And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Athletics 5, Royals 4: Jonathan Broxton walked two batters and hit two batters to blow the game in the 12th inning. That, my friends, is how you blow a save. Without doubt and with authority. None of this pussyfooting around with grounders that just get past an infielder. Decisive action brings order to a world full of chaos.

Rockies 17, Giants 8: Tim Lincecum was beat up for the second straight start, and this time it wasn’t just a minor beating. The Rockies touched the Giants’ ace for six runs in two and a third innings — his shortest outing ever — opening the floodgates for Colorado. He got a no-decision thanks to some equally-bad Rockies pitching, but then the bullpen gave up ten runs and that was that. The Rockies rapped out 22 hits overall, eight of which were doubles and three of which were triples. Lincecum’s struggles have to be concerning in the extreme to anyone who gives a crap about the Giants.

Brewers 2, Cubs 1: Castro kicked off the scoring with a sac fly in the first, but no one else on the Cubs wanted to associate themselves with Castro in this highly-charged environment, so he was the only Cub with an RBI. Yovani Gallardo induced approximately 126 ground balls and didn’t break much of a sweat in this one.

Rays 4, Tigers 2: Justin Verlander had a one-hitter going and had thrown a mere 81 pitches when the ninth inning began. He threw 23 more in the game without escaping it. A couple of singles and a walk chased him when it was tied 2-2 and Daniel Schlereth was called on for some reason. He walked another guy and Jose Valverde let two score on a Ben Zobrist single. Seeing Verlander go from nearly untouchable to watching singles squirt through here and there was one of the more unexpected things of the young season so far.

Phillies 7, Marlins 1: The Roy Halladay vs. Josh Johnson battle everyone was anticipating was decidedly one-sided. Doc threw seven innings of one-run ball and Johnson couldn’t get out of the fourth after allowing six runs on 11 hits. Every position player got a hit for Philadelphia, five of them got two or more.

Padres 2, Diamondbacks 1: Aww, Arizona finally loses a game. They were the last undefeated team in baseball before last night. So, per tradition, the survivors from the last undefeated baseball team will all now crack open their celebratory bottles of champagne, toasting the endurance of their lasting achievement.

Twins 6, Angels 5: Yes, the Twins won, but let us all take a moment and acknowledge that Peter Bourjous is one fast s.o.b. Check out his inside the park homer. Wait for the replay that sticks on him as he’s running the bases. He doesn’t even really start running hard until he’s in between first and second base. And there still was no play at the plate. What happens if he’s running hard out of the box?  Two times around the bases? Mercy.

Nationals 4, Mets 0: I guess it was getaway day for home plate umpire Larry Vanover too, because the pitching staffs combined for 25 strikeouts. Terry Collins was ejected when he’d seen all he could stand of a zone that had dudes being punched out on balls thrown over the opposite batter’s box. Johan Santana was effective but not efficient. Stephen Strasburg was both, and he got the win.

Yankees 6, Orioles 4: The second extra innings game in a row for these two. Nick Swisher’s two-run shot in the 10th ended up winning it.

Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 1: Rickey Romero shut the Red Sox down. Boston didn’t even have a hit after the third inning. And now they go back to Boston with a 1-5 record. Which is one win better than they were through six games last year, but don’t anyone mention it because that screws up the whole panic thing.

Reds 4, Caridnals 3: Joey Votto had four hits and scored the winning run when Chris Heisey singled him home in walkoff fashion. Aroldis Chapman struck out five dudes in two innings of relief work to get the win. Can someone tell me why he’s not starting?

White Sox 10, Indians 5: A.J. Pierzynski hit a three-run homer and drove in four as the White Sox pulled away with a five-spot in the sixth inning. The Indians bullpen and offense have been a big problem in the early going, but Manny Acta is not worried:

“Five games is not going to make me panic about my bullpen, my offense, defense or anything like that,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “We have to give it a little more time.”

Then he can panic.

