And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Phillies 7, Indians 6: Walkoff jack for Jimmy Rollins gives the Phillies a
come-from-behind victory.  Gentlemen, you may commence the “the
Phillies’ swoon was all about missing Jimmy Rollins” narrative . . .
now.

Rockies 8, Red Sox 6: We can’t be terribly surprised at ninth inning rallies off the Indians’ pen, but two homers off Johnathan Papelbon in the ninth inning? Oy!  And let’s put it this way: if you score six runs on ten hits off Ubaldo Jimenez you have no business losing that ballgame.

Yankees 6, Diamondbacks 5: Another rule: if you walk seven times in two and a third innings against the other team’s starter, you should score more than two runs off him and thus not be required to rely on a tenth inning home run from Curtis Granderson in order to win the game.

Royals 1, Nationals 0: They could barely touch him and they owe the game’s outcome to their own pitching staff and the Nats’ offensive ineptitude, but the Royals’ batters can say with 100% accuracy that they handed Stephen Strasburg his first major league loss.

Cardinals 1, Blue Jays 0: Damn shame both starters couldn’t have won this one. Chris Carpenter gets the W after flinging eight scoreless innings while allowing only three hits. Rickey Romero was just about as good with eight shutout innings of his own.  A ninth inning RBI single by Matt Holliday — who no longer stinks, by the way — was the difference in the ballgame.

Mets 5, Tigers 0: My displeasure with the Mets’ win is more than outweighed by the fact that it was occasioned by the continuing excellence of R.A. Dickey (8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER). Viva knuckleballers.

Padres 5, Rays 4: The particular schedule I look at to track teams’ long term success lists “W”s in green and “Ls” in red.  For the Rays, as Lt. Al Giradello used to say on “Homicide,” there’s a lot of red up on that board! Well, he used to kind of mumble it, and he wasn’t talking about the Rays, but you know what I’m getting at. Wait, you don’t know, because you didn’t watch the show, which caused NBC to make the producers drop Jon Polito and Ned Beatty from the cast in order to try to make it appeal to a younger demographic, thus killing all that was great about it. Seriously, Michael Michele? Jon Seda? Who the hell ever would have bought them as murder police? Honestly! Uh, where was I?  Oh yeah, the Rays are 8-11 in June.

Marlins 7, Orioles 5: Edwin Rodriguez wins his debut as the Marlins’ manager. I wonder what bogus excuse Loria will use when they fire him in order to replace him with Bobby Valentine or whoever. Maybe “you know how I feel about wins! I really expected to win the rest of our ballgames and you lost one at the end of July!” Or how about “This has nothing to do with anything Hanley Ramirez said. In fact he communicated his displeasure and disrespect for you telepathically, so he never had to utter a single word!” Oh, and that’s 21 of 25 games denoted by little red “Ls” for the Orioles. Since both they and Giradello are from Baltimore, maybe I should have saved my “Homicide” rant for this one. Maybe not: a lot of those Ls are stone cold whodunnits, and no one gets worked up about those. The Rays’ losses are red balls.

Reds 3, Athletics 0: Speaking of red writing, the A’s are 6-16 in June. Speaking of the color red in general, the Reds have righted the ship quite nicely after that nightmare weekend in Seattle. Seven shutout innings for Johnny Cueto and a 3 for 3, 2 RBI night for Jay Bruce.

White Sox 4, Braves 2: The White Sox keep rolling and now the Braves are starting to skid. Two homers for Carlos Quentin.

Mariners 8, Cubs 1: That Cliff Lee fella is pretty good (CG 9 H, 1 ER, 9K, 0 BB). Maybe someone should think about trading for him.

Angels 2, Dodgers 1: This one ended on two base running screw ups: First Matt Kemp was picked off at second for out number two. Then, a couple batters later, Jamey Carroll hit a single that should have scored Reed Johnson easily from second. But Russell Martin was in his own world somewhere, rounded second too far and then got pegged at the bag trying to get back before Johnson could cross the plate. Martin out, no run, game over. I think I already used an “Oy” this morning, but extreme times call for additional “Oys” so Oy!

Rangers 13, Pirates 3: The Rangers refuse to lose — that’s ten straight for them — and the Pirates refuse to even approach the appearance of a major league team. Michael Young was 3 for 4 with a double, a homer and four RBI.

Brewers 5, Twins 3: I guess maybe I shouldn’t have assumed Ken Macha was so foolish as to install Trevor Hoffman as the closer after all. I mean, if he’s not going to use Hoffman to close a game the night after John Axford gets a six out save, he may never do it. Pfun Pfact: Manny Parra had four wild pitches.

Astros 6, Giants 3: Brett Myers has been one of the few bright spots for Houston this year. Last night he gave up three runs — only one earned — in seven innings and even went 2 for 3 with an RBI.

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.