And That Happened

Rockies 5, Dodgers 4: If you encounter a team in the Dodgers’ position, lean them forward slightly and stand behind him or her. Make a fist with one hand. Put your arms around the person and grasp your fist with your other hand in the midline just below the ribs. Make a quick, hard movement inward and upward in an attempt to assist the person in dislodging the object that is obstructing the airway. This maneuver should be repeated until the person is able to breathe or loses consciousness.

Marlins 2, Mets 1: Yesterday, in the wake of the Johan Santana news, I wrote “Rest now, Mets fans. There really is nothing else that can hurt you this year.” Almost immediately thereafter readers wrote in with ways this nightmare of a season could get worse. Things like a Phillies-Yankees World Series or Jeff Francoeur getting a five year deal. With each passing day the latter seems like a possibility. As one of the only real major leaguers left on the roster (I use that term to describe tenure more than merit), Frenchy will stick out. Especially if he does things like hit a couple of doubles a night like he did here. And no, it doesn’t matter that one of the doubles was a total misplay on the part of the defense. It still counts!

Pirates 6, Phillies 4: At this rate does Brad Lidge even make the postseason roster? Brought in to protect a one-run lead in the ninth, Lidge blows his ninth save of the year and sees his ERA go up to 7.33. He had some help from Jayson Werth, who came in late in the game, supposedly to provide defense, but who let a run score on an error.

Reds 8, Brewers 6: The Reds blow a five run lead in the ninth, but Joey Votto and Laynce Nix homer in the 13th to make it all better. The dingers came off of former Red Todd Coffey. The Reds hitters had the psychological advantage in that situation: they knew that Coffey sucks, whereas Coffey probably still labors under delusions that he does not. It’s called clarity of thought, people. Therein lies the advantage.

Twins 7, Orioles 6: Delmon Young goes 4-5 and hits a walkoff single in the ninth.

Red Sox 6, White Sox 3: Chicago loses its third straight and falls to .500. Jacoby Ellsbury steals his 55th base, breaking the tie with Tommy Harper for the most steals in a single season in Red Sox history.

Tigers 5, Angels 3: Detroit takes advantage of the Chicago loss, extending their lead to four and a half games. John Lackey was beat up for the second straight outing. Miguel Cabrera (3-5, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) is on pace for having one of the quietest .340 35 HR 100 RBI seasons in recent memory.

Cardinals 1, Astros 0: Wandy Rodriguez and Adam Wainwright throw bullets all night — each only gave up three hits — but a quick single from Brendan Ryan followed by a Pujols double in the first inning put Rodriguez in a “hole” he could never get out of. This game took 2:10, which is roughly the length of your average AL East inning.

Rays 7, Blue Jays 3: Carlos Pena continues his Dave Kingmanesque season, hitting his 36th and 7th home run, while still maintaining that .223 average. Wait, that’s not fair. Pena leads the league in walks and he can play some defense, so Kingman’s not a good comp. How about his Russell Branyan season?

Royals 6, Indians 2: Zack Greinke mows down the Indians with 15 strikeouts. With this outing, with Halladay’s recent swoon, and with the guys with the high win totals posting considerably higher ERAs, Greinke probably just catapulted himself back into “favorite” status for the Cy Young award, didn’t he?

Padres 2, Braves 1: Adam LaRoche knocked in pinch runner Reid Gorecki with two outs in the ninth (after Gorecki stole second) to stave off defeat, but then David Eckstein won it for the Pads with an RBI double in the 12th. The Braves’ 1-2-3 hitters combined to go 0-16.

Rangers 10, Yankees 9: Let’s hear it for all of that extra rest Joba Chamberlain got (4 IP, 9 H, 7 ER). Let’s also hear it for a valiant, yet utterly unsuccessful ninth inning rally by the Yankees.

