And That Happened: Monday's scores and recaps

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Yankees 5, Indians 2:
In going so deep into the game, Joba Chamberlain finally becomes the
eighth inning pitcher everyone seems to want him to be. If he wants to
keep the critics happy after Mariano finally retires, he is going to
have to go to complete games. And this one makes eighteen straight
games without an error for the Yankees. So who’s gonna be the first guy
to draw everyone’s fire by identifying all of the balls where Jeter
didn’t get close enough to even risk an error, let alone threaten a
competent play? Rob Neyer? Tom Tango? John Dewan? James Click? Mike
Emeigh? Onion?

Pirates 8, Mets 5:
New York’s bullpen flashes back to 2008 and blows a 5-0 lead. Andy
LaRoche continues his good hitting — his line for May was
.330/411/.457 — going 2-4 with a triple and three RBI.

Astros 4, Rockies 1:
Why didn’t anyone inform me that Miguel Tejada was batting .353? Don’t
we have a communications protocol around here? I can’t be expected to
make sound command decisions if my crew is hiding things from me. Look,
I trust you all as officers. You’re all fine men and women. But if I
continue having to find this sort of thing out myself we’re just going
to go a “report everything” regime in which I take all discretion out
of your hands. I hope it doesn’t come to that. Now carry on.

Marlins 7, Brewers 4:
Jorge Julio came in in the sixth inning with a can of kerosene in one
hand and a match in the other, and then Ken Macha sprayed the
conflagration with hairspray when he brought Todd Coffey in.

White Sox 6, A’s 2:
That’s four in a row for Chicago, and 10 of 13 overall. Gavin Floyd
pitched well enough to win (7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 8K) but his teammates
scored too late to allow him to claim the W. I imagine that it is
exactly that sort of disrespect that is causing all of these pitchers to refuse trades to the White Sox.
I could go into brutal detail regarding how bad the A’s are playing
these days, but commenter APBA Guy does such a better job of it than I
do, that I suppose I should leave it to him.

Reds 5, Cardinals 3:
A win is nice, but losing Edinson Volquez in the second inning due to
numbness in his right hand and/or a reaggravation of his back injury
(unclear from early reports) is not good at all.

Orioles 1, Mariners 0:
Rich Hill shut out the Mariners for 7, giving up only two hits and Jim
Johnson and George Sherrill handled the other two innings to seal the
deal. The Orioles would probably like to play the Mariners all the
time, as they have won nine of eleven against them.

Diamondbacks 3, Dodgers 2:
Hiroki Kuroda is back after missing almost two months with an oblique
strain. I hate those. I much prefer my strains to be perpendicular nor
parallel. Anyway, he gave up two runs and three hits in five innings,
but got nothing from his offense by way of support. The L.A. bullpen
threw five wild pitches, which is always fun.

Phillies 5, Padres 3:
Adrian Gonzalez (hey, I can spell it right!) hit his 21st, but it
wasn’t enough as Joe Blanton was in rare, effective form. OK, he’s won
three in a row, and his last start was really impressive, but I’m not
prepared to take him out of the liability column just yet.

Breaking Down the Today’s Game Hall of Fame Ballot: Lou Piniella

TORONTO - JULY 9:  Manager Lou Pinella of the Cincinnati Reds looks on during batting practice prior to the1991 All-Star Game at the Toronto Sky Dome on July 9, 1991 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
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On Monday, December 5, the Today’s Game committee of the Baseball Hall of Fame — the replacement for the Veterans Committee which covers the years 1988-2016 — will vote on candidates for the 2017 induction class. This week we are looking at the ten candidates, one-by-one, to assess their Hall worthiness. Next up: Lou Piniella

The case for his induction:

He notched 1,835 wins, made seven postseason appearances, a won a World Series as a manager. That win total is good for 14th all time. Of the 13 men ahead of him, 12 are already in the Hall. The only who isn’t is Gene Mauch, who was under .500 for his career. Connie Mack and Bucky Harris are in that crowd and they were under .500 too, but Mack is kind of a special case as the all-time wins leader and Harris, well, I dunno, he hung around forever and the Veterans Committee was a different beast back in the 1970s. Point is, if you have Piniella’s win total and you’re over .500, as Piniella is, you’re probably getting in, at least eventually.

