New York Yankees' Gardner follows through on walk off solo home run to defeat Detroit Tigers during the ninth inning of their MLB American League baseball game in New York

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 5, Tigers 4: If I told you that Mariano Rivera blew two saves in a three game series you’d probably assume the Yankees had a bad series. Except in this case they won both of the games Mo blew. Baseball is weird. Miguel Cabrera homered off of him again on Sunday — he’s only the third right hander with two career home runs off Rivera — but the Yankees pulled it out in the ninth with a Brett Gardner walkoff.

Mariners 2, Brewers 0: King Felix was his usual dominant self, tossing eight scoreless and striking out nine. Wily Peralta was almost as good but he gave up one gopher ball and allowed a run to score on a wild pitch. The game lasted a mere two hours eleven minutes. It was like friggin’ 1914 or something out there.

Reds 3, Padres 2: Joey Votto with a sac fly in the bottom of the 13th. It’s gonna be awesome when Votto finishes the year with something like his current .322/.437/.509 batting line and gets almost no MVP love because he doesn’t have 100 RBI.

Braves 9, Marlins 4: The wining streak ended with a 1-0 loss on Saturday but the Braves got back on the horse Sunday and handed Miami their sixth loss in seven games. Four hits for Jason Heyward, three for Evan Gattis, a three-run homer for Freddie Freeman and the go-ahead RBI for B.J. Upton. Just so many contributors right now.

Nationals 6, Phillies 0: Stephen Strasburg shuts ’em out on 99 pitches — it’s a Maddux!  In other news, is there anything more depressing than being a Phillies fan at the moment?

Rangers 6, Astros 1: The Rangers are surging. Seven straight wins, in fact. Martin Perez had a shutout into the ninth. It was broken up by a Chris Carter solo homer, but Perez still finished the complete game, allowing only four hits while striking out eight.

Royals 4, Red Sox 3: The Royals keep on rolling, upping their record to 18-5 since the break. They’re 4.5 back in the wild card.

Twins 5, White Sox 2:  Kevin Correia pitched seven shutout innings, Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer each homered and the Twins take three of four. They, like a lot of teams, admittedly, have owned the White Sox this season.

Athletics 6, Blue Jays 4: Bob Melvin picks up the 700th win in his managerial career thanks to Alberto Callaspo’s tiebreaking, two-run double in the eighth. The A’s stay a game back of the Rangers.

Indians 6, Angels 5:  The Angels had a five-run lead heading into the bottom of the sixth and they woofed it away, thanks in part to a pair of two-run homers from two-run homers by Nick Swisher and Mike Aviles in the sixth.  With it the Indians snap their six-game losing streak that put them way the heck back in the AL Central. An awful week but not a bad salvage job.

Cardinals 8, Cubs 4: St. Louis ends a four-game losing streak and avoids a sweep. Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig each had three hits and drove in a run. Jon Jay and David Freese each drove in two.

Rockies 3, Pirates 2: Chad Bettis allowed two runs early but settled down and the Rockies’ pen pitched three scoreless. Jeff Locke walked four batters in five and two-thirds. He’s not been going very deep into games lately. You have to wonder if he’s getting a bit tired.

Dodgers 8, Rays 2: Clayton Kershaw is awesome, which, well, duh.  But how come every time I click on a Dodgers box score there’s some random Ellis doing cool things? Ellises are the new inefficiency.

Mets 9, Diamondbacks 5: This was an ugly-fest. Lots of unearned runs and a dude has his hip dislocated. But Andrew Brown had a three-run pinch hit homer, and that’s uplifting, yes?

Orioles 10, Giants 2: J.J. Hardy hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh inning, but then the Orioles piled it on. Ron-Burgundy-Boy-That-Escalated-Quickly-Dot-Tumblr.com.

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)
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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: