Matt Treanor

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Royals 12, Angels 9 (13 innings): Fernando Rodney blew the save in the bottom of the ninth by allowing two runs. More inexcusable than the runs, however, is that he walked Jeff Francoeur in the process. Actually, he walked the bases loaded before Wilson Betemit doubled in the tying runs. Angels pitchers walked ten Royals in all which should be a felony of some kind. Skip ahead to the 13th inning and Matt Treanor wins it with a walkoff three-run homer. The Royals skip out of the gate with a 3-1 record. The Angels make it nice and clear that, no, they aren’t going to be doing much of anything this year.

Cardinals 2, Padres 0: Wow. After the spring he had, I was a bit worried about Jaime Garcia. Maybe he was actually “just workin’ on some stuff,” because yesterday he was fantastic tossing a four-hit shutout. The game took two hours and three minutes. I like quick games, but man, any shorter and you’re approaching “not getting your money’s worth” territory. Well, Cardinals fans won’t complain.

Rangers 5, Red Sox 1: Boom-boom-boom-boom, homers for Murphy, Kinsler, Napoli and Cruz, as the Red Sox pitching staff completed three straight games of getting shelled. I watched about half of this one on TBS, and I loved how Dennis Eckersley didn’t try to put a shine on it all by saying stuff like “the Red Sox just weren’t making their pitches” or whatever. He just came right out and said stuff like “man, John Lackey sure got shelled on Saturday, they just teed off on him.”  Kind of refreshing to hear commentators talk like you and I would if we were watching the game on the couch. Indeed, I’d love to see a game — just one game, as an experiment — in which the regular broadcasters were replaced by a couple of dudes just talking. As long as they weren’t total Neanderthals it could be fun.

Indians 7, White Sox 1: The Tribe finally figured out a way to silence the Chisox’ bats. Part of it was via the help of a triple play. It came on a diving catch of a pop bunt by Carlos Santana (who was playing first base), who then doubled the runners who were on first and second in a somewhat anti-climactic manner. I always find those plays awkward in that, as opposed to those exciting around-the-horn jobs, you sort of don’t realize that it’s a triple play until after it happened. But still, triple play, dude.

Dodgers, 7, Giants 5: A weekend the Giants would like to forget, partially because of the three losses to the Dodgers, but also because their defense was so ugly that it bodes seriously ill for the future. Seriously, I’m concerned that Aubrey Huff is gonna pull a Bump Baily and just friggin’ die out there in right.

Braves 11, Nationals 2: Jordan Zimmermann did OK in the start, but bad defense and poor relief pitching by the Nats turned this one from a close game to a blowout in the late innings. Three hits, including two doubles, for Martin Prado. Brian McCann had four RBI. Tim Hudson slid into home plate head first while wearing a warmup jacket to score the Braves’ third run, so that was fun.

Tigers 10, Yankees 7: The balls were flying out of Yankee Stadium like crazy. Both Miguel Cabrera and Jorge Posada had two homers, and Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Brennan Boesch each had one as well. Cabrera and Boesch each had 4 RBI, with the latter doing it on a 4 for 4 day. I didn’t see this one, but people were saying during the game that Phil Hughes velocity was pretty bad. Seems that the chatter from spring training may have something to it.

Athletics 7, Mariners 1: Gio Gonzalez picked up where he left off back in Phoenix, hurling seven innings of one-run ball and averting the sweep for the A’s. I’ll risk the ire of Gleeman by noting that Coco Crisp finished a homer short of they cycle. Which isn’t nearly as bad as noting that someone was a triple short of the cycle, but probably deserves some disapprobation. Hideki Matsui’s first hit of the day gave him a combined 2,500 hits between his career in Japan and the majors.

Reds 12, Brewers 3: Ryan Hannigan went 4 for 4 with two homers and the Reds complete the sweep. Cincy banged out 19 hits. They had the best offense in the National League last year. The Brewers had one of the worst pitching staffs. Not much seems to have changed.

Mets 9, Marlins 2: Remember all of that “Javy Vazquez will be way better off back in the National League East” stuff from over the winter? Nah, me neither (2.1 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 5 BB). The Mets take two of three to open the season, on the road no less. Thanks aplenty goes to R.A. Dickey who struck out seven in six innings.

Orioles 5, Rays 1: It was Zach Britton’s major league debut and he made the most of it, giving up one run on three hits in six innings with six strikeouts as 30 of his friends and family members looked on down in St. Pete. Just par for the course so far for the O’s this year, as they completed the sweep of Tampa Bay, allowing three total runs in the series. Every single time I was asked to opine on the Orioles chances this spring I started off by saying “well, you can never bank on young pitching,” but so far so good.

Pirates 5, Cubs 4: Ouch. Carlos Marmol was staked to a 4-3 lead and couldn’t close the deal, walking a guy and allowing a hit. A sac bunt — which in this case proved essential — moved the runners to second and third and then Pedro Alvarez drove them both in with an infield single. Wait, what? An infield single scored two?  Yep: Starlin Castro’s throw to try to get Alvarez pulled Carlos Pena off the bag and Pirates’ third base coach Nick Leyva didn’t hesitate to send Neil Walker from second and he beat the throw. That’s some sharp damn baseball right there, kids. When you’re the Pirates you got nothin’ to lose. Send the runner all season, Leyva. It won’t always work, but it will always be exciting.

Phillies 7, Astros 3: Roy Oswalt got the win against his old team as the Phillies complete the sweep. Cliff Lee got the win the day before. Halladay on Opening Day: no-decision. Slacker.

Twins 4, Blue Jays 3: Toronto made things dicey for Joe Nathan in the ninth, but the Twins held on to salvage the series. Edwin Encarnacion made two errors and already has three on the year. That should be fun to watch all season.

Diamondbacks vs. Rockies: POSTPONED:  It was in the 80s on Saturday in Denver and then this one was cancelled due to a combination of rain and snow. At least Denver weather isn’t boring. In other news, I had this feeling that if I Googled the term “Rocky Mountain rain” that something would come up. Maybe a deep album track from John Denver. Maybe an obscure brand of small batch whiskey sold primarily at tourist destinations. The actual result: a Rick Derringer album from 2009 that appears on AllMusic.com, but which does not, strangely enough, appear on Derringer’s own website. Did Rick Derringer finally create an album so lame that he himself will not own up to its existence?  Oh well. “All American Boy” will always stand out. Seriously: it’s easily a top-10 “put on headphones, sit in a beanbag chair, play air guitar and just groove” kind of record. And it has to be a record, not a CD. Preferably one that older cousin of yours left at the house the last time he visited. You know, the one that went to jail back in ’83? Wonder whatever happened to him.

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)
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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)
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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.