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And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

Apr 9, 2013, 6:19 AM EDT

Justin Upton

Braves 2, Marlins 0: Justin Upton went 4 for 4 including another homer. At this point it’s getting so ridiculous that I feel like any more grit/lazy jokes are just gratuitous and cruel to Diamondbacks fans who may soon begin wondering why, again, it was so necessary to trade a stud slugger, still only 25, and signed to a team-friendly contract. In other news, announced attendance for the Marlins’ home opener was 34,439. Many were disguised as empty seats. Many other were there because Marlins tickets are going for roughly the price of a Zimbabwean dollar in late 2009.

Rangers 5, Rays 4: The last strike of the game from Joe Nathan should have been ball four to Ben Zobrist, which would have put the tying run on second with Evan Longoria up at the plate. But it … wasn’t. Even if we do get replay and robot umps and everything else sometime soon, I’m guessing balls and strikes won’t be part of that for decades if ever, so there’s no sense screaming for robot umps. But boy howdy, Marty Foster made a lousy call on that one.

Reds 13, Cardinals 4: Tied in the ninth and then the Reds blitz the redbirds for nine runs. Gonna go out on a limb and say that Mitchell Boggs didn’t exactly solidify his role with this outing. Some of The Best Fans in Baseball didn’t much care for it either.

Brewers 7, Cubs 4: The wind was blowing out at about a gajillion miles per hour, but only one homer was hit all game and that came from the losing team. Beyond that Wellington Castillo shot, Marco Estrada kept the ball down and pitched seven effective innings. Edwin Jackson surrendered a four-spot in the first and after that it wasn’t too entertaining.  Norichika Aoki had four hits — dude is on fire right now — and Ryan Braun returned to the lineup and went 3 for 4 with two doubles.

Royals 3, Twins 1: Ervin Santana pitched eight strong, striking out seven, walking only one and scattering singles. Kevin Correia pitched seven great innings but, unfortunately, was sent out for the eighth.

Yankees 11, Indians 6: Travis Hafner made a triumphant return to Cleveland and Robinson Cano launched two homers, doubled walked and scored four runs. Nice way to shake off a season-opening slump.

Red Sox 3, Orioles 1: Clay Buchholz gives the Sox another great start and Daniel Nava builds his legend. And while the storylines have been nice, it’s been the pitching and defense getting it done.

Mets 7, Phillies 2: There’s no escaping it: the Phillies are in full-blown Roy Halladay crisis mode now, as he was roughed up again (4 IP, 6 H, 7 ER).  Matt Harvey, meanwhile, was dominant once again (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 9K). You gotta wonder if the Phils are gonna consider shutting Doc down.

Giants 4, Rockies 2: The Giants’ seventh straight win against the Rockies, helped by a Hunter Pence three-run bomb. This was the Giants first home game without some sort of pregame awards ceremony or celebration. ‘Spose we can get on with 2013 now?

Pirates 5, Diamondbacks 3: Pittsburgh ends its losing streak at five. Two RBI each for Andrew McCutchen and Travis Snider. The Cubs, Pirates and Brewers are all deadlocked at 2-5 in the race for the NL Central cellar. Exciting!

Mariners 3, Astros 0: It’s almost like all of those spring training home runs the Astros hit weren’t indicative of the team’s overall quality. Joe Saunders and three relievers combined for a seven-hit shutout.

  1. dondada10 - Apr 9, 2013 at 6:29 AM

    The best thing about Matt Harvey’s start yesterday was that he clearly “didn’t have it.” He piece his way through some innings and still struck out 9 over 7, giving up 3 hits and 2 walks.

  2. mj1818 - Apr 9, 2013 at 6:34 AM

    Pittsburgh might be just trying to do things on reverse this year and have a strong second half. I believe!

    • dan1111 - Apr 9, 2013 at 6:56 AM

      So they’re going to fade into first place? Ingenious!

    • kiwicricket - Apr 9, 2013 at 7:22 AM

      I am pretty sure at some point over the past 20yrs, a smart-assed intern may of suggested doing the complete opposite whilst in front office meetings.

  3. Walk - Apr 9, 2013 at 6:49 AM

    I watched the whole braves marlins game, but somehow I did not even realize the marlins only had two hits until the end.

    • Old Gator - Apr 9, 2013 at 8:31 AM

      Odd. I didn’t realize they had that many.

  4. janessa31888 - Apr 9, 2013 at 7:10 AM

    I cant wait till Ubaldo Jimenez leaves baseball for good. He is a hopeless headcase and ruined our home opener. Is there anybody who could help him? I should have known better than to get excited after his one decent start. Why couldn’t Travis Hafner get in shape while he was an Indian? Really discouraging day.

