Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Dodgers 8, Diamondbacks 1: Three bombs for Juan Uribe and four driven in. What a season for the guy who, in his first two years in Dodger blue, looked lost and, frankly, over. This year he’s hitting .279/.334/.476, is playing excellent defense at third and who has been, by all accounts, a great guy in the clubhouse whether he’s been struggling or not. Oh, and Uribe was so good last night it’s easy to overlook the fact that Ricky Nolasco didn’t give up an earned run into the seventh inning. Oh, and the win eliminated the Giants from NL West contention, which is kinda sweet for those of the Los Angeles persuasion.

Cubs 2, Reds 0:  Travis Wood with seven shutout innings and a couple of solo homers was enough for the Cubs to stop Cincy. Until looking at his stat line I totally forgot Wood was with the Reds previously. What else am I forgetting? [starts to write things all over his body like Guy Pearce in “Memento.”]

Orioles 4, Yankees 2: Managers got chippy in this one after Joe Girardi accused Orioles third base coach Bobby Dickerson of stealing signs in less-than-calm fashion and then Buck Showalter came racing over to confront Girardi about it in less-than-calm fashion. Meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez and Lyle Overbay hit home runs, but it wasn’t enough as Chris Tillman allowed only those two runs and the O’s scored four on a couple of sac flies, a single and a double.

Nationals 9, Mets 0: Well that was a dominant win. Gio Gonzalez with a one-hitter and eight strikeouts and Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos each drove in three. A forfeit is officially scored 9-0 too. Maybe the Mets woulda been better off just staying home?

Indians 4, Royals 3: Ten strikeouts and only an unearned run in seven innings for Ubaldo Jimenez. The Royals playoff hopes, at four games back of the wild card and four teams above them, seem pretty over.

Braves 5, Marlins 2: Atlanta snaps its four-game losing streak with a five-run fourth inning. All of their hits came in the fourth too, which is kinda efficient. And kinda worrisome too, but let’s worry about that when they can’t score runs in the playoffs. Kris Medlen got the win. He started 1-6 and this brought his record up to 13-12.

Twins 6, Angels 3: Jered Weaver has a history of dominating the Twins but he didn’t last night. Trevor Plouffe drove in three. “Trevor effing Plouffe. Plouffe was magical. He was like a GD unicorn.”

Pirates 1, Rangers 0: And with that, the Buccos have their first winning season since 1992. That’s great for history. More important for the Pirates is that Gerrit Cole was effective, tossing seven shutout innings. All they could manage off Yu Darvish was an RBI double from Pedro Alvarez, but that was enough.

Giants 3, Rockies 2: Eliminated when the Dodgers won — and one more loss from total playoff elimination — but they won anyway. Brandon Belt hit an RBI single in the bottom of the tenth. Tim Lincecum went eight innings allowing two runs and a no-decision. The next significant thing the Giants have to do is figure out what to do with him — or whether to do without him — next year.

White Sox 5, Tigers 1: Chris Sale, who allowed one run over eight innings and struck out eight. Meanwhile, Miguel Cabrera and Jim Leyland were ejected in the first inning because people really, really prefer to see home plate umpire Brian Gorman way more than the likely two-time MVP. So hard for Gorman, always signing autographs, posing for photos with fans and still having to make time to go out and perform at the highest levels on the field like fans expect. Let’s hear it for the star of the game.

Astros 6, Mariners 4: Houston with a four-run rally in the ninth to give them the victory. One of the runs that inning came when Justin Smoak threw a ball home on a foul out and hit the guy in the on-deck circle. Smallest crowd of the season at Safeco Field.

Marlins acquire starter Dan Straily from the Reds

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 3: Dan Straily #58 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch during the first inning of the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park on September 3, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
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The Miami Marlins have acquired starting pitcher Dan Straily from the Cincinnati Reds. In exchange, the Reds will receive right-handed pitching prospects Luis Castillo and Austin Brice and outfield prospect Isaiah White.

