Settling the Score: Friday’s results

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After sitting out the 2011 season and undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012, Jeremy Bonderman was completely off the radar coming into this season. However, after being called up to join the Mariners’ rotation late last month, Bonderman is finally back in the win column.

Bonderman held the Yankees to one run on three hits over six innings last night as part of a 4-1 victory at Safeco Field. It gave him his first win in the majors since September 8, 2010 as a member of the Tigers.

Bonderman struck out two and walked one in the surprising effort. The 30-year-old gave up one run in the first inning on a ground out and was at 50 pitches through two innings, but he managed to retire 14 out of the final 15 batters he faced.

The only offense for the Mariners came on a pair of two-run singles by Brendan Ryan and Jason Bay against Hiroki Kuroda in the fourth inning. Bay, another comeback story of sorts, has eight homers and a .748 OPS through 47 games this season. He had a .687 OPS during his time in New York.

Your Friday box scores:

Pirates 2, Cubs 0

Rangers 1, Blue Jays 6

Cardinals 9, Reds 2

Indians 5, Tigers 7

Orioles 1, Rays 2

Phillies 4, Brewers 5

Padres 9, Rockies 10

Astros 2, Royals 4

Giants 1, Diamondbacks 3

Athletics 4, White Sox 3

Braves 1, Dodgers 2 (10 innings)

Angels/Red Sox – PPD

Marlins/Mets – PPD

Twins/Nationals – PPD

Alex Bregman shows how easy it is to manufacture “controversy” in baseball

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In most sports it takes legitimate trash talk to create off-day “controversy.” In baseball, it takes the weakest sauce. We saw how weak that sauce was yesterday.

Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros are going to face off against Nate Eovaldi and the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALCS tonight. It’s worth noting that earlier this season, they hit back-to-back-to-back home runs off of Eovaldi when he was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Yesterday, in an act which was likely somewhat inspired by self-motivation, somewhat inspired by getting in Eovaldi’s head and somewhat inspired by a simple interest in having fun, Bregman took the video of those back-to-back-to-back homers off of Eovaldi and posted it to his Instagram:

Of course, since this is baseball, where even farting off-key can be construed as “showing up” the opposition or somehow disrespecting the game, it became a thing. Or at least people tried to make it become a thing.

Indeed, it took them a bit to find someone who would help them make it a thing, because Eovaldi himself didn’t care about it a bit, nor did Astros manager A.J. Hinch or Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Eventually, however, they hit pay dirt. Here’s Sox infielder Steve Pearce talking to WEEI.com:

“Wow. I don’t know why he would do that. We do our talking on the field. If he wants to run his mouth now we’ll see who is talking at the end of the series.”

My guess is that almost no one on the planet, Steve Pearce included, would care about this in a vacuum or if they allowed themselves to think through it for more than a second. Baseball culture, though — and let’s be clear about it, baseball media culture — has conditioned most of its players and participants to think that stuff like this is supposed to be controversial, so it actually takes effort not to start dancing to this kind of tune on auto-pilot.

Kudos to Hinch, Cora and Eolvaldi for exerting that effort and not dancing to it. To the press that automatically sought out comment on this and Pearce who dutifully gave it: hey, I get it. It’s hard to resist one’s conditioning. Maybe you’ll be able to resist it next time.