Daily Dose: He's alive!

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Chris Young earned his demotion to Triple-A last month by hitting .194 in 103 games and went just 4-for-25 (.160) with 10 strikeouts during his first week back in Arizona, but that all changed Sunday. Young blasted three homers and drew a pair of walks in five plate appearances against the Rockies. Sure, his monster day came at Coors Field, but the rest of the Diamondbacks were just 3-for-30 with seven strikeouts.
Young had an opportunity to tie the major-league record with a fourth long ball in the ninth inning and with the Diamondbacks down eight runs there was every reason just to swing away, but instead he coaxed a two-out walk. Perhaps not surprising from a guy who’s averaged 55 walks per 150 games through the age of 25 and a reminder that despite his struggles and high strikeout rates he still has some plate discipline.
There’s no getting around the fact that he was brutally bad prior to the demotion and Young had been disappointing in general by batting just .232/.303/.428 through 448 career games, but for fantasy purposes it’s way too early to give up on the former top prospect. He just turned 26 years old Saturday and has averaged 22 homers and 18 steals per 150 games even while hitting .232 with a strikeout one-fourth of the time.
While the Diamondbacks stick with Young after handing him a five-year, $28 million contract just 17 months ago, here are some other notes from around baseball …


* Wade Davis looked very good in his MLB debut Sunday, racking up nine strikeouts while holding the Tigers to one run in seven innings. He was denied a win when the bullpen blew a two-run lead, but Davis definitely pitched well enough to remain in the rotation. Last week in this space I recommended Davis as an AL-only pickup and I’m still not sure he’s a good mixed-league investment, but there are worse fliers to take.
* Drew Stubbs continued his uncharacteristic power display Sunday afternoon, going deep for the fifth time in 84 at-bats after homering a grand total of three times in 107 games at Triple-A prior to last month’s call-up to Cincinnati. Stubbs has the speed, plate discipline, and defense to be an asset long term, but hitting homers and making consistent contact ultimately are not going to be strengths.
AL Quick Hits: Luke Hochevar was battered for seven runs Sunday, making him 0-6 with an 8.12 ERA since back-to-back great starts in July … Derek Holland struggled again Sunday and has now allowed 22 runs in his last dozen innings … Ichiro Suzuki got his 2,000th hit in his 1,402nd career game Sunday, which is just a dozen games short of Al Simmons’ all-time record … Jake Peavy (elbow) threw a 60-pitch bullpen session Sunday and will throw again later this week … Brandon Inge’s grand slam in the ninth inning Sunday pushed the Tigers’ divisional lead to seven games … Sergio Mitre was rocked for 11 runs Sunday, with terrible defense playing a part … Jeremy Guthrie pulled his ERA under 5.00 for the first time since May with seven scoreless innings Sunday … Gio Gonzalez turned in seven innings of two-run ball Sunday after coming into the game with a 6.07 ERA … Carl Crawford went hitless Sunday for the fourth straight game … Jon Lester had seven shutout innings Sunday for his seventh straight Quality Start.
NL Quick Hits: Justin Upton was pulled from Sunday’s game after failing to hustle on a hit off the wall that he assumed was a homer … Prince Fielder leads baseball with 123 RBIs after delivering a walk-off homer in the 12th inning Sunday … Jerry Manuel said Sunday that Carlos Delgado’s (hip) chances of playing again this year are “very slim” … Tim Hudson allowed just one run and had six strikeouts versus one walk in seven innings Sunday … Miguel Tejada had hits in all four at-bats Sunday and drove in a run for the first time since August 19 … Mike Pelfrey evened his record at 10-10 with eight innings of one-run ball Sunday … Seth Smith went deep twice and drove in five runs Sunday … Johnny Cueto had nine strikeouts in six innings of one-run ball Sunday … Ryan Zimmerman’s walk-off homer Sunday snapped a nine-game losing streak and handed Leo Nunez his second blown save this month … Daniel Cabrera gave up five runs without recording an out in his Diamondbacks debut Sunday.

Mike Scioscia and the Angels played yesterday’s game under protest

KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 27: Matt Shoemaker #52 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim throws to first as he tries to get the out on Raul Mondesi's #27 of the Kansas City Royals bunt in the seventh inning at Kauffman Stadium on July 27, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. Shoemaker's throwing error lead to Mondesi advancing to third and Alex Gordon and Paulo Orlando scoring.  (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The Royals beat the Angels last night, but Mike Scioscia is hoping Joe Torre and the Commissioner’s Office gives him a do-over.