For the Marlins, they get a solid starter who logged 191.1 innings of 113 ERA+ ball last year. Straily has moved around a lot in his five big league seasons — the Marlins will be his fifth club in six years — but it was something of a breakout year for him in Cincinnati. The only troubling thing: he tied for the league lead in homers allowed. Of course, pitching half of his games in Great American Ballpark didn’t help that, and Miami will be a better place for him.

Castillo is 24. He split last season between high-A and Double-A — far more of it in A-ball — posting a 2.26 ERA over 24 starts. Austin Brice is also 24. He pitched 15 games in relief for the Marlins last year at the big league level with poor results. He seemed to blossom at Triple-A, however, after the Marlins shifted him to the pen. White was a third round pick in the 2015 draft. He played low-A ball as a minor leaguer last year, hitting .214/.306/.301.

A mixed bag of young talent for the Reds, but stockpiling kids and seeing what shakes out is what a team like the Reds should be doing at the moment. For the Marlins: a solid mid-to-back end starter who may just be coming into his own.

Have Hall of Fame Voters actually made the PED thing More complicated?

Sammy Sosa
Associated Press
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The story coming out of this year’s Hall of Fame balloting is that the BBWAA voters are finally easing their antipathy toward players with performance enhancing drug associations.

Jeff Bagwell — the subject of unconfirmed PED rumors — made the Hall! Pudge Rodriguez, who was named in Jose Canseco’s book and who had a . . . curious physical transformation around the time PED testing came online, made it on the first ballot! Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, whose PED use was well-documented, saw their vote totals advance above the 50% mark, making their future elections look more likely!

It’s an interesting development, and one I’m obviously pleased with, but I wonder if the BBWAA’s new approach to PED guys, while far more forgiving than it used to be, has actually become more complicated in practice.

I ask this because I look way, way down the ballot and I still see Sammy Sosa scraping by with around 8% of the vote. I ask this because I still see Gary Sheffield at 13%. I ask this because when Mark McGwire was on the Today’s Game ballot in December, no one really stumped for him at all. I ask this because, even though Bagwell and Mike Piazza got in eventually, they still had to go through a lot of hazing first and I suspect, if they hit the ballot for the first time again tomorrow, the same arguments and delay would occur with respect to their cases.

In light of that, what I suspect has happened has not been a wholesale surrender of the anti-PED voters. Rather, I think it has been a transformation. One in which a moral test — did he use PEDs or not? — has been discarded as a threshold question and a scientific/physiological test — would he have been great even without the PEDs? — has replaced it. In essence, voters are becoming “PED discounters” in the aggregate. Making calculations as to whether a guy was, in their mind, a creation of PEDs or not.

Such an approach explains these new voting patterns as well as those in recent years.

  • Ivan Rodriguez may have been called out by Canseco and may have noticeably shrunk over an offseason, but his calling card was his defense behind the plate and voters, I suspect, have told themselves that such a thing is not PED-aided.
  • Bonds and Clemens may have been PED users, but each of them was undeniably talented and, if you discount for the PED use, hey, they’re still all-time greats.
  • Sammy Sosa’s case rests disproportionately on homers and, as everyone knows, PEDs = instant dingers, so no, he’s not gonna cut it.

And so on.

As I said, I’m glad that the strict moral test — did he use or not? — is losing its hold on Hall voters. But I do not think the “did PEDs make him who he was test?” is a good approach either. Baseball writers are in no better a position to assess the physiological and performance enhancements caused by pharmaceuticals than they are to be judges of character and morality. Given the identities of players confirmed to be PED users, the old eye test implicit in these cases is famously faulty (Neifi Perez, anyone?). The idea that PEDs only affect home run totals — and not, say, the ability for a player to take the abuse of the catcher position for 21 seasons — is crude and ignorant.

I suppose it’s naive to expect voters to completely disregard PEDs in their assessment of players. It’s a bell that cannot be unrung. But while we may, thankfully, be moving away from a moral test with respect to drugs, it’s been displaced by a scientific test that is no more reasonable in practice.