And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and recaps

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Royals 2, Astros 1:
The legend goes that Zack Greinke fell in love with an Earth woman.
Deciding that he wanted to be with her, he chose to undergo the
irreversible process of immersing himself in the red Kyptonian
sunlight, stripping him of his super powers. After three or four weeks
of being mortal, however, he realized that he needed to trek back to
the Fortress of Solitude to see if he couldn’t get his powers back. It
all worked out in the end, as Greinke returned to Planet Houston and
defeated his enemies in impressive style (8 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 5K). Only
hitch: Brian Bannister still knew his secret identity when it was all
over, so they had to engage in a very awkward kiss to set everything
back the way it was.

Braves 4, Yankees 0:
The book on the Yankees is that they are nearly powerless when facing
rookie or, at the very least, unfamiliar starters. I don’t know if
that’s actually true, but it certainly seems it, and getting shutout by
rookie Tommy Hanson and a gaggle of relievers doesn’t help the
perception any. Sad thing is that Wang actually pitched better than
Hanson in some respects, so at least that’s something for the Yankees
to build on. In other news, Braves’ catcher Brian McCann continues to
be astounding (3-4, 2B, HR 2 RBI) and has no business trailing Yadier
Molina in the All-Star voting right now.

Phillies 10, Rays 1:
Unlike the Yankees, the Phillies seem to have no such trouble against
rookie pitchers, and they roughed David Price the hell up (4.1 IP, 7 H,
10 R). Only five of those runs were earned due to three Rays’ errors,
but it’s not like Price wasn’t smacked around, because he clearly was.

Dodgers 5, White Sox 4:
Early Wynn was knocked out of the box, well, early, giving up four runs
on eight hits in two and two thirds. Roger Craig wasn’t any great
shakes himself (7 IP, 10 H, 4 R) but between that and a homer and an
RBI single from Hodges, it was enough. Next it’ll be the youngster
Koufax facing off against Bob Shaw two nights from now back in Chicago.
If he can pull it off, the Dodgers will have won their first title
since moving to Los Angeles. Turning to business news, General Motors
announced today that it foresees profits for the next century at the
very least, and anticipates that Flint, Michigan will soon rival New
York, London and Paris in wealth, prosperity and opulence.

Red Sox 11, Nationals 3:
Over 41,000 in attendance in Nationals Park on a Tuesday night? Yep,
Boston must be in town. Jason Bay (4-6, HR 3 RBI) made the interlopers
happy, and Brad Penny continued to show would be trade partners that
he’s basically a five inning pitcher, even if he’s becoming an
increasingly effective one. Give up value at your own risk.

Tigers 5, Cubs 4:
Magglio Ordonez got the start after riding the pine for four games,
goes 0-2 and is lifted for a pinch runner, and then later the guy who
has been starting in his place hits a two-run, come-from-behind walkoff
homer. I suspect that it’s back to the pine for Magglio.

Indians 5, Pirates 4: There was an article yesterday about how one could conceivably get pumped up
for what looks to be such a blah series between two blah teams. I don’t
know if I buy a lot of them, but I can definitely buy the
Cleveland-Pittsburgh rivalry thing. It’s slanted way east in football,
but baseball could maybe spice it up a bit, no? After all, Cleveland is
way closer to Pittsburgh than it is to its putative interleague rival,
the Reds, and Cleveland and Pittsburgh have more in common with one
another from a cultural and demographic standpoint than Cleveland and
Cincinnati do.

Marlins 7, Orioles 6:
Two counts of bullpen malpractice. Count I: against Danys Baez for
allowing five runs on four hits in the seventh. Count II: against a
quartet of Fish relievers that immediately turned around and blew that
lead in the eighth and ninth. Jorge Cantu singled in the winning run in
the twelfth, but that can be blamed on the pen too, as Brian Bass
walked Emilio Bonafacio for some strange reason, then uncorked a wild
pitch to allow him to get to second before Cantu did his thing. Pfun
Pfact: by the year 2017, use of the term “uncorked” in the wild pitch
context will exceed its use in the wine context for the first time in
recorded history. If you don’t believe me, you can look it up.

Cardinals 3, Mets 0:
Joel Pinero shuts the Mets down with a two hit shutout. He had two hits
on his own too, which really rubbed the Mets noses in it, no? And the
Mets didn’t even make him work a little it: he threw 100 pitches even
and this one was over in two hours and thirteen minutes.

Twins 7, Brewers 3:
It was a victory just getting this game played at home given the damage
last week’s flooding caused at Miller Park, so let’s call this a split
for the Brewers. Joe Mauer goes 0-5, knocking him down below .400 for
the first time this season. Apropos of nothing, I’ll note that
knuckleballer R.A. Dickey is sporting a 2.43 ERA on the season.

