Adam Wainwright

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Cardinals 8, Nationals 0: Adam Wainwright was outstanding, tossing a two-hitter. What worked for him? Everything, as after the game he said “my sinker was sinking, my four-seamer was four-seaming, my curveball was curving.” He also had two hits to (altogether now) help his own cause. Of course, he could have been merely competent and won this one, as the Nats looked feckless at the plate, were far worse on defense and couldn’t get Cardinals batters out to save their lives.

Phillies 1, Braves 0: I called the 1-0 Braves win on Wednesday night perfect baseball, so I’d be remiss in not saying that this was something close to it too, even if I didn’t care for the ultimate result. A.J. Burnett wasn’t as dominant as Cliff Lee, Alex Wood seemed more mortal than Julio Teheran and there wasn’t that sense that the Braves, unlike the Phillies on Wednesday, were one hit away from tying it, but 1-0 is still pretty bitchin’.

Tigers 7, Indians 5: Ian Kinsler drove in four. So far that trade is looking pretty good for Detroit. Danny Salazar, who looked so dominant at times last year, has a 7.71 ERA in three starts and has given up 19 hits in 14 innings.

Dodgers 2, Giants 1: Hyun-Jin Ryu tossed seven shutout innings. He had some help in the field from Yasiel Puig as well. Well, help of a sort. I mean, it was interesting at least.

Twins 7, Blue Jays 0; Twins 9, Blues Jays 5: Not a great day for the Jays, eh? R.A. Dickey was knocked around in the first game and the Blue Jays bullpen was knocked around in the second. Well, not really knocked around as much as melted down. And I’m not talking a Three Mile Island meltdown. I’m talking Chernobyl. There are a couple of long-time, inner circle Hall of Fame Blue Jays fan commenters at HBT. Please, comment early fellas. I’m worried about you after this one. Let us know you’re still breathing.

Rockies 3, Padres 1: Ian Kennedy had a one-hit shutout through six but then the Rockies clawed back. Franklin Morales got a second chance at starting following some injuries to Colorado pitchers and he made the most of it, allowing one run and four hits in six innings with five strikeouts and a walk.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $60,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Friday evening MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $8,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on FridayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Rangers 8, Mariners 6: Homers from Choo and Cano got them off the schneid, but ultimately the game was won thanks to Kevin Kouzmanoff, who I still believe died in an industrial accident in 2011 or something and is actually a zombie. Kevin “Walking Dead” Kouzmanoff hit two doubles and scored twice. He’s hitting .414 since being called up to fill in for Adrian Beltre.

Yankees 10, Rays 2: A triple play and a nice offensive outburst are what people may talk about today, but the most significant thing for the Yankees here was CC Sabathia turning in a strong outing, allowing only one earned run on seven hits in seven innings. With so many injuries to position players and with Tanaka and Pineda looking so strong, an effective Sabathia could be the difference between a pitching-first Yankees team challenging for a playoff spot all a year and them finishing in the middle of the pack.

Pirates 11, Brewers 2: Homers from Andrew McCutchenPedro Alvarez and Josh Harrison put the surprisingly powerful Pirates over. They led the NL in bombs so far this year, which is not something I personally would have bet on.

Red Sox 3, White Sox 1: Jon Lester and Chris Sale each carried no-hitters into the sixth. David Ross had a tiebreaking RBI double in the ninth.

Royals 5, Astros 1: James Shields struck out 12 in eight innings. At one point he struck out seven Astros hitters in a row. Some of them were even major league hitters.

Mariners sign reliever Joel Peralta

Joel Peralta
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Right-hander Joel Peralta has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Mariners that includes an invitation to spring training.

Peralta spent last season with the Dodgers and was limited to 29 innings by neck and back problems, posting a 4.34 ERA and 24/8 K/BB ratio. Los Angeles declined his $2.5 million option, making him a free agent.

