St Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh Pirates - Game Two

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Pirates 2, Cardinals 1; Pirates 6, Cardinals 0: First. Place. Pirates. And the best record in baseball. A walkoff in the opener and a beatdown in the nightcap. Six straight losses by the reeling Cardinals, who lost Yadier Molina to the DL on top of it all. And maybe — just maybe — the end to the now-silly “are the Pirates for real?” talk.

Rangers 14, Angels 11: 1998 called and said it wants its final score back. Angels fans called and wants that last pitch from Daniel Stange back. The one he tossed to Leonys Martin, who hit the walkoff three-run homer.

Phillies 7, Giants 3: Philly finally wins a game, breaking their eight-game losing streak. Look for Ruben Amaro to give quotes today about how they are now competitive, followed by long-term contract extensions to Delmon and Michael Young and a trade for Vernon Wells.

Tigers 5, Nationals 1: Alex Avila hit a grand slam. But the biggest hit of the night came from Dave Dombrowski picking up Jose Iglesias as part of the Jake Peavy trade. He’s gonna look awfully good at short for the Tigers. Rick Porcello and Doug Fister may go and pick him up at the airport, actually.

Braves 11, Rockies 3: Two homers for Freddie Freeman as the Braves extend their division lead to a whopping ten games. Note: the Braves have not lost a game since they opened a Waffle House at Turner Field. This is a simple fact.

Dodgers 3, Yankees 2: Mark Ellis with the walkoff single. He’s hitting .415 with a homer and eight RBIs since the break. The Dodgers extended their NL West lead to three and a half games.

Orioles 4, Astros 3: Chris Davis hit his first homer since the All-Star break. If you believe some of my commenters and friends on Twitter, this is clear evidence that he stopped using steroids at the break and began again yesterday afternoon at, oh, 4pm. People are dumb.

Indians 7, White Sox 4: A four-run eighth inning keyed by a Ryan Raburn pinch hit RBI single. The Indians have won nine in a row at home.

Red Sox 8, Mariners 2: Brandon Workman gets his first win, striking out nine in six innings of work, on the night that the Sox pick up Jake Peavy.  Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run homer.

Mets 4, Marlins 2: Zack Wheeler took a no-hitter into the seventh but he allowed the Fish to tie it up that inning. The bullpen held after that, however, and John Buck hit an RBI single in the 10th to win it.

Rays 5, Diamondbacks 2: Fauxsto Caromona pitched a complete game and Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar each drove in a pair. Tampa Bay maintains its half-game lead in the AL East.

Brewers 6, Cubs 5Brewers 3, Cubs 2: Brewers sweep the twin-bill. Glad of that actually. Not for them, really, but that one of the teams won both games. As I’ve been saying for years, there is little more pointless in the world than a split doubleheader between non-contending teams. Inquiring about its significance is like a philosophical question from a depressed philosopher.

Royals 7, Twins 2: Two homers from Mike Moustakas and seven solid innings from the now apparently not-selling Kansas City Royals. Seven back in the Central and five back in the wild card race.

Blue Jays 5, Athletics 0: Mark Buehrle with seven shutout innings, extending his scoreless innings streak to 20.  Jose Bautista and Emilio Bonifacio each homered.

Padres 4, Reds 2: That’s five straight losses for the Reds, who need to get the heck back home. Nick Hundley’s two-run double in the eighth made the difference. Will Venable went 3 for 3 with a walk, a run scored and an RBI.

It’s trade deadline day, babies. Keep it locked on HBT and you won’t miss a thing.

Twins pitcher barfs before almost every appearance

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 18:  Ryan O'Rourke #61 of the Minnesota Twins reacts after loading up the bases in the seventh inning against the New York Yankees on August 18, 2015 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Twins righty Ryan O'Rourke has pitched in 54 big league games. He has barfed before almost every one of them.

No, really:

Through his first 54 big-league outings over the last past two years, O’Rourke estimates he emptied the contents of his stomach close to every time.

“I don’t do it in the public’s eye,” O’Rourke said Tuesday. “I go in the bathroom, or sometimes it’s just on the back of the mound. But, yeah, it happens.”

