And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Dodgers 6, Angels 2: Nowadays, everybody wanna talk like they got somethin’ to say, but nothin’ comes out when they move their lips, just a bunch of gibberish, and motherf*****s act like they forgot about Clay.

Specifically: a couple of times a year people write things about how so-and-so is now the best pitcher in baseball, unseating Clayton Kershaw. We’ve seen that with Max Scherzer a bit lately. Funny thing, though: the names of Kershaw’s would-be usurpers keep changing and Kershaw keeps on being the best pitcher in baseball. Here he allowed one run — unearned — over seven innings and struck out 12 for his 12th win of the year. It’s comical how much better he is than anyone else in the game. Maybe people should stop trying to say otherwise until, you know, it’s true. In other news Chase Utley and Yasiel Puig homered and Joc Pederson drove in three.

Padres 6, Braves 0: Rookie Dinelson Lamet shut the Braves out for seven innings, striking out eight and the Padres beat the hell out of Jaime Garcia. Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe went deep and Manuel Margot went three for four and drove in two. Between names like Lamet and Margot it’s as if the Padres decided that signing 19th century Impressionist painters was the new inefficiency.

Indians 5, Rangers 1: Corey Kluber allowed one run over eight and struck out 12. Andrew Cashner got hit with a dang bat. That kind of sums things up.

Tigers 7, Royals 3: Michael Fulmer took a shutout into the ninth. That didn’t hold up as he ran out of gas and the Royals scored three, but he had plenty of room to work with thanks to the Tigers offense. Justin Upton hit a three-run shot in the first. Ian Kinselr and Andrew Romine added blasts of their own. The Tigers took two of three fro the Royals.

Astros 6, Athletics 1: Carlos Correa hit two homers, knocking in four. Houston is 10-2 against the Athletics this season. They’re 17-2 against them dating back to last July.

Cardinals 10, Diamondbacks 4: Randal Grichuk continues that post minor league stint surge we talked about earlier this week. He hit homers on Sunday and Monday and here he a go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh and drove in five overall. He went 0-for-8 on Tuesday and Wednesday but we’ll let that slide. Lance Lynn allowed three runs and four hits in six innings, striking out seven.

Cubs 5, Nationals 4: Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but the Nats bullpen couldn’t hold a ninth inning lead. Jon Jay hit a go-ahead two-run double during a three-run ninth-inning rally against Nats reliever Blake Treinen. The Nats have blown 13 saves this season. That ties them with the Mets and Phillies for the worst mark in the league. Oh, and the Nats lost Trea Turner to a wrist fracture, so yesterday was basically a nightmare.

Red Sox 6, Twins 3: David Price allowed three runs over seven innings but finished stronger than he began which is a good sign. Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez hit solo home runs, and Jackie Bradley Jr. had three hits and an RBI.

Pirates 4, Rays 0Jameson Taillon pitched shutout ball into the seventh and the pen took it home. Gregory Polanco and John Jaso hit solo home runs as the Pirates win their fourth in their last six.

Orioles 2, Blue Jays 0: Every once in a while Ubaldo Jimenez looks unhittable. It’s rare — you see it about as often as you see the International Space Station fly overhead on a clear, starry night, but it does happen. Here he allowed two hits over eight shutout innings striking out eight. He gave up nine in his last start. I dunno, you tell me.

Brewers 11, Reds 3: Homer Bailey‘s return is not going swimmingly. Here he was shelled for six runs — and gave up three homers — over three innings. I guess that’s an improvement. Last time he allowed eight runs in an inning and two-thirds. His counterpart, Jimmy Nelson, struck out 11 over seven innings of work, allowing two. Jesus Aguilar hit a three-run homer and drove in four for Milwaukee.

Mets 6, Marlins 3: The Mets took a 4-0 lead after three innings thanks to Jay Bruce, who doubled in and singled in runs, and T.J. Rivera who doubled in singled in runs as well. Seth Lugo allowed three runs — two earned — over six innings. The Mets’ ten game road trip began with them losing four in a row to the Dodgers. It ended with them winning five of the final six. They’ll take it.

White Sox 4, Yankees 3: A heartbreaking disaster here as Yankees outfield prospect Dustin Fowler was called up and made his major league debut last night only to suffer a gruesome, season-ending injury in the first inning after slamming his knee on a railing while trying to make a catch. The Yankees announced he suffered an open rupture of his right patellar tendon. He underwent immediate surgery. Really, really sad. James Shields pitched into the seventh inning, allowing two earned runs. The Yankees lost for the the 12th time in 16 games.

