And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

12 Comments

Phillies 2, Indians 1: If you’ve got to set the record for all time home runs allowed, you’re probably best served, mentally speaking, to do it in a game you win 2-1, which is what Jamie Moyer did last night. The 505th of his career went to Russell Branyan. Number one was hit by Count Campau back in Moyer’s American Association days. There should be an asterisk on that one, though, as Moyer really had no business facing such competition at the time. He was but 17 years old and was pressed into service because so many older players were conscripted to fight the Spanish menace in tropic lands.

Padres 2, Rays 1: As of this past Friday we could still call Mat Latos an overlooked stud. It’s going to be hard to keep the “overlooked” part in there if he keeps this up (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 8K).

Mets 14, Tigers 6: Look, you’re gonna have these kinds of nights, Tigers. Just suck it up and then send your big ace Justin Verlander out there next time to — what? You mean that was Verlander out there last night? Wow. By the way, I’m going to guess that someone, somwhere will write the “why can’t the Mets hit the long ball?” column this morning as they scored all 14 runs without the aid of a homer,

White Sox 9, Braves 6: I guess Tommy Hanson had to have his worst career start some night. Just too bad it had to happen on a night the Phillies and the Mets both won. Nine runs on thirteen hits in three and two-thirds. Oy vey.

Yankees 9, Diamondbacks 3: When A.J. Burnett got shelled the other night
it launched approximately 1,346 DEFCON-1 level articles about what
should be done with him and the Yankees, how horrible life was and if
there was still a God and everything. Thank goodness Andy Pettitte restored
order, because I don’t know if I could take that kind of drama again
today. In other news, it must be very exhausting to be part of a fan
base that feels so damn entitled that a single loss or a run-of-the-mill rough
patch from a starting pitcher is worthy of such sturm und drang.

Rangers 6, Pirates 3: The Rangers lost big in the courtroom yesterday, but they did much better on the diamond. Thirty-seven days until Steelers camp opens.

Giants 3, Astros 1: Maybe Tim Lincecum just needed that ball to smack him in the shoulder last Thursday in order to knock him back on track. Dude turned in his best outing in a month (8 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 7K), outdueling Roy Oswalt (7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 5K).

Cardinals 9, Blue Jays 4: Four homers for the Cardinals (Holliday, Molina, Rasmus, Lopez). Two homers for Jose Bautista, who is now at 20 on the year. Jaime Garcia’s ERA bloats from 1.59 to 1.79. DFA the guy.

Marlins 10, Orioles 4: I’m guessing Hanley Ramirez’s hamstring feels better (3 for 4, 2B, 3 RBI).

Nationals 4, Royals 3: Matt Capps must get bored with simple three-run-lead saves because he always seems to challenge himself by doing things like giving up two runs on four hits in the ninth only to lock it down right after. He’s like a cat toying with a mouse, really.  Or something.

Mariners 2, Cubs 0: Five straight wins for Seattle, three of which have come via shutout. Indeed, the M’s have only given up two runs in the last week.

Reds 4, Athletics 2: Dallas Braden still hasn’t won a game since his perfecto and the A’s are totally skidding, having lost nine of 11. Braden’s description of his day: “Plenty of speed bumps. The car ran
pretty good. Turn 1 was good, Turn 2 and 3 had some speed bumps. I got
into Turn 4, 5, a couple speed bumps, Turn 6 kind of flattened out.
Overall, bumpy track.” Six turns? I hate to stereotype, but if I were a betting man I would have wagered that Braden would have used a NASCAR super-oval analogy as opposed to what appears to be a Grand Prix/Formula 1 kind of thing.

Angels 6, Dodgers 3: The Dodgers are skidding too, having lost five straight. Clayton Kershaw was fantastic his last time out but got beat up for five runs in just under seven innings, relinquishing a 3-0 lead to which he was staked.

Brewers 7, Twins 5: Like Kershaw, Scott Baker had a great outing last
time. Like Kershaw, Baker was staked to a 3-0 lead. Like Kershaw, Baker
couldn’t hold it. Maybe my favorite random game note of the year in this one: “Brewers’ fourth-round draft pick Hunter Morris was at Miller Park. He
said he didn’t have any plans for his $218,700 signing bonus.”

Rockies 2, Red Sox 1: Enjoy that run you got off Jhoulys Chacin, Red Sox, because that may seem like good eatin’ compared to what you get off Ubaldo Jimenez tonight. Now having said that, Jimenez will probably have his worst outing of the year.

Rob Manfred on robot umps: “In general, I would be a keep-the-human-element-in-the-game guy.”

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 5:  Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred talks with media prior to a game between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
10 Comments

Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.

The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?

Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.

The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.

I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.

Report: MLB approves new rule allowing a dugout signal for an intentional walk

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 29:  MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred laughs during a ceremony naming the 2016 winners of the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award and the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award before Game Four of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
24 Comments

ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.

MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.

Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.

Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this: