White Sox beat Rays, gain ground on Tigers

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The White Sox still aren’t hitting. Fortunately, Gavin Floyd and the bullpen were good enough to overcome that for one night.

Floyd allowed one run over five innings and combined with five relievers on a three-hitter Friday in a 3-1 win over the Rays. The White Sox moved to within one within one game of the Tigers after Detroit lost to Minnesota 4-2.

Alex Rios was the offensive star for the White Sox tonight, going 3-for-4 with a solo homer and two runs scored. While most of the rest of the lineup has slumped, he’s hit .309 with five homers and five doubles in 97 at-bast this month. The homer was his 25th overall.

Jeremy Hellickson took the loss for Tampa Bay while facing the White Sox for the first time in 63 career starts. He allowed three runs — two earned — in 5 2/3 innings.

The Tigers were undone by Ryan Doumit in their loss to Minnesota. After Drew Smyly turned in 5 1/3 scoreless innings, Doumit drove in all four Twins runs with a homer in the seventh and a single in the eighth. Detroit got its only runs on an Omar Infante homer in the top of the eighth.

Would-be MVP Miguel Cabrera went 2-for-4 to push his average back up to .327. However, he went without an RBI for the fifth straight game.

Cabrera’s closest competitor in the batting race, Minnesota’s Joe Mauer, went 0-for-2 with two walks in the game to drop his average to .322.

The Braves cave, a little anyway, on their outside food policy

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On Friday the Atlanta Braves announced a new policy for outside food, prohibiting ticket holders from bringing in their own. This was a reversal of their old policy — and the policies of the majority of teams around the league — which allowe fans to bring in soft-sided coolers with their own food and beverages, at least as long as the beverages were sealed.

The Braves claimed that the policy change was “a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league,” but this was clearly untrue as no other teams are cracking down on outside food like this. If there are new security procedures, everyone else is able to accommodate them without an opportunistic crackdown on fans bringing in PB&J for their toddlers. It seemed more likely that this was a simple cash grab.

Today the Braves have reversed the policy somewhat:

While they’re looking for kudos here, this is likewise an admission that the “security” stuff was bull because, last I checked, security procedures aren’t subject to popular referendum and aren’t changed when people complain. What really happened here, it seems, is the Braves, for the first time in living memory, were called out by the public for their greed and realized that even they have some responsibility to not be jackasses about this sort of thing.

Still, a gallon bag policy is not the same as it was before. You could bring coolers into Turner Field and still can bring them into most parks around the league. But I guess this is better than nothing.

Donald Trump may throw out the first pitch at the Nationals opener

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It’s just gossip now, but Politico is hearing that Donald Trump is in talks to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day. The Nats are not commenting. Neither are the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League, who no doubt feel slighted given that the president effectively is a local.

With the caveat that, on Opening Day, tickets are likely to be more expensive and thus you’re likely to have a lot more rich people and friends-of-the-owners in attendance, thereby ensuring a more conservative crowd, I’m struggling to imagine a situation in which Trump strolls on to a baseball field in a large American city and isn’t booed like crazy. He’s polling as low as 36% in some places. He’s not exactly Mr. Popular.

Oh well. I look forward to him three-bouncing one to Matt Wieters and then grabbing his phone and tweeting about how it was the best, most tremendous first pitch in baseball history. Or blaming Hillary Clinton for it in the event he admits that it was a bad pitch.