And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Brewers 4, Reds 3: Holy moly that was a crazy game-ending catch for Carlos Gomez, robbing Joey Votto of the go-ahead home run:

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Incredible.

Rays 7, Twins 4: The Rays continue to roll, winning their ninth in ten chances. Joe Maddon talked about his team going ten games over .500:

“The thing I like is that we’re 10 games over,” Maddon said. “You’ve got to go to 10, then you’ve got to go to 15, etc., etc. The major takeaway from tonight is the fact that we’re 10 games over.”

That’s the baseball version of the “this one goes to 11” thing from “This is Spinal Tap.”

Rangers 8, Orioles 5: Scott Feldman’s second start for the Orioles was not as good as his first as his old mates from Texas pounded him for seven runs, chasing him in the middle of their six-run sixth inning. Ian Kinsler had four RBI including a bases-clearing double. Baltimore stranded ten runners and went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring condition.

Phillies 3, Nationals 2: John Lannan had a way better against-his-former-mates performance than Feldman did as the Phillies continue to take it to the guys in front of them in the NL East. Dan Haren, meanwhile, looked better than he had following a couple of weeks on the disabled list but was outdueled. If he had won it would have given him a win against every MLB team in his career. Oh well, maybe next time.

Athletics 2, Pirates 1: Bartolo Colon keeps on rolling along, allowing one run in seven innings and improving to 12-3 with a 2.69 ERA. Jeff Locke — another surprise ace this year — lost for the first time since his first start of the season. Coco Crisp had a cool diving catch to record the last out while Colon was in the game.

Tigers 4, Indians 2: Victor Martinez’s two-run double in the tenth helps Detroit wrap up the series by taking its third of four from the upstart Tribe. Max Scherzer’s no decision keeps his loss-free record intact. It was the first Indians loss in extra innings this year.

Braves 7, Marlins 1: When a game goes 14 innings you don’t expect it to end with a six-run spread, but this one did. Chris Hatcher came in for the Marlins in the top of that inning and gave up a two-run double to Justin Upton, a two-run single and a single to Gerald Laird which led to an error allowing in the unearned final run.

Royals 5, Yankees 1: Jeremy Guthrie came back despite an hour rain delay and pitched into the seventh. Alex Gordon, David Lough and Johnny Giavotella had RBI doubles, Alcides Escobar had an RBI triple. The Yankees lineup may have been the most anonymous one they’ve fielded since the first Bush administration.

Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 1: Zack Greinke tossed seven shutout innings allowing only two hits — one less hit than he himself had at the plate — as the Dodgers end the Dbacks’ winning streak and pull to within three and a half. The white-hot Hanley Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 19 games. No brawls to report.

Cubs 8, White Sox 2: Matt Garza continues to build his trade value, allowing one earned run over seven innings. Alfonso Soriano is a perpetual trade candidate and that ship may have already sailed, but he added three hits — including a homer — four runs and a steal. The battle of Chicago has zero playoff significance, but I’m sure people in Chicago enjoy it. Maybe. I dunno.

Rockies 4, Padres 2:  Tyler Chatwood took a comebacker off his leg, stayed in the game and still took a shutout into the seventh. The Padres dropped their tenth in a row. In other news, yesterday I bought tickets to a Padres game in late September which I am now realizing will have very little significance in the grand scheme of things. But hey, I’ll be on a weekend trip to California and that’s it’s own reward.

Mariners 11, Red Sox 4: King Felix allowed two runs over seven and got a bunch of run support, including a home run from Raul Ibanez, who is giving me some hope as I sit here, five days away from my 40th birthday. Jon Lester’s one-run performance against San Diego last Wednesday now looks like a mere blip on an otherwise craptacular stretch of pitching.

Mets 4, Giants 3: A sixteen-inning, five-hour, twenty-six minute game in which the winning run scored on an error? Sounds absolutely riveting. Nine shutout innings from the Mets pen and nine earned run-free innings from the Giants pen is pretty impressive though. This was the fourth 15-inning (or more) game the Mets had played this year and their first win in said contests.

