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And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

Sep 26, 2013, 7:04 AM EDT

Detroit Tigers v Minnesota Twins Getty Images

Tigers 1, Twins 0: The Tigers finally clinch the AL Central. It was a nail-biter, though, as they scored their lone run in the first inning and then held off the Twins all night long. Best part of their celebration? For the second year in a row Max Scherzer rocked the goggles with two different color lenses.

Indians 7, White Sox 2: The Indians keep their foot on the gas, continuing their season-long abuse of the White Sox. They’ve beat the pale hose 14 straight times. Danny Salazar struck out eight dudes in five and a third innings.

Rays 8, Yankees 3: I’ve often said that you can’t count out the Yankees until they are officially dead. Well, now they are officially dead. Phil Hughes failed to get past the fifth inning once again. That makes 14 times for him this year, which ties the single season record since 1969. He’s gone after this year. He needs to retreat to some home for shell-shocked pitchers on the west coast. Like maybe Seattle or San Diego.

Rangers 7, Astros 3: The Rangers are still alive, still one back of Cleveland. The competition now gets considerably tougher, however, as they go from hosting the hapless Astros to the far more hapful Angels.

Brewers 4, Braves 0: I held forth on Twitter about this last night. My view: Carlo Gomez’s home run trot was pretty punky and low rent, but Brian McCann literally blocking the basepaths and preventing Gomez from crossing the plate was just dumb. This is the second or third time this year the Braves and McCann have taken it upon themselves to be the baseball decorum police, and it’s La Russian in its silliness. You know how you deal with a dumb showboat? Ignore him. Point and laugh. Have the scoreboard operator put up the NL standings with the Brewers’ place in them bolded. Spare me the macho You Have To Play The Game The Right Way business and lead by example. For what it’s worth, Gomez apologized after the game. Perhaps I missed it, but I didn’t see McCann apologize for instigating a benches-clearing situation which could have gotten someone hurt.

Cubs 4, Pirates 2: The Pirates are now three behind St. Louis with three games to go, so this is pretty much all about the wild card now.

Cardinals 4, Nationals 1: The sweep. Youth served the Cardinals, as youngsters Shelby MillerSeth ManessKevin SiegristCarlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal combined for the one-run performance.

Mets 1, Reds 0: Daisuke Matsuzaka made ‘em look pretty weak, and the Reds dropped two of three to the Mets and now have to sweep Pittsburgh this weekend to host the wild card game at Great American Ballpark.

Angels 3, Athletics 1: Jered Weaver pitched seven innings of five-hit ball and Josh Hamilton drove in two. If only this sort of combo happened far more between April and August. Alas. The Angels have taken four of six from the A’s in the past week or two and now face the Rangers whose season they can spoil. Probably worth keeping an eye on these guys next year. Just too much talent to continue to suck like they have.

Red Sox 15, Rockies 5: Todd Helton got a horse, a homer and a double in his final home game for the Rockies, but he also got a pretty darn decisive loss. Will Middlebrooks had two homers — a grand slam and a three-run shut — to give him seven RBI.

Marlins 3, Phillies 2: Adeiny Hechavarria drove in three runs, including the go-ahead run in the eighth.

Orioles 9, Blue Jays 5: Four homers for the O’s as they continue to play out the string with Adam JonesBrian Roberts and Matt Wieters on the bench. This win finally assured them of a .500+ record.

Padres 12, Diamondbacks 2 : Twelve runs for the Padres? Wow. After the game Jedd Gyorko said “It’s been awhile since we had a game like that.” Heck, there are stretches of five or six games combined where they haven’t had a performance like that.

Mariners 6, Royals 0: The Royals bow out of the playoff race. On the one hand, if you told me before the season that Kansas City would be in it until just before the last weekend of the year I’d say that they had an amazing, expectation-exceeding season. On the other hand, having watched them more closely this year than we normally have watched them, it’s hard to escape the feeling that what ultimately did them in was too many stretches on not playing up to potential. Obviously this was still a successful season. But such a weird team. One that can look so good in some stretches and look so bad in others.

Giants 6, Dodgers 4: Likely Barry Zito‘s last win for the Giants. Seven years in Oakland, seven years in San Francisco. Nice bookends I suppose, with a lot of overpaid performance in the middle, but such is life. He left the game between innings so he didn’t get a standing ovation. One wonders what the San Francisco fans would have done if he had been pulled mid-inning. What is the proper response to someone who was around for so much success but, really, didn’t contribute too terribly much to it?