Derek Jeter: no longer the media’s darling

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There was a time, not too long ago, where the baseball press practically gave Derek Jeter awards for providing them no information whatsoever. As a player, he turned not answering questions into an art form. To the point where, eventually, the press just stopped asking him substantive questions almost entirely.

Unlike a lot of players who shut out the media, Jeter did it rather politely, so he did not get that passive aggressive treatment — or, occasionally, the aggressive-aggressive treatment — the press often gives uncommunicative players. To the contrary. He was positively lauded for his lack of communication. Lionized, even.

Take this column from Jeff Peralman at CNN.com from 2014, under the headline “Derek Jeter: Baseball’s Humble Hero”:

Throughout the first 18 seasons of his career, Jeter has often been labeled “dull” by the media. His answers to questions are unimaginative and full of cliché baseball nothingness blather. In hindsight, however, such lameness is almost to be admired. We live in an era where too many athletes feel as if they need to draw attention to themselves — for confidence, for commercials. If you’re not tweeting trash talk, you’re texting trash talk. Or making bold promises. Or demanding money or respect . . . he’s a guy who merely wanted to be a guy.

How about this from the New York Times around the time of his retirement:

Jeter’s ability to maintain a posture of sustained inscrutability — or, if you must, dignified comportment — has extended especially to the spoken word . . . he has played his best defense in front of his locker: catching every controversial question thrown to him and tossing it aside as if it were a scuffed ball unsuitable for play.

In a major league career that dates to the Clinton administration’s first term — he is the only Yankees shortstop a generation of fans has known — inquiring reporters have gathered around Jeter in the clubhouse thousands of times. He has maintained eye contact, answered nearly every question posed to him — and said nothing. This is not a complaint, but rather an expression of awe; of admiration, even. His batting average and fielding percentage aside, this kid from Kalamazoo, Mich., entered the New York meat grinder two decades ago and came out the other end looking as sharp as Joe DiMaggio’s suit.

This opinion of Jeter was pervasive throughout his career, but especially pronounced at its end of it. Jeter was deified by the press for saying nothing to the press. Praised for making the media’s job harder by the media itself. That’s pretty amazing when you think about it.

Times, however, have changed.

Some minor grumbling about Jeter’s non-answers to media questions began soon after he took over as Marlins co-owner. Ken Davidoff of the New York Post wrote a column about it all back in October, saying Jeter’s “Crash Davis Rules of Media Relations don’t apply anymore.” Not too many people echoed that at the time, probably because it came in the wake of a pretty boring introductory press conference and the stakes were pretty low. I did wonder at the time, though, if the media was waiting to turn on Jeter once he actually started making moves in his new role.

I think we can now say the answer to that is yes.

In the wake of the Giancarlo Stanton trade, a lot of baseball writers had a lot of questions for Derek Jeter. Jeter, however, decided that he didn’t even need to show up here at the Winter Meetings to answer them, despite the fact that he lives just a couple of hours away.

On Monday morning Buster Olney of ESPN made conspicuous note of it:

Later in the day Jeter deigned to talk to the media via a conference call. As usual, he said mostly nothing, but unlike 1997, 2007 or 2014 (a) he got testy about it; and (b) the press made a note of it:

They likewise noted when he passed the buck to someone below him on the org chart:

Last night I think a dam broke, and I don’t think Jeter will ever be able to sweet non-talk his way out criticism again. It all happened at a football game:

To sum up:

  • Jeter is now bad for not talking to the press;
  • Jeter is not lauded for his composure anymore; and
  • Jeter is being called out as a poor leader who does not face the music.

What a difference a few years and a change of role makes.

All of which, one would think, would make me at least a little happy. I mean, I’ll totally own up to rolling my eyes at the kid glove treatment Jeter got back when he played. About how his attributes, however great, were elevated even above their actual greatness and how his faults were, perversely, spun into attributes. You’d expect that, in light of that, I’d be sorta pleased that the tables have turned.

I’m not happy, though. Indeed, I have something approaching sympathy for Captian Jeets.

Why? Because, while I’d like to see him face the press, defend his moves as owner and explain his vision to Marlins fans everywhere, I know that he cannot. I know that he has no good answers to any of the questions he might be asked because the real answer to all of them is “hey, we need to make money for the ownership group and everything flows from that” and that’s not an answer he’s prepared to give.

Have some sympathy for Derek Jeter. He’s really in a tough, tough spot. Even if he put himself into it.