Robinson Cano, Yan Gomes

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 14, Indians 1: “Man, where are the Yankees going to get any offense with all of their big hitters on the DL?” no one is asking today like they asked so much last week. I guess nowadays everybody wanna talk like they got somethin to say, but nothin’ comes out when they move their lips — just a bunch of gibberish — and Yankee haters act like they forgot about Cano (4 for 6, 5 RBI).

Astros 16, Mariners 9: Meanwhile, in the other west coast park with a shorter porch, two teams not known for offense combined to hit eight homers, including two from Chris Carter and another one — a baseball-leading sixth — for Mike Morse. That 16-spot from Houston goes a long way towards covering up some overall offensive ineptitude on the stat sheet.

Phillies 8, Mets 3: Everything else may be going sideways, but Cliff Lee is still Cliff Lee. Two earned runs in eight and two-thirds with six strikeouts. Ryan Howard and Michael Young went back-to-back in the third inning, each their first homer of the year. Miguel Cabrera had his first homer of the year yesterday too, so you can totally say that Howard and Young are on an MVP-pace if you’re so inclined.

Nationals 8, White Sox 7: Adam LaRoche went 0 for 15 until hitting two straight homers in this one. Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth hit bombs too. All needed given some overall sloppiness and bad bullpen play in this one.

Padres 9, Dodgers 3: Will Venable drove in four for the Padres who are happy to finally be home after ugly series in New York and Colorado. The new fences in Petco Park gave Juan Uribe a homer that would have been an out last year.

Tigers 7, Blue Jays 3: Miguel Cabrera went 4 for 5 with four RBI and that homer I mentioned. It’s almost like he’s awesome or something. Worst start since 2004 for the new-look Jays.

Braves 3, Marlins 2: Kris Medlen’s second start looked a lot more like his 2012 second half. I guess facing the Marlins helps (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER). Justin Upton didn’t go yard, but he did hit a looong RBI double which would have been out in all but two or three parks. Homer for rookie Evan Gattis, who is making it pretty difficult for the front office to figure out what to do when Brian McCann comes back.

Rangers 6, Rays 1: Rangers’ fifth starter Nick Tepesch makes his major league debut and all he does is go seven and a third allowing one run on four hits.

Royals 7, Twins 4: Jeremy Guthrie won his seventh straight decision, getting all the run support he needed in a five-run first inning. The Royals are 5-3, by the way. It’s the tenth anniversary of that Mike Sweeney-led Royals team which made everyone think they were back in contention, only to falter later. Same thing going on again, or have they truly turned the corner and become the 2012 Orioles, redux?

Cubs 6, Brewers 3: Kiwicricket sent me the part of the box score which makes your head explode: “W: Marmol (1-1, 12.27) ; L: Axford (0-2, 24.30) ; SV: Fujikawa (2).” Always fun to see a game come down to a battle of Proven Closers. And Axford wasn’t even closing.

Athletics 9, Angels 5: Five runs in the seventh for Oakland, led by John Jaso’s pinch-hot three-run homer. A seesaw game, as Oakland had a 4-0 lead once, fell behind 5-4 and then this rally. Josh Hamilton went 0 for 4 and is now hitting a cool .138. The Angels join the Jays in 2-5 land. I guess winning the Hot Stove League doesn’t carry over.

Cardinals 5, Reds 1: The new-and-improved Lance Lynn struck out ten in six innings while allowing only one run. Bronson Arroyo cruised into the sixth and then gave up a pinch hit homer to Matt Adams.

Pirates 6, Diamondbacks 5: Garrett Jones had three hits and two RBIs. The Pirates had 11 hits overall, winning their second straight game and finally waking up on offense. Brandon McCarthy has surrendered 19 hits in 11 and two-thirds innings thus far.

Giants 9, Rockies 6: Tim Lincecum was shaky as all get-out for one inning, acceptable for four others, but overall allowed six runs in six innings while walking four. The Giants’ bats rescued him, however, led by a Brandon Crawford three-run homer in the sixth and then some general hit-parade fun. Lincecum got the win in his first outing despite walking the park and a no-decision here despite melting down for a while. You feel like he’s walking on the edge of a knife, though.

