And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 4, Mariners 1: And then there were 17.  CC Sabathia carried a perfecto into the seventh — broken up right after he came back following a rain delay — and struck out 14.  The M’s struck out 18 times in all. But then again, they’re horrifyingly bad, so that’s understandable.

Braves 4, Pirates 3: The game ends in the 19th on one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen in a major league baseball game. Jerry Meals must have really, really wanted to get back to his hotel room.  Just inexcusable.  Instant. Replay. Now.

Mets 8, Reds 6: Johnny Cueto’s ERA stays sparkling thanks to all six of the runs he gave up being unearned, but it’s not like he pitched well.  The Mets had to get hits and stuff after those errors, and Cueto was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, Jon Niese gave up five runs in five innings and got the win. Baseball is a funny game.

Marlins 11, Nationals 2: HBT’s Macondo correspondent, Old Gator, wired in his report from this one last night right after it ended:

Just a heads-up about something wonderful that occurred during the Feesh game tonight.  Not just that they climbed over the imploding Gnats. Much better. A praying mantis flew into the visitor’s dugout during the late innings and landed on Clay Hensley’s cap, and he carried it around for awhile as his teammates laughed their asses off and he had no idea why. However, as soon as the mantis arrived, the Feesh exploded for five more runs. Eventually the mantis took up a position on the dugout rail – some priceless shots on TV of the ballplayers leaning on the rail with the mantis between them, watching the game – and then the best part: as the inning ended, Logan Morrison swung around to put his cap on, the mantis freaked and flew at him and landed on his back, and LoMo totally freaked out and was jumping up and down and bending and sashaying but the mantis stayed on his back. Someone took it off and put it back on the railing. Some viewer emailed the announcing crew and named it “Mickey Mantis.” It got a lot of play from the announcers who christened it the Mantis Game.

I’m pretty sure this is how the movie “The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh” started. Except somewhat differently.

Phillies 7, Giants 2: Philly made short work of replacement starter Barry Zito, who filled in for the scratched Tim Lincecum.  Really short work, as in this game was over in two hours and eight minutes. Zito wasn’t around for all of it, though, as he was knocked out after giving up six runs in seven innings. Vance Worley, on the other hand, looked like an ace (CG, 3 H, 2 ER), though I think the Giants’ bats had a lot to do with that. Inside the park homer for Chase Utley.

Angels 2, Indians 1: Jered Weaver and Josh Tomlin each had strong starts. Each only gave up one big hit too. Except that the one Tomlin gave up — a double to Mark Trumbo — happened with two guys on base and the one Weaver gave up — a homer to Matt LaPorta — came with the bases empty. The Tribe had a chance in the ninth, getting two men on with no one out against Jordan Walden, but couldn’t push a run across.

Orioles 12, Blue Jays 2: J.J. Hardy had two homers, Derrek Lee drove in five and the O’s had no problems with the Jays.  The Jays probably had some problems with the O’s, however, given that Jose Bautista had to leave the game after getting beaned.

Cardinals 3, Astros 1: A two-run homer for Pujols in the first was all the Cards would end up needing thanks to a solid effort by Jake Westbrook.

Brewers 3, Cubs 2: All of the scoring went down in the first inning so the game was either wonderfully front-loaded or else had eight wasted innings, depending on whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist. Or if you’re just one of those fascists who only cares about scoring. And actually …

Red Sox 13, Royals 9: … If you’re one of those fascists who only cares about scoring, this was the game for you.  I would think that sitting through this kind of game would be pretty brutal, however.

Twins 9, Rangers 8: Carl Pavano gave up all eight of those runs to Texas, who took the lead into the ninth. Neftali Feliz couldn’t seal the deal, however, allowing a single, a double and watching a run score on an Elvis Andrus error to tie it. Then Joe Mauer pinch hit for Drew Butera and hit a go-ahead RBI double. Nice way to shake off Monday night’s shellacking.

Dodgers 3, Rockies 2: Four wins in a row for the Dodgers and they do it on a night when Clayton Kershaw had nothing approaching his best stuff.

Diamondbacks 6, Padres 1: Joe Saunders pitched eight and two-thirds innings of a shutout, but allowed a homer to Jesus Guzman with two outs in the ninth. He still finished the Padres off with only 99 pitches.

Athletics 6, Rays 1: The Rays have lost 10 of 14 and the A’s continue their nice little offensive resurgence. Against David Price of all people.

Tigers 5, White Sox 4: New acquisition Wilson Betemit had an RBI single in the eighth and Justin Verlander did his usual thing, throwing eleventy billion pitches and winning, although he wasn’t the sharpest we’ve ever seen him.

Neal Huntington thinks players should be allowed to re-enter games after concussion testing

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Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli, who has suffered many concussions throughout his 12-year career, was hit on the back of the helmet on a Joc Pederson backswing Saturday against the Dodgers. Through Cervelli remained in the game initially, he took himself out of the game shortly thereafter and went on the seven-day concussion injured list on Sunday.

Perhaps inspired by Saturday’s event, Pirates GM Neal Huntington suggested that players should be allowed to re-enter games once they have passed concussion tests, the Associated Press reports. Huntington said, “Any player that had an obvious concussion risk incident should be allowed to be removed from the game, taken off the field, taken into the locker room, assessed by a doctor, assessed by a trainer, go through an extended period of time and then re-enter the game. Because right now, all of this has to happen on the field.”

Huntington added, “The player has to feel pressure as he’s standing there with 30,000 or 10,000 or 50,000 eyes on him. He has to feel pressure to make a decision whether (he’s) in or (he’s) out of this game. He knows if he takes himself out and he’s the catcher, there’s only one other catcher, and the game becomes a fiasco if that other catcher gets hurt.”

Huntington, who has been forward-thinking on a number of other issues, has it wrong here. The concussion protocols were created because players frequently hid or under-reported their injuries in order to remain in the game. Especially for younger or otherwise less-proven players, there is pressure to have to constantly perform in order to keep one’s job. Furthermore, there is an overarching sentiment across sports that taking time off due to injury makes one weak. Similarly, playing while injured is seen as tough and masculine. Creating protocols that take the decision-making out of players’ hands keeps them from making decisions that aren’t in their own best interests. Removing them would bring back that pressure for players to hide or minimize their ailments. If anything, MLB’s concussion protocols should become more stringent, not more relaxed.

The powers that be with Major League Baseball have no doubt followed the concussion scandal surrounding the National Football League. In January, the NFL settled for over $1 billion with retired players dealing with traumatic brain injuries, including dementia, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. For years, the league refused to acknowledge the link between playing football and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), which is a neurodegenerative disease that can lead to dementia and has many negative effects, such as increasing the risk of suicide. Since baseball isn’t often a contact sport, MLB doesn’t have to worry about brain injuries to this degree, but it still needs to take preventative measures in order to avoid billion-dollar lawsuits as well as avoiding P.R. damage. In December 2012, former major league outfielder Ryan Freel committed suicide. Freel, who claimed to have suffered as many as 10 concussions, suffered from CTE. MLB players can suffer brain injuries just like football players.

Huntington seems to be worried about not having enough rostered catchers in the event one or two catchers get injured. That is really an issue of roster management. Carrying only two catchers on the roster is a calculated risk, often justified. Huntington can ensure his team never has to be put in the position of not having a catcher in an emergency by rostering a third catcher. Rosters are expanding to 26 players next year, by the way.