    • hittfamily - Apr 9, 2013 at 7:13 AM

      At least your river isn’t on fire anymore.

      • janessa31888 - Apr 9, 2013 at 7:42 AM

        Thanks. You’re so comforting. LOL

    • unclemosesgreen - Apr 9, 2013 at 9:11 AM

      I really hate when people pin the “headcase” label on guys who don’t deserve it at all. His mechanics are screwed up and his velocity is down. That bothers him because he used to have dominant stuff and now he doesn’t. Cleveland has had some real headcases through the years, and this guy ain’t one of ‘em. Brett Myers got arrested for punching his wife outside Fenway Park. Is he a headcase?

      So is Doc Halladay a headcase too? Because that’s what he’s going through – lower velocity and getting hit hard.

    • jwbiii - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:17 AM

      Cleveland grocery stores need to stock goat meat.

      http://www.denverpost.com/food/ci_15009665

  5. brewcrewfan54 - Apr 9, 2013 at 7:11 AM

    Man, Brewers, Pirates and Cubs are all 3 games back with with 155 to play. Not sure how they’re going to get out of that hole with such little time left.

  6. hittfamily - Apr 9, 2013 at 7:11 AM

    Us Rays fans are getting a little sick of umpires determining outcomes. First Longoria phantom passes Zobrist on the base paths, then Zobrist gets called out on balls. Maddon needs to get run before the game even starts tommorrow, because this is getting ridiculous.

    That was shockingly bad. Nathan mouths “Wow” after the call. The Rangers announcers say “ball 4 outside….no. strike 3″. The crowd collectively groans after the pitch, only to erupt in jubilation. Pierzenski doesn’t even attempt to frame it. There was 1 person who saw that play and thought, strike, and he is the only one that matters. He should lose his job for that incompetent disaster of a call.

    • jarathen - Apr 9, 2013 at 9:48 AM

      The Rays have the best pitch-framing catcher in all of baseball and they’re sick of umpires determining outcomes?

      • stex52 - Apr 9, 2013 at 9:52 AM

        Doesn’t justify a call that bad.

  7. proudlycanadian - Apr 9, 2013 at 7:12 AM

    Are the Yankees still doomed?

    • thinman61 - Apr 9, 2013 at 10:04 AM

      Yes

  8. kiwicricket - Apr 9, 2013 at 7:13 AM

    I am almost alright with the Astros moving leagues and ‘designated-hitter-ball’. It saves us from ever stumbling across the foul odor that would be Marlins-Astros game.

    • Francisco (FC) - Apr 9, 2013 at 9:35 AM

      There’s still the possibility of Inter-League (next year I guess). If the Mariners can travel west coast to east coast to face a few teams, no reason the stros can’t go to Miami and vice-versa.

    • natslady - Apr 9, 2013 at 9:41 AM

      Saw this on Twitter. Rick Ankiel making his “veteran presence” felt.

      @DCameronFG: Rick Ankiel’s 14 plate appearances this year, in order. HR, K, K, K, line out, K, K, K, K, K, K, K, K, K.

      • stex52 - Apr 9, 2013 at 9:49 AM

        Sorry, but I’m not allowed to be honest about the Astros. I’ve been branded a traitor by the local fanboys.

        Boy, that Ankiel! he brings a lot of leadership to the clubhouse!

        How’s that?

      • natslady - Apr 9, 2013 at 10:27 AM

        LOL, stex. Report the facts, get the down thumbs. Works every time.

      • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:26 AM

        Why should anybody worry about what the Astros are doing this year or point out how many times Rick Ankiel has struck out? Everybody with a clue understands Rick Ankiel, much like pretty much everybody else on the current 25-man roster in Houston, is just a warm body filling space until the rebuild is complete. If you’re going to sit around wringing your hands about Ankiel’s leadership in the clubhouse a week into the first season of that rebuild … you’re going to go insane long before this team is competitive again.

      • stex52 - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:56 AM

        Why shouldn’t they care? Are you happy when your team stinks?

      • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Apr 9, 2013 at 12:46 PM

        If the team stinking now is part of a long-term plan to return to relevance, then yes I’d be happy. I might not enjoy watching the current major league club, but I’d be happy with the direction of the team … and Rick Ankiel’s presence and/or his strikeout rate would not concern me because it’s obvious he doesn’t fit into that long-term plan.

    • Old Gator - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      There are no dashes in designatedhitterball. It’s one long montonous word – like the sorry excuse for the game itself.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:23 AM

        Yeah, almost as annoying as that pitcherwannabehitterball. That stuff REALLY stinks!

