Michael Pineda

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 4, Red Sox 1: Michael Pineda was the whole story. Both for pitching a shutout into the seventh and for having some gunk on his hands that sorta looked like pine tar but which, because no one complained about it or brought it to the umps’ attention, couldn’t be examined or dealt with in any way. It was gone by the fifth, so let’s just put this one in the file along with Clay Buchholz’s Bullfrog sunscreen and pretend it never happened. Haha, kidding. We’ll be talking about it all day because that’s what we do. Here, let me start things off: “Heh, more like Michael Pine-tar-eda, amirite?” Eh, sorry. We’ll work on that.

White Sox 7, Indians 3: If I told you Danny Salazar struck out ten of the first 11 batters he faced, you’d think he had a good night. Welp, no. He had a crappy night, those strikeouts notwithstanding (3.2. IP, 6 H, 5ER, 2 BB, 2 HR). Jose Abreu, however, had a fantastic night, homering once off Salazar and once off the inappropriately named Josh Outman. Abreu is hitting .300/.383/.725 on the young season.

Diamondbacks 6, Giants 5:  Tony Campana and Cliff Pennington don’t start much, but the former had four hits and the latter three Pennington. And the former drove the latter in for the go-ahead run in the 10th. The Dbacks took two of three.

Mets 6, Braves 4: Eric Young got three hits, stole three bases and scored four times. He stole five bases in the three-game series. Any team not running wild on the Braves isn’t doing it right, by the way, as Evan Gattis and Ryan Doumit have shown that they really aren’t a threat to base runners with even a modicum of speed. Justin Upton hit two homers.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $30,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Friday evening MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on FridayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Brewers 6, Phillies 2: The Brewers have won six straight, all on the road. In Philly, the scored 25 runs and notched 38 hits in a three-game sweep. Ryan Braun was 6 for 12 with 10 RBI in the series, giving him 24 RBI in 21 career games in Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies should totally trade for him. He’d look great there. Plus: they’d cheer for him like crazy, current claims by Phillies fans to their superior ethics and morals notwithstanding.

Astros 6, Blue Jays 4: Former big league knuckleballer Steve Sparks is a radio broadcaster for the Astros. Yesterday, as he did once last year, Sparks tossed knuckleballs in BP to Astros hitters to prepare them to face R.A. Dickey. Then, as last year, they weren’t too fazed with R.A. Dickey, notching five runs on six hits in seven innings. Dallas Keuchel allowed one run over seven while striking out six.

Nationals 7, Marlins 1: Stephen Strasburg was on point, striking out 12 over six and two-thirds. His only mistake was a solo home run surrendered to Marcell Ozuna to make it 2-1 Nats, but a five-spot by Washington in the eighth — including an Ian Desmond grand slam — secured things after Strasburg departed.

Pirates 5, Cubs 4: Down 4-0 in the seventh, the Pirates rallied for five, via a three-run shot from Pedro Alvarez and a two-run pinch hit homer from Travis Snider. That blew a nice pitching performance from Travis Wood (6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER 9K).

Athletics 6, Twins 1: Dan Straily pitched three-hit ball for seven innings even though he had nothing approaching his best stuff. You can do that when you’re facing the Twins, of course.

Some Mets fans are not happy that Beyonce is playing at Citi Field

Beyoncé performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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The funny thing about that “stick to sports” stuff I was going on about the other day is that, in reality, a whole lot of the people who say “stick to sports” don’t really want to just stick to sports. They’re totally cool going on about political, social or cultural stuff as long as it fits their world view. It’s not “stick to sports.” It’s “don’t talk about the social implications of sports-related stuff in ways that upset me.” If sports and culture come together in other ways, however, they’re completely fine in grinding their axe.

For example, Beyonce is playing a concert a Citi Field this summer. The show is so popular that they added a second date. The Mets’ Twitter feed just announced that tickets will go on sale for the new show soon:

A while lotta Mets fans responded to that negatively. For political/social/cultural reasons that they are willingly bringing in to a conversation about a pop singer and a baseball stadium that will double as a concert venue:

And they go on and on.

How much do you want to bet that a whole lotta these respondents would tell you to “stick to baseball” if you wanted to bring up how race affects the sport or how, if instead of Beyonce, this was announcing a Kid Rock/Ted Nugent-headlined festival and you mused whether that was a case of the Mets somehow endorsing their messages?

The Orioles and Yovani Gallardo are “making progress”

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Orioles are “making progress” in talks with free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo.

Gallardo has been on the market so long because he has a first round pick tied to him due to his declining the Rangers’ qualifying offer. The Orioles would have to forfeit the 14th overall pick in order to sign him. That has been too steep a price to pay for them all winter, but as we’re mere days away from pitchers and catchers reporting, it’s likely that Gallardo’s price has dropped enough to make it worth their while.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons — and had a career-low 3.42 ERA in 2015 — but his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012, suggesting that trouble could be on the horizon.

If the O’s do burn their pick to get Gallardo, it might make sense for them to go all-in with another free agent like Dexter Fowler, given that they’d not have to give up anything else to do it.

Rangers avoid arbitration with Mitch Moreland

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First baseman/outfielder Mitch Moreland and the Rangers have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $5.7 million deal.

Moreland requested $6 million and the Rangers countered at $4.675 million, so the two sides settled on the player-friendly side of the midpoint.

Moreland bounced back from an injury wrecked 2014 season to have a career-year in 2015, hitting .278 with 23 homers and an .812 OPS in 132 games. Arbitration eligible for the final time at age 30, he’s set to be a free agent next offseason.

Tiger Stadium redevelopment group loses $50K because of its preference for artificial turf

Navin Field
Craig Calcaterra
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We’ve posted frequently on the topic of the old Tiger Stadium site. If you’ve kept up with it you know that the site, nearly overgrown with weeds and strewn with trash before being rescued by a group of volunteers called the Navin Field Grounds Crew, is now being slated for redevelopment by the Detroit Police Athletic League.

The PAL is committed to keeping a baseball field as part of the development, but they are also, quite unfortunately, committed to putting artificial turf down over the bit of Earth where baseball legends once walked and ran.

Backlash to the plan has begun, however. Not just from people like me or the Navin Field Grounds Crew, who are opposed to fake grass, but to an actual donor to the Detroit Police Athletic League:

With an annual contribution of $50,000 to Detroit PAL’s programs, the Lear Corporation has been a major benefactor of the nonprofit for years. But in light of PAL’s controversial plan to redevelop the Tiger Stadium site with artificial turf, Lear’s CEO is speaking out.

Matthew Simoncini says that Lear is withdrawing its financial support of PAL for its mishandling of this delicate issue.

“I believe the [PAL] plan is severely flawed [and] a terrible use of resources,” says Simoncini. “[It] does not preserve this site and provides [an] unsafe playing surface for the children,”

I’m guessing $50,000 is not the sort of money that will seriously hinder a real estate redevelopment plan, but it’s good to hear someone with a stake in all of this voting with their wallet. Here’s hoping more do and that, eventually, PAL understands that there are some things more important than saving some money at the front end of a project.