Anthony Rendon

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Nationals 3, Diamondbacks 2: Yet another win for the Nationals. Their ninth in a row. Yet another walkoff. Fourth in five games, I think. Anthony Rendon hit the single that scored Bryce Harper in the ninth. Afterwards Harper described the Nats current run: “It’s absolutely epic. That’s the best word I can put out there.” Isn’t that two words? Ah, forget it, he’s rolling.

Tigers 6, Rays 0: A good way to test to see how close attention someone is paying to the Tigers is to ask them who their best pitcher and best hitter have been this season. If they don’t say Rick Porcello and Victor Martinez, they haven’t been paying attention. Porcello tosses a three-hit shutout for his 14th victory and Martinez drove in five.

Rangers 5, Marlins 4: Nick Martinez allowed two runs over six innings and got the win in front of what, for him anyway, was a hometown crowd. After the game he said that it was a big deal winning in Miami because he “grew up watching” the Marlins. I realize the math works out and that I’m an old fart and everything, but it’s hard for me to get my head around anyone growing up watching a team that, to me anyway, feels like it just showed up yesterday. I suppose people in their 50s feel the same way when I talk about growing up watching the Blue Jays come play the Tigers and stuff. Time marches on, though.

Blue Jays 9, Brewers 5: Milwaukee had a five game winning streak of its own snapped. Jose Bautista had a three-run homer in a five-run sixth inning. Here is Brewers manager Ron Roenicke describing the Jays scoring those six and Carlos Gomez hitting a two-run homer to pull Milwaukee closer:

“So tough inning, you know we come back and Gomey gets the two points and we get a little closer, and we give up another homer.

I’m not sure if I’m more disturbed by the “two points” or the “Gomey,” really.

Indians 5, Twins 0: Five Indians pitchers, led by T.J. House, combined to shut out Minnesota on six hits. For whatever reason I get all the Indians transaction news sent directly to me from their front office — I guess I got on the right mailing list a couple of years back — so I see every little option and purchased contract they do, even if it’s not at all newsworthy to most people. Four of the five pitchers in this one — House, C.C. Lee, Nick Hagadone and Bryan Shaw — are regularly featured in those, to the point where I actually spend a lot of time worrying about them. Wondering if they get bored or lonely driving up and down I-71 all the time. Wondering where they live when they’re going back and forth like that all the time. Good to see them go all Voltron like this for a night.

Pirates 3, Braves 2: Atlanta’s five game winning streak comes to an end and Pittsburgh’s seven game losing streak halts at the same time. The winning run came around in part to Justin Upton dropping a routine fly ball. The Upton giveth on Tuesday, taketh away on Wednesday.

Phillies 4, Mariners 3: Cole Hamels has lost a lot when he’s pitched well. Yesterday he won when he didn’t have his best stuff. He probably deserves that more than anyone.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $25,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Thursday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:10pm ET on ThursdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Mets 8, Athletics 5: Lucas Duda hit a three-run homer. He has hit a LOT of homers in the past couple of months. The Mets and A’s split two. Remember a few years back when there were two-game series all the damn time? God, I hated that. Sometimes it’s good to remember that not everything baseball does is aggravating. Sometimes they fix the aggravating things they did before. In baseball, that’s vision.

Padres 4, Dodgers 1: Eric Stults won and said that he “executed pitches better” than he had. After the Mariners-Phillies game, James Paxton said “I probably could’ve executed pitches a little bit better.” I wish I had the technology to keep a running count for terms like that after games. I think they come and go in cycles. We’re in a big “executing pitches” era these days. It has surpassed “make pitches” by quite a margin, I think.

Rockies 5, Royals 2: The Royals lead in the Central drops to one thanks in part to a Matt McBride grand slam. Not bad for a guy who just got called up a couple of days ago. McBride doesn’t even get a chance to bat that inning if it wasn’t for a Christian Colon error at third that should’ve been out number three.

Giants 8, Cubs 3: First they win the protest over Tuesday night’s washout then they win the game. Not a bad day for San Francisco. Of course, commenters told me all day yesterday that the Cubs grounds crew made no mistake worth noting, so how they won the protest is beyond me. Oh, wait:

Available video of the incident, and conversations with representatives of the Cubs, demonstrate that the Cubs’ inability to deploy the tarp appropriately was caused by the failure to properly wrap and spool the tarp after its last use.  As a result, the groundskeeping crew was unable to properly deploy the tarp after the rain worsened.

Nope, no one screwed up there.

