And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Mariners 4, Yankees 2: Rookie Roenis Elias struck out ten Yankees in seven innings. Not bad. Robinson Cano doubled and drove in two. The Mariners take both games of the abbreviated series and have won five of six overall.

Rays 2, Red Sox 1; Rays 6, Red Sox 5: The Rays did NOT want to play a doubleheader yesterday to make up Wednesday’s rainout. Boston did. Be careful what you wish for Boston, because you done got swept. Replay controversy in the first game, where Dustin Pedroia was called out at home in the seventh. Replay made it appear as if he was safe, but it was ruled “inconclusive” and the call on the field stood. The Sox’ third base coach was ejected for arguing after the replay call. Pedroia and Jake Peavy each made comments after the game critical of replay. Expect fines and stuff. In game 2, Yunel Escobar homered off Koji Uehara leading off the ninth to put the Rays up for good.

Reds 8, Brewers 3: Brayan Pena hit a pinch-hit homer that sparked a five-run rally in the eighth. Big catches from both center fielders in this one: Billy Hamilton with a diving catch of a Carlos Gomez line drive and Gomez robbing Joey Votto of a home run. Hamilton sprained his hand on his and will miss some time.

Marlins 5, Braves 4: And the sweep. The first two games of the series were blowouts, the third a tight one. Either way the Braves are happy to be leaving Miami. It was the first time the Marlins have swept the Braves at home in almost eight years.

Dodgers 9, Twins 4; Dodgers 4, Twins 3: Four hits and two RBI in the first game for Yasiel Puig. Scott Van Slyke and Drew Butera came up big in the nightcap, each homering in the 12th. Not bad for a warm weather team who looked pretty uncomfortable in cold Minneapolis conditions.

Rockies 7, Mets 4: Juan Nicasio was a one-man gang: he pitched seven scoreless innings and drove in three runs. Also a One Man Gang?

Orioles 5, Pirates 1; Orioles 6, Pirates 5: A rare single-admission doubleheader. I’d be curious to see the actual number of people who stayed for all 19 innings and all seven hours and five minutes of baseball + the time between games. Steve Pearce had three hits and two RBI in the opener. Not bad for a guy who the Orioles released a couple of days ago. The nightcap featured the return of Manny Machado, and it also featured a walkoff homer by Matt Wieters in the 10th. 

Blue Jays 7, Royals 3: The Jays salvage one. Juan Francisco and Colby Rasmus each homered and drove in two runs. Mark Buehrle worked in a lot of trouble, but notched is fifth win.

And with that I’m out of here for the weekend. Aaron and the fellas will be covering today. I lucked into some Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks tickets, so as you read this I am heading down to Louisville for a Decadent and Depraved weekend. Well, not that depraved. I’m going far more southern dandy than Hunter S. Thompson here. I mean, I even got a bow tie.

Have a nice weekend, y’all.

 

Sign-stealing penalties could be ‘unlike anything seen in the sport’s recent history’

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Early this morning we learned that Major League Baseball was planning to talk to former Astros Carlos Beltrán and Alex Cora as part of the sign-stealing investigation. Late this morning Jeff Passan of ESPN reported that the investigation is, actually, going to go much wider than that.

Passan reports that Major League Baseball will not limit its focus to the 2017 Astros, who were the subject of the report in The Athletic on Tuesday. Rather, it will also include members of the 2019 Astros and will extend to other teams as well. Passan specifically mentions the 2018 Red Sox which, of course, were managed by Alex Cora one year after he left Houston, where he was A.J. Hinch’s bench coach.

Oh, it also includes recently-fired Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman, who the league plans to interview but who, Passan says, has hired a lawyer. Which is sort of interesting in its own right, but let’s stay on topic.

Passan:

The league is attempting to cull tangible evidence from the widespread paranoia of front offices and teams around the game about others cheating and has indicated it will consider levying long suspensions against interviewees who are found to have lied, sources said . . . The penalties for illegal activity are determined by commissioner Rob Manfred, though if the league can prove wrongdoing, the severity could be unlike anything seen in the sport’s recent history, sources said.

The Cardinals were fined $2 million when an employee, Chris Correa, hacked the Astros computer system. Correa, of course, was permanently banned from baseball and served prison time. Former Braves GM John Coppolella was likewise given a permanent ban for lying about the team’s circumvention of international signing rules. If Passan’s source is right and the league is going to level heavy penalties here, that’s where you have to start, I imagine.

To me, the stuff about Coppolella’s lying and the bit about interviewees lying mentioned in the block quote is key.

Will anyone have the hammer brought down upon them for being responsible for stealing signs? Hard to say. But they likely will if they are not forthcoming with league investigators. Which is actually a pretty decent way to handle things when one is conducting an internal investigation. Maybe you don’t give amnesty to wrongdoers in the name of information-gathering, but you do signal to them that cooperation is incentivized and lack of cooperation will be punished.

It’s an approach, by the way, that Major League Baseball notably did not take in the course of its PED investigations a decade ago. That led to a final report that had massive gaps in information and caused the league to focus on and publicize only the lowest-hanging fruit. As I argued at the time, if information-gathering, as opposed to P.R. considerations was its true aim, MLB would’ve handled it differently.

In the early stages here, in contrast, it does sound like baseball is taking this seriously. That’s a good thing.