  1. lewp - Sep 26, 2013 at 7:14 AM

    “Probably worth keeping an eye on these guys next year. Just too much talent to continue to suck like they have.” They sad the same thing last year about the Halos. They always choke.

    • jarathen - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:08 AM

      I don’t see how the Angels “choked.” Preseason hype does not mandate that a poor season is defined as choking. The Angels have problems with minor league depth and never should have signed Home Run Derby Enthusiast Joe Blanton, but let’s reflect on the avalanche of crucial injuries the team weathered. The Angels lost Jered Weaver and Joe Vargas to injuries for stretches of the season, neither of which actually involved throwin the ball (Weaver fell funny on his non-throwing arm and Joe Vargas had a blood clot). They lost Peter Bourjos and he never really came back. Albert Pujols had a nagging injury literally all season long. Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar, both healthy stalwarts most of the time, were both injured at some point.

      A truly great baseball team is able to absorb the hits and bridge the gaps that injuries cause, and by that test Angels certainly aren’t great (this is something Oakland does very well). But there is talent there, and if they can avoid extended DL trips to 40% of their rotation and 44% of their starting lineup, it’s possible they play better next season, especially if they shore up the starting rotation. They have a few trade chips they could turn into pitching, and if they’re serious about Masahiro Tanaka, they could come roaring back next season. And with two aging, big-money sluggers on the squad, the Angels are better off trying to reload now than build for a future in which Pujols isn’t even a shadow of his former self.

      • MLBlogsbig3bosox - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:14 AM

        Why are you calling Jason Vargas Joe?

      • jarathen - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:20 AM

        My mistake. Better make sure we all take note of it for posterity.

      • APBA Guy - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:19 PM

        A lot depends on some adjustment in the owner’s influence on baseball decisions. It’s pretty clear that Arte mandated the Pujols and Hamilton deals. On one level that makes sense: the Angels passed 3 million in attendance for the 11th year in a row (I’m green and gold with envy).

        But $ 50M a year to the production of Hamilton and Pujols is a big reason why there isn’t the depth to bridge the injuries to starting players. And as those players age, injuries are more frequent and of longer duration.

        The Angels are playing very solid ball right now. If they win out in Texas they can have a winning season. Amazing.

    • moogro - Sep 26, 2013 at 1:25 PM

      Angels are still, and will forever be cursed by the moronic name foisted upon them by the marketing department.

  2. proudlycanadian - Sep 26, 2013 at 7:33 AM

    I fully expect a kinder gentler more humble Yankee team next season.

    • dcarroll73 - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:06 AM

      hey proudly, is your sarcasm font acting up again? I expect a lower payroll Yanks, low enough to stop giving that extra windfall to owners who pocket the cash. If this is enough to force them to say goodbye to Cano, then so be it. I would love to see him stay, but all talk has had it that he will want a longer contract than is sensible given the history of secondbasemen at the age he will be. Perhaps the lower payroll will result in your “humble” Yanks (it will be hard to have that old bravado when you are sort of taking another year off.) For all the naysayers, come back and give us Yankee fans lip after the next time your team has had just about their entire starting team on the DL and still was in the hunt until the final week (when it happens, it will be the first time for you.)

      • proudlycanadian - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:22 AM

        I do remember years when the Yankees were not very good. To get over that fallow period, they had to rebuild the farm system and promote players from within. Once Jeter, Williams, Posada, Rivera and Pettitte arrived in the majors, the Yankees once again became formidable. Recently, most of their highly touted prospects have been busts. For players such as Cano and Robertson there have been Joba, Hughes, Kennedy, the 3 B’s, Montero and Tabata. Going forward, the Yankees need to do a better job building the farm system as fewer quality players are becoming free agents. Most of the really good players never see free agency until the are in their 30’s and are on the downside of their career.

    • nbjays - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:51 AM

      But will we see kinder, gentler, more humble Yankee fans?

      Doubtful.

    • indaburg - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:11 AM

      Humble Yankee is an oxymoron, no?

      I always thought I was a basically good person but the pleasure I took in my team eliminating the Empire–I am a bad, bad woman. It’s wrong to feel this happy over the demise of another. Or maybe that’s the lapsed Catholic in me talking. Speaking of Catholicism, DeJesus! I’m looking at the numbers and so far, his WAR with the Rays is only 0.5 (nice .OPS+ of 126) but WAR doesn’t quantify awesomeness. The je ne sais quoi of someone you can tell is just really happy to be there. As much as the stats and numbers are fun to calculate, the kid in me loves players like DeJesus.