      • spudchukar - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:39 AM

        It has never annoyed me, perhaps that is where the difference lies, and what a joy it is to watch a good hitting pitcher, or even a poor one produce a timely hit. Now if you are looking for ugly, or maybe comedy is a better term, check out most DH’s run or field when forced to.

      • dondada10 - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:39 AM

        I’m not going to give you a thumbs down, histori. But a lover of the antiquated, such as yourself, should perfer allthebaseballplayersplayingbaseballinallmanners ball.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:44 AM

        Nope. I want to see The Dickslayer throw the ball — not whiff at it.

    • umrguy42 - Apr 9, 2013 at 3:09 PM

      I was sad yesterday when I saw Astros-Mariners go by on the scroll on ESPN with the game time, and had that “oh yeah, it’s not interleague game” realization.

  9. kiwicricket - Apr 9, 2013 at 7:17 AM

    Loria is going to save a small fortune in power only having to operate the Home Run feature at the Marlins park 9 times this season. Crafty bastard.

    • stex52 - Apr 9, 2013 at 9:50 AM

      Kiwi, you are a wicked man.

    • Cris E - Apr 9, 2013 at 10:45 AM

      Once Loria trades Giancarlo Stanton he’ll be able to sell the thing and no one will notice. Double crafty bastard.

      • Old Gator - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:08 AM

        And what will they do with it? Whereas there are doubtless baseball owners who are just as big a bunch of crooks and liars as Scrooge McLoria, it’s hard to imagine that any of them have equally bad taste.

      • Old Gator - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:08 AM

        Leave Tommy alone!

      • Old Gator - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:09 AM

        Ooops…sorry. Forgot myself there for a moment.

  10. therealtrenches - Apr 9, 2013 at 7:37 AM

    My Phillies stink, Craig. And don’t be surprised if the institution-wide denial that has kept this team old and brittle for the better part of two seasons prompts them to continue to trot Doc out there every fifth day a few too many times.

    Doc won’t shut himself down, but I can’t imagine Charlie let-the-players-play Manuel shutting him down in a timely fashion, either.

  11. chill1184 - Apr 9, 2013 at 7:41 AM

    Loved Harvey’s start against the Phillies, not as dominate as the Padres series but good none the less. I also caught the highlights from the Rays-Rangers game and boy did that umpire F up. That last pitch was no way in hell a strike

  12. Old Gator - Apr 9, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    An hour before gametime I drove around Macondo Banana Massacre Field, trying to assess what kind of crowd might be building. Traffic flowed smoothly off the 836 eastbound to southbound Seventeenth Avenue ramp, and thence with nary a tailback or bottleneck beside, behind and around the stadium as well. Not good news for the Feesh factotums.

    Back home a half hour later, watching the pregame desiderata on cable, conspicuous by his absence was Scrooge McLoria himself. This was probably half on the advice of his public relations staff (most of whom we can expect to be fired shortly for having had the temerity to suggest the obvious) and partly out of Scrooge’s justifiable fear of being pissed on from the upper deck. Word had it that he was holed up in a skybox with the frozen bodies of the city council members expelled in last year’s recall election for voting for the stadium ripoff, stacked up in front of the plate glass windows to ward off an attempted drone strike. There was no sign on camera of the Chihuahua either, but that was also just as well. With the stadium grass freshly cut it would have been difficult to hide one of his accidents and even more embarrassing if one of the ballplayers stepped or slipped on it during the game.

    As far as opening days go, this was an improvement over last year. Of course, that’s not saying much. Gone were the tastelessly befeathered Vegas style showgirls, and gone, also, was the gut-wrenching spectacle of the Parkinsons-ridden Muhammad Ali being paraded around the field in his wheelchair like a circus float. Blessedly, plans to drive Ted Williams’ head, frozen in a block of ice, around the stadium in a golf cart were scratched at the last minute when some unknown person cut the power cord to the cart’s battery charger and stole the plug. It’s probably just as well, too. There have been rumors that the head was found floating in the locker room punchbowl originally rented for the post-game celebration that never happened..

    In place of last year’s grotesquerie was a modest ceremony involving Jeff Conine impersonating himself in left field, throwing a ball in to Mike Lowell at third who pegged it to the plate. All of this was apparently supposed to remind us of Meester Feesh’s epic assist against J T Snow to close out the LCS in 2003, and the winning of the Feesh’s second world championship within 20 years nine years ago, soon to be ten years ago, and then….well, you know. It probably helps to remember the glory days instead of dwelling on the dismal current reality.

