Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Diamondbacks 6, Giants 1: Rookie Paul Goldschmidt hit his first major league home run and he did it off Tim frickin’ Lincecum. Justin Upton hit his own two-run shot, the Dbacks have won four in a row and they are now tied for first place with the Giants.  Now how about we divert some of that love we gave the Pirates for being frisky to Arizona? Because 20 years of history aside, they weren’t expected to be any better in 2011 than Pittsburgh was.

Cardinals 8, Brewers 7:  When Yadier Molinas attack. He’s got a suspension coming. Mostly for the bumping. Though note the theatrics of the home plate umpire Rob Drake, wiping his face, making it clear to everyone in the ballpark that a little spittle got on him when Molina started jawing. Like Molina’s rant needed to be up-sold.

Cubs 11, Pirates 6: Homers flyin’ everywhere. Six for the Cubs. Two for Garrett Jones. Seventeen runs and 31 hits between them.

Nationals 9, Braves 3: Rick Ankiel is on fire, hitting his third homer in two days, this one a grand slam. Of course, the Nats beating the Braves is nothing notable. They’ve been doing it pretty darn consistently for a couple of years now. Maddening.

Blue Jays 3, Rays 1: Other than a homer to Desmond Jennings in the sixth, Ricky Romero cruised. And that homer was the first and only hit he gave up in his eight innings. A homer for Jose Bautista as the Jays beat David Price for the first time in nine tires. Toronto is three games over .500 now.

Marlins 4, Mets 3: Two homers for All-Star Omar Infante, but that wasn’t enough to get the job done. The Mets led 3-2 heading into the ninth, but then Jason Isringhausen loaded the bases via a walk, a single and a HBP. Then a Justin Turner throwing error allowed two runs to score and that, as they say, was that. On the bright side: any one player can load the bases and any one player can make a key error, but it really takes teamwork for both of those things to happen for guys to blow a game in that fashion.

Reds 5, Astros 1: Homer Bailey had an impressive outing (8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER), but then again, he’s always been impressive against minor leaguers. Grand slam for Edgar Renteria.

Dodgers 1, Padres 0: Hiroki Kuroda shut out the Friars on four hits over seven. Matt Kemp’s RBI single in the fourth is all that was required.

Mariners 4, Athletics 2: Based on this play alone, the Athletics’ entire infield should be suspended for a week. For those who can’t watch the video, Brendan Ryan reached third on an infield single because no A’s player really felt like covering second or third, even as a token gesture. That’s kid’s T-ball-bad.

Phillies 5, Rockies 0: Two homers for Ryan Howard, eight shutout innings for Kyle Kendrick. Remember back before the season started when I said that this team would be sort of boringly dominant in that, you wouldn’t necessarily pay attention every night, but then you’d look up in August and they’d have a double-digit lead?  Yeah, this is exactly what I was talking about.

Angels 5, Twins 1: No post-no-hitter hangover for Ervin Santana. He pitches a complete game, scattering eight hits and allowing only one run.

Orioles 8, Royals 2: Five RBI for Mark Reynolds, who homered, doubled and singled. Game time temperature: 107 degrees. Mercy.

Yankees 6, White Sox 0: Mark Teixeira sets the record for games in which a guy homers from both sides of the plate. His 12th, passing Eddie Murray and Chili Davis. Phil Hughes pitches six-innings of three-hit shutout ball in a rain-shortened game. Hmm. Does this still mean he’s heading to the bullpen?

Red Sox 3, Indians 2: Jacoby Ellsbury with the walkoff RBI single. With Jarrod Saltalamacchia running as a pinch-runner. Of course.

Tigers 6, Rangers 5: Welcome to the American League, Mike Adams. Where it rains. And where guys hit go-ahead homers against you in the eighth inning from time to time.

Dee Gordon apologizes, is reinstated from PED suspension

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)
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The Miami Marlins have reinstated second baseman Dee Gordon from his suspension.

Gordon, of course, has missed the last 80 games while serving his drug suspension. He’s coming off a minor league rehab assignment and will be the everyday second baseman for the contending Marlins. He was hitting .266/.289/.340 with three doubles, two triples, five RBI, 13 runs scored, and six stolen bases in 97 plate appearances when he was popped. He was replaced by Derek Dietrich, who hit a nice .275/.366/.398 with 22 extra-base hits, 30 RBI, and 26 runs scored in 314 PA in Gordon’s absence, so don’t expect a tremendous upgrade at second down the stretch, even if they get a nice upgrade in the utility and depth department.