      • proudlycanadian - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:14 AM

        You have every reason to be happy; however, the Rays are still not in the playoffs yet. 4 more games to play.

      • indaburg - Sep 26, 2013 at 3:15 PM

        My happiness only has to do with the Empire being crushed in 2013. I am not confident of the Rays in the post-season. No, sir. This team is streakier than a nudist.

      • proudlycanadian - Sep 26, 2013 at 3:36 PM

        LOL! I can’t top that comment. By the way, the Jays are rather beaten up (injuries to several position players) right now, so the weekend games should favor the Rays. Several Jays are also new parents. Foe example, Loup has not pitched well since he became a dad.

      • indaburg - Sep 26, 2013 at 3:58 PM

        The poor man isn’t getting any sleep. I feel his pain. My little one was up three times last night. Oy.

      • cur68 - Sep 26, 2013 at 11:13 AM

        Praise DeJesus!

        Oh, and PC’s right: 4 to go. Three of those games vs…My Boys….this has to be the worst case of conflicted rooting interests I’ve ever had.

        …um…go rays?

      • indaburg - Sep 26, 2013 at 3:15 PM

        There’s no conflict if you know what’s good for ya, eh?

      • stex52 - Sep 26, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        Easy call, Cur. Jays are toast. Root for the team you have a vested interest in that can still play October ball.

        Helps keep you-know-who happy, too.

      • nbjays - Sep 26, 2013 at 3:32 PM

        Stex, you realize that the Jays have always had problems beating the Rays (at least at the Trop). Combine this with my desire to see the floating shark carpets in the postseason, even at the expense of my beloved Jays, and this is a sure fire recipe for a Jays sweep. Such are the whims of the capricious baseball gods.

        Thus, I shall root for my Jays this weekend. Just don’t blame me if the worst happens to the Rays.

  3. jm91rs - Sep 26, 2013 at 7:37 AM

    If I’m not mistaken the reds just need 2 of 3 this weekend. They are one game back of the pirates and right now the season series between the 2 teams is all tied up (I think). Taking 2 of 3 gives them a tie on the season record and the head to head tie breaker.

  4. janessa31888 - Sep 26, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    If we had only been able to beat the Tigers……. Sigh. Well, at least we’re still in this thing. The last few years have been downright awful for Tribe fans. Tito and company have breathed new life into the Indians. Last year they were a bunch of zombies going through the motions. This year, there is an energy in this team that is great to watch.

  5. aceshigh11 - Sep 26, 2013 at 7:56 AM

    “…a grand slam and a three-run shot — to give him seven RBI…”

    Whoa…those are some serious math skills there, Craig. ;)

    • proudlycanadian - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:06 AM

      I am not complaining. My fantasy team needed that production from Middlebrooks. For the same reason, I will also be cheering for Buchholz in his last start of the season Hope he has lots of sunscreen available.

    • dcarroll73 - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:11 AM

      It is the most emphatic way to rack up 7 RBIs. I would call it almost “Bondsian”.

  6. sc101071 - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:08 AM

    Brian McCann was just acting the team leader on the last home stand of his 8 yr career on a team struggling to get going before the playoffs. The player quotes show the team loved the move. A blogger may not like making the stand but obviously you’ve not speaking for MLB players.

    • goskinsvt - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:13 AM

      The Braves having ANYTHING to do with decorum policing is ludicrous given their (and their fans) actions over the past couple of years. Just a bunch of clowns.

    • dcarroll73 - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:14 AM

      This says all too much about today’s MLB players (and Craig clearly wins this “class war.”)

  7. historiophiliac - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:09 AM

    His Heterochromianess, y’all! #21 for the division title! Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeess!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    *ahem*

    My heterochromial celebration goggles are ready for the post-season. Eat ‘em up, Tigers!

  8. Jason Lukehart - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    The Indians 14-game winning streak AND 17 wins overall this season against the White Sox are both records in the 20-year history of the AL Central.

    • proudlycanadian - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:26 AM

      It has certainly been a rough season for the White Sox. They may have to take a page out of the Houston playbook.

      • jarathen - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:56 AM

        Rebuilding around Chris Sale sounds like a good idea to me.

      • proudlycanadian - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:04 AM

        Either that, or trade him for a boatload of decent prospects.

