Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 10, Cubs 3: Chipper Jones was named to the All-Star team and then went out and put up a 5-for-5, 4 RBI night. Dude even stole a base. Which is nuts considering he was rejected from the leg transplant list as an unsuitable recipient at least five years ago. Of course I talk about him like he’s an doddering old man when he’s just over a year older than me. Either way, glad to see him leaving this game with something still left in the tank, even if the body is rusting a fair amount.

Brewers 13, Marlins 12: Wildness. The Marlins were down 9-2 entering the seventh, came back to tie it at 11 in the eighth and  took a one-run lead in the 10th. Then Aramis Ramirez tore their guts out with a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the tenth to walk it off. Of course the game took four hours and twenty-eight minutes, so Rick Reilly probably missed his dinner reservation. Pity.

White Sox 19, Rangers 2: Um, yeah. Let us not dwell only on Roy Oswalt being drawn and quartered to the tune of 11 runs on 13 hits in four and two-thirds. Let us also note that Chris Sale won his 10th game and lowered his ERA to 2.19. Didn’t need 16 runs of that support he got.

Mets 11, Phillies 1: Daniel Murphy and David Wright each drove in four and Jon Niese outdueld Vance Worley. What? I can use the word “outdueled” even if Worley got rocked. Just think of it as a duel between a master swordsman and a fat kid holding a piece of licorice

Rays 7, Yankees 4: Yankees had a 3-0 lead, blew it and lost. But they are in Tropicana Field, and it’s their own personal Hell, so I understand.

Pirates 8, Astros 7: Walkoff for Drew Sutton. The Pirates are eight games over .500 for the first time since 1992. Some of you probably weren’t born in 1992.

Blue Jays 6, Royals 3: Lots of blown leads/big comebacks last night. This one by the Jays, who were down 3-0 and then scored six unanswered runs. Well, unanswered by other runs. I suppose the Royals answered it with a lot of profanity and stuff.

Nationals 9, Giants 3: Remember last time out when we thought Tim Lincecum had finally figured it out? Yeah, turns out that was merely a function of the Dodgers sucking. Last night he was beat up again, allowing eight runs and nine hits in three and a third for one of the worst starts of his career. We gotta ask: is the dude hurt or what? Because this is not natural.

Dodgers 3, Reds 1: Luis Cruz doubled home the go-ahead run in the seventh, took third on the relay throw and then on a squeeze play that wasn’t — Johnny Cueto threw the ball too high for the hitter to make contact — Cruz was credited with a steal of home. Never mind that the throw went skipping to the backstop and could have been a wild pitch, it’s a steal of home because Cruz was running first. I’d say 75% of all steals of home plate don’t really look like we imagine what a steal of home looks like.

Padres 9, Diamondbacks 5: Young Trevor Bauer is highly touted, but if you get beat around by the Padres, you need a little more seasoning. Not that it was all good news for the Padres: Andrew Cashner had to leave after two innings due to a strained side.

Orioles 5, Mariners 4: Robert Andino homered in the top of the ninth to put the O’s over. Wei-Yin Chen was perfect for six and a third innings.

Rockies 3, Cardinals 2: Tyler Colvin is one of the few recent bright spots for Colorado. He’s 24 for 67 his last 18 games with seven homers and 22 RBIs. Last night his three-run blast was all the offense the Rockies needed.

Athletics 3, Red Sox 2: Alfredo Aceves blew a 2-1 lead in the ninth by allowing three singles and a sac fly. The Sox had a chance to pad that lead in the top of the inning but ran their way out of it when Nick Punto popped up a bunt which caused Mike Aviles to get doubled off first and then Ryan Kalish was caught stealing third base. Viva small ball.

Indians 9, Angels 5: Zach McAllister, who I got to see in Columbus earlier this year, so I’m gonna like him, showed some moxie. He was staked to a 4-0 lead, blew it in the fifth and was down 5-4, but regrouped and held on as his teammates scored some more and saved him. Lots of rookies would crumble in that situation.

Twins 8, Tigers 6: Trevor Plouffe and Josh Willingham each hit homers. Those two have been the freakin’ Bash Brothers for Minnesota this year. Good story for the Tigers though: Darin Downs pitched a scoress ninth inning. Downs fractured his skull and suffered brain swelling after getting hit by a line drive while pitching for Tampa Bay’s Double-A team in 2009. Guy could have died, and here he is now in the majors. Pretty incredible.