Blue Jays 7, Reds 5: Joey Votto returns. He only goes 1-4, but as Bob wrote earlier this morning,
he could have taken a golden sombrero and it wouldn’t have made a
difference, because the mere fact that he’s playing ball after what
he’s gone through is a triumph.

Padres 9, Mariners 7:
With the exception of one inning, Chad Gaudin pitched excellently (7
IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 11K) then had to bite his nails as reliever Greg Burke
did his best to throw it all away.

Diamondbacks 8, Rangers 2:
The season may already be lost for Arizona, but Max Scherzer (6 IP, 7
H, 2 ER) and Justin Upton (2-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI) at least provide a
bright future.

Angels 4, Rockies 3:
This win, combined with the Rangers loss, puts the Angels into a first
place tie. There was a point in April where that seemed impossible, but
it seems that anything is possible in the AL West.

Giants 4, A’s 1: Lincecawesome! (CG, 7 H, 1 ER, 12K). OK, that was probably uncalled for.

Must-Click Link: Where’s Timmy?

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Tim Lincecum last pitched last season for the Angels and he did not pitch well. Over the winter and into the spring there were reports that he was working out at a facility somewhere in Arizona with an aim toward trying to latch on to another team. He didn’t. And, given how his velocity and effectiveness had nosedived over the previous few seasons, it was probably unrealistic to think he’d make it back to the bigs.

But now, as Daniel Brown of the Mercury News reports, he seems to simply be gone.

He’s not missing in any legal sense — his friends and family know where he is — but he’s out of the public eye in a way that most players at the end of their careers or the beginning of their retirements usually aren’t. He’s not been hanging around his old club, even though the Giants say they’d love to honor him and give him a job if and when he announces his retirement. He’s not hanging around his high school or college alma maters even though he makes his home in Seattle, where they are. He’s gone from being one of the most identifiable and conspicuous presences in baseball to having disappeared from the public eye.

Brown’s story is an excellent one, touching on Lincecum’s professional rise and professional fall, as well as the personality traits that may suggest why he’s not eager to be making headlines or posing for pictures. A good read.

 

Major League Baseball claims it will “redouble its efforts” on expanded netting

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Yesterday, during the Minnesota Twins-New York Yankees game at Yankee Stadium, a young girl was injured after a foul ball flew off the bat of Todd Frazier and into the stands along the third base line where she was sitting. In some parks that ball would be stopped because of netting down the line.

There was no netting that far down the line in Yankee Stadium, because (a) Major League Baseball does not require it; and (b) the Yankees have still not committed to expanding it like other teams have.

A few minutes ago, Commissioner Rob Manfred released a statement about the injury:

I’m not sure how baseball can “redouble” its efforts given that its efforts thus far have been to completely delegate the responsibility of expanded netting to the 30 clubs.

This delegation came in December of 2015 when Major League Baseball released its recommendation — not its mandate — that teams provide expanded netting. Teams were “encouraged” to shield the seats between the near ends of both dugouts (i.e., the ends of the dugouts located closest to home plate) and within 70 feet of home plate with protective netting or other safety materials of the clubs’ choice. At the same time, they launched “fan education” guidelines about where to sit and whether or not they’ll be protected.

While these recommendations were better than nothing, they also seemed far more geared toward diminishing the liability of the league and its clubs than actively protecting fans from screaming projectiles.

The stuff about fan education was obviously a creature of an assumption-of-the-risk calculus. It was, essentially, a disclaimer of the “don’t say we didn’t warn you” variety and, as such, was aimed more at shielding baseball from liability over batted ball or bat-shard injuries than at directly shielding fans from such injuries. Even the netting recommendation could be construed as MLB insulating itself from being joined in a lawsuit at a later date if a club were to get sued over a fan injury. A way of saying “hey, we told the Yankees [or whoever] that they should do more, please don’t sue us too.”

It’s one thing to do all of that and walk away, as the league seemed content to do in 2015. It’s another thing to walk back today, as Manfred is, claiming that the league will “redouble” such transparently ineffective efforts. It’s frankly insulting. Yet this is baseball’s approach to the matter. The league is, for whatever reason, afraid to tell its clubs that it has to do something that is so clearly prudent. It, apparently, is waiting for a someone to be killed by a foul ball before mandating netting rather than meekly suggesting it.

Oh, I’m sorry. Waiting for someone else to be killed. Because it has happened before. Absent prudent protections it will, inevitably, happen again.

While Major League Baseball may have been safe from being held responsible for such things due to its ticket disclaimers and assumption of the risk arguments in the past, it won’t be in the future. One would hope it will not take death or debilitating injury of a fan for the league to accept it.