And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Padres 8, Giants 2: So much for Jonathan Sanchez’s big prediction. The Padres take two of three from San Francisco and run their lead to 3.5 games. Another distressingly bad start from Tim Lincecum (3.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 5 ER). The scary question of the day: is he just lost, or is he attempting to pitch through an injury?

Twins 4, Athletics 2: David Pinto at Baseball Musings coined the term “short shutout” for a pitcher who didn’t go the distance but who didn’t allow any runs. I guess Kevin Slowey gets a “short no-hitter,” then, after being pulled following seven innings of no-hit ball. The fans booed Ron Gardenhire when he pulled Slowey. Gardenhire: “I’d boo me too.”  But he made the right call.

Reds 2, Marlins 0: Homer Bailey with six shutout innings, but the star
of this game was Reds’ radio color man Jeff Brantley who, during the
broadcast, was asked by a listener if he preferred Texas, Carolina, or
Kansas City barbecue. I was on the road and missed it, but my good
friend and former co-worker Mark was listening and he gives us a very
close-to-verbatim transcript:

“Debate?  The debate is I like all of them.  How bout that.  The thing
that you have to realize is that if you’re from Texas, or Kansas City,
or Carolina, well, obviously you think your barbecue is the best.  If
you are a barbecue connoisseur as I claim to be and I know that I am,
they’re all good.  That’s why you have different types of barbecue – so
you don’t have to eat the same thing every day.  Monday you’ll have
Kansas City, Tuesday you’ll have Carolina, Wednesday you’ll have Texas. 
Then you go from those three days of ribs into the Boston Butt and into
the pulled pork.  Then you spend the weekend with the roasted chicken.”

Jeff Brantley really brings the game to life.

Royals 1, Yankees 0: Brian Bullington, bitches, you better aks someone (8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 5K).

Braves
13, Dodgers 1
: No Chipper? No Heyward? No problem. Now, if Rick Ankiel
will just walk twice a game and if Alex Gonzalez will just drive in four every
day, the Bravos will be sitting pretty. OK, that’s jocularity. The
reality: for all the hand wringing over the injuries and the concerns
over people going cold in the lineup, Atlanta is going to live or die
based on the rotation. They can carry through if Jurrjens, Hanson and
Hudson stay solid. If not, forget it.

Indians 9, Mariners 1: Improbable: Travis Hafner comes off the DL to hit a grand slam off King Felix. More improbable: Hernandez gave up six runs, but none of them were earned. Even more improbable: Justin Masterson gave up only one hit, but walked six dudes and threw six shutout innings.

Rays 3, Orioles 2: I think we can all agree that Jeremy Hellickson is pretty good (6 IP, 3 H 1 ER, 5K). The Rays move on to face the Rangers now, which should be fun.

Tigers 13, White Sox 8: Chicago came back from being down 5-1 to take the lead and then the Tigers stepped on the accelerator. The Chisox are spinning out of control.

Nationals 5, Diamondbacks 3: A better start than last time for Strasburg (5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 7K), but a no-decision on the day. The two unearned runs were his fault, by the way, thanks to a throwing error. A bunch of dumbass fans ran onto the field to protest the Arizona immigration law. I don’t care what your issue is. I don’t care if I subscribe to it or not. Don’t interrupt friggin’ baseball games OK? Because if you do, I will totally change my view on one issue, and that’s on whether or not trespassing fans should be tased.

Astros 8, Pirates 2: Seven straight losses for Pittsburgh. Which is good, because I had a September series at PNC in mind for a little road trip, and frankly, I didn’t want to have to fight for tickets.

Cubs 9, Cardinals 7: The Cards follow up the big emotional sweep of the Reds by dropping two of three to the DOA Cubs at home, surrendering the division lead to Cincy. Derrek Lee hit two bombs, giving him four in three games. Too bad the whole “take a couple days off due to bereavement leave and come back and rake” thing isn’t the kind of routine anyone wants to follow.

Rangers 7, Red Sox 3: Texas is now 3-2 in the eight game Yankees-Red Sox-Rays gauntlet through which they’re running. Of course, I don’t suppose it will be 103 degrees in Arlington in October, so we may only be able to learn so much from this test.

Rockies 6, Brewers 5: A walkoff RBI single for Troy Tulowitzki in the latest  act of the “Trevor Hoffman is done” play.

Blue Jays 4, Angels 1: Rickey Romero celebrates his contract extension with a spiffy day on the mound (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER). No homers for Jose Bautistia this series, which is a rarity these days.

