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And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

Sep 16, 2013, 5:00 AM EDT

Zero Effect

Mets 1, Marlins 0: There were 12 pitchers in this game. Eleven of them didn’t allow any runs, including both starters, Dillon Gee and Tom Koehler. Travis d’Arnaud singled off Zach Phillips in the 12th for the game’s only run. All of those zeroes made me think of one of my favorite movies of all time. Quite possibly my very favorite movie of the 90s. I won’t tell you what it is, but I can give you a hint in figuring it out by offering a few words on looking for things: Remember that when you go looking for something specific, your chances of finding it are very bad. Because of all the things in the world, you’re only looking for one of them. When you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good. Because of all the things in the world, you’re sure to find some of them.

And no, it’s not “Miller’s Crossing.” Which, now that I think of it may be my favorite movie of the 90s. The one I’m thinking of is, like, 1A, though. And should have been a series of movies or TV movies or maybe a TV series because, man, it was so good and if you haven’t seen it quit denying yourself, man.

Padres 4, Braves 0: Burch Smith —  who sounds more like a character from a romance novel than a pitcher — struck out ten and got his first win. I didn’t see the game but I’m imagining Burch Smith looks like this.

Athletics 5, Rangers 1: What a late surge for the A’s. What a late swoon for the Rangers. The A’s sweep, giving them a six and a half game lead in the division, which effectively gives them the division title. Meanwhile the Rangers are now tied with the Rays in the wild card slot meaning that they’re vulnerable of falling out of the playoff picture entirely.

Tigers 3, Royals 2: I was stuck in a hospital emergency room for over five hours yesterday. Don’t ask. Everyone’s OK now and 99% of the time there was just waiting around. The point, though, was that rather than watch any game I wanted, I was forced to watch about five innings of this one on TBS. I rarely watch the TBS broadcast, partially because of my aversion to three-man booths. And with nothing else to focus on, all I could do is pay attention to just how inane 95% of the stuff that John Smoltz and Cal Ripken say really is. This isn’t necessarily their fault. Indeed, I think Smoltz is actually pretty good in the booth when he’s actually analyzing something. The problem is that a three-man booth almost demands “talking to hear ourselves talk” conversation and bigger picture stories rather than actually focusing on the game at hand. There’s rebop about the grass on the field and pressure on guys approaching milestones and overarching narrative about what kind of team each team is (The Royals are like an NL team! The Tigers have a good lineup!) and very little game action is actually described, let alone analyzed. For each time one color analyst says something about the action, the other analyst feels the need to follow on, and frankly, there aren’t two good points to be made about most plays thus we get into blah blah blah land. Funny how the one guy left who works alone — Scully — is the best and the three-man booths are the worst. I think Scully is great, but I don’t think it’s impossible for someone else to be close to his level. Maybe if we let some broadcasters handle booths solo we’d have better broadcasts, hmm?

Anyway, the Tigers won this one. Sorry for the digression.

Nationals 11, Phillies 2: That last recap was long, so we’ll throw this one to Domonic Brown for analysis. Dom: “Excuse my French, but we got our ass whooped.” Yes, he actually said that.

Orioles 3, Blue Jays 1: The Orioles haven’t been firing on all cylinders lately, but they keep pace in the wild card race with a series win. They’re 2.5 back, with Texas, Tampa Bay and Cleveland ahead of them.

Indians 7, White Sox 1: The Tribe is one half game out. Not to toot my own horn, because I got a lot of predictions wrong this year, but one I got right was the Indians challenging for the wild card. And in recent weeks whenever anyone asks me who I like for the wild card, I’ve noted the Indians cupcake late schedule and said I think they still look like one of the wild card teams to me. So, toot toot.

Pirates 3, Cubs 2: Note: when I went to the hospital yesterday I just grabbed the first shirt I could find on the floor in my bedroom, and it happened to be my Pirates shit. Also, because it was sunny and bald men are always aware of the danger of sunburned bald heads, I grabbed for a cap as I left the house and it was my Pirates cap. So I had quite a little Buccos uniform on at the ER. The security guard decided to strike up baseball conversation with me thusly: “you guys have been pretty good, but we’re gonna win it.” He eventually let on he was a Cardinals fan. I thought about telling him that I wasn’t really a Pirates fan, “I just like gear from various teams and I bought this for a Pirates game last month and really I’m a Braves fan you see, and blah, blah, blah” but I figured that’s be too lame and complicated, so I just said “well, I like our chances,” and left it at that. Later I stopped by CVS to get a prescription and a guy in line ahead of me told me that, when he left the house, the Pirates were up 2-0 in this one. Pirates fans crawling out of the woodwork lately.

