And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Rockies 12, Cardinals 9: Seth Smith, after the biggest ninth inning comeback in living memory: “Baseball’s crazy, even stupid sometimes . . . I don’t even know what just happened . . . You go from, ‘Let’s not give any at-bats away,’ to ‘Good try,’ to ‘Oh,
wait, we can do this.'”  That kind of surprise and references to freakish, dumb luck was pretty much the order of the day in the clubhouse after the game from both teams. Except Dexter Fowler who, when asked, said that the ninth inning was about “pride.”  Pride?  The problem, Dexter, is if you explain the extraordinary in terms of something you’re capable of simply doing based on will alone, some may ask you why you don’t do it all the time.  Sure, there was pride, but there were also two-dozen other wacky and out-of-your-control occurrences which led to this improbable result.  Don’t give me “pride.”  Own the glorious chaos of it all.

Braves 6, Phillies 3: Matt Diaz hit a tiebreaking double in the 11th inning, and Eric Hinske added
a two-run homer. Cole Hamels pitched well for Philly, but his teammates managed only three hits.  They’ve been boning him like that for his last several starts, actually.

Rays 3, Red Sox 2: Jeff Niemann held the Sox to four hits and an unearned run.  I love the narrative about a bunch of no-names like Eric Patterson and Daniel Nava helping the Sox to a magical resurgence as much as the next guy, but at some point it’s a lot nicer to simply have your big stars healthy and playing, ya know?

Nationals 6, Pirates Padres 5: Ryan Zimmerman hit two bombs.  I’m guessing Joey Votto still wins the silly Internet vote for the last All-Star slot, but that’s some pretty good late campaigning for Zim, no? Game time temperature was 99 degrees.  If my San Diego-living brother is any guide to what people from that town do whenever the weather isn’t a nice, breezy low-humidity 78, the Padres probably wilted and complained and then asked to borrow money from me. Wait, strike that last one, as it’s specific to my brother.

Twins 7, Blue Jays 6: Homers from Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel. Delmon Young went 3 for 3 with an RBI and scored the winning run. Twelfth loss in 15 games for the Jays.

Mets 3, Reds 0: No, he’s not in his prime anymore, but it’s nice to see some vintage Johan Santana once in a while (CG, SHO 3 H).

Tigers 7, Orioles 5: Nice night for Johnny Damon: he got his 2,500th career hit and had a walkoff homer in the
11th. “The ball from my 2,500th hit is going in the trophy case, but No. 2,501
is the one I’m going to remember for a long time.”  I don’t know why I laughed at the idea that Johnny Damon has a trophy case, because he’s an accomplished player who probably has a ton of hardware going back to his little league days. But I just immediately got this image of a bunch of random hilarious things like plaques for judging swimsuit competitions and stuff.

Astros 6, Pirates 2: Wandy Rodriguez strikes out ten Bucs and Carlos Lee and Lance Berkman went yard. This kind of scene is what more or less formed the basis of Ed Wade’s delusions of competitiveness this past offseason.

Rangers 12, Indians 1: Everything in this game was overshadowed by that fan falling from the upper deck. He’s supposedly OK, but given that a spectator died a month after falling out of the stands in Miller Park earlier this year, I’ll wait until the guy in Texas is discharged from the hospital to exhale. As for the game, Josh Hamilton and Vlad Guerrero led the assault. But please, Mr. AP writer: no one cares that Josh Hamilton has a “home hitting streak” of 26 games. Hitting streaks matter. Home and road hitting streaks are silly things to track.

Giants 6, Brewers 1: Madison Bumgarner pitched eight shutout innings to get his first win as a major leaguer. Then his teammates gave him a beer shower despite the fact that he’s only 20.  17 Giants players were arrested to contributing to the delinquency of a minor and Bumgarner was released into the custody of his parents.

White Sox 4, Angels 1: The win, she is nice, but losing Jake Peavy to a back injury — latissimus dorsi is the word on the street — is not good. Peavy had been pretty solid over his last several starts and was one of the many reasons the Sox had gone on the run they’re on.

Cubs 6, Diamondbacks 4: Aramis Ramirez supposedly hurt his hand again the other day, but either that was overstated or else the Diamondbacks were throwing beach balls at him. Two homers for A-Ram, which is a nickname I’m never, ever going to use again for him. Carlos Silva has nine wins before the All-Star Break. I’m not sure if that stat or the fact that Vernon Wells is an All-Star would have elicited greater belly laughs from me if I had been informed of it back in April.

Yankees 6, Athletics 1: Grand slam in the third inning and a solo shot in the sixth for A-Rod.  A-Rod after the game: “I like RBIs because that helps the team win.”  Franklly, I liked it much better when he said egotistical inane things. This seemingly selfless inanity just doesn’t suit him.

Dodgers 7, Marlins 3: Fourth homer in six games for Matt Kemp. Is it possible that, more than the attitude adjustment, Kemp simply needed a couple of days off to rest?  Because since he was benched by Joe Torre last week he’s been on a tear.

Royals 3, Mariners 2: Zach Greinke shuts down the M’s. A fan interference call in the eighth inning may have changed the outcome of the game, though.  Russell Branyan hit a double down the line with Ichiro on first base.  A kid reached out and touched it, though, meaning Ichiro had to stop at third when he would have otherwise scored, trying the game. Jose Lopez then grounded out for out number three.  God, I hate fans. Wouldn’t baseball be better without them?

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
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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
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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: