Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Orioles 4, Blues Jays 0; Rays 4, Yankees 3:  As mentioned yesterday, this combo brings the Yankees lead over the O’s down to one game in the AL East, with the Rays only two and a half back themselves. I don’t suppose we’re so lucky to have a Yankees collapse come a year after the Red Sox collapse, but it’s a possibility I suppose.

Mariners 4, Red Sox 1: The United States Postal Service lost $5.2 billion in the second quarter of 2012. The Red Sox are mailing it in so thoroughly these days, however, that the third quarter will likely have the USPS turning a profit. Seven straight losses for Boston. They’ve been outscored 58-16 in that span.

Nationals 2, Cubs 1: Washington clinches its first winning season. With that mission accomplished, Mike Rizzo shut down the whole roster.

Indians 3, Tigers 2: I’m not gonna say this game was boring, but my girlfriend — big Tigers fan — is here and was trying to watch this game yesterday. Not just watching it, she was watching the Tigers feed and playing the Rod Allen drinking game. And even with all of that incentive to stay tuned in she was bored out of her gourd. She ended up taking a nap, and that was before she even had a chance to finish more than half a beer.

White Sox 4, Twins 2: Hector Santiago — normally a relief pitcher — actually started this one. And won. And just like that the White Sox are back in first place by a game.

Cardinals 5, Mets 4: The Robot Umps would have gotten this one right. Apparently Carlos Beltran was the guy who told Mike Matheny to appeal the play. I’m sure Mets fans are happy to see Carlos Beltran contributing like that. Wondering why he never did that when he was in New York.

Giants 9, Diamondbacks 8: From the game story, describing the scene after Marco Scutaro’s game-winning hit:

Marco Scutaro had just rounded first base when the portly Pablo Sandoval caught him by surprise, tugged on his jersey and bear-hugged the second baseman …

It’s a long season even for the AP beat writers.

Astros 5, Pirates 1: Brett Wallace had three hits including a three run homer. The Pirates have lost 10 of 13. They’re lucky to only be two and a half back in the wild card race.

Marlins 7, Brewers 3: Jose Reyes: run producer. He’s hitting in the three spot now and drove in three. Coincidence? Yeah, probably, but it’s something to do as the Marlins play out the string.

Angels 8, Athletics 3: The A’s lose, ending their nine-game winning streak. Vernon Wells drew two walks and reached base four times in all. So obviously some sorcery was at work.

Phillies 4, Reds 2: Look at that lazy Jimmy Rollins, barely even running the bases. Oh, wait. He hit a three run homer and that was a trot. Carry on then.

Rangers 8, Royals 4: Yu Darvish retired the first seventeen batters he faced. Should have been eighteen, but what should have been strike three to Johnny Giavotella with two out in the fifth ended up being called ball four, which extended the inning and led to the Royals scoring thrice. The Rangers didn’t get too phased by it all, though. They hit five homers. One of them led to Nelson Cruz being plunked on the hiney, after which Michael Young hit another homer. That’s the best way to deal with that garbage, really.

Braves 6, Rockies 1: Kris Medlen is en fuego.

Dodgers 4, Padres 3: Two walkoff wins in a row, this one courtesy of an A.J. Ellis single in the 11th. And he got his jersey shredded for his troubles. That’s … an interesting tradition they have going there.

Twins pitcher barfs before almost every appearance

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 18:  Ryan O'Rourke #61 of the Minnesota Twins reacts after loading up the bases in the seventh inning against the New York Yankees on August 18, 2015 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Twins righty Ryan O'Rourke has pitched in 54 big league games. He has barfed before almost every one of them.

No, really:

Through his first 54 big-league outings over the last past two years, O’Rourke estimates he emptied the contents of his stomach close to every time.

“I don’t do it in the public’s eye,” O’Rourke said Tuesday. “I go in the bathroom, or sometimes it’s just on the back of the mound. But, yeah, it happens.”

