San Francisco Giants v St. Louis Cardinals

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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What a dead night for baseball. Only six games plus the day tilt in New York. All night my Twitter feed was filled with people talking about the NBA (15%) and the damn spelling bee (85%).  And between the two of those things I don’t think there’s any more human misery possible to unleash on the world.

Whatever. Seven baseball games is better than none, so let us be thankful for what we have.

Giants 12, Cardinals 7: Three homers and six RBI for Aubrey Huff makes him easily the biggest RBI whore of the day (Update: I missed that Colby Rasmus had six RBI as well, so let’s call them co-RBI whores). For St. Louis, Lance Lynn not only makes his major league debut, but he makes it on short rest against the defending World Series champs. Oh, and his defense decided not to show up either. No errors while he was in the game but all manner of misplays that make Lynn’s line look misleading (5.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 5K), though due to Huff’s heroics, it probably doesn’t matter.  While we’re talking about the Giants, after this mean-spirited display of jackassery, I kind of want Brian Sabean to get fired for some reason and never find another job for as long as he lives. There. How do you like it, Brian?

Mets 9, Pirates 8: I hit this one up yesterday. Shorter version: On Wednesday the Mets did a pretty decent Pirates imitation. On Thursday, the Pirates did a pretty decent Mets imitation. These are two teams that deserve one another.

Rangers 7, Indians 4: Indians’ pitchers did not strike out a single Rangers hitter. Hurm. Cleveland is 4-6 in their last 10. A mere bump in the road or are we on pumpkin watch?

Twins 8, Royals 2: The six-run third pretty much ended this one before it started. I guess if you have to look on the bright side for Kansas City it’s that Joakim Soria pitched two innings without getting his head blown off.

Astros 7, Padres 4: That’s four wins in a row for Houston, all on the road. I like to imagine that, if a team wins every game on a road trip, little music plays at the end and applause is heard sort of like when you clear all the coins in a row in Super Mario.

Nationals 6, Diamondbacks 1: A three-run first inning and thirteen hits overall made this an easy night for Washington. Another strong start for Jordan Zimmermann, and this time — unlike most of his good starts lately — he actually gets a win.

Mariners 8, Rays 2: Two home runs for Carlos Peguero and the M’s hit four overall off James Shields.  Meanwhile, a typical day at the office for Felix Hernandez (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 11K).

OK, now, can we get back to a nice 15-game schedule tonight? Thanks.

Julio Urias is on his way back to the majors

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 27:  Julio Urias #78 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the New York Mets during their game at Citi Field on May 27, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images
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Dodgers 19-year-old rookie Julio Urias is coming back to the majors and Alex Wood is headed to the 15-day disabled list with left elbow soreness, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. Urias will likely start Saturday against the Braves, which will mark his debut in front of the home crowd.

Urias made his major league debut on Friday against the Mets at Citi Field, but lasted only 2 2/3 innings. He yielded three runs on five hits and four walks with three strikeouts.

Urias came into the season rated as the Dodgers’ #1 prospect and the #2 overall prospect in baseball. Prior to his promotion, he had compiled a 1.10 ERA with 44 strikeouts and eight walks over 41 innings with Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Mookie Betts enjoys a three-homer game against the Orioles

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 31: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox follows his three run homer against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 31, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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The Red Sox seem to have hit the jackpot on all of their young players so far this year. Jackie Bradley, Jr. just had a 29-game hitting streak snapped. Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to 24 games on Tuesday night. And Mookie Betts has been quite productive batting leadoff for the Red Sox this year, entering Tuesday with an even .800 OPS.

Betts, 23, hit 18 home runs in his first full season last year. With a three-homer night against the Orioles on Tuesday, he’s already up to 12 in 2016 with four months of season left. The first was of the solo variety, a line drive to center field off of Kevin Gausman in the first inning. Betts followed up in the third with a liner to left field for a three-run dinger off of Gausman. He made it three in the seventh, drilling a Dylan Bundy offering to right field.

Here’s video of homer number two:

Betts finished 3-for-5 as the Red Sox won 6-2 at Camden Yards.

The stats show the Pirates as an outlier in throwing “headhunter” pitches

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 5: Reliever Arquimedes Caminero #37 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh inning at Busch Stadium on September 5, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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Last week at ESPN Sweetspot’s Inside the Zona, Ryan Morrison looked into the data and found that the Pirates stand out among the rest when it comes to throwing “headhunter” pitches. Those are defined as fastballs 3.2 feet or higher and 1.2 feet towards the batter from the center of the plate.

The research was prompted because Diamondbacks second baseman Jean Segura was hit in the helmet by Pirates reliever Arquimedes Caminero last Tuesday in the seventh inning. The next inning, Caminero hit shortstop Nick Ahmed in the jaw with a pitch and was instantly ejected.

Morrison illustrated the data in a nice chart, which you should check out. The Pirates have thrown 93 of those pitches, which is way more than any other team. The next closest team is the Reds at 68 pitches. The major league average is approximately 48 pitches.

The Pirates have had an organizational philosophy of pitching inside since at least 2013, as MLB.com’s Tom Singer quoted manager Clint Hurdle as saying, “We’re not trying to hurt people, just staying in with conviction.”

Morrison goes on to suggest that the Diamondbacks should have forfeited last Wednesday and Thursday’s games against the Pirates in protest, out of concern for their players’ safety. As it happened, the D-Backs lost both games anyway, suffering a series sweep. The two clubs don’t meet again this season.

D-Backs manager Chip Hale said after last Tuesday’s game that Caminero “shouldn’t be at this level”. Caminero responded to those comments today, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. “I’m actually glad you asked me about that,” Caminero said. “The only thing I’ve got to say about (Hale) is that he is a perfect manager. And he was a perfect player, too. That’s it. I know what I did wasn’t good, but it happens in baseball. I wasn’t trying to hit anyone.”

I realize I’m late on pointing out Morrison’s terrific article and the whole debacle between the two teams, but I felt it was worth highlighting.

Jose Bautista: “I’d be stupid to leave” Toronto

TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 29: Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jayshits a two-run home run in the fifth inning during MLB game action against the Boston Red Sox on May 29, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
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Also included in a recent report on Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista by Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated — along with his belief that Rougned Odor was the only bad guy in the May 15 debacle — was the slugger’s desire to remain a Blue Jay. Per Verducci, Bautista said, “I love the city. I’d be stupid to leave” Toronto.

Bautista, 35, is in the final year of a five-year, $65 million extension signed in February 2011. Back in November, the Jays exercised their 2016 club option for $14 million. Bautista isn’t willing to discuss contract details during the season, so the two sides will have to wait until at least October to come to an agreement.

Entering Tuesday’s game against the Yankees, Bautista is hitting .237/.371/.489 with 11 home runs, 37 RBI, and 40 walks, the latter of which leads the American League.