Twins 6, Rays 4: The Rays blow a chance to bypass the Rangers and give themselves the luxury of having another wild card team blow it before they do. Oh well. Funny how if the season ended today Texas would play Tampa Bay in the on-off, but they are the two teams people probably want to see the least. And are certainly not playing good baseball.

Brewers 6, Reds 5: The Reds had a three-run lead heading into the bottom of the eighth and then, blammo, they lost in a Sean Halton walkoff homer. Strong assist from Carlos Gomez who robbed Jay Bruce of a homer in the ninth. That guy is just a crazy nuts good outfielder. In other news, as the game was slipping away in the late innings Dusty Baker didn’t go to Aroldis Chapman because The Book says you don’t use your closer in non-save situations on the road. So I guess that means this game could never have been saved.

Angels 2, Astros 1: Five of six for the Angels who continue to play great on the road and great late and oh what it could have been if they had played anything other than sucky for most of the season. Meanwhile, the Astros lose their 98th game. Obviously not a great season, but they have 13 games left. If they go 5-8 or better they will improve upon last year’s record. If they go 6-7 or better they will have their best record in three years. Considering they were supposed to crater worse than anything this year I suppose that’d be a victory of sorts, even if three-straight 100-loss season is pretty rare and awful.

Cardinals 12, Mariners 2: Four hits for Yadier Molina who is maybe getting a bit tired of the MVP conversation subtly shifting to Andrew McCutchen. Molina had a homer and three singles and the Cardinals remain tied with Pittsburgh, much to the pleasure of the security guy at the Ohio State University Medical Center Emergency Department.

Giants 4, Dodgers 3: Hunter Pence continues his amazing tear. After driving in seven on Saturday night he hit two homers yesterday as the Giants take three of four from the Dodgers, thereby delaying the latter’s clinchy gratification. Pence, by the way, has homers in four straight games and five of his last six. He’s gonna get a great-for-him long term deal from the Giants this winter, I presume. Less optimistic it’ll be a great-for-the-Giants deal, but it’s not my money.

Diamondbacks 8, Rockies 2: Your future third-place NL MVP guy, Paul Goldschmidt, drives in five. Which isn’t a slight to him. It’s just, sorry dude, you’re not a catcher nor a center fielder. Goldschmidt homered and went 4 for 4.

Red Sox 9 Yankees 2: TMC showed “Vertigo,” “Rear Window” and “To Catch a Thief” back-to-back-to-back, AMC had “Breaking Bad” which was just insane and then there was NFL stuff on NBC, so I imagine this was the least-watched Red Sox-Yankees game in some time. Or, I dunno, maybe there aren’t enough people with the good taste out there to watch some Hitchcock on a Sunday night. Either way: the Red Sox are laying waste to the American League and the Yankees, as valiant as their effort has been down the stretch, just couldn’t overcome all of their injuries and could no longer play above their talent level like they did in the early part of the season and, in many ways, since the trading deadline. Props to them, but they are just out-gunned.

  1. misterj167 - Sep 16, 2013 at 5:11 AM

    Braves are gonna get swept by the Nats. Braves can’t buy a run and have a 4-5 record in their last 9 games against some very bad teams. Not that the Nats will take the division (not with a magic number of 4 with 13 games left), but if they get into the playoffs on this roll, they can go all the way.

    • misterj167 - Sep 16, 2013 at 5:12 AM

      • misterj167 - Sep 16, 2013 at 7:24 PM

        Wow the boobirds are heavy in the air tonight! Obviously I wrote this before all the mishigas happened. Two tomorrow, Ernie!

  2. kiwicricket - Sep 16, 2013 at 5:13 AM

    I am curious to know what exactly you googled in order to find a pic like that…

    Or is that Gleeman’s screen saver?

    • papalurchdxb - Sep 16, 2013 at 6:07 AM

      That Burch Smith image? It’s just weird. Bloggers huh?

    • Jason Lukehart - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:05 AM

      Apparently you’re not familiar with ‘Zero Effect.’ The next two hours of your life that don’t involve baseball should be spent familiarizing yourself.

      • historiophiliac - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:23 AM

        I thumbed you down because it’s getting to be a cinema clique around here…

      • Jason Lukehart - Sep 16, 2013 at 12:06 PM

        Fair enough, historiophilliac, as this is a baseball blog, after all.

        That said, if your biggest problem with the comments section of a blog with as many readers as this one is people discussing movies, you’ve got a much higher tolerance for people’s hatred and idiocy than I do.