I wonder if I’ve barfed 54 times in my entire life. I doubt I have. Then again, I’m not doing anything in front of tens of thousands of people with potentially millions of dollars at stake.

Yet he who is without sin hurl the first, um. Well, never mind.

The new intentional walk rule isn’t a big deal but it’s still dumb

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 06:  Anthony Recker #20 of the New York Mets calls for an intentional walk as Paul Goldschmidt #44 of the Arizona Diamondbacks looks on during the eighth inning at Chase Field on June 6, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
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Let us preface this by stipulating that the new rule in which pitchers will no longer have to throw four balls to issue an intentional walk is not a big deal, objectively speaking. Teams don’t issue many IBBs to begin with. A couple a week, maybe? Fewer? Moreover, the times when a pitcher tosses one to the backstop or a batter reaches out and smacks a would-be intentional ball may be a lot of fun, but they’re extraordinarily rare. You can go years without seeing it happen.

So, yes, the intentional walk rule announced yesterday is of negligible consequence. We’ll get used to it quickly and it will have little if any impact on actual baseball. It won’t do what it’s supposed to do — speeding up games — but it won’t harm anything that is important either.

But let us also stipulate that the new rule is dumb.

It’s dumb because it’s a solution in search of a problem. Pace of play is a concern, but to listen to Rob Manfred and his surrogates in the media tell it, it’s The Most Pressing Issue of Our Time. Actually, it’s not. No one is abandoning baseball because of 5-15 minutes here or there and no one who may be interested in it is ceasing their exploration of the game because of it. And even if they were, IBBs are rare and they’re not time-consuming to begin with, so it’s not something that will make a big difference. It’s change for change’s sake and so Rob Manfred can get some good press for looking like a Man of Action.

It’s also dumb because it’s taking something away, however small it is. One of my NBC coworkers explained it well this morning:

I agree. Shamelessness is a pretty big problem these days, so let’s not eliminate shame when it is truly due.

Picture it: it’s a steamy Tuesday evening in late July. The teams are both way below .500 and are probably selling off half of their lineup next week. There are, charitably, 8,000 people in the stands. The game is already dragging because of ineptitude and an understandable lack of urgency on the part of players who did not imagine nights like this when they were working their way to the bigs.

Just then, one of the managers — an inexperienced young man who refuses to deviate from baseball orthodoxy because, gosh, he might get a hard question from a sleepy middle aged reporter after the game — holds up four fingers for the IBB. The night may be dreary, but dammit, he’s going to La Russa the living hell out of this game.

That man should be booed. Boo this man. The drunks and college kids who paid, like, $11 to a season ticket holder on StubHub to get into this godforsaken game have earned the right to take their frustrations out on Hunter McRetiredBackupCatcher for being a wuss and calling for the IBB. It may be the only good thing that happens to them that night, and now Rob Manfred would take that away from them. FOR SHAME.

And don’t forget about us saps at home, watching this garbage fire of a game because it beats reading. We’re now going to have to listen to this exchange, as we have listened to it EVERY SINGLE NIGHT since the 2017 season began:

Play-by-Play Guy: “Ah, here we go. They’re calling for the intentional walk. Now, in case you missed it, this is the way we’re doing it now. The new rule is that the manager — yep, right there, he’s doing it — can hold up four fingers to the home plate umpire and — there it goes — he points to first base and the batter takes his base.”

Color Commentator, Who played from 1975-87, often wearing a mustache: “Don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. There was always a chance the pitcher throws a wild pitch. It happened to us against the Mariners in 1979 [Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice: it didn’t] and it has taken away something special from the game. I suppose some number-cruncher with a spreadsheet decided that this will help speed up the game, but you know what that’s worth.

No matter what good or bad the rule brings, this exchange, which will occur from April through September, will be absolutely brutal. Then, in October, we get to hear Joe Buck describe it as if we never heard it before because Fox likes to pretend that the season begins in October.

Folks, it’s not worth it. And that — as opposed to any actual pro/con of the new rule — is why it is dumb. Now get off my lawn.