And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Mets 1, Marlins 0: A three-hit shutout for Zack Wheeler, with the only run support he got or needed being David Wright’s first inning solo shot. That overshadowed what was otherwise a pretty spiffy major league debut for Andrew Heaney who, apart from the homer, basically shut down the Mets bats for six and a third innings.

Pirates 4, Reds 3: Russell Martin drew a bases-loaded walk off Tony Cingrani with two outs in the 12th. Otherwise known as the walkoff walk. That whole last inning was special. Gaby Sanchez single, got balked to second, then Bryan Price decided to have Josh Harrison intentionally walked, Cingrani then plunked Clint Barmes to load the bases. Talk about your unforced errors.

Phillies 4, Cardinals 1: Ryan Howard remains hot — he hit a homer and drove in three — and the Phillies win again. They are now only four games out of first place in a division with no clearly elite team. Do I think they have a chance? Nah. Do I think they’ll flirt enough with respectability to fool Ruben Amaro into not making trades that could start a meaningful rebuilding process? Oh, definitely.

Indians 5, Angels 3: Cool walkoff grand slam, bro! We talked about that and Mike Scioscia’s curious bullpen decisions yesterday. But at least they were happy in Brohio.

Brewers 4, Diamondbacks 1: Yovani Gallardo improved to 7-0 with an ERA of 1.93 in ten career starts against the Dbacks. After the game he searched for an explanation:

“Sometimes you look at it as how this game is. There are certain things like that I wish I could explain, but I just can’t.”

Dude. I can.

Tigers 2, Royals 1: The Royals’ ten-game winning streak is snapped thanks to Anibal Sanchez allowing one run over seven innings. It didn’t help that the Royals didn’t have Alex Gordon, who sat out due to flu-like symptoms. Not that he didn’t try:

I feel bad for the groundskeeping assistant, frankly.

Padres 4, Mariners 1:  A four-run seventh inning for San Diego, in which Chris Denorfia singled in the go-ahead run. The Padres won back-to-back games for the first time since the end of May.

Yankees 6, Blue Jays 4: The Yankees have won 16 straight over Toronto at Yankee Stadium. The Blue Jays have lost nine of 12 and their lead in the East is down to a game and a half.

Braves 3, Nationals 0: For as crappy as the Braves have been playing lately they can at least count on beating Washington. They are 23-7 in their past 30 games against the Nationals, including 6-1 this season. The win came with a price, though: Gavin Floyd fractured his elbow and is gone for the year.

Rays 5, Astros 0: Chris Archer had six and two-thirds shutout innings. Kevin Kiermaier and Evan Longoria hit back-to-back homers on back-to-back pitches.

Twins 4, White Sox 2: Let’s hear it for the relatively old guys: Yohan Pino is 30, but he was still making his major league debut last night. Pino allowed two runs and struck out seven in seven innings. A Joe Mauer RBI double and a Kurt Suzuki sac fly in the eighth broke a 2-2- tie.

Athletics 4, Red Sox 2: Scott Kazmir allowed two runs over seven innings striking out eight and walking no one to win his ninth game and to keep the Red Sox offense searching for answers. Yoenis Cespedes homered. In June he is hitting .343 with four home runs and 12 RBI in 17 games.

Ron Darling rips Mets trainers after yet another player goes down with an injury

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Last night starter Robert Gsellman became the latest Mets player to go down with an injury when he strained his hamstring while running out a ground ball. He’s certain to go on the disabled list, making him the sixth Mets starter to go down this year. He’ll join Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Juan Lagares, Neil Walker, Matt Harvey, David Wright, Jeurys Familia and many, many other Mets on the DL.

Mets broadcaster Ron Darling is fed up with it. Last night, after Gsellman went down, he went off on the Mets trainers, who he believes to be enabling all of this:

“[These] trainers, get them in a room with some of the old trainers and people that took care of baseball players and how to keep them healthy. And get them in a room and try to tap into their knowledge on how you train baseball players — not weightlifters, not six-pack wearers — baseball players. They’re doing a disservice to their million-dollar athletes that they’re paying. It’s a joke to watch this happen each and every night.”

Here’s video of his rant:

Darling is certainly tapping into a frustration a lot of Mets fans feel. For years the Mets injury issues have vexed the fanbase, less so for the sheer number of them — other teams have had more DL trips for their players — than for the manner in which they were handled and/or discussed by the team. They’ve often been loathe to use the disabled list even when it makes sense to and have, at times, run guys out to play despite there being serious red flags which would counsel most teams from doing so.

But is he right about why the players are getting injured? It’s a commonly held bit of conventional wisdom that players using weight training and being muscular makes them more brittle, but I’m unaware of any science that backs that up (if you have some, please pass it along, I’d genuinely be interested in reading it). Maybe it’s true, maybe it isn’t, but Darling seems so certain about it.

He could be right. But I also suspect that Darling may be falling prey to some back-in-my-dayism that retired players often exhibit. Are players getting injured more or are they merely being diagnosed better? Are they getting more seriously injured, or are they just taken out of action more quickly rather than be left to play through injuries like so many old timers have claimed they had to back in the 50s, 60s and 70s? Fireballers used to try to hang on as junkballers after suffering elbow injuries that today would send a guy to surgery. There was a much greater tolerance for lumbering slow dudes who might take it easy with a bad hammy as opposed to getting shut down now.

None of which is to say that Darling is wrong, necessarily. Like I said, maybe there is something to the idea that weight training and musculature makes a player more brittle. But I am always loathe to nod along with an old player who says the science and medicine surrounding sports has regressed compared to where it was back in his day. It may be true, but it’s counterintuitive given how science and medicine usually work. And when you offer a counterintuitive take like that, I think you need more evidence than your frustration at an injury occurring in front of you in real time.

Bryce Harper is pretty clearly messing with people

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Not too long ago some rumors popped up about Bryce Harper wanting to sign with the Cubs when he hits free agency following the 2018 season. Such rumors are sort of silly this far out — and they almost always tend to be non-predictive of where the player eventually goes — but they tend to get folks excited or concerned, depending on who they root for.

With the Cubs in town to face the Nationals, Harper was asked about those rumors again. He wisely dismissed them, saying he had no idea where that stuff comes from. Which is what someone in his position should say.

Not that he’s not going to have some fun with it. Check out his Instagram post with friend Kris Bryant. Specifically, check out the hashtag:

#Back2BackOneDay is, of course, an implication that he’d be hitting behind Bryant in the same batting order.

Harper is no idiot. He’s not going to use social media, in the middle of a season, two seasons before he could even potentially play elsewhere, to send genuine signals about wanting to leave the Nationals and join the Cubs. He’s just messing with the rumormongers. As he TOTALLY SHOULD by the way, because rumormongers deserve to be messed with.

Not that the rumormongers won’t take this a genuine evidence of his intent. The rumormongers aren’t big on subtle humor.