San Francisco Giants v Colorado Rockies

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Giants 8, Rockies 1: Lincecum had a no hitter into the seventh inning. As I was watching it in the den, my wife walked in. She loves Tim Lincecum, so I said “hey, your boyfriend has a no-hitter going in the seventh.”  She said “Is that good?”  I’ve been married to this woman for almost 16 years and we’ve been together for over 20 and absolutely zero baseball knowledge has rubbed off on her. There’s an aggressive, tenacious amount of ignorance there, bordering on the hostile. Maybe it’s for the best. If she was into baseball, she probably would try to do something about her Tim Lincecum fixation. Timmy struck out 10 in seven and two-thirds.

Indians 7, Royals 3: A tight one in regulation between the top two teams in the AL Central. Though they would pile more runs on in the 10th, Shelley Duncan’s RBI double that inning ended up being the game-winner. So two of the Calcaterra ladies had reason to be happy last night, even though they were both oblivious of it. My wife because of her active ignorance of her boyfriend’s eventually spoiled accomplishment, my daughter because her minor league baseball crush got his hit after her 8:30 PM bedtime.

Dodgers 4, Braves: 2:   I couldn’t watch all of this one because of the time difference, but I switched to it as soon as Lincecum’s no-hitter was broken up. Thanks to MLB.tv I had my choice of announcers. Do I watch my favorite team’s crew, or do I watch the bad guys’ crew? The former is Chip Caray. The latter is Vin Scully. Who do you think I watched?  In the top of the second inning Scully said the following, and this is an exact quote: “Dan Uggla — U-G-G-L-A. It is a Swedish name, and it means owl.”  You can never go wrong with Scully.

Red Sox 9, Blue Jays 1: I hit this one up yesterday afternoon. Still no word if the real Dice-K has been found. I don’t know that anyone’s looking. We may have a Martin Guerre situation at work here. Except in this case, I think everyone will be just fine if Arnaud du Tilh is allowed to stick around.

Brewers 6, Phillies 3: John Axford blew the save by allowing a pinch-hit RBI single to Pete Orr, and they played on deadlocked until the 12th. That’s when Kyle Kendrick came in for Philly. While he pitched the entire 12th inning, Kendrick didn’t retire anyone who didn’t willingly give themselves up. Here’s how the inning went: walk, attempted sacrifice/Kendrick throwing error, sacrifice, HBP, run-scoring wild pitch, intentional walk, RBI sacrifice, intentional walk, RBI single, but the third out on an outfield assist. Oy.

Rays 5, White Sox 0: In the Power Rankings yesterday I excoriated the Mariners for making Adam Kennedy the DH and batting him cleanup last week. In this one Joe Maddon did the same for Felipe Lopez. Lopez, however, went 3 for 4 with a double a homer and three RBI. Sam Fuld went 4 for 4, and his legend grows. Eight shutout innings for David Price.

Twins 5, Orioles 3: Eight straight losses for Baltimore. Drew Butera — who else? — swings the big stick for the Twins, going 2 for 3 with a double and three RBI. Matt Capps allowed a homer in the ninth but got the save anyway. Which is an improvement.

Pirates 9, Reds 3: Travis Wood takes a cue from Edinson Volquez and allows three runs in the first inning and the Reds never really recovered. Wood gave up six runs on eight hits in all. No home runs for Pittsburgh, but every Pirate starter except the pitcher got a hit, and most of them had two hits.  Only bright spot for Cincy: Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless ninth, hitting triple digits on the radar gun multiple times. The ballpark radar gun registered 106 once, but that was obviously hot. But even if it was, what, four or five miles per hour over, it ain’t like Chapman was throwing meatballs.

Cubs 1, Padres 0: It was 34 degrees at the time of the first pitch, so the fact that this was a 0-0 game through nine innings is kind of understandable. Carlos Zambrano shut out the Padres on three hits while striking out eight ten during his time in the game. Tim Stauffer did the same on four hits over seven. Cubbies win it when Tyler Colvin doubles in Geovany Soto in the bottom of the 10th.

Rangers 7, Angels 1: C.J. Wilson strikes out nine in seven innings and Ervin Santana shows us that there’s a long ways down from Mt. HarenWeaver to the valley in which the rest of the Angels rotation resides (4 IP, 10 H, 6 ER).

Tigers 8, Mariners 3: Detroit comes from behind when they put up a 6-spot in the seventh inning. Or, as Eric Wedge put it after the game, “that seventh inning got ugly there.” A win, but a costly one for Detroit, as they lose Victor Martinez to a groin injury in the second.

