Geovany Sot

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Sorry it’s coming a bit late this morning. Your author was under the weather last night and decided that rather than stay up watching baseball and reading box scores that an early bedtime was in order. Anyway:

Cubs 4, Phillies 3: Ryan Madson had been gold in save situations, but came up pyrite last night: Geovany Soto hit a game-tying homer off him in the ninth. Then in the 11th, Tyler Colvin scored from second when Placido Polanco threw away what would have been the third out of the inning. Colvin actually thought he had a homer in the ninth too, but it was overturned when replay showed that a Philly fan interfered with it, rendering it a ground rule double.  I can’t find a replay of that, but I’m going to assume, based on ample historical evidence, that the fan reached over the railing and barfed santa clause-themed batteries on the ball, with his nausea caused by excessive booing and cheese steak consumption.

Red Sox 8, Yankees 3: Finally, the plunkings happen. Josh Beckett hit Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia hit David Ortiz. If you’re the kind of person who keeps a ledger of these sorts of things it strikes me that Ortiz would still require about three more plunkings under the rules people like to espouse about when you hit someone. But really, given the woodshedding that the Yankees got in this series, it would come off kinda desperate and sad.  And let’s face it: that’s just not how the Yankees have ever really rolled. They tend to get their revenge by signing your free agent target and then winning a championship and acting all smug about it, not by throwing at people.

Braves 3, Marlins 2: The eighth straight loss for Florida, seven of which have been one-run games. Just awful luck for them. The law of averages — one run game edition — usually treats you more fairly than that. Jair Jurrjens is now tied with a number of fellows for the MLB lead in wins. Not bad considering he missed the first two weeks of the season on the DL.

Royals 3, Blue Jays 2: Hey, I’m not made of stone, so I gotta give Jeff Francouer some love here. Two RBI for the guy I love to loathe, while Luke Hochevar picks up his first win since May 1st.

Reds 3, Giantos 0: Seven shutout innings for Johnny Cueto. On Wednesday the Reds played a game in 90+ degree temperatures at home. Game time temperature for this one in San Francisco: 59 degrees.

Padres 7, Nationals 3: Anthony Rizzo debuts with by going 1 for 2 with a triple, two walks and a run scored. Not bad. Meanwhile, the Aaron Harang rejuvenation tour of Petco Park continues apace. He’s 7-2 now with a 3.71 ERA. In other news, it seems like Washington has been on this west coast swing for a month.

Rockies 9, Dodgers 7: Troy Tulowitzki drove in four and the Rockies finally got to Clayton Kershaw, who had thrown five shutout innings at them before stumbling though the sixth and seventh.

Mets 4, Brewers 1: A nice bounceback win after having their guts ripped out the night before. Jonathon Niese was solid into the eighth inning. Terry Collins’ actual quote after the game:

“This team was flat last night, they just came back today and just realized today was another day. I think with all that’s happened, it just rolls off their back now. It’s another obstacle they’ve got to climb over. They’re just kind of getting immune to it.”

I’m assuming that he has a metaphor/cliche punch card that he’s trying to get filled up before the end of the month so he can get a free sub or something.

Cardinals 9, Astros 2: St. Louis put up a 5-spot in the sixth inning when Lance Berkman continued to haunt his old mates with an RBI single to kick the scoring off. Berkman has played six games at Minute Maid Park this year. In those games he’s hitting .480 with five home runs and 12 RBI.

Twins 5, Rangers 4: Minnesota blew an early three-run lead, but Alexi Casilla hit an RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning to salvage it. The Twins have won seven of ten.

White Sox 9, Athletics 4: Bob Melvin’s debut didn’t look any different than Bob Geren’s last nine games, but I guess A’s players were happier about it. Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko each had two-run homers. Mark Buehrle started for the Sox and the game lasted 2:51. Which for him had to feel like 11 hours. He’s 5-1 with a 3.00 ERA in his last seven starts.

Tigers 4, Mariners 1: Justin Verlander faced a Mariners’ lineup that featured Adam Kennedy starting at first base and hitting in the three-hole, and the results were fairly predictable: 8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 10K. Alex Avila hit two triples. The game took 2 hours, 17 minutes.

Diamondbacks 2, Pirates 0: A zero-zero tie until Chris Young hit a two-run homer in the eighth and — surprise surprise — the Dbacks’ bullpen made it stand up.

Dee Gordon’s suspension is likely to lead to a call for harsher PED penalties

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)
Associated Press
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Objectively speaking there is no difference between Dee Gordon’s suspension for PEDs and anyone else’s. Abraham Almonte, for example. Or Cameron Maybin. Or David Rollins. All were guys who got their 80 games, served their time, came back and whose cases didn’t raise too much of a fuss. But Gordon’s suspension will almost certainly be talked about longer and more loudly and will likely lead to calls for harsher penalties and changes to the PED suspension rules.

Part of it is simply fame. He’s a pretty big name as far as these things go. The biggest since the Biogenesis guys a couple of years ago. He won the batting title last year. He’s the son of a famous major leaguer. There is a direct correlation between the volume and intensity of the narratives applied to one’s story and the fame of the subject of the story. For that reason alone Gordon’s story will last longer and loom larger.

Another reason — a bigger reason, I think — is timing. Gordon was seen by many to have had a breakout season in 2015 and, when it was over, he was rewarded for it with a nice five-year $50 million deal. The narrative will arise by, oh, 9AM today, that the suspension was “worth it” for Gordon and that he cashed in because of it, rendering his suspension a mere slap on the wrist. This is especially true given that his deal is severely backloaded. He’ll lose less than $2 million in salary in 2016 while collecting the other $48 million-plus. Totally worth it!

