Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Rays 9, Red Sox 1: Attention Red Sox Nation: set sphincters to Defcon 1.  The Rays sweep and they are now three and a half out in the wild card. And these two play each other four more times. B.J. Upton was 4 for 4 with a grand slam.

Cardinals 6, Braves 3: Attention Braves, er, whatever it is they have: set sphincters to Defcon 2.  The Cardinals sweep and are now four and a half back of Atlanta in the wild card, though these two don’t play head-to-head again. The Cardinals have a three-game series at Philadelphia this weekend, but other than that the schedule is all tomato cans. I suppose the same can be said for Atlanta — a series with the Phillies and then some losing teams — but the Braves face a better brand of tomato can, including a Washington team that gives the Braves fits.  This is all suddenly interesting/terrifying.

Rockies 4, Reds 1: Rookie Drew Pomeranz threw five shutout innings in his major league debut. I’m guessing the Indians could have used a performance or two like that from a pitcher some time since late July. Pity.

Rangers 8, Athletics 1: C.J. Wilson struck out 11 in eight shutout innings and Adrian Beltre hit two homers. This technically eliminated the A’s. So those of you who pre-ordered A’s playoff tickets, well, sorry.

Yankees 6, Angels 5: The Yankees snapped a four-game losing streak. Probably shoulda been five given that you’re never going to make a lot of money betting on stuff like “Peter Bourjos drops an easy fly ball, allowing two runs to score.”

Royals 2, Mariners 1: Everett Teaford, who despite the name is not a late-19th century British explorer, pitched five shutout innings for the Royals. And then, as the leader of the Teaford Expedition, he became the first white man to scale Mt. SomethingOrOther in the godless lands of darkest Africa, all of which he claimed in the name of Queen Victoria. Then he steamed home on a Dreadnaught class battleship or something and wrote he experiences up in an adventure novel for schoolboys.

Brewers 3, Phillies 2: He’s cut! The Russian is cut! Oh, well, not really. It’s just that shocking to see the Phillies lose one. The Brewers strung together three hits to rally in the seventh and hand Vance Worley his second loss of the year.

Marlins 4, Pirates 1: Six scoreless for Javier Vazquez, who has been great in the garbage time portion of the season. He’s 4-2 with a 1.95 ERA in his last nine starts.

Indians 7, White Sox 3: I guess that was an unfair swipe at the Ubaldo Jimenez trade up there in the Reds/Rockies recap, because Jimenez himself pitched well yesterday, giving up two runs over six innings. Luis Valbuena was 3 for 5 with a homer. Which isn’t exactly something he does a lot of.

Nationals 8, Astros 2: He only went three innings — this is really a shakedown cruise following his time in dry dock — but Stephen Strasburg was effective, striking out four in those three innings and allowing a run. I’m fine with the short outing, by the way. It’s not like he’s drawing butts to the seats like some suspected he might, so it’s not like anyone should feel obligated to give the hometown fans five or six innings of the kid.  Let him pitch a bit, get him out before he has any stressful situations and build optimism over the offseason.

Blue Jays 6, Orioles 5: Adam Loewen shows his former team that, as a pitcher, he makes a pretty good hitter. The Blue Jays’ conversion job hit the game-tying homer and then Jose Bautista broke the tie with a sac fly.  The Orioles are absolutely atrocious in Toronto. Well, they’re atrocious everywhere, but really, really atrocious in Toronto, having dropped 29 of the past 34 games they’ve played north of the border.

Padres 7, Diamondbacks 6: The Padres hand the Diamondbacks their first home loss in 15 games. Two RBIs a piece for Nick Hundley, Jesus Guzman and James Darnell. Not sure I’ve thought about Nick Hundley since I saw a Padres-Royals spring training game back in March. Man, that seems like it was 15 years ago. The season, she is long.

Giants 8, Dodgers 1: Madison Bumgarner struck out eight and allowed three hits in five innings, helping the Giants avoid the sweep.

Tigers 2, Twins 1: Nine in a row for Detroit behind seven scoreless innings for Doug Fister. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office just called: the Tiger’s application for exclusive rights to the name “most dangerous playoff team” has officially been accepted. Anyone else who looks hot heading into October must call themselves “the team no one else wants to play.” Anything beyond that and they’re probably gonna get sued.

Cubs 10, Mets 6: A six-run 11th dooms the Mets on the night tribute was paid to those who lost their lives on 9/11. Sort of puts six-run 11th innings in perspective.

