And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and hghlghts

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Mariners 6, Blue Jays 3: Yesterday was all about Kansas City. Let’s now look at what Seattle is doing. The M’s have now won seven of eight and are tied with the Tigers for the second wild card spot. They’re nine games over .500. There’s a lot of baseball left to be played, but can you imagine a world in which the Royals and Mariners both make the playoffs and the Yankees, Red Sox and Tigers do not?

White Sox 3, Giants 2: Chicago blew a two-run lead in the ninth, but then Gordon Beckham hit a two-out RBI single in the 10th. Tough no-decision for Chris Sale who struck out 12 over eight shutout innings.

Padres 4, Rockies 1: The Padres have won four in a row. Odrisamer Despainge tossed shutout ball for seven innings, striking out eight. Not bad a for a junkballer.

Cubs 3, Brewers 0: Kyle Hendricks with seven and a third shutout innings. In six starts since making his big league debut, he is 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA with only nine walks in 41 and two-thirds innings. Everyone talks about the Astros collection of young talent. The Cubs’ is not too bad.

Angels 7, Phillies 2: I haven’t checked the stats but I bet teams which put up seven-run sixth innings don’t lose a lot of games. I bet that goes for teams that put up seven run any inning. Or seven runs across any number of innings. Basically, scoring seven runs is a good way to win baseball games. The Angels needed this. It was just their second win in seven games and the offense had been struggling.

Marlins 3, Cardinals 0: Jared Cosart outpitches Adam Wanwright, posting seven shutout innings. I’m getting to the point here where I’m about to simply write “the pitcher for the winning team tossed seven shutout innings” for every recap. I could save a lot of time with that approach. Use it to watch cartoons and stuff in the morning.

Astros 10, Twins 4: Chris Carter homered twice and drove in five. He has 15 homers since July 1. Too bad the season doesn’t start on July 1. He was hitting .181 on that date and is now up to .230.

Nationals 7, Mets 1: Four homers backed Doug Fister, who — guess what? — had seven shutout innings. Rookie Michael Taylor, making his big league debut, hit one of the homers. Then — and I am not making this up — a ballboy tossed it to a fan in the stands, not realizing it was a keepsake for Taylor. They got it back, though. I hope the kid in the stands drove a hard bargain.

Athletics 11, Royals 3: Jon Lester struck out nine over six innings and Jeremy Guthrie got knocked around pretty badly, halting the Royals’ winning streak at eight. But they remain in first place because  . . .

Pirates 4, Tigers 2: . . . the Tigers keep losing. Edinson Volquez kept Detroit in check as Tigers starter Robbie Ray couldn’t make it beyond five. Robbie Ray last night. A guy named “Buck Farmer” today. On a team that less than two weeks ago it had more starters than it knew what to do with.

Red Sox 3, Reds 2: Jonathan Broxton threw a ball high-and-inside to Yoenis Cespedes, brushing him back. Next pitch: Cespedes hit a 433-foot home run. Someone send the video of that to Tony La Russa and explain to him that that’s how you retaliate for chin music. Cespedes has reached base in every game as a Red Sox. Red Sock? Um, as a player for Boston.

Rangers 3, Rays 2: The walkoff walk in the 14th inning. Four straight balls from Cesar Ramos to Adam Rosales. Ramos didn’t make Joe Maddon happy. After the game he said, “Just throw a strike there. Give us a chance.” Yikes.

Dodgers 4, Braves 2: We’ve now reached the “Craig needs to find a team to root for in the playoffs this year” portion of the season. Please leave your submissions in the comments. I will not root for the Nationals on division rival grounds and I won’t root for the Yankees or Red Sox on general principle, but that does not appear to be an issue this season. Anyone else is fair game at the moment. Probably not the Cardinals, though, actually. I have nothing against them but so many Cardinals fans think I hate their team and have it in for them that I’m not going to give them an excuse to let go of their derangement. It’s too hilarious.

Yankees vs. Orioles; Diamondbacks vs. Indians: POSTPONED: Come on take a walk on the wild side.  Let me kiss you hard in the pouring rain. You like your girls insane. Choose your last words, this is the last time. Cause you and I, we were born to die

Crowd honors Jose Bautista in his last Blue Jays home game

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Jose Bautista ran onto the field on Sunday afternoon, alone, in what was likely his last hurrah as a Blue Jays player. The 36-year-old outfielder signed a one-year, $18 million contract with the club prior to the 2017 season and is not expected to get his $17 million option picked up for 2018. During Sunday’s series finale, he got a fond farewell befitting a decade-long career as one of Toronto’s most prolific hitters, drawing standing ovations every time he stepped up to the plate.

