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And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Angels 2, Athletics 1: Collin Cowgill with a two-out, walkoff homer in the bottom of the 14th inning. Which was great and gave the Angels their fifth straight win, but may not have been as impressive as the throw Yoenis Cespedes made in the eighth inning to nail Howie Kendrick at the plate:

I mean, sure, he deserves to have all of us respect-the-gamesplain to him that one shouldn’t airmail it past the cutoff man like that, but apart from his nearly inexcusable fundamental lapse there, it was, like, maybe the best throw any of us will ever see in our lifetimes.

Cardinals 1, Rays 0: Adam Wainwright won his ninth game after tossing seven shutout innings. Two more shutout innings for the Cards pen brings the Rays’ scoreless streak up to a whopping 28 innings. They have lost 14 of 15 too. The Cards have three straight shutouts too, but it’s the good kind. You know, the kind you win.

Mets 6, Brewers 2: Taylor Teagarden hit a grand slam in his Mets debut. Travis d’Arnaud sighs mightily from Las Vegas. Also: Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched six effective innings, lowering his ERA to 2.95 and upping his record to 3-0. So, yeah, it was a pretty good night for heretofore uninspiring castoffs.

Twins 4, Blue Jays 0: The power-packed Blue Jays are suddenly punchless, having been shutout for the third time in four games. See, above comment about the Cardinals for an explanation of that. Kevin Correia allowed six hits, walked one and struck out one in six innings.

Phillies 5, Padres 2: Marlon Byrd hit a three-run homer and A.J. Burnett was effective. Hard not to be effective against the Padres these days.

Diamondbacks 4, Astros 1: My daughter, Mookie, is on summer vacation. Yesterday it was raining and she walks downstairs and turns on the TV. I hear her flipping around a bit in the next room as I’m working. She passes silly documentaries about killer bees that she usually eats up like crazy, passes Nickelodeon sitcoms aimed at tweens. She lands on the only baseball game on TV — this one — and starts watching. Two last place teams on a Tuesday afternoon had the full attention of my ten-year-old daughter for a good hour or more. I walked by once to check and she was engrossed. Not in some showy way in which she was wanting to demonstrate that she likes baseball. Not because she stopped changing channels then and just got stuck. She just wanted to watch baseball on TV and did, and I can’t think of anything that would make me happier than that.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $35,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Wednesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on WednesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Cubs 7, Pirates 3: Gregory Polanco’s debut is why this game was interesting, but Anthony Rizzo‘s homer, two doubles and three RBI is why this game was won. Polanco went 1 for 5 and had one of Rizzo’s double bounce off his wrist so, yes, there will be better days for the big prospect.

Nationals 2, Giants 1: Doug Fister outduels Madison Bumgarner, allowing no runs over seven to Bumgarner’s two runs over seven.

Royals 9, Indians 5: The Indians scored 17 runs on Monday but they were shut out by Jason Vargas into the eighth inning last night. After that he and the pen faltered a bit, but nine runs — three driven in by Eric Hosmer — is a good cushion to play with.

Braves 13, Rockies 10: The Braves jumped out to a 7-0 lead and, given the way Coors has been playing for the past week or so, and given the Braves’ bullpen woes of late, I thought “eh, maybe get a few more just in case.” They added a touchdown and missed the extra point but they pretty much needed all of that. Atlanta had a season-highs of 16 hits and 13 runs, including a grand slam from Andrelton Simmons.

Yankees 3, Mariners 2: An RBI single for Jacoby Ellsbury helped the Yankees win and helped him extend his hitting streak to 14 games. Also, Derek Jeter was reanimated for the evening: he had two hits and scored two runs.

Red Sox 1, Orioles 0: Brandon Workman handled the first six and two-thirds innings of the shutout and the bullpen carried the rest. The game’s sole run came on a Mike Napoli RBI single in the third.

Dodgers 6, Reds 1: Josh Beckett with six shutout innings, with seven strikeouts and one walk. This after a two-hour rain delay. Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier and Justin Turner each had two hits and Beckett had one of his own. L.A. has won three in a row and four of five.

Marlins 8, Rangers 5: I had no idea they had such a streak going, but the Marlins win was their 13th in a row vs. an American League opponent. Christian Yelich had four hits and four RBI.

Tigers vs. White Sox: POSTPONED: Another rainy day New York City. Softly sweet, so silently it falls. Crosstown traffic crawls. Windy, wet and gray New York City. No one here I really want to see. Friends and family. Suddenly serene. The air is fresh and clean. Another rainy day New York City.

It’s another rainy day
Just a rainy, rainy day
It’s another rainy day
Just a rainy, rainy day

It’s another rainy day
Just a rainy, rainy day
It’s another rainy day
Just a rainy, rainy day

It’s another rainy day
Just a rainy, rainy day
It’s another rainy day
Just a rainy, rainy day

Dee Gordon apologizes, is reinstated from PED suspension

Miami Marlins' Dee Gordon celebrates after hitting a double against the Detroit Tigers in the ninth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 5, 2016, in Miami. Derek Dietrich scored on the double. The Tigers won 8-7. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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The Miami Marlins have reinstated second baseman Dee Gordon from his suspension.

