Atlanta Braves v Houston Astros

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 6, Astros 4: Chipper Jones came off the disabled list, singled in his first at bat and hit a home run in his second. Dude is on death’s door and he hasn’t had functional knees since Bush’s first term yet he’s still the best hitter on this team.  Tyler Pastornicky hit his first MLB bomb. In other news, the Astros wore their Colt .45 throwback jerseys and they looked totally amazing. Check out those stirrups, dude.

Rangers 1, Mariners 0: Neftali Feliz didn’t allow a run in his first ever — and long overdue — major league start. But according to my sources in the ATH Texas satellite office, he wasn’t all that crisp out of the gate, elevating pitches and the like. Guess there’s more of a margin for error when you’re facing the Mariners. Mike Napoli took an ugly one to the noggin but was OK.

Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 3: Daniel Bard got roughed up (5 IP, 8 H, 5 ER). Thankfully no one in Boston overreacts to such things and will give him all the time he need to ease into the rotation rather than freak the hell out and demand that he be moved to the pen. Meanwhile, Kyle Drabek gave up one run on three hits in five and a third. If he comes correct this season the Jays’ perceived rotation problems will be way less significant.

Nationals 6, Mets 2: Between learning about David Wright’s broken finger and losing their first game of the season, it seems that the Mets are not invincible after all. Jayson Werth went 4 for 5 and drove in two.  Ross Detwiler pitched five scoreless innings.

Brewers 7, Cubs 4:  The Brewers scored five in the first with the help of an Alex Gonzalez three-run homer.

Yankees 5, Orioles 4: Freddy Garcia threw five wild pitches. That’s special. Raul Ibanez doubled in the go-ahead run in the 12th. That’s unexpected.

Tigers 5, Rays 2: Work fast, throw strikes. It’s pretty easy, yes? Rick Porcesllo made it look so on a cold afternoon. Porcello allowed two runs on four hits in seven innings. Matt Moore was almost as effective for Tampa Bay, but the bullpen gave up three.

Dodgers 2, Pirates 1:  Andre Ethier hit a homer with two outs in the eighth to break a 1-1 tie on Dodger Stadium’s 50th anniversary. The Beach Boys sang the National Anthem. Brian Wilson was actually there, so it was the actual Beach Boys, not Mike Love and his Twisted, Depressing Beach Boys Tribute Band.

Cardinals 3, Reds 1: The Cardinals are 5-1, are hitting the ball well and are getting great pitching too. I guess they don’t quite miss Tony La Russa, Albert Pujols and Chris Carpenter yet. Homers from Carlos Beltran and David Freese.

Diamondbacks 4, Padres 2: Chris Young with a two-run homer in the 12th wins it. He hit it off Micah Owings, who probably should have been playing left field instead, but then again people have been saying that about Micah Owings for years and folks still let him pitch. The Snakes were lucky the game went extras given that their starter, Trevor Cahill, threw more balls than strikes while walking six dudes in six innings.

Royals 3, Athletics 0: Given the forecast I saw yesterday afternoon I’m surprised they even got this one in. But they did, even if it was rain-shortened. Danny Duffy allowed only one hit in six innings while striking out eight. According to the game story there were probably 150 people in the Coliseum taking this one in.

White Sox vs. Indians: POSTPONED: This one was postponed due to a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow. Well, rain, but since the temperatures were falling, it could very well have been snow eventually.

Orioles sign ex-Padres reliever Dale Thayer

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Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.

At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.

Phillies acquire Taylor Featherston from Angels

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Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.

Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.

He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.

Keith Law: The Braves have the best farm system in baseball

Braves 2
Associated Press
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Flags fly forever! Hooray for The Process championship!

Ah, sorry. This is about as much rooting as I’ll get to do this year, so cut me some slack.

This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility. The top system: the Atlanta Braves. The bottom: the Los Angeles Angels, about whom Law says “I’ve been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I’ve ever seen.” Enjoy Mike Trout, though, you guys.

If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone. And though he drives me crazy sometimes, Buster Olney’s daily column/notes thing is also worth the money over the course of the year.

Some Mets fans are not happy that Beyonce is playing at Citi Field

Beyoncé performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Associated Press
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The funny thing about that “stick to sports” stuff I was going on about the other day is that, in reality, a whole lot of the people who say “stick to sports” don’t really want to just stick to sports. They’re totally cool going on about political, social or cultural stuff as long as it fits their world view. It’s not “stick to sports.” It’s “don’t talk about the social implications of sports-related stuff in ways that upset me.” If sports and culture come together in other ways, however, they’re completely fine in grinding their axe.

For example, Beyonce is playing a concert a Citi Field this summer. The show is so popular that they added a second date. The Mets’ Twitter feed just announced that tickets will go on sale for the new show soon:

A while lotta Mets fans responded to that negatively. For political/social/cultural reasons that they are willingly bringing in to a conversation about a pop singer and a baseball stadium that will double as a concert venue:

And they go on and on.

How much do you want to bet that a whole lotta these respondents would tell you to “stick to baseball” if you wanted to bring up how race affects the sport or how, if instead of Beyonce, this was announcing a Kid Rock/Ted Nugent-headlined festival and you mused whether that was a case of the Mets somehow endorsing their messages?