And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Tigers 7, Yankees 2: Justin Verlander was amazing, striking out 14. I’m not sure why Jim Leyland kept him in there for 132 pitches given that the Tigers had a five run lead by the sixth inning, but I guess the fans liked it. And heck, he was still throwing 100 miles per hour, so I’m willing to allow for the fact that he’s basically a cyborg. Anyway, the Yankees have lost 11 of 17.

Braves 6, Phillies 1: That’s seven straight wins over Philly for Atlanta and eight of ten on the year. Ben Sheets allowed one run over seven and a third without striking out anyone. Which isn’t gonna last, but in the meantime the Braves will take it. Oh, and the Phillies sellout streak ended too. It was the third longest such streak of all time. But sadly the Phillies fans show themselves to be 198 sellouts short of the loyalty of fans of the Cleveland Indians.

Before we get to the other scores, I have a question: When the Braves game ended I popped in “The Dark Knight” because I feel like if I don’t watch it a half dozen times a year I’m slacking. Anyway, just as the Joker crashes the Harvey Dent fundraiser, I realized that Ra’s al Ghul crashed Bruce Wayne’s birthday party in “Batman Begins.” Which makes me wonder: why, given the high probability that they’ll be interrupted by marauding super villains, does anyone ever goes to Bruce Wayne’s dinner parties?  Anyway:

Cardinals 8, Giants 2: Jake Westbrook was solid, Carlos Beltran homered and Jon Jay went 4 for 4 while driving in two.

Brewers 6, Reds 3: Aramis Ramirez, Corey Hart and Martin Maldonado all homered in the sixth inning. The Reds have lost two in a row. Crisis!

White Sox 4, Royals 2: Chris Sale is now 1-0 on nine days rest for his career.

Pirates 4, Diamondbacks 0: Erik Bedard bounced back from a horrific outing and was both efficient and effective, allowing two hits and no runs over seven innings without walking a soul. And just for the yuks, go read this game story. It may be the most cliche thing ever. Bedard was “making pitches.” The Pirates won because of “pitching and defense.” The Diamondbacks were “out-executed.” It’s a classic.

Red Sox 9, Rangers 2: With the Red Sox win, the press frenzy to get Bobby Valentine fired has been paused for 24 hours. Let’s all meet back here tomorrow though and see where things are. Oh: Yu Darvish continues to be pretty crappy of late.

Twins 14, Indians 3: Justin Morneau hit two homers and the Indians continue to get their butts beat back to the stone age. Ben Revere has a 20-game hitting streak going.

Orioles 3, Mariners 1: Chris Tillman took a three-hit shutout into the eighth inning, winning his fourth start. It continues a nice string of starting pitching performances for the O’s. The Orioles have won six of eight.

Nationals 5, Astros 4: Houston came back from a 4-1 deficit to force extra innings, but Washington wins in the 11th when first baseman Steve Pearce threw a Kurt Suzuki bunt out into right field, scoring Roger Bernadina. The Astros have lost every conceivable way this season.

Rockies 2, Dodgers 0: There was a reversed call in this one: Dexter Fowler trapped a Shane Victorino liner to center, and Victorino was initially called out. Don Mattingly argued, the umps huddled and they changed the call, saying it was trapped. Jim Tracy then came out and argued like crazy, got ejected and continued to argue for a long time. But we can’t have instant replay, you see, because it would mess up the pace of the game.

Padres 2, Cubs 0: Five Padres pitchers combine for a five-hit shutout. Chicago loses its sixth straight. At this point, though, I suppose the number of people who care about a Padres-Cubs matchup just barely exceeds the number of moms who watch their sons play in them.

Angels 4, Athletics 0: Jered Weaver is better than you: CG SHO, 4 H, 0 BB, 9 K. This season he’s better than just about everyone.

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

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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

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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.