To make room for Gordon, the Marlins designated utilityman and sometimes hero Don Kelly for assignment. Sad jams.

UPDATE: Gordon issued a video apology on the eve of his reinstatement:

Chris Sale called “a competitor” for stuff that gets most guys called “head cases”

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox reacts during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Chris Sale has had an eventful week.

On Saturday he was scratched from his start and subsequently suspended for five games for cutting up the 1976 throwback uniforms the team was scheduled to wear, making them unusable. That cost the team over $12,000 and cost the Sox their best pitcher hours before game time.

On Monday Sale gave an interview to Scott Merkin in which he apologized to fans and teammates and explained his rationale for the uniform shredding. Even if his act was over the top, there was a core of understandable motivation at least: Sale said he voiced his displeasure with the untucked jersey months ago and asked to not pitch on a night they’d have to wear them because he believed it would mess with his mechanics and/or mental state. The Sox didn’t heed his request and Sale took issue, as many probably would, with what he felt was the business of throwback jerseys taking precedence over on-the-field stuff.

Of course, there are still some pretty big problems here. Mostly having to do with the facts that (a) the Sox have people on staff who could’ve optimized his jersey any way he needed it to be optimized if he had asked; (b) ballplayers have been wearing throwbacks for a long time now and, even if they don’t like them, they tend to endure them; and (c) he’s a ballplayer who needs to suck things up sometimes like every single ballplayer ever has done. There are a ton of things ballplayers are expected to do which are insisted upon by the business folks. It’s part of the gig.

A little more seriously than that is the fact that Sale pretty publicly threw his manager, Robin Ventura, under the bus :

“Robin is the one who has to fight for us in that department,” Sale said. “If the players don’t feel comfortable 100 percent about what we are doing to win the game, and we have an easy fix — it was as easy as hanging up another jersey and everyone was fine. For them to put business first over winning, that’s when I lost it.”

An undercurrent to all of this is Sale being fairly obvious in voicing his desire to be traded.

Today Bob Nightengale of USA Today has a story about Sale’s week. It’s sourced largely by Sale’s friend Adam Eaton who defends Sale as a passionate competitor who just wants to win and how all of this stuff of the past week was about his desire to do so. The headline of the story buys in to all of that:

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We heard much the same along these lines when Sale blasted Sox brass following the Drake LaRoche stuff during spring training, going on an expletive-filled rant in a meeting behind closed doors but then bringing the same noise, albeit cleaned up, in front of reporters after it all became public.

Chris Sale is who he is, of course, and I’m not going to too harshly judge who he is. He’s an amazing pitcher and, as most athletes will tell you, the mental part of the game is almost as important or, maybe, even more important than the physical part. Asking Sale to be who he isn’t would probably be counterproductive in the long term.

But I am fascinated with the way in which someone who has behaved like Sale has behaved is described. He’s a “competitor” whose objectively disruptive and literally destructive behavior is explained away as merely a function of his desire to win. His friends on the team, like Eaton, are sought out for damage control and spin and his detractors, which there are likely some, aren’t quoted, even anonymously. He has publicly called out his manager as not wanting to win as much as he wants to please his bosses and he has likewise called out his manager’s bosses and has welcomed a trade, yet we aren’t seeing stories about how that’s a bad thing for the Sox’ clubhouse.

I don’t much care for that sort of stuff, actually, as I suspect most clubhouse controversy stories are somewhat overblown and overly dramatized. But those stories have been go-to tropes of sports writers for decades, and I am trying to imagine this sort of story about players who aren’t Chris Sale. Players who don’t have as friendly a relationship with the media as he has or who don’t have clubhouse allies who do. I feel like, most of the time, a story about a guy who who has done the odd things Sale has done both this week and last March would play a hell of a lot differently.

How does this all play of it’s Yordano Ventura? Or Yasiel Puig? Or Jose Fernandez? How does this play if it took place in the NBA and it was Kevin Durant who shredded up a bunch of short-shorts on 80s throwback night? How does it play if it’s Cam Newton?

I bet it plays differently.