Phillies 3, Mets 1: New York scored nine runs during their six game homestand. The only good thing that happened for them was when Angel Pagan thew out Kyle Kendrick out 9-3 on what should have been a single to right. By several steps. And that’s less good than freaky and mercifully game-shortening.

Ruben Amaro is workin’ out and gettin’ ready to coach first base

Ruben Amaro Jr.
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One of the weirder stories of the offseason was Ruben Amaro going from the Phillies front office to the Red Sox, where he’ll coach first base. That kind of transition is almost unheard of but it’s happening with old Rube.

Today Pete Abraham of the Globe has a story about how Amaro is preparing for the role. And how, while it may look weird on paper, the move actually makes a lot more sense than you might suspect given the Red Sox’ coaching staff and Amaro’s own background. It’s good stuff. Go check it out.

On a personal note, it serves as a signal to me to keep my eyes peeled for reports about Amaro from Fort Myers once camp gets started:

Amaro has been working out in recent weeks with his nephew Andrew, a Phillies prospect, to get ready for throwing batting practice and hitting fungoes.

Could we be so lucky as to get the first-ever Best Shape of His Life report for a coach? God, I hope so!

It’s pretty stupid that athletes can’t endorse beer

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner celebrates after pitching the Giants to a 8-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League wild card game in Pittsburgh Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) ORG XMIT: PAGP102
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One of the more amusing things to spin out of the Super Bowl were Peyton Manning’s little Budweiser endorsements in his postgame interviews. It was hilarious, really, to see him shoehorn in references to going and cracking a crisp cool Budweiser multiple times. It was more hilarious when a Budweiser representative tweeted that Manning was not paid to do that. Of course, Manning owns an interest in alcohol distributorships so talking about The King of Beers was in his best financial interest all the same.

After that happened people asked whether or not Manning would face discipline about this from the NFL, as players are not allowed to endorse alcoholic beverages. This seemed crazy to me. I had no idea that they were actually banned from doing so. Then I realized that, huh, I can’t for the life of me remember seeing beer commercials with active athletes, so I guess maybe it’s not so crazy. Ken Rosenthal later tweeted that Major League Baseball has a similar ban in place. No alcohol endorsements for ballplayers.

Why?

I mean, I can fully anticipate why the leagues would say athletes can’t do it. Think of the children! Role models! Messages about fitness! All that jazz. I suspect a more significant reason is that the leagues and their partners — mostly Anheuser-Busch/InBev — would prefer not to allow high-profile athletes to shill for a competitor. How bad would it look for Alex Rodriguez to do spots for Arrogant Bastard Ale when there are Budweiser signs hanging in 81% of the league’s ballparks? Actually, such ads would look WONDERFUL, but you know what I mean here.

That aside, it does strike me as crazy hypocritical that the leagues can rake in as much as they do from these companies while prohibiting players from getting in on the action. If it is kids they’re worried about, how can they deny that they endorse beer to children every bit as effectively and possibly more so than any one athlete can by virtue of putting it alongside the brands that are the NFL and MLB? Personally I don’t put much stock in a think-of-the-children argument when it comes to beer — it’s everywhere already and everyone does a good job of pushing the “drink responsibly” message — but if those are the leagues’ terms, they probably need to ask themselves how much of a distinction any one athlete and the entire league endorsing this stuff really is.

That aside, sports and beer — often sponsored by active players — have a long, long history together:

Musial

And the picture at the top of this post certainly shows us that Major League Baseball has no issues whatsoever in having its players endorse Budweiser in a practical sense.

Why can’t they get paid for doing it?

The Orioles signed Rafael Palmeiro’s son

Rafael Palmeiro
Getty Images
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Last summer we posted about Rafael Palmeiro coming out of retirement to play for the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters. The reason: to play a game with his boy Patrick. In that game the elder Palmeiro went 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk, and a run scored. His son, who is now 26, went 2-for-4 with a grand slam.

Did that serve as an audition for Patrick? Possibly, as Jon Meloi of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles just signed him to a minor league deal.

As Meloi notes, it’s certainly just an organizational depth move, as Patrick is no prospect. And it’s actually likely something of a coincidence that it’s the Orioles who signed him, as Palmeiro doesn’t have any real contacts with the Orioles baseball operations people, all of whom are different folks now than back in his day.

This may not be the last of the Palmeiros, by the way. Peter Gammons tweeted this morning that Patrick’s younger brother, Preston, is a first baseman at North Carolina State who could be drafted this june. Gammons says he has a swing “remarkably similar to dad.”

Diamondbacks, A.J. Pollock avoid arbitration with two-year contract

Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock drives in two runs against the Cincinnati Reds during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
AP Photo/Gary Landers
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Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.

Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.