And That Happened: Thursday scores and recaps

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Braves 7, Reds 0: Tommy Hanson shuts out the Reds over six
innings. Not that he was brilliant or anything. He threw a lot of
pitches, got into jams and all of the kind of stuff you see young kids
do. But it’s all good, because even when he’s been getting lit up like
a pinball machine, he has continued to play this game with fear and
ignorance. No wait, arrogance.

Padres 4, Mariners 3: The Padres jump on Adrian Gonzalez’s back
(4-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) and finally win an interleague game. Don Wakamatsu
on pitching to Gonzalez: “He ends up hitting a home run and a double
when we are trying to pitch around him. That is the most frustrating
part.” Chris Jakubauskas on pitching to Gonzalez: “I wasn’t trying to
pitch around him.” OK, someone’s lying and no one is leaving this room
until we find out who it is.

Rockies 4, Rays 3: Jim Tracy on Ubaldo Jiminez: “Ubaldo is a guy
who is beginning to find his niche. I still believe there’s still
another step on the ladder that he aspires to take and that is to
become a bona fide ace-stopper type starting pitcher in the Rockies
rotation.” That was his real postgame quote? It sounds like a book
blurb or a marketing statement or something. I think the “in the
Rockies’ rotation” is what sealed it. It just sounds weird. Does Tracy
really talk like that?

Astros 5, Rangers 3: I was trying to make a funny yesterday when
I said that the loser of this series wins the State of Texas. I guess
it wasn’t too funny, though, because someone emailed me to tell me that
I was being both ignorant and disrespectful. That’s nothing new, but at
least the emailer educated me a bit. The winner of this series wins “The Silver Boot.”
It’s a a 30-inch tall, size-15 cowboy boot cast in silver, complete
with a custom, hand-made spur. How very college football of them. I
wonder if the Rangers, who once again won the Silver Boot, came running
out of the dugout after the game, grabbed the boot and started whooping
it up like Wisconsin does with that axe after they beat Minnesota and vice-versa.

Tigers 6, Cardinals 3: Magglio rode the pine, and will continue to do so “indefinitely” according to Jim Leyland.
His replacement, Ryan Rayburn, was 0-3 and struck out twice. Game
story: “Albert Pujols grounded out as a pinch hitter for hot-hitting
rookie Colby Rasmus in the seventh and played first base the rest of
the game and flied out in the ninth. La Russa wanted to get him a day
off, plus he has a sore ankle.” Two at bats and a couple of innings in
the field doesn’t sound like much of a day off to me, but then again,
I’m not a genius like Tony La Russa.

Twins 5, Pirates 1: Nick Blackburn (CG, 6 H, 1 ER) was the man,
as he basically has been in the Twins rotation all year. After the
game, pitching coach Rick Anderson said “He’s basically been the
stabilizer.” So, is Blackburn’s new nickname “gelatin” or
“carrageenan?” That’s a little food additive humor for ya. Additives —
NOT preservatives.

Nationals 3, Yankees 0: A five and a half hour rain delay?
Really? Waiting around for this game to start lasted longer than the
travel and suit-up time a makeup game would have taken. This is fun too
“about 10,000 people were sprinkled around the ballpark for the first
pitch. When the Yankees announced fans could move down, there was a
stampede toward the $2,625 seats in the front row. By the end, the
upper deck and bleachers were virtually empty.” Part of me hopes that
the peasants ransacked the manor houses while their owners were away.

Blue Jays 8, Phillies 7: Rod Barajas hits the game winning home
run in the ninth. Apparently Barajas is hated in Philly despite having
played there for only one season and despite being Rod Barajas. Anyone
care to educate me as to the reason for the ire? Because from where I’m
sitting, this is the equivalent of Braves fans hating Paul Bako or
Charlie O’Brien or someone. How can the response to a guy like Barajas
— who played all of 48 games for the Phillies — be anything other
than slightly peeved indifference?

Orioles 5, Mets 4: Francisco Rodriguez and his tired act came
into the game to lock things down in the ninth, except they didn’t get
locked down. Matt Wieters doubled to kick things off. Dave Trembley
then sent in a pinch runner for him, and was amazingly allowed to live.
The pinch runner scored, so maybe it was all willed by Wieters that way
to begin with. In any event, an Adam Jones bases-loaded walk followed
by an Aubrey Huff liner ended the proceedings.

