And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Mariners 7, Yankees 0: Having Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez shut the Yankees down in back-to-back games was exactly how the Mariners drew it up this offseason. Only they figured it would happen in meaningful games in October as opposed to playing-out-the-string-already-time in late June.  But hey, dominance is dominance, and King Felix had it in abundance last night (CG SHO, 2 H, 11K). Still, I’ll be curious to read how the tabloids pin this on some fatal Yankee flaw this morning, because how else could they ever lose a game?

Dodgers 8, Giants 2: You know what’s fun? Building an entire video segment around how Matt Kemp is struggling and how you don’t know what to make of it and you don’t know when it will end, taping it, and then prior to post-production being completed, having Kemp go 3 for 4 with a homer and 3 RBI. But screw it, we’re gonna post the video later because if we didn’t then you wouldn’t get to see me wearing a shirt with a collar that gaps up all crazy and stupid looking. Mr. DeMille: I’m ready for my closeup.

Astros 5, Brewers 1: Could have been worse. I gave serious thought to doing a “what the hell is the matter with Wandy Rodriguez” segment. Wandy: 7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 6K.

Braves 4, Nationals 1: Jair Jurrjens returned, looked sharp, struck out a lot of guys until he ran out of gas in the fifth and sixth. But that’s OK because he’s not exactly in midseason form from a conditioning perspective right now. And really, given how they’re hitting the ball, the Nats are essentially a rehab start-quality opponent to begin with.

Royals 7, White Sox 6: Greinke was basically cruising — giving up a lot of hits, but allowing only one run — until the eighth when he came crashing back to Earth and the Sox plated five. KC held on, however, lucky to have built up that 7-1 lead through seven.

Padres 13, Rockies 3: Just another game in that bandbox they call a ballpark down in San Diego. The Rockies and the Padres combined for 41 runs in this three-game series. Clayton Richard was on point last night, though (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 10K).

Rays 9, Red Sox 4: The bottom of the order — Sean Rodriguez, Kelly Shoppach and Jason Bartlett — got the job done for Tampa Bay, combining for seven RBI. Matt Garza was solid into the eighth, striking out five and walking two and allowing three runs on six hits (two of the three runs scored after he left the game).

Pirates 2, Cubs 0: My daddy said “son you’re gonna drive me to drinkin’ if you can’t start hittin off hot Brad Lincoln.” Um, let’s just move on, shall we?

Diamondbacks 4, Cardinals 2: Say what you want about Yankees-Red Sox games taking forever, but at least those teams have a bunch of great players and stuff. This one featured a Barry Enright-Jeff Suppan matchup that went nearly four hours. Oy vey.

Indians 3, Blue Jays 1: Aaron Laffey’s wife had a son yesterday and he used that as inspiration for his winning performance: “With runners on base or when I was behind in the count, I thought,
‘Come on, your son was born yesterday, you can’t give in.'”  Which is crazy. The day after our kids were born we were each so physically and/or emotionally drained, giving in was the only option. Really, I think I let my then-19 month-old daughter smoke cigarettes the day the boy was born, because I just couldn’t find the will to do anything but acquiesce. By all rights Laffey should have walked 16 dudes and left the mound in a heap. Good for him for not doing so.

Orioles 9, Athletics 6: Five homers for the O’s, including a Luke Scott solo shot in the seventh on which he injured his hamstring during the trot. Assuming it’s not a totally serious injury, you can bet he’ll be fined a righteous amount of money in kangaroo court as God, nature and kangaroos intended.

Reds 4, Phillies 3: I hit this one up yesterday. Fun way to pass the time yesterday afternoon: reading people who pay no attention to the NL Central write things afterward to the effect of “Hey, you know what? The Reds are pretty decent.”

Twins 5, Tigers 1: I hit this one up too. Random fact ESPN threw out there in their recap: “The Twins improved to 38-0 this season when leading after eight innings.” I’d be curious to see the numbers on this for every team. I’m guessing that while hardly any other teams are undefeated in such situations, most if not all teams have overwhelmingly good records. I guess this is just a more polite way of suggesting that Joe Nathan’s injury hasn’t turned out to be that big a deal.

Rangers 6, Angels 4: Vlad was a one-man wrecking crew: grand slam in the fourth, solo shot in the eighth and a double and a single to go along with the blasts. Mike Scioscia: “He’s obviously at a level we haven’t seen in a
couple of years.” No kiddin’.

Mets 6, Marlins 5: The Mets salvage the three-game series with a win despite allowing 17 hits. It helped that the Feesh made four errors. Edwin Rodriguez: “I think it was a good ending, other than the loss.” I’m inspired. How about you?

MRI reveals minor right ankle sprain for Cubs’ Kris Bryant

Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant warms up before Game 3 of the National League baseball championship series against the New York Mets Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
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CHICAGO (AP) An MRI has confirmed that Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs has a minor right ankle sprain.

The 2015 NL Rookie of the Year wasn’t in the lineup Friday against the Atlanta Braves, but manager Joe Maddon said he might be available off the bench late in the game.

Bryant was injured running the bases in the third inning Thursday of Chicago’s 7-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. He was replaced in left field two innings later.

