And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Mariners 7, Yankees 0: Having Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez shut the Yankees down in back-to-back games was exactly how the Mariners drew it up this offseason. Only they figured it would happen in meaningful games in October as opposed to playing-out-the-string-already-time in late June.  But hey, dominance is dominance, and King Felix had it in abundance last night (CG SHO, 2 H, 11K). Still, I’ll be curious to read how the tabloids pin this on some fatal Yankee flaw this morning, because how else could they ever lose a game?

Dodgers 8, Giants 2: You know what’s fun? Building an entire video segment around how Matt Kemp is struggling and how you don’t know what to make of it and you don’t know when it will end, taping it, and then prior to post-production being completed, having Kemp go 3 for 4 with a homer and 3 RBI. But screw it, we’re gonna post the video later because if we didn’t then you wouldn’t get to see me wearing a shirt with a collar that gaps up all crazy and stupid looking. Mr. DeMille: I’m ready for my closeup.

Astros 5, Brewers 1: Could have been worse. I gave serious thought to doing a “what the hell is the matter with Wandy Rodriguez” segment. Wandy: 7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 6K.

Braves 4, Nationals 1: Jair Jurrjens returned, looked sharp, struck out a lot of guys until he ran out of gas in the fifth and sixth. But that’s OK because he’s not exactly in midseason form from a conditioning perspective right now. And really, given how they’re hitting the ball, the Nats are essentially a rehab start-quality opponent to begin with.

Royals 7, White Sox 6: Greinke was basically cruising — giving up a lot of hits, but allowing only one run — until the eighth when he came crashing back to Earth and the Sox plated five. KC held on, however, lucky to have built up that 7-1 lead through seven.

Padres 13, Rockies 3: Just another game in that bandbox they call a ballpark down in San Diego. The Rockies and the Padres combined for 41 runs in this three-game series. Clayton Richard was on point last night, though (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 10K).

Rays 9, Red Sox 4: The bottom of the order — Sean Rodriguez, Kelly Shoppach and Jason Bartlett — got the job done for Tampa Bay, combining for seven RBI. Matt Garza was solid into the eighth, striking out five and walking two and allowing three runs on six hits (two of the three runs scored after he left the game).

Pirates 2, Cubs 0: My daddy said “son you’re gonna drive me to drinkin’ if you can’t start hittin off hot Brad Lincoln.” Um, let’s just move on, shall we?

Diamondbacks 4, Cardinals 2: Say what you want about Yankees-Red Sox games taking forever, but at least those teams have a bunch of great players and stuff. This one featured a Barry Enright-Jeff Suppan matchup that went nearly four hours. Oy vey.

Indians 3, Blue Jays 1: Aaron Laffey’s wife had a son yesterday and he used that as inspiration for his winning performance: “With runners on base or when I was behind in the count, I thought,
‘Come on, your son was born yesterday, you can’t give in.'”  Which is crazy. The day after our kids were born we were each so physically and/or emotionally drained, giving in was the only option. Really, I think I let my then-19 month-old daughter smoke cigarettes the day the boy was born, because I just couldn’t find the will to do anything but acquiesce. By all rights Laffey should have walked 16 dudes and left the mound in a heap. Good for him for not doing so.

Orioles 9, Athletics 6: Five homers for the O’s, including a Luke Scott solo shot in the seventh on which he injured his hamstring during the trot. Assuming it’s not a totally serious injury, you can bet he’ll be fined a righteous amount of money in kangaroo court as God, nature and kangaroos intended.

Reds 4, Phillies 3: I hit this one up yesterday. Fun way to pass the time yesterday afternoon: reading people who pay no attention to the NL Central write things afterward to the effect of “Hey, you know what? The Reds are pretty decent.”

Twins 5, Tigers 1: I hit this one up too. Random fact ESPN threw out there in their recap: “The Twins improved to 38-0 this season when leading after eight innings.” I’d be curious to see the numbers on this for every team. I’m guessing that while hardly any other teams are undefeated in such situations, most if not all teams have overwhelmingly good records. I guess this is just a more polite way of suggesting that Joe Nathan’s injury hasn’t turned out to be that big a deal.

Rangers 6, Angels 4: Vlad was a one-man wrecking crew: grand slam in the fourth, solo shot in the eighth and a double and a single to go along with the blasts. Mike Scioscia: “He’s obviously at a level we haven’t seen in a
couple of years.” No kiddin’.

Mets 6, Marlins 5: The Mets salvage the three-game series with a win despite allowing 17 hits. It helped that the Feesh made four errors. Edwin Rodriguez: “I think it was a good ending, other than the loss.” I’m inspired. How about you?

Major League Baseball needs to make an example out of José Ureña

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We’re about an hour and a half separated from the first pitch of Wednesday night’s Marlins/Braves game that featured Marlins starter José Ureña hitting Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña on the elbow with a first-pitch, 97.5 MPH fastball. The benches emptied, Ureña was ejected, and the game went on. Acuña left the game not long after to tend to his injured elbow.

After the game, when the Marlins speak to the media, they will almost certainly deny any ill intent towards Acuña, who had hit leadoff home runs in three consecutive games against them. When they do so, they will be lying. Watch how catcher J.T. Realmuto sets up on the first pitch.

ESPN Stats & Info notes that Ureña’s 97.5 MPH fastball was in the 99th percentile in terms of velocity of the 2,125 pitches he has thrown this season. It was also the fastest pitch Ureña has ever thrown to begin a game. Ureña put a little extra mustard on this pitch, for some reason.

Ureña has a 6.8 percent walk rate, which ranks 37th out of 95 starters with at least 100 innings of work this season. The major league average is eight percent. Control isn’t typically something with which he struggles.

Furthermore, Acuña isn’t the only player who has drawn Ureña’s ire:

Ureña wanted nothing to do with Hoskins — even though Hoskins has yet to get a hit off of him — in his August 4 start at home against the Phillies, walking him twice which included a few up-and-in pitches.

Ureña will almost certainly be fined and suspended for his actions on Wednesday night against Acuña. But will his punishment be enough to deter him and others from wielding a baseball as a weapon? Probably not. On June 19, when Marlins starter Dan Straily intentionally threw at Buster Posey, he received a five-game suspension and manager Don Mattingly was suspended one game. If you look at Straily’s game logs, you can’t even tell he was suspended. He started six days later on June 25 against the Diamondbacks and again on July 1 and 6. Because starters only pitch once every five days, it was like he wasn’t even suspended at all.

Major League Baseball needs to levy harsher punishments on players who attempt to injure other players. A 15-game suspension, for example, would force Ureña to miss at least two starts and it would inconvenience the Marlins enough to more seriously weigh the pros and cons of exacting revenge. The Marlins couldn’t work around it the way they did Straily by pushing back his scheduled start one day.

Major League Baseball also needs to make a legitimate effort to do away with this culture of revenge against players who are just a little bit too happy. Batters get thrown at when they flip their bats, when they yell at themselves in frustration, and even when they’re just hitting well. Baseball’s stagnating audience is very old, very white, and very male. It is not going to bring in fans from diverse backgrounds by keeping this antiquated culture that prevents baseball players from showing their personalities and being emotive. In the event Acuña needs to go on the disabled list for a couple weeks, that’s two weeks that Acuña isn’t on SportsCenter’s top-10, isn’t on the front page of MLB.com, and isn’t in articles like this. The culture of revenge is actively harming MLB’s ability to market its bright, young stars. If ending this culture of revenge doesn’t hit MLB from a moral angle, it should absolutely hit home from a business angle.