And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Halladay pitching.jpgPhillies 2, Braves 0: Roy Halladay can pitch a little. The Braves threatened exactly once, in the seventh inning when they loaded the bases on hits from Chipper Jones and Brian McCann and a walk from Jason Heyward. This was the baseball equivalent of the cat letting the mouse run a few feet just so it could see the mouse run. Halladay apparently grew bored with this little exercise, however, got the double play — courtesy of some slick defense from Chase Utley — and the threat was over.  Otherwise? Pure domination (CG, SHO 7K).  For me it was like the Jiminez no-hitter the other night. Sucks that it was my team, but something to behold all the same.

Yankees 3, Athletics 1: Phil Hughes takes a no-hitter into the eighth inning but loses it on a combacker from Eric Chavez that bounched off Hughes’ left flank and eluded him long enough to allow Chavez to reach first. Nice effort all the same. The run with which he was charged was an inherited runner which Joba Chamberlain allowed to score. I’m guessing right now is probably not the best time for me to begin my “Girardi got it wrong when he picked Phil over Joba” campaign, huh?

Red Sox 8, Rangers 7: Second walkoff win in a row for the Sox, this time in the twelfth inning as Ron Washington has Dustin Nippert intentionally walk Dustin Pedroia to get to Kevin Youkilis, who then hits the game-winning double.  Walking someone to get to Youk with runners in scoring position in a tie game? Are we sure Washington is passing all those drug tests he’s supposed to be taking?

Padres 5, Giants 2: The Padres will not be stopped, as they win their sixth in a row. Jon Garland gave up one run in seven innings against a Giants’ offense that suddenly looks a lot like 2009’s version. Oh, and here’s something you don’t see every day: 18 minute rain delay in San Diego. I called my brother who lives out there to ask him what the heck was happening. He said he couldn’t talk because he was too busy gathering survival supplies and making sure his life insurance was paid up. They just don’t do rain in San Diego.

Royals 4, Blue Jays 3: There’s nothin’ wrong with Zack Greinke, it would seem, as he threw seven strong innings. His bullpen betrayed him once again, however, so he was gypped out of his first win of the year. Alex Gordon made up with an ugly day both offensively and defensively by hitting the game-winning homer in the 10th. Jose Guillen continues his torrid start, going 2-4 with a homer.

Nationals 6, Rockies 4: A victory, but Ryan Zimmerman left the game after appearing to hurt his hamstring, so we’ll put it in the “Pyrrhic” column. On the bright side, Jason Marquis was sent to the DL after the game, so that bad man can’t hurt you any more, Nats fans.

Brewers 8, Pirates 0: I’ll hand it to the Pirates: when they lose, they don’t mess around. They go out there and lose with gusto. So far this year they’ve lost games by scores of 10-2, 9-1, 15-6, 9-3, 6-0, 8-1, and 8-0. It’s almost a courtesy when you think about it. It’s as if they’re telling the good people of western Pennsylvania “Hey, it’s cool. You can turn the game off now and go make sandwiches with fries in them or whatever it is you do all day. There’s no chance we’ll make it close.”

Astros 5, Marlins 4: How it is you take two of three from Philly and then look bad against Houston two nights in a row is a mystery to me. It’s like the Marlins are an NBA team or something. Lance Berkman was caught stealing third at one point in this game. What possible reason would Lance Berkman have for stealing third base?

Twins 6, Indians 0: An eerie start for the Erie warriors as they drop a heartbreaker to the Twins, six to nothing.  Francisco Liriano allows zero runs for the second straight time. Michael Cuddyer had a two-run triple and a homer. David Huff walked six guys. He tried for the corner and missed a lot. Not sure how those guys could lay off pitches that close.

Cubs 9, Mets 3: Alfonso Soriano (3-4, 3B, HR, 3 RBI) shows everyone that he belongs in the lineup and Carlos Silva (6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER)  shows everyone that he belongs in the rotation. After the game, however, Lou Piniella reassigned Silva to pitch batting practice and reassigned Soriano to a job as a Dippin’ Dots vendor. Lou said they were each cool with it. After this game Ike Davis’ line stands at .273/.273/.273, which is kind of cool unless you’re interested in Ike Davis producing and stuff.

Dodgers 14, Reds 6: The Aaron Harang contract drive continues (5.2 IP, 10 H, 6 ER).

Rays 12, White Sox 0: Mark Buehrle fell just nine hits, six runs and a walk short of his second straight perfect game against the Rays.

Cardinals 9, Diamondbacks 4: Tied into the ninth and then the absolute worst bullpen in the game allows St. Louis to score five. This after Arizona had come back from being down 3-0 in the 1st. Two homers for Colby Rasmus, the second of which provided the winning margin. A three-run job from Skip Shumaker in the final frame was nice insurance.  This one was sprinkled with extra fun too, as the benches cleared when Chris Carpenter, running the bases after getting hit by an Edwin Jackson pitch, tried to take out Kelly Johnson on a double play.  The dude would be pitching the next half inning so you’d think he’d just wait to hit someone himself, but I guess Carpenter is a team-first guy and would rather not get ejected in his efforts to maim the opposition.

