator - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:09 AM

    The Feesh go 0-10 with RISP and nobody notices. What is that? They’ve won one of their last five games, managed to score three runs since the break, the Hanster is in yet another nosedive and the Strange Attractor has receded to a mere shining pinprick in the firmament again. And the division lead? Heh. It’s too bad they picked a week when the Hubbel is down for maintenance or they could get a better look at it. Facing the division leaders in a crucial series, the Feesh can do no better than a split, which means, of course, that they’ve gone nowhere.

    The Harper pine tar scandal has been worked over several times already so I won’t bring that one up again – though I can see Harper sitting at the hotel bar with his teammates snarking his root beer up his nose at the most recent wisecrack about it.

    Over the break Slobbering Ozzie made some comment about how the Hanster was going to have to step up his game, because Iron Giant or no Iron Giant this team “is built around Hanley.” Just so, and it’s in fourth place. July 31 beckons. Are we ready to make some hard decisions and stop kidding ourselves at last, Scroogie?

    • natstowngreg - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      One slight correction to the Fish version above: The Fish were 1-13 with RISP. The Nats were 3-4, which is unbelievable.

      The Nats have won 2 of 6 at Miami-Dade County Baseball Palace of Garishness, but 2 of the last 3. Progress is being made.

      Stephen Strasburg wasn’t particularly sharp, though he threw quite a few strikes (70 of 105 pitches). He was saved by the timely strikeout and some very good defensive plays, in particular by Roger Bernadina and Ryan Zimmerman. Tyler Clippard pitched himself into, then out of, trouble in the 9th. Though it took Bryce Harper’s near totaling of Steve Lombardozzi to get the final out with the bases loaded.

      Fun Fact from the folks at MASN: The Nats had been the only team to have an extra-base hit in every game, until last night.

      The Nats begin the week 3 up on the Braves. Edwin Jackson vs. Carlos Zambrano tonight.

  4. samu0034 - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:13 AM

    R’as al Ghul is totally a baseball fan. No two ways about it. And clearly had something to do with Sheets’ impressive return.

    • sdelmonte - Jul 16, 2012 at 8:55 AM

      Ra’s was there when the first game was played. He developed the arcane rules as part of a devious scheme that has since gone awry.

  5. proudlycanadian - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:43 AM

    There are only 3 teams in the AL with losing records, while 8 teams in the NL have losing records. Obviously, those 11 teams are fielding calls from the general managers of the other teams. My team is among the teams who are buyers as AA has said that he wants a pitcher or 2. A certain LF from Arizona would also look good in a Jay’s uniform. I got a chuckle this morning when reading my Toronto Globe & Mail. Below the story about the Jays win last night, there were stories about Dempster and Halladay. They are the 2 starting pitchers that I covet for the Jay’s and I suspect that someone at the paper has the same idea.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 16, 2012 at 7:50 AM

      Please get this through your head…..the Phillies are not trading Halladay.

      • proudlycanadian - Jul 16, 2012 at 8:31 AM

        Why not. The Phillies need to get younger. Need to replace Victorino? I bet that the Phillies would like to have Anthony Gose back. Need to replace Pence? At triple A the Jays have Snider, Thames and Sierra. Need some young pitchers? Look at Stilson who was recently promoted to Double A. Look at Wojciechowski and Nolin in Single A.

  6. alexo0 - Jul 16, 2012 at 8:06 AM

    I think the term “blue pill” means different things to you and I.

    • heyblueyoustink - Jul 16, 2012 at 8:16 AM

      You mean like the kind you should not take if you are already taking nitrates for chest pain?

  7. groundruledoublebourbon - Jul 16, 2012 at 8:17 AM

    Went to Kauffman for Royals v White Sox yesterday. Was treated to a lineup that featured Yuniesky Betancourt and Jeff Francoeur hitting 5-6, respectively. Yuni was DH’ing, no less. Shockingly, the Royals left 8 runners on with BetanCoeur getting meaningful at bats. 11 hits, 1 run scored. Around here, we like to call that being “Yosted.”

  8. Jonny 5 - Jul 16, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    Word has it most people thought the Phillies would turn their season around when Pigs fly. Well, I have first hand knowledge (because I was at Citizens bank park on Saturday watching Roger Waters do “The Wall”) that a pig did indeed fly around the park on Saturday night. And it was this one. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-AxTncIXSpD0/TrQkfI1B1WI/AAAAAAAAAMg/9Jap6ShQNLY/s1600/63851_1630292479801_1311294766_1723571_1642973_n.jpg

    • proudlycanadian - Jul 16, 2012 at 8:54 AM

      Nice picture!

  9. bravojawja - Jul 16, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Clearly, Ben Sheets signed with Atlanta so he could be an extra on Walking Dead.

