I totally forgot to watch baseball this past weekend. I was like, oh, baseball, I love that. But then Chet had that thing at his house, and then Breaking Bad was on, and now I'm here, trying to figure out what happened in baseball last weekend.
Let's figure it out together. I think there were dingers.
The Dodgers won their 192nd game in a row
I don't know the exact number. It might be 191. You have the Internet if you can read this. Look it up.
But the larger point is that the Dodgers swept the Rays, who are an excellent team in their own right. The Dodgers are now 7½ ahead of the Diamondbacks,, even though the Dodgers were in last place just a few weeks ago.Clayton Kershaw pitched well, Zack Greinke pitched well, blah blah blah. What do they want, a cookie?
But the Rays did get the Dodgers on a hidden-ball trick
Ha ha, suckers. Sure, the Dodgers won all the games in the series, and I guess that's "really impressive," but the Rays did something that's even rarer. Check this out:
Hidden-ball trick! Look at Longoria's face. Like he caught a cap thief red-handed. And don't sleep on Angel Hernandez's nonchalant out call, like he sees six of those every week. I enjoy giving Hernandez a hard time, but he gets kudos for not jumping up and down and screaming "Hidden-ball trick! Hidden-ball trick!" like I would have.
So the Rays got swept in a crucial series. A hidden-ball trick beats a three-game sweep any day of the week. Every team gets at least one of those in a season. But a hidden-ball trick is much rarer.
Also, you can cut this out at any time, Dodgers. On June 21, they lost to the Padres and were 9½ back in the West and 12 games under .500. Since then: 37-8. Seriously, cut it out.
The Royals aren't going away
It's not like the Royals' winning jag was completely built around chump teams -- there were some Tigers and Orioles games at the beginning -- but there have been a lot of Mets, White Sox, and Twins games mixed in. I figured the Red Sox series would cure them of their delusions of grandeur.
Instead, they took three out of four, and now they really, really have delusions of grandeur. And I don't blame them. Heck, I'm right there with them. A Royals/Pirates World Series would be incredible, except for all the locusts.
So when everyone laughed at the Royals for holding onto Ervin Santana at the deadline, they were just being pessimistic twits, right? Saber-fascists at worst? Not really. When the Royals' playoff odds were hovering around one percent, those odds included scenarios like this. Because if you'll notice, they aren't exactly in line for a playoff spot right now, and they have just an 18-percent chance to get to a one-game play-in. Which brings us to two movie quotes.
The first: Never tell me the odds.
The second: Let's not start getting too excited about the Royals just yet. But, like, a little excited is a-okay. Possibly even a medium amount of excited. But not too excited.
The Pirates were swept by the Rockies
Or if I'm being completely honest with my headlines as how they relate to me …
Francisco Liriano absolutely screws my fantasy team
Ten earned runs? Clint Hurdle, you purple monster, pull the guy when he can't get anyone out.
But the Pirates were chewed up and spit out by Coors Field like so many teams before them. The good news is that Josh Harrison got to pitch. The better news is that the Pirates didn't lose that much of their division lead, as the Cardinals dropped two of three against the Cubs. The bad news is that the Reds took two of three from the Padres and moved five back. The MLB.com has a pretty good visual representation of how the weekend went for the Pirates:
Both were fine. But the series started out miserably for the Pirates, and it never really got better. Now they get to go to St. Louis for a three-game series, which sure sounds like one of those series that you look back on in three months and say, "That's where it all happened." Especially if there's a 19-inning game mixed in there.
Miguel Cabrera homered twice off Mariano Rivera
Rivera has thrown 1,264 innings in his career. He's allowed 70 home runs -- 20 more than Bert Blyleven in 1986, but in 1,000 more innings. And 11 of those home runs came before the eighth inning -- before Rivera was Rivera, in other words. He's faced 5,031 batters in his career, and he's allowed two home runs to the following players: Evan Longoria, Edgar Martinez, Rafael Palmeiro, Aubrey Huff, and now Miguel Cabrera.
Rivera is also 43 freaking years old, so maybe it's not so crazy that he'll, I don't know, move from the best reliever in the game to merely excellent at some point. Two blown saves over the weekend (one that cost the Yankees a win, and one that didn't) hints at two things: First, that Rivera might be losing his touch. Because he's 43. Second, that Miguel Cabrera is an excellent hitter. If you believe that second point -- and I'm starting to believe, everyone -- maybe the two homers don't mean anything. Miguel Cabrera beating a pitcher says much more about Cabrera than the pitcher, really.
I'm pretty upset about Rivera retiring, though. We'll never get to see exactly how old he needs to be before he becomes a bad pitcher. That would have been hard to watch, sure, but for science? For science. I'd put my wager on "47." I'd probably be wrong.
Adrian Beltre is still the best
Still the best. If there's one takeaway from this weekend, this is it. I'm not sure if anyone's played the game before with Beltre's magic combination of scowling and fun. And while Mike Trout or Yasiel Puig might win a poll of the most exciting player in baseball, Beltre's up there when it comes to players I enjoy watching play baseball. Still the best.