      • historiophiliac - Sep 16, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        No, it’s just that I feel left out of the references a lot, and more importantly, there are a number of really great movies I’ve seen that probably most of the people here haven’t but I don’t insist that your next two available hours be spent on it. That said, if I thought you dropped racist/sexist/offensive BS, I would be screaming at you instead of rationally explaining why I gave you a down thumb. I’m just discoursing. Kirk out.

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 16, 2013 at 2:28 PM

        Don’t sweat it Jason. I watch ZERO movies and (as a result) don’t get any of the references either. I just skip through those posts until I reach one in which I want to comment.

  3. kiwicricket - Sep 16, 2013 at 5:22 AM

    This is just my opinion, but I really do believe Dale Sveum would make a world class Ziggy Stardust impersonator.

    Come to think of it, the way his star SS plays twice a week, I can totally see him heading back to his room late at night, donning a wig, popping a couple uppers and start singing about spiders from Mars and wanting to leave his capsule.

  4. sdelmonte - Sep 16, 2013 at 5:43 AM

    Not a big fan of Miller’s Crossing – the one early Coen Bros film I don’t love – but I have a family connection to it. The rabbi who officiates the funeral at the end is played by my wife’s grandfather. He got the part because he looked like a rabbi, something you won’t find often in New Orleans. The funny part is that he grew up in New Orleans, and even though he was the sons of immigrants, he sounded like a native of the city. So they overdubbed his voice with someone more European.

    • nolanwiffle - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:37 AM

      What’s the rumpus?

      That’s actually one of my favorite Coen Brothers movies. Great dialogue.

  5. dondada10 - Sep 16, 2013 at 6:41 AM

    Zero Effect?

    • bfunk1978 - Sep 16, 2013 at 8:36 AM

      Not sure why you’re being minused, because I think you’re right.

      • voteforno6 - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:00 AM

        It is Zero Effect. And it is a fantastic movie. I could easily see it making a pretty good TV show, too.

      • umrguy42 - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:03 AM

        The thumbs down fairy is out in force this morning.

      • Old Gator - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:19 AM

        awww, he was probably just awake all night with fits of galloping diarrhea.

      • Old Gator - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:23 AM

        Awwww….

        Typo. I no longer beg for an edit function. NBC is about as fan friendly as the Feesh.

    • beearl - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:30 AM

      There was an attempt to make Zero Effect into a TV series in 2002. With Alan Cumming replacing Bill Pullman as Daryl Zero. A pilot was shot an aired, but it wasn’t picked up. Never saw it. But the original film is fantastic.

      • forsch31 - Sep 16, 2013 at 12:57 PM

        The pilot is floating around on the Internet. It’s…okay. Cumming doesn’t do anywhere as near a nuianced job as Pullman did. But if you loved the movie, it’s still worth seeing.

        And I do love that movie. “People know they’re being followed when they turn around and see someone following them. They can’t tell they’re being followed if you get there first.”

      • bfunk1978 - Sep 16, 2013 at 1:42 PM

        Somebody really hates this movie today. lol

  6. proudlycanadian - Sep 16, 2013 at 6:45 AM

    AL Wild Card Race: Texas 81- 67 (What is going on?) Tampa Bay 81-67 (Bullpen woes) Cleveland 81-68 (Easy Schedule) Baltimore 79-70 (Still a chance) NY 79-71 (Out of gas due to age and injuries) Kansas City 78-71 (Wait to next year?) A multiple team tie is still possible.

  7. brockw82 - Sep 16, 2013 at 7:34 AM

    Gotta love that Pirates “shit”

  8. paperlions - Sep 16, 2013 at 7:34 AM

    So….you are saying because Burch Smith is a rookie his team mates made him wear pink women’s underwear? He’s not on a mature team like the Braves that have earned the right to lecture players on other teams about how to play the game by attempting to demeaning their own team mates. Apparently, until you force rookies on your team to wear women’s clothes, you aren’t allowed to admire your HRs.

    • proudlycanadian - Sep 16, 2013 at 7:48 AM

      The thumbs down fairy is back.

    • bravojawja - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:10 AM

      Why are you assuming Burch is the woman on that book cover?

  9. joshftw - Sep 16, 2013 at 7:37 AM

    For a Yankee fan, I’m pretty sure this week’s Breaking Bad was less emotionally scarring than this weekend’s series.