Nationals 15, Cubs 6: Huge nights for Josh Willingham (4-4, 2 HR, 6 RBI) and Elijah Dukes (2-3, 2B, HR 5 RBI) provide a not-so-friendly welcome back for Carlos Zambrano, who was making his first start since August 1st. Zambrano did hit a homer, though.

Mariners 4, Athletics 2: Ryan Langerhans, in as a defense replacement (AHEM, Jayson Werth) wins the game with a 10th inning homer. Even in the loss, Oakland Rookie Brett Anderson was sharp, giving up one run on six hits with eight strikeouts in seven innings.

Giants 5, Diamondbacks 4: Travis Ishikawa’s three-run shot in a tie game in the eighth inning proves to be the winner after the Giants had their hearts ripped out by the Rockies the night before. At this point, seeing someone come back from a killer loss to the Rockies like this might be the only ray of sunshine in Dodgerland.

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  1. Alex K said...

    Ben2009- No. Cabrera is probably a better candidate than Teixeira, but Mauer blows everyone out of the water.  He is a cather playing good defense while hitting for average and power.  It is not even close.  The only person who can even throw his name in the ring with Mauer is Jeter, and he’s still not all that close. (this doesn’t mean that Mauer WILL win, just that he should be just as easy a choice as Pujols in the NL)

  2. Kevin S. said...

    If you believe the numbers, Ben Zobrist is in the conversation, too, but voters don’t even know who he is.

  3. The Rabbit said...

    I must be having a blonde day because I can’t follow the logic of ML managers.
    Brad Lidge has been a train wreck this year. Is another trip to the DL in his immediate future? As Bill said, Ryan Madson has been the Phillies’ best option. I was kind of surprised that they didn’t take a shot at Wagner.  I’m also guessing that they are still taping that reality show in the bullpen, too. I hate reality TV.
    On the other coast, I have no clue why Joe Torre decided to use James McDonald in last night’s game.  McDonald has not been particularly effective (45 hits and 27 walks in 49 innings) and the Dodgers are not exactly dominating the division.  Craig, the Heimlich may not be enough.  They might need high colonics to remove cranial obstructions.  Hmmm….now that I think about it, maybe we should try that on politicians first.
    Another note: Why Miguel Cabrera was not an “All Star” confounds me, too.

  4. ditmars1929 said...

    Kevin, you can disagree with Ben, but you don’t have to be a d*ck about it.

    Alex, I can go along with Mauer as MVP, but as a Yankee fan, I have to pull for Tex or Jeter.

  5. Kevin S. said...

    We can disagree about whether or not I was being a dick, but I’ve found that when people believe team success matters for this award, being over the top is the best way to get through that it doesn’t.  Otherwise, we likely would have gone through several iterations (but he makes his team better!) that really, nobody needs to read again.

  6. Alex K said...

    Kevin, You’re right about Zobrist, he slipped my mind as well.  Do you know anything about his defense at any of the positions he plays?

    I’m not sure I could put him over Mauer or Jeter though.

  7. Kevin S. said...

    We have guesses, but he doesn’t have enough innings to make any of the defensive numbers reliable.  Part of the reason his WAR is so high is he’s off the charts at 2B, but that could be a fluke.  Appears to be a below-average SS for his career, though he’s only played 13 games there this year.  UZR has him as a plus defender at 2nd and RF, where he’s gotten most of his PT this year.  Take that for what it’s worth.

  8. ecp said...

    Brad Lidge exists solely to make Mets fans feel better.  They don’t have much to enjoy this year, but they can say “at least Lidge sucks” with smiles on their faces.

  9. Aarcraft said...

    I am feeling much better about the Astros trading Lidge away. Bourn is not doing too shabby himself, which helps considerably.

  10. Jason B said...

    Halladay was at least in the discussion, too, but he’s scuffled a bit lately, and the early-season contending Jays have fallen off the map, which won’t help his cause (not that the Jays being in contention or not would likely have any more or less impact than it would on Greinke, whose Royals have been out of the race since roughly May 15).

