And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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All kinds of comebacks on Wednesday. Let’s call it “Comeback Wednesday!” — wait, what? Really? OK, sorry folks. The people in the marketing department said that’s impossibly lame. They’re working on something centering around the idea of “Extreme Comebacks” but they want to focus group it first. We’ll let you know.

White Sox 6, Yankees 5: Alejandro De Aza smacked a game-winning triple in the 12th. Mariano Rivera blew the save in the ninth, the Yankees blew another lead in the 12th and with it they were swept by a White Sox team that came into the series on a ten-game losing jag. This pretty much has to be what rock bottom looks like, right? Oh well, on the bright side Rivera’s blown save was significant: with it he tied Trevor Hoffman on the all-time blown saves list. When you think about it, you gotta be pretty good to blow a lot of saves.

Mets 5, Rockies 0: Matt Harvey shut ’em out on just four hits and 106 pitches, striking out six and walking no one. On the year he’s 9-3 with a 2.09 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 178/29 K/BB ratio in 159 2/3 innings. Tough stuff.

Orioles 10, Padres 3: Chris Davis absolutely crushed a baseball — sending it 453 feet — for his 41st homer during Baltimore’s four-run eighth inning. They tacked on three in the ninth. After the game Bud Black said “[w]e had a little bit of a breakdown in our bullpen.” Gee, ya think?

Reds 6, Athletics 5: Bartolo Colon got roughed up pretty good, surrendering five runs and failing to escape the third inning. After the game he said he had some stomach trouble. That’s no small concern when Colon is involved. A homer and three RBI for Jay Bruce.

Mariners 9, Blue Jays 7: A couple of comebacks. The M’s were down 7-2 when they came to bat in the fourth and were up 9-7 after five. That made for a rough return to action for J.A. Happ who had been out since being struck by a batted ball and suffering a fractured skull back in May. Better a bad comeback from that than no comeback at all.

Tigers 6, Indians 5: It took them 14 innings, but the Tigers continued their mastery of the Tribe and collected their 11th straight win. Eleven of twelve over Cleveland. Miguel Cabrera with a big two-run homer in the eighth and Prince Fielder with the ultimately game-winning two-run double in the 14th.

Braves 6, Nationals 3: That’s thirteen straight wins for Atlanta, as they complete the sweep of the Nats. Justin Upton doubled and homered. After the game Fredi Gonzalez revealed that for every win he has been given some protein drink by Braves players and superstition obligates him to continue drinking it. What is it? He doesn’t know. “They may be giving me poop. I don’t even know what it is,” he said. It’s poop, isn’t it? Tell me it’s poop.

Cubs 5, Phillies 2: Hero of the game, Donnie Murphy, who hit a three-run homer in the ninth to go with an earlier solo shot. He had one the day before too. What the heck, man?

Royals 5, Twins 2: Danny Duffy couldn’t make it out of the fourth inning, but he and five relievers combine for 16 strikeouts of Twins hitters.

Pirates 4, Marlins 2: Charlie Morton started rough but settled down and ended up throwing seven strong innings. He also Helped His Own Cause with an RBI single. The Pirates continue to maintain the best record in baseball.

Red Sox 7, Astros 5: Stephen Drew hit a three-run homer in the ninth to bring the Sox back from behind. A five-run comeback on Tuesday night, a three-run comeback last night. Indeed, it was the sixth time in its last seven wins in which Boston has come from behind.

Rangers 10, Angels 3: And with that, the Rangers are back atop the AL West. Well, tied. One behind in the loss column, but they do have a share of the lead for the first time since July 1. A homer and three RBI for Adrian Beltre.

Dodgers 13, Cardinals 4: All kinds of bad for the Cards as they get their clock cleaned and they lose Shelby Miller after just two pitches. Good news: he says he feels OK and should make his next start. As for the Dodgers, Andre Ethier and Skip Schumaker each had three hits and four RBIs while Carl Crawford had four hits and a walk.

Diamondbacks 9, Rays 8: A double comeback as the snakes found themselves down 3-0 and then 8-7 late. Martin Prado won it, though, with a two run double in the ninth. On the day he was 4 for 4 with a homer and four driven in.

Brewers 6, Giants 1: Marco Estrada was excellent in a spot start, shutting out the Giants for five innings on one hit. This one was 0-0 into the seventh inning before the Giants scored to make it 1-0, so I guess we can say there was a comeback here as well.

Still waiting to hear from the focus group, but I’m really liking the branding opportunities from last night.

Neal Huntington thinks players should be allowed to re-enter games after concussion testing

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Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli, who has suffered many concussions throughout his 12-year career, was hit on the back of the helmet on a Joc Pederson backswing Saturday against the Dodgers. Through Cervelli remained in the game initially, he took himself out of the game shortly thereafter and went on the seven-day concussion injured list on Sunday.

Perhaps inspired by Saturday’s event, Pirates GM Neal Huntington suggested that players should be allowed to re-enter games once they have passed concussion tests, the Associated Press reports. Huntington said, “Any player that had an obvious concussion risk incident should be allowed to be removed from the game, taken off the field, taken into the locker room, assessed by a doctor, assessed by a trainer, go through an extended period of time and then re-enter the game. Because right now, all of this has to happen on the field.”

Huntington added, “The player has to feel pressure as he’s standing there with 30,000 or 10,000 or 50,000 eyes on him. He has to feel pressure to make a decision whether (he’s) in or (he’s) out of this game. He knows if he takes himself out and he’s the catcher, there’s only one other catcher, and the game becomes a fiasco if that other catcher gets hurt.”

Huntington, who has been forward-thinking on a number of other issues, has it wrong here. The concussion protocols were created because players frequently hid or under-reported their injuries in order to remain in the game. Especially for younger or otherwise less-proven players, there is pressure to have to constantly perform in order to keep one’s job. Furthermore, there is an overarching sentiment across sports that taking time off due to injury makes one weak. Similarly, playing while injured is seen as tough and masculine. Creating protocols that take the decision-making out of players’ hands keeps them from making decisions that aren’t in their own best interests. Removing them would bring back that pressure for players to hide or minimize their ailments. If anything, MLB’s concussion protocols should become more stringent, not more relaxed.

The powers that be with Major League Baseball have no doubt followed the concussion scandal surrounding the National Football League. In January, the NFL settled for over $1 billion with retired players dealing with traumatic brain injuries, including dementia, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. For years, the league refused to acknowledge the link between playing football and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), which is a neurodegenerative disease that can lead to dementia and has many negative effects, such as increasing the risk of suicide. Since baseball isn’t often a contact sport, MLB doesn’t have to worry about brain injuries to this degree, but it still needs to take preventative measures in order to avoid billion-dollar lawsuits as well as avoiding P.R. damage. In December 2012, former major league outfielder Ryan Freel committed suicide. Freel, who claimed to have suffered as many as 10 concussions, suffered from CTE. MLB players can suffer brain injuries just like football players.

Huntington seems to be worried about not having enough rostered catchers in the event one or two catchers get injured. That is really an issue of roster management. Carrying only two catchers on the roster is a calculated risk, often justified. Huntington can ensure his team never has to be put in the position of not having a catcher in an emergency by rostering a third catcher. Rosters are expanding to 26 players next year, by the way.