The Blue Jays came out swinging against the Yankees, building an eight-run lead on Teoscar Hernandez’s first-inning home run and a smattering of hits and productive outs from Darwin Barney, Russell Martin, Josh Donaldson and Kendrys Morales. Bautista supplemented the drive with his own RBI single in the fourth inning, plating Hernandez on an 0-2 fastball from reliever Bryan Mitchell.

Later in the inning, he nearly scored a second run on a Kendrys Morales two-RBI single, but was caught at the plate on the relay by Starlin Castro.

It’s an encouraging end to what has overwhelmingly been a disappointing season for the Toronto slugger. Entering Sunday’s finale, he slashed .201/.309/.365 with a franchise single-season record 161 strikeouts in 658 plate appearances, numbers that somewhat obscure the six straight All-Star nominations, four MVP bids and 54-homer campaign he once enjoyed with the team. Even a bounce-back performance in 2018 likely wouldn’t command a $17 million salary, but there’s no denying his impact on the Blue Jays’ last 10 years, from his signature bat flip to his tie-breaking home run in the 2015 ALDS.

The Blue Jays currently lead the Yankees 9-2 in the top of the sixth inning. Expect a few more standing O’s before the end of the game.

Why more baseball players don’t kneel

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Bruce Maxwell was the first baseball player to kneel for the National Anthem. There may be others who do so, but I don’t suspect many will. Indeed, I’m pretty confident that the protests we’re seeing in the NFL today, and will see more of once basketball season begins, will not become a major thing in baseball.

Some will say it’s because baseball or baseball players are more patriotic or something, but I don’t think that’s it. Yes, baseball is a lot whiter and has a lot of conservative players who would never think to protest during the National Anthem or, for that matter, protest anything at all, but I suspect there are many who saw what Colin Kaepernick and other football players have done — or who have listened to what Steph Curry and LeBron James have said — and agreed with it. Yet I do not think many, if any of them will themselves protest.

Why? I think it mostly comes down to baseball’s culture of conformity.

Almost everyone in baseball comes through a hierarchy. Even the big names. Even if you are the consensus number one pick, you do your time in the minors. Once there, conformity and humility is drilled into you. This happens both affirmatively, in the form of coaches telling you to act in a certain way and passively, by virtue of all players being in similar, humbling circumstances. Bus rides, cheap hotels, etc. In that world, even if you are ten times better and ten times richer than your teammates, you fall in with the crowd because doing otherwise would be socially disruptive.

The very socialization of a baseball player is dependent upon them learning to talk, walk and carry themselves like all those who came before. No one is given special treatment. In the rare cases they are, it’s head-turning. Bryce Harper was a more or less normal minor leaguer, but since he got their earlier by bypassing his final years of high school, he was thrown at and challenged in ways no other minor league stars are. It does not take much for a guy to be singled out for punishment or mockery and even the superstars like Harper are not on solid professional ground as long as they’re still in the minors. Indeed, between a player’s education, as it were, in the minors and their pre-free agency residency in the majors, it can be a decade or more before a unique personality or a true showman is able to shine through, and by then few are willing. They’ve been conditioned by that point.

Even budding superstars can be roundly criticized for the tiniest of perceived transgressions or the most modest displays of individuality. Think about all of the “controversies” we have about the proper way to celebrate a home run or run the bases. If that’s a cause for singling out and, potentially, benching or being traded or being given a shorter leash, imagine the guts a baseball player has to have in order to do something like take a knee during the National Anthem. A guy with multiple MVP Awards would likely be in an uncomfortable spotlight over such a thing, so imagine how brave someone like Bruce Maxwell, who has barely 100 games under his belt, has to be to have done it.

CC Sabathia, a 17-year veteran, spoke out yesterday, but I suspect he won’t kneel for the National Anthem when he lines up with his teammates before the Wild Card game next week. Other ballplayers will likely wade into the fray in the coming days. But I suspect baseball’s very nature — it’s very culture — will keep ballplayers from following in the footsteps of the many NFL players who took a knee today.