The Angels played the game in protest following what they believe to be a rules misinterpretation following a base running incident in the seventh inning. That’s when Raul Mondesi reached on a bunt single which scored two runs following a throwing error from Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker, whose attempt to put out Modesi sailed into right field. Watch the play:

Mike Scioscia came out claiming interference, arguing that Mondesi was not running within the baseline. The play was reviewed for over six minutes but the call — everyone’s safe and two runs scored — was upheld. After that Scioscia indicated tht he was playing under protest.

The thing about protests, though, is that they cannot be based on judgment calls. Rather, they have to be based on misapplication of rules by the umpires. Running outside of the baseline is a judgment call, though, right? So how can Scioscia protest it? Here’s his explanation:

“It’s not a judgement call. I would not have protested if I was not 100 percent correct on this. This is a misinterpretation of a rule. It was very clear. Phil Cuzzi, the home plate umpire, had Mondesi running inside the line in jeopardy the whole way, and stated that it’s okay because he was stepping back toward the bag, which is wrong.”

For his part, Royals manager Ned Yost believed it was a judgment call. For everyone’s part, protests are almost never upheld in baseball and, despite Scioscia’s comments, baseline calls are generally considered judgement calls.

If Scioscia is right, the game will be replayed, resuming with one out in the seventh inning and the runners where they started. But don’t hold your breath.

Politician behind the Braves new ballpark deal voted out of office

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Associated Press
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Tim Lee was the Cobb County commissioner who led the charge to build a new stadium for the Atlanta Braves in the northern suburbs. The operation, despite being taxpayer-funded, was not passed on by the voters beforehand and was cloaked in secrecy at every turn. Best of all, once Lee and his fellow commissioners started taking heat for it, he held his critics in contempt and shut down any effort to examine the deal in public meetings or to allow dissent to it by the people he claimed to represent.

That’s not a great look for a public official. Which is why Lee is now a former public official:

Incumbent Chairman Tim Lee lost his reelection bid Tuesday to challenger Mike Boyce, a retired marine colonel, in a runoff seen by many as a litmus test for support of the deal to bring the Atlanta Braves to Cobb.

Boyce beat Lee, winning 64 percent of the vote, with all precincts reporting.

If you read that linked article, you’ll be amused to see that Lee’s supporters blame his defeat on Donald Trump and general anti-incumbent sentiment. To the folks watching that race, however, it was obvious that this was a referendum on bringing the Braves to Cobb County in the manner that Lee did. His opponent, also a Republican, ran a grassroots campaign that was explicitly about Lee’s lack of transparency and, in many respects, total secrecy in spending hundreds of millions of public dollars on the sort of project which study after study has shown does not provide economic benefits to the public in any way approaching the degree to which it simply enriches the owners of professional sports teams. Lee’s opponent, Mike Boyce, said this after his victory:

“Cobb County is a very conservative county and people simply want the respect shown to them that if you’re going to use their money, you have to ask them,” Boyce said.

Doesn’t seem all that controversial, Trumpian or anti-incumbent to me. That just seems like good sense.

Not that Lee is going away quietly. After his defeat, he said this:

I wanted to make a positive difference for my community. Thirteen years later, I can safely say that I’ve done that. In my last term, Cobb County landed the biggest economic development deal in its modern history. That investment – however unfairly maligned and misrepresented – is already paying off and will enrich this community long after many of us are gone . . . The election is over; our friendship is not. How about we catch a ballgame together? I know a great place about to open up. It’s in the neighborhood.

I’m assuming Lee will have free Braves tickets for life after what he did for them so, yes, he’ll always be at the ballgame. And yes, I’m sure he’ll always consider the stadium to have been economically beneficial because he’ll just point to a ballpark full of fans and, eventually, a winning Braves ballclub and claim that makes everyone’s life better. If he chooses to measure the ballpark’s economic impact the way actual economists do, however, as opposed to the way professional sports teams and their crony politicians do, I’m guessing he’ll have to reassess that stuff about how great all of this has been.

Not that I ever expect him to measure it that way. No one in power ever does. They’re too busy hobnobbing with retired ballplayers and team executives in the luxury suites and explaining away their failure to fund true public works and services as either something wholly unavoidable or the fault of someone else.