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.

Don Mattingly thinks pace of play can be improved by changing views on strikeouts

Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly sits in the dugout prior to a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Monday, April 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo
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Marlins manager Don Mattingly has one potential solution to the pace of play issue: change the way people value strikeouts, the Associated Press reports.

Strikeouts have been rising steadily since 2005. Then, a typical game averaged 6.30 strikeouts. In 2016, there were 8.03 strikeouts per game. There are many explanations for this phenomenon. For one, teams are searching specifically for young pitchers who can throw hard — like triple-digits hard. They figure they can teach them the other pertinent skills in the minors. Second, Sabermetrics has shown that a strikeout is only marginally worse than an out made on a ball put in play. Sometimes, the strikeout is preferable, especially if there’s a runner on first base with less than two outs and a weak hitter at the plate. Sabermetrics has also shown home runs to be the best and most efficient way to contribute on offense. Furthermore, younger players tend to focus more on power in order to get noticed by scouts. Unless it’s paired with other elite skills, a scout isn’t going to remember a player who hit the ball into the hole on the right side, but he will remember the kid who blasted a 450-foot homer.

Here’s what Mattingly had to say:

Analytically, a few years back nobody cared about the strikeout, so it’s OK to strike out 150, 160, 170 times, and that guy’s still valued in a big way. Well, as soon as we start causing that to be a bad value — the strikeouts — guys will put the ball in play more. So once we say strikeouts are bad and it’s going to cost you money the more you strike out, then the strikeouts will go away. Guys will start making adjustments and putting the ball in play more.

[…]

If our game values [say that] strikeouts don’t matter, they are going to keep striking out, hitting homers, trying to hit home runs and striking out.

Simply believing strikeouts are bad won’t magically change its value. However, creating social pressure regarding striking out can change it. Theoretically, anyway. Creating that social pressure is easier said than done.

There is a dichotomy here as well. Home runs are exciting. Strikeouts and walks are not. Often, though, the three go hand-in-hand-in-hand. A player actively trying to cut down on his strikeouts by putting the ball in play will also likely cut down on his strikeout and walk rates. There doesn’t seem to be an elegant solution here. Wishing for fewer strikeouts, walks, and homers doesn’t really seem to give way to a more exciting game.

Sean Doolittle: “Refugees aren’t stealing a slice of the pie from Americans.”

ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 25:  Sean Doolittle #62 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 25, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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In the past, we’ve commented on Athletics reliever Sean Doolittle and his girlfriend Eireann Dolan’s community service. In 2015, the pair hosted Syrian refugee families for Thanksgiving and their other charitable efforts have included LGBTQ outreach and help for veterans.

Athletes and their significant others have typically avoided stepping into political waters, but Doolittle and Dolan have shown that it’s clearly no concern to them. In the time since, the Syrian refugee issue has become even more of a hot-button issue and Doolittle recently discussed it with Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.

I think America is the best country in the world because we’ve been able to attract the best and brightest people from all over the world. We have the smartest doctors and scientists, the most creative and innovative thinkers. A travel ban like this puts that in serious jeopardy.

I’ve always thought that all boats rise with the tide. Refugees aren’t stealing a slice of the pie from Americans. But if we include them, we can make the pie that much bigger, thus ensuring more opportunities for everyone.

Doolittle, of course, is referring to Executive Order 13769 signed by President Trump which sought to limit incoming travel to the United States from seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. A temporary restraining order on the executive order was placed on February 3, a result of State of Washington v. Trump.

Doolittle spoke more about the plight refugees face:

These are people fleeing civil wars, violence and oppression that we can’t even begin to relate to. I think people think refugees just kind of decide to come over. They might not realize it takes 18-24 months while they wait in a refugee camp. They go through more than 20 background checks and meetings with immigration officers. They are being vetted.

They come here, and they want to contribute to society. They’re so grateful to be out of a war zone or whatever they were running from in their country that they get jobs, their kids go to our schools, they’re paying taxes, and in a lot of cases, they join our military.

Around this time last year, Craig wrote about Doolittle and Dolan not sticking to baseball. They’re still not, nor should they be. Hopefully, the duo’s outspokenness inspires other players and their loved ones to speak up for what’s right.

[Hat tip: Deadspin’s Hannah Keyser]