The Tampa Bay Rays play "liberal arts baseball"

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University Hall Ohio State.jpgAs evidenced by the deconstruction of the limping and wounded New York Yankees last night, the Tampa Bay Rays have taken their place as the new beasts of the AL East.  And, even though the delivery was muddled and aggravating, Chris Berman and Rick Sutcliffe’s multiple mentions of the Rays’ arrival as the new class of baseball and their all-around excellence last night were well-taken.

Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan has a much more lucid take on the same subject this morning, and Joe Maddon had something interesting to say about the well-rounded nature of his Rays’ squad:

“It’s more of the liberal arts form of playing baseball,” Maddon said.
“It’s not just about power or just about speed. You really want to be
able to do all those different things. I want us to be able to play
every component of the game well. That’s what we preach.”

Liberal arts baseball. As a liberal arts undergard I like it! Beats those “Renaissance man” cliches anyway. It’s something all of us liberal arts people can all be proud of.

That is, at least until the Rays wake up one day, realize that they have no marketable skills and apply to law school.    

Jon Niese leaves start with knee pain

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
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Mets starter Jon Niese left his start Tuesday night against the Cardinals due to left knee pain.

Niese walked two and gave up an RBI single before leaving with a trainer with one out in the bottom of the first inning. He was eventually charged with three earned runs. Robert Gsellman, just up from Las Vegas, took over, making his major league debut under unexpected circumstances.

Niese, who has not pitched well at all since coming over in a trade with the Pirates, is likely to be placed on the disabled list after the game or before tomorrow’s game.

Mark Trumbo’s home run streak ends

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 11:  Mark Trumbo #45 of the Baltimore Orioles hits an RBI single against the Oakland Athletics during the fourth inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 11, 2016 in Oakland, California. The Baltimore Orioles defeated the Oakland Athletics 9-6. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Mark Trumbo still has many chances to hit a home run tonight — it’s only been an inning or so in the Nats-Orioles game — but his weird home run streak is over.

Coming into tonight’s game, Trumbo’s last seven hits had been homers. The all-time record had been 11, set by Mark McGwire back in 2001. The last time Trumbo got a hit that wasn’t a dong was back on August 11. Later in that game, however, he hit a grand slam. After that he went 6 for his next 34, with all those safeties dingers.

But that’s over now. In the first inning tonight he drove in a run with a two-out single. Then he was thrown out trying to stretch it to two. Good job on the RBIs, Mark. Bad job on the base running. Judgment withheld on the homer streak because, really, that’s just kind of weird and cool.