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And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

Jun 30, 2014, 6:23 AM EDT

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 10.22.19 PM AP

Dodgers 6, Cardinals 0: We got guys working overtime right now to come up with new adjectives for Clayton Kershaw, because we’ve burnt the hell through our entire 2014 supply already. The best pitcher in baseball struck out 13 Cardinals in seven shutout innings today, reducing his ERA to 2.04 and pushing his K/BB ratio to 107/11 in 79.1 innings. He’s currently rolling with a 28-inning scoreless streak. Andre Ethier hit a three-run homer, but man, it’s not like Kershaw even needed the help.

Mariners 3, Indians 0: Kershaw isn’t the only ace challenging our ability to describe his greatness this year. Felix Hernandez has always been amazing, but he’s on a whole new level in 2014. For one thing, having ten wins at the halfway point of a season is something different for him. The earliest he’s ever notched his 10th win was in 2009 when he did it on July 17. That year he won 19. This year he’s 10-2 with a 2.10 ERA with a K/BB ratio of 137/22 in 128.1 innings. That after the eight innings of one-hit ball he threw while striking out nine Indians today.

Reds 4, Giants 0: Homer Bailey isn’t quite the pitcher Kershaw and Hernandez are, but he’s pretty damn good. Yesterday he took a no-hitter into the seventh and finished with a three-hit shutout of the reeling San Francisco Giants. The reeling San Francisco Giants who now find themselves in a mathematical tie with the Dodgers in the NL West, one game better in the loss column, but spinning out of control all the same. They’ve dropped six of seven.

Rockies 10, Brewers 4: Last Sunday the Rockies were a laughing stock after a weekend in which they threw the ball all over the place and literally fell down on the basepaths. On this Sunday they were the beneficiaries of the other team playing less-than-Little-League-quality defense to let the Rockies stroll around the bases unmolested. Not that they were perfect: Jorge De La Rosa threw three wild pitches and hit a batter. He still got the win, though. It was the Rockies first win against the Brewers all season. It was also their last game against the Brewers all season.

Twins 3, Rangers 2: Kendrys Morales hit an RBI double to break a 2-2- tie in the ninth. They shifted right against the lefty Morales, and the lefty Morales slapped it down the left field line. Between having to run a long way to get back to that shift-beating ball, it took a weird bounce off the wall too, allowing the go-ahead and ultimately winning run score.

Pirates 5, Mets 2: Former Met Ike Davis hit a two-run single in the first off Bartolo Colon and the Pirates took a 5-0 lead after four. Pedro Alvarez had a home and an RBI double. Colon had one idea about why the Pirates were able to get to him:

“I just think that because I’ve already gone against them once they probably prepared so they knew what I was coming with. They just had the time to prepare to play against me.”

Bartolo, you’ve been pitching in the bigs since the Clinton Administration. Everyone has had a chance to see you.

Astros 6, Tigers 4: Jose Altuve is on fire. Three hits and two stolen bases today and he went 9 for 14 in the series against Detroit. He’s stolen two bases in four straight games and 10 overall in his last six. He’s batting .347 on the year.

Braves 3, Phillies 2: A four game sweep. And, for some reason, none of the Philly people who tweeted smack at me when the Phillies took three in a row from the Braves a couple of weeks ago tweeted at me during this series. Huh. This was the first four-game sweep in Philadelphia by the Braves since Sept. 24-27, 1964. That was at the tail end of that historic collapse by Philly that season. Which, hey, that may be bad, but at least they had some success from which to collapse then.

Royals 5, Angels 4: Lorenzo Cain had four hits, including three doubles, and drove in two. Omar Infante drove in the winning run in the ninth, but this game shoulda gone extras. Before Infante’s big hit Erik Aybar and Howie Kendrick muffed what should’ve been an inning-ending double play, allowing the guy who scored the winning run to move into scoring position. “You can’t assume the double—OW!”  Sorry, had to smack that cliche-spewing voice in my head across the back of the neck.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $30,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Athletics 4, Marlins 3: Nate Freiman was called up from Sacramento, flew across country, barely slept and then hit a three-run homer in his 2014 debut. Not bad. Also not bad: The A’s winning all three games in Miami by coming from behind.  Four wins in a row overall. Oakland is at its exact halfway point of the 2014 season and has 51 wins.