Mariners 4, Orioles 1:  I have Monday morning in the when-is-Dave-Trembley-getting-fired pool. It’s an off day right after a road trip. Saves the team an extra plane ticket getting Trembley back home and everything. Just really good timing, ya know?

Tigers 4, Angels 3: The first batter Brian Fuentes faces after coming back from the DL — Miguel Cabrera — homers off him in the 9th inning, tying up the game. A couple batters later Ramon Santiago singles in Gerald Laird for what would be the game winner.  Mike Scioscia should be commended for his loyalty to the Fue
ntes, but it ain’t like the
team had any trouble closing games out while he was out.

David Ortiz thinks the Yankees leaked his 2003 drug test results

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David Ortiz was one of the hundred or so ballplayers who tested positive for PEDs during the 2003 survey testing which was designed to determine whether or not baseball’s drug problem was significant enough to warrant full-blown testing the following year.  His and everyone else’s name was supposed to remain confidential — indeed, the test results were supposed to be destroyed — but the government illegally seized them and, eventually, his, Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa’s names were leaked.

While most people have long moved on from those survey test results — and while Rob Manfred himself recently said that those results may not, in fact, establish that Ortiz took banned substances  — the story still sticks in Ortiz’s craw. So much so that he’s still out speculating about how his results were made public. His theory? The Yankees did it. From an interview on WEEI:

“What was the reason for them to come out with something like that?” he said. “The only thing that I can think of, to be honest with you, a lot of big guys from the Yankees were being caught. And no one from Boston. This was just something that leaked out of New York, and they had zero explanation about it.”

I’m gonna call B.S. on that.

At the time names were surfacing in connection with those test results, in the summer of 2009, I was given a list of players by an anonymous source. This person claimed it was a list of all 100+ players who tested positive in 2003. Given the nature in which they were provided to me and given that, at the time, there were a lot of people circulating hoax lists, I was dubious to say the least. I had a separate source at the time who knew people who had access to the actual list of players. The source would not tell me who was on the actual list — it was and continues to be confidential — but the knowledgable source did confirm for me that, as I suspected, my list was bunk. I obviously didn’t write anything about it and moved on.

Some added value from that conversation, however, was learning just how few people actually had access to the real list. A small handful of top officials at the union and the league office did, I was told, and obviously the government had it given that they seized it in their idiotic and illegal raid, but that was it. Clubs, I was specifically told, did not have the list.

We’ll never know for sure, but I strongly, strongly suspect that the source of the leak was either IRS/FDA agent Jeff Novitzky, who spearheaded the government’s investigation into PEDs or someone close to him, such as the prosecutors with whom he worked. Novitzky spent close to a decade outing and prosecuting athletes for PED use and, in my view and the view of many others who followed the story at the time, he saw his work as an almost holy crusade. As the above-linked story about the federal court smacking down his seizure of the 2003 test results as illegal, he was often overzealous.

The reporter who broke the story of David Ortiz’s positive test result was Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times. Schmidt almost always had the first stories about players being outed as PED users during that period and his reporting on steroids in baseball in general almost always carried with it a pro-government slant. As I said, we’ll never know for sure, but it seems obvious to me that federal investigators and prosecutors were his sources. I suspect they were his sources for the name-naming articles as well. When Ortiz’s name leaked, Novitzky’s investigation was on the brink of being smacked down hard by a federal court and, I suspect, he leaked Ortiz’s name to the New York Times as a means of putting a face on the story and getting public sentiment on the side of those who would name names.

Like I said, though, that’s all ancient history at this point. At least to most people. It’s not to David Ortiz, which is understandable given that the whole incident affected him personally. But I think he’s wrong on the Yankees being the ones to out him. I don’t think anyone with the Yankees knew who was actually on the list. And even if they did, they had no incentive to get into some sort of P.R. war about PED users given that they already at least one prominent superstar getting killed for PED use and a lot of other ones who could possibly have been on the list as well.

But the feds had the list. And a desire to have the bad guys they were trying to prosecute shamed in the public arena. I’d bet a decent sum of money that they’re the ones who leaked your name, Big Papi. I’d aim your rhetorical guns at them if I were you.

 

Buster Posey and Brandon Belt had an on-field tiff Saturday night

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The Giants beat the Cardinals on Saturday night, but there was some grumpiness between a couple of Giants players all the same.

As Hank Shulman reports, late in the 13-inning game Fox TV cameras caught catcher Buster Posey yelling at first baseman Belt after Stephen Piscotty of the Cardinals stole second base. Then, after the final out, there was a brief, cold stare down between the teammates. The issue would appear to be Posey being upset with Belt for not holding Piscotty close at first base and then Belt being upset with Posey for calling him out in front of God and the fans and the TV cameras and everyone.

Neither Posey nor Belt would talk about it to reporters afterwards or on Sunday, saying the matter was between them and that they’d deal with it privately. Which is a smart move.

Of course, if Posey heeded that advice beforehand and took up his dissatisfaction with Belt in private, the reporters wouldn’t have even known about it in the first place.