And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

30 Comments

Brewers 4, Padres 3: Holy moley, this Yuniesky Betancourt-to-Rickie Weeks double play is the defensive play of the year so far. It’s enough to make you contemplate the nature of Yuniesky Betancourt. How someone can just do that without thinking — because he had no time to think — yet is unable to make basic plays a lot of the time. There are just some people like that in the world. Don’t-think-just-do people. My brother is like that. You played pickup basketball with a guy like that. Never ask them to do the workaday things but Christ Almighty they will pull stuff like that once in a while that makes your jaw drop. It’s those kind of guys who make grinders like the rest of us shake out heads and wonder about the gulf between the conscious and the unconscious world.

Red Sox 2, Twins 1: Jose Iglesias was inserted as a pinch runner for Jed Lowrie, who walked in the bottom of the 11th and he was doubled in by Carl Crawford for the win (assist to Ben Revere for an awful throw from left).  I suspect that, between the highly-touted prospect and the highly-touted struggling free agent, there will be a few storylines spawned by this one as the morning progresses. Oh, and you can throw in the fact that Ron Gardenhire got ejected by Joe West for flavor. And if you really like Joe West flavor, here’s some more for you.

Phillies 6, Marlins 4: Thanks for the appearance Javier Vazquez, but really, your services, such as they are, will no longer be needed (4.1 IP, 9 H, 6 R). And a nice alley-oop play by Mike Stanton on the Rollins homer. Although, yeah, it kind of looked like it was going out anyway.

Pirates 4, Dodgers 1: This double play — made possible by Jose Tabata picking up a ball on the rebound but playing it off like he caught it — led to the ejection of Jose Uribe and Don Mattingly. I often agitate for replay, but the big question about replay is what you do about the continuation play, as it were. If the ump in the booth calls down and says no, it was a trap, what base do you give Matt Kemp? He probably makes third base if the play was properly called as a hit, but as it was he’s back hanging around first base, waiting for the replay, when the call is finally overturned.  My best guess is to allow the ump in the sky to make a judgment call — Kemp gets second or Kemp gets third — but that’s not ideal.  Probably preferable to blown calls like this one, though.

Athletics 7, Rangers 2: One way people like to argue for the MVP award is to say how bad off the team would be without the guy.  If that argument holds, Josh Hamilton is the runaway winner, because Texas has sucked eggs since he went down. Five RBIs for Josh Willingham, who apparently made the right decision in appealing his suspension for ump bumping on Saturday.

Tigers 10, Blues Jays 5: Max Scherzer goes to 6-0, which ties him for the MLB lead in wins. Which doesn’t mean he’s the best pitcher in baseball — far from it — but makes it pretty good to be Max Scherzer lately.

Reds 6, Astros 1: Travis Wood pitched shutout baseball into the seventh and hit a three-run homer which — per union bylaws — I’m required to describe as “helping his own cause.”

White Sox 8, Angels 0: A beatdown. Edwin Jackson with seven scoreless innings, Carlos Quentin went 3 for 4 with 5 RBI.

Rockies 2, Mets 1: It’s not often that you walk six guys in six innings while throwing just 55 of 107 pitches for strikes and get away with it, but  Jhoulys Chacin did.

Aledmys Diaz is trying to improve his defense with strobe glasses

Getty Images
3 Comments

MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.

Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.

The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.

Eduardo Rodriguez could rejoin the Red Sox rotation in July

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.

The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.

He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.