Domonic Brown

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Phillies 7, Brewers 5: Dom Brown homered and tripled and drove in four while Cliff Lee struck out 11 in seven and two-thirds. Philly is only one game behind the Nats right now, you guys. Why? Because …

Braves 6, Nationals 3: … the Nats dropped two of three to Atlanta, with B.J. Upton of all people fueling the Braves with a walkoff single on Saturday and a homer on Sunday. It’s really amazing how many dudes on the Braves have sort of sucked — B.J. Upton, Jason Heyward, Dan Uggla and Tim Hudson — yet the Braves are enjoying the biggest lead of any team in baseball. Imagine if some of those dudes actually start contributing.

Giants 4, Cardinals 2: I didn’t think the Giants would stink on the road forever, but I didn’t think Chad Gaudin would be the one to snap them out of their road funk. But good for him. Meanwhile, Yadier Molina was ejected for throwing his helmet on the ground when he was called out at first. Except he said after the game he knew he was out and wasn’t disputing the call, he was just mad at himself.  Seems like a pretty relevant distinction to me. I mean, no, tossing equipment about is not exactly a Profile in Sportsmanship, but I think it’s one thing if you’re doing it as a display of anger at an umpire — let’s call that a Lawrie — vs. just being mad. Oh well.

Twins 10, Mariners 0: Hey, it’s Jeremy Bonderman. Where has he been? [whack!][crack!][bang!][blast!]. Oh, that’s where he’s been.

Orioles 4, Tigers 2: Chris Davis went yard again, Kevin Gausman looked pretty darn sharp, the wheels fell off for Rick Porcello and the Tigers in the seventh inning and the Orioles took two of three from Detroit.

Marlins 11, Mets 6: Mets sweep Yankees. Marlins sweep Mets. Marlins better than Yankees? Isn’t that the transitive theory or something? Marcell Ozuna drove in four. Greg Dobbs drove in three. The Mets bullpen gave up seven runs in three innings. It was the Marlins’ first three-game sweep of the year.

Rays 11, Indians 3: Evan Longoria and Yunel Escobar each hit two-run homers — Longoria drove in three in all — and James Loney had a two-run double. Terry Francona got ejected. I feel like veteran managers get ejected during Sunday day games more than any other games. Especially when they’re at home. They’re probably dragging a bit for the day games after night games and would like some time on their couch.

Rangers 3, Royals 1: Seven shutout innings for Yu Darvish and a tie-breaking homer for Jurickson Profar in the eighth. And to this day I still get people asking me how the Rangers win games without Josh Hamilton and C.J. Wilson.

Pirates 5, Reds 4: Of course you stretch one of your lesser relievers to three innings rather than go to your best reliever when you’re in a tough spot in extra innings. I mean, what would you have Dusty Baker do? Use Aroldis Chapman in a non-save situation? That’s crazy talk. On the bright side for the Reds: Chapman is REALLY well rested for tonight’s game.

Diamondbacks 8, Cubs 4: Patrick Corbin wins his ninth game. Edwin Jackson, meanwhile, falls to 1-8. Carlos Marmol walked the ballpark again and got booed. Remember when he was supposed to be a trade chit at the deadline? Yeah.

Astros 5, Angels 4: If you think the Marlins winning three straight is a big deal, know that the Astros have won five straight. Jordan Lyles continues to be impressive, allowing two runs in five and two-thirds and striking out five.

Rockies 7, Dodgers 2: Matty McGill/he stood on the hill/pitched like he was drunk and looked like some roadkill, so … he went way … back to Triple-A … people down there/really like to get it ON … get it ON!

Athletics 2, White Sox 0: Chris Sale’s scoreless innings streak stops at 28 and Jarrod Parker tossed six and a third scoreless himself. The A’s are winners of 14 of 16.

Red Sox 3, Yankees 0: one hour and 58 minutes of game time, two hours seven minutes of rain delays. And a complete game shutout that lasted five innings for Clay Buchholz. Homers for Jose Iglesias and David Ortiz. Seven losses in eight games for the Yankees.

Blue Jays 7, Padres 4: Mark DeRose hit a two-run homer in the 11th and the Jays bullpenallowed just two hits and no runs in nine innings of work after Ramon Ortiz left the game with an apparent elbow injury. An elbow injury that, in his case, may very well be career-ending. In other news, does anyone know why they were playing a night game on a Sunday getaway day that wasn’t an ESPN game?

Rob Manfred on robot umps: “In general, I would be a keep-the-human-element-in-the-game guy.”

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 5:  Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred talks with media prior to a game between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.

The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?

Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.

The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.

I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.

Report: MLB approves new rule allowing a dugout signal for an intentional walk

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 29:  MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred laughs during a ceremony naming the 2016 winners of the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award and the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award before Game Four of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
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ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.

MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.

Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.

Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this: