And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Mariners 4, Yankees 2: Rookie Roenis Elias struck out ten Yankees in seven innings. Not bad. Robinson Cano doubled and drove in two. The Mariners take both games of the abbreviated series and have won five of six overall.

Rays 2, Red Sox 1; Rays 6, Red Sox 5: The Rays did NOT want to play a doubleheader yesterday to make up Wednesday’s rainout. Boston did. Be careful what you wish for Boston, because you done got swept. Replay controversy in the first game, where Dustin Pedroia was called out at home in the seventh. Replay made it appear as if he was safe, but it was ruled “inconclusive” and the call on the field stood. The Sox’ third base coach was ejected for arguing after the replay call. Pedroia and Jake Peavy each made comments after the game critical of replay. Expect fines and stuff. In game 2, Yunel Escobar homered off Koji Uehara leading off the ninth to put the Rays up for good.

Reds 8, Brewers 3: Brayan Pena hit a pinch-hit homer that sparked a five-run rally in the eighth. Big catches from both center fielders in this one: Billy Hamilton with a diving catch of a Carlos Gomez line drive and Gomez robbing Joey Votto of a home run. Hamilton sprained his hand on his and will miss some time.

Marlins 5, Braves 4: And the sweep. The first two games of the series were blowouts, the third a tight one. Either way the Braves are happy to be leaving Miami. It was the first time the Marlins have swept the Braves at home in almost eight years.

Dodgers 9, Twins 4; Dodgers 4, Twins 3: Four hits and two RBI in the first game for Yasiel Puig. Scott Van Slyke and Drew Butera came up big in the nightcap, each homering in the 12th. Not bad for a warm weather team who looked pretty uncomfortable in cold Minneapolis conditions.

Rockies 7, Mets 4: Juan Nicasio was a one-man gang: he pitched seven scoreless innings and drove in three runs. Also a One Man Gang?

Orioles 5, Pirates 1; Orioles 6, Pirates 5: A rare single-admission doubleheader. I’d be curious to see the actual number of people who stayed for all 19 innings and all seven hours and five minutes of baseball + the time between games. Steve Pearce had three hits and two RBI in the opener. Not bad for a guy who the Orioles released a couple of days ago. The nightcap featured the return of Manny Machado, and it also featured a walkoff homer by Matt Wieters in the 10th. 

Blue Jays 7, Royals 3: The Jays salvage one. Juan Francisco and Colby Rasmus each homered and drove in two runs. Mark Buehrle worked in a lot of trouble, but notched is fifth win.

And with that I’m out of here for the weekend. Aaron and the fellas will be covering today. I lucked into some Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks tickets, so as you read this I am heading down to Louisville for a Decadent and Depraved weekend. Well, not that depraved. I’m going far more southern dandy than Hunter S. Thompson here. I mean, I even got a bow tie.

Have a nice weekend, y’all.

 

Michael Bourn opts out of his minor league deal with the Orioles

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Outfielder Michael Bourn was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Orioles late last season and hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with them through the end of the season. While that’s not enough to outweigh the miserable season he had in Arizona, it was enough to get the O’s to give him a look in spring training with a minor league deal. They signed him to one in late February.

Then, a couple of days later, Bourn broke his finger while playing catch with a football. Unable to play, the O’s cut him. In early April, once Bourn healed, the O’s signed him again. He played 11 games for their Triple-A affiliate and went 9-for-41 with ten walks in 51 plate appearances. While that makes for a decent OBP, his lack of any sort of pop or good contact suggests that if someone throws him strikes, he can’t do much with the ball.

As such, the O’s had not called him up to Baltimore. And as a result of that, Bourn exercised his opt-out rights and became a free agent.

Someone may take a look at him given that his batting eye seems to be intact and given that, in an admittedly small sample size, he still performed last season. But if he does get a look, it’ll likely be back at the minor league level.

Rob Manfred talks about playing regular season games in Mexico

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The new Collective Bargaining Agreement commits the players and the league to regular season games on foreign soil. Most of the focus of this has been on games in London, for which there has been a lot of activity and discussion.

Yesterday before the Astros-Tigers game in Houston, however, Commissioner Rob Manfred talked about playing games in Mexico. And not as just a one-off, but as a foot-in-the-water towards possible expansion:

Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that the time had come to play regular-season games in Mexico City as Major League Baseball weighs international expansion.

“We think it’s time to move past exhibition games and play real live ‘they-count’ games in Mexico,” Manfred said. “That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgement as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major League team.”

A team in Mexico could make some geographic sense and some marketing sense, though it’s not clear if there is a city that would be appropriate for that right now. Mexico City is huge but it has plenty of its own sports teams and is far away from the parts of the country where baseball is popular (mostly the border states and areas along the Pacific coast). At 7,382 feet, its elevation would make games at Coors Field look like the Deadball Era.

Monterrey has been talked about — games have been played there and it’s certainly closer — but it’s somewhat unknown territory demographically speaking. It’s not as big as Mexico City, obviously. Income stratification is greater there and most of the rest of Mexico than it is in the United States too, making projections of how much discretionary income people may spend on an expensive entertainment product like Major League Baseball uncertain. Especially when they have other sports they’ve been following for decades.

Interesting, though. It’s something Manfred has talked about many times over the years, so unlike so many other things he says he’s “considering” or “hasn’t ruled out,” Major League Baseball in Mexico is something worth keeping our eyes on.