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.

The umps have dropped their Ian Kinsler protest

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Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union —  launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.

Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:

“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”

As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.

I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.

 

Minor league teams prepare for a “total eclipse of the park”

Salem Volcanoes
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The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are a class-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Today, the path of totality of the big solar eclipse we’re not supposed to look at will pass right through the ballpark in which they play. What’s better: the Volcanoes are playing a game against the Hillsboro Hops as it happens.

This was by design: the team’s owner requested this home game when the schedule was made up two years ago specifically to market the heck out of the eclipse. They’re starting the game at 9:30 this morning, Pacific time, in order to maximize the fun. Spectators will receive commemorative eclipse safety glasses to wear. The game will be delayed when the eclipse hits and a NASA scientist named Noah Petro, who is from the area, will talk to the crowd about what is going on.

Salem-Keizer isn’t the only minor league game affected, by the way. There are six games in all which will feature a “total eclipse of the park.” Turn around, bright eyes.

There are no home MLB games going on in the path of totality, but MLB has put together a helpful guide in order to maximize your baseball and eclipse pleasure. If you line up some good beer with that you’l have your very own national pastime syzygy.