      • jarathen - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:09 AM

        I thought that at first but he’s only 24. Unless the Sox are really concerned about his health (a very real possibility), he’s probably young enough to be effective even after several years of getting pieces in place.

        But who knows what someone might part with to get a pitcher with that kind of stuff?

      • stex52 - Sep 26, 2013 at 1:04 PM

        That’s the model if you want to follow the Houston playbook. (I’m not sure I recommend going full monty on that, but that’s the Sox’s decision). Burn down the barn and build new. Sale will get you a boatload of new, younger potential.

        But be prepared for a lot of misery on the field.

      • proudlycanadian - Sep 26, 2013 at 1:27 PM

        Not sure about the full monty, as they still have some decent players, but they are unlikely to resign Konerko. They got rid of Rios and Dunn is talking about retirement. They will get a very high draft pick next season who will unlikely be able to contribute for a few years. Can’t see them adding high priced free agents who are in their 30’s.

  9. yankeefanincolo - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    Phil Hughes finished the year 4 and 14… if he had simply been a .500 pitcher and gone 9 and 9, the Yanks would have a wild card spot. And yet Girardi kept running him out there time and again to get spanked. Wasn’t there somebody at AAA that could have done better than Hughes? If not, their farm system is in worse shape than I thought. Girardi for manager of the year? Not in my book! I’m just happy I won’t have to see Hughes in pinstripes ever again. In fact, just let him leave now, don’t even stick around for the last 4 games… Phil, just go away!!!

    • randomdigits - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:23 PM

      Because pitcher won/lost record means something?

      • yankeefanincolo - Sep 26, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        Yes, believe it or not, wins and losses do mean something. If he had pitched well enough for them to be competitive in half of his starts they would still be playing after the season. Sure, there’s a lot more involved than just wins and losses, but Hughes was usually bombed early and dug such a deep hole they couldn’t come back. It’s not a coincidence he lost 14 games, he stinks! Of course if C.C. had been more his past self they would at least be still playing meaningful games.

    • nbjays - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:57 PM

      In Phil Hughes’ defence — a phrase I never thought I’d utter — the Yankees’ offense sucked in a whole lot more games this year than Hughes did.

  10. randomdigits - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    So Schoop hitting a home run in his MLB debut (as well as scoring three runs) isn’t worth mentioning?

  11. sdemp - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    Gomez might have went overboard. . . might have, but what other way does a “hitter” have to get back at a pitcher that has obviously hit him TWICE on purpose in the past?

    The only thing I see wrong with what he did was not blowup McCann as he blocked the plate. . . that would have been awesome.

  12. jwbiii - Sep 26, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    Updated playoff percentages:

    
    Team     FG   B-Pro   Schedule
    TBR*   95.9    96.8   1 @NYY, 3 @Tor
    Cle*   79.6    66.2   4 @Min
    Tex    24.5    37.0   4 LAA

    Another day off the calendar. The Angels have been playing well of late, 7-3 over their last ten. The Twins at 2-8 have not.

    Elimination news: The Yankees and Royals are out. The Rangers have a tragic number of 4.

    *Holds wild card berth

  13. spudchukar - Sep 26, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    Sept. 25 was a perfect day if you are a Cards fan. Cincy, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and LA all lost while the Cards’ win moved them to within 1 of clinching the NL Central, while taking a 1/2 game lead over the Braves and 2 1/2 over the Dodgers for best record in the NL.

    And while the Reds fight the Pirates for the home field this weekend, the Dodgers host the Rockies, and the Braves try to teach the Phillies the proper way to play the game in Atlanta, the Cards entertain the Cubs.

  14. APBA Guy - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    Craig was kind enough to point out that the Angels are playing the best ball in the AL West right now. But he was polite enough not to mention that the A’s are seriously concerned about their fate if Griffin and Straily are 3/4 in the playoff rotation. The thinking now seems to be to have Gray as the 4th starter. Because make no mistake, from the A’s perspective these games are all about setting up for the playoffs. And while home field is desirable, resting Josh Donaldson was even more important. Callaspo even made a terrific play at 3rd on a hard smash by Trumbo in the 4th. Anyway, Gray is going on Sunday in the season finale, and that will probably decide the rotation.

    Until then, the A’s don’t play until Friday. That game: Bartolo versus the King. One last “must watch” for A’s fans before the playoffs.

  15. moogro - Sep 26, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    The Bad Reecky showed up last night.

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