New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Mets 8, Phillies 0: Matt Harvey blanks the Phillies on two hits for six innings and David Wright went 4 for 5 with two doubles, a triple and a homer. I know the Mets have problems, but man, when it goes right for them it’s really pretty. Something about the purity of an ace and a superstar doing what they’re supposed to do that makes a win all the more satisfying to see.

Rays 3, Yankees 1: Chris Archer gave up one run over six innings and James Loney hit a two-run single in the seventh. The two runs allowed in the seventh really were a team effort. Both of the runners who scored — Desmond Jennings and Ben Zobrist — reached when Ivan Nova hit them with pitches. Then Shawn Kelley walked Evan Longoria to move the runners up, then Boone Logan came in to give up the single. There’s no “I” in team. There’s no “I” in “meltdown” either.

Tigers 7, Red Sox 5: Kind of a mess of a game, with the Tigers down late and Justin Verlander not looking all that hot. But then Boston got sloppy, with Andrews Miller and Bailey combining to let a run in the seventh — with said run scoring on a hit-by-pitch — and then Miller and Daniel Nava got all errory in the eighth as three Tigers runs scored.

Blue Jays 13, Orioles 5: Call it 11 in a row for the Jays as Edwin Encarnacion drove in four and Jose Bautista knocked in three. The Jays now have a seven-game road trip which takes them through Tampa Bay and Boston. They begin the trip only five games back. The AL East is wild, man. Wild.

Twins 5, Indians 3: Emergency starter Pedro Hernandez — which is a lot like a name off-brand video games use when they don’t have the right to use actual ballplayers’ names — gave up two runs over five innings as the Twinkies avoid the sweep. Nick Swisher came back for the Indians and dropped an 0 for 5.

Rockies 7, Nationals 6: Michael Cuddyer homered and went 3 for 4 overall to extend his hitting streak to 21 games. He’s reached base in 40 straight games overall. The Rockies were staked to a 7-0 lead and held on.

Braves 7, Brewers 4: A first inning grand slam for Brian McCann wasn’t all the Braves would need to win, but it was all they needed to not lose. Does that make sense? I sorta feel like it makes sense. Then again, as I’m writing this it’s Sunday afternoon and it’s hot and my brain doesn’t function nearly as well when it’s hot as it does when it’s cooler. Anyway, we delivered the bomb.

Cubs 14, Astros 6: Ryan Sweeney drove in six, Anthony Rizzo drove in four and that was more run support than Jeff Samardzija truly needed. 20 runs and 29 hits in this one and it lasted three hours and fifteen minutes. I feel like that’s fast for a game with this much carnage.

Royals 7, White Sox 6: Kinda like the Tigers-Red Sox game as relief pitcher fecklessness/bad defense gave this to the other team. All three of the runs Jesse Crain allowed in the eighth were unearned — keeping his streak of innings without allowing any earned runs intact — but since Crain’s own error led the them being unearned he’s sorta, kinda definitely responsible.

Marlins 7, Giants 2: Two homers for Justin Ruggiano as the Marlins win their tenth in eleven games at AT&T Park. As the defending world champs — who have been better at home than on the road — drop three of four to the freakin’ fish. What is this world?

Dodgers 3, Padres 1: Back-to-back homers by Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez in the ninth break a 1-1 tie and then put the Dodgers up 3-1.

Reds 4, Diamondbacks 2: Mat Latos struck out 13 and allowed a run on six hits with one walk in seven and two-thirds, breaking the Dbacks’ four-game winning streak.

Mariners 6, Athletics 3: Kendrys Morales with a walkoff three-run homer in the 10th and he didn’t get hurt celebrating. Raul Ibanez had two homers of his own. Oakland has lost four of five.

Pirates 10, Angels 9: Oh man, Angels. Three in the ninth, four in the tenth for the Buccos in what can only be described as bullpencrapapalooza. Homers in four straight games for Pedro Alvarez.

Rangers 2, Cardinals 1: A three hour rain delay on a Sunday night because the unbalanced schedule makes it nearly impossible for teams to make up games when they don’t see each other in a given city any more. Just dumb. The Rangers are probably OK with it, though, as they get the sweep. It’s the first time anyone has swept the Cardinals this year.

Chris Sale called “a competitor” for stuff that gets most guys called “head cases”

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox reacts during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Chris Sale has had an eventful week.

On Saturday he was scratched from his start and subsequently suspended for five games for cutting up the 1976 throwback uniforms the team was scheduled to wear, making them unusable. That cost the team over $12,000 and cost the Sox their best pitcher hours before game time.

On Monday Sale gave an interview to Scott Merkin in which he apologized to fans and teammates and explained his rationale for the uniform shredding. Even if his act was over the top, there was a core of understandable motivation at least: Sale said he voiced his displeasure with the untucked jersey months ago and asked to not pitch on a night they’d have to wear them because he believed it would mess with his mechanics and/or mental state. The Sox didn’t heed his request and Sale took issue, as many probably would, with what he felt was the business of throwback jerseys taking precedence over on-the-field stuff.

