New York Yankees v Cincinnati Reds - Game Two

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 4, Reds 2; Reds 10, Yankees 2: A twin bill thanks to Tuesday night’s rain. We start with the second one because that has the coolest thing in it: Chris Heisey hitting three homers and driving in five. Like a boss. New York takes the first one with an effective outing from Freddy Garcia and a two-run homer from Jorge Posada, his first since April 23rd.

Nationals 2, Mariners 1: Look who’s sittin’ at .500. Danny Espinosa drove in the first run and scored the second while five Nats pitchers combined to stifle the M’s bats. Erik Bedard struck out 10 and didn’t allow any earned runs over six innings, so he really deserved a better fate. At least from a baseball perspective. I mean, we don’t know for sure that he didn’t kill a hobo on a dare when he was in high school and thus everything bad that happens to him isn’t something he totally has coming to him. We don’t really know any of these guys that well, do we?

Astros 5, Rangers 3: Whoa. Neftali Feliz blew a 3-1 lead in the ninth inning, with the capper coming on a pinch-hit two-run homer by Matt Downs.  Maybe the fact that he had a 35-pitch outing in the Texas heat the night before had something to do with it?

Pirates 5, Orioles 4: Blake Davis, 27-year-old rookie makes his major league debut and his error — a Josh Harrison grounder through the wickets — ends up costing the O’s the game.  George Burns was right: baseball is a horrible bitch goddess.

Rays 6, Brewers 3: David Price pitched well — struck out ten — but his game was more notable for a nasty slide into second that drew blood and the fact that he wore his shinguard on the wrong shin during one of his at bats. Kelly Shoppach’s assessment after the game: “There’s a lot of baseball purists out there that love the pitchers hitting, but oh my gosh.”  Well, yeah.

Tigers 7, Dodgers 5: Homers from Casper Wells,  Miguel Cabrera, Don Kelly and Magglio Ordonez and a nifty game-ending catch from Austin Jackson with the bases jacked in the bottom of the ninth. Observed: the Dodgers both look bad and play bad in their baby blue throwback uniforms.

Braves 5, Blue Jays 1: Brandon Beachy returned from the DL and struck out 11 over six innings. The only blemish was a homer allowed to Jose Bautista. Of course. he’s not alone in allowing that particular blemish. And if you missed it, Bautista made a helluva catch, robbing Jordan Schafer of a homer.

Padres 5, Red Sox 1: A wise man once said: “sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains so damn much that you have four rain delays and then the game ends up being called after seven and a half innings anyway.” Clayton Richard stuck it out through two of the delays, giving up one run and eight hits over five innings. Four hits for Adrian Gonzalez, who is more machine than man.

Indians 4, Rockies 3: For the second night in a row a Rockies player hits two homers off the Indians. This time it’s Ty Wigginton. Unlike the night before, however, this time it’s in a losing effort, as Josh Tomlin beats Jason Hammel. One of the Tribe’s runs scored on a Hammel balk, so that’s special.

Phillies 4, Cardinals 0: A six-hit shutout for Cliff Lee, who has been absolutely incredible in June. One earned run in 33 innings.

Giants 5, Twins 1: Ryan Vogelsong has been damn spiffy too, and threw yet another gem: one run on three hits in seven inning, lowering his ERA to 1.86. Eli Whiteside had a triple, single and three RBI.

Angels 6, Marlins 5: As has been the case throughout this series, the Angels had a ton of chances. And they failed to capitalize on them early. As the game wore on, however, things started to fall for them. The most important being a Mark Trumbo RBI single in the 10th. Torii Hunter left the game after slamming into the right field wall, though x-rays were negative. Which is a positive thing.

Diamondbacks 3, Royals 2: Ian Kennedy keeps on keeping on, winning his eighth game and lowering his ERA to 2.90.

Mets 3, Athletics 2: Last week the Mets lost on a walkoff balk. Last night they won on a walkoff plunk. Justin Turner on the pitch that hit him:

“I’m staying in and holding my ground. Unless it’s at my face or around my ankle or something, I’ll stay in there and take the bruise and get that game over with.”

Dude: at least pretend that you tried to get out of the way but couldn’t, as is your obligation as a hitter.

White Sox 4, Cubs 3: Jake Peavy and his catcher A.J. Pierzynski exchanged some words when Peavy was pulled from the game and the dispute spilled into the dugout a bit after the inning was over. I’m having a hard time processing the fact that, from what I can tell, it was Peavy being the jerk in this thing, not Pierzynski.  Oh well, they made nice afterwards and they won the game, so it doesn’t matter.

