And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Rays 10, Athletics 8: Oakland scored five in the first so it looked like another shellacking was on the way for Tampa Bay. But no! The Rays put up a seven-spot in the seventh thanks in part to Desmond Jennings who had a whale of a ballgame. Every Tampa Bay starter either got a hit or scored a run in the seventh inning.

Padres 4, Diamondbacks 3:  Heath Bell and Mike Adams pitched, so they’re still in San Diego. I hate to reduce this game to that little trade deadline factoid, but sadly, that’s what this week does to my brain.  We’ll be able to talk more about plain old baseball next week.

Brewers 4, Cubs 2: Three hits including a homer for Ryan Braun. Milwaukee sweeps the Cubbies. Chicago scored four runs in the three game series.

Royals 4, Red Sox 3: I’ve been mocking Red Sox trade rumors that involve hitters coming to Boston because it’s not like the Sox need offensive help. But given that Luke Hochevar of all people held them to two runs in seven innings, maybe they do. Three straight games with a homer for Billy Butler.

Mets 10, Reds 9: Boy howdy are the Reds sucking eggs right now. Homer Bailey got lit up like a Christmas tree. Lucas Duda and Jason Bay each drove in three for the Mets. David Wright is white hot since coming off the DL: he went 3-for-5 here, was 9-for-19 in this series and he’s 15-for-33 overall since his return.

Angels 12, Tigers 7: Mark Trumbo homered and drove in five, falling a single short of the cycle. Which, hey, fine. Brad Penny and Victor Martinez argued on the mound during the game. After the game Penny said it was fine and it was a minor disagreement. After the game Martinez would not answer questions and said he wouldn’t talk about it. Martinez has a reputation for being an extremely nice and thoughtful guy. Brad Penny is kind of a douche. You tell me if things are still fine.

Marlins 5, Nationals 2: Mike Stanton: Nationals Killer. Stanton homers for the fourth in his last six games. He now has eight home runs and 14 RBIs in 12 career games at Nationals Park.  Query: is it the aesthetics of the place or the crapitude of Nats pitching that is more to his liking?

Giants 4, Phillies 1: I love this mostly because it will make a certain segment of Phillies fandom go crazy for a couple of days thinking they have to trade Domonic Brown for whatever marginal offensive upgrade they can manage. Which wouldn’t bother me a bit. I mean, if they aren’t happy with being the best team in baseball already who am I to stop them from mortgaging the future?

Pirates 5, Braves 2: Andrew McCutchen and a two-run homer in the ninth to put the game out of reach. He had three hits overall, including a go-ahead double in the fifth. The Pirates split.

Rangers 4, Twins 1: Michael Young and Chris Davis each drove in a run on singles. Neftali Feliz with a flawless save, which should make everyone feel better.

Blue Jays 8, Orioles 5: Colby Rasmus made his Jays debut and went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts. His father then gave 15 interviews about how Toronto doesn’t know how to best utilize his son. J.J. Hardy had two homers in a losing effort.

Astros 5, Cardinals 3: The curse of Colby Rasmus stretches into a second day.

Javier Baez: “This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it.”

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Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.

While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.

Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”

He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”

Mike Trout proposes change to spring training umpiring

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Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.

According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”

Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.