And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

10 Comments

Padres 3, Dodgers 2:
Oscar Salazar had a pinch-hit walkoff single. During the game they
traded for Miguel Tejada and got $1 million in the deal from Baltimore.
Tejada is “meh” but I hope they went out for a party on that million
bucks after the game. I also hope they continued to wear the awesome
throwback mustard and brown jerseys after the game ended, because that
would make the party really hop.

Marlins 5, Giants 0: Anibal Sanchez was almost untouchable: CG, SHO 1 H, 1 BB, 8K.  Buster Posey’s hitting streak ends. The Giants should totally protest this one, though. Jorge Cantu reached twice and scored twice even though he was basically traded already as the game was going on. Let’s create an unwritten rule about that, in fact, shall we?

Nationals 5, Braves 3: I only made up that rule above so we can somehow include Adam Dunn and Matt Capps in it. I mean, sure, I know they weren’t traded during the game or anything, but Capps was traded a mere seven or eight hours after the game ended and there have been a moderate amount of rumors about Dunn, so the Nationals should have sat them out of an abundance of caution. Why no, it has nothing to do with the fact that Dunn hit a homer and Capps got the save in a game in which my rooting interest was on the losing end. Why do you ask?

Mets 4, Cardinals 0: R.A. Dickey shuts down the Cards. Where the hell has this season come from for this guy?  He couldn’t get anyone out in his previous big league stints and wasn’t even all that sharp in the minors, and now he’s 7-4 with a 2.32 ERA. I love guys like this.

Phillies 3, Diamondbacks 2: On a day they get Roy Oswalt for a song in terms of both talent and cash, they get a walkoff win in the 11th inning too. Phillies get everything they want [kicks at stuff, pouts]. For the Dbacks, Joe Saunders had a better start than any Dan Haren has had since July 4th.

Yankees 11, Indians 4: It’s pretty telling when your most effective pitcher of the night is an infielder. That was the case for Cleveland, who pressed Andy Marte into service in ninth inning of a rout. Dude threw a scoreless inning, striking out Nick Swisher. He’s had about 100 chances to stick as a third baseman in various places. Why not try to make a career out of being a mop-up man?

Rays 4, Tigers 2: The Tigers are skidding out of control. David Price gets his 14th win.

Rockies 9, Pirates 3: Ubaldo Jimenez gets his 16th win to help the Rockies snap their eight-game skid.  One more win and he ties the Rockies’ franchise record.

Orioles 6, Royals 5: Kansas City has lost 14 of 17. This bad stretch began at almost the exact moment everyone started talking about how Ned Yost had the team turned around and flying right and all that jazz. Damndest thing.

White Sox 9, Mariners 5: I was on 950 KJR in Seattle last night as this game was going on. Before they called me, I did a quick brushup on the Mariners because, hey, you never know. As soon as my spot started the host said “Mariners are playing the White Sox, but we are NOT going to talk about them because no one wants to hear anything that depressing,” or words pretty close to that. I can see that.  Two home runs for Raul Castro, by the way.

Rangers 7, Athletics 4: The Rangers complete a nice 5-2 homestand against the two teams who think they can challenge them. Only disappointment: Jorge Cantu didn’t hop a flight and pull the “two games in one day for two different teams” stunt. Because that woulda been cool.

Russell Martin is not a fan of the automatic intentional walk

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 15:  Russell Martin #55 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts after being struck out in the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians during game two of the American League Championship Series at Progressive Field on October 15, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
6 Comments

On Tuesday, it was announced that Major League Baseball instituted a new rule allowing for a dugout signal in order to issue an intentional walk rather than having the pitcher throw four pitches wide of the strike zone. It’s commissioner Rob Manfred’s attempt to help improve the game’s pace of play.

As Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports, Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin is certainly not a fan of the change.

My thing is, if they really want to speed up the game, then when a guy hits a home run, to speed up the game should a guy, just like in softball, when he hits it, should he just walk to the dugout? It’d be quicker. I’m just wondering, at what point do we just keep the game, the game? Or, how about this calculation: take all the intentional walks that were made in the last couple years and calculate – or maybe just ask to see if they have that information, to see if they really did their homework. Is it really that important to speed up the game (with this rule)? Because how many games did we play last year where we didn’t have one intentional walk? That’s something I’d like to know.

Martin also expressed concern that eliminating the four-pitch intentional walk will hurt teams’ ability to buy time for their relievers to warm up.

It’s called getting your bullpen ready so the guy doesn’t blow out his arm on the mound. Speed up the game, speed up the game.’ How about we just give guys – the human being – time to warm up on the mound after maybe something’s happened in the game? I’m not a manager, but I’m just trying to put myself in the position of a manager. OK, we’re up by one run or two runs and our bullpen’s been taxed and we’re trying to save their arms, and then the other team walks, ball gets away, guy gets to second base. When the coach visits the mound to talk to his player, it’s not like the player necessarily needs somebody to talk to him.

It’s because the guy (in the bullpen) needs time to warm up, man. It’s the same thing when you throw over to first base, like, eight times in a row. It’s not like we’re trying to keep the guy close. The guy maybe has two stolen bases in 18 years. It’s because the guy needs time to warm up. At what point does that become a problem with guys warming up in the bullpen? Sometimes it’s just strategy to give guys a little bit of time to warm up.

The Jays’ backstop then said he’d prefer if Manfred were honest about the intent behind this rule change and others which have been proposed. Martin said, “Save it. I’m tired of hearing that same lame excuse all the time. Just be honest. If they’re honest about it, we’ll get over it. But don’t hide behind the fans.”

We should be hearing from a handful of players about the new intentional walk rule in the coming days. I can’t imagine the rule is very popular among the players.

Leonys Martin feared for his life from alleged human traffickers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Leonys Martin #12 of the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.

Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.

Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.

Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.