Daily Dose: Perfection for Buehrle

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Less than two weeks after Jonathan Sanchez’s no-hitter versus San
Diego, Mark Buehrle did him one better with a perfect game against
Tampa Bay on Thursday. Buehrle, who also hurled a no-hitter in 2007, is
now the 24th pitcher with multiple no-nos. He needed help from
defensive replacement DeWayne Wise, who made a spectacular,
homer-robbing catch on Gabe Kapler leading off the ninth inning.

Buehrle’s perfect game was the 16th in baseball history and the
first since Randy Johnson in 2004, and he joins Johnson, Cy Young,
Sandy Koufax, Jim Bunning, and Addie Joss as the six pitchers with a
perfect game and a standard no-hitter. Interestingly, Johnson is
obviously bound for the Hall of Fame five years after he retires and
Young, Koufax, Bunning, and Joss are all in Cooperstown.

As a 30-year-old with 133 career wins, a 3.76 ERA, and just one
top-five finish in the Cy Young balloting Buehrle has a long way to go
before he’s even a marginal Hall of Fame candidate, but that’s some
amazing company. Oh, the world’s most famous White Sox fan, president
Barack Obama, even called to congratulate him after the game.

While the White Sox use his historic afternoon to jump into a tie
for first place in the AL Central, here are some other notes from
around baseball …

* With their bullpen ranked third-worst in the league with a 4.86
ERA and Manny Corpas headed for elbow surgery the Rockies added a pair
of new right-handed relievers Thursday. Rafael Betancourt will work in
a setup role after coming over from the Indians in exchange for
mid-level prospect Connor Graham and in a far more surprising move
he’ll be joined by 21-year-old top prospect Jhoulys Chacin.

Chacin led the minors in wins last season while going 18-3 with a
2.03 ERA in 28 starts between two levels of Single-A and has been very
solid while moving up to Double-A this year, but asking him to skip
right past Triple-A and face big-league hitters in an unfamiliar role
at the age of 21 seems like an odd decision even with the Rockies
holding a small Wild Card lead. Long term, he’s a No. 2 starter.

* Houston is 13-6 in July, but if the Astros are going to continue
their second-half surge it’ll have to come without Lance Berkman, who
was put on the disabled list Thursday with a strained left calf.
Berkman has been out of the starting lineup for five of the past six
games, but general manager Ed Wade suggested that he may have been able
to play through the injury “if we were in late September.”

* Jose Guillen has been put on the disabled list with a Grade 2 tear
of the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee, suffered
Wednesday while he was putting on a shin guard before an at-bat.
Seriously. He went to the hospital after hearing a “pop” and
complaining of “sudden right leg pain,” and is now facing an extended
stint on the sidelines that ends whatever chance the Royals had of
trading him.

AL Quick Hits: Jarrod Washburn has given up a total of two runs
in his last four starts after tossing seven shutout innings Thursday …
Rumors of St. Louis being after Matt Holliday are picking up steam …
Juan Rivera (hamstring) could rejoin the lineup this weekend after an
MRI exam showed no major damage … General manager J.P. Ricciardi said
Thursday that Roy Halladay isn’t interesting in inking extension with
the Blue Jays … Brian Anderson has requested a trade from the White
Sox, who’d deal him if they could … Glen Perkins isn’t expected to miss
a start despite being diagnosed with shoulder tendinitis … Several
sources report that the Angels are interested in Scott Kazmir, who was
on the losing end of the perfect game … Meanwhile, the Rays are
reportedly talking to the Indians about Cliff Lee … Bartolo Colon came
off the disabled list Thursday and will rejoin the rotation … Alex Rios
swiped three bases Thursday, giving him 18 on the year.

NL Quick Hits: Dan Haren allowed more than three runs Thursday
for the second time this season … Mike Gonzalez exited Thursday’s game
after being hit on the forearm by a comebacker, but X-rays were
negative … Adam Wainwright’s sixth straight Quality Start was a
rain-shortened complete-game win Thursday … Kelly Johnson came off the
disabled list Thursday after batting .308 in a dozen rehab games, but
Martin Prado has surpassed him at second base … Ryan Dempster could
return as soon as this weekend after X-rays showed “excellent healing”
in his broken toe … Scott Olsen should be ready for spring training
after no further damage was found during his labrum surgery Thursday …
Albert Pujols received a routine day off Thursday, with Mark DeRosa
filling in at first base … Barry Zito allowed one run on three hits in
seven innings Thursday for his third Quality Start in four tries.

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)
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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]

Russell Martin is not a fan of the automatic intentional walk

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 15:  Russell Martin #55 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts after being struck out in the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians during game two of the American League Championship Series at Progressive Field on October 15, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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On Tuesday, it was announced that Major League Baseball instituted a new rule allowing for a dugout signal in order to issue an intentional walk rather than having the pitcher throw four pitches wide of the strike zone. It’s commissioner Rob Manfred’s attempt to help improve the game’s pace of play.

As Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports, Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin is certainly not a fan of the change.

My thing is, if they really want to speed up the game, then when a guy hits a home run, to speed up the game should a guy, just like in softball, when he hits it, should he just walk to the dugout? It’d be quicker. I’m just wondering, at what point do we just keep the game, the game? Or, how about this calculation: take all the intentional walks that were made in the last couple years and calculate – or maybe just ask to see if they have that information, to see if they really did their homework. Is it really that important to speed up the game (with this rule)? Because how many games did we play last year where we didn’t have one intentional walk? That’s something I’d like to know.

Martin also expressed concern that eliminating the four-pitch intentional walk will hurt teams’ ability to buy time for their relievers to warm up.

It’s called getting your bullpen ready so the guy doesn’t blow out his arm on the mound. Speed up the game, speed up the game.’ How about we just give guys – the human being – time to warm up on the mound after maybe something’s happened in the game? I’m not a manager, but I’m just trying to put myself in the position of a manager. OK, we’re up by one run or two runs and our bullpen’s been taxed and we’re trying to save their arms, and then the other team walks, ball gets away, guy gets to second base. When the coach visits the mound to talk to his player, it’s not like the player necessarily needs somebody to talk to him.

It’s because the guy (in the bullpen) needs time to warm up, man. It’s the same thing when you throw over to first base, like, eight times in a row. It’s not like we’re trying to keep the guy close. The guy maybe has two stolen bases in 18 years. It’s because the guy needs time to warm up. At what point does that become a problem with guys warming up in the bullpen? Sometimes it’s just strategy to give guys a little bit of time to warm up.

The Jays’ backstop then said he’d prefer if Manfred were honest about the intent behind this rule change and others which have been proposed. Martin said, “Save it. I’m tired of hearing that same lame excuse all the time. Just be honest. If they’re honest about it, we’ll get over it. But don’t hide behind the fans.”

We should be hearing from a handful of players about the new intentional walk rule in the coming days. I can’t imagine the rule is very popular among the players.