And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Orioles 7, Red Sox 5: Guess that visit from Ric Flair didn’t pay off, eh?  It’s possible, I suppose, that the visit wasn’t from the man in his awesome Nature Boy persona, but rather, was the real life Ric Flair, who is pretty damn pathetic. Anyway, sure, Tampa Bay lost too and if these teams keep pace with one another for the next week Boston wins. On the other hand, yuuuuuck.  If Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon can’t combine in the eighth inning to shut down Baltimore, how much confidence do you have for the playoffs?

Yankees 5, Rays 0: Look, Tampa Bay: Boston isn’t gonna do all of the collapsing for you. You have to do your part too.

Braves 4, Marlins 0: Randall Delgado tossed five shutout innings for his first MLB win and Fredi Gonzalez was finally introduced to a couple of relievers who aren’t Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters to close things out. True fact: I actually own and still wear a sweatshirt that is older than Delgado. It’s a black I.O.U. number with purple lettering on it and the words “styled for the 90s” written across the bottom. I got it from an aunt in November 1989 (Delgado was born in February 1990). I have no idea why I’ve kept it so long, but I still sleep in it when it’s really cold. I could probably match it up with a pair of baggy acid wash jeans and some British Knights and really make the scene in some Eastern European village someplace.

Cardinals 11, Mets 6: Of course you can’t depend on the Mets to do anything for you. They had a 4-0 lead and blew it and then were back to a 6-5 lead in the seventh before giving up a bases-loaded Ryan Theriot double and six runs in all that inning. Albert Pujols was 4 for 5.

Dodgers 2, Giants 1: While St. Louis kept pace the same can’t be said of San Francisco. Clayton Kershaw pretty much owns the Giants and he flummoxed them again, winning his 20th. A James Loney single and a Jerry Sands homer gave him two runs to work with early and two runs tends to be all he needs.

Nationals 4, Phillies 3; Nationals 3, Phillies 0: Yeah, I know they’ve clinched their division and are a lock for the best record and that September records mean little for playoff teams and yadda, yadda yadda. But that said: aren’t you at least a bit worried about this offense?

Brewers 5, Cubs 1: I have no idea why the postal service is considering cutting off Saturday delivery to cut costs. The Cubs are so thoroughly mailing it in that the USPS budget should be balanced by next Wednesday.

Royals 10, Tigers 2: Eric Hosmer went 5 for 5 and drove in three. Brad Penny got lit up. The Royals have won eight of their last nine. If they pick up a pitcher or two this winter, they are gonna be everyone’s trendy pick next spring.

Mariners 5, Twins 4: Mike Carp was 5 for 5 but didn’t score once. I wonder how often that happens.

Reds 6, Astros 4: Homer Bailey scattered six hits while pitching and had three of his own while hitting. We always couch this as an individual sentiment, but really, there’s no “I” in “helped his own cause.”  Oh, wait. There is one “i” in there. It’s not capitalized though, so maybe we can let this one pass?

Angels 10, Blue Jays 6: Toronto fails to play spoiler on this night.  Know what would be really cool, though? If someone played The Spoiler. Anyone remember that guy? You, over there, in the I.O.U. sweater. You’re old enough, right?  Yeah, he kind of sucked actually, but the world needs high-level jobbers to get guys over, OK? Those superstars don’t sell themselves.

Padres 2. Rockies 1: Mat Latos struck out nine in eight and two-thirds but ran out of gas as the pitch count crossed the 120 mark. Heath Bell got a one out save.

Indians 4, White Sox 3White Sox 5, Indians 4: The only thing more meaningless than a White Sox-Indians game this time of the year is the White Sox and Indians splitting a double header. At least in a single game something perceptible happens in the standings. The split twin bill was about as eventful as making an angel in the gypsum at White Sands National Monument. Tomorrow, it’s as if it never happened.

Pirates 5, Diamondbacks 3: Charlie Morton threw six scoreless innings. The Dbacks magic number is down to three thanks to the Giants’ loss.

Rangers 7, Athletics 2: Michael Young got his 200th hit and Adrian Beltre hit a three-run homer. Texas has won eight of ten and is gonna cruise into the playoffs at this rate. The magic number is four.

Aledmys Diaz is trying to improve his defense with strobe glasses

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.

Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.

The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.

Eduardo Rodriguez could rejoin the Red Sox rotation in July

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Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.

The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.

He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.