And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

35 Comments

Angels 15, Rangers 8: Kendrys Morales hit homers from each side of the plate in the sixth inning — one of which was a grand slam — and drove in six runs overall as the Angels make mincemeat out of the Rangers. Roy Oswalt got tattooed. Between that, Cliff Lee trade rumors and Roy Halladay’s recent meh outings, it’s not been the best year for the Four Aces.

Cubs 14, Pirates 4: Quite a night for the Cubs. They put up a bunch of crooked numbers against Pittsburgh and unloaded  a bunch of players in deadline deals too. Three RBIs a piece for Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, so the future is in good shape at least. Four for Darwin Barney. Not sure where he fits.

Braves 8, Marlins 2: That’s six straight wins and — for the first time all year — a Monday win for Atlanta. Indeed, it was the first Monday win since August 22, 2011. Even with this win, the Braves are way back in dead last place in the all-important Monday wins column, which should probably make them Monday sellers at today’s Monday trade deadline.

Red Sox 7, Tigers 3: Dustin Pedroia hit a homer and drove in three. With a ten-game homestand just starting, it’s not unreasonable to say that it’s do or die time for Boston.

Orioles 5, Yankees 4: Nick Markakis went 3 for 4 and drove in a couple. Mark Teixeira left the game after hurting himself diving for a ball, so that’s no good. Eric Chavez and Ichiro went back to back in the seventh inning, but it wasn’t enough. Nice to see the O’s win this one, honestly. Joe Blanton deserves to be on a winning team.

Padres 11, Reds 5: Mike Leake and Alfredo Simon each giving up five runs early put to rest any hope that the Reds would extend that win streak beyond ten games. Will Venable’s bases-clearing triple in the third really blew it open.  Edinson Volquez beats his former team, even if he was pretty ineffective himself in doing so.

Brewers 8, Astros 4: Houston had a 3-0 lead and then, for once, the Brewers got to experience what it felt like on the good side of a bullpen collapse. How novel.

Mets 8, Giants 7: Scott Hairston hit two homers and both were big. One to tie it in the eighth and one to give the Mets a lead in extra innings. There’s been talk of the Mets dealing him by today’s deadline, but no obvious takes yet. If he goes today, let’s pretend that GMs are impressed by shiny things like two home run-games.

Mariners 4, Blue Jays 1: Hisashi Iwakuma struck out 13 while giving up one run over eight innings. Much needed on a night when the M’s bullpen was depleted due to trades of Brandon League and Tom Wilhelmsen Steve Delabar. Um, sorry about that. Trade deadline has my brain all addled.

Diamondbacks 7, Dodgers 2: Welcome to the Diamondbacks, Chris Johnson. The newest snake hit a grand slam. And he was also surprised at playoff talk:

“One of the guys on the bench said, ‘Anybody know what the Giants did tonight?’ And that kind of shocked me, because I’m not really used to that,” Johnson said.

That’s the cutest thing ever.

Athletics 4, Rays 3: Strikeouts are boring. Besides, they’re fascist. And they’re not even a guarantee of winning. The Rays struck out 21 A’s batters, but still lost when Jemile Weeks — who was 0-for-7 with two strikeouts at the time — ended the game with a sac fly in the bottom of the 15th.  OK, just to be clear: if you strike out 21, you usually win that game.

Twins 7, White Sox 6: Break up the Twins! Four straight wins. Next up: former mate Francisco Liriano debuts against them tonight. That should be fun.

Javier Baez: “This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it.”

Denis Poroy/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.

While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.

Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”

He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”

Mike Trout proposes change to spring training umpiring

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
3 Comments

Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.

According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”

Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.