Reds prospect Juan Duran suspended 80 games

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Juan Duran, a minor-league outfielder in the Reds’ farm system, has been suspended 80 games following positive tests for the performance-enhancing drugs Drostanolone, Stanozolol, and Nandrolone.

Duran is 6-foot-7 with big-time power, averaging 23 homers per 150 games since 2011, but he also strikes out a ton and struggles to control the strike zone. He spent last season at Double-A, missing a lot of time with injuries and hitting .256 with six homers and a .728 OPS in 59 games as a 23-year-old.

Duran is on the 40-man roster and is considered a quasi-prospect, but he’ll be ineligible to play until July and figures to head back to Double-A once reinstated.

The Blue Jays will talk long term deals with Jose Bautistia and Edwin Encarnacion

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Ever since Alex Anthopoulos resigned as Blue Jays’ GM and Mark Shapiro took over as team president, a distinct air of frugality has set in over Rogers Centre. The go-for-broke attitude that fueled Toronto’s fantastic second half last year was repudiated and long-term, sustainable building has seemed to be the order of the day.

But the Jays aren’t going to go crazy with that: ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that the Blue Jays plan to have long-term extension talks with the agents of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion during spring training. This, combined with the still-remaining possibility that they can avoid arbitration with MVP Josh Donaldson and hammer out a long-term deal could mean some serious spending by the Jays before Opening Day.

Or this could just be talk from the front office designed to buoy the spirits of fans. Locking up all three of them to long-term deals may be hella expensive and may not be possible. It’s also the case that, given their ages — Bautista is 35 and Encarnacion is 33 — it may not be advisable to lock the both up. As always, it depends on the terms and how generous Rogers Communications plans on being with the Jays’ budget.

But the chatter is now out there and expectations are poised to be set.

The Rays are REALLY ready to get to work on that new ballpark

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Last month St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay Rays reached an agreement that would allow the Rays to seek a new ballpark outside of the St. Pete city limits, anywhere in the Bay Area. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports today that the Rays have submitted a required report to that end which “describes how they plan to evaluate potential ballpark sites across the Tampa Bay area” and serves as a rough outline of the sort of facility they’re looking to build.

They submitted it 39 days before deadline. Ya think they’re eager to get moving?

As for the specifics, it sounds like they’re shooting for a Braves or Cardinals style destination place with surrounding entertainment, retail and the like. The Braves are achieving that by basically building the park at a mall and plan to surround it with other mall/entertainment district-type development. The Cardinals built a downtown park, but have developed Ballpark Village after the fact. This is to be contrasted with downtown parks which either counted on existing city businesses or spurred separate development.

All of which makes sense given that there isn’t one dominant location in Tampa which all but demands development there. Tampa has a few different areas that might make sense and the place is generally more spread out than older cities. It also makes sense for the Rays’ owners who are likely well aware that being in the real estate business is just as good for them as being in the baseball business.

Will anyone EVER break that record that was broken nine years ago?

Hank Aaron
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In 2007, Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run. He would go on to hit six more, finishing his career with 762. That was nine years ago and, at present, the active home run leader is nearly 80 homers behind him and no sure bet to come close. The next closest guy is over 200 homers back and clearly entering a period of decline.

All of which raises the question: will anyone EVER pass the home run total of Hank Aaron, who is in second place on that list?

Maybe you think that’s not really a pertinent question. We tend not to ask whether people who do not, by any objective measure, hold a record will have their records surpassed. But you’d be wrong. Why, just today, on Hank Aaron’s 82nd birthday, at least two journalists speculated whether anyone would ever become the all-time second place home run king:

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That’s from Cliff Corcoran at Sports Illustrated. As always, it’s excellent work from Cliff. Right up there with his seminal “will anyone ever catch Lou Brock in stolen bases?” and “who can catch Trevor Hoffman in career saves?” pieces.

Then there’s Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who approves of the question posed and has his own response:

You can imagine how those tweets were received by those parts of Twitter who are all about PED apologia, math, objective standards, noting that Aaron admitted that he took a PED that would have him banned today too and stuff like that. As always, these things get ugly.

Not that they have to be. It’s almost as if, if one were to try, one could celebrate the amazing inner-circle Hall of Fame career of Hank Aaron, full as it is with nearly unsurpassed accomplishment, without applying a revisionist gloss to the one accomplishment that, according to all objective measures and the accounting of Major League Baseball, has been surpassed. That one could talk about Aaron without slagging on Bonds.