And That Happened: Monday's Scores and Highlights

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Braves 9, Diamondbacks 4: Max Scherzer’s arm is probably going to fall off after starting two games in this series. Oh wait, the first game was back in May and this was a makeup? Forget I said anything. Also forget the fact that only three of Scherzer’s nine runs allowed in this one were “earned.” Six unearned runs in the third inning resulted from his own throwing error. For Atlanta, Tommy Hanson pitched six innings, struck out seven, walked no one, and otherwise kept out of trouble.

Giants 10, Mets 1: Giving up ten runs on eighteen hits to the Giants is a very special feat indeed, but with Livan, all things are possible.

Angels 8, Orioles 5: Vlad Guerrero hit two homers and drove in five. And because I know you were all wondering, Cesar edged Maicer in the battle of the Izturises, three hits to two, though one of Maicer’s was a home run so we probably have to call it a draw.

Pirates 9, Brewers 5: An offensive outburst for a team that has been playing pretty offensively as of late. And it was a fairly democratic outburst at that, with nine different Pirates getting hits, seven scoring runs and seven driving in at least one. The game story notes that the Brewers have fallen seven games back of the Rockies in the wild card race. Given that there are five teams ahead of the Brewers in that particular race, however, the implication that they’re a contender is charitable at best. I mean, no one noted that, with this win, the Pirates have climbed to within 17.5 of the wild card. And by my reckoning, the Brewers are just as out of it as the Pirates are.

Cardinals 3, Dodgers 2: The important thing here is that even though he lost, knuckleballer Charlie Haeger (7 IP, 5 H, 3 ER) earned another start out of this. Not his fault that Chris Carpenter is a stud (8 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 8K). Sure, the HBP followed by the Rick Ankiel homer was regrettable, but there’s no shame in the fact that Pujols hit a home run off of him. Game story: “Pujols led off the fourth with a high shot to left field.” A couple of Dodgers fans in the stands were arguing about that one. “Too high . . . too high” said the first guy. “‘Too high?’ What does that even mean, ‘too high?'”

Padres 4, Cubs 1: 1-0 entering the bottom of the ninth and in comes Kevin Gregg, who quickly allows four runs on a walk, a double, an intentional walk and a walkoff dinger to Kyle Blanks. Lou Piniella: “I think we are going to make some changes as far as what we’re going to do late innings.” On the bright side, Kevin Gregg, Iowa can be very beautiful in late summer. The Padres signed first round draft pick Donovan Tate. I hadn’t realized that he’s former Bucs running back Lars Tate’s son. I suddenly feel very, very old.

Athletics 3, Yankees 0: Brett Tomko was released by the Yankees a month ago, turned around and threw five shutout innings against them last night. Joe Girardi, speaking in oddly declarative sentences: “We’re surprised we got shut out. We have a good offensive team.”

White Sox 8, Royals 7: Mark Buehrle continues to be profoundly unimpressive in the wake of his perfect game, getting knocked around by a particularly feeble Royals’ lineup, but Brian Bannister was roughed up even more, and ultimately Buehrle’s teammates bailed him out.

Rangers 8, Twins 5: Tommy Hunter is now 6-2 with a 2.64 ERA in ten starts, and the Rangers have won five of six. Francisco Liriano should investigate a malpractice suit against the guy who did his surgery (2 IP, 7 H, 7 ER).

Chase Headley doesn’t think Yankee Stadium is as hitter-friendly as advertised

New York Yankees Chase Headley (12) breaks his bat on a ground out to third during the third inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Monday, April 25, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
AP Photo/Brandon Wade
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Yankees third baseman Chase Headley finished April without registering an extra-base hit. Across 71 plate appearances, he registered only nine hits for an uninspiring .150/.268/.150 triple-slash line. Speaking to David Laurilia of FanGraphs, Headley said that Yankee Stadium isn’t as hitter-friendly as many people think it is, and added that the shift has helped to limit his offensive success.

“Everybody talks about how good of a ballpark Yankee Stadium is to hit in, but it’s pretty big with the exception of right field,” said Headley. “The rest of it plays as big, or bigger, than most yards. It’s maybe a better fit for guys who hit the ball high down the line than it for guys who hit the ball like I have for a lot of my career.”

