<span class="vcard">Craig Calcaterra</span>

Chris Young

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 5, Rays 4: Chris Young broke up Alex Cobb’s no hitter in the eighth and then hit a walkoff homer to win the dang thing. A three-run shot with the Yankees down by two. Martin Prado’s two-run homer came right after the no-no was broke up. A game not many people thought the Yankees had a chance to win but, bam, there it is. It’s the sort of thing that is going to keep people saying crazy things like the Yankees have a shot to make the playoffs, even.

Brewers 4, Marlins 2: A win for Milwaukee, but all of it is overshadowed by the awful pitch to the face of Giancarlo Stanton. Everyone pretty much lost it after that happened and it’s not surprising that they did. Here’s hoping the Iron Giant is OK.

Indians 2, Twins 0; Indians 8, Twins 2 : Corey Kluber wins his 15th in game one, getting back on track after some shaky outings. T.J. House takes care of things in the nightcap, tossing seven shutout innings. Carlos Santana homered in both ends of the doubleheader, driving in the only runs in game two.

Nationals 6, Mets 2: Adam LaRoche and Anthony Rendon had two-run homers and Bartolo Colon decided he needed to hit the batters after each of them, leading to his ejection. You been around this game a long time Bartolo: get guys out and cut that crap out.

White Sox 1, Athletics 0: Chris Sale, man. His season has been positively ridiculous. Here he tossed eight shutout innings and lowered his ERA to 1.99. On the year he’s 12-3 with a 192/32 K/BB ratio in 163 innings. He may not get the kind of Cy Young consideration Felix Hernandez gets because he’s played on a losing team and missed some time, but what he’s done while he’s been there has been crazy.

Reds 1, Cardinals 0: Same story applies to Johnny Cueto. He has less of a Cy Young case because, well, there is no argument that makes him better than Clayton Kershaw. But he’s been incredible. Eight shutout innings here, lowering his ERA to 2.15 ERA in a league-leading 222 innings. The Reds take three of four from the Cardinals.

Pirates 4, Phillies 1: Another fantastic pitching performance, this from Francisco Liriano, who struck out 12 in eight shutout innings. Seven of eight for the Pirates, who are separating themselves from the pretenders.

Giants 6, Diamondbacks 2: And those Pirates seem to be on a collision course with the Giants for the wild card game. That is, if the Giants don’t catch the Dodgers. If they played the corpse that is the Arizona Diamonbacks every game they’d be assured of it, because they’d never lose again. Jake Peavy, who has come on like gangbusters, stuck out eight in five and two-thirds. Hunter Pence had a silly RBI single. What a late season surge for the Giants.

Red Sox 6, Royals 3: Liam Hendriks made a spot start for Danny Duffy which is less than ideal. It’s even less ideal than that when the Royals commit three errors behind him in the first four innings of the game.

Angels 7, Rangers 3: Mike Scioscia’s bullpen game-a-week has been interesting. Eight pitches used here may seem nuts, but it’s better than exposing any one pitcher who probably doesn’t have any business pitching a lot of innings, you know, pitch a lot of innings. Indeed, the Angels have given up fewer runs a game since Garrett Richards went down than they were giving up before he did. So someone is doing something right.

 

 

 

Hunter Pence threw his bat at a ball, got a hit anyway

Hunter Pence Getty
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Sometimes I feel like Hunter Pence lives on another plane of existence. He does everything differently. He runs differently. Has a different stance. He’s different than most guys in interviews. Everything.

But he makes different work. Check out this hit he got today:

 

Both the bat toss and the misdirection of the ball. Not bad.

Dustin Pedroia underwent wrist surgery

Dustin Pedroia
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Dustin Pedroia underwent successful surgery on his left wrist on Thursday. That brings it up to 10,536 straight “successful” surgeries in Major League Baseball. We’ve not had one yet where the surgeon comes out to meet the press in blood-soaked surgical scrubs and a shaken expression saying . . . “my God . . . I don’t know what happened. I — oh dear sweet Jesus, that poor man!!” and then collapses in tears.

So Dustin Pedroia should be good to go:

Pedroia has been way off his A-game this year and a good part of last year too. Bad wrists can kill a hitter. He’s 31 now. It’s not guaranteed he’ll get back to his A-game.