    The announced attendance was 34,439, which is probably a function of fractal self-similarity considering that Macondo Banana Massacre Field was a depressing vision of a moderate crowd in the lower decks with virtually empty outfield upper decks and mezzanines. Even the better seats around home plate were no more than two thirds full, and you couldn’t warn the cameramen not to pan those. Only the overhead blimp-cams and, when absolutely necessary, the field cams following Justin Upton’s home run or the occasional fly ball to the outfield scanned the fields of dark blue that were the vacant outfield seats. If one paid attention one noted occasional t-shirts bearing the word “Loria” enclosed in a ring with a diagonal slash across it. I really am going to have to hang out near the stadium one of these days and try to score one for myself. I also saw several fans with paper bags over their heads. I have paper bags at home already and can always make myself one.

    The fans who showed up because there’s not much else to do in Macondo on a Monday night if popping beached jellyfish with a pointed stick isn’t your idea of a good time pretty much got what they came expecting: the Feesh, who, as Jimmythemarlinsfan never tires of pointing out, won two World Series within 20 years nine years ago, supplied a good pitching effort by the ill-starred Kevin Slowey, unfortunately for whom they also showcased Scrooge McLoria’s patented New Look No-Run Offense. Unwilling to go quietly, however, the Feesh, who, as Jimmythemarlinsfan never tires of pointing out, won two World Series within 20 years nine years ago, exploded for a single by Placido Polanco in the third inning while Rob Brantley erupted for a base hit in the ninth.

    Fortunately, the Feesh only went 0-for-3 with RISP tonight because that’s all the runner s they had. They’re now batting .170 RSP, clearly intending to carry on the proud tradition they established last season despite the fact that Tweeter hasn’t even come off the DL yet.

    The Feesh are now 1-7, their worst start since the previous time Scrooge McLoria promised that “there will be no dismantling,” in 2006. That projects to a 1-161 record. No team whose ace starter wasn’t named Charley Brown has ever done that.

  13. jm91rs - Apr 9, 2013 at 8:23 AM

    I wish you hadn’t linked that “best fans in baseball” twitter page. Some of the most racist and homophobic crap I’ve ever seen. They don’t deserve to be linked on any page. Crappy representation of an otherwise good fan base.

  14. indaburg - Apr 9, 2013 at 8:35 AM

    I am still furious about the Rays game. The tying run was on base. There were 2 outs. The Rays had already scored a run in the 9th and were staging a comeback. Zobrist, at the plate, was a career 4 for 5 hitter against Nathan. Nathan knows this and gives him nothing good to hit. The blind man calling strikes, of course, felt differently. That final strike call wasn’t the only missed call in that at bat. I am feeling my blood pressure starting to rise again. The string of profanity I unleashed after Zobrist’s final at bat would have made a sailor proud. We’re all fans here. I don’t have to explain to you how awful and unfair it feels when your team gets hosed.

    To his credit, the umpire admitted his mistake but saying I’m sorry doesn’t change a damn thing. Just get it right.

    • unclemosesgreen - Apr 9, 2013 at 9:13 AM

      Yep, that’s upsetting. Can’t argue that. I have a lot of sympathy for the ump, but I’m not a Rays fan so I have to give you that.

    • gerryb323 - Apr 9, 2013 at 9:21 AM

      I think it’s all a conspiracy to get back at Molina for being so good at framing pitches. The umps just figure that since they can’t tell what’s a ball/strike when he’s catching, they’ll just go willy nilly and call everything close a strike for the other team!

    • historiophiliac - Apr 9, 2013 at 9:25 AM

      Don’t worry, be happy. — Armando Galarraga

      • indaburg - Apr 9, 2013 at 9:32 AM

        Galarraga is a better person than I am. :-)

      • historiophiliac - Apr 9, 2013 at 9:35 AM

        Me too. I’m still mad for him.

      • indaburg - Apr 9, 2013 at 1:58 PM

        I just saw Torii hit a double. *wolf whistle* Damn.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 9, 2013 at 2:00 PM

        You’re not helping.

    • cur68 - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:05 AM

      That one was a beauty. I’ve watched enough baseball to see some truly horrific calls, and that one was a ranker for the top 10, Balls & Strikes Edition.

      It was also a study in contrast between catchers. Jose Molina, with his tubby genial persona and quick hands moving everything even nominally close towards the strike zone and AJ Piezin(whatever) with his “too bad for you, Meat: you missed the plate” bad attitude. Peirzy(whatever) didn’t even try to get that last pitch ball anywhere near the strike zone. Its like he caught that thing in disgust with Nathan for missing wide. Peerzni(whatever) actually showed up not only Nathan, but the ump too, by making it crystal clear how much that ball missed by. That the call went Nathan’s way is sheer Act of Dog and no thanks whatsoever to Peirnz(whatever).

