Marlins celebration

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Marlins 7, Nationals 6: Rafael Soriano and a three-run lead in the ninth seems safe. Not last night it wasn’t. The Marlins rallied for four, capped by a Jeff Baker two-run single. The Nats had a 6-0 lead at one point here. This is the kind of game that comes back to haunt later in the season when things are tight. Or at least what this Braves fan’s wishful thinking is telling him.

Mets 7, Phillies 1: A.J. Burnett was probably a decent trade deadline candidate until recently. But he has certainly put the kibosh on that. Seven runs allowed here in five innings and six runs in five innings two starts ago vs. eight shutout innings against the Giants six days ago. You willing to bet a prospect on that anyone? I don’t know that I would be.

Rays 2, Brewers 1: Jake Odorizzi allowed one run and three hits in seven innings and a couple of RBI from James Loney. Also: a kind of compliment by Ron Roenicke to former Angels coaching colleague Joe Maddon: “Joe is out there, but he’s got great common sense and you don’t usually see that in a guy that’s out there.” Thanks?

Braves 2, Padres 0: Ervin Santana was fantastic — 11 Ks in seven innings — but the story here is, or at least should be, Jason Lane pitching six solid innings in his first major league start at age 37. This after seven years in the wilderness when his career as a hitter fizzled out. You don’t make this long, hard climb back unless you are made out of pure, unadulterated desire and unless you love baseball like no one’s business. Jason Lane is a story waiting to be told. Someone please tell it, because I bet it’s fantastic.

Blue Jays 14, Red Sox 1: I guess it was a game until the sixth inning. Then the Jays put up a nine-spot. Which in the metric system is, like, a three-spot I guess. I dunno, I always had a hard time with conversions like that. All I know is that Toronto unloaded hectares and liters and kilos of hurt on Boston. Clay Buchholz couldn’t retire anyone in the sixth and gave up seven runs in all. Five RBI for Mely Cabrera, four for Ryan Goins. R.A. Dickey struck out ten and allowed one run in seven innings. I guess no one ever taught him to pitch to the score.

Cubs 4, Rockies 1: Tsuyoshi Wada picked up his first big league win in his third big league start, allowing one run and five hits in seven innings. Anthony Rizzo drove in two.

Astros 7, Athletics 3: Homers from Chris Carter, Jason Castro, Marc Krauss and Matt Dominguez. Carter’s was a three-run shot. His was of saying ‘ello to this old friends on the A’s. Castro and Krauss went back-to-back in the sixth.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $100,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $10,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Rangers 4, Yankees 2: Two runs on nine hits (scatters, smothered and capped) in seven innings for Yu Darvish. He struck out eight as well. Two homers for Brett Gardner in a winning effort in a losing cause.

Diamondbacks 2, Reds 1: A 15 inning affair that ended a bit before midnight a bit after Nick Ahmed hit an RBI single in the top of the inning. Twelve pitchers used in all, most of whom put up zeroes in the box score. Indeed, Dbacks relievers combined for eight shutout innings after starter Chase Anderson managed to allow just one run in seven. As an Ohioan who has been to Cincinnati an awful lot, I truly have to wonder where the players in this one go out for dinner afterward. Like, it’s Taco Bell I guess. Great town in some respects, but not a night life kind of town. Should make next year’s All-Star Game all kinds of fun.

Pirates 5 vs. Giants 0: 4-0 in the first on a night when Vance Worley needed almost no help at all, tossing a four-hit shutout. It was his second career complete game. His first: against the Giants as well.

 

Dee Gordon’s suspension is likely to lead to a call for harsher PED penalties

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)
Associated Press
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Objectively speaking there is no difference between Dee Gordon’s suspension for PEDs and anyone else’s. Abraham Almonte, for example. Or Cameron Maybin. Or David Rollins. All were guys who got their 80 games, served their time, came back and whose cases didn’t raise too much of a fuss. But Gordon’s suspension will almost certainly be talked about longer and more loudly and will likely lead to calls for harsher penalties and changes to the PED suspension rules.

Part of it is simply fame. He’s a pretty big name as far as these things go. The biggest since the Biogenesis guys a couple of years ago. He won the batting title last year. He’s the son of a famous major leaguer. There is a direct correlation between the volume and intensity of the narratives applied to one’s story and the fame of the subject of the story. For that reason alone Gordon’s story will last longer and loom larger.

Another reason — a bigger reason, I think — is timing. Gordon was seen by many to have had a breakout season in 2015 and, when it was over, he was rewarded for it with a nice five-year $50 million deal. The narrative will arise by, oh, 9AM today, that the suspension was “worth it” for Gordon and that he cashed in because of it, rendering his suspension a mere slap on the wrist. This is especially true given that his deal is severely backloaded. He’ll lose less than $2 million in salary in 2016 while collecting the other $48 million-plus. Totally worth it!

I understand why people will say that, but such a stance has some serious flaws. Among them:

  • It assumes that we or anyone else knows when Gordon began to take PEDs;
  • It assumes that we or anyone else knows how, in fact, Gordon’s performance was actually enhanced;
  • It forgets that lots and lots of people were talking about how Gordon’s “breakout season” was actually 2014, not 2015, rendering that whole “he juiced and then got his money” argument fairly problematic.

