Chicago Cubs

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There was a bad call in the Cardinals-Cubs game last night and the current replay system made it possible.

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The Cardinals led the Cubs by a run in the seventh inning of last night’s nightcap. There were two men on and Addison Russell was at the plate. Russell chopped one down the first base line that first hit in foul territory then skipped past first base, also in foul territory.

Yet a run scored, a runner went to third base and Russell ended up safe at first. Cardinals pitcher Seth Maness was ejected on the play arguing, quite understandably, that a game-tying RBI should not happen on an obviously foul ball.

MLB doesn’t have the video embeddable, but you can watch the play here. The announcers entertain the notion that the ball crossed over the bag in fair territory, but for that to be possible the ball would have to travel in such a manner as to make the Warren Commission’s magic bullet look like the straightest thing ever.

More importantly, you can get Derrick Goold’s story about the play and why it was not reviewable by replay. The short version: fair/foul plays on the base lines that occur in front of the umpires are judgment calls. Despite the fact that fair/foul calls in the outfield are not. All of this part of the grand, messy bargain that is the current replay system.

A bargain, as Goold argues and as we at HBT have argued ever since the idea of replay was first broached, is severely flawed by virtue of the challenge system and the lack of a replay ump in the booth who can watch the game in real time and immediately fix calls. Add to it the idea that field umpires are entitled to deference, either on calls that are reviewed or the category of calls, like this one, which are not subject to it.

The system we have is a better one than no system. But it is not the best system that could be implemented, not because of unsolvable technological challenges, but because the system that was adopted was itself flawed. What makes it all the more galling is that neither John Schuerholz, Joe Torre, Bud Selig or anyone else involved in its implementation ever explained why we must have challenges or why we can’t have a booth ump.

It was just asserted — like so many other things baseball does — that it was just fine and all alternatives had been considered and none of you worry your pretty little heads about it.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

Johnny Cueto
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Reds 5, Nationals 0: Johnny Cueto has submitted his resume to the other 29 teams, nailed the interview and now awaits offers. Or at least the Reds do, and they’re likely going to get a nice haul for him. A complete game two-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts and not a care in the world that his opponent was Max Scherzer. Joey Votto didn’t much care that he was facing Scherzer either, as he went 3-for-5 with a double, homer and three driven in. Neither Votto nor Cueto was selected for the All-Star team, by the way.

Pirates 3, Padres 2: A couple of Pirates, including Gregory Polanco got a save here. As in helping save a groundscrew member who was being swallowed up by the tarp during a third inning rain delay:

Later an even better highlight: Justin Upton stone-cold robbing Andrew McCutchen of what would’ve been a go-ahead homer in the fifth:

 

The Pirates got the win anyway, again with help from Polanco, who hit a go-ahead triple in the eighth.

Royals 9, Rays 5Royals 7, Rays 1: The walkoff grand slam by Paulo Orlando in the first game was only soured a tad for the Royals in that it came against Brad Boxberger, who Royals manager Ned Yost had just added to the All-Star team the day before. Maybe rethinking the omission of Corey Kluber is in order? Eh, maybe not. In the second game it was the Alex Gordon show, as he drove in four on a 4-for-5 night. The Royals are now four and a half up in the Central, tied for the biggest division lead in all of baseball with the Cardinals.

Cubs 7, Cardinals 4Cubs 5, Cardinals 3: The Cardinals’ lead was reduced thanks to dropping both ends of this twin bill. Jake Arrieta held their bats at bay and Anthony Rizzo homered. Worse: Kolten Wong went out with a head contusion. Addison Russell helped lead a comeback in the nightcap, giving the Cubs the first doubleheader sweep of the Cardinals since 1992. Note: the Addison Russell hit in that comeback was REALLY controversial. More on that later.

Athletics 4, Yankees 3: Bad day for All-Star relievers, eh? Here Brett Lawrie homered off Dellin Betances in extras. Not that Lawrie dominated the night — he struck out thrice and was behind in the count to Betances, almost to the Golden Sombrero — but he certainly made up for it. Oakland has strangely owned the Yankees of late, having won 12 of their last 15 meetings.

Red Sox 4, Marlins 3: The Sox came from behind with a three-run seventh, with all of those runs coming off the bat of Xander Bogaerts, who cleared the bases with a single. Wade Miley struck out nine.

Indians 2, Astros 0: Corey Kluber: not an All-Star, but he did shut down one of the scariest lineups in the American League, tossing shutout ball into the seventh. Michael Brantley was 3-for-4 with a homer.

Diamondbacks 4, Rangers 2: Robbie Ray took a shutout into the eighth inning, outdueling Yovani Gallardo, whose long-playing scoreless innings streak ended at 33 and a third.

Blue Jays 2, White Sox 1: Felix Doubront started this one, his first start since last year. It went well: six and two-thirds innings, one earned run and six strikeouts. Josh Donaldson’s fourth inning homer was the eventual game-winner, as the Jays played a rare low-scoring game.

Braves 4, Brewers 3: Manny Banuelos put up his second nice start to begin his major league career, allowing one run in five and a third. This after his debut in which he pitched five and two-thirds shutout innings against the Nats. A.J. Pierzynski homered and had three hits in all. Pierzynski is hitting .289 on the year and has an OPS of .778. I never would’ve guessed he’d be that solid, but he’s been a solid pickup for Atlanta.

