And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

33 Comments

Giants 3, Dodgers 0: The season nadir for the Dodgers who got swept by their arch rivals in three straight shutouts and lost their lead in the division. And, to add insult to injury, Andre Ethier got hurt. Wait, that’s adding injury to insult I suppose. Ah, you know what I mean. Oh, and Timmay is apparently back (7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 8K). It’s a brand new race in the NL West. And the Dodgers have two broken legs.

Mets 17, Cubs 1: Wow, that wind was really blowing out at Wrigley, eh? At least in the top half of the middle innings anyway. David Wright, drove in five while Ike Davis, Scott Hairston and Daniel Murphy each drove in four. That’s bloody efficient, yes?

Athletics 2, Mariners 1: Jarrod Parker pitched a gem while Kevin Millwood went down with a groin injury. Oh, and the A’s sported an infield with three Brandons in it: Moss, Hicks and Inge. When I saw Matthew’s headline to that effect there were a few seconds before I remembered who the Brandons would have been. My first thought: a bunch of 20-22 year-old rookies, all of whom were named by parents who were big fans of the “Beverly Hills 90210.” Sadly, all of these three are too old for that.

Brewers 8, Reds 4: Milwaukee breaks its four-game losing streak. If they turn their season around from this point, perhaps they’ll have Nyjer Morgan getting into it with some random Cincinnatian to credit.

Royals 5, Rays 4: Billy Butler hit what proved to be the game-winning homer in the eighth. And thank God, because it was hotter than, well, if we’re thanking God we can’t say it was hotter than Hell I suppose, but it was pretty darn hot. And Bill Butler knew it:

“It was really, really hot out there,” said Butler, who greeted reliever Burke Badenhop with his 15th home run. “It was over 100 degrees. Guys were starting to get dehydrated. It was not a good day to go extra innings.”

We all love day baseball, I realize, but I wonder if it’s at all possible to make some sort of flexible scheduling thing for places like Kansas City or Texas or wherever, allowing the games to be moved into the evening when the forecast calls for triple digits. Because no one can enjoy that except the swells in the luxury boxes.

Red Sox 10, Blues Jays 4: That’s the ninth win in the past 11 games for Boston and five straight series wins too. The Sox scored five off Ricky Romero in the first inning, who was all over the place. Four starters down, one wild as all get-out. One gets the sense that the Jays season is spiraling out of control.

White Sox 12, Twins 5: The Sox rattled off 21 hits. Chris Sale cruised through seven, never having to face more than four batters in an inning. Adam Dunn had three hits including a homer and drove in four. He was 0 for his last 24 coming in to the game.

Yankees 5, Indians 4: A win that felt like a loss for the Yankees, what with Andy Pettitte going down for six weeks after breaking his leg on a comebacker. Old Timers Day is coming up in New York pretty soon. The team may assign extra scouts when Ron Guidry and Whitey Ford take the mound.

Angels 13, Orioles 1: That’s a whuppin’ right there. And in addition to going 4 for 6, Mike Trout did this. Watch through to the slo-mo. That’s some serious air.

Astros 1, Padres 0: A six-hit shutout for Lucas Harrell. Clayton Richard didn’t do much worse. The whole affair was over in 1:58.

Marlins 5, Cardinals 3: John Buck and Logan Morrison went back-to-back in the seventh and the Cards’ win streak is snapped.

Braves 6, Diamondbacks 4: Jason Heyward stays hot, hitting a homer and Chipper Jones went long too. I suppose that will mean four days on the bench with ice packs on his knees, but it’s worth it. Craig Kimbrel has 47 strikeouts in 28 innings, by the way.

Rangers 13, Tigers 9David Murphy went 4-for-5 with two home runs. Roy Oswalt got the W, because he apparently just knows how to win, never mind the five runs on 13 hits.

Nationals 11, Rockies 5: Washington jumped out to an 8-0 lead by the third inning and everything else was pretty much academic after that. The 75-pitch limit for Rockies starters in that new four-man rotation is working out swell. Evereth Cabrera only threw 65 pitches. They came in two and a third innings, but the standards were adhered to!

Pirates 11, Phillies 7: Nice debut for Chase Utley — a homer in his first at bat and three hits overall — but the Pirates went crazy against the Phillies pen, which pitched the whole game as a bullpen special. Homers from Michael McKenry, Andrew McCutchen and Casey McGehee.

Rob Manfred offers little insight, shows contempt for reporters in press conference

Rob Manfred
Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images
12 Comments

Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke at a press conference, addressing the Astros cheating scandal and other topics on Sunday evening. It did not go well.