The deeper implications of the A.J. Ellis trade

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 17:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers heads to the dugout at the end of the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on May 17, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The trade of a light-hitting backup catcher is normally about as inconsequential as it gets. The trade of A.J. Ellis by the Dodgers to the Phillies, however, is anything but that. Indeed, it may be the public manifestation of long-simmering, well, maybe “feud” is too strong a word, but a definite butting of heads between the team’s front office and its best player.

While almost all of the clubhouse drama in Los Angeles has surrounded a talented but aggravating corner outfielder currently toiling in the minors, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times wrote last night that the Ellis trade could very well be seen as the front office’s shot across Clayton Kershaw‘s bow:

Kershaw’s preference of Ellis was the subject of a longstanding tug-of-war between Kershaw and the front office, which wanted Yasmani Grandal behind the plate as much as possible . . . Some players interpreted the trade as a message from the front office.

This isn’t Kershaw’s team. It’s not Corey Seager’s team or Adrian Gonzalez’s, either.

It’s Friedman’s.

The notion that Kershaw likes to pitch to Ellis is pretty well-known, but the idea that it was so strong a preference that it created a dispute as to whether he has final say over a roster spot is news, at least to people who aren’t around the Dodgers all the time. Hernandez is a good columnist and is particularly well-plugged in to the Dodgers after many years of being their beat writer for the Times. He wouldn’t throw the notion of there being something of a power struggle in this regard out there all willy-nilly in order to stir the pot or something. I don’t doubt for a second that something bigger than most of us have seen is going on here.

As for the trade itself: yeah, it’s pretty debatable as to whether it makes any kind of sense. Carlos Ruiz is likely an upgrade over Ellis, but it’s a pretty marginal upgrade when you consider how few plate appearances the Dodgers backup catcher will make for the rest of the year. It’s especially marginal if you assume, as Hernandez and others assume, likely with reason, that the loss of Ellis is going to harm morale. At least in the short term before they get to know Ruiz well (worth noting, though, that he comes pretty highly recommended from Kershaw-caliber aces for all the same reasons Ellis does). I can see a lot of reasons not to make that deal even for an extra hit or two a week that Ruiz may give you over Ellis.

All of which speaks to what we don’t know. What we don’t know about the mind of Andrew Friedman and whether or not there is something more going on here than is immediately apparent. About the relationship between him and Kershaw and, for that matter, him and the rest of the team that would cause him to make a deal that plays as poorly with his own players as this one does. It could be something about Ellis. It could be something about Friedman’s relationship with Kershaw. It could be something totally unrelated to any of that, such as offseason plans and the roster in 2017 (Ruiz has a team option for next year, Ellis is a pending free agent). Unless or until Friedman speaks or a reporter gets someone to shed more light on this, there will continue to be questions.

In the meantime, I’ll grant that there are certainly different rules which apply to superstars than mere mortals, but veto power over a trade and/or playing time for other players isn’t typically one of them. If, as Hernandez suggests, there was a sense that Kershaw and Friedman didn’t see eye-to-eye on that and it wasn’t otherwise being resolved, it makes Friedman’s move somewhat more understandable.

World Baseball Classic pools, venues announced

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - MARCH 10:  Miguel Cabrera #24 of Venezuela gets a hit and drives in a run against Spain during the first round of the World Baseball Classic at Hiram Bithorn Stadium on March 10, 2013 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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Yesterday the folks who run the World Baseball Classic (i.e. the Rand Corporation, in conjunction with the saucer people, under the supervision of the reverse vampires, the Illuminati and the Trilateral Commission) announced the groupings and venues for next springs’s tournament. It breaks down thusly:

  • Pool A will play in Tokyo, featuring Australia, China, Cuba, and Japan;
  • Pool B will play in Seoul, featuring Chinese Taipei, Korea, the Netherlands, and either Brazil, Israel, Great Britain, or Pakistan (final participant to be determined at a qualifying tournament in New York next month);
  • Pool C will play in Miami, featuring Canada, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and the United States;
  • Pool D will play in Guadalajara, featuring Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela.

A winner and a runner-up will advance from each pool following a round-robin competition. That will result in a second round robin made up of Pool A and B — which will be called Pool E, because it HAS to be complicated — and which will be played in Tokyo. Meanwhile, Pool C and D’s representatives will make up Pool F, who will play in San Diego at Petco Park.

The winner of Pool F will then take on the runner-up of Pool E in a semifinal at Dodger Stadium, while the winner of Pool E will face Pool F’s runner-up there as well. The winners of those matches will play in the WBC final, also at Dodger Stadium.

Got it? Good.

Now we wait. And listen to people tell us how much we should care about the World Baseball Classic between now and March.