Bryce Harper

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Nationals 7, Mets 6: The legend of Bryce Harper grows. A game-winning hit in the 12th inning. What say you, Harper?

“I’m happy to get the W, of course. I’m happy to get that walk-off hit, but I don’t like going 2 for 7,” Harper said. “I don’t like striking out twice in one game, either.”

Bryce … we talked about the me-first stuff …

“To get that moment at the end, that wipes everything away,” Harper said.

OK, good. Just checking, because everyone’s watching, kid.

Braves 11, Marlins 0: Tim Hudson with a five-hit shutout and Dan Uggla hit two homers and drove in five against his old team. Rookie Andrelton Simmons had three hits including a triple and drove in three. That’s coming up big. Of course everything about him’s big. Kid, do us all a favor and buy yourself a jock, OK? You’re gonna hurt someone out there.

Dodgers 2, Phillies 1: Cliff Lee: 12 strikeouts and two runs in 7 2/3 innings but he still took the loss. That’s nine starts and no wins despite a 2.92 ERA. Chad Billingsley tied up the Philly bats, allowing six singles, a double and only one run in seven innings.

Angels 6, Mariners 1: Mark Trumbo smacked two homers, doubled, singled and drove in four. His line on the year is .337/.384/.634.

Cubs 10, Brewers 0: Ryan Dempster gets out of the Cliff Lee club, finally gets some run support and a win. He was perfect through five innings, but the aw shucks Dempster wasn’t about to say anything about it:

“Yeah, I was thinking about a perfect game for sure,” Dempster said. “I’m not an idiot. I know that I hadn’t had anybody on base. But it’s the second-best thing: a win right here.”

Dude, talk to Bryce Harper’s media relations team, OK?

Diamondbacks 10, Rockies 0: Ian Kennedy struck out 12 in six innings. Afterwards he said a mechanical tweak was responsible. What tweak?  “It’s a secret,” Kennedy said. Fine, be that way. Jason Kubel drove in five.

Indians 4, Tigers 2: Ubaldo Jimenez has been a hot mess this year, walking the whole league, but the Tigers made him look like it was 2010 all over again. Asdrubal Cabrera, Lou Marson and Michael Brantley each hit RBI triples. I love triples. They’re so much damn fun.

Yankees 7, Rays 0: Andy Pettitte struck out ten while shutting out the Rays for seven. Russell Martin went 3 for 4 and hit a grand slam. New York has won 9 of 12.

Pirates 8, Reds 4: Clint Barmes had three hits and drove in three runs. The Pirates have hit seven homes in their last two games. Is what has been the worst offense in the NL starting to wake up?

Orioles 8, Red Sox 6:  Jim Johnson blew a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning but held on to vulture a win. Wasn’t a pure vulture-job in that he came back and shut the Sox down in the tenth. And given how good he’s been — he had saved 25 straight coming in — he’s entitled to one of those every now and again. Baltimore is 4-0 in Fenway this year.

Blue Jays 9, White Sox 5: Colby Rasmus went 5 for 5 with a double, homer and 3 RBI. Brett Lawrie lead off and went 3 for 5 and scored three times. Interesting. Phil Humber continues his quest to cement himself as the most fluky perfect game pitcher ever, as he allows five runs in five innings and runs his ERA up to 5.68.  Seriously: how many guys have thrown perfectos and lost their rotation job in the same season?

Astros 9, Cardinals 8: Houston led 6-1 after two innings, saw the lead shrink, built it back up again and managed to hold on as St. Louis put up four in the ninth. Jose Altuve responded to your collective snubbing of him in the All-Star voting by going 4 for 5 and scoring 3 runs. Jaime Garcia looks totally off, and is clearly not better after missing a start due to a sore elbow.

Royals 1, Twins 0: Bruce Chen shut ’em out for seven and the pen took over.

Rangers 6, Athletics 3: Texas survives Oakland’s offensive outburst. Well, an outburst for them. Derek Holland struck out two, walked two and allowed three runs on seven hits, so it’s likely that he avoided a spanking.

Padres 6, Giants 5:  Logan Forsythe’s first ever home run was a walkoff job:

“I was just trying to get on base for the guys. Luckily, it got out,” he said.

Kids these days with their selfish attitude.