To start, the press conference was not broadcast officially on MLB’s own TV channel (it aired the 1988 movie Bull Durham instead), nor could any mention to it or link to the live stream be found anywhere on MLB.com. When the actual questions began, Manfred’s answers were circuitous or simply illogical given other comments he has made in the past. On more than one occasion, he showed contempt for reporters for doing their jobs — and, some might argue, doing his job — holding players and front office personnel accountable.

Last month, Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal broke a story about the Astros’ “dark arts” and “Codebreaker” operation, based on a letter Manfred sent to then-GM Jeff Luhnow. Diamond was among the reporters present for Manfred’s press conference on Sunday. Per The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler, Manfred addressed Diamond, saying, “You know, congratulations. You got a private letter that, you know, I sent to a club official. Nice reporting on your part.” MLB’s response to the depth of the Astros’ cheating ways was lacking and, without Diamond’s reporting, we would have known how deeply lacking that response was. It is understandable that Manfred would be salty about it, since it exposed him as doing his job poorly, but it was an immature, unrestrained response from someone in charge of the entire league.

Onto the actual topic at hand, Manfred said he felt like the punishment doled out to the Astros was enough. Per Chris Cotillo, Manfred said Astros players “have been hurt by this” and will forever be questioned about their achievements in 2017 and ’18. Some players disagree. Former pitcher Phil Hughes even suggested the players have a work stoppage over this issue.

Manfred defended his decision not to vacate the Astros’ championship, saying, “The idea of an asterisk or asking for a piece of metal back seems like a futile act.” The commissioner devaluing the meaning of a championship seems… not great? Counterintuitive, even? The “piece of metal” is literally called the Commissioner’s Trophy. Manfred went on to brag about the league having “the intestinal fortitude to share the results of that investigation, even when those results were not very pretty.” Be careful, don’t hurt yourself patting yourself on the back for doing the bare minimum.

Manfred said there was no evidence found that the Astros used buzzers and added that, since the players were given immunity, he doesn’t think they would continue to hide that when asked about it. He said, “I think in my own mind. It was hard for me to figure out why they would tell us, given that they were immune, why they would be truthful and admit they did the wrong thing and 17, admit they did the wrong thing and 18, and then lie about what was going on in 19.”

The commissioner expects the league to implement “really serious restrictions” on access to in-game video feeds for the 2020 season.

There has been some recent back-and-forth between the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger and the Astros’ Carlos Correa. Manfred isn’t a fan of the sniping through the media. He said, “I’m sort of a civil discourse person. It must be because I’m old. But, yeah, I think that the back and forth that’s gone on is not healthy.” The reason Bellinger and others are speaking publicly about the issue, attempting to hold the Astros accountable, is because the league did not do a sufficient job doing that itself. Bellinger wouldn’t feel the need to speak up in defense of himself, his teammates, and other players affected by the cheating scheme if he felt like the league had his and his peers’ backs.

Because the players involved in the Astros’ cheating scheme weren’t punished, some — like Larry Bowa — have suggested intentionally throwing baseballs at Astros players to exact justice. Manfred met with managers who were in attendance today to inform them that retaliatory beanballs “will not be tolerated.” He added, “It’s dangerous and it is not helpful to the current situation.” Manfred has done nothing about beanball wars in the past, but it will now give the Astros somewhat of an advantage since pitchers will now be judged closely on any pitch that runs too far inside on Astro hitters.

Manfred also spoke about the ongoing feud with Minor League Baseball and basically reiterated what he and the rest of the league have disingenuously been saying since it was revealed MLB proposed cutting 42 minor league teams. Manfred’s talking point is that MLB is concerned about substandard facilities being used by minor league players, but not all of the 42 teams on the proposed chopping block have anything close to what could reasonably be considered substandard.

Lastly, Manfred was asked about the Orioles and tanking, and more or less danced around the issue by expressing confidence in the club’s ownership. The Orioles have won 47 and 54 games in the past two seasons. Payroll dropped by more than $50 million. The Orioles saw over 250,000 fewer fans in attendance in 2019 than in ’18. The O’s also saw a decline of over 460,000 fans in attendance from 2017 to ’18. But, yeah, it’s going well.

All in all, this press conference could not have gone worse for Manfred. The press found it condescending and the comments he made rang hollow to the players. Manfred seemed on edge and unprepared addressing arguably the biggest controversy baseball has faced since the steroid era. This is a dark time for the sport.