Two minor leaguers suspended

Police Blotter
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Police blotter:

Tampa Bay Rays Minor League right-handed pitcher Lenny Linsky has received a 50-game suspension without pay following a second positive test for a drug of abuse.  The suspension of Linsky, who is currently on the roster of the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits of the Southern League, is effective immediately.

Free agent Minor League right-handed pitcher Aaron Gonzales has received a 50-game suspension without pay following a second positive test for a drug of abuse.  The suspension of Gonzales is effective immediately upon his signing with another Major League organization.

Those are big suspensions. But then again, this is serious business. It’s not like they did something small like punch a woman out or discriminate against an employee or something.

Major League Baseball should act in the Jeff Wilpon matter. Not later. Now.

Jeff Wilpon
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Yesterday we heard about the lawsuit filed against Jeff Wilpon by former team executive Leigh Castergine. My thoughts on the legal merits of it are here. Obviously we can’t yet know what happened, but on the surface anyway the allegations (a) are serious; and (b) have at least some indicia of legitimacy based on how they are pleaded. The Mets have denied the allegations. The legal process will determine what happens with them.

But Major League Baseball does not and should not have to wait for the legal process to weigh in on the matter. Every baseball team, particularly its high-ranking executives and ownwers like Jeff Wilpon, answer to the league and can be called on the carpet at any moment. Baseball has, in the past, used this relationship to its advantage:

  • In 1974, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner pleaded guilty to making illegal contributions to Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign, and to a felony charge of obstruction of justice. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn suspended Steinbrenner for two years, though it was eventually reduced to 15 months;
  • In 1990, Steinbrenner was banned from day-to-day management of the Yankees by Fay Vincent for paying Howie Spira to dig up dirt on Dave Winfield as a means of trying to get out Winfield’s contract. He was reinstated after a three-year absence.
  • In 1993 Reds owner Marge Schott was fined $250,000 and banned from day-to-day operations of the Reds for racially-charged remarks. In 1996 she was banned again for more racially insensitive remarks and praising Adolf Hitler. She was facing another ban when she sold the team.

The common denominator here: executives who committed bad acts, made working conditions for their employees hostile and projected views that were anathema to baseball’s stated values were removed from positions of authority. Steinbrenner’s first suspension waited for the legal process to play out, but that was a criminal matter, so perhaps there was reason to wait. In the other instances, even if baseball did not act with great quickness, it did not wait for civil litigation or other protracted fact-finding to take place. It investigated and it acted.

While the treatment Leigh Castergine faced as one of baseball’s top woman executives is of the utmost importance to Major League Baseball, the specific fate of Jeff Wilpon’s legal defense is of little specific concern to Major League Baseball. Or at least it should be. Major League Baseball has no more need to respect his defense of it than it had to respect Steinbrenner’s or Schott’s various business expectations and arrangements when it weighed in on them. As Jeff Passan noted in his column excoriating Jeff Wilpon today, baseball has every bit of authority and every bit of a right to call Jeff Wilpon into a meeting tomorrow and demand to know from him what happened. It can likewise call other Mets employees and get their stories on the matter. Lord knows baseball has flexed its investigatory muscles recently when players were in the crosshairs. It should have no compunction about doing it now that a team executive is.

Unless Major League Baseball is convinced that there is absolutely no truth to the allegations against Wilpon — and again, it is not a court of law and need not be convinced to such a high standard — it can and should take action against him. Ban him from the Mets offices for an extended period of time, if not permanently. Put its money where its mouth is regarding “inclusion,” and take a stand against anyone who would dare make a Major League Baseball front office anything other than a welcoming and inclusive place for women. A place where they can and should expect fair, equal and decent treatment. Jeff Wilpon is the highest-ranking day-to-day employee of the Mets. He runs those offices. He sets the tone. If what he is alleged to have done is true, even in part, he has no place remaining in that position.

Major League Baseball has likely watched with at least some amount of amusement as the NFL has fallen over itself to avoid doing the right thing in the Ray Rice fiasco. Now it’s time for it to show that it can and will deal with the troubling acts of those it oversees swiftly and effectively.

We’re watching, Bud Selig and Rob Manfred. And waiting.