A lot of those wins came in some good places and at some good times, adding some psychological weight to that record. Taking the 1990 Reds to the World Series and beating the heavily favored A’s was a great story and, as the Reds’ last title for 26 years and counting, stands as a more memorable accomplishment than doing it someplace else. Likewise, his next job, in Seattle, coincided with the franchise’s best seasons thanks to the emergence of Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson and Edgar Martinez under Piniella’s command. Mariners’ history fundamentally changed during the Piniella era and he will always be associated with that. Oh, and his 2001 team set the single season record for wins with 116. He made two playoff appearances with the Cubs too. That’s been eclipsed by the 2016 team’s exploits, but it was a pretty big deal at the time.

It’s also worth noting that Piniella likewise had a very fine playing career, with 18 seasons of 109 OPS+ hitting, a Rookie of the Year Award and a couple of World Series rings on his resume. That’s not enough by itself to get him in the Hall, but he presents a nice total package as a Baseball Man Supreme who has been thought highly of for close to 50 years now.

Oh, one other thing: he was colorful. He had a temper and a repuatation as kind of a red ass, with a good number of on-the-field incidents which stick in people’s minds. That sort of thing doesn’t necessarily make someone a good manager or a good person, but Piniella has been seen as a guy who mellowed with age and, at various times in his career, showed that he had a sense of humor about all of that stuff which makes it play a heck of a lot better. For Hall of Fame purposes, it certainly plays a heck of a lot more memorably.

The case against his induction:

His years in Tampa Bay weren’t all that great and, by the time his days in Chicago were over there was a sense that he was sort of running on fumes and padding that win total to get him into that top 14. In both places Joe Maddon eventually came along and did better things and, in some cases, undoing some bad things Piniella did. Some believe he should’ve won another pennant or two and, yes, some of those Mariners teams disappointed in the postseason. Some people look less amusingly on his temper tantrums over the years and, I suppose, one could characterize them a bit more sinisterly than I did above without being too dramatic.

Would I vote for him?

I think so. As I mentioned in the George Steinbrenner entry, when it comes to managers and executives, I put a lot of weight on whether one could tell the story of baseball in a guy’s era without mentioning his name. Piniella is no Joe Torre, Bobby Cox of Tony La Russa in that regard, but he’s pretty close to that group in terms of the figure he cut in the game and, as I mentioned, he’s critical to the story of a couple of franchises. Certainly the Mariners but also the 1970s Yankees as a player and, possibly, the 1990 Reds. I tend to be a softer Hall of Fame touch than a lot of people, so I get that people may disagree, but I’d put him in.

Will the Committee vote for him?

Hard to say. On the one hand, Piniella feels like the sort of baseball man that gets rewarded by the Veterans Committee. On the other hand, the Veterans Committee took ages to vote in some other notable managers such as Whitey Herzog, suggesting that maybe Piniella will have to wait. This is the first year for the new composition of the Veterans Committe, however, so it’s hard to say if they’ll be tougher or easier graders. He may be the hardest call of all of the guys on this year’s ballot.

Twins hire James Rowson as their hitting coach

BOSTON, MA - June 4: The Minnesota Twins logo is seen during the fifth inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 4, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
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The Minnesota Twins have announced that they have hired James Rowson as their hitting coach.

Rowson was the minor league hitting coordinator for the New York Yankees for seven of the last nine seasons, interrupted by a short stint with the Chicago Cubs as minor league hitting coordinator. He also worked at the minor league levels with the Los Angeles Angels. He played in the minors for the Seattle Mariners and Yankees.

Rowson replacesTom Brunansky, who was hitting coach for the past four seasons.