Morning, folks: Today’s featured track is from your friend and mine, Steve Beres, whose new album as Bluffs called Night On The Beach came out just a little while back. You’d do yourself a disservice not listening to the album in full, because all of Steve’s music is catchy as hell, but I’ve done you the favor of posting the track “To Everyone Who Has Been Filmed Dancing”, which features fellow Pennsylvania-based artist Artifact Youth. Take a listen as I ramble on about the baseball I watched yesterday.
The beauty of afternoon baseball is that I can watch it, folks. And yesterday, as I lingered in my apartment waiting for my super to come fix the shower in a way which ended up being way easier than they made it seem, I was able to watch a lot of afternoon baseball. The Yankees had their last game of batting practice against the Orioles; they’ll take on a more challenging opponent when they start their series against Cleveland tonight. Cleveland’s gonna need to get over their loss to the Red Sox, though; Boston needed that win, and although they’re still seven and a half games removed from the wild card at this point, they’ll take whatever they can get.
Here were some of the games I found interesting yesterday, in order:
- Mets 4, Braves 6. This wasn’t interesting, I guess, but the Mets will always get first mention here. They had a rough night all around against the Braves, who managed one run in the first six innings against Steven Matz. Things remained scoreless except for that run; the Mets defense didn’t do too bad, but the Braves held up just as well, and both teams had plenty of opportunities to score which either they wasted on bad swings or couldn’t execute due to the defense.
The most mind-boggling turn came after Mickey Callaway pulled Matz in the seventh, after Matz had performed well on the mound and had even run the bases to put the Mets on the board. Up to the mound went Lugo, who — despite his Reliever of the Week title and past great pitching — let the Braves walk all over him to score five runs in two outs. Luis Avilan ended that inning without allowing more damage, and Jeurys Familia kept the Braves from extending their lead in the eighth.
The Mets scored two more runs at the top of the ninth, and had the perfect opportunity to top the Braves in a surprise victory when Michael Conforto took the plate with two outs and two men on base. But Scooter struck out, leaving the Mets in a three-loss streak. Callaway may have made a game-costing decision by switching out Matz, who still seemed to have fight left in him, but the series against the Braves isn’t over. The Mets can keep it from a sweep. These Braves are far from perfect, after all.
- Astros 9, White Sox 13. This game was a true test of Astros fans’ patience. The Astros held a lead of two runs going into the bottom of the second, when their defense fell apart and allowed the White Sox to score three and take control of the game. Except for a brief tie-up in the third inning, Chicago would hold the lead throughout the rest of the game up until the top of the eighth; Houston would continue to play catch-up, always remaining at least a run behind.
At the top of the eighth, the Astros were down two runs, with the score 7-9. Jose Altuve hit a homer with Jake Marisnick on base; they both scored to tie the game. The bases loaded again soon after, and it looked like Houston would be able to regain their groove. But Yuri Gurriel struck out to end the top of the eighth, and before Houston knew it, the White Sox had loaded the bases, and James McCann was up to bat. With two strikes against him and facing two outs, McCann knew he had to at least get a base hit. He swung the bat, made contact, and watched as his ball flew way to right field and dropped into the bullpen. Grand slam. Four runs. Houston never recovered.
- Brewers 6, Twins 5. The Twins have tried to keep Cleveland out of the AL Central lead for a while now; their records are almost even. Cleveland’s loss to Boston yesterday helped the Twins keep their place as first in the division. But the NL Central Brewers came around for their second night of play, and they weren’t going to take another loss. It was a game of cat and mouse with runs throughout the first five innings, and throughout the sixth and seventh, the Twins had five runs to Milwaukee’s three. But the Brewers continued to hold them off in the top of the eighth, and at the bottom, right fielder Trent Grisham smashed a three-RBI home run to right field which sent the home team into the lead. The Brewers won it and once again put their Minnesota rivals at risk of dropping down into the wild card berths.
- Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 7. The Rockies always seem to have a little surprise in them. With the Diamondbacks down 5-6 at the top of the ninth, star player Ketel Marte singled to allow teammate Jake Lamb to score and tie up the game. But the D-backs pulled Archie Bradley from their pen to work the bottom of the ninth, and he hit Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, allowing Story to take first. That allowed third baseman Nolan Arenado — pissed that his buddy just got hit — to slap a homer just fair of the left field foul pole. Two runs scored. The Rockies got their revenge.
- Reds 7, Nationals 17. Yeah, I don’t know, either. The Reds had just scored a run in the top of the fifth to tie up the game 1-1. It had seemed slow up until that point. And then, at the bottom of the fifth, the Reds’ new pitcher Trevor Bauer — kind of like Lugo — lost his arm. Then Reds’ defense got hypnotized or something. So Strasburg hit a two-RBI single. Trea Turner hit a one-RBI single. Adam Eaton hit a three-RBI homer. Anthony Rendon hit a solo homer. Asdrubal Cabrera hit a one-RBI double. Kurt Suzuki hit another three-RBI homer. When the dust settled, the Nats had scored ten runs, good for their second-highest run total in a single frame in team history. The Nats went on to score six more runs in the bottom of the sixth, and although the Reds would still score after their absolute drubbing, the Nats had left no opening through which they could squeeze.
- Cubs 1, Phillies 11. As much as it pains me to say it, the Phillies regained third place in the NL East with their early-game scalloping of the Cubs. The Cubs’ sole run — a solo homer from Kris Bryant — wasn’t enough to battle against the Phillies’ eleven runs which they had scored before. While the Phillies rose in the ranks, the Cubs’ loss was the one that pushed them out of the NL Central lead and into the wild card race with the Nationals.
- Cardinals 6, Royals 0. Truth be told, the Cards should’ve had more of a field day with this Show-Me State game. Both they and the Royals remained scoreless through six innings, and only in the top of the seventh did the Cards decide to start playing around with the Royals’ defense. They scored five in the seventh and one in the eighth, keeping the Royals at bay all the while. This was the game that the Cards needed to get into first place, and that seventh-inning stretch was them remembering what they had to do.
I will head to a family reunion this weekend — during which I’ll watch a Syracuse Mets game and freak out and scare my younger cousins and also my older distant relatives — and then I’ll be at a lake house near Ithaca for about a week. I’ll try to check in. Thanks for sticking with Caffeinated Jam. +