Marlins acquire starter Dan Straily from the Reds

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 3: Dan Straily #58 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch during the first inning of the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park on September 3, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
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The Miami Marlins have acquired starting pitcher Dan Straily from the Cincinnati Reds. In exchange, the Reds will receive right-handed pitching prospects Luis Castillo and Austin Brice and outfield prospect Isaiah White.

For the Marlins, they get a solid starter who logged 191.1 innings of 113 ERA+ ball last year. Straily has moved around a lot in his five big league seasons — the Marlins will be his fifth club in six years — but it was something of a breakout year for him in Cincinnati. The only troubling thing: he tied for the league lead in homers allowed. Of course, pitching half of his games in Great American Ballpark didn’t help that, and Miami will be a better place for him.

Castillo is 24. He split last season between high-A and Double-A — far more of it in A-ball — posting a 2.26 ERA over 24 starts. Austin Brice is also 24. He pitched 15 games in relief for the Marlins last year at the big league level with poor results. He seemed to blossom at Triple-A, however, after the Marlins shifted him to the pen. White was a third round pick in the 2015 draft. He played low-A ball as a minor leaguer last year, hitting .214/.306/.301.

A mixed bag of young talent for the Reds, but stockpiling kids and seeing what shakes out is what a team like the Reds should be doing at the moment. For the Marlins: a solid mid-to-back end starter who may just be coming into his own.

Have Hall of Fame Voters actually made the PED thing More complicated?

Sammy Sosa
Associated Press
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The story coming out of this year’s Hall of Fame balloting is that the BBWAA voters are finally easing their antipathy toward players with performance enhancing drug associations.

Jeff Bagwell — the subject of unconfirmed PED rumors — made the Hall! Pudge Rodriguez, who was named in Jose Canseco’s book and who had a . . . curious physical transformation around the time PED testing came online, made it on the first ballot! Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, whose PED use was well-documented, saw their vote totals advance above the 50% mark, making their future elections look more likely!

It’s an interesting development, and one I’m obviously pleased with, but I wonder if the BBWAA’s new approach to PED guys, while far more forgiving than it used to be, has actually become more complicated in practice.

I ask this because I look way, way down the ballot and I still see Sammy Sosa scraping by with around 8% of the vote. I ask this because I still see Gary Sheffield at 13%. I ask this because when Mark McGwire was on the Today’s Game ballot in December, no one really stumped for him at all. I ask this because, even though Bagwell and Mike Piazza got in eventually, they still had to go through a lot of hazing first and I suspect, if they hit the ballot for the first time again tomorrow, the same arguments and delay would occur with respect to their cases.

In light of that, what I suspect has happened has not been a wholesale surrender of the anti-PED voters. Rather, I think it has been a transformation. One in which a moral test — did he use PEDs or not? — has been discarded as a threshold question and a scientific/physiological test — would he have been great even without the PEDs? — has replaced it. In essence, voters are becoming “PED discounters” in the aggregate. Making calculations as to whether a guy was, in their mind, a creation of PEDs or not.

Such an approach explains these new voting patterns as well as those in recent years.

  • Ivan Rodriguez may have been called out by Canseco and may have noticeably shrunk over an offseason, but his calling card was his defense behind the plate and voters, I suspect, have told themselves that such a thing is not PED-aided.
  • Bonds and Clemens may have been PED users, but each of them was undeniably talented and, if you discount for the PED use, hey, they’re still all-time greats.
  • Sammy Sosa’s case rests disproportionately on homers and, as everyone knows, PEDs = instant dingers, so no, he’s not gonna cut it.

And so on.

As I said, I’m glad that the strict moral test — did he use or not? — is losing its hold on Hall voters. But I do not think the “did PEDs make him who he was test?” is a good approach either. Baseball writers are in no better a position to assess the physiological and performance enhancements caused by pharmaceuticals than they are to be judges of character and morality. Given the identities of players confirmed to be PED users, the old eye test implicit in these cases is famously faulty (Neifi Perez, anyone?). The idea that PEDs only affect home run totals — and not, say, the ability for a player to take the abuse of the catcher position for 21 seasons — is crude and ignorant.

I suppose it’s naive to expect voters to completely disregard PEDs in their assessment of players. It’s a bell that cannot be unrung. But while we may, thankfully, be moving away from a moral test with respect to drugs, it’s been displaced by a scientific test that is no more reasonable in practice.