I understand why people will say that, but such a stance has some serious flaws. Among them:

  • It assumes that we or anyone else knows when Gordon began to take PEDs;
  • It assumes that we or anyone else knows how, in fact, Gordon’s performance was actually enhanced;
  • It forgets that lots and lots of people were talking about how Gordon’s “breakout season” was actually 2014, not 2015, rendering that whole “he juiced and then got his money” argument fairly problematic.

Those points will likely be ignored as arguments in favor of harsher penalties grow louder. Ken Rosenthal reminds us this morning that some have called for some form of contract voiding or clawing back of more money than just the salary earned while on suspension. Those calls too will likely grow louder. There will also be calls for changes in the appeal process. Like this one, which came moments after Gordon’s suspension was announced:

When you have an actual union member angrily call for the repeal of a collectively-bargained protection in punishment situations, you’re sort of through the looking glass. Or past a tipping point. Or something. You’re certainly in a world where the usual dynamics between employer and employee are not operative and, as a result, changes are inevitable. As we noted recently, players today are perhaps more adamantly anti-PED than the owners and the league are. They’re competitors reacting to cheating by their competition. The fuel for stronger penalties is likely to come more from them than anyone.

The union and the league will be negotiating a new Collective Bargaining Agreement this year. Performance enhancing drugs and their penalties will be a part of that. Expect harsher penalties and possibly different sorts of rules altogether. Expect Dee Gordon to be the poster child for these changes, even if his case is no different in form than that of Abraham Almonte, Cameron Maybin, or David Rollins. Expect emotion, rather than logic, to lead the coming debate.

And That Happened: Thursdays scores and highlights

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Arodys Vizcaino, right, is congratulated by catcher Tyler Flowers after earning a save during a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, Thursday, April 28, 2016. The Braves defeated the Red Sox 5-3. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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Gonna mail this one in this morning. Partially because of the light slate of games yesterday, partially because of a late night for me but mostly because of the Dee Gordon news which has me thinking of a lot of other things I want to write about this AM.

It’s worth noting that the Braves won a game. It comes just ahead of a series at Wrigley against the Cubs, so the winning streak will likely last a single day, but the 2016 Braves have to take what they can get.

The Marlins had a notable night outside the Gordon news too, finishing off a sweep of the Dodgers, which had to make Don Mattingly happy. For what it’s worth, Gordon singled in a run and then came around to score in the seventh. His RBI tied it and the run he scored ended up being the one necessary for the Marlins’ margin of victory. That means nothing, but you know some jackwagons are gonna make a big deal out of that and I figured I’d get ahead of the jackwagons and note that, yes, Gordon and the Marlins knew what was coming before it was announced because that’s how the appeals process works, but no, it makes no difference, because that’s how the appeals process works.

Anyway: Here are the rest of the scores:

Tigers 7, Athletics 3
Cubs 7, Brewers 2
Phillies 3, Nationals 0
Orioles 10, White Sox 2
Braves 5, Red Sox 3
Diamondbacks 3, Cardinals 0
Marlins 5, Dodgers 3
Pirates vs. Rockies — POSTPONED
: In the early morning rain with a dollar in my hand. And an aching in my heart, and my pockets full of sand. I’m a long way from home, and I miss my loved one so. In the early morning rain with no place to go.

Marlins 2B Dee Gordon suspended 80 games for PEDs

deegordon
Getty Images
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LOS ANGELES — Dee Gordon has been suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball after the Miami Marlins second baseman tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Gordon tested positive for exogenous Testosterone and Clostebol, MLB said in a release after the Marlins’ 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night.

The fleet-footed Gordon won the National League batting title by hitting .333 last season and signed a $50 million, 5-year deal with Miami in January. He’s made two All-Star teams in his six seasons and won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards at second base last year.

Gordon, the son of former major league pitcher Tom Gordon, had a key hit in Miami’s win over the Dodgers on Thursday. He’s batting .266 with six stolen bases this season.

Dee Gordon is a very important part of our team, and we all love him and support him,” Marlins president David Samson said. “That said, I don’t like or condone what he did. He is an important member of this organization and will be for many years to come. It’s a huge, huge disappointment to the kids, to our fans, to his teammates and to everyone in our organization every single day.

“He will be back 80 games from now, and he will be welcomed back to this organization. But in the interim period, we expect him, and we are positive that he will do everything that’s necessary to make it up to his fans, to his teammates and to this organization.”

Devon Travis will start taking at-bats in extended spring training

Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis hits a RBI double to center field against the Tampa Bay Rays during third inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, April 15, 2015 in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)  MANDATORY CREDIT
Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP
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Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis underwent left shoulder surgery last September. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm caught up with Jays head athletic trainer George Poulis for updates on several injured players, including Travis. Here’s what Poulis had to say about Travis:

“He’s going to get some live at-bats with the extended team down in Florida on Friday. Big step for him, he’s very excited, he’s doing great, and we’re very optimistic, but no timeline right now on his return. We’re just going day by day, step by step.

“When you have something like that, it continues to heal even when you’re playing. We’re just trying to acclimate him and condition him to withstand all of the stress that he’s going to put on his shoulder … He won’t play in the field right now. We’ll mix that in, as well, but right now he’s just going to get some at-bats.”

The key phrase, of course, is “no timetable”. The second baseman’s rehab has gone slower than expected. Getting into some extended spring training games, though, signals progress.

Travis, 25, broke out last season, hitting .304/.361/.498 with eight home runs and 35 RBI in 239 plate appearances last season. The Jays have had Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney handle second base duties this year, but their aggregate .560 OPS is the worst mark in the American League.