    I think Wainwright may have (for the moment) overtaken Lincecum on the NL side. Some of that (unfortunately) may hinge on whether the Giants make it to the postseason (never mind that the Giants would be left far in the rearview without the excellent efforts of Lincecum and Cain to date).

  11. Ron said...

    I’m still confused? Is the MVP for the best player in the league, or is it for the most valuable?

    You know, not the guy with the best year, but the guy that did the most to give his team a chance to win because of the year he had?

    Can anyone answer that?

    Because when I looked up the definition of ‘valuable’, it didn’t say ‘best’.

  12. puck said...

    @The Rabbit:  As a Rockies fan I wasn’t heartbroken over seeing McDonald over Sherrill or esp. Broxton.  However, to be fair, McDonald’s numbers as a reliever (that is, w/o those April starts) look much better than the overall stats.

  13. Wes said...

    Alex K:
    “The only person who can even throw his name in the ring with Mauer is Jeter, and he’s still not all that close. (this doesn’t mean that Mauer WILL win, just that he should be just as easy a choice as Pujols in the NL)”

    Good point, bad analogy.  There’s a pretty big argument to be made that the NL MVP right now would be Hanley Ramirez, even if that value is largely coming from an absurd .408 BABIP.  I wouldn’t hesitate to say Utley would also be a fair choice.

    Though I’m not sure either of those guys has as good of a chance of winning as Mauer does.  Maybe Shyster can get into the blog-campaigning for one of these two?

  14. Joe said...

    I don’t understand, even if you are in the camp that the MVP should come from a contender, how Joe Mauer gets eliminated from the discussion.  The Twins, while only at .500, are only 4.5 games out of first.  They are close enough that they made a trade to reduce their suckage at shortstop.  Without Mauer, they are nowhere near a playoff spot.

    I keep hearing people say, “well, the Twins could be a .500 team without Joe Mauer.”  Um, no, they couldn’t!

  15. The Rabbit said...

    I was suffering from multiple personality disorder last night. One of my fantasy teams owns the Dodgers pitching staff; the other two own the Rockies. The team with the Dodgers needed the extra points.  That’s my “loyalty” to the Dodgers.  I’m actually a Mets (and Braves) fan but that’s a different mental disorder.
    You are absolutely correct that McDonald’s stats look worse due to an abysmal April; however, as you point out, he’s not Sherrill or Broxton. He gave up two walks (one intentional) and two hits in a third in the bottom of the 10th in an extra inning game.  I know there’s a limited number of relievers,  it’s an extra inning game, etc. etc. but I was wondering why Torre left him in when he was obviously in trouble.

  16. mike in brooklyn said...

    Another factor in the probably-inevitable signing of Francoeur:  the MEts are going to need someone to replace Delgado’s (expected) numbers from this season.  They also are probably looking for that someone to be a corner OF.  So, they sign Francoeur hoping he can provide that.

    As for MVP—assuming there is anyone in the world who cares about my opinion—I think a player from a non-contending team gets it only if they are having one of those monster seasons that far outstrips anyone else.  Otherwise, it goes to a contender.  And if there are 2 guys from one team up for it, but only 1 from another,  that 1 guy should get it (e.g. Straw and Mc Reynolds cancelling each other out for Gibson to get it in 88)  (Notice how everything is about the Mets of the 80s for me?  Sad, really)

    and, Mr. Rabbit (or can I call you “The”?)—how is it even POSSIBLE to be a Mets AND Braves fan?

  17. Alex K said...

    Wes, You’re right Hanley Ramirez and Chase Utley would both be fine MVP choices.  I looked at the numbers and the thing that stuck out the most to me is that Pujols has a UZR of 0.0 this year, while Hanley is at 1.2, and Utley is at 6.0.  So that would mean that Hanley and Utley have been worth about the same amount with the glove this year while Pujols has been worth a lot less.

