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And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights


Athletics 9, Nationals 1: A pair of three-run homers for Derek Norris off the guy for whom he was traded to Oakland in Gio Gonzalez. A three-game sweep for the A’s, in which they outscored Washington 21-4. Oh, and Gio got mad at a teammate for missing a fly ball and flashed some Natitude at him:

Angels 9, Blues Jays 3: Hank Conger hot a three-run homer and drove in five. Even walked once. He also was shocked in the seventh inning when Jered Weaver — who had a pretty good game going — walked a dude and then, during the subsequent mound discussion, told pitching coach Mike Butcher that he needed to come out of the game because he was gassed. Which ended up being the right call, but was kinda weird. No one ever admits that. Usually a manager or a pitching coach has to make that judgment call with the starting pitcher usually claiming he’s good to go even if he’s missing several limbs like the Black Knight in “Monty Python and The Holy Grail.” Personally, I like the honesty. Weaver has nothin’ to prove. Good to see a guy risk violating baseball’s rules about pitchers always having to say they want the ball for the good of the team.

Brewers 6, Yankees 5: Mark Teixeira tied things up with a homer in the top of the ninth but then Mark Reynolds’ drove home Rickie Weeks from third with two outs in the bottom half for the walkoff win. K-Rod gave up that homer to Teixeira, blowing his first save of the year. But he did vulture a win, so good for him.

Red Sox 5, Rangers 2: One man on in the first inning — THE FIRST INNING — and Ron Washington intentionally walks David Ortiz to get to Mike Napoli. This even though a lefty was on the mound. All three guys ended up scoring. Someone probably needs to check on Joe Posnanski to see if he didn’t stroke out or anything when that happened.

Twins 4, Tigers 3: I went up to Detroit for the game on Saturday. On the way up there I learned that Don Kelly, and not Rajai Davis, was playing left. I was kinda sad because I’d never seen Davis play in person before and sort of wanted to see his defense and maybe see him steal a base. Yes, I realize that’s kinda pathetic, but some players just sorta interest me and Davis is one of them. Anyway, in the first inning Kelly makes a leaping catch to rob someone of a homer and the next inning Ian Kinsler or someone stole a base, so I got all of that defense and base running jones out of my system. Then a day later this game happens, Davis gets the nod in left and lets a ball skip past him, helping the Twins rally in the eighth. Can’t predict baseball.

Braves 5, Cubs 2: Homers from Evan Gattis and Jason Heyward and another solid start from Aaron Harang help the Braves to a series sweep. Harang struck out nine Cubs in six innings and Braves pitchers struck out 14 overall. Even more can’t predict baseball.

Diamondbacks 5, White Sox 1: Chase Anderson — who could easily be the name of a secondary male character in an airport bookstore-quality espionage thriller — made his major league debut and acquitted himself quite well, allowing one run on two hits in five and a third. Gerardo Parra and Miguel Montero each hit homers. And then Anderson was killed passing along the microfilm to the main character who, however broken up he acted about his faithful sidekick’s death, totally forgets about it for the rest of the story.

Mets 5, Phillies 4: The Mets ended their five-game skid after a late three-run rally and then won it in the 11th after loading the bases ahead of Ruben Tejada’s walkoff single. Cole Hamels struck out 10 in seven innings while throwing 133 pitches but was denied his first win of the year and the 100th win of his career.

Indians 6, Rays 5: Nyjer Morgan and Michael Bourn each drove in two. One of those for Morgan came on a solo homer in the eighth which was his first big league homer since July of 2012. Cleveland took two of three.

Reds 4, Rockies 1: Aroldis Chapman can’t be bargained with. He can’t be reasoned with. He doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And he absolutely will not stop, ever, until he notches 102 on the radar gun in his first appearance back since having his bran pan cracked by that comebacker. Homer Bailey allowed one run in seven and a third.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $45,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $7,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Astros 5, Orioles 2: The Astros avoid a sweep and halt the O’s five-game winning streak. I feel like any time the Astros win in Game 3s or Game 4s of series this year it will halt the opponents’ extended winning streak.

Royals 9, Mariners 7:  Dustin Ackley hit two homers and Kyle Seager hit a two-run shot to give the M’s a 7-5 lead but then Johnny Giavotella hit a three-run homer in the seventh so there went that. The Mariners committed five errors which, God.

Giants 7, Dodgers 4: Sergio Romo blew the save to sent it to extra innings but the Giants pulled it out. Of course they did. It’s Dodger Stadium and the Giants have owned Dodger Stadium of late, having taken five of six from their rival in Chavez Ravine.

Padres 5, Marlins 4: They lost to the Marlins in dramatic fashion on Thursday night but the Padres came back and took three of four. Bud Black:

“It’s a much better vibe, there’s less tension in the clubhouse and in the dugout. When you don’t score there’s tension. And it’s been released a little bit and the guys are playing a little more relaxed. That is what winning does. When you don’t score, things get a little tight.”

And here I thought winning is caused by a positive attitude, not the cause of it. Crazy.

Cardinals 6, Pirates 5: Pittsburgh tried to climb back late with a ninth inning rally but Trevor Rosenthal squelched it. Allen Craig and Yadier Molina had RBI singles in a four-run first inning which probably caused a lot of folks to switch away from ESPN.

The Days of Chief Wahoo are numbered

Fox Entertainment

One of the more common responses to what I’ve posted about Chief Wahoo lately is “it’s just a cartoon character! Nobody cares!”