  10. skeleteeth - Sep 16, 2013 at 7:52 AM

    Oh come on. A 3 game sweep isn’t that bad when you actually look at that Yankees team. When I want to feel shitty, all I have to do is think about that August 2006 series where the Sox were back 2.5 games and lost 5 straight, at home, to the Yanks. Now that was demoralizing.

    • skeleteeth - Sep 16, 2013 at 7:54 AM

      @joshftw…

      Stupid fucking site.

      • historiophiliac - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:52 AM

        Do you kiss your mother with those skeleteeth?

    • bruininnh1984 - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:57 AM

      with you there, that was hard to take, and really a microcosm of their entire season that year…

  11. janessa31888 - Sep 16, 2013 at 7:55 AM

    Most fans in Cleveland are wailing and gnashing their teeth because of the Browns, but those of us who enjoy baseball are enjoying this run by the Tribe. Sure, they have their issues, they are a whole lot more fun to watch than the clowns. Go TRIBE!!!!

  12. stex52 - Sep 16, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    Let’s dispense with the “Moral victory” crap, huh? Astros – 100 losses or more three years in a row. ( (Unless they can go 12-1). Historically bad. Just couldn’t manage to be Mets 1962 bad. Thank God for little favors. Some of the highly touted prospects are supposed to start hitting next year. Maybe we can at least get the losses back into the ’90’s.

  13. bfunk1978 - Sep 16, 2013 at 8:33 AM

    There was a Cardinals/Mets game in New York where Dan McLaughlin was supposed to work the game with Rick Horton on Fox Sports Midwest. Something happened and Horton had a family emergency, and because McLaughlin’s other partner Al Hrabosky was filling in for Mike Shannon on the radio, McLaughlin did the game alone. Maybe it’s just the fact that Horton and Hrabosky are both so terrible, or maybe it’s just that Dan is pretty good (or maybe both) but that was the most fun I’ve had watching a game on TV in a long time.

    • spudchukar - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:27 AM

      Know what would be better than only one Cards announcer in the booth. No Cards announcers in the booth.

      • paperlions - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:39 AM

        Agreed. Every guy they have right now is somewhere between bad and terrible….though, likely for nostalgic reasons, I still enjoy listening to Shannon. He isn’t particularly insightful, but that is actually a plus because the things masquarading as “insights” provided by the other announcers are misinformation and just downright hogwash most of the time. Stations really need a “ambient noise only” option option rather than just drivel and mute.

  14. jwbiii - Sep 16, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    Updated playoff percentages:

    Team     FG   B-Pro
    TBR*   61.8    71.1
    Tex*   59.3    60.2
    Cle    58.4    54.4
    NYY     9.2     4.5
    Bal     5.1     5.6
    KCR     6.1     4.3
    
    WsN     2.5     3.1

    Things tighten up in the AL. The Rays beat the Twins 2-1, the Indians sweep the White Sox (and finish their season series 15-2), the A’s sweep the Rangers, the Tigers beat the Royals 2-1, the Orioles beat the Blue Jays 2-1 (ending the Jays run of winning three straight series against contenders), and the Nationals beat the Phillies 2-1.

    The Rays host the Rangers, the Indians visit the Royals for 3, the Yankees travel to Toronto, the Orioles move on to Boston, and the Nationals continue their homestand against the Braves. Of the seven contenders, four are playing each other and two are playing their division leaders.

    Elimination news: The Blue Jays have their tragic number reduced to one.

    Editorial note: Fan Graphs is now massaging Cool Standings’ projections. I’m going with Fan Graphs because it’s more readable.

    *Holds wild card berth

    • spudchukar - Sep 16, 2013 at 11:50 AM

      Looking real tough for the Reds and the Division Crown. With only 12 games left they sit 4 out on the loss side to both the Pirates and Cards. Even if they win both series against the Pirates that gives them 6 losses. Assuming they lose 1 more game in the other 6 the Cards would only have to go 6-6 to edge them out, assuming the Pirates also lose 2 other games.

      And the Best Record in the League is very much in play. The Braves lead with 60 losses, and the Buccos and Cards each have 62. The Dodgers have stumbled to 63 defeats. The schedule still favors the Braves slightly, but the Cards is relatively similar with both teams having a 3 game tilt against the Nats. The Bums also have it tougher than either Atlanta or St. Louis, and Pittsburgh still the toughest with those 6 games against Cincinnati.

  15. bravojawja - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    Wait – the Braves couldn’t hit a pitcher they’ve never seen before? You’ve got to be kidding me.

  16. cohnjusack - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    Yadier Molina who is maybe getting a bit tired of the MVP conversation subtly shifting to Andrew McCutchen.