Rays 12, Orioles 7: Two homers for Matt Joyce, who had five hits and four RBI in all. The Rays had five homers and six doubles in this one. That’s, like, a month’s output for that offense.

White Sox 4, Blue Jays 0: Jose Quintana had seven shutout innings. That creep can roll, man. Jose Abreu had an RBI single to extend his hitting streak to 14 games.

Padres 2, Diamondbacks 1:  Odrisamer Despaigne with his second start and, once again, a stingy performance and a win. It’s junk and funk and angles and smoke and mirrors, but who cares? All of those things are really cool.

Red Sox 8, Yankees 5: Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz each drove in three, Ortiz on the power of his 450th career home run. The Red Sox take two of three from their rivals, who themselves have lost six of eight.

  1. buffalo65 - Jun 30, 2014 at 7:17 AM

    Not sure anyone wants to win the east. Watch out for Tampa to make their yearly run.

    • southpaw2k - Jun 30, 2014 at 7:29 AM

      Tampa is still 14 games under .500. They’d have to have an unprecedented month in July in order to climb back over .500 and get in the race for the AL East. I don’t think they’ve ever had to dig themselves out of the hole they’re in right now in the past.

      • ashot - Jun 30, 2014 at 8:40 AM

        “dig themselves out of the hole they’re in right now in the past.”

        Time traveling Rays!

      • southpaw2k - Jun 30, 2014 at 8:43 AM

        “NEXT SATURDAY NIGHT, WE’RE SENDING YOU BACK TO THE FUTURE!”

        Well-played.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:13 AM

        Digging into the sand and hiding is classic floating carpet strategy. Then, just when you think you’re safe, they pop up and sting you or electrify you.

        And who says the winner of the AL East will necessarily be above .500?

      • indaburg - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:15 PM

        The Rays “only” 10 games out, which is crazy. The Houston Altuves have a one game better record, and they’re 16 games out. Those are the perils of playing in the strongest division in baseball, the AL West. On the other hand, the Dodgers just overcame a 9.5 game deficit to tie for 1st. Could the Rays do the same? No. They’ve done very little to indicate this year that they are capable of that kind of historic run. They’ve pretty much sucked in every category (except Ks by our pitchers).The Dodgers posses the indomitable Kershaw and Dodgers hitters >>>>> Rays hitters. Also, the Rays need every team in the AL East to utterly collapse, not just one. Right now, the rest of the AL East is meandering in relative mediocrity, no one differentiating themselves, but no one being truly terrible. Don’t get me wrong. That’s much better than collapsing in a heap of excrement, as the Rays have done thus far.

        I mentioned Ks. Tonight the Rays pitching staff go for the MLB record for most Ks by a pitching staff in a month. They need to fan 9 Yankees to break the record.

      • stex52 - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:30 PM

        Hey, Indy. Eighty games out a lot of miracles can still happen. But you are right that they need to start happening soon. It looks like Zobrist is waking up; that can’t hurt.

        9 K’s huh? I will pay attention to that tonight.

  2. unclemosesgreen - Jun 30, 2014 at 7:32 AM

    Tommy Hunter had a fun mop-up inning yesterday against the floating devil carpets. 3 pitches, 3 outs. 2 ground balls and a fly-out. It was the most perfectly democratic inning ever hurled.

    Dog Bless America.

  3. drubyy1993 - Jun 30, 2014 at 7:50 AM

    Statistically Jhonny Cueto has pitched better this year. But no one talks about him because he’s not in la or New York

    • baberuthslegs - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:05 AM

      Maybe no one likes him.

      • stex52 - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:25 AM

        Cueto has given people reasons not to like him. But as the saying goes, “Heaven is for good people, the Hall of Fame is for baseball players.”

