Omar Infante

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Marlins 6, Braves 5: It’s all so fitting, isn’t it? Omar Infante — Braves All-Star representative in 2010 and the chit that went Florida’s way in the big trade that was supposed to improve the team — killing ’em with a walkoff homer? The Braves single greatest weapon this year, Craig Kimbrel, blowing the lead?  If it wasn’t so nausea-inducing, it would actually be comical in some way. After the game Chipper Jones and Fredi Gonzalez blamed the light configuration in Sun Life Stadium for causing Jones to lose the chopper that let Emilio Bonafacio reach right before the Infante homer. Please. They may as well just blame the cruel fates. We’re no longer playing baseball here, people. We’re in the middle of an epic tragedy. An epic, choking tragedy.

Cardinals 4, Phillies 3: More evidence that this is being controlled by some greater power and not man himself? The headline “Lohse outduels Halladay.” Like that’s going to happen without divine intercession.

Orioles 6, Red Sox 5; Red Sox 19, Orioles 9: I guess the win in the nightcap arrested the slide for now, but it’s not like Boston can feel great here. I mean, what’s the game plan?  “Let’s score 19 runs?” Erik Bedard needs to provide a nice, bullpen-saving start today.

Yankees 6, Twins 4: This one was all about the Mo.  Congratulations Mariano Rivera on save number 602.

Diamondbacks 1, Pirates 0: Ian Kennedy wins his 20th in a dominant outing (8 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 12K). Still only makes him the fourth best pitcher in the NL this year at best, but it’s still a nice outing in a breakthrough season.

Blue Jays 3, Angels 2: It’s getting dark for Anaheim. Adam Lind drove in the winning run with a 10th inning grounder, in a game full of defensive failures on the Angels’ part. They’re five back of the Rangers now.

Astros 3, Reds 2: Tie breaking homer for Matt Downs in the eighth. Four straight losses for the Reds.

Padres 8, Rockies 2: The Rockies had only one hit off CoryLuebke. It was a two-run homer, but still just the one hit.

Cubs 5, Brewers 2: Two homers for Geovany Soto. Their loss and the Cardinals’ win keeps the magic number at 4.

Mariners 12, Indians 6: A nine-run third inning tends to lead to a win. Mike Carp drove in five, including a grand slam.

Sean Doolittle: “Refugees aren’t stealing a slice of the pie from Americans.”

ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 25:  Sean Doolittle #62 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 25, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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In the past, we’ve commented on Athletics reliever Sean Doolittle and his girlfriend Eireann Dolan’s community service. In 2015, the pair hosted Syrian refugee families for Thanksgiving and their other charitable efforts have included LGBTQ outreach and help for veterans.

Athletes and their significant others have typically avoided stepping into political waters, but Doolittle and Dolan have shown that it’s clearly no concern to them. In the time since, the Syrian refugee issue has become even more of a hot-button issue and Doolittle recently discussed it with Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.

I think America is the best country in the world because we’ve been able to attract the best and brightest people from all over the world. We have the smartest doctors and scientists, the most creative and innovative thinkers. A travel ban like this puts that in serious jeopardy.

I’ve always thought that all boats rise with the tide. Refugees aren’t stealing a slice of the pie from Americans. But if we include them, we can make the pie that much bigger, thus ensuring more opportunities for everyone.

Doolittle, of course, is referring to Executive Order 13769 signed by President Trump which sought to limit incoming travel to the United States from seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. A temporary restraining order on the executive order was placed on February 3, a result of State of Washington v. Trump.

Doolittle spoke more about the plight refugees face:

These are people fleeing civil wars, violence and oppression that we can’t even begin to relate to. I think people think refugees just kind of decide to come over. They might not realize it takes 18-24 months while they wait in a refugee camp. They go through more than 20 background checks and meetings with immigration officers. They are being vetted.

They come here, and they want to contribute to society. They’re so grateful to be out of a war zone or whatever they were running from in their country that they get jobs, their kids go to our schools, they’re paying taxes, and in a lot of cases, they join our military.

Around this time last year, Craig wrote about Doolittle and Dolan not sticking to baseball. They’re still not, nor should they be. Hopefully, the duo’s outspokenness inspires other players and their loved ones to speak up for what’s right.

[Hat tip: Deadspin’s Hannah Keyser]

Russell Martin is not a fan of the automatic intentional walk

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 15:  Russell Martin #55 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts after being struck out in the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians during game two of the American League Championship Series at Progressive Field on October 15, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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On Tuesday, it was announced that Major League Baseball instituted a new rule allowing for a dugout signal in order to issue an intentional walk rather than having the pitcher throw four pitches wide of the strike zone. It’s commissioner Rob Manfred’s attempt to help improve the game’s pace of play.

As Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports, Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin is certainly not a fan of the change.

My thing is, if they really want to speed up the game, then when a guy hits a home run, to speed up the game should a guy, just like in softball, when he hits it, should he just walk to the dugout? It’d be quicker. I’m just wondering, at what point do we just keep the game, the game? Or, how about this calculation: take all the intentional walks that were made in the last couple years and calculate – or maybe just ask to see if they have that information, to see if they really did their homework. Is it really that important to speed up the game (with this rule)? Because how many games did we play last year where we didn’t have one intentional walk? That’s something I’d like to know.

Martin also expressed concern that eliminating the four-pitch intentional walk will hurt teams’ ability to buy time for their relievers to warm up.

It’s called getting your bullpen ready so the guy doesn’t blow out his arm on the mound. Speed up the game, speed up the game.’ How about we just give guys – the human being – time to warm up on the mound after maybe something’s happened in the game? I’m not a manager, but I’m just trying to put myself in the position of a manager. OK, we’re up by one run or two runs and our bullpen’s been taxed and we’re trying to save their arms, and then the other team walks, ball gets away, guy gets to second base. When the coach visits the mound to talk to his player, it’s not like the player necessarily needs somebody to talk to him.

It’s because the guy (in the bullpen) needs time to warm up, man. It’s the same thing when you throw over to first base, like, eight times in a row. It’s not like we’re trying to keep the guy close. The guy maybe has two stolen bases in 18 years. It’s because the guy needs time to warm up. At what point does that become a problem with guys warming up in the bullpen? Sometimes it’s just strategy to give guys a little bit of time to warm up.

The Jays’ backstop then said he’d prefer if Manfred were honest about the intent behind this rule change and others which have been proposed. Martin said, “Save it. I’m tired of hearing that same lame excuse all the time. Just be honest. If they’re honest about it, we’ll get over it. But don’t hide behind the fans.”

We should be hearing from a handful of players about the new intentional walk rule in the coming days. I can’t imagine the rule is very popular among the players.