And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

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Padres brown.jpgCardinals 8, Padres 3: The Padres lost, but they looked damn good
losing in those mustard and brown throwbacks.  Pujols hit a homer. It’s hard to say that a guy with a .900+
OPS is struggling, but he is, so the dinger had to feel good. Brendan Ryan had to be feeling good too, after a 4 for 4 day with a homer, an RBI and a stolen base.

Mets 3, Phillies 0: The Phillies probably need to start calling the Mets “daddy” here pretty soon, as New York shuts out the Phillies for the third straight game.  It’s the fourth time in five games the Phillies have failed to score a run. Mike Pelfrey, this time.  Only silver lining: the last time this happened to the Phillies was 1983, a year in which they won the pennant.

Reds 8, Pirates 2: As God is my witness, Charlie Morton has started and lost four or five games in the past week.  Really, every time I look at a Pirates box score Morton is the starter and he’s given up five or six runs in two or three innings. Without looking, I’m going to guess that he’s 0-18 right now with a 11.25 ERA and has infected three dozen people with swine flu.  How close am I? I’m close, aren’t I? Yeah, I knew it.

Giants 5, Nationals 4: Freddy Sanchez got spiked in the face. In. The. Face. But he stayed in the game and a hit two-run single that put the Giants in front to stay.  “Those are the situations that you want to be in as a player,” Sanchez
said after the game. “There’s nothin’ better than gettin’ your face aerated to prepare you for the big hit,” he did not add.

Rockies 8, Diamondbacks 2: Troy Tulowitzki is on a tear. A two-run homer last night makes it five dingers in the last week. He’s on an 11-game hitting streak and has raised his OPS 100 points in May. And what the heck is up with Dan Haren? Eight runs on ten hits in six and a third, raising his ERA to 5.35 on the year.

Cubs 1, Dodgers 0: Ted Lilly shuts out the Cubbies over seven. Sure, he cheated a little bit by not standing on the rubber, but when was the last time you saw a batter who didn’t have a foot out the back of the batter’s box?

Brewers 4, Astros 3I hit this up yesterday, though when I first wrote it, I said it was Chris Gomez with the single rather than Carlos Gomez.  I guess Chris Gomez was a such a fungible journeyman for so damn long that I just figured, yeah, he could be playing for the Brewers right now.  I mean, he and Terry Mulholland are probably roommates, right?

Rays 5, White Sox 1: There hasn’t been a team this happy to change its Sox in a long time.

Royals 4, Red Sox 3: Joe West was the home plate umpire. The game took 3:03.  Dice-K walked eight guys in four and two-thirds. I’m curious to see if this was a function of the return of the deliberate, nibbling Dice-K we’ve come to know and love, or if West was squeezing the Sox because he’s a big flaming jackass.

Athletics 7, Orioles 5: Brad Bergesen was cruising until the eighth, gave up a couple of singles, left the game with a 5-2 lead and — stop me if you’ve heard this one before, Orioles fans — then watched as the bullpen frittered it away.

Twins 8, Yankees 2: Jason Kubel homers twice and racks up five RBI. Javy Vazquez’s ERA goes up to 6.86. The Yankees now embark on series against Cleveland, Baltimore and Houston.

Braves 8, Marlins 3: A rain delay knocks Tim Hudson out before he can get the win. More importantly for the Braves, the rain knocked Ricky Nolasco out and allowed them to get to the Marlins bullpen.

Aledmys Diaz is trying to improve his defense with strobe glasses

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.

Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.

The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.

Eduardo Rodriguez could rejoin the Red Sox rotation in July

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Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.

The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.

He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.