Dee Gordon reinstated from PED suspension

Miami Marlins' Dee Gordon celebrates after hitting a double against the Detroit Tigers in the ninth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 5, 2016, in Miami. Derek Dietrich scored on the double. The Tigers won 8-7. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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The Miami Marlins have reinstated second baseman Dee Gordon from his suspension.

Gordon, of course, has missed the last 80 games while serving his drug suspension. He’s coming off a minor league rehab assignment and will be the everyday second baseman for the contending Marlins. He was hitting .266/.289/.340 with three doubles, two triples, five RBI, 13 runs scored, and six stolen bases in 97 plate appearances when he was popped. He was replaced by Derek Dietrich, who hit a nice .275/.366/.398 with 22 extra-base hits, 30 RBI, and 26 runs scored in 314 PA in Gordon’s absence, so don’t expect a tremendous upgrade at second down the stretch, even if they get a nice upgrade in the utility and depth department.

To make room for Gordon, the Marlins designated utilityman and sometimes hero Don Kelly for assignment. Sad jams.

Chris Sale called “a competitor” for stuff that gets most guys called “head cases”

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox reacts during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Chris Sale has had an eventful week.

On Saturday he was scratched from his start and subsequently suspended for five games for cutting up the 1976 throwback uniforms the team was scheduled to wear, making them unusable. That cost the team over $12,000 and cost the Sox their best pitcher hours before game time.

On Monday Sale gave an interview to Scott Merkin in which he apologized to fans and teammates and explained his rationale for the uniform shredding. Even if his act was over the top, there was a core of understandable motivation at least: Sale said he voiced his displeasure with the untucked jersey months ago and asked to not pitch on a night they’d have to wear them because he believed it would mess with his mechanics and/or mental state. The Sox didn’t heed his request and Sale took issue, as many probably would, with what he felt was the business of throwback jerseys taking precedence over on-the-field stuff.

Of course, there are still some pretty big problems here. Mostly having to do with the facts that (a) the Sox have people on staff who could’ve optimized his jersey any way he needed it to be optimized if he had asked; (b) ballplayers have been wearing throwbacks for a long time now and, even if they don’t like them, they tend to endure them; and (c) he’s a ballplayer who needs to suck things up sometimes like every single ballplayer ever has done. There are a ton of things ballplayers are expected to do which are insisted upon by the business folks. It’s part of the gig.

A little more seriously than that is the fact that Sale pretty publicly threw his manager, Robin Ventura, under the bus :

“Robin is the one who has to fight for us in that department,” Sale said. “If the players don’t feel comfortable 100 percent about what we are doing to win the game, and we have an easy fix — it was as easy as hanging up another jersey and everyone was fine. For them to put business first over winning, that’s when I lost it.”

An undercurrent to all of this is Sale being fairly obvious in voicing his desire to be traded.

Today Bob Nightengale of USA Today has a story about Sale’s week. It’s sourced largely by Sale’s friend Adam Eaton who defends Sale as a passionate competitor who just wants to win and how all of this stuff of the past week was about his desire to do so. The headline of the story buys in to all of that:

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We heard much the same along these lines when Sale blasted Sox brass following the Drake LaRoche stuff during spring training, going on an expletive-filled rant in a meeting behind closed doors but then bringing the same noise, albeit cleaned up, in front of reporters after it all became public.

Chris Sale is who he is, of course, and I’m not going to too harshly judge who he is. He’s an amazing pitcher and, as most athletes will tell you, the mental part of the game is almost as important or, maybe, even more important than the physical part. Asking Sale to be who he isn’t would probably be counterproductive in the long term.

But I am fascinated with the way in which someone who has behaved like Sale has behaved is described. He’s a “competitor” whose objectively disruptive and literally destructive behavior is explained away as merely a function of his desire to win. His friends on the team, like Eaton, are sought out for damage control and spin and his detractors, which there are likely some, aren’t quoted, even anonymously. He has publicly called out his manager as not wanting to win as much as he wants to please his bosses and he has likewise called out his manager’s bosses and has welcomed a trade, yet we aren’t seeing stories about how that’s a bad thing for the Sox’ clubhouse.

I don’t much care for that sort of stuff, actually, as I suspect most clubhouse controversy stories are somewhat overblown and overly dramatized. But those stories have been go-to tropes of sports writers for decades, and I am trying to imagine this sort of story about players who aren’t Chris Sale. Players who don’t have as friendly a relationship with the media as he has or who don’t have clubhouse allies who do. I feel like, most of the time, a story about a guy who who has done the odd things Sale has done both this week and last March would play a hell of a lot differently.

How does this all play of it’s Yordano Ventura? Or Yasiel Puig? Or Jose Fernandez? How does this play if it took place in the NBA and it was Kevin Durant who shredded up a bunch of short-shorts on 80s throwback night? How does it play if it’s Cam Newton?

I bet it plays differently.