Braves 6, Astros 3: Jason Heyward had a night, as he goes 3 for 4 with two RBI and a homer. The big guy has started the year off hot, which is exactly what the Braves need if they have a shot at contention.

Mariners 4, Rangers 3: The M’s rallied after finding themselves down 3-0 entering the eighth inning, scoring one that inning and capping it off with three runs off Joe Nathan in the ninth. In other news, Kevin Millwood has had a fork stuck in his back several times over the past decade, but he always seems to find a way to remove it. After missing most of last season, he begins 2012 by giving up a mere one run on six hits to one of the best offenses in the game. He didn’t get the win — thanks Steve Delabar! — but he was solid.

Dodgers 4, Pirates 1: The Dodgers are now 5-1, thanks in part to Matt Kemp and Juan Rivera, each of whom had three hits. Chad Billingsley was strong again too, allowing only one run over six.

John Henry tries to justify the Red Sox’ trade of Mookie Betts

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Red Sox owner John Henry issued a lengthy statement to fans today trying to explain and justify the team’s trade of Mookie Betts. It’s a master class in distortion that will, in all likelihood, make no one happy.

Henry starts by talking about “challenges.” The “particularly challenging” offseason the Red Sox had, the “extraordinary challenges” the Red Sox faced, and the front office’s handling of these “challenges.” He goes on to talk about how he knows the “challenges” affect the fans and how he sees it as his job to protect the organization from these “challenges.”

There’s a lot of passive voice here, and at no point does Henry note that the primary challenge at play here was the team’s decision to cut payroll and get it below the Competitive Balance Tax threshold. It’s just a thing that happened to the Red Sox, apparently. They had no agency in this at all.

For what it’s worth, the team keeps denying that the CBT was the motivating factor:

This is laughable, of course, given that Henry himself began the Red Sox’ offseason by specifically saying the team needed top do just that. His exact words from late September:

“This year we need to be under the CBT . . .  that was something we’ve known for more than a year now. If you don’t reset there are penalties so we’ve known for some time now we needed to reset as other clubs have done.”

Three days later, Kennedy himself said it’d “be difficult” to keep both Betts and J.D. Martinez and accomplish that goal. When that all went over like a lead balloon with the fans Henry and everyone else tried to walk it back, but you have to be an idiot not to see what happened here:

  1. Owner demands team get under CBT;
  2. Team president says it’ll be hard to do that without one of the superstars leaving;
  3. Martinez declines to op-out of his deal;
  4. Betts is traded.

They can cite all the “challenges” they want, but they traded Betts in order to slash payroll and they slashed payroll simply because they wanted to, not, as we and many others have demonstrated, because of any compelling reason.

Instead of talking about that, Henry spends the bulk of the statement talking about how baseball’s financial system — free agency, basically — requires teams to make tough choices. Henry:

In today’s game there is a cost to losing a great player to free agency — one that cannot merely be made up by the draft pick given. . . . we felt we could not sit on our hands and let him go without getting value in return to help us on our path forward.”

Losing a player to free agency stinks, but nowhere in the entire statement does Henry mention that the Sox could’ve, you know, not lost Betts to free agency next November.

Nowhere does he note that the Sox had a full year to talk to Betts about a possible extension nor did he mention that the Sox — who print money at a faster rate than anyone except the Yankees — could’ve bid on him in free agency too. He simply does not allow for the possibility that a 2021 Boston Red Sox team could’ve done what the 2020 Washington Nationals did, for example, and sign one of their big, would-be departing free agents in Stephen Strasburg. Nor, for that matter, does he allow for the possibility that they could do what the 2019 Washington Nationals did with their all-but-certain-to-depart superstar in Anthony Rendon: hold on to him in his walk year and win a damn World Series. Guess it was a “challenge” to go into all of that.

Of course, as we’ve seen across baseball this past week, it’s really, really hard to explain something when you don’t want to admit the facts and accept the consequences of it all. That’s maybe the toughest challenge of them all.

The full statement: