About Last Night: Moneyball Won’t Quit

Oakland A'sIn case you were out living a life of leisure, here’s what you missed in sports on Tuesday.

  • Travis Blackley allowed just one run over six innings as the A’s beat the Rangers 3-1 to move into a tie atop the AL West with just one game remaining. The loss is surprising, considering the fact that Nolan Ryan inspired the team in the locker room before the game by biting through a whole hunk of leather and fighting a cow. “I thought he’d never let up on that cow,” said Josh Hamilton. “To a certain extent, it didn’t feel like a fair fight.”
  • With one game left in the regular season, Miguel Cabrera leads in all three Triple Crown categories after a 2-3 performance in Detroit’s 4-2 loss to the Royals. He had previously won the Crown of Gold from his teammates in the Ceremony of Rabid Peers, and in the sixth inning yesterday, Jim Leyland bade him halt upon the dugout steps to present him with the coveted Crown of Thorns. Blood trickled down Cabrera’s forehead and the witnesses became increasingly frenzied during his Walk of Pain, which he completed successfully before collapsing at home plate. Now, on the final day, he must prostrate himself before the ruby throne of Bud Selig and bare himself body and soul whilst the Commissioner administers the Test of Purity. Then, and only then, shall he wear the elusive Crown of Love.
  • Raul Ibanez hit a game-tying homer in the ninth inning and a walk-off single in the 12th to give the Yankees a 4-3 win over Boston, and keep them a game ahead of Baltimore in the AL East. “I’ve never felt so close to you,” Joe Girardi said to his statistical binder after the game. “Get a room!” shouted A-Rod. “Seriously, do you mind going inside a room somewhere? I had bad dreams about what I saw the other day. I didn’t … I didn’t know it could be that way with a binder. I wasn’t ready.”
  • Chris Davis homered for the sixth straight game as the Orioles overcame James Shields and the Rays 1-0. And now, Terrence the Grantland Robot: “EXECUTE HUMOR CODE 87. LAST NAME OF PLAYER IS A VERB. SHOULD BE PRETTY BASIC. JAMES SHIELDS … HIS TEAM FROM WINS? NO, THAT IS NOT GOOD. JAMES SHOULD SHIELD HIMSELF FROM BATS? NO. NO. SON OF A BITCH, WHY IS THIS SO HARD? AND WHERE THE HELL IS MY OIL?! YOU WOULD THINK I WAS ASKING FOR DIAMOND FUEL AROUND HERE.”
  • Mat Latos pitched five strong innings to lead the Reds to a 4-3 win over the Cardinals, but St. Louis clinched a wild card berth with the Dodgers loss, and will play Atlanta in a one-game playoff on Friday. “Starting today,” said Latos, “Mat Latos becomes Total Sam. An anagram, yes, but much more than that. A new personality. Total Sam is a psychotic person who doesn’t understand the conventions of society, and can only derive pleasure from the chaos by striking batters out.” Latos then shoved his face directly into the camera. “When you see Total Sam on your television, he is not just on the screen. He is also in your home.”
  • Mark Ellis lined out to center with a runner on second in the ninth, and the Dodgers’ playoff bid finally came to an end with a 4-3 loss to San Francisco. “Oh, this is just great,” said Matt Kemp’s aggravated hamstring, speaking loudly in the locker room. “What a fantastic year! Hey, Red Sox players, thanks so much for coming over and bringing your winning culture over for our playoff stretch. Oh, and by the way, I’M BEING SARCASTIC. You’re garbage! All of you are garbage, and you deserve to die in prison! If it were up to me, you’d be confined to a tiny cell and fed tiny pieces of your own box scores every day for the rest of your mediocre lives! GOD I AM SO AGGRAVATED. AHHHHHHHH MY GOD I’M PULLED. MAYBE STRAINED. DON’T JUST STARE AT ME, KEMP, YOU UNDERACHIEVING BOZO, GET THAT FAT SLOB OF A TRAINER OVER HERE!”
  • R.A. Dickey revealed after yesterday’s 4-3 loss to the Marlins that he tore and possibly detached a stomach muscle in his second start of the season, and pitched the rest of the year with the injury. At least that’s what we think he said. His actual quote, in his native KnuckleSpeak, was harder to decipher: “Felled was secondarily in twisting eras if eyes suffer the invisible gastric knees frankly prayed and preyed upon pain of Almighty Knuckle deliver blessings unwanted and detachment saviors bodily they linger to dream. ‘Tis seminal if uttered.”
  • Sources indicate that Jets receiver Santonio Holmes will miss the rest of the year with a foot injury sustained in the fourth quarter against the 49ers Sunday. And don’t get me wrong, I feel bad for the guy, but if you wear novelty hot dog slippers around Rex Ryan, you’re asking for it.
  • Five months removed from back surgery, Lakers center Dwight Howard practiced with his new team for the first time. “It’s great to have him,” said head coach Mike Brown, who said he wasn’t nervous about Howard trying to undermine him. “He does have a ton of Machiavelli books, though. I mean, just a locker full of them. I honestly didn’t know Machiavelli had more than one book. It’s, uh … it’s a little weird. But he smiles a lot, so I guess it’s cool?”

Filed Under: About Last Night, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Jets, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Oakland A's, R.A. Dickey, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers

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Shane Ryan is a contributing writer for Grantland. His book about the young stars of the PGA Tour will be published by Random House in early 2015.

Archive @ ShaneRyanHere