And That Happened: Monday's Scores and Highlights

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Marlins 8, Astros 6: Houston put a late scare into the fish, but
it was all for naught. Florida wins its fourth in a row, and now sit
3.5 behind Philly. As Pinto notes, having guys getting on base in front of Hanley Ramirez is a good, good thing for the Marlins.

Blue Jays 5, Yankees 4: You have to think that this is the end
of the line for Sergio Mitre (5 IP, 6 H, 5 R). And don’t tell me that
only three of those runs were earned. Cano was charged with an error on
that throw to second, but it looked like Mitre really was the one to
blame. And even if he wasn’t, Cano didn’t give up that triple to Joe
Inglett. So, sure, I’ve accepted the fact that no one wants to make
Phil Hughes a starter this year. How about a good old fashioned four
man rotation? Joba rules, schmoba rules; all four of the Yankees good
starters are the kinds of guys that could pull it off. Sabathia would
probably thrive on it. Maybe Joba would even revert back to that
quick-pitch, hyper-efficiency thing he broke out a couple of starts
ago. OK, I’ll shut up now. I realize that by obsessing on the best team
in baseball’s fifth starter that I’m starting to sound like some
deranged Yankees fan.

Athletics 9, Orioles 1: Mark Ellis (5-5, 4 RBI) and Gio Gonzales
(6 IP, 7 H, 0 ER) lead the charge against Baltimore, and now the As
have taken nine straight from the Os. I haven’t mentioned it much for a
long time, but now is as good a time as any to note that the Matt
Wieters Takes Over the World Campaign is currently floundering
(.263/.309/.374).

Red Sox 6, Tigers 5: After being stymied by the Yankees, the
Sox, surprisingly, get to Edwin Jackson (4 IP, 9 H, 4 ER). I guess
that’s home cookin’ for ya.

Cardinals 4, Reds 1: Kyle Lohse gets his first win in months.
Johnny Cueto had to leave the game early with a hip injury. Pujols flew
out with the bases loaded in the fifth. Man, that guy just ain’t clutch.

Rockies 11, Cubs 5: Troy Tulowitzki was a one-man gang, hitting
for the cycle and going 5 for 5 with seven RBI. Tulo said after the
game that, under most circumstances, he would have stopped at second on
the hit that ended up being the triple, but that Brad Hawpe had egged
him on earlier in the game to stretch anything even close in order to
get the cycle. I guess I don’t have any problem with that, even though
Colorado had an seven run lead at the time. Anyone know if anyone ever
willingly stopped at first base to get a single to complete the cycle
on a hit that should have been extra bases? That’s the kind of guy I’d
go after. Tom Gorzelanny won’t be inspiring any more of those “the Cubs
steal Gorzelanny” articles like we saw last week after this start (1.1
IP, 6 H, 6 ER), and then he had to leave the game after taking one off
the foot.

Diamondbacks 7, Mets 4: Diamondback Trent Oeltjen made his Major
League debut on the 6th, has played in four games, and now has three
homers. He’s Australian, and says that people back home are watching. I
know baseball is increasingly popular down there with leagues and
everything, but I get a giggle thinking of people gathered around a TV,
taking it in with a certain WTF-ness, much the way people of a certain
age here used to watch Aussie football on ESPN in the early 80s. Miguel
Montero had three doubles, Doug Davis gave up two runs and four hits in
seven innings and the Dbacks have won eight of ten.

Angels 8, Rays 7: Vlad hit his 399th and 400th career homers,
the latter of which proved to be the game winner. According to the game
story, the milestone home run was discussed at the Guerrero home over
the weekend: “My mom kept telling me there’s two more. My brother
Wilton had bad math and said it was one more,” said Vlad. I get this
image of 35 year-old Wilton and 34 year-old Vlad sitting at the dinner
table with their mom, arguing like my brother and I did when we were
kids. They’re eating pasta with marinara, and their mom made them take
their shirts off because they’re messy. Then mom smacks Wilton and
chides him for (a) being bad at math; and (b) slurping his spaghetti.
Wilton cries and Vlad retreats to a peaceful place deep in his head
where no one argues. Then my dad gets up from the table, pours himself
a tall glass of liquor, walks into his den and grumbles about how his
life didn’t turn out the way he imagined it would. Um, I mean Vlad and
Wilton’s dad. Not my dad. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an
appointment with my therapist I have to keep.