    • unclemosesgreen - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:09 AM

      Dear drubyy – Cueto is just a Johnny.

      Sincerely, Jhonny Peralta and the Free Range Letter All-Stars.

      SP – Jhoulys Chacin
      RP – Jenrry Mejia, Donn Roach

      C – Jhonathan Solano
      1B – Kennys Vargas
      2B – Jedd Gyro
      SS – Erick Aybar
      3B – Jhonny Peralta
      LF – Jayson Nix
      CF – Laynce Nix
      RF – Torii Hunter

      • dluxxx - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:49 AM

        DH – Kendrys Morales

    • cktai - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:39 AM

      Yeah Kershaw may have Cueto beat on fWAR, K%, BB%, FIP, xFIP, SIERA, and RA9, but Cueto has a lower ERA so he statistically pitched better. Because fielding errors for pitching skill matter.

      • stex52 - Jun 30, 2014 at 10:54 AM

        Yeah, Cueto on IP, WHIP, H/9, CG, WAR (BRef). I believe my point is that they are both having great years. Kershaw will probably finish better. But we can deify him then.

        BTW, Kershaw is a really great pitcher.

      • Old Gator - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:11 AM

        Yes, and Cueto is a gutter thug who happens to pitch very well.

      • stex52 - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:34 PM

        I can’t speak for every day in his life; I really don’t know. I know for a fact that on one particular day he behaved like a gutter thug.

        My point was more along the lines of not wrapping up the Cy Young for Kershaw just yet. He is a fantastic pitcher and most likely a far better person than Cueto. But the stats show Keshaw, Cueto and Wainwright to be in something approaching a dead heat right now.

  4. renaado - Jun 30, 2014 at 8:25 AM

    A sweep, certainly what the Braves needed.

  5. cabrera24 - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    How has Cueto giving people reasons not to like him ?

    • raysfan1 - Jun 30, 2014 at 10:17 AM

      Here’s one: http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/08/11/kung-fu-cueto-emerges-as-brawl-villain/

      • Old Gator - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:13 AM

        Well, in all fairness, that’s the one. His justifications for kicking a helpless man in the head with his cleats instead of showing any remorse about it may seem like another, but it’s just an extension of the original act of neanderthal brutality.

  6. dluxxx - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:52 AM

    So unless the Twins go on a tear here pretty soon I’m thinking they’ll be sellers at the deadline. They’ve been pleasantly surprising this season, but I’ve had the feeling that they’ve been playing above their heads for a while now.

  7. koufaxmitzvah - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    Dodgers: Hey. What’s up?
    Giants: Oh, be quiet. Don’t want to hear from you.
    Dodgers: Come on, now. We’re friends. Fellow travelers from the East. Compatriots of the NL West. Giants. We beat each other up like brothers.
    Giants: We’re not brothers. We’re enemies.
    Dodgers: Sure, sure. Listen, this is a great June swoon you’re on. Some may say the swooniest.
    Giants: Are you here just to be a bother? Because you’re not welcome.
    Dodgers: No, we’re here because we’ve finally climbed our way to the top. We’re here because this is a virtual tie.
    Giants: Minus .001.
    Dodgers: Yes, Giants. Minus .001. Got to admit you didn’t see us coming.
    Giants: Did so.
    Dodgers: Not 2 weeks ago. Not when you were waving bye-bye to the rearview mirror. This is a marathon, Giants, not a sprint.
    Giants: Shut up.
    Dodgers: It’s obvious we’re like ninja warriors. Quickly and quietly somersaulting our way to the top.
    Giants: You’re not ninjas.
    Dodgers: Yes we are.
    Giants: No you’re not. How long is this going to go on for?
    Dodgers: We’re thinking, by tomorrow, that we’ll be alone in 1st place. Then you can have your ledge all for yourself. It’s a cool ledge, with a great view of us ontop.
    Giants.: Shut up.

  8. natstowngreg - Jun 30, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    The Nats and Cubs did not play. I only note this because it’s very unusual for two teams to have Sunday off. Something about a parade in Chicago. The Nats salvaged their trip to the Chicago-Milwaukee Lake Michigan Corridor by winning both games Saturday.