      Anyhow, lets JUST not hop up and down in the catcher, here. The ball was about 12 cm off the plate, low and away. No one, not Nathan, not his catcher, not the fans, not the announcers, not anyone watching called that a strike. No one except Mr. McGoo behind the plate.

      Robot Umpires, NOW!

      • indaburg - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:16 AM

        It was closer to 22 cm off the plate. I didn’t think about how A.J. was showing his pitcher up. He caught that ball terribly, and didn’t even try to make it look like a strike. Ugh. Just an ugly way to end the game.

      • goawaydog - Apr 9, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        problem might have been the ump being unawares that balls and strikes are measured by the metric system

  15. Ari Collins - Apr 9, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Really? You’re trotting out the “pitching and defense wins games!!” meme? The Red Sox have been doing it with pitching and defense? Well, I mean, sure, they ARE 2nd in the AL in not allowing runs. But they’re also first in the AL in runs scored. Why say one is a bigger part than the other? If only pitching and defense mattered, the 3rd best pitching staff in the NL would be better than 2-5.

    Truth is, you can be a winning team with great pitching, and you can be a winning team with great hitting. And it takes both to be a championship caliber team. But neither is more important than the other, and one is certainly not 90% of the game, as some would tell you.

  16. The Rabbit - Apr 9, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    Re: Mitchell Boggs
    I overdosed on baseball yesterday. One of the games I watched was Reds/Cards, This is one of those times that the boxscore doesn’t tell the whole story.
    Generally speaking, if you have a line that bad you have to have to suck tremendously. Boggs had a very serious problem with his control, but his stats had a lot of help.
    He gave up 2 hits. On one of those “hits” went all the way to the SS. Kozma had a brain fart, could have tagged the runner and didn’t, couldn’t decide where to throw the ball, and eventually made the wrong decision. It was scored a hit, not a fielder’s choice. Kozma then made an error on the next play. Obviously, Pete Kozma wasn’t having one of his better days, either.
    Boggs is also credited with 4 BB, but 2 were IBB.
    He left with the bases loaded and Scrabble gave up the hit that allowed all of the inherited runners to score. Scrabble then proceeded to give up 2 more runs.
    Yeah, it was a tough loss for the Cards, a good start wasted from Jaime Garcia, and a bad day for Boggs, but I don’t understand the overreaction based on this outing

    • spudchukar - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      Gotta defend Kozma here a little. The described “brain fart” is debatable. Camera angles can be tricky, and the view I saw makes Bruce appear considerably closer to the Cards SS, than he really was, and the run that was scoring was one that was putting Cincy up in the ninth, so his decision making was complex, and undoubtedly aided by being forced to watch pitch after pitch being hurled in no proximity of home plate.

      The next play involving Kozma also has its caveats. He tried to make a do or die play, again aggravated by the situation. Plus, the ball caromed off the outer fingers of his glove, which usually indicates the ball took a funny hop, kinda hard to misjudge a ground ball, particularly one that isn’t struck with side spin. Further review would be helpful.

      But the more egregious defensive plays came at 3B. Freese has to catch, or at least knock down a ball two feet to his right, you cannot whiff on the ball, and Carpenter wasn’t much better as he too “oled” (not sure about the past tense for Ole!) a ball one step to his left, which hasn’t been the norm for him this year as he has played very well defensively, but perhaps the waiting, pitch, after pitch, after pitch, got to him too.

      Overreaction? Maybe, but this episode isn’t new. The imploding Boggs, has been dormant, but yesterday reminds Cards fans, it is ever present, just hiding in the shadows, which usually help pitchers on a late St. Louis afternoon, only not for Mitchell yesterday.

  17. gbrim - Apr 9, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    Craig, whatever it takes for you to refrain from the grit and Upton trade references I am all for. Not because I agree with you, but I am tired of the references. Of course we all know that opening week is the definitive answer for all controversies in baseball. Don’t know why they bother playing the rest of the games…..

  18. spudchukar - Apr 9, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    I may have uncovered the reason for Choo’s awful performance yesterday. Most likely he caught (pretty much the only thing he caught) a bug causing him to become allergic to horse hide. Probably got it from the residue of the parading Clydesdales. Symptoms include uncontrolled sneezing.

    A word to the wise. Upon his next visit to Philadelphia, which will occur sometime this season, be careful what you eat, especially sandwiches that the city of brotherly love is known to champion.

    • Old Gator - Apr 9, 2013 at 3:03 PM

      Gezundtheit!

  19. moogro - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    Don’t say replay. There is no reason to even bring that up. Pitch trackers call balls and strike in real time.

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