And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

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Indians 6, Blue Jays 1: This game freaked me out in that the score went final before 2:30 yesterday afternoon.  There’s almost something unnatural about a game being over that early in the day. I’d love to live on the west coast, but having baseball be over before noon out there would totally wig me out.  Anyway: I’m going to resist the urge to use the word “masterful” to describe Justin Masterson’s start because I bet he’s got that since he was in little league. Oh, wait, I did it anyway, didn’t I? 8.1 IP, 8 H, 1 ER.  And Matt LaPorta homered for his third straight game, which just goes to show you that some quality time in Columbus, Ohio is good for the body and soul.

Angels 2, Rangers 1: Jered Weaver pitches two-hit, shutout ball over
seven to give the Angels a series win over the Rangers. It’s the
Rangers’ first series loss in nearly a month.

Yankees 4, Mariners 2: A-Rod hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the
eighth inning. Remember back when he wasn’t clutch? Nah, me neither.

Reds 3, Cubs 2: The AP game story goes several paragraphs talking about
Dusty Baker’s history in Chicago rather than talk about the actual game.
Annoying, but worth it for this line from Dusty: “I was here four out
of the 100 years. Most people act like I
was here the whole hundred.” As for the game, Travis Wood makes his
major league debut for Cincy and it was a good one: 7 IP, 2 H, 2 ER. 
The scoring ended on a fielder’s choice in the 10th and that’s kind of
boring so maybe it’s OK that the game story guy spent so much time
talking about Baker and Chicago.

Astros 6, Padres 3: Luke Gregerson couldn’t find the zone in the tenth inning, walking two guys with two outs and then allowing a triple to Michael Bourn. The Astros have won six of nine games.

Rockies 7, Giants 3: The good news: the Giants actually scored more than two runs for the first time since last Friday. The bad news: they still lost, which makes it six in a row. And memo to the AP writer who put the game recap together: you are fined $10 for using the term “danced” to describe Aaron Cook’s sinkerball. If you’d read your style book you’d see that it clearly states that only knuckleballs “dance.”  Please make a note of it in the future.

Rays 5, Twins 4: A day after quoting that “the Twins are 38-0 when leading after eight innings” stat they lose a game they were leading after eight innings. George Burns was right: statistics are a horrible bitch goddess.

Brewers 4, Cardinals 1: The Brewers little hot streak continues as they take their eighth win in 11 games. Prince Fielder homered again. He had seven homers at the end of May. Now he has 18.

Pirates 3, Phillies 2; Nationals 2, Mets 1: Can I tell you how
satisfying it is for your team to have a night off and having them still
gain ground in the division because their opponents lost to a couple of
hapless teams?

Athletics 8, Orioles 1: It’s getting to be a stretch to even call the Orioles “hapless” seeing how long
it’s been since they had any hap. It’d be like describing city streets
as “horseless.” I mean, sure, there ain’t no horses out there anymore,
but are we really saying anything meaningful by noting their absence? As for the Athletics, Trevor Cahill wins again after allowing one run over seven innings. Ryan
Sweeney and Chad Cliff Pennington (I have no idea, so don’t ask) each had four hits. Nice performances, but as I was looking at ESPN.com’s little scores page last night I noticed that, for a while at least, their little “top performers” box to the right of the scores had all three positions filled with Athletics. Typical ESPN East Bay bias. 

Some Mets fans are not happy that Beyonce is playing at Citi Field

Beyoncé performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Associated Press
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The funny thing about that “stick to sports” stuff I was going on about the other day is that, in reality, a whole lot of the people who say “stick to sports” don’t really want to just stick to sports. They’re totally cool going on about political, social or cultural stuff as long as it fits their world view. It’s not “stick to sports.” It’s “don’t talk about the social implications of sports-related stuff in ways that upset me.” If sports and culture come together in other ways, however, they’re completely fine in grinding their axe.

For example, Beyonce is playing a concert a Citi Field this summer. The show is so popular that they added a second date. The Mets’ Twitter feed just announced that tickets will go on sale for the new show soon:

A while lotta Mets fans responded to that negatively. For political/social/cultural reasons that they are willingly bringing in to a conversation about a pop singer and a baseball stadium that will double as a concert venue:

And they go on and on.

How much do you want to bet that a whole lotta these respondents would tell you to “stick to baseball” if you wanted to bring up how race affects the sport or how, if instead of Beyonce, this was announcing a Kid Rock/Ted Nugent-headlined festival and you mused whether that was a case of the Mets somehow endorsing their messages?

The Orioles and Yovani Gallardo are “making progress”

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Orioles are “making progress” in talks with free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo.

Gallardo has been on the market so long because he has a first round pick tied to him due to his declining the Rangers’ qualifying offer. The Orioles would have to forfeit the 14th overall pick in order to sign him. That has been too steep a price to pay for them all winter, but as we’re mere days away from pitchers and catchers reporting, it’s likely that Gallardo’s price has dropped enough to make it worth their while.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons — and had a career-low 3.42 ERA in 2015 — but his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012, suggesting that trouble could be on the horizon.

If the O’s do burn their pick to get Gallardo, it might make sense for them to go all-in with another free agent like Dexter Fowler, given that they’d not have to give up anything else to do it.

Rangers avoid arbitration with Mitch Moreland

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First baseman/outfielder Mitch Moreland and the Rangers have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $5.7 million deal.

Moreland requested $6 million and the Rangers countered at $4.675 million, so the two sides settled on the player-friendly side of the midpoint.

Moreland bounced back from an injury wrecked 2014 season to have a career-year in 2015, hitting .278 with 23 homers and an .812 OPS in 132 games. Arbitration eligible for the final time at age 30, he’s set to be a free agent next offseason.

Tiger Stadium redevelopment group loses $50K because of its preference for artificial turf

Navin Field
Craig Calcaterra
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We’ve posted frequently on the topic of the old Tiger Stadium site. If you’ve kept up with it you know that the site, nearly overgrown with weeds and strewn with trash before being rescued by a group of volunteers called the Navin Field Grounds Crew, is now being slated for redevelopment by the Detroit Police Athletic League.

The PAL is committed to keeping a baseball field as part of the development, but they are also, quite unfortunately, committed to putting artificial turf down over the bit of Earth where baseball legends once walked and ran.

Backlash to the plan has begun, however. Not just from people like me or the Navin Field Grounds Crew, who are opposed to fake grass, but to an actual donor to the Detroit Police Athletic League:

With an annual contribution of $50,000 to Detroit PAL’s programs, the Lear Corporation has been a major benefactor of the nonprofit for years. But in light of PAL’s controversial plan to redevelop the Tiger Stadium site with artificial turf, Lear’s CEO is speaking out.

Matthew Simoncini says that Lear is withdrawing its financial support of PAL for its mishandling of this delicate issue.

“I believe the [PAL] plan is severely flawed [and] a terrible use of resources,” says Simoncini. “[It] does not preserve this site and provides [an] unsafe playing surface for the children,”

I’m guessing $50,000 is not the sort of money that will seriously hinder a real estate redevelopment plan, but it’s good to hear someone with a stake in all of this voting with their wallet. Here’s hoping more do and that, eventually, PAL understands that there are some things more important than saving some money at the front end of a project.