Cubs 6, White Sox 5: A wild come from behind win by the Cubbies.
Down 5-1 in the eighth, Derek Lee hit a three-run homer followed by a
solo shot from Geovany Soto to tie things up. In the ninth it was
Alfonso Soriano with an RBI single. If he didn’t get that, I wouldn’t
have been surprised to see Piniella give him the Magglio Ordonez
treatment.

Marlins 2, Red Sox 1: They called this one early due to rain.
Because it was the Red Sox, however, the game still took three hours
and twenty-six minutes.

Diamondbacks 12, Royals 5: After two great starts following his
second callup, Luke Hochevar reverted to May form, giving up seven runs
on nine hits in four innings. Danny Haren, meanwhile, held the Royals
to two runs on seven hits, struck out six and didn’t issue a walk in
seven innings.

Dodgers 3, A’s 2: Randy Wolf pitched well but got another
no-decision. Pfun Pfact: Vin Mazzaro is the first A’s pitcher with two
sacrifices in one game since Ken Holtzman on Aug. 27, 1972. I hate the
DH.

Miguel Cabrera has two herniated discs in his back

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Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera underwent an MRI which revealed two herniated discs in his back, MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports. With six games remaining in the season, if Cabrera plays again, it will be as a designated hitter.

The back issues shed a lot of light on Cabrera’s uncharacteristically subpar season. He’s batting .249/.329/.399 with 16 home runs and 60 RBI in 529 plate appearances this season. He carries an adjusted OPS of 92, which is eight points below the league average and 14 points below his previous career low set in 2003 with the Marlins.

Cabrera, 34, is signed through 2023 and is owed a minimum of $192 million through the end of his contract.

MLB managers weigh in on anthem protests

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No other Major League Baseball player has taken a knee during the National Anthem since Athletics’ catcher Bruce Maxwell‘s protest on Saturday night. The demonstration was sparked by President Donald Trump’s call for the boycott of the National Football League and the firing of any player who chose not to stand during the anthem. The comments drew harsh criticism from many NFL players, coaches and owners and more than a few in MLB have also lended their support. There is still one game left to play on Sunday, but it’s unclear whether any of Maxwell’s league-mates will show their solidarity by refusing to stand as well.

Given a baseball culture that tends toward conformity more often than not, it seems unlikely. But it’s something league managers are prepared for — even if they don’t all agree with the demonstrations themselves.

White Sox’ skipper Rick Renteria specifically addressed Maxwell’s protest on Sunday, speaking to the league’s policy of inclusivity:

None of the White Sox knelt prior to their series finale against the Royals. Neither did members of the Pirates or the Cardinals, though St. Louis manager Mike Matheny and Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington both weighed in on the situation.

Matheny called the president’s comments “hurtful” and, like the Cubs’ Joe Maddon, appeared content to leave the decision to protest up to each player.

The Pirates, meanwhile, took a firmer tone. “We appreciate our players’ desire and ability to express their opinions respectfully and when done properly,” GM Huntington told Elizabeth Bloom of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “When done appropriately and properly, we certainly have respect for our players’ ability to voice their opinion.”

Just what the Pirates consider “appropriate and proper” protocol was left up in the air, and club president Frank Coonelly offered no further insights in a separate statement to the press. Setting strict parameters for players to voice their opinions kind of puts them in a gray area, one they’ll have to clear up should someone elect to protest in the days to come, either with a bent knee and a hand over their heart or in some other fashion.

Equally ambiguous were comments from Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts, who claimed to oppose the movement for personal, if misguided reasons, but also respected the right of his players to make an “educated” statement in protest.

The Indians’ Terry Francona took what was perhaps the most balanced approach of the entire group:

“It’s easy for me to sit here and say, ‘Well, I think this is the greatest country in the world,’ because I do,” Francona told MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. “But, I also haven’t walked in other people’s shoes. So, until I think, not just our country, but our world, until we realize that, hey, people are actually equal — it shouldn’t be a revelation — and the different doesn’t mean less. It’s just different. We’ve got work to do.”

These may all be moot points. Maxwell may be the only player to formally protest Trump’s comments, despite the good intentions of his teammates and fellow players around the league. Others may feel too ambivalent, threatened or uncomfortable to protest what the A’s catcher referred to as a “racial divide,” especially in a way that is routinely perceived as unpatriotic.

Even if the protests made by NFL players and Bruce Maxwell fail to gain momentum, however, the underlying issues they speak to are not going away anytime soon. Here, then, is where MLB managers can help foster a more inclusive environment throughout the league, not only by showing respect for a player’s decision to stand against racism but by actively partnering with those who do so. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s a start.