And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Marlins 3, Mets 0: It’s not just Jose Fernandez in Miami. Henderson Alvarez tossed his second shutout of the year, allowing six hits, striking out seven and not walking a soul. Casey McGehee drove in two.

Braves 2, Cardinals 1: The Braves snap their seven-game losing streak and do so with a fantastic performance from Gavin Floyd, making his first start post-Tommy John surgery. Floyd went seven, allowing only one run on six hits.

Dodgers 8, Nationals 3Now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL Clayton Kershaw! Nine hits scattered over seven innings, nine strikeouts and nothing else doing. 

Pirates 2, Giants 1: A walkoff replay review. Well, a walkoff triple with the runner advancing home on an error, but Starling Marte was initially called out and then the call was reviewed and overturned. That’s the first time that has happened in history. And, for as odd and anticlimactic the whole thing was, this is the sort of play — a game-deciding play that the umpires on the field got wrong — that replay was designed to overturn.

Blue Jays 6, Phillies 5: Toronto jumped out to a 5-0 lead, Philly rallied for five with the help of a Cody Asche grand slam and then Toronto scored the winning run in the tenth on a sac fly. Cole Hamels gave up five runs on ten hits in six innings. He has given up 13 earned runs in 16.2 innings over three starts.

Tigers 11, Astros 4: A seven-run win and still not as close as the score would suggest. Miguel Cabrera had four hits and drove in four. The Tigers have won seven straight.

Indians 4, Twins 2: Josh Tomlin got the callup from Columbus and then got his first win since 2012, striking out four, walking one and taking a shutout into the seventh. Nice bit of bookending going on here as his last start before TJ surgery was against the Twins and he was shelled.

Diamondbacks 7, Brewers 5: Aaron Hill went 4 for 4 with a pair of RBI singles on Monday. On Tuesday he hit a two-run homer in the eighth to help the Snakes take this one. I’m sure there are other ways to have fun in Milwaukee, but this is a pretty good one for a ballplayer.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $40,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Wednesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on WednesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Orioles 5, Rays 3: There was a 19-minute delay in this one due to the lights going out thanks to a nearby storm. Which, sure, scoff all you want about the quality of Tropicana Field, but at least they have a roof. Ryan Flaherty and Nick Markakis drove in runs after play resumed to give Baltimore the lead and the game.

White Sox 5, Cubs 1: Gordon Beckham’s homer in the eighth broke a 1-1 tie and the Southsiders rallied for three more in the ninth to beat the Northsiders. Four hits in all for Beckham, which is pretty spiffy for a guy who has been struggling as much as he has.

Red Sox 4, Reds 3: A walkoff hit for Grady Sizemore in the 12th. He had previously singled home a run in the third and had another hit in the eighth.

Mariners 8, Athletics 3: Roenis Elias struck out six while pitching into the seventh, Justin Smoak drove in three and the M’s won their fourth straight.

Rockies 12, Rangers 1: The Rockies rap 21 hits. Carlos Gonzalez had five of them and Troy Tulowtizki and Drew Stubbs each had three. Nolan Arenado extended his hitting streak to 26 games. The 2014 Rockies are re-earning the name Blake Street Bombers. They are just destroying everyone on offense.

Royals 3, Padres 1: Alex Gordon singled in the go-ahead run in the 11th inning and Billy Butler followed with an RBI double to help the Royals snap their five-game losing streak. Jeremy Guthrie, Wade Davis and Greg Holland combined to hold the Padres to six hits.

Yankees 4, Angels 3: Most of these games last night felt the same, at least when reading the box scores. A late run to break a tie with a solo shot or something. Which, hey, OK, not every game needs to be totally dramatic. Just odd. Here Brian Roberts did the deed for New York, hitting his first one of the year.

Free agents who sign with new teams are not disloyal

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Most mornings my local newspaper is pretty predictable.

I know, when I navigate to its home page, that I’ll find about eleventeen stories about Ohio State football, even if it is not football season (especially if it’s not football season, actually), part 6 of an amazingly detailed 8-part investigation into a thing that is super important but which no one reads because it has nothing to do with Ohio State football and, perhaps, a handful of write-ups of stories that went viral online six days previously and have nothing to do with anything that matters.

Local print news is doing great, everyone.

I did, however, get a surprise this morning. A story about baseball! A baseball story that was not buried seven clicks into the sports section, but one that was surfaced onto the front page of the website!  The story was about Michael Brantley signing with the Astros.

Normally I’d be dead chuffed! But then I saw something which kinda irked me. Check out the headline:

Is Michael Brantley “leaving” the Indians? I don’t think so. He’s a free agent signing with a baseball team. He’s no more “leaving” the Indians than you are “leaving” an employer who laid you off to take a job at one of its competitors. This is especially true given that the Indians made no effort whatsoever to sign him. Indeed, they didn’t even give him a qualifying offer, making it very clear as of November 2 that they had no intention of bringing him back. Yet, there’s the headline: “Michael Brantley leaves Indians.”

To be clear, apart from the headline, the article is unobjectionable in any way. It merely recounts Ken Rosenthal’s report about Brantley signing with the Astros and does not make any claim or implication that Brantley was somehow disloyal or that Indians fans should be upset at him.

I do wish, though, that editors would not use this kind of construction, even in headlines, because even in today’s far more savvy and enlightened age, it encourages some bad and outmoded views of how players are expected to interact with teams.

Since the advent of free agency players have often been criticized as greedy or self-centered for signing contracts with new teams. Indeed, they are often cast as disloyal in some way for leaving the team which drafted or developed them. It’s less the case now than it used to be, but there are still a lot of fans who view a player leaving via free agency as some kind of a slap in the face, especially if he joins a rival. Meanwhile, when a team decides to move on from a player, either releasing him or, as was the case with the Indians and Brantley, making no effort to bring him back, it’s viewed as a perfectly defensible business decision. There was no comparable headline, back in early November, that said “Indians dump Brantley.”

Make no mistake: it may very well turn out to be a quite reasonable business decision for Cleveland to move on from Brantley. Maybe they know things about him we don’t. Maybe they simply know better about how he’ll do over the next year than the Astros do. I in no way intend for this little rant to imply that the Indians owed Brantley any more than he owed the Indians once their business arrangement came to an end. They don’t.

But I do suspect that there are still a decent number fans out there who view a free agent leaving his former team as some sort of betrayal. Maybe not Brantley, but what if Bryce Harper signs with the Phillies? What if Kris Bryant walks and joins the Cardinals when he reaches free agency? Fans may, in general, be more enlightened now than they used to be, but even a little time on talk radio or in comments sections reveals that a number of them view ballplayers exercising their bargained-for rights as “traitors.” Or, as it’s often written, “traders.” I don’t care for that whole dynamic.

Maybe this little Michael Brantley headline in a local paper that doesn’t cover all that much baseball is unimportant in the grand scheme of things, but it’s an example of how pervasive that unfortunate dynamic is. It gives fans, however tacitly, license to continue to think of players as bad people for exercising their rights. I don’t think that belief will ever completely disappear — sports and irrationality go hand-in-hand — but I’d prefer it if, like teams, athletes are likewise given an understanding nod when they make a business decision. The best way to ensure that is to make sure that such decisions are not misrepresented.