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The Tuesday Takeaway
Vinko Bogataj was forever immortalized as the face of “the agony of defeat” on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. His incredible crash on a ski jump slope in 1970 became forever associated with agony and defeat. It was his misfortune that an entire generation learned to cringe and giggle at.

The agony experienced by the Padres on Tuesday was far more subtle, and, theoretically, less physically painful. That is, beyond the sinking and stabbing feeling in the stomach of Paul Clemens.

The Padres had just jumped out to lead in extra innings. They had just traded one of their best players, Melvin Upton Jr. (what a world!) to the home clubhouse. They’ve suffered through being the Padres all year. That involves suffering through Clemens and his career 5.78 DRA protecting that lead after the bases have been loaded for him. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t go well.

Now, it’s not like Clemens was trying to spike that pitch, unless there is some sort of vast unknown match-fixing conspiracy involving the Padres making it even more likely that they would lose to the bats of the Blue Jays. Clemens can’t exactly help that he doesn’t have the natural talent of a reliever who would typically be called upon to pitch in this kind of scenario. And damn if he didn’t try his hardest to rush home and collect the throw to tag Devon Travis out.

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Here he is, looking toward the umpire, praying for an out signal, even as Travis is trapped beneath his armpit. There are few things in baseball more humiliating than being the man responsible for a walk-off wild pitch.

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Here he is, pondering that fact. That, dear reader, is the agony of defeat. Pain is being able to throw things and scream as a way to vent one’s anger and distress. Agony is the heat of the moment just after the unfortunate event, listening to the other team celebrating behind you, and knowing that cameras are still trained on you. Bogataj’s agony was physical. Clemens’ was mental.

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Cruelty, thy name is baseball. Paul Clemens tried. My goodness, did he try. He has tried so, so hard to reach the highest level of competition in the sport that he loves so much. He didn’t load the bases full of Jays.

He will be called upon to pitch again very soon, to put Tuesday night behind him.

He will try his hardest.

Quick Hits from Tuesday
Conversely, the thrill of victory was easily found not only in Toronto, but in Cleveland.

Jonathan Papelbon did not have a good outing. His outing fared so poorly that Oliver Perez was called upon. He got Jason Kipnis to line out, but then Francisco Lindor stepped up to the plate. Lindor is one of the game’s brightest young superstars. His very presence on a baseball field is electric. He lived up to the billing on Tuesday.

After so many years of being forecast as the next great team to beat, the Indians have finally assumed that mantle. Lindor is at the very center of it all.

Meanwhile, Papelbon imploded yet again for Washington. They may very well have a new closer before long.


The man on the mound below is Cody Reed, who burst onto the prospect scene with authority last year. His mix of nasty stuff and big build made a lot of people short of breath, but he’s struggled badly since coming to the big leagues. The batter? Well, first, let’s look at what he does with Reed’s pitch.

Oh, that’s Matt Cain, a starting pitcher. Madison Bumgarner isn’t the only pitcher on the Giants who can hit the ball far and make Duane Kuiper’s voice hoarse. Cain’s blast would prove vital once the San Francisco bullpen bled runs, letting the Reds back into what would become a 9-7 Giants win.

The DH is still pretty cool, though.


There was a time when CC Sabathia threw gas. His arm was a launchpad for pure filth, and he could throw that filth for longer than anyone else in the game. Sabathia wasn’t just a workhorse. He was an ace, a Cy Young Award winner.

Now, he is a crafty lefty, a shade of his former self. He’s the exact kind of pitcher who should be bludgeoned by the powerful right-handed bats of the Houston Astros. Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer, Evan Gattis, Carlos Gomez, Marwin Gonzalez, even the newly anointed Alex Bregman. All were deployed to give Sabathia hell on Tuesday night.

Naturally, he only allowed four hits.

The Astros are a free-swinging bunch, but they’re still a group who should eat Sabathia for lunch. But, because the Yankees clearly recently made a deal with Beelzebub, he navigated the lineup with ease.

That’s baseball, Suzyn.

Defensive Play of the Day
Nolan Arenado is what happens if you build a time machine, go get Brooks Robinson, stick him in a goofy black vest and make his bat a good bit more powerful. Or something. Sources can’t confirm. But that sounds about right.

What to Watch on Wednesday
An impressive slate of afternoon games is headlined by a Stephen Strasburg/Carlos Carrasco duel in Cleveland. Both the Nationals and Indians are superpowers, and they are sending two of the best starters in the game to the mound. Throw in a free helping of Francisco Lindor and Bryce Harper, and you’ve got yourself a stew.

At 7:05 EST in Baltimore, two former bonus babies toe the rubber in Jon Gray and Dylan Bundy. Bundy is making just his third start of the year (he operated out of the bullpen before then), and it’s all sorts of cool to finally see him in a rotation after so many years of trials and tribulations and torn UCL’s. Gray, meanwhile, has a 3.28 DRA in 17 starts this year. His home ballpark is Coors Field, so he should feel right at home in Camden Yards.

An hour later, Masahiro Tanaka will lead the Yankees into battle against Lance McCullers and the Astros. New York has continued its ridiculous march toward relevance with Tuesday’s win over the Astros. A sweep tonight could quickly turn the calls of “Sell, sell, sell!” into “Buy… buy… buy?” Brian Cashman may not want to be Hal Steinbrenner’s fool, but unfortunately, it’s a game for two.

That sound you just heard is my editors grinding their teeth.

Thank you for reading

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