Those points will likely be ignored as arguments in favor of harsher penalties grow louder. Ken Rosenthal reminds us this morning that some have called for some form of contract voiding or clawing back of more money than just the salary earned while on suspension. Those calls too will likely grow louder. There will also be calls for changes in the appeal process. Like this one, which came moments after Gordon’s suspension was announced:

When you have an actual union member angrily call for the repeal of a collectively-bargained protection in punishment situations, you’re sort of through the looking glass. Or past a tipping point. Or something. You’re certainly in a world where the usual dynamics between employer and employee are not operative and, as a result, changes are inevitable. As we noted recently, players today are perhaps more adamantly anti-PED than the owners and the league are. They’re competitors reacting to cheating by their competition. The fuel for stronger penalties is likely to come more from them than anyone.

The union and the league will be negotiating a new Collective Bargaining Agreement this year. Performance enhancing drugs and their penalties will be a part of that. Expect harsher penalties and possibly different sorts of rules altogether. Expect Dee Gordon to be the poster child for these changes, even if his case is no different in form than that of Abraham Almonte, Cameron Maybin, or David Rollins. Expect emotion, rather than logic, to lead the coming debate.

And That Happened: Thursdays scores and highlights

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Arodys Vizcaino, right, is congratulated by catcher Tyler Flowers after earning a save during a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, Thursday, April 28, 2016. The Braves defeated the Red Sox 5-3. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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Gonna mail this one in this morning. Partially because of the light slate of games yesterday, partially because of a late night for me but mostly because of the Dee Gordon news which has me thinking of a lot of other things I want to write about this AM.

It’s worth noting that the Braves won a game. It comes just ahead of a series at Wrigley against the Cubs, so the winning streak will likely last a single day, but the 2016 Braves have to take what they can get.

The Marlins had a notable night outside the Gordon news too, finishing off a sweep of the Dodgers, which had to make Don Mattingly happy. For what it’s worth, Gordon singled in a run and then came around to score in the seventh. His RBI tied it and the run he scored ended up being the one necessary for the Marlins’ margin of victory. That means nothing, but you know some jackwagons are gonna make a big deal out of that and I figured I’d get ahead of the jackwagons and note that, yes, Gordon and the Marlins knew what was coming before it was announced because that’s how the appeals process works, but no, it makes no difference, because that’s how the appeals process works.

Anyway: Here are the rest of the scores:

Tigers 7, Athletics 3
Cubs 7, Brewers 2
Phillies 3, Nationals 0
Orioles 10, White Sox 2
Braves 5, Red Sox 3
Diamondbacks 3, Cardinals 0
Marlins 5, Dodgers 3
Pirates vs. Rockies — POSTPONED
: In the early morning rain with a dollar in my hand. And an aching in my heart, and my pockets full of sand. I’m a long way from home, and I miss my loved one so. In the early morning rain with no place to go.

Marlins 2B Dee Gordon suspended 80 games for PEDs

deegordon
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LOS ANGELES — Dee Gordon has been suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball after the Miami Marlins second baseman tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Gordon tested positive for exogenous Testosterone and Clostebol, MLB said in a release after the Marlins’ 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night.

The fleet-footed Gordon won the National League batting title by hitting .333 last season and signed a $50 million, 5-year deal with Miami in January. He’s made two All-Star teams in his six seasons and won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards at second base last year.

Gordon, the son of former major league pitcher Tom Gordon, had a key hit in Miami’s win over the Dodgers on Thursday. He’s batting .266 with six stolen bases this season.

Dee Gordon is a very important part of our team, and we all love him and support him,” Marlins president David Samson said. “That said, I don’t like or condone what he did. He is an important member of this organization and will be for many years to come. It’s a huge, huge disappointment to the kids, to our fans, to his teammates and to everyone in our organization every single day.

“He will be back 80 games from now, and he will be welcomed back to this organization. But in the interim period, we expect him, and we are positive that he will do everything that’s necessary to make it up to his fans, to his teammates and to this organization.”

Devon Travis will start taking at-bats in extended spring training

Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis hits a RBI double to center field against the Tampa Bay Rays during third inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, April 15, 2015 in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)  MANDATORY CREDIT
Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP
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Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis underwent left shoulder surgery last September. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm caught up with Jays head athletic trainer George Poulis for updates on several injured players, including Travis. Here’s what Poulis had to say about Travis:

“He’s going to get some live at-bats with the extended team down in Florida on Friday. Big step for him, he’s very excited, he’s doing great, and we’re very optimistic, but no timeline right now on his return. We’re just going day by day, step by step.

“When you have something like that, it continues to heal even when you’re playing. We’re just trying to acclimate him and condition him to withstand all of the stress that he’s going to put on his shoulder … He won’t play in the field right now. We’ll mix that in, as well, but right now he’s just going to get some at-bats.”

The key phrase, of course, is “no timetable”. The second baseman’s rehab has gone slower than expected. Getting into some extended spring training games, though, signals progress.

Travis, 25, broke out last season, hitting .304/.361/.498 with eight home runs and 35 RBI in 239 plate appearances last season. The Jays have had Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney handle second base duties this year, but their aggregate .560 OPS is the worst mark in the American League.