And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Athletics 10, Angels 8: Nineteen innings. Six and a half hours. Sixteen pitchers, including A’s Opening Day starter Brett Anderson who pitched five and a third innings out of the pen. The Angels, for their part, had two pitchers — Tommy Hanson who started it and Jerome Williams who came in later — each of whom pitched what would have been a quality start. Ended on a Brandon Moss two-run homer, his second of the night/morning. Albert Pujols had two homers as well. It ended less than an hour and a half before my alarm clock went off this morning. It was the longest game in Angels history and the longest game ever played in Oakland. At least they follow it up with a night game rather than a day tilt.

Braves 3, Nationals 2: Atlanta beats Washington for the eighth straight time dating back to last season. The kicker: they did it without any home runs.

Astros 9, Yankees 1: Hey, even the worst teams win several dozen times a year. You just don’t expect them to beat the tar out of Andy Pettitte, that’s all. Catcher Carlos Corporan went 4 for 5 with a homer, double and four RBI. Lucas Harrel allowed only one run in six and a third.

Tigers 4, Twins 3: Prince Fielder’s three-run homer helps the Tigers to their fourth straight win.

Marlins 4, Mets 3: The Marlins won in 15 innings, but they lost their best player — Giancarlo Stanton — to a strained hamstring and he may miss more time than that after saying he felt a “pop” in his leg. Five straight losses for the Mets. No one is leaving this game happy.

Indians 9, Royals 0: Ryan Raburn hit two homers and drove in four and Ubaldo Jimenez tossed seven shutout innings to notch his first win in 12 starts. Wade Davis was shelled.

Cubs 5, Padres 3: Darwin Barney went 2 for 3 with two doubles and Cody Ransom went 2 for 4 with a home run. Chicago, you may not have noticed, has won five of seven.

Brewers 10, Pirates 4: Milwaukee hit five home runs, including one from Yovani Gallardo of all people, in the rout. They hit three triples too. Gallardo likewise allowed only one earned run in seven innings. Miller Park continues to be a house of horrors for the Pirates.

Mariners 6, Orioles 2: Joe Saunders with a complete game, allowing only two runs against his old mates. At least I assume they were his mates.  I dunno. Maybe everyone hated Saunders in Baltimore. Called him “jerkface” and stuff. We never can really know these things.

Reds 2, Cardinals 1: Mat Latos outdueled Adam Wainwright, extending his scoreless innings streak to 17. The Cards have dropped three in a row.

Giants 6, Diamondbacks 4: San Francisco halts its losing skid, coming behind after Matt Cain allowed three home runs in the fourth inning. Brandon Belt drove in three.

Rockies 12, Dodgers 2: Colorado rattled off 19 hits. Including three from pitcher Tyler Chatwood who drove in two to [all together now] help his own cause. His six shutout innings helped that quite a bit too.

Hunter Strickland says he doesn’t have an anger problem

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Giants closer Hunter Strickland struggled in the ninth inning Monday against the Marlins, surrendering three runs en route to a 5-4 loss. Strickland took issue with Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson, who tied the game with a single and celebrated as he rounded first base. When Strickland was yanked from the game, Brinson was on third base, so Strickland had some parting words on his way to the dugout. Then, in the clubhouse, Strickland punched a door in anger, breaking his pitching hand. He’ll miss six to eight weeks as a result.

Strickland posted to his Instagram on Tuesday, taking responsibility for his actions. He wrote, “To my family, my teammates, my coaches, this organization, and our fan base, I am truly sorry that one split second, stupid decision has caused so much harm and now set me back from being out there with my team to pursue our goal.”

Speaking to the media for the first time since breaking his hand, Strickland said (via Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports), “I don’t think I have an anger problem, but sometimes I let my emotions get the best of me.”

Well, if that emotion is anger, and you let it get the best of you, then you have an anger problem. This isn’t an isolated incident.

In the 2014 NLDS against the Nationals, Bryce Harper had Strickland’s number. In Game 1, Harper hit a solo home run ioff of Strickland, putting the Nationals on the board trailing 3-1. Strickland gave up another home run to Harper in Game 4 which tied the game at 2-2. Though the distance made it a no-doubt home run, the ball went down the right field line, so Harper was watching the ball in the air and didn’t immediately run the bases, which irked Strickland. The Giants still went on to win the game and advance to the NLCS, but Strickland carried the grudge with him into the 2017 season. The 2017 season! It just so happened that Strickland never faced Harper at all in the 2015-16 seasons, which makes sense because the two clubs only meet for two series per season and Strickland only pitches one inning per game if he gets into one.

The Nationals and Giants met in San Francisco at the end of May last year. In the first game of the series, Strickland entered with the Giants trailing 2-0 in the eighth inning. He got two quick outs, bringing up Harper for their first meeting since Game 4 of the 2014 NLDS. With his first pitch, Strickland nailed harper on the hip with a 98 MPH fastball. Harper didn’t like it, so he charged the mound and the two threw punches at each other as the benches and bullpens spilled onto the field.

In the 2014 World Series, Strickland had a beef with Royals catcher Salvador Perez. Strickland gave up a double to Perez, then a two-run home run to Omar Infante. As Perez crossed home plate, Strickland started yelling at Perez. He appeared to yell, “Get in the dugout, boy.” The term “boy” carries a racist connotation when used by white people towards men of color. It’s unclear why Strickland was upset with Perez, but Perez said Strickland started jawing at him when he was on second base after hitting his double.

So here’s what we know about Strickland:

  • He gets angry when players look at their home run balls in the air, even if that player is unsure if it will stay fair
  • He gets angry if you get a double off of him in an important game
  • He gets angry when players pump their fists and yell in celebration after getting a big hit in the regular season
  • He gets angry a lot
  • He sometimes gets violent when he’s angry

Short of hitters not showing any emotion at all and not getting hits off of him, it’s not clear what kind of behavior satisfies Strickland and won’t make him angry. So, essentially, anything a batter does could potentially set Strickland off. I’d call that an anger problem. If this weren’t in the context of sports, Strickland’s behavior would be problematic.

Strickland’s behavior doesn’t come off as particularly unique because he’s far from the only player to injure himself punching something in anger. He’s far from the only player to get ticked off when batters get a hit off him and celebrate. This anger is part of baseball culture, part of sports culture at large, and embedded in masculinity — what it means to be a man. We teach men, particularly athletes, to repress a wide range of emotions. As a result, many men resort first to anger — one of the few emotions we allow men to express openly — when dealing with any type of adversity.

If Strickland were a well-adjusted person with high emotional intelligence, he would realize that throwing a baseball close to 100 at someone with the intent to injure them is not a good way to resolve a conflict. Strickland could have gone to the Marlins’ clubhouse after the game and had a level-headed chat with Brinson, saying, “I felt embarrassed and emasculated when you got a hit off of me and celebrated the way you did. Perhaps in the future, you could tone it down.” But we don’t teach men and allow them to discuss and express their emotions in healthy ways, so Strickland lashes out at Harper and Perez and Brinson instead.