    I know OPS+ and WAR aren’t the best offensive indicators but those go like this

    Pujols:188 (6.3 WAR)
    Ramirez: 161 (6.7 WAR)
    Utley:150 (6.6 WAR)

    I just went with the stock “Pujols is the NL MVP” argument. So on closer inspection it wasn’t a great analogy, I don’t know if it was bad either.

  18. The Rabbit said...

    @mike in brooklyn
    You may call me Ms. Rabbit (family nickname) or Ande.
    How is it possible to be both a Mets and Braves fan? I grew up as a Mets fan (This was back before McCarver became insufferable. Am I the only one who appreciated Ralph Kiner? BTW His book was incredibly entertaining.)
    When we moved, I could no longer get the Mets games, but I could get TBS.  I love great pitching. Greg Maddux was the bomb and the rotation was incredible.
    I’m first and foremost, a baseball fanatic, so I just started following both teams.

  19. Alex Poterack said...

    For something completely different, in spite of blowing the lead last night, Todd Coffey actually doesn’t, or at least he hasn’t this year; an FIP of 3.31 and tRA of 3.93 aren’t too shabby.  Granted, that’s completely out of line with his career norms, so we’ll see if he can keep it up.

  20. Daniel said...

    Mike in Brooklynn – Mauer is having on of those monster seasons that far outstrips everyone else.  That’s why people are so incredulous that anyone can consider everybody else.  If you JUST looked at hitting stats, Mauer would easily be the best player.  Then you look at defense and Mauer is in another universe.

    The Twins could be 12 – 100 and Mauer would still deserve it.

  21. Bill B. said...

    I’m flummoxed with the Brad Lidge debate right now. I’ve been harping for Ryan Madson as the closer since mid-May. However, at this point in the season with their seven-game lead and a lax remaining schedule, is it worth ruffling feathers by changing everybody’s role in the bullpen?

    I’m not an intangibles guy, but I can’t help but think that demoting Lidge at this point would affect the team’s chemistry substantially. We’ve seen Jamie Moyer moping and sitting by himself in the bullpen, but he’s a good soldier and is just going to bite the bullet. Not sure Lidge would do that, to be quite honest.

  22. mike in brooklyn said...

    Rabbit—no way are you the only one who appreciates Ralph.  I LOVE Ralph!  (And the two of us share a b-day, which makes me like him even more)

  23. DaninPhilly said...

    Lidge’s problem is demonstrated on the graph showing his FB velocity over the last 3 years (click my name for the chart).  His FB is down, and it seems to have passed some critical threshhold under which he cannot effectively pitch. 

    He will be replaced soon.

  24. Ben2009 said...

    You’re right, Craig, about Cabrera.  He’s having a monster year and no one is noticing.  If the Tigers make the playoffs, especially if they do so by being, say, more than 2 or 3 games better than the Twins, isn’t Cabrera a more worthy MVP candidate than Joe Mauer?

  25. Kevin S. said...

    Of course he is!  It’s totally Joe Mauer’s fault that Kevin Slowey is going to miss the rest of the season, or that Nick Punto is, well, Nick Punto.  Miggy should get all the credit for the Edwin Jackson deal, or Justin Verlander’s revival, or the Tigers’ newfound commitment to defense.  You’d think these things would be the work of the front office or the coaching staff, but nope, it was all Big Fat Miguel Cabrera, which puts him over Mauer for the MVP, even though Mauer has vastly outplayed him on the field.

    Wait, what’s that you say?  The teams they have around them aren’t controlled by Mauer and Cabrera?  Wait, so why then do we consider team success?

  26. Gerry said...

    Kingman? Branyan? Gorman Thomas? I’d call it an Adam Dunn season, with specific reference to 2006; 40 HR, 112 walks, and a .234 batting average. Or Jay Buhner, 1997; 40, 119, and .243. Or Mark McGwire, 1990; 39, 110, .235. Or Harmon Killebrew, 1962; 48, 106, .243.

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