And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and highlights

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Nationals 4, Mets 0: Not to take too much away from John Lannan
(CG, SHO, 7 H, 1K 0 BB), but David Wright was the only player in the
Mets’ lineup who has any business starting for a Major League team, let
alone one that still pretends that it’s contending.

Indians 2, Blue Jays 1: Cliff Lee’s starts are beginning to take on the air of street sale rather than a baseball game:

Live from 47th Street between Broadway and 6th Avenue-you can’t miss
it!-it’s SABRA PRICE IS RIGHT! Alright so let’s go with the game then.
Here is the host, URI SHURINSON!

Uri: Alright-alright-alright! Good-good-good! Yes-yes,
welcome-welcome to Sabra Price Is Right! I am Uri! Okay so we show you
beautiful merchandise; and you people, you guess price. So okay let’s
look at first merchandise!

[Shot: 30 year-old lefthander]

Harvey: Alright is Cliff Lee! Is pitcher from Cleveland. Is good! (CG, 7 H, 1 ER, 4 K 0 BB)

Uri: Okay-okay now who can tell me the correct price for the Cliff Lee?

Brewers 2, Pirates 0: Milwaukee blanks the Pirates. And Braden Looper beaned five guys because Kevin Young hit a homer off of Doug Jones back in May of 1998. Maybe you think that’s extreme, but that’s just how the Brew Crew rolls.

Angels 8, Royals 5: You’re not going to believe this, but Sidney
Ponson got rocked (5 IP, 8 H, 6 ER). Jose Guillen drove in two. It’s
amazing what you can do when you take ownership over your problems.

Yankees 6, Orioles 4: Neyer yesterday:

The Yankees are probably good enough to get into the playoffs with
Sergio Mitre in their rotation … but is it really worth the risk? And
I’m sorry, but I just don’t believe it must take a month to get Hughes
conditioned for 100 pitches. Anyway, why is that the threshold for
acceptability? How many times do the Yankees think that Mitre’s going
to last for 100 pitches?

Last night’s results: 91 pitches, even when pitching with a four-run
lead. It’s great that he won and everything, but is there any doubt
that Phil Hughes could do at least that and maybe save the bullpen some
innings?

Braves 8, Giants 1: It’s amazing what ridding your lineup of
automatic outs can do. With Jordan Schafer, Kelly Johnson and Jeff
Francoeur gone, the Braves have been on an offensive tear. In this one,
Martin Prado had three hits and scored three runs and Brian McCann hit
a three-run homer and drove in four. Now if only the Phillies would
lose a game . . .

Phillies 4, Cubs 1: Damn. Jayson Werth with a walkoff three-run homer in the bottom of the 13th.

Tigers 9, Mariners 7: Not a lot of pitching in this one, as
seven homers were hit, two by Jack Hannahan of the Ms and one grand
slam by Magglio Ordonez. Franklin Gutierrez slammed into the wall and
had to leave the game, but x-rays were negative. Which, strangely
enough, is a positive thing.

Rangers 4, Red Sox 2: Losing four of five out the gate in the
second half is probably not what the Sox had in mind, but that’s what
happens when you can’t figure out rookies with names like Tommy Hunter.
They should trade him to the Braves to team up with Hanson. Both
“Hunter & Hanson” and “Tommy and Tommy” sound like 1980s
action/adventure shows that I totally would have watched back then. It
would air right before “Riptide” and right after “The A-Team.”

Rays 3, White Sox 2: Bobby Jenks loaded the bases in the ninth
but got out of it on Monday night, but last night he wasn’t so lucky.
Coming in with a one run lead, Jenks allowed
single-HBP-single-walk-sacrifice-hit-walk before getting out of it.
Spoiled a nice Clayton Richard start too (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7K).

Astros 11, Cardinals 6: This has to have been Todd Wellemeyer’s
last start for the Cardinals, no? That one nice start against the
Giants back on July 2nd didn’t buy him a mile of rope, did it? Wandy
Rodriguez (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER), Carlos Lee (grand slam) and Miguel Tejada
(2-3, 3 RBI) lead the charge for the Astros.

Angels 10, Royals 2: Erik Aybar was a beast in this
doubleheader, smacking seven hits between the two games. He’s also 24
for his last 43. Kansas City used nine pitchers in yesterday’s games.

Dodgers 12, Reds 3: I think the Homer Bailey experiment is
nearing its end as he has a 14.53 ERA over his past two starts and
isn’t fooling anyone. And I’d like to think that this Dusty Baker quote
was meant as a dig at Joe Torre, though it probably wasn’t: “You know
you’ve got a good lineup when your eighth hitter’s hitting
.320-something. I don’t know If I’ve seen that ever.” He’s referring to
Matt Kemp, of course, who has no business hitting eighth. Not that it’s
hurting the Dodgers at the moment or anything.

Twins 3, A’s 2: Runs were a bit more scarce in this one. And,
unlike yesterday, Mike Muchlinski called Michael Cuddyer safe when it
mattered, this time on his 10th inning RBI triple.

Marlins 3, Padres 2: I have absolutely nothing interesting to
say about this game, so I’ll just note that “Stripes” was on AMC last
night. It’s been years since I’ve seen it, and yes, it holds up. Lee
Harvey, you are a madman. When you stole that cow, and your friend
tried to make it with the cow. I want to party with you, cowboy. If the
two of us together, forget it.

Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 5: Same here, really. Sorry, I guess
last nights west coast games just aren’t speaking to me like Monday
night’s did. C’mon, it’s Czechoslovakia. We zip in, we pick ’em up, we
zip right out again. We’re not going to Moscow. It’s Czechoslovakia.
It’s like going into Wisconsin.

Rob Manfred on robot umps: “In general, I would be a keep-the-human-element-in-the-game guy.”

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 5:  Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred talks with media prior to a game between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.

The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?

Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.

The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.

I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.

Report: MLB approves new rule allowing a dugout signal for an intentional walk

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 29:  MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred laughs during a ceremony naming the 2016 winners of the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award and the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award before Game Four of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
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ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.

MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.

Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.

Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this: