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. 

Video: Undercover David Ortiz drives a Lyft in Boston

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David Ortiz did one of those “Undercover Lyft” spots for, well, Lyft, in which famous people disguise themselves while driving passengers around. Yes, they’re ads, but they’re still pretty funny. At least this one was.

Best parts: (1) the woman who says she has two David Ortiz shirts to which Undercover Ortiz responds, “actually, all my shirts are his shirts”; and (2) when Ortiz agrees with someone that baseball games are “so loooong.” Oh, and at one point he tells a woman who said she was going to the Red Sox game that night that he was too. After he unmasked himself, she explains his own joke to him. Which, ooohhkay.

In other news, people who take Lyfts in Boston either don’t watch much baseball, because Ortiz’s costume is NOT very concealing, or else they simply don’t look at their Lyft driver while in the car, at all.

Scouting in Venezuela: “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time”

MIAMI - MARCH 14:  Venezuela fans cheer with a country flag while taking on the Netherlands during round 2 of the World Baseball Classic at Dolphin Stadium on March 14, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
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Ben Badler of Baseball America has a story about how major league scouts who cover Venezuela are unhappy with the rules imposed upon them by the league. Rules, they say, which unreasonably prohibit them from scouting Venezuelan players in centralized, team-controlled locations or, alternatively, flying them to team facilities in the Dominican Republic or elsewhere.

The result: international scouts are forced to travel all over Venezuela to evaluate prospect. And, given how destabilized and dangerous Venezuela has become, they believe their safety is at risk:

“MLB’s rules that limit our ability to travel a Venezuelan guy to the Dominican Republic, that limit our ability to get them in a complex at different ages, all these rules are solely contributing to the risks that all of us are taking traveling from complex to complex, facility to facility in the streets,” said one international director. “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time, and it’s on MLB when it happens, because they’re the ones who created these rules.”

As Badler notes, Major League Baseball itself has moved its annual national showcase out of the country due to safety concerns. It will not, however, relax scouting rules — which seem arbitrary on their surface in the first place — in order to make the job of international scouts safer.

It seems that Rob Manfred and the league owe their employees better than this. Or at the very least owe them an explanation why they don’t think they do.