And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Mets 8, Braves 3: A rookie named  Jacob deGrom facing one of the best pitchers in the NL in Julio Teheran? You figure it’d be no contest. And it wasn’t. Just not in the way you’d figure. deGrom struck out 11 in seven shutout innings and he [altogether now] helped his own cause by singling and coming around to score on a double. In other news, the Mets lead all of baseball in players whose surnames begin with lowercase letters.

White Sox 8, Red Sox 3: Sox win. Conor Gillaspie had three hits, including a tie-breaking three-run homer in the sixth. The last place Red Sox have lost seven of eight.

Tigers 14, Dodgers 5: Justin Verlander was tagged for five runs in the first, but then Hyun-Jin Ryu was tagged for seven in the next two and a third. And Detroit didn’t let up then, going on to abuse Jamey Wright, Chris Perez and Paul Maholm too, as they scored 14 unanswered runs. Well, I suppose they were answered by lots of cussing and heavy sighs from Don Mattingly, but that’s all.

Twins 2, Mariners 0: I’m picturing a 90s action movie trailer: “HUGHES!” [explosion sound effect] “FULD!” [explosion sound effect] “BY THEMSELVES, A LOT TO HANDLE.” [explosion sound effect] “TOGETHER, TOO MUCH TO HANDLE!” Phil Hughes shut ’em out on eight hits into the eighth while striking out eight. Sam Fuld was 3 for 3 with a homer.

Reds 4, Cubs 2; Reds 6, Cubs 5: The Reds were down 5-0 themselves in the nightcap of this twin bill, but Jay Bruce, who homered n the first game, doubled home the tying run in the eighth inning of the second and Billy Hamilton’s broken-bat RBI single in the ninth to walk the Reds off. After the game he was kinda jacked: “Let’s play three! I’m ready to go right now!” he said.

Indians 5, Yankees 3: Masahiro Tanaka is starting to look pretty mortal as the season wears on. He took his third loss in his past four starts while allowing five runs on ten hits to the Tribe. Michael Brantley homered, doubled twice and drove in three. His ridiculous season continues as he’s now at .328/.391/.529.

Marlins 2, Diamondbacks 1: Vidal Nuno made his debut for the Dbacks and it went really well for him: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 7K. The night didn’t go well for the Dbacks overall, however, as Marcell Ozuna hit a two-run homer in the ninth.

Rockies 2, Padres 1: Charlie Blackmon, about whom who we will one day say “that guy was an All-Star?” hit a two-run homer. Against the 2014 San Diego Padres, about whom we will one day say “that team had major leaguers on it?” that’s all you really need.

Athletics 6, Giants 1: Six wins in a row for the A’s, three losses in a row for Madison Bumgarner. Sonny Gray struck out eight and allowed one run over seven. The series now shifts across the Bay to San Francisco.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $30,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Wednesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on WednesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Cardinals 5, Pirates 4: Two straight walkoff homers for the Cards. On Monday it was Matt Adams. Last night it was Kolten Wong. And it wasn’t a cheapie: he hit the thing 420 feet.

Blue Jays 4, Angels 0: Oh Dickey, you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind HEY DICKEY! [clap clap, clap-clap] HEY DICKEY! [clap clap, clap-clap]. Seven shutout innings for R.A., 4 for 5 and three RBI for Jose Reyes.

What? You write a couple thousand of these recaps a year and see if you don’t reach for something once in a damn while.

Phillies 9, Brewers 7: Down 5-1 after the first inning, the Phillies broke out for five more in the second, one in the third and two in the fifth for their biggest offensive outburst in some time. Domonic Brown homered and had a two-run single.

Astros 8, Rangers 3: Chris Carter had two homers, leading off innings with both of them, and George Spring led off another inning with a bomb. That’s two in a row off Texas in this series and four against them overall. If they beat the Rangers today, Texas will fall into a last place tie with Houston.

Rays 4, Royals 3: Jeremy Hellickson made his season debut. It wasn’t a long one — he only lasted four and a third — but he only gave up one run. Kansas City left 11 dudes on base.

Orioles vs. Nationals: POSTPONED: Nobody feels any pain. Tonight as I stand inside the rain. Everybody knows, that Baby’s got new clothes. But lately I see her ribbons and her bows have fallen from her curls.

An Astros executive asked scouts to use cameras, binoculars to steal signs in 2017

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The Athletic reports that an Astros executive asked scouts to spy on opponents’ dugouts in August of 2017, suggesting in an email that they use cameras or binoculars to do so.

The email, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports, came from Kevin Goldstein, who is currently a special assistant for player personnel but who at the time was the director of pro scouting. In it he wrote:

“One thing in specific we are looking for is picking up signs coming out of the dugout. What we are looking for is how much we can see, how we would log things, if we need cameras/binoculars, etc. So go to game, see what you can (or can’t) do and report back your findings.”

The email came during the same month that the Red Sox were found to have illegally used an Apple Watch to steal signs from the Yankees. The Red Sox were fined as a result, and it led to a clarification from Major League Baseball that sign stealing via electronic or technological means was prohibited. Early in 2019 Major League Baseball further emphasized this rule and stated that teams would receive heavy penalties, including loss of draft picks and/or bonus pool money if they were found to be in violation.

It’s an interesting question whether Goldstein’s request to scouts would fall under the same category as the Apple Watch stuff or other technology-based sign-stealing schemes. On the one hand, the email certainly asked scouts to use cameras and binoculars to get a look at opposing signs. On the other hand, it does not appear that it was part of a sign-relaying scheme or that it was to be used in real time. Rather, it seems aimed at information gathering for later use. The Athletic suggests that using eyes or binoculars would be considered acceptable in 2017 but that cameras would not be. The Athletic spoke to scouts and other front office people who all think that asking scouts to use a camera would “be over the line” or would constitute “cheating.”

Of course, given how vague, until very recently Major League Baseball’s rules have been about this — it’s long been governed by the so-called “unwritten rules” and convention, only recently becoming a matter of official sanction — it’s not at all clear how the league might consider it. It’s certainly part and parcel of an overarching sign-stealing culture in baseball which we are learning has moved far, far past players simply looking on from second base to try to steal signs, which has always been considered a simple matter of gamesmanship. Now, it appears, it is organizationally-driven, with baseball operations, scouting and audio-visual people being involved. The view on all of this has changed given how sophisticated and wide-ranging an operation modern sign-stealing appears to be. Major League Baseball was particularly concerned, at the time the Red Sox were punished for the Apple Watch stuff, that it involved management and front office personnel.

Regardless of how that all fits together, Goldstein’s email generated considerable angst among Astros scouts, many of whom, The Athletic and ESPN report, commented in real time via email and the Astros scout’s Slack channel, that they considered it to be an unreasonable request that would risk their reputations as scouts. Some voiced concern to management. Today that email has new life, emerging as it does in the wake of last week’s revelations about the Astros’ sign-stealing schemes.

This is quickly becoming the biggest story of the offseason.