Carlos Gomez

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Brewers 4, Reds 3: Holy moly that was a crazy game-ending catch for Carlos Gomez, robbing Joey Votto of the go-ahead home run:

Incredible.

Rays 7, Twins 4: The Rays continue to roll, winning their ninth in ten chances. Joe Maddon talked about his team going ten games over .500:

“The thing I like is that we’re 10 games over,” Maddon said. “You’ve got to go to 10, then you’ve got to go to 15, etc., etc. The major takeaway from tonight is the fact that we’re 10 games over.”

That’s the baseball version of the “this one goes to 11” thing from “This is Spinal Tap.”

Rangers 8, Orioles 5: Scott Feldman’s second start for the Orioles was not as good as his first as his old mates from Texas pounded him for seven runs, chasing him in the middle of their six-run sixth inning. Ian Kinsler had four RBI including a bases-clearing double. Baltimore stranded ten runners and went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring condition.

Phillies 3, Nationals 2: John Lannan had a way better against-his-former-mates performance than Feldman did as the Phillies continue to take it to the guys in front of them in the NL East. Dan Haren, meanwhile, looked better than he had following a couple of weeks on the disabled list but was outdueled. If he had won it would have given him a win against every MLB team in his career. Oh well, maybe next time.

Athletics 2, Pirates 1: Bartolo Colon keeps on rolling along, allowing one run in seven innings and improving to 12-3 with a 2.69 ERA. Jeff Locke — another surprise ace this year — lost for the first time since his first start of the season. Coco Crisp had a cool diving catch to record the last out while Colon was in the game.

Tigers 4, Indians 2: Victor Martinez’s two-run double in the tenth helps Detroit wrap up the series by taking its third of four from the upstart Tribe. Max Scherzer’s no decision keeps his loss-free record intact. It was the first Indians loss in extra innings this year.

Braves 7, Marlins 1: When a game goes 14 innings you don’t expect it to end with a six-run spread, but this one did. Chris Hatcher came in for the Marlins in the top of that inning and gave up a two-run double to Justin Upton, a two-run single and a single to Gerald Laird which led to an error allowing in the unearned final run.

Royals 5, Yankees 1: Jeremy Guthrie came back despite an hour rain delay and pitched into the seventh. Alex Gordon, David Lough and Johnny Giavotella had RBI doubles, Alcides Escobar had an RBI triple. The Yankees lineup may have been the most anonymous one they’ve fielded since the first Bush administration.

Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 1: Zack Greinke tossed seven shutout innings allowing only two hits — one less hit than he himself had at the plate — as the Dodgers end the Dbacks’ winning streak and pull to within three and a half. The white-hot Hanley Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 19 games. No brawls to report.

Cubs 8, White Sox 2: Matt Garza continues to build his trade value, allowing one earned run over seven innings. Alfonso Soriano is a perpetual trade candidate and that ship may have already sailed, but he added three hits — including a homer — four runs and a steal. The battle of Chicago has zero playoff significance, but I’m sure people in Chicago enjoy it. Maybe. I dunno.

Rockies 4, Padres 2:  Tyler Chatwood took a comebacker off his leg, stayed in the game and still took a shutout into the seventh. The Padres dropped their tenth in a row. In other news, yesterday I bought tickets to a Padres game in late September which I am now realizing will have very little significance in the grand scheme of things. But hey, I’ll be on a weekend trip to California and that’s it’s own reward.

Mariners 11, Red Sox 4: King Felix allowed two runs over seven and got a bunch of run support, including a home run from Raul Ibanez, who is giving me some hope as I sit here, five days away from my 40th birthday. Jon Lester’s one-run performance against San Diego last Wednesday now looks like a mere blip on an otherwise craptacular stretch of pitching.

Mets 4, Giants 3: A sixteen-inning, five-hour, twenty-six minute game in which the winning run scored on an error? Sounds absolutely riveting. Nine shutout innings from the Mets pen and nine earned run-free innings from the Giants pen is pretty impressive though. This was the fourth 15-inning (or more) game the Mets had played this year and their first win in said contests.