  10. randygnyc - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    Nice post cur- the jays, despite injuries are inexplicably, and mathematically, still in it. It doesn’t matter that they won’t be there when it counts, it’s a beautiful story, NOW!!!

  11. APBA Guy - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    The A’s now hold the record for HR’s by a visiting team at Target field with 9 in a 3-game series. Yesterdays 4 were by the usual suspects, and aside from Smith’s, were all on centered fastballs that weren’t that fast. Memo to the Twins: missing your spots over the plate when you only throw 90 mph is not good, even against the A’s. Doing it consistently is very, very bad.

    The guys the Twins ran out to the mound this series:Liriano, DeVries, Duensing, remind me of the pitchers they’ve been running out for the past 5 years or so, guys with below MLB average stuff who throw a lot of strikes. Think Kevin Slowey and Nick Blackburn. Liriano we all remember before he got surgery, and you can see flashes of what he was, but no more than that. He only allowed 1 HR to the A’s.

    Anyway, starting tomorrow, the A’s face the Rangers and the Yankees. The Rangers look like they have the plague or something. Every time I snap on the tube one of their guys is pale and barfy looking, then you read about how they’ve been fighting some virus, and realize that they’ve been fighting viruses for 3 months now. Still they win. The Yankees don’t look at all sickly. Every time they come to the Mausoleum they have the appropriate swagger: they know they are going to win, and sure enough, the A’s just wilt. We’ll see what happens this time. I have a feeling the great and powerful Beane will wait until the end of this week and see if the A’s come out of this 6 game set with a split before he decides to sell all the veterans. He does have to make room for Anderson soon, but it looks like Braden is still a ways off. So maybe just one of Bartolo or McCarthy might go, plus Balfour.

    • cur68 - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:19 PM

      Hey! Don’t let them trade The Dugong, man. He’s been great. Use your powers to make it not so. Also, “The Great & Powerful Beane” should be in caps. Or you could go with “G&PB”, either way s’gotta nice ring to it. Lastly, Cespedes has been pretty good, hasn’t he? I didn’t know what to expect, but the kid’s shown some good stuff for a rook. Maybe those shirtless training montages (STM™: you can use that free in your write ups, if you like) were spot on? Anyhow, good luck to your A’s. Your re-caps are much better when they win. The notes of hope and cautious happiness contained therein is refreshing and cheerful. Hope this continues.

      • APBA Guy - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:45 PM

        Thanks Cur- I’ll keep your advice “in mind”. I try to be cautiously optimistic about the A’s, despite the ownership, the source of all that is evil not just in the world, but in the Universe, known and unknown, 3 dimensional and n dimensional. And no doubt your urging for all thoughts positive and cosmic has more to do with the chance that the A’s could inflict some pain on the Yankees and thus assist the Beaver Men in their holy quest. I accept that as well.

        But if the plucky A’s end up getting slaughtered by the Yanks, don’t be surprised if you read about how the Yankee pitchers changed speeds, kept the ball out of the middle of the plate, and worked Cespedes away with hard breaking stuff. They also might hit a little. None of the A’s starters can really bring it, and their mistakes went unpunished against the feeble Mariners and Twins, except by Willingham. I don’t think they’ll be that lucky against the Yankees.

        Still, pulling for the split against the Rangers and Yanks.

  12. seeinred87 - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Skipping a baseball game for the greatest show in the history of television could not possibly make you a bad baseball fan, Craig.

    • Old Gator - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:41 PM

      Craig skipped a baseball game to watch Yes, Minister?

      • APBA Guy - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:37 PM

        That would be the original ‘Tinker, Tailor” with Alec Guiness.

  13. The Rabbit - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    @APBA Guy-I would have missed a ball game to watch Alec Guiness in the original “Tinker Tailor” too.
    Angels-Yankees: The Chad Qualls Experience (bad name for a jazz band) continues in New York.
    He starts the 8th: Ground out, BB, 1B, WP, 1B (run scores), 2B (run scores). A 6-5 game becomes an 8-5 game and he’s replaced by Boone Logan who ironically allows one of Qualls’ baserunners to score.
    Phillies fans everywhere long for his return. /sarcasm off
    Reds-Cardinals: Joe West was the home plate umpire. This may come as a surprise but there was some disagreement as to a call on a strike that West called a ball. Pitch track showed it was a solid strike. Orel (I think) made the comment that West should be off somewhere writing country western songs about how often he’s wrong.
    I watched Saturday’s Reds/Cards game and in fairness to West, I’ll note that he may not be the worst umpire on that crew. Scary, huh?

    • gloccamorra - Jul 16, 2012 at 7:42 PM

      Yeah, but Qualls is super-effective 4 times out of 5. He does that on the fifth outing to remind you to pour yourself a stiff drink.

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