Mariners sign reliever Joel Peralta

Joel Peralta
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Right-hander Joel Peralta has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Mariners that includes an invitation to spring training.

Peralta spent last season with the Dodgers and was limited to 29 innings by neck and back problems, posting a 4.34 ERA and 24/8 K/BB ratio. Los Angeles declined his $2.5 million option, making him a free agent.

He was one of the most underrated relievers in baseball from 2010-2014, logging a total of 318 innings with a 3.34 ERA and 342 strikeouts, but at age 40 he’s shown signs of decline. Still, for a minor-league deal and no real commitment Peralta has a chance to be a nice pickup for Seattle’s bullpen.

White Sox sign Mat Latos

Mat Latos
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Jerry Crasnick reports that the Chicago White Sox have signed Mat Latos.

Latos was pretty spiffy between 2010-2014, posting sub-3.50 ERAs each year.  Then the injuries came and he fell apart. He pitched for three teams in 2015 — the Dodgers, Angels, and Marlins — with a combined 4.95 ERA in 113 innings. And he didn’t make friends on those clubs either, with reports of clubhouse strife left in his wake.

In Chicago he gets a fresh start. It doesn’t come in a park that will do him any favors — Latos and U.S. Cellular Field don’t seem like a great match — but at this point beggars can’t be choosers.

 

Jason Castro loses arbitration hearing against Astros

Jason Castro
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Veteran catcher Jason Castro and the Astros went through with an arbitration hearing over a difference of $250,000 and the three-person panel ruled in favor of the team.

That means Castro will make $5 million this season rather than his requested amount of $5.25 million. This is his final year of arbitration eligibility, so the 29-year-old catcher will be a free agent after the season.

Castro showed a lot of promise early on, including making the All-Star team at age 26 in 2013, but since then he’s hit just .217 with a .650 OPS in 230 games. His power and pitch-framing skills are a valuable combination even within sub par overall production, so 2016 will be a key year for the former first-round draft pick.

Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Eminent Domain and the history of the Rangers Ballpark

Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump addresses supporters at a campaign rally, Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in Grand Rapids, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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Eminent Domain — the right of a government to take/buy private property for public use — and its implications has always been a controversial topic. It became far more controversial in the 1990s and early 2000s, however,  as the practice, which is intended for public projects like roads and stuff, was increasingly used in ways to help developers and businesses.

The controversy came to a head in the 2005 case Kelo v. City of New London in which the Supreme Court held that general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth — not just direct public works — qualified as a “public use” under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The upshot: if someone had a good argument that a shopping mall would benefit the community, Mr. Developer and the government can force you to sell them their house.

This led to a HUGE backlash, with property rights people freaking out about what seemed like a pretty clear abuse of governmental power serving the interests of developers. Some 44 states have since passed laws outlawing the use of Eminent Domain for purely economic development. Some of that backlash has gone too far in the other direction, with some laws getting passed which not only required compensation to landowners if land was taken, but merely if land was diminished in value.  Like, if the government passes an environmental regulation which makes your private, for-profit toxic waste dump less lucrative than it was, the government has to pay you. It’s crazy stuff, really. And all of those laws notwithstanding, the topic continues to be a controversial one, with battles over what, exactly, is “public” what is a “public good” and all of that raging on. It’s rather fascinating. At least for boring nerfherders like me.

In the recent GOP presidential debate Donald Trump and Jeb Bush got into it on the topic, with Trump — a real estate developer, or course — defending the use of Eminent Domain to take land for economic development and Bush — a really desperate dude who at this point will take ANY position he can if it’ll give him traction — opposing it. In the days since they’ve continued to fight about it, with Trump charging Bush with hypocrisy since his brother, George W., was an owner of the Texas Rangers when they built their new ballpark with the help of Eminent Domain.

Ahh, yes. We finally get to baseball.

Today Nathaniel Rakich of Baseballot digs into that project and looks at how it all played out against the Eminent Domain debate. It touches on stuff we talk about a lot around here: are ballparks engines of economic development or merely for the enrichment of ballclubs? If they are built by a municipality, are they public goods? Wait, how can they be public goods if you can’t just walk into them for free? And the arguments go on.

It’s fascinating stuff showing, once again, that the real world and baseball intersect all the dang time and it’s handy to have a handle on just how, exactly, it does so.