And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

32 Comments

Orioles 10, White Sox 4: Matt Wieters homered twice. The first one coming in the eighth, which kicked off the O’s comeback after finding themselves down 4-1, the second one: a 10th inning grand slam which put the game out of reach.

Twins 7, Yankees 3: Joe Mauer had three hits and Justin Morneau played in the field and had a home run. That should make the Twins fans happy. Carl Pavano allowed three runs in seven innings, which should make the Yankees fans mad.

Phillies 5, Giants 2: The battle of the aces doesn’t quite live up to its billing, but Halladay beats Lincecum, who is still struggling mightily. Indeed, Lincecum gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings and it actually represented a clear improvement over his last outing.

Mets 6, Braves 1: I guess the Mets own the Braves now. Ike Davis — three run homer — and Dillon Gee — four hit ball over seven innings — led New York to their fourth straight win over Atlanta.

Rays 1, Red Sox 0: As mentioned yesterday, Bobby V. stuck with Daniel Bard a bit too long and he walked the ballpark. And Fernando Rodney should have walked Cody Ross in the ninth, but Larry Vanover had other ideas. None of which takes away from James Shields’ day (8.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER). The Rays avoid the sweep.

Nationals 6, Astros 3: Stephen Strasburg cruised through five innings, was beat up a bit in the sixth, but had plenty of margin for error to get the win. And check out this throw home on a pop fly by Rick Ankiel. You’ll never see a better one in that situation. If the dude stood out there and threw it like that ten years ago instead of on the mound he’d still be a pitcher.

Tigers 3, Royals 2: Speaking of nice throws, check out this one by Jeff Francoeur nailing Jhonny Peralta at third base. Tigers still won, though, because Verlander dealt for eight innings and then survived — just barely — for the ninth, after loading the bases and going 2-2 to Alex Gordon. Struck him out looking though, with all five pitches to him being 100 m.p.h. fastballs. Brandon Inge had a two-run homer. Which probably bought him two more years in a Tigers uniform, what with the sliding performance scale to which he is subject.

Padres 7, Rockies 1: Nick Hundley drove in three, Chase Headley had three doubles and scored three times and Corey Luebke allowed one run on six hits in seven innings.

Angels 6, Athletics 0: Kendrys Morales hit his first homer since the one that led to his ankle injury nearly two years ago. Mike Scioscia actually said this after the game: “”I was happy he got around the bases in one piece.” Pujols went 2 for 4 with a double. Jered Weaver got his 1000th career strikeout. The A’s were shutout for the third time in six games.

Diamondbacks 5, Pirates 1: Chris Young continues his torrid start. He had three hits, including his fifth homer of the year. Joe Saunders gave up one run on six hits in seven innings.

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

Daniel Shirey/Getty Images
9 Comments

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.