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.

 

Major League Baseball needs to make an example out of José Ureña

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We’re about an hour and a half separated from the first pitch of Wednesday night’s Marlins/Braves game that featured Marlins starter José Ureña hitting Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña on the elbow with a first-pitch, 97.5 MPH fastball. The benches emptied, Ureña was ejected, and the game went on. Acuña left the game not long after to tend to his injured elbow.

After the game, when the Marlins speak to the media, they will almost certainly deny any ill intent towards Acuña, who had hit leadoff home runs in three consecutive games against them. When they do so, they will be lying. Watch how catcher J.T. Realmuto sets up on the first pitch.

ESPN Stats & Info notes that Ureña’s 97.5 MPH fastball was in the 99th percentile in terms of velocity of the 2,125 pitches he has thrown this season. It was also the fastest pitch Ureña has ever thrown to begin a game. Ureña put a little extra mustard on this pitch, for some reason.

Ureña has a 6.8 percent walk rate, which ranks 37th out of 95 starters with at least 100 innings of work this season. The major league average is eight percent. Control isn’t typically something with which he struggles.

Furthermore, Acuña isn’t the only player who has drawn Ureña’s ire:

Ureña wanted nothing to do with Hoskins — even though Hoskins has yet to get a hit off of him — in his August 4 start at home against the Phillies, walking him twice which included a few up-and-in pitches.

Ureña will almost certainly be fined and suspended for his actions on Wednesday night against Acuña. But will his punishment be enough to deter him and others from wielding a baseball as a weapon? Probably not. On June 19, when Marlins starter Dan Straily intentionally threw at Buster Posey, he received a five-game suspension and manager Don Mattingly was suspended one game. If you look at Straily’s game logs, you can’t even tell he was suspended. He started six days later on June 25 against the Diamondbacks and again on July 1 and 6. Because starters only pitch once every five days, it was like he wasn’t even suspended at all.

Major League Baseball needs to levy harsher punishments on players who attempt to injure other players. A 15-game suspension, for example, would force Ureña to miss at least two starts and it would inconvenience the Marlins enough to more seriously weigh the pros and cons of exacting revenge. The Marlins couldn’t work around it the way they did Straily by pushing back his scheduled start one day.

Major League Baseball also needs to make a legitimate effort to do away with this culture of revenge against players who are just a little bit too happy. Batters get thrown at when they flip their bats, when they yell at themselves in frustration, and even when they’re just hitting well. Baseball’s stagnating audience is very old, very white, and very male. It is not going to bring in fans from diverse backgrounds by keeping this antiquated culture that prevents baseball players from showing their personalities and being emotive. In the event Acuña needs to go on the disabled list for a couple weeks, that’s two weeks that Acuña isn’t on SportsCenter’s top-10, isn’t on the front page of MLB.com, and isn’t in articles like this. The culture of revenge is actively harming MLB’s ability to market its bright, young stars. If ending this culture of revenge doesn’t hit MLB from a moral angle, it should absolutely hit home from a business angle.