And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

6 Comments

Mets 6, Indians 4: The Mets and R.A. Dickey simply can’t lose.  The previous sentence would have made no logical sense to anyone on the planet just a few short weeks ago. Seven straight for the Mets as they go back home to face the Yankees. Well, they’ll be on the road, technically, but they will be able to sleep in their own beds and everything.  In other news, we heard that both John Maine and Oliver Perez are making rehabilitation starts down on the farm someplace. The way things are going for the big club since they left, I have this feeling that there will be “setbacks” in their rehab.

Phillies 7, Yankees 1: As everyone predicted, the Phillies were simply waiting to go play the hapless New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium in order to snap out of their funk. Between Jamie Moyer throwing his near-stationary junk by them on Wednesday night and Kyle Kendrick baffling them with sinkers last night, methinks the book on the Yankees may be to lay off the gas.

Braves 3, Rays 1: Atlanta holds off Philly and New York by somehow taking two of three from the Rays. Tim Hudson gave up one run in seven innings for his seventh win in what has been one of the quieter spiffy seasons among pitchers this year (7-2, 2.34 ERA). Jason Heyward hit his first homer since May 29th.

Red Sox 8, Diamondbacks 5: With both the Bombers and the Rays losing, the Sox are now only two games back. According to the AP game story “Boston became the only team with three eight-game winners.”  If this was the 80s, Donruss would come up with a special card with Lester, Lackey and Buchholz on it each holding out baseballs with the number eight written on them in magic marker over the title “Eight Balls” or something. Actually, come to think of it, Donruss may have already done that with Dave Parker, Dale Berra and Rod Scurry. Different deal altogether, though.

Royals
5, Astros 2
: Here’s some bizarre stuff: Yuniesky Betancourt hit a
line drive to shortstop Geoff Blum in the fifth that led to the end of
the inning when David DeJesus was doubled off second. Except the umpires
reversed the call after everyone left the field, ruling that the ball
had been trapped, not caught. They ended up calling Betancourt out at
first, ruling that Geoff Blum would have thrown him out, and they
awarded DeJesus third base. This despite the fact that Blum never threw
to first base and despite the fact that DeJesus  likely never would have
advanced to third if it was a ground ball to the left side.

And guess what? The umps seem to have gotten this right. Replays seem to
show that the ball was trapped.  The umpires — checking their egos for
the good of the game — got the call right once they conferred. Given
that runners were in motion and stuff it’s not easy to figure out what
to do on the play, but Rule 9.01 (c) states that each umpire
“has authority to rule on any point not specifically covered in these
rules,” and this kind of play seems not to be in the rules.  I’ll think
harder about this one as the morning unfolds and the coffee kicks in,
but as of now I think that, even though you maybe should keep DeJesus at second
base on the call, all-in-all
this makes sense as a good bit of judgment and a good bit of umpiring.

Rockies 5, Twins 1: Ubaldo Jimenez gives up eight hits. It’s a shame to
see his season unravel like that.

Reds 7, Dodgers 1:  I hit this one up yesterday afternoon. It
was Arroyoriffic
.

Rangers 6, Marlins 4: The Rangers sweep the Feesh behind three RBI from Ian Kinsler. Mike Stanton is now 0 for his last 12 with six strikeouts.

White Sox 5, Pirates 4: How low can the Pirates go?  That’s 11 straight in the dustbin for Pittsburgh. The Sox have won seven of eight. Mark Buehrle is now the winningest interleague pitcher, running his record to 22-6 against the NL in regular season games, which puts him one ahead of Jamie Moyer and Mike Mussina. Moyer will probably pass up Buehrle once the latter retires, however.

Cubs 3, Athletics 2: Kosuke Fukudome came in as a pinch hitter in the eighth, hit a single and came around to score the tying run, stayed in the game and drove home the winning run with a ninth inning single. Jerry Blevins gave up that last hit, by the way. I guess he wasn’t lucky.

Tigers 8, Nationals 3: What good is this Stephen Strasburg character if he can’t help the Nats win?!  They’re under .500 since he’s been called up! Give me Jack Morris or someone who knows what it takes to put Ws on the board over some overpriced strikeout machine any day!  (did you like that? I’m thinking of trying out to do some talk radio and I figured I could hone my shtick here a bit. OK, now check this out):  And what’s with Miguel Cabrera?!  Sure, he he’s hitting .332 with 19 homers and 59 RBI, but I have yet to see him once lay down a bunt and get the runner over this year and he never hits the ball the other way to take what the defense is giving him!  It’s all me-first stats with that guy! Next caller!

Kevin Kiermaier on Rays’ recent moves: “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset.”

Brian Blanco/Getty Images
Leave a comment

On Sunday, we heard from former Ray and current Giants third baseman Evan Longoria. The Rays recently traded pitcher Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for a prospect and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense outside of a cost-cutting perspective. Longoria said, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”

Today, we’re hearing from a current Ray: center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who is set to enter his fifth full season with the club. Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Kiermaier said, “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset with the moves. No beating around the bush. It’s one of those things that makes you scratch your head, you don’t know the reasoning why. And then you see the team’s explanation and still it’s just like, okay, well, so be it.”

Longoria — formerly the face of the franchise — was traded to the Giants in December and the Rays continued to subtract with their recent moves involving Odorizzi and Dickerson. Odorizzi has a career 3.83 ERA in what has been a solid, if unspectacular, career. Dickerson put up an All-Star season, posting an .815 OPS with 27 home runs in 150 games. Moving either player was not done to fix a positional log jam. In fact, with Odorizzi out of the picture, the Rays are planning to use a four-man starting rotation for the first six-plus weeks of the season, Topkin reported on Sunday. Dickerson’s ouster simply opens the door for Mallex Smith, who posted a .684 OPS last year, to start every day in the outfield.

The Rays got markedly worse after going 80-82 last season. They saved a few million bucks jettisoning Odorizzi and Dickerson. And Rays ownership still wants the public to foot most of the bill for their new stadium.

When it was just one small market team pinching pennies, it was fine. But now that more than half of the league has adopted penny-pinching principles popularized by Moneyball and Sabermetrics (with the Rays among the chief offenders), the game of baseball has become markedly less fan- and player-friendly. This offseason has been less about players signing contracts and changing teams in trades — which helps build excitement and intrigue for the coming year — and more about front offices doing math problems concerning the $197 million competitive balance tax threshold and other self-imposed monetary restraints. Fun. Kiermaier is right to be upset and he’s very likely not alone in feeling that way.