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And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Here’s the first ever installment of And That Happened. It’s from April 2008. At the time I said I may not keep the feature going because I was worried I might get bored with it quickly.

Let’s begin year 10:

Rays 7, Yankees 3: I didn’t watch this game because, as a rule, the first game of Opening Day shouldn’t take place in a dome. So, yes, the game counts, but without grass and sunshine, it didn’t really happen. According to the box score, Masahiro Tanaka only lasted two and two-thirds and got shelled for seven runs. The Yankees lost on opening day for the sixth consecutive year. I’m guessing they themselves wish this one didn’t count.

Diamondbacks 6, Giants 5: It takes everyone a bit of time to get into midseason form. Even the wise-asses on Twitter. Like this joker, who was agitated at Zack Greinke for pitching around Madison Bumgarner in the top of the second, committing the venial sin of walking the opposing pitcher:

Then the dude hit two big homers. Never analyze anything, people. Never have an opinion. Just let the world wash all over you and observe it. It’s much safer. And this even holds true for those who are hardcore experts about the teams in question:

Grant wrote that after Derek Law blew the save for Bumgarner in the eighth. Mark Melancon blew a save himself in the ninth as the Dbacks won in walkoff fashion, which means that they’re actually on pace for 324 blown saves this year. Again: never analyze.

Wait, what’s this?

I really mean it.

Cardinals 4, Cubs 3: Two out of three Opening Day games were walkoffs. Not too shabby. Here it was Randal Grichuk singling in Jose Martinez to end things. Earlier he hit a two-run homer. That spoiled Willson Contreras’ heroism in the top of the ninth — dude hit a three-run homer to tie things up — but to be fair, that homer had already spoiled the heroism of Carlos Martinez, who had tossed seven and a third innings of shutout ball with ten strikeouts before that.

Today we get 1pm baseball, outside, under the sun, kicking off around 12 straight hours of action. No offense to the six team in these three games, but I’m gonna consider this Opening Day too.

Aledmys Diaz is trying to improve his defense with strobe glasses

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.

Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.

The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.

Eduardo Rodriguez could rejoin the Red Sox rotation in July

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Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.

The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.

He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.