Don Mattingly thinks pace of play can be improved by changing views on strikeouts

Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly sits in the dugout prior to a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Monday, April 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo
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Marlins manager Don Mattingly has one potential solution to the pace of play issue: change the way people value strikeouts, the Associated Press reports.

Strikeouts have been rising steadily since 2005. Then, a typical game averaged 6.30 strikeouts. In 2016, there were 8.03 strikeouts per game. There are many explanations for this phenomenon. For one, teams are searching specifically for young pitchers who can throw hard — like triple-digits hard. They figure they can teach them the other pertinent skills in the minors. Second, Sabermetrics has shown that a strikeout is only marginally worse than an out made on a ball put in play. Sometimes, the strikeout is preferable, especially if there’s a runner on first base with less than two outs and a weak hitter at the plate. Sabermetrics has also shown home runs to be the best and most efficient way to contribute on offense. Furthermore, younger players tend to focus more on power in order to get noticed by scouts. Unless it’s paired with other elite skills, a scout isn’t going to remember a player who hit the ball into the hole on the right side, but he will remember the kid who blasted a 450-foot homer.

Here’s what Mattingly had to say:

Analytically, a few years back nobody cared about the strikeout, so it’s OK to strike out 150, 160, 170 times, and that guy’s still valued in a big way. Well, as soon as we start causing that to be a bad value — the strikeouts — guys will put the ball in play more. So once we say strikeouts are bad and it’s going to cost you money the more you strike out, then the strikeouts will go away. Guys will start making adjustments and putting the ball in play more.

[…]

If our game values [say that] strikeouts don’t matter, they are going to keep striking out, hitting homers, trying to hit home runs and striking out.

Simply believing strikeouts are bad won’t magically change its value. However, creating social pressure regarding striking out can change it. Theoretically, anyway. Creating that social pressure is easier said than done.

There is a dichotomy here as well. Home runs are exciting. Strikeouts and walks are not. Often, though, the three go hand-in-hand-in-hand. A player actively trying to cut down on his strikeouts by putting the ball in play will also likely cut down on his strikeout and walk rates. There doesn’t seem to be an elegant solution here. Wishing for fewer strikeouts, walks, and homers doesn’t really seem to give way to a more exciting game.

Sean Doolittle: “Refugees aren’t stealing a slice of the pie from Americans.”

ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 25:  Sean Doolittle #62 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 25, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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In the past, we’ve commented on Athletics reliever Sean Doolittle and his girlfriend Eireann Dolan’s community service. In 2015, the pair hosted Syrian refugee families for Thanksgiving and their other charitable efforts have included LGBTQ outreach and help for veterans.

Athletes and their significant others have typically avoided stepping into political waters, but Doolittle and Dolan have shown that it’s clearly no concern to them. In the time since, the Syrian refugee issue has become even more of a hot-button issue and Doolittle recently discussed it with Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.

I think America is the best country in the world because we’ve been able to attract the best and brightest people from all over the world. We have the smartest doctors and scientists, the most creative and innovative thinkers. A travel ban like this puts that in serious jeopardy.

I’ve always thought that all boats rise with the tide. Refugees aren’t stealing a slice of the pie from Americans. But if we include them, we can make the pie that much bigger, thus ensuring more opportunities for everyone.

Doolittle, of course, is referring to Executive Order 13769 signed by President Trump which sought to limit incoming travel to the United States from seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. A temporary restraining order on the executive order was placed on February 3, a result of State of Washington v. Trump.

Doolittle spoke more about the plight refugees face:

These are people fleeing civil wars, violence and oppression that we can’t even begin to relate to. I think people think refugees just kind of decide to come over. They might not realize it takes 18-24 months while they wait in a refugee camp. They go through more than 20 background checks and meetings with immigration officers. They are being vetted.

They come here, and they want to contribute to society. They’re so grateful to be out of a war zone or whatever they were running from in their country that they get jobs, their kids go to our schools, they’re paying taxes, and in a lot of cases, they join our military.

Around this time last year, Craig wrote about Doolittle and Dolan not sticking to baseball. They’re still not, nor should they be. Hopefully, the duo’s outspokenness inspires other players and their loved ones to speak up for what’s right.

[Hat tip: Deadspin’s Hannah Keyser]