Well, looking at that guy in the photo above and many others dressed like him at Progressive Field the past two days is evidence that it is not just a cartoon character. A certain swath of Indians fans think that, because of their team’s name and mascot, it’s totally acceptable to show up in public looking like this. Wahoo as an official trademark of a Major League Baseball club gives people license to dress up in redface — or in this case, red and blackface — with headdresses on, turning a real people and a real culture into a degrading caricature. It’s not just a cartoon character by a long shot. To many it’s a get-out-being-called-a-racist-free card.

As for “nobody cares,” well, yes, someone does. Go read this from Sterling HolyWhiteMountain over at ESPN, talking about both Chief Wahoo as a symbol and America’s treatment and conception of Native Americans as a whole. It’s moving stuff that puts lie to the idea that “nobody cares.” It likewise puts lie to the false choice so many Chief Wahoo defenders reference in which they argue that people should care more about actual injustices visited upon Native Americans and not mascots. One can and should care about those injustices. And one can do that while simultaneously finding Chief Wahoo to be an odious symbol that serves to dehumanize people. Once people are dehumanized, it’s far easier to treat them as something less-than-human, of course.

But it’s not just Native Americans or anti-Wahoo folks like me who care. While I have been critical of Major League Baseball for not taking its own stand against Wahoo publicly, it seems pretty clear at this point that the league is weary of Wahoo and is looking to pressure the Indians to eliminate it. Last night, at the Hank Aaron Award ceremony, Manfred spoke more expansively about Wahoo than he did the day before. Manfred is a lawyer and he does not choose his words carelessly. Read this and parse it carefully:

“I know that that particular logo is offensive to some people, and all of us at Major League Baseball understand why. Logos are, however, primarily a local matter. The local club makes decisions about its logos. Fans get attached to logos. They become part of a team’s history. So it’s not easy as coming to the conclusion and realizing that the logo is offensive to some segment.

“I’ve talked to Mr. [Indians owner and CEO Paul] Dolan about this issue. We’ve agreed away from the World Series at an appropriate time we will have a conversation about this. I want to understand fully what his view is, and we’ll go from there. At this point in this context, I’m just not prepared to say more.”

Yes, he’s still trying to be diplomatic, but note how he (a) acknowledges that Wahoo is offensive to some people; (b) that “all of us at Major League Baseball understand why” and (c) does not validate the views of those who do not find it offensive. He acknowledges that they feel that way due to history, but he does not say, as I inferred from his previous comments the day before, that both sides have merit. Indeed, he says he’d like to hear Paul Dolan’s side, suggesting that while he’ll listen to argument, he doesn’t buy the argument as it has yet to be put.

I still wish that MLB would come out hard and strong against Wahoo publicly, but the more I listen to Manfred on this and read between the lines, the more I suspect that Major League Baseball is finally fed up with Wahoo and that it wants to do something to get rid of it. That it’s not just the hobby horse of pinko liberals like me. I believe Manfred realizes that, in 2016, Chief Wahoo is an embarrassment to an organization like Major League Baseball. Maybe, because of p.r. and political considerations, he doesn’t want to stand on a soapbox about it at the World Series, but I believe he wants to put an end to it all the same.

You can call me names for being against Wahoo all you want. But you can’t say it’s a non-issue. You can’t say that it’s just a cartoon character and you can’t say that nobody cares. To do that is an exercise in denial. I have come to believe that Major League Baseball cares and that it’s going to push hard to make the 2016 World Series the last time it is embarrassed by anachronistic racism on its biggest stage ever again.

Game 2 is going to be the poster child for pace of play arguments this winter

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 26:  Zach McAllister #34 of the Cleveland Indians is relieved by manager Terry Francona during the fifth inning against the Chicago Cubs in Game Two of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on October 26, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Getty Images

In August, it was reported that Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred would like to implement pitch clocks, like those in use in the minor leagues for the past two seasons, to improve the pace-of-play at the major league level. You can bet that last night’s Game 2 will be the lead argument he uses against those who would oppose the move.

The game was moved up an hour in order to get it in before an impending storm. By the time the rain finally started falling the game had been going on for three hours and thirty-three minutes. It should’ve been over before the first drop fell, but in all it lasted four hours and four minutes. It ended in, thankfully, only a light rain. The longest nine-inning game in postseason history happened a mere two weeks ago, when the Dodgers and Nationals played for four hours and thirty two minutes. There thirteen pitchers were used. Last night ten pitchers were used. Either way, the postseason games are dragging on even for those of us who don’t mind devoting four+ hours of our night to baseball. It is likely putting off more casual fans just tuning in for the Fall Classic.

It’s not all just dawdling, however. Yes, the pitchers worked slowly and a lot of pitching changes took place, but strikeouts, walks and the lack of balls in play contribute to longer games as well. We saw this both last night and in Game 1, which was no brisk affair despite each starting pitcher looking sharp and not working terribly slowly. Twenty-four strikeouts on Tuesday night had a lot to do with that. Last night featured 20 strikeouts and thirteen — thirteen! — walks. It’s not just that the games are taking forever; the very thing causing them to drag feature baseball’s least-kinetic forms of excitement.

But no matter what the cause for the slower play was — and here it was a combination of laboring pitchers, the lack of balls in play and, of course, the longer commercial breaks in the World Series — Manfred is likely to hold Game 2 up as Exhibit A in his efforts to push through some rules changes to improve game pace and game time. So far, the centerpiece of those efforts is the pitch clock, which has proven to be successful and pretty non-controversial in the minor leagues. It would not surprise me one bit if, at this year’s Winter Meetings in Washington, a rule change in that regard is widely discussed.