Don’t let Rob Manfred pass the buck

Rob Manfred
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Yesterday morning, in Ken Rosenthal’s article, Rob Manfred made it pretty clear what his aim is at the moment: throw blame on the union for the sign stealing scandal getting to the place it is. It was clear in both his words and Rosenthal’s words, actually:

In fairness, Manfred was not alone in failing to see the future clearly. As far back as 2015, the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) expressed concerns to MLB about the rise of technology in the sport. The union, however, did not directly focus on the threat to the game’s integrity.

Then, in his press conference yesterday, he went farther, saying that the union refused to allow a situation in which punishment might happen, going so far as to claim that the union refused to make Astros players available for interviews without blanket immunity.

The union, both in its official statement last night and in Tony Clark’s words to Yahoo’s Hannah Keyser earlier this afternoon, is basically saying Manfred is full of it:

“We were approached with respect to their intentions to not discipline players. Our legal role and responsibility is inherent in accepting that consideration, which is what we did.”

Which is to say, it was Rob Manfred, and not the union, which started from the presumption that there was immunity for Astros players. Manfred is the one who settled on that at the outset, and he’s now trying to make it look like the union was the side that insisted on it so that people who are mad will get mad at Tony Clark for defending the indefensible as opposed to getting mad at him for creating a situation in which there was no legal way to punish Astros players.

And, as we have noted many times already, he did create that situation.

It’s undisputed that Manfred never attempted to make rules or set forth discipline for players stealing signs. Indeed, he did the opposite of that, saying over two years ago that GMs and managers, not players, would be held responsible. If he wanted to discipline players now, he’d have a big problem because he specifically excluded them from discipline then. I’d argue it was a mistake for him to do that — he should’ve said, three years ago, that everyone’s butt would be on the line if the cheating continued — but he didn’t.

Some people I’ve spoken to are taking the position that the union is still to blame here. I’m sort of at a loss as to how that could be.

It is the union’s job to protect its members from arbitrary punishment by management. It is not the union’s job to say “hey, I know our workers were off the hook here based on the specific thing you said, but maybe we should give them some retroactive punishment anyway?” If someone in charge of a union proposed that, they’d be in dereliction of their duties and could be fired and/or sued. Probably should be, actually. A lot of people might be mad about that, and I know fully well that unions aren’t popular. But then again, neither are criminal defense attorneys, and they don’t go up to prosecutors and say “well, there isn’t a law against what my client did — in fact, the governor issued an order a couple of years ago saying that what he did wasn’t prohibited — but we’re all kind of mad about it, so why don’t we work together to find a way to put him in jail, eh?” It’d be insane.

That doesn’t make anyone feel better now. The players are certainly mad, with new ones every day finding a camera to yell at over all of this. I get it. What has happened is upsetting. It’s a situation in which some members of the union are at odds with other members. It’s not an easy situation to navigate.

They should take that anger, however, and channel it into telling their leader, Tony Clark, that they don’t want this to happen again. That, to the extent Rob Manfred now, belatedly, proposes new rules and new punishments for sign-stealing or other things, he should get on board with that. They should also — after the yelling dies down — maybe think a little bit about how, if the facts were slightly different here, they would never argue that Rob Manfred should have the power to impose retroactive or other non-previously-negotiated punishment on players.

Either way, neither they nor any of the rest of us should take Manfred’s bait and try to claim that what’s happening now is the union’s fault. If, for no other reason, than because he doesn’t have much credibility when it comes to this whole scandal. Remember, he’s the guy who issued a report saying that, except for Alex Cora, it was only players involved despite knowing at the time he said it that the front office had hatched the scheme in the first place. Which, by the way, similarly sought to make the players out to be the only ones to blame while protecting people on management’s side. He’s not someone who can be trusted in any of this, frankly.

At the end of the day, this was a scheme perpetrated by both front office and uniformed personnel of the Houston Astros. To the extent nothing more can be done about that than already has been done, blame it on Rob Manfred’s failure of leadership. Not on the MLB Players Association.