    After 81 games:
    — Nats 43-38, on pace for 86-76, same as last season. Two games better than last season at midpoint (41-40).
    — Braves 43-38, same 86-76 pace. Four games worse than last season’s first half (47-34).

    The Braves’ win yesterday puts them up by a half-game in the demolition derby that is the NL East. The Fish appear to be sinking slowly, now 5 back.

    Tonight, Jordan Zimmermann vs. a fellow named Yohan Flande, making his second MLB start. A 28-year old onetime Phillies international signee (Dominican Republic). and Braves farmhand. His Rotoworld page has him in a Braves cap. Until last week, he did not have an news entry since the Braves signed him to a minor league deal in November 2011. It’s a Rotoworld page that says, the Rockies are desperate for someone to make a start. No guarantees (given the team’s occasional offensive outages), but I like the chances of fans at Nats Park getting free Chicken McNuggets(tm) (for 6 or more runs).

    BTW, Bryce Harper will be back. For the first time since Opening Day, the Nats’ lineup will be whole. The time has come for the speculation about the Nats’ lineup to morph into reality, and for Matt Williams to make the hard decisions. James Wagner reports on the possibilities.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/nats-are-healthy-for-the-first-time-since-opener-now-williams-faces-tough-choices/2014/06/29/4c623f60-ffa9-11e3-b8ff-89afd3fad6bd_story.html

  9. aceshigh11 - Jun 30, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    The only thing to criticize Kershaw on at this point is that beard.

    Other than that, the guy is a phenom…we’re truly witnessing greatness here, folks.

  10. bailey2626 - Jun 30, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    Get over it already!

  11. APBA Guy - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    Uh oh. Silence from OG this morning. This can only mean depression. I prescribe two cups of cafe Cubano, a swim in the ocean, a little sun, siesta, then 2-3 mojitos, and a huge dinner of ropa vieja, arroz con frijoles negros, y platanas maduros. Guaranteed to make you feel better!

    Anyway, the A’s were rude guests and completed the sweep in Miami, all three being one-run games. Tommy Milone did the job, going 7 after the extra-inning game Saturday, which gave the tired bullpen a rest. Milone on the road historically has not been great, about a full run above his home ERA, but yesterday he was solid, only giving up 2 earned after the Yelich triple and error to lead off the game.

    And that bullpen will need to be sharp as the A’s travel to Detroit to play the Tigers, 7-2 in their last 9.

    Across the Bay, there is gloom in the Palais du Giants, who are 4-15 in the last 3 weeks. That still hasn’t sunk in around here, as people had been assuming that Los Gigantes were on their way. I haven’t seen enough of the Giants to say what’s been going on, but the long faces of the local populace recently clearly isn’t just due to the near constant stopped traffic on 101 caused by the current dot.com bubble.

    • Old Gator - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      The silence was attributable to having to drop my son orf at a local congressman’s orifice so he could go canvassing with the rest of the subversives, then stop and pick up a new clamp for my radiator hose. Stuff like that. Also, I did stop orf at one of the nearby Cafe Cubanos (the one I usually frequent is closed until the 7th for vacation) for a tamal en hoja con masas de puerco, a couple of huevos fritos, some cafe con leche and tostada Cubano. So, as you see, I had anticipated your advice, more or less. And yes, it did make me feel better. It always does.

      My extended commentary is below. And you will remember that I called this weekend’s results last Thursday, right? In fact, I’ve been predicting that the Feesh would begin to fade sooner rather than later since April. No ESP involved. One just needed to look closely at the roster and the “logic,” if you will, according to which this year’s iteration of the K-Mart Feesh was built. This erosion of the team’s fortunes might have been forestalled by a few more weeks if El Keed hadn’t gone down but one peetcher peetching every five turns, no matter how good he is, can’t hold up an entire team as critically deficient in consistent firepower and experience as this one.

    • indaburg - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:47 AM

      I like your prescription.