[…]

“Because of the shifting that’s going on now, if you hit the ball on the ground, for the most part you’re out,” Headley told me. “I’m trying to get the ball elevated — I want to hit it hard in the air — and if I never hit another ball on the ground, I’ll be happy.”

According to StatCorner.com, Yankee Stadium is indeed better for left-handed hitters, and particularly so when it comes to extra-base hits. It lists park factors for handedness, setting 100 as average. A higher number means it’s more hitter-friendly. Here are the left-right numbers as of today’s writing:

  • Singles: 101 for left-handed hitters, 102 for right-handed hitters
  • Doubles and triples: 101 LH, 82 RH
  • Home runs: 137 LH, 127 RH

Headley’s hypothesis seems to have some merit. But his claim that shifts have been hurting him doesn’t seem to hold up to the numbers.

babip

Headley’s ground ball BABIP (batting average on balls in play) this season is only .022 behind his career average of .239. As he’s only hit 23 ground balls total this season, the difference between .239 and .217 is less than one hit.

Where Headley’s BABIP is notably lower is line drives. His career average line drive BABIP is .698, but it’s only .333 on nine line drives in 2016. This could be simple bad luck or it could mean Headley is making worse contact. FanGraphs’ batted ball data suggests Headley has been pulling significantly fewer balls (36 percent to his 45 percent career average), and he’s making “hard” contact less often (21 percent versus his 31 percent career average). Overall, there’s been very little change in his ground ball rate versus his fly ball rate.

Headley mentioned to Laurila that if he could, he would try to hit fly balls to the pull side more often. “I’m working on that,” he said.

Carlos Martinez sued for battery, negligent transmission of STDs, and more

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Carlos Martinez throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, April 26, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
AP Photo/Matt York
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Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez was given permission to leave the team on Friday in order to travel to Miami. Martinez was named in a lawsuit filed by a woman who claimed he knowingly trasmitted mutliple sexually trasmitted diseasese to her. She is seeking $1.5 million in damages for battery, negligent transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, fraud, and more, TMZ reported on Saturday.

Martinez rejoined the team and started on Sunday afternoon against the Nationals. His attorney called the allegations “100% false”.

The Cardinals are waiting for more information to find out if the league will investigate the matter under its domestic violence policy. Via Dan O’Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, GM John Mozeliak said, “We wait. And once we learn more, then we’ll have more of an idea. These are things you just learn as you go.”

Should obstruction have been called on Ryan Webb?

Toronto Blue Jays' Kevin Pillar gestures to the dugout after hitting a triple against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, April 8, 2016, in Toronto. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP)
Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP
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The Blue Jays had a comfortable 5-1 lead in the top of the ninth inning of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Rays, but one never knows when a base runner might be crucial. Kevin Pillar was on first base when reliever Ryan Webb threw over to first on a pickoff attempt and got him in a rundown.

First baseman Logan Morrison chased Pillar towards second base, lobbing the ball to shortstop Brad Miller. Miller sent Pillar back to first base, throwing to Webb covering the bag. Webb chased Pillar back towards second base and threw to second baseman Logan Forsythe. Forsythe chased Pillar back again, but Webb wasn’t able to get out of Pillar’s way. Second base umpire Mark Ripperger immediately signaled “no obstruction” and Pillar was easily tagged out after he was essentially bear hugged by Webb.

Here’s the MLB.com video.

Major League Baseball defines obstruction as “the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner.” Webb had already thrown the ball and Forsythe was in possession of it, so he couldn’t have been considered “in the act of fielding.”

At any rate, the Jays still won 5-1, giving them the series win over the Rays.

Reds place Raisel Iglesias on the 15-day disabled list

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Raisel Iglesias throws in the first inning of their opening day baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Monday, April 4, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
AP Photo/John Minchillo
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Reds starter Raisel Iglesias has been placed on the 15-day disabled list due to an impingement in his right shoulder, the club announced on Sunday. The right-hander said he felt a “pinch” in his shoulder during a bullpen session on Friday.

The club also moved catcher Kyle Skipworth to the 60-day disabled list and recalled pitcher Tim Adleman from Triple-A Louisville.

Iglesias, 26, pitched well over his first five starts to begin the 2016 season. He compiled a 3.49 ERA with a 29/7 K/BB ratio in 28 1/3 innings.

The Reds can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to pitcher health. Anthony DeSclafani, Homer Bailey, John Lamb, and Michael Lorenzen are already on the disabled list.