And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Diamondbacks 3, Phillies 2: Roy Halladay struck out 14 and pitched a complete game but lost all the same. Guess he just doesn’t know how to win, huh?  Lyle Overbay knocked in all three of the Snakes’ runs, including a two-run double which ended up winning it in the ninth.

Astros 6, Cubs 5: Where in the hell did that come from? It was 5-2 in the ninth and I was just about ready to write that the Astros may not win 50 games this year, when all of a sudden something called a Brian Bogusevic hits a walkoff grand slam off Carlos Marmol. I mean, sure, Marmol has had his share of meltdowns this year, but since when do the Astros have any late game moxie? Oh, and they still may not win 50 games this year, but given this dramatic win, it would be rude to point that out in this recap.

Braves 2, Giants 1: Whichever San Francisco Giants employee built their house on that ancient Indian burial ground, can you please tear it down? On a day when practically everyone who has ever worn a Giants uniform dating back to Billy O’Dell was placed on the disabled list or otherwise injured, starter Jonathan Sanchez had to leave the game early with a sprained ankle. That the Braves won it on an 11th inning single was probably a blessing for Bruce Bochy, who no doubt was convinced by then that he’d lose a player to Cotard’s Syndrome or something. As it is, he probably has a case of Trichotillomania by now.

Athletics 8, Orioles 4: Read the box score if you want to know what happened in the game. For now, I’m mostly interested in the AP recap. For the second day in a row (here’s yesterday’s), the guy writing the O’s-A’s recap has gone with a pitcher talking about his cut fastball as the centerpiece. Coincidence? Possibly. Maybe that’s just what the player decided to talk about in the clubhouse afterward. But part of me thinks that we have a cutter obsessive on our hands, lurking in west coast ballparks, armed with a press pass and his monomania. But what does he want? WHAT DOES HE WANT?!

Rangers 7, Angels 3:  [As the Angels join hands to sing]: I was born here and I’ll die here against my will. I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still. Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb. I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from. Don’t even hear a murmur of a prayer. It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.

Red Sox 3, Rays 1; Rays 6, Red Sox 2:  I hit the first game up in a post yesterday. As for the second, one day after I mentioned that I like the bang-bang-bang triple plays, the Red Sox turned one. What kind of sorcery is this, and can I learn to use it on demand?

Tigers 7, Twins 1: Justin Verlander cruises, as usual. I know wins aren’t everything, but the guy is on pace for something like 24 wins right now, and that kind of total doesn’t happen much these days. There’s a righteous argument for him to win the Cy Young on the real merits anyway, but if he snags 24 wins, it’s probably unanimous because it’s the kind of thing on which everyone can agree.

Pirates 5, Cardinals 4: Walkoff homer for Garrett Jones in the 11th. I have no idea how this happened. I mean, Tony La Russa had his ancient lefty specialist in to face the lefty Jones, and the gods who gave La Russa was all of his baseball wisdom proclaimed that such a strategy never fails. I saw it written in flaming letters on the side of a granite cliff. I swear.

Brewers 2, Dodgers 1: As the Cardinals lose, Milwaukee improves to 12-2 in August thanks to Mark Kotsay’s RBI single to end it in the ninth. They now have a seven game lead in the division. That’s only a half game worse than Philly’s lead in the East, which is the biggest in baseball.

Nationals 6, Reds 4:  I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that, both times recently when I remembered that Wang was pitching, he won.  Because I have a clever little phrase I want to use that I’m sure no one has ever thought of before in the event that someone beats Wang.

Padres 6, Mets 1: Like the Cubs, the Padres are putting it together too late for it to matter. But hey, at least they’re putting it together. How together? San Diego leads all of baseball in runs scored since the All-Star break. Yeah, that’s a bit of a shocker.  Fifteen hits last night, including two triples for Nick Hundley.

Blue Jays 13, Mariners 7: They Jays jumped out to a six-run lead, blew it, and then went on to win by six anyway. It’s like they have a crate of six-run leads in the clubhouse that they can just use whenever.

Marlins 6, Rockies 5: Eight strong innings from Anibal Sanchez to give him his first win in over two months. It was almost deja vu for Florida, though, as the Rockies mounted a ninth inning rally. It fell short, of course. If it hadn’t, I would have written the score differently.

Yankees 9, Royals 7:  Ivan Nova gave up seven runs on nine hits in five and a third. But he got the win, so by definition, that makes him better than Roy Halladay.

White Sox 8, Indians 7:  A wild one. The wildest part: Juan Pierre, offensive hero. A homer in the fourth — only his 16th in his whole long career — and the walkoff single in the 14th.  Also wild: the Sox had five triples. Also wild: the Indians had the bases loaded with one out in the 13th but couldn’t get it done. A five-hour+ game.

A scout thinks the Astros strike out too much. The Astros have the lowest strikeout total in baseball.

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Great moments in scouting. MLB.com’s Richard Justice spoke to an unnamed scout about the Astros, currently holding the American League’s best record at 76-47. The scout said that the Astros strike out too much and it will catch up with them. Justice pointed out that the Astros have the lowest strikeout total in baseball. The scout responded, “I don’t believe that.”

Justice, of course, is correct. The average major league team has struck out 1,006 times entering Sunday’s action. The Astros have by far the lowest total at 827, followed by the Indians at 881 and the Pirates at 882.

This scout doesn’t represent all scouts, but this is one of the major problems that advocates of statistics were trying to highlight before Sabermetrics became popular a decade ago. It’s a pattern. Person believes thing. Person either cherry-picks evidence to defend belief or is shown evidence that belief is not factually true and ignores it. Person refuses to change belief, using one of many excuses.

The other problem this highlights is the fallacy of “the eye test,” which is shorthand for treating a scout’s observations as sacrosanct due to his or her experience and knowledge of the game. In this case, the scout ignored easily accessed information, went with his gut, and turned out to be completely wrong. Furthermore, if “the eye test” were legit, the scout would’ve known that, for example, Yulieski Gurriel and Jose Altuve hardly ever strike out (11.1 and 12.4 percent strikeout rates, respectively). In fact, no one on the Astros’ roster (min. 230 PA) has a strikeout rate above 21 percent; the league average is 21.5 percent.

This isn’t to impugn the practice of scouting as a whole. There are a lot of things scouts can tell you about a player that data cannot and that has value. But for easily-researched claims like “the Astros strike out too much,” there’s no reason to trust a scout over the stats.

Mets acquire Jacob Rhame from Dodgers

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The Mets acquired right-handed reliever Jacob Rhame from the Dodgers, the team announced on Sunday. Rhame is the player to be named later in the trade that sent outfielder Curtis Granderson to Los Angeles on Friday night. He’s expected to report to the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate.

Rhame, 24, pitched through his second Triple-A campaign with the Oklahoma City Dodgers in 2017, collecting two saves in 41 appearances and logging a 4.31 ERA, 1.9 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 48 innings. While his ERA saw a sharp spike from its modest 3.29 mark in 2016 (perhaps thanks in part to a midseason DL stint due to an undisclosed injury), he’s controlling the ball better than he has in several years and has drawn some attention with a fastball that occasionally touches 98 MPH on the radar gun.

The Mets’ bullpen hasn’t been at its finest over the last few weeks, ranking 16th among its major league competitors with a collective 4.50 ERA and 2.4 fWAR, but likely isn’t looking to add an extreme fly ball pitcher to its staff just yet. Until he gets his big league break, Rhame will beef up Triple-A Vegas’ relief corps alongside fellow right-handers Yaisel Sierra, Joe Broussard and Josh Ravin.