I wonder if I’ve barfed 54 times in my entire life. I doubt I have. Then again, I’m not doing anything in front of tens of thousands of people with potentially millions of dollars at stake.

Yet he who is without sin hurl the first, um. Well, never mind.

The new intentional walk rule isn’t a big deal but it’s still dumb

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 06:  Anthony Recker #20 of the New York Mets calls for an intentional walk as Paul Goldschmidt #44 of the Arizona Diamondbacks looks on during the eighth inning at Chase Field on June 6, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
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Let us preface this by stipulating that the new rule in which pitchers will no longer have to throw four balls to issue an intentional walk is not a big deal, objectively speaking. Teams don’t issue many IBBs to begin with. A couple a week, maybe? Fewer? Moreover, the times when a pitcher tosses one to the backstop or a batter reaches out and smacks a would-be intentional ball may be a lot of fun, but they’re extraordinarily rare. You can go years without seeing it happen.

So, yes, the intentional walk rule announced yesterday is of negligible consequence. We’ll get used to it quickly and it will have little if any impact on actual baseball. It won’t do what it’s supposed to do — speeding up games — but it won’t harm anything that is important either.

But let us also stipulate that the new rule is dumb.

It’s dumb because it’s a solution in search of a problem. Pace of play is a concern, but to listen to Rob Manfred and his surrogates in the media tell it, it’s The Most Pressing Issue of Our Time. Actually, it’s not. No one is abandoning baseball because of 5-15 minutes here or there and no one who may be interested in it is ceasing their exploration of the game because of it. And even if they were, IBBs are rare and they’re not time-consuming to begin with, so it’s not something that will make a big difference. It’s change for change’s sake and so Rob Manfred can get some good press for looking like a Man of Action.

It’s also dumb because it’s taking something away, however small it is. One of my NBC coworkers explained it well this morning:

I agree. Shamelessness is a pretty big problem these days, so let’s not eliminate shame when it is truly due.

Picture it: it’s a steamy Tuesday evening in late July. The teams are both way below .500 and are probably selling off half of their lineup next week. There are, charitably, 8,000 people in the stands. The game is already dragging because of ineptitude and an understandable lack of urgency on the part of players who did not imagine nights like this when they were working their way to the bigs.

Just then, one of the managers — an inexperienced young man who refuses to deviate from baseball orthodoxy because, gosh, he might get a hard question from a sleepy middle aged reporter after the game — holds up four fingers for the IBB. The night may be dreary, but dammit, he’s going to La Russa the living hell out of this game.

That man should be booed. Boo this man. The drunks and college kids who paid, like, $11 to a season ticket holder on StubHub to get into this godforsaken game have earned the right to take their frustrations out on Hunter McRetiredBackupCatcher for being a wuss and calling for the IBB. It may be the only good thing that happens to them that night, and now Rob Manfred would take that away from them. FOR SHAME.

And don’t forget about us saps at home, watching this garbage fire of a game because it beats reading. We’re now going to have to listen to this exchange, as we have listened to it EVERY SINGLE NIGHT since the 2017 season began:

Play-by-Play Guy: “Ah, here we go. They’re calling for the intentional walk. Now, in case you missed it, this is the way we’re doing it now. The new rule is that the manager — yep, right there, he’s doing it — can hold up four fingers to the home plate umpire and — there it goes — he points to first base and the batter takes his base.”

Color Commentator, Who played from 1975-87, often wearing a mustache: “Don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. There was always a chance the pitcher throws a wild pitch. It happened to us against the Mariners in 1979 [Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice: it didn’t] and it has taken away something special from the game. I suppose some number-cruncher with a spreadsheet decided that this will help speed up the game, but you know what that’s worth.

No matter what good or bad the rule brings, this exchange, which will occur from April through September, will be absolutely brutal. Then, in October, we get to hear Joe Buck describe it as if we never heard it before because Fox likes to pretend that the season begins in October.

Folks, it’s not worth it. And that — as opposed to any actual pro/con of the new rule — is why it is dumb. Now get off my lawn.