Gordon, of course, has missed the last 80 games while serving his drug suspension. He’s coming off a minor league rehab assignment and will be the everyday second baseman for the contending Marlins. He was hitting .266/.289/.340 with three doubles, two triples, five RBI, 13 runs scored, and six stolen bases in 97 plate appearances when he was popped. He was replaced by Derek Dietrich, who hit a nice .275/.366/.398 with 22 extra-base hits, 30 RBI, and 26 runs scored in 314 PA in Gordon’s absence, so don’t expect a tremendous upgrade at second down the stretch, even if they get a nice upgrade in the utility and depth department.

To make room for Gordon, the Marlins designated utilityman and sometimes hero Don Kelly for assignment. Sad jams.

UPDATE: Gordon issued a video apology on the eve of his reinstatement:

Chris Sale called “a competitor” for stuff that gets most guys called “head cases”

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox reacts during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Chris Sale has had an eventful week.

On Saturday he was scratched from his start and subsequently suspended for five games for cutting up the 1976 throwback uniforms the team was scheduled to wear, making them unusable. That cost the team over $12,000 and cost the Sox their best pitcher hours before game time.

On Monday Sale gave an interview to Scott Merkin in which he apologized to fans and teammates and explained his rationale for the uniform shredding. Even if his act was over the top, there was a core of understandable motivation at least: Sale said he voiced his displeasure with the untucked jersey months ago and asked to not pitch on a night they’d have to wear them because he believed it would mess with his mechanics and/or mental state. The Sox didn’t heed his request and Sale took issue, as many probably would, with what he felt was the business of throwback jerseys taking precedence over on-the-field stuff.

Of course, there are still some pretty big problems here. Mostly having to do with the facts that (a) the Sox have people on staff who could’ve optimized his jersey any way he needed it to be optimized if he had asked; (b) ballplayers have been wearing throwbacks for a long time now and, even if they don’t like them, they tend to endure them; and (c) he’s a ballplayer who needs to suck things up sometimes like every single ballplayer ever has done. There are a ton of things ballplayers are expected to do which are insisted upon by the business folks. It’s part of the gig.

A little more seriously than that is the fact that Sale pretty publicly threw his manager, Robin Ventura, under the bus :

“Robin is the one who has to fight for us in that department,” Sale said. “If the players don’t feel comfortable 100 percent about what we are doing to win the game, and we have an easy fix — it was as easy as hanging up another jersey and everyone was fine. For them to put business first over winning, that’s when I lost it.”

An undercurrent to all of this is Sale being fairly obvious in voicing his desire to be traded.

Today Bob Nightengale of USA Today has a story about Sale’s week. It’s sourced largely by Sale’s friend Adam Eaton who defends Sale as a passionate competitor who just wants to win and how all of this stuff of the past week was about his desire to do so. The headline of the story buys in to all of that:

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We heard much the same along these lines when Sale blasted Sox brass following the Drake LaRoche stuff during spring training, going on an expletive-filled rant in a meeting behind closed doors but then bringing the same noise, albeit cleaned up, in front of reporters after it all became public.

Chris Sale is who he is, of course, and I’m not going to too harshly judge who he is. He’s an amazing pitcher and, as most athletes will tell you, the mental part of the game is almost as important or, maybe, even more important than the physical part. Asking Sale to be who he isn’t would probably be counterproductive in the long term.

But I am fascinated with the way in which someone who has behaved like Sale has behaved is described. He’s a “competitor” whose objectively disruptive and literally destructive behavior is explained away as merely a function of his desire to win. His friends on the team, like Eaton, are sought out for damage control and spin and his detractors, which there are likely some, aren’t quoted, even anonymously. He has publicly called out his manager as not wanting to win as much as he wants to please his bosses and he has likewise called out his manager’s bosses and has welcomed a trade, yet we aren’t seeing stories about how that’s a bad thing for the Sox’ clubhouse.

I don’t much care for that sort of stuff, actually, as I suspect most clubhouse controversy stories are somewhat overblown and overly dramatized. But those stories have been go-to tropes of sports writers for decades, and I am trying to imagine this sort of story about players who aren’t Chris Sale. Players who don’t have as friendly a relationship with the media as he has or who don’t have clubhouse allies who do. I feel like, most of the time, a story about a guy who who has done the odd things Sale has done both this week and last March would play a hell of a lot differently.

How does this all play of it’s Yordano Ventura? Or Yasiel Puig? Or Jose Fernandez? How does this play if it took place in the NBA and it was Kevin Durant who shredded up a bunch of short-shorts on 80s throwback night? How does it play if it’s Cam Newton?

I bet it plays differently.