And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Twins 7, White Sox 6: The Twins jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first, couldn’t hold it and the Sox hung tight with them for most of the game. Then, down a run in the bottom of the 10th, Jim Thome hit a two-run walkoff bomb that in no way made Ozzie Guillen regret the fact that he lobbied hard all winter to be able to avoid having to carry a dedicated DH on his roster, thereby sending Thome in Minnesota’s direction rather than come back to the Sox where he said he wanted to go in the first place.

Rays 10, Rangers 1: We all talked about how this was a division series preview. If so, the Rangers have their backs up against the wall, previewly-speaking.  The AP story said that Matt Garza “scattered five hits over seven innings.”  I’d like to read one that says Rangers pitchers “scattered 15 hits over eight innings.” I mean, the act of scattering is always used to refer to hits that don’t amount to many runs, but there’s nothing inherent in the term that requires it.  The Rangers scattered the hits. The Rays scored following an inordinate amount of them.

Braves 10, Nationals 3: The Braves’ bats snoozed for five innings and then woke up just in time to give Mike Minor some run support after his night was over but while he was still the pitcher of record, thereby handing him his first career win. Martin Prado returned and got three hits. Adam Dunn threw a ball away like a quarterback on the five yard line who couldn’t find an open receiver in the end zone. Melky Cabrera got a clutch hit and made a nice catch in left. It was a really entertaining final few innings if you weren’t a Nats fan.

Phillies 9, Giants 3: Chase Utley returned and put up an 0 for 5, but it didn’t matter because Oswalt was dealing and the rest of the Philly bats broke it open late. The Phillies take a one game lead in the wild card race.

Red Sox 6, Angels 0: Clay Buchholz shuts the Halos down for seven innings and Ryan Kalish hits a grand slam. Darnell McDonald hit a solo homer that crashed through the rear window of a
Toyota parked on the top floor of the garage across Lansdowne Street. While Kalish got more RBIs for his, McDonald received 10 more points for style in the big ledger I keep next to my TV.  Dustin Pedroia returned and went 0 for 4 despite the fact that we were led to believe that there would be laser shows.

Padres 1, Cubs 0: Garland, Adams and Bell combine for the six-hit shutout. Randy Wells deserved a better fate (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER), but we all do, don’t we?

Astros 4, Mets 3: For weeks all we’ve been hearing in the media is constant hype about how Nelson Figueroa was going to get his chance to exact his revenge on the Mets for cutting him. So, like millions of others, I’m happy this is finally behind us. Oh — and I think it was the cutest thing in the world was how that, during the Braves-Nats game, FOX Sports South flashed this score up on the screen along with the Phillies-Giants score in its little “playoff race roundup” feature. It’s as if we can’t tell the Mets that they don’t matter anymore and have to keep up appearances or something.

Brewers 3, Cardinals 2: Three losses in a row for St. Louis, two to the Cubs and this one to the Brewers. I can’t recall a more yo-yoing contender in some time.

Royals 2, Indians 1: The usual power display from Yuniesky Betancourt and Wilson Betemit provide enough to give Zack Greinke the win. The Indians walked seven times. You probably need to score more than once when that happens.

Marlins 6, Pirates 0: Ricky Nolasco did it all. He won his fifth game in six starts, allowing only five singles, no extra base hits and a lone walk to go with nine strikeouts. He also went 2-for-3 and drove in
two runs. No word as to whether he broke out his powerful, paralyzing, perfect pachydermous percussion pitch.

Yankees 6, Tigers 2: Walkin’ five dudes and throwing 114 pitches in five innings is no way to go through life, Justin Verlander. In other news, the Yankees’ success against pitchers they’re facing for the eighth time continues.

Mariners 4, Orioles 0: Matt Tuiasosopo had four RBI and continued his streak of days on which I see his name in print and picture him playing quarterback for the Washington Huskies to about 67.

Dodgers 6, Rockies 0: Clayton Kershaw shuts the Rockies out over seven innings and the pen decides not to blow up this time.