    “Well, at least Yadi was in the conversation” says the NL’s runs/hits/doubles leaders, runner up in WAR for position players and earner of many grit points by converting to 2nd base.

    Yes, Andrew McCutchen is certainly the MVP at this point, but it’s been surprising just how little attention Matt Carpenter has gotten in that regard this season.

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:13 AM

      Please advise as to why you feel Andrew McCutchen is “certainly” the MVP at this point.

    • historiophiliac - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:18 AM

      I’m going to resist the urge to again this year point out that a) the MVP award is not for best player, but for most valuable; and b) it’s a freaking SUBJECTIVE award that the wonks up in here cannot seem to stop insisting must be objectively assessed — because I realize now that pointing this out is futile and there will be foaming at the mouth anyway. Have a nice day.

      • indaburg - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:44 AM

        Trout was better than Cabrera last year, Tigers homer, okay? :-)

      • historiophiliac - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:45 AM

        See, I don’t even care.

      • indaburg - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:46 AM

        Awwwwe, you’re no fun.

      • historiophiliac - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:51 AM

        I know. That’s why I just skipped all those posts last year (after I realized pointing out the obvious was a waste of breath). I left y’all to do your thing. Anyway, it’s more fun to just goad paper, et al by dropping some “MVP Miggy” comments since he won and I know it drives you/them crazy. he he

      • indaburg - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:53 AM

        We know The Truth.

      • historiophiliac - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:55 AM

        Lima beans are devil pellets?

      • nbjays - Sep 16, 2013 at 11:28 AM

        No, bread pudding is…

      • historiophiliac - Sep 16, 2013 at 11:44 AM

        Booo!!!!!

        /squirts with ketchup

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 16, 2013 at 11:34 AM

        I couldn’t agree more Philiac. Which is why I don’t feel McCutchen is “certainly” the National League MVP at this point. It could go either way. I am not “certain” of either.

  17. hcf95688 - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    As an A’s fan I am rather uncomfortable with all this “effectively gives them the division title” talk. They will effectively have the division title when they have the division title.

  18. lewp - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    I have no explanation for my Rangers. The same thing this year? What is going on?

    • lewp - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    • historiophiliac - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      Karma

  19. RickyB - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    Much like bullpens, broadcast booths are reigned by specialization. You won’t find many broadcasters nowadays that are comfortable carrying a broadcast by themselves, which is a shame.

  20. bravojawja - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    There was a Yanks/Sox game on last night? My wife and I were flipping between X-Men: First Class and X2 and didn’t notice.

  21. yankeesfanlen - Sep 16, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    You tuned in late, Craig. “The Man Who Knew Too Much” was on at 3:30. Plus, “Lifeboat” the night before.
    Let’s see what the Universe has left over from 2012- Ichiro, Cano, and pitchers who are all worse than last year.
    And we want to be in a wild card race.

    • proudlycanadian - Sep 16, 2013 at 11:16 AM

      You left A-Rod alone!

  22. APBA Guy - Sep 16, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    Lots of post-mortems for the Rangers, including a lot of Wash bashing. But I’ll say it again: the WS Ranger’s team has lost Hamilton, Napoli, Young, and Cruz (suspended), plus Feliz, Harrison, Lewis and CJ Wilson. The only replacement at that talent and performance level has been Darvish for Wilson. That means none of the offense has been replaced, and Garza has been less effective than the pitchers he was brought in to replace. In short, while this remains a good team, it is less talented than the WS versions that Rangers fans have seen recently, and for some reason they are blaming Wash for that.

    Milone started yesterday in place of Parker, who was allegedly ill, but is penciled in today to face the suddenly hot Angels (7-3 over their last 10, now only 5 below .500). When you throw 86 mph like Milone, you nibble a lot, and against a team going well, that’s a bad thing automatically. But the Rangers aren’t going well so they left 10 guys on base.

    The A’s on the other hand hit 3 HR’s again. Mostly on mistakes. When Perez missed, he missed over the plate. When Milone missed, he missed out of the zone. He A’s won’t hit as many HR’s as they hit last season (they’d need to average 2.2 per game for the rest of the season: do-able, but unlikely) but they’ll be close, and they get power from every slot in the order. It’s the principal reason Callaspo starts in place of Sogard.

    A 6.5 game lead with 13 to play. The A’s aren’t over the finish line and definitely don’t want to let up, but Melvin’s smile post-game said everything his cliched responses did not: it’s there for the beloved A’s. Let’s go Oakland!

  23. padraighansen - Sep 16, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Zero Effect is a great flick

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