Dodgers 4, Giants 2: Matt Kemp (3-run double) and Hiroki Kuroda
(6.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER) weren’t having any of that “watch out for the
Giants” talk. As expected, “Ramirez was loudly booed by a sellout crowd
in his first game in San Francisco since coming back from a 50-game
suspension for violating baseball’s drug rules — payback for the
treatment former Giants slugger Barry Bonds used to get in Los
Angeles.” I knew it was too much to ask Giants fans to show a little
grace and understanding and take the high road on that point, but I had
kind of hoped they would have anyway. I mean, sure, it’s satisfying to
boo Manny, but wouldn’t not booing him and, instead, just
greeting him with silence send a big F-U to Dodgers’ fans? Or is that
too much nuance to expect 40,000 people to grok?

Mariners 6, White Sox 4: Not only did the Sox lose this one, but
after the game they claimed my mortgage and credit card debt after I
put it on waivers. Seriously, you guys should try this. Kenny Williams
will take anything
.

The Nats are sniffing around for relief pitching help

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The Nationals began the year with Blake Treinen as their closer. That didn’t last long, and now Koda Glover seems to be Dusty Baker’s man in the ninth inning. He earned a save for the second consecutive game yesterday. Glover has been pretty darn good in the early going, posting a 2.35 ERA and striking out six batters and walking only one in seven and two-thirds. That obviously a small sample size, and anything can happen. If it does, Baker has Shawn Kelley as an option.

Not many household names there, which is probably why the Nationals are reported to be interested in the White Sox’ David Robertson and Alex Colome of the Rays. That report comes from Jim Bowden of ESPN, who also notes that the A’s have a number of guys with closing experience on staff and are likely to be sellers too. The David Robertson thing may have more legs, though, given that Mike Rizzo and Rick Hahn pulled off a pretty major trade in the offseason. If you know a guy well, you call that guy first, right?

As far as problems go this isn’t a huge one. The Nats sit at 13-5 and, as expected by most prognosticators, are in first place in the National League East. The Cubs had some questions in the pen this time last year too. They had the luxury of trying to figure it out before making a massive trade for a closer. The Nats do too, and likely will. But expect them to be a part of any trade rumor conversation for the next couple of months.

 

The big flaw in modern ballparks

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Travis Sawchik writes about the post-Camden Yards generation of ballparks over at FanGraphs. The ones everyone loves because they’re nice and clean and friendly and are full of amenities. And that’s true! They are nice! But they all have a huge flaw: unless you’re in expensive seats, you’re too far away from the action.

Sawchik uses cross sections of ballparks — available at Andrew Clem’s website — to show that fans sitting in the upper decks of ballparks are way higher and way farther back than they used to be at many old ballparks such as Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium, Old Comiskey, Tiger Stadium and Ebbets Field.

A lot of this has to do with an admirable impulse: to eliminate the beams which obstructed the view of many seats in those old parks. If you want to move that upper deck closer to the field, you have to have the beams because one can only achieve so much via cantilever effect. But that’s not the only impulse and probably not the primary one. More expansive lower bowls — which feature more expensive tickets — push the upper deck back and up. As do the luxury suites and club level amenities in between the lower and upper decks. Exacerbating this is the fact that most newer parks are built on vast tracts of land with few architectural constraints. If you can sprawl, you will, which leaves the most affordable seats in the land of binoculars.

I don’t agree with everything Sawchik writes here. He spends a lot of time talking about how much better neighborhood parks like Wrigley Field are and how it’d be better if newer parks were built in neighborhoods. I agree, neighborhood parks are ideal, but the fact is, most places don’t have mass transit like Chicago does. In most cities you have to have a place for 40,000 people to park.

That’s a quibble, though. Mostly, it’s a good look at an important thing most folks overlook when they praise the new parks. Important because, if you don’t have an enjoyable experience at the ballpark, you’re not likely to come back. And if you’re not fortunate enough to be able to buy expensive tickets, you may not have a great experience at the ballpark.