Athletics 6, Blues Jays 2: Some early offense for the A’s, who haven’t had much of it lately. Dallas Braden outpitched Brandon Morrow in a battle of guys who might have been better off long term if they didn’t have that one kickass start this year.

Reds 6, Diamondbacks 2: The Reds open a dreaded west coast swing with a win which bumps their division lead to two games. Given how poorly they usually do out west, they need to give themselves as much of a cushion in Arizona as they can before hitting San Diego, L.A. and San Francisco.

Ron Darling rips Mets trainers after yet another player goes down with an injury

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Last night starter Robert Gsellman became the latest Mets player to go down with an injury when he strained his hamstring while running out a ground ball. He’s certain to go on the disabled list, making him the sixth Mets starter to go down this year. He’ll join Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Juan Lagares, Neil Walker, Matt Harvey, David Wright, Jeurys Familia and many, many other Mets on the DL.

Mets broadcaster Ron Darling is fed up with it. Last night, after Gsellman went down, he went off on the Mets trainers, who he believes to be enabling all of this:

“[These] trainers, get them in a room with some of the old trainers and people that took care of baseball players and how to keep them healthy. And get them in a room and try to tap into their knowledge on how you train baseball players — not weightlifters, not six-pack wearers — baseball players. They’re doing a disservice to their million-dollar athletes that they’re paying. It’s a joke to watch this happen each and every night.”

Here’s video of his rant:

Darling is certainly tapping into a frustration a lot of Mets fans feel. For years the Mets injury issues have vexed the fanbase, less so for the sheer number of them — other teams have had more DL trips for their players — than for the manner in which they were handled and/or discussed by the team. They’ve often been loathe to use the disabled list even when it makes sense to and have, at times, run guys out to play despite there being serious red flags which would counsel most teams from doing so.

But is he right about why the players are getting injured? It’s a commonly held bit of conventional wisdom that players using weight training and being muscular makes them more brittle, but I’m unaware of any science that backs that up (if you have some, please pass it along, I’d genuinely be interested in reading it). Maybe it’s true, maybe it isn’t, but Darling seems so certain about it.

He could be right. But I also suspect that Darling may be falling prey to some back-in-my-dayism that retired players often exhibit. Are players getting injured more or are they merely being diagnosed better? Are they getting more seriously injured, or are they just taken out of action more quickly rather than be left to play through injuries like so many old timers have claimed they had to back in the 50s, 60s and 70s? Fireballers used to try to hang on as junkballers after suffering elbow injuries that today would send a guy to surgery. There was a much greater tolerance for lumbering slow dudes who might take it easy with a bad hammy as opposed to getting shut down now.

None of which is to say that Darling is wrong, necessarily. Like I said, maybe there is something to the idea that weight training and musculature makes a player more brittle. But I am always loathe to nod along with an old player who says the science and medicine surrounding sports has regressed compared to where it was back in his day. It may be true, but it’s counterintuitive given how science and medicine usually work. And when you offer a counterintuitive take like that, I think you need more evidence than your frustration at an injury occurring in front of you in real time.

Bryce Harper is pretty clearly messing with people

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Not too long ago some rumors popped up about Bryce Harper wanting to sign with the Cubs when he hits free agency following the 2018 season. Such rumors are sort of silly this far out — and they almost always tend to be non-predictive of where the player eventually goes — but they tend to get folks excited or concerned, depending on who they root for.

With the Cubs in town to face the Nationals, Harper was asked about those rumors again. He wisely dismissed them, saying he had no idea where that stuff comes from. Which is what someone in his position should say.

Not that he’s not going to have some fun with it. Check out his Instagram post with friend Kris Bryant. Specifically, check out the hashtag:

#Back2BackOneDay is, of course, an implication that he’d be hitting behind Bryant in the same batting order.

Harper is no idiot. He’s not going to use social media, in the middle of a season, two seasons before he could even potentially play elsewhere, to send genuine signals about wanting to leave the Nationals and join the Cubs. He’s just messing with the rumormongers. As he TOTALLY SHOULD by the way, because rumormongers deserve to be messed with.

Not that the rumormongers won’t take this a genuine evidence of his intent. The rumormongers aren’t big on subtle humor.