The Cubs avoided putting another starter on the disabled list. Catcher Miguel Montero was placed on the 15-day DL on Thursday with a sore back. Chicago lost slugger Kyle Schwarber for the season when he tore two knee ligaments three weeks ago in Arizona.

Yasiel Puig welcomes Jared Goff to Los Angeles

Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig smiles as he warms up throwing the baseball during a spring training baseball workout Friday, Feb. 26, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
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Jared Goff, the University of California Quarterback, was selected by the Los Angeles Rams as the first overall pick of last night’s draft. Not a bad thing to happen, to the man. He’s going to be rich! He’s going to be even more famous! He’s going to be the face of the NFL’s move back into the nation’s second largest city!

The only problem is that he’s not always been a fan of all things Los Angeles. For example, three years ago he took issue with Yasiel Puig for reasons that I’m guessing everyone has forgotten:

But no worries. Puig has both forgotten and forgiven. He even sent out a warm welcome to the new Angelino this afternoon:

#PuigYourFriend has to the best hashtag in the history of Twitter.

 

Someone stole a 14-foot tall Kansas City Royals Player

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Not a real one. If there was a real 14-foot tall baseball player we would’ve heard more about him, I presume. Also, since he’s 14-feet tall and only weighs 150 pounds, he’d probably be in the hospital hooked up to IVs and things because that’s just not healthy.

This is a fake one — a 3D figure — for use on a billboard in Kansas City off of I-435. Thieves came in the night and took him off the sign on Wednesday night. This morning, however, he was found:

And he is home:

Kansas City’s long, little-over-a-day nightmare is over.

(h/t to SB Nation who has a lot more on this)

People are getting hysterical over Dee Gordon’s positive test

FILE - This April 3, 1972 file photo shows Marvin Miller, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, talking to reporters in New York. Miller, the union leader who created free agency for baseball players and revolutionized professional sports with multimillion dollar contracts, died Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012 in New York. He was 95. (AP Photo/File)
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A dude testing positive for PEDs and getting suspended for 80 games should, actually, be taken as a sign that the system, however imperfect, still largely works. But the world of baseball can’t stop to acknowledge that. No, this is apparently a crisis. A crisis so dire that decades of labor developments apparently need to be scuttled.

That’s the message I’m getting from some folks in baseball media, anyway. Take this for example:

There’s a LOT going on there. For one thing, a casual dismissal of just how massively significant the concept of the guaranteed contract is in baseball. Marvin Miller is always cited as the man who brought the players free agency, but free agency would not have been valuable at all if teams could just void contracts. Just look at how the NFL and its phony salary numbers work. Miller and the MLBPA worked insanely hard to put that system in place and it’s insanely valuable to union membership. It’s not hyperbole to say that any movement on the part of the union to compromise the notion of guaranteed contracts would represent a complete and total repudiation of decades of its own work, and suggesting that it do so because we still get 5-7 PED suspensions a year is preposterous.

Then look at the word “option” there. Abraham wouldn’t have contracts be automatically voided. He’d only have them be voided at the option of an owner. This would give teams tremendous power to get out of bad deals and would give them no risk with respect to PED guys who happen to be on team friendly deals. If contracts were automatically void, underpaid players like Madison Bumgarner would have MASSIVE incentives to use PEDs. If they were merely voidable at the whim of the owner, the owners would have incentives with respect to drug testing other than making the game a clean one.

Finally, note how Abraham puts this all on the MLBPA. He’s not alone in this, as Buster Olney has been tweeting and writing all morning about what the union should and should not be doing to solve this problem. Obviously the union has a huge role as its players are the ones taking drugs, but to suggest that the union be the police force here and that it’s wholly incumbent upon it to solve this problem is silly.

For one thing, as I noted earlier today, a union’s purpose is to protect its members, not police them. To demand that they police them, to the point of undercutting some of their most important protections due to a disciplinary matter, is to turn the concept of a union on its head.

For another thing, as we learned throughout the height of the PED Era, ownership is not totally innocent when it comes to the permeation of PEDs in the game. The people who run baseball play a huge role in shaping the incentive structure of the game which causes some players to cheat. They are thus just as invested in and in just as good a position to help solve the problem at hand as the players are. They cannot, as these reporters would have them, sit back and demand that the MLBPA disembowel itself in order to eliminate PEDs from the game. It has to be a joint effort. Indeed, the drug rules in baseball have the word “JOINT” in the very title. It ain’t a Cheech and Chong reference, I can tell you that.

All of this reveals a certain hysteria that has always permeated the PED discussion in baseball coming to the fore once again. While they once ruled the game, PEDs are a relatively small problem now, comparatively speaking (note: neither Abraham nor Olney bother to establish that they’re actually a big problem or that things are getting worse; they merely assert it and assume it). A problem which, like drugs and cheating in every other walk of life, cannot be wholly eliminated and should not be ignored, but which can be and generally is effectively managed.

Yet here we are with two of the more influential voices in the game — and many others I’ve seen already today but didn’t bother to link here — pushing the panic button and demanding the ridiculous with no basis whatsoever. What is it about this subject, in this sport only, of course, that makes people lose their frickin’ minds?