      The A’s have been rude guests to a lot of teams this season! The optimist would say the Tigers are 7-2, but the pessimist would say the Tigers just dropped 2 of 3 to the work-in-progress Houston Altuves. It should be a good series.
      ALCS preview, perhaps?

  12. Old Gator - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Well, as the Beloved A’s pack up and leave the Feesh to their destiny – one writ millions of pocketed luxury tax dollars before these oceans rolled, I might add – fans of the Rainbow Warriors are prepping for the inevitable demurral by Scrooge McLoria. After dropping all three games (you read it here first five days ago), the Feesh find themselves squinting into the sunset to see the strange attractor, trailing the tatters of gossamer reality waves like a jellyfish that’s been pecked at by a cluster of hatchling ridleys. That pocketful of cash Scrooge’s brainstem trust hinted just a couple of weeks ago that he was preparing to spend before the trade deadline, they now figure might as well stay in his pocket since the team’s chances of contention have faded away like the morning doo-doo. What might occur instead? A trade of some well-provisioned veterans for a handful of EYPs instead? Good probability.

    Other classic sound bytes for chronic losers being prepped for dissemination (apologies to Derrida): “We’re not getting blown out. We’re in every game.” “We’re only losing by a run or two.” “We’re not getting the big hit right now.”

    Now then, here come the “reeling” Feelies. I like reels. I like jigs, too. I hope still to be living when somebody writes the second Celtic tune. But all that notwithstanding, sure, the Feesh have it in them to go on a run and win three or four or even five in a row and climb back onto the strange attractor when next it descends into range. It’s along half season, after all. But I suspect that the ooohhhs and aaaahhhs they team inspired, the flickers of delight, the frisson we experience when underdogs bite the mailmen bearing dire predictions, have prolly been muted for the nonce. A more burnished brand of skepticism is likely to greet their next simulation of sentient life, like articles about cold fusion in Nature. And for those of you who are asking yourselves, rhetorically perhaps, if Scrooge McLoria has finally got it in his head that you can’t win on the perpetual roster churn as you can’t win on the cheap, lemme tell ya sumpin’ folks: he knew that all along. What concerns him most is whether the schlemozzels who spring for tickets to Macondo Banana Massacre Field on a fin and a prayer during pixie dust runs like the one in May will finally figure it out, too.

    And what of the Iron Giant? Well now you don’t suppose that his decision to enter the home run derby might be a subtle attempt to showcase himself, do you?

    Naaaahhhhhh….

    • stex52 - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      Har Har. I will be sure to show my Irish wife your commentary on Celtic tunes. The correctness of your assertion is unlikely to protect me from her wrath.

      BTW, Astros continue to employ smoke and mirrors and a stubborn insistence in playing over their heads. Perhaps Ausmus felt a twinge of nostalgia; I know as a high likelihood he may wish he had accepted Houston’s offer if the Tigers continue their lollygagging and crappy pitching. Not winning the Division would be a lot more acceptable in the Bayou City than in Motor City.

      A lot of these improvements were easy to see coming. Fowler, Springer, Feldman; well, sure. Keuchel’s emergence to such a high level has surprised me. But Altuve has found a whole new level for himself, and he seems to be dragging the team along with him.

      Hope these pleasant surprises extend into the second half.

      • Old Gator - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:10 PM

        Just don’t show her any of my older commentaries on Irish cuisi….heh heh, I mean, food. You know, the stuff about entrails, ligaments, tendons, joints, small white glands whose functions are not yet fully understood….

      • stex52 - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:34 PM

        I don’t know, she might agree on the food. When we did a three week tour of the country (sure enjoyed that) I thought most of the pub cuisine had a pretty British feel (maybe the tourist trade). I have to confess I generally passed on the breakfast puddings (black and white). And we tend to seafood, which also avoids some of those issues.

        Speaking of seafood (Har Har) don’t quite give up hope on the Feesh. A week end with the A’s is pretty tough for anyone these days. Remember, for both our teams, mediocrity is still our aspiration. Anything more can follow next year.

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