Twins 8, Orioles 3: Miguel Sano hit his first career homer — a two-run shot — and walked with the bases loaded. He has hit safely in all six games since he was called up. This has been an absolutely nuts year for great young players being called up.

Angels 10, Rockies 2: Four homers from the Angels’ bats: Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Matt Joyce and Chris Iannetta. The Angels have won four straight, scoring 43 runs in those games. It’s almost as if playing the Rangers in Texas and the Rockies in Colorado is good for offense.

Mariners 7, Tigers 6: Robinson Cano with a walkoff single in the bottom of the 11th. Cano also hit a solo homer. The Tigers had their chances in the 10th and 11th innings, having the go-ahead run at third both times, but couldn’t deliver.

Phillies 7, Dodgers 2: Chad Billingsley faced his old mates in Dodger Stadium and notched his first win in over two years. A nice story after the dude had two elbow surgeries. Not a lot of guys could come back from that. The Phillies beat up Brett Anderson a bit, who didn’t look completely right after slipping on the mound early on, but he apparently didn’t hurt himself or anything. Maybe it was my imagination.

Giants 3, Mets 0: Hunter Pence comes back and just like that the Giants’ seven-game losing streak ended. Pence made a sweet sliding catch to turn a double play and drove in two runs on a single and a fielder’s choice. Matt Cain tossed six shutout innings.

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

Brian Dozier
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Twins 4, Orioles 2: Brian Dozier wasn’t selected for the All-Star team because the format we have no encourages managers to treat it like some cross between Little League in which everyone must be represented and some form of awful FutureBall in which every team has 20 or so relievers hanging around because people, the theory goes, would rather see relievers instead of genuine ballplayers who do things like slug .500 in the first half. Well, he showed them by hitting a two-run walkoff homer in the 10th. And he’ll show them more when he goes to Cabo or someplace better than Cincinnati next week with his days off.

White Sox 4, Blue Jays 2: Chris Sale’s 10 strikeout streak came to an end — he only punched out six — but that’s OK. He just needed to relax, all right? And not try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they’re fascist. He needed to throw some ground balls – it’s more democratic. Besides, by not striking everyone out he went the distance in this one.

Pirates 2, Padres 1: Pedro Alvarez hit a walkoff RBI single. Which is fun because the opposing manager, Pat Murphy, is his father in law. Which is exactly the plot of that Pauley Shore movie. You know the one: “BioDome.” I dunno, maybe “Son-in-Law” is closer to all of this, but I’m the wrong guy to ask. If that’s on I just mute it and watch Carla Gugino’s scenes.

Reds 3, Nationals 2: Reds shortstop Eugenio Suarez went 3 for 4 with two RBI including a tiebreaking homer. Suarez is batting .329 with three homers and 13 RBI in 21 games while filling in for the injured Zack Cosart. Otherwise a boring game it seems, at least from the box score, but it’s Cueto vs. Scherzer tonight making that seem like the game to watch.

Astros 9, Indians 4: The Astros offense just doing its Astros offense thing: Preston Tucker had four hits and an RBI. Jose Altuve, extended his hitting streak to 14-games with two hits, including an RBI double. Marwin Gonzalez homered and drove in two runs. Colby Rasmus drove in two. All of this despite facing Carlos Carrasco, who came a strike away from a no-hitter in his last outing.

Cardinals 6, Cubs 0: John Lackey tossed seven shutout innings, but you figure he’s going to be fined for giving up a hit to Jon Lester. It was Lester’s first hit in 67 career at bats. Came on a 95 m.p.h. fastball too:

Sure, it would’ve likely been an out or a fielder’s choice or whatever had it not hit Jon Lackey’s foot, but it still counts, man.

Braves 5, Brewers 3: Matt Wisler allowed three runs and seven hits while pitching into the sixth inning to help end the Brewers’ eight-game winning streak. Seven of those eight wins came against the Reds and Phillies so it wasn’t a Winning Streak For The Ages, but still. Bad scene in this one: a woman sitting behind the dugout was hit with a foul ball and taken out on a stretcher. More netting, Major League Baseball. Please, more netting.

Tigers 12, Mariners 5: The Tigers’ pitching may be a grease fire, but their offense is doing just fine. Nineteen hits here, including four from Victor Martinez and four from J.D. Martinez, who also drove in four runs. That made Hisashi Iwakuma’s first game back since late April less-than-fun. The Mariners starter gave up five runs on eight hits before turning it over to the pen, which didn’t fare much better.

Dodgers 10, Phillies 7: A four-hour and thirteen minute nine inning game which involved blown leads and bad pitching. It’s the Dodgers and Phillies wanted to party like it was 1999. Jimmy Rollins 2-for-4 and drove in the go-ahead runs in his first game against the Phillies since being traded away last December.

Mets 3, Giants 0: The Giants have lost seven in a row now, this one coming against Jon Niese, who tossed eight shutout innings. It was scoreless until the ninth when Johnny Monell, who had eight plate appearances for the Giants two years ago, hit a two-run double.

Rays vs. Royals: POSTPONED: Nothin’ lasts forever
And we both know hearts can change
And it’s hard to hold a candle
In the cold November rain