Kemp Ramirez

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Dodgers 6, Giants 2: Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez each socked two homers. The ball was carrying pretty well in Chavez Ravine last night, apparently, because Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence each homered as well. Both of those came in the sixth, after Zack Greinke appeared to do, well, something to himself while running the bases in the bottom of the fifth. He didn’t look himself when he pitched the sixth — Schulman and Kruk made mention of it too — but no one on the Dodgers came out to see if he was OK. I feel like we may hear more about this today, because he really did appear like he was uncomfortable. As if he had tweaked something.

Twins 10, Indians 7: All Chris Colabello does is drive in runs in bunches. Well, a couple of times a week, anyway. A few days after his six-RBI performance he drove in four here, including a three-run double in the sixth inning which broke a 6-6 tie. I was going to suggest that he has made a Faustian bargain for this newfound success after years toiling in the independent leagues, but that’s not nice. And it’s not even appropriate, as Faust is a German legend and Colabello is Italian. So let’s just say it was a Mefistofelean bargain.

Orioles 3, Tigers 1: And there goes our shot at having a team go 162-0. Thanks, Orioles. Sheesh. Good day for Chris Tillman, though. Apart from a Torii Hunter dinger, there was nothing doing off him over eight and a third.

Pirates 2, Cardinals 1: Tony Sanchez: master of the game-winning RBI. Which isn’t a real stat anymore, but since I get all of my baseball information from the back of 1986 Topps cards, it’s good enough for me. Sanchez broke the tie with an RBI double off Adam Wainwright. This a couple of days after he had the game-winning hit in that 16-inning affair. Three hits all season, but two of them really counted.

Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 3: Mark Trumbo hit a two-run homer to put the Dbacks up 5-0, so let’s call his a game-winning RBI too. Let’s also call what he’s been doing — he’s hit homers in four straight games — earning his keep. I watched a couple innings of him play left field on Saturday night and it was such a vividly affecting experience that I could taste colors afterward. He’s only safely viewed while he’s holding a bat.

Yankees 6, Blues Jays 4: CC Sabathia wasn’t fantastic or anything, allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings, but he got the win. The Yankees scored three in the first with a single hit thanks to a walk, a stolen base, two groundouts, another walk, a plunked batter and a double. If Drew Hutchison doesn’t give the Yankees all of those base runners to start things off, maybe he’s getting the win here. In other news, Derek Jeter passed Paul Molitor on the all-time hits list.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $15,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Padres 4, Marlins 2: Alexi Amarista hit a a go-ahead, three-run pinch-hit homer in the seventh inning. And yesterday was his birthday too. So, if he played his cards right, he had a Grand Slam to go with that three-run job,

Reds 2, Mets 1: When Aroldis Chapman went down a lot of people suggested that Alfredo Simon may take over the closer’s role. Good for Cincinnati that he didn’t, because he looked pretty good as a starter. Simon allowed one run over seven innings. He even got a hit and scored the Reds’ first run. Not too shabby.

Brewers 4, Red Sox 0: The sweep. On a shutout, no less, as Yovani Gallardo gave up nothin’ for six and two-thirds and the pen took it the rest of the way. The Red Sox just matched their longest losing streak in all of 2013. It’s the first time the Sox have lost their first three home games of the season since 1984. Rough start for the champs.

Nationals 2, Braves 1: Good starts from both Alex Wood and Taylor Jordan, but Ian Desmond’s homer in the seventh was the difference maker. An even bigger deal when you read about what he went through yesterday morning. You have to figure anyone in that situation would be off his game, but good for Desmond for both doing the right thing in life and in baseball yesterday. Braves take two of three from the Nats, however. Also: B.J. Upton was 0-for-4 but didn’t strike out even once. I feel like we should have a party for him or something.

Rangers 3, Rays 0: Yu Darvish missing the first week of the season: not a big deal. He came back yesterday and all he did was pitch seven shutout innings with six strikeouts. Including his 500th career strikeout. He is the fastest ever to 500 strikeouts, beating Kerry Wood to the milestone by three innings.

Astros 7, Angels 4: Five homers for the Astros — four off Jered Weaver — and a nice outing from Scott Feldman. That’s two nice outings in a row for him, actually. I feel like that three-year, $30 million deal of his will end up being quite a nice bargain for Houston.

White Sox 5, Royals 1: Chris Sale tossed eight shutout innings, outdueling James Shields who had a nice outing himself. Tim Collins has walked four guys and given up four runs in one total inning pitched across two outings so far. May want to start putting him in some lower-leverage situations, Ned.

Cubs 8, Phillies 3: A.J. Burnett was roughed up for eight runs — only four earned — in five and two-thirds. He walked six, too, so eww. Ryan Kalish had RBIs on a double and a triple. The Cubs avoid the sweep.

Athletics 6, Mariners 3: Homers for Brandon Moss and Yoenis Cespedes and an actually-converted save for Jim Johnson. Sonny Gray allowed one earned run and six hits in six innings.

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.

Jung-Ho Kang: “I deeply regret what I have done”

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Jung Ho Kang #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates fields a ball hit by Jayson Werth #28 of the Washington Nationals (not pictured) during the first inning on September 23, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
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Pirates third baseman Jung-Ho Kang was in court in South Korea today to face DUI charges. He admitted to them in court and threw himself on the mercy of public opinion afterward, speaking to Yonhap News:

“I deeply regret what I have done. If I can get one last chance, I will become an exemplary player to earn respect from everyone.”

Kang will be sentenced on March 3, which is a week from Friday. Pretrial proceedings involved talk of a $13,000 fine, but the judge can do whatever he wants. It would seem that Kang will be in South Korea at least until then. He and the Pirates have also spoken of a treatment program. All of which, taken together, suggests that it will be some time before Kang joins Pirates spring training, where full-squad workouts began last Friday.