Cardinals 7, Reds 3: The Cards got to Johnny Cueto for five runs in five and Lance Lynn was solid. The Cards have won eight of nine and are almost singlehandedly bringing respectability to the NL Wild Card race. Someone’s gotta.

Orioles 4, White Sox 3: Nelson Cruz took the MLB lead in homers with his 33rd as the O’s sweep the Chisox. The O’s hit three homers in all off Hector Noesi. They lead all of baseball in bombs.

Astros 5, Yankees 2: I probably follow a disproportionate number of Yankees fans on Twitter for whatever reason. And Yankees fans — or these Yankees fans, not sure which — probably gave the Astros disproportionate criticism for all that “2017 World Series champs!” and front office hype that they were getting a little while back. As such, watching them come to grips with the Astros beating the Yankees all the damn time recently has been somewhat amusing. Four of five on the season for Houston. Now: let us see whether the talk about the Yankees still being in the playoff hunt abates any. Because dudes, if Houston is eating your lunch, you’re not a playoff team.

Angels 8, Red Sox 3: A win, yes, but losing Garrett Richards, almost certainly for the season, is a huge, huge blow for the Angels. Josh Hamilton had three RBI. Right now it’d be better if he could throw 98 miles per hour, because the Angels are going to need that way more in the season’s final month and change.

 

Claire Smith becomes the first woman to win the BBWAA’s Spink Award

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ESPN
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The Baseball Writers Association of America has elected Claire Smith the winner of the 2017 J.G. Taylor Spink Award. She becomes the first woman to be given baseball writing’s highest honor. She will be honored with the award that is presented annually to a sportswriter “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing” during Hall of Fame inductions in Cooperstown on July 30.

Smith, 62, covered the New York Yankees for five years beginning in 1983 for the Hartford Courant before becoming a columnist with the New York Times. She later served as an editor and columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1998-2007. She is now ESPN’s news editor of remote productions, responsible for the integration of news and analysis in live game broadcasts and the Baseball Tonight and Sports Center studio programs. She is a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee and winner of three New York Times Publishers’ Awards.

Smith was named Sports Journalist of the Year from the National Association of Black Journalists in 1997, received the Mary Garber Pioneer Award from the Association of Women in Sports Media in 2000 and the Sam Lacy Award at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame in 2010. She has served on the Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee and was the chair of the New York chapter of the BBWAA in 1995 and 1996.

There will be Under Armour logos on the front of baseball uniforms

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Under Armour
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Yesterday’s announcement that Under Armour will be taking over the MLB uniform business brought with it an added bit of news: for the first time, beginning in 2020, baseball uniforms will feature the maker’s logo on the front of the jersey. From Paul Lukas of UniWatch:

While the Majestic logo has appeared on MLB sleeves, the Under Armour logo will be appearing on the upper-right chest area.

Lukas has a bunch of Photoshopped images of MLB players wearing uniforms with UA logos on it to give us a sense of how it will likely look.

It’s certainly weird and in some cases even a bit jarring. It would be my preference not to see baseball uniforms go this route as I think they’re aesthetically pleasing parts of the game in and of themselves. But it’s inevitable. If there is a chance for leagues and sponsors to make money and if it doesn’t cause them to lose fans (i.e. lose money) they will take it. You can say you’ll give up baseball if they put corporate logos — including paid advertisements, not just the logos of the companies which make the gear — but you’re lying to yourself about that. You and I will complain and grumble and then we’ll get used to it. At some point, after a couple of years, we’ll start talking about which ads look better and which ones look worse and applaud particularly savvy and pleasing looking logos.

As I wrote back in April when the NBA approved ads on uniforms, there may even be a bright side to all of this.

Sports teams have had it both ways for a long time. They’ve worked to make a buck off of anything that isn’t nailed down all the while pretending to be something greater than any other business. They play on our nostalgia and our loyalty in order to portray themselves as something akin to a public trust or institution, entitling themselves to perks no other businesses get and the avoidance of regulation. By turning players into walking billboards, perhaps the four major North American sports will inadvertently make some folks realize that they are just businesses and that they aren’t deserving of such special treatment.

I’m not holding my breath about that, but anything that takes away even a bit of the faux public trust luster that sports leagues and teams use to manipulate their fans is a good thing. Maybe it’ll make, say, the Yankees or the Dodgers look less venerable and sharp. But maybe it’ll remind people that they’re just business units of a $10 billion industry, not some fourth branch of government or whatever.