Of course, there are still some pretty big problems here. Mostly having to do with the facts that (a) the Sox have people on staff who could’ve optimize his jersey any way he needed it to be optimized if he had asked; (b) ballplayers have been wearing throwbacks for a long time now and, even if they don’t like them, they tend to endure them; and (c) he’s a ballplayer who needs to suck things up sometimes like every single ballplayer ever has done. There are a ton of things ballplayers are expected to do which are insisted upon by the business folks. It’s part of the gig.

A little more seriously than that is the fact that Sale pretty publicly threw his manager, Robin Ventura, under the bus :

“Robin is the one who has to fight for us in that department,” Sale said. “If the players don’t feel comfortable 100 percent about what we are doing to win the game, and we have an easy fix — it was as easy as hanging up another jersey and everyone was fine. For them to put business first over winning, that’s when I lost it.”

An undercurrent to all of this is Sale being fairly obvious in voicing his desire to be traded.

Today Bob Nightengale of USA Today has a story about Sale’s week. It’s sourced largely by Sale’s friend Adam Eaton who defends Sale as a passionate competitor who just wants to win and how all of this stuff of the past week was about his desire to do so. The headline of the story buys in to all of that:

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We heard much the same along these lines when Sale blasted Sox brass following the Drake LaRoche stuff during spring training, going on an expletive-filled rant in a meeting behind closed doors but then bringing the same noise, albeit cleaned up, in front of reporters after it all became public.

Chris Sale is who he is, of course, and I’m not going to too harshly judge who he is. He’s an amazing pitcher and, as most athletes will tell you, the mental part of the game is almost as important or, maybe, even more important than the physical part. Asking Sale to be who he isn’t would probably be counterproductive in the long term.

But I am fascinated with the way in which someone who has behaved like Sale has behaved is described. He’s a “competitor” whose objectively disruptive and literally destructive behavior is explained away as merely a function of his desire to win. His friends on the team, like Eaton, are sought out for damage control and spin and his detractors, which there are likely some, aren’t quoted, even anonymously. He has publicly called out his manager as not wanting to win as much as he wants to please his bosses and he has likewise called out his manager’s bosses and has welcomed a trade, yet we aren’t seeing stories about how that’s a bad thing for the Sox’ clubhouse.

I don’t much care for that sort of stuff, actually, as I suspect most clubhouse controversy stories are somewhat overblown and overly dramatized. But those stories have been go-to tropes of sports writers for decades, and I am trying to imagine this sort of story about players who aren’t Chris Sale. Players who don’t have as friendly a relationship with the media as he has or who don’t have clubhouse allies who do. I feel like, most of the time, a story about a guy who who has done the odd things Sale has done both this week and last March would play a hell of a lot differently.

How does this all play of it’s Yordano Ventura? Or Yasiel Puig? Or Jose Fernandez? How does this play if it took place in the NBA and it was Kevin Durant who shredded up a bunch of short-shorts on 80s throwback night? How does it play if it’s Cam Newton?

I bet it plays differently.

Mike Scioscia and the Angels played yesterday’s game under protest

KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 27: Matt Shoemaker #52 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim throws to first as he tries to get the out on Raul Mondesi's #27 of the Kansas City Royals bunt in the seventh inning at Kauffman Stadium on July 27, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. Shoemaker's throwing error lead to Mondesi advancing to third and Alex Gordon and Paulo Orlando scoring.  (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The Royals beat the Angels last night, but Mike Scioscia is hoping Joe Torre and the Commissioner’s Office gives him a do-over.

The Angels played the game in protest following what they believe to be a rules misinterpretation following a base running incident in the seventh inning. That’s when Raul Mondesi reached on a bunt single which scored two runs following a throwing error from Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker, whose attempt to put out Modesi sailed into right field. Watch the play:

Mike Scioscia came out claiming interference, arguing that Mondesi was not running within the baseline. The play was reviewed for over six minutes but the call — everyone’s safe and two runs scored — was upheld. After that Scioscia indicated tht he was playing under protest.

The thing about protests, though, is that they cannot be based on judgment calls. Rather, they have to be based on misapplication of rules by the umpires. Running outside of the baseline is a judgment call, though, right? So how can Scioscia protest it? Here’s his explanation:

“It’s not a judgement call. I would not have protested if I was not 100 percent correct on this. This is a misinterpretation of a rule. It was very clear. Phil Cuzzi, the home plate umpire, had Mondesi running inside the line in jeopardy the whole way, and stated that it’s okay because he was stepping back toward the bag, which is wrong.”

For his part, Royals manager Ned Yost believed it was a judgment call. For everyone’s part, protests are almost never upheld in baseball and, despite Scioscia’s comments, baseline calls are generally considered judgement calls.

If Scioscia is right, the game will be replayed, resuming with one out in the seventh inning and the runners where they started. But don’t hold your breath.