Settling the Score: Friday’s results

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Jordan Zimmermann was great for the Nationals last night, but Lance Lynn was just a little bit better. Lynn tossed eight scoreless innings while Matt Adams homered in his return from the disabled list as the Cardinals cooled down the Nationals with a 1-0 victory at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

Lynn retired his first 16 batters until Jose Lobaton singled with one out in the sixth inning. He ended up giving up just two hits in all while walking none and striking out eight. Trevor Rosenthal struck out three in the ninth inning and worked around a two-out error from Kolten Wong to notch the save.

As for Zimmerman, he threw his second straight complete game in the tough-luck loss. Amazingly, he needed just 76 pitches to complete his eight innings of work. Per MLB.com, that’s the fewest pitches thrown in a complete game since Aaron Cook threw 74 in a nine-inning complete game for the Rockies on July 25, 2007. The all-time record belongs to Jose Bautista — no, not that Jose Bautista — who threw a 70-pitch complete game over eight innings for the Orioles in a loss on September 3, 1988.

Your Friday box scores:

Nationals 0, Cardinals 1

Blue Jays 4, Orioles 0

Cubs 2, Phillies 1

Twins 2, Tigers 0

Padres 2, Mets 6

Pirates 8, Marlins 6 (13 innings)

Indians 3, Red Sox 10

Angels 3, Braves 4

Royals 7, White Sox 2

Reds 6, Brewers 5

Rays 6, Astros 1

Yankees 7, Athletics 0

Diamondbacks 3, Dodgers 4

Rangers 1, Mariners 0

Rockies 7, Giants 4

Javier Baez: “This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it.”

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Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.

While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.

Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”

He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”

Mike Trout proposes change to spring training umpiring

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Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.

According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”

Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.