He was one of the most underrated relievers in baseball from 2010-2014, logging a total of 318 innings with a 3.34 ERA and 342 strikeouts, but at age 40 he’s shown signs of decline. Still, for a minor-league deal and no real commitment Peralta has a chance to be a nice pickup for Seattle’s bullpen.

White Sox sign Mat Latos

Mat Latos
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Jerry Crasnick reports that the Chicago White Sox have signed Mat Latos.

Latos was pretty spiffy between 2010-2014, posting sub-3.50 ERAs each year.  Then the injuries came and he fell apart. He pitched for three teams in 2015 — the Dodgers, Angels, and Marlins — with a combined 4.95 ERA in 113 innings. And he didn’t make friends on those clubs either, with reports of clubhouse strife left in his wake.

In Chicago he gets a fresh start. It doesn’t come in a park that will do him any favors — Latos and U.S. Cellular Field don’t seem like a great match — but at this point beggars can’t be choosers.

 

Jason Castro loses arbitration hearing against Astros

Jason Castro
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Veteran catcher Jason Castro and the Astros went through with an arbitration hearing over a difference of $250,000 and the three-person panel ruled in favor of the team.

That means Castro will make $5 million this season rather than his requested amount of $5.25 million. This is his final year of arbitration eligibility, so the 29-year-old catcher will be a free agent after the season.

Castro showed a lot of promise early on, including making the All-Star team at age 26 in 2013, but since then he’s hit just .217 with a .650 OPS in 230 games. His power and pitch-framing skills are a valuable combination even within sub par overall production, so 2016 will be a key year for the former first-round draft pick.

Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Eminent Domain and the history of the Rangers Ballpark

Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump addresses supporters at a campaign rally, Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in Grand Rapids, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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Eminent Domain — the right of a government to take/buy private property for public use — and its implications has always been a controversial topic. It became far more controversial in the 1990s and early 2000s, however,  as the practice, which is intended for public projects like roads and stuff, was increasingly used in ways to help developers and businesses.

The controversy came to a head in the 2005 case Kelo v. City of New London in which the Supreme Court held that general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth — not just direct public works — qualified as a “public use” under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The upshot: if someone had a good argument that a shopping mall would benefit the community, Mr. Developer and the government can force you to sell them their house.

This led to a HUGE backlash, with property rights people freaking out about what seemed like a pretty clear abuse of governmental power serving the interests of developers. Some 44 states have since passed laws outlawing the use of Eminent Domain for purely economic development. Some of that backlash has gone too far in the other direction, with some laws getting passed which not only required compensation to landowners if land was taken, but merely if land was diminished in value.  Like, if the government passes an environmental regulation which makes your private, for-profit toxic waste dump less lucrative than it was, the government has to pay you. It’s crazy stuff, really. And all of those laws notwithstanding, the topic continues to be a controversial one, with battles over what, exactly, is “public” what is a “public good” and all of that raging on. It’s rather fascinating. At least for boring nerfherders like me.

In the recent GOP presidential debate Donald Trump and Jeb Bush got into it on the topic, with Trump — a real estate developer, or course — defending the use of Eminent Domain to take land for economic development and Bush — a really desperate dude who at this point will take ANY position he can if it’ll give him traction — opposing it. In the days since they’ve continued to fight about it, with Trump charging Bush with hypocrisy since his brother, George W., was an owner of the Texas Rangers when they built their new ballpark with the help of Eminent Domain.

Ahh, yes. We finally get to baseball.

Today Nathaniel Rakich of Baseballot digs into that project and looks at how it all played out against the Eminent Domain debate. It touches on stuff we talk about a lot around here: are ballparks engines of economic development or merely for the enrichment of ballclubs? If they are built by a municipality, are they public goods? Wait, how can they be public goods if you can’t just walk into them for free? And the arguments go on.

It’s fascinating stuff showing, once again, that the real world and baseball intersect all the dang time and it’s handy to have a handle on just how, exactly, it does so.