Marlins acquire starter Dan Straily from the Reds

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 3: Dan Straily #58 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch during the first inning of the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park on September 3, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
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The Miami Marlins have acquired starting pitcher Dan Straily from the Cincinnati Reds. In exchange, the Reds will receive right-handed pitching prospects Luis Castillo and Austin Brice and outfield prospect Isaiah White.

For the Marlins, they get a solid starter who logged 191.1 innings of 113 ERA+ ball last year. Straily has moved around a lot in his five big league seasons — the Marlins will be his fifth club in six years — but it was something of a breakout year for him in Cincinnati. The only troubling thing: he tied for the league lead in homers allowed. Of course, pitching half of his games in Great American Ballpark didn’t help that, and Miami will be a better place for him.

Castillo is 24. He split last season between high-A and Double-A — far more of it in A-ball — posting a 2.26 ERA over 24 starts. Austin Brice is also 24. He pitched 15 games in relief for the Marlins last year at the big league level with poor results. He seemed to blossom at Triple-A, however, after the Marlins shifted him to the pen. White was a third round pick in the 2015 draft. He played low-A ball as a minor leaguer last year, hitting .214/.306/.301.

A mixed bag of young talent for the Reds, but stockpiling kids and seeing what shakes out is what a team like the Reds should be doing at the moment. For the Marlins: a solid mid-to-back end starter who may just be coming into his own.

Have Hall of Fame Voters actually made the PED thing More complicated?

Sammy Sosa
Associated Press
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The story coming out of this year’s Hall of Fame balloting is that the BBWAA voters are finally easing their antipathy toward players with performance enhancing drug associations.

Jeff Bagwell — the subject of unconfirmed PED rumors — made the Hall! Pudge Rodriguez, who was named in Jose Canseco’s book and who had a . . . curious physical transformation around the time PED testing came online, made it on the first ballot! Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, whose PED use was well-documented, saw their vote totals advance above the 50% mark, making their future elections look more likely!

It’s an interesting development, and one I’m obviously pleased with, but I wonder if the BBWAA’s new approach to PED guys, while far more forgiving than it used to be, has actually become more complicated in practice.

I ask this because I look way, way down the ballot and I still see Sammy Sosa scraping by with around 8% of the vote. I ask this because I still see Gary Sheffield at 13%. I ask this because when Mark McGwire was on the Today’s Game ballot in December, no one really stumped for him at all. I ask this because, even though Bagwell and Mike Piazza got in eventually, they still had to go through a lot of hazing first and I suspect, if they hit the ballot for the first time again tomorrow, the same arguments and delay would occur with respect to their cases.

In light of that, what I suspect has happened has not been a wholesale surrender of the anti-PED voters. Rather, I think it has been a transformation. One in which a moral test — did he use PEDs or not? — has been discarded as a threshold question and a scientific/physiological test — would he have been great even without the PEDs? — has replaced it. In essence, voters are becoming “PED discounters” in the aggregate. Making calculations as to whether a guy was, in their mind, a creation of PEDs or not.

Such an approach explains these new voting patterns as well as those in recent years.

  • Ivan Rodriguez may have been called out by Canseco and may have noticeably shrunk over an offseason, but his calling card was his defense behind the plate and voters, I suspect, have told themselves that such a thing is not PED-aided.
  • Bonds and Clemens may have been PED users, but each of them was undeniably talented and, if you discount for the PED use, hey, they’re still all-time greats.
  • Sammy Sosa’s case rests disproportionately on homers and, as everyone knows, PEDs = instant dingers, so no, he’s not gonna cut it.

And so on.

As I said, I’m glad that the strict moral test — did he use or not? — is losing its hold on Hall voters. But I do not think the “did PEDs make him who he was test?” is a good approach either. Baseball writers are in no better a position to assess the physiological and performance enhancements caused by pharmaceuticals than they are to be judges of character and morality. Given the identities of players confirmed to be PED users, the old eye test implicit in these cases is famously faulty (Neifi Perez, anyone?). The idea that PEDs only affect home run totals — and not, say, the ability for a player to take the abuse of the catcher position for 21 seasons — is crude and ignorant.

I suppose it’s naive to expect voters to completely disregard PEDs in their assessment of players. It’s a bell that cannot be unrung. But while we may, thankfully, be moving away from a moral test with respect to drugs, it’s been displaced by a scientific test that is no more reasonable in practice.