And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Mets 9, Marlins 1: How about this Jacob deGrom kid? He follows up a seven inning, zero run performance against the Braves with a seven inning, one run outing here. Plus he [altogether now] helped his own cause by hitting what we would have called the Game-Winning RBI if it was the 1980s and we still tracked things like Game-Winning RBI. Then we’d go watch “Alf” or “Night Court.” Or do some coke in our Wall Street office or posture against the Soviet Union. I dunno, I was just a kid then. That whole decade blurs together for me.

Giants 8, Diamondbacks 4: Madison Bumgarner gave up four runs. But he also drove in four runs, so I guess that’s OK. A grand slam for a pitcher. Don’t see that very often. Well, unless it’s Madison Bumgarner. He’s done it twice this year. It’s the first time a pitcher has done it twice in a year in 48 years. Oh, and Buster Posey hit a grand slam too. It’s the first time each member of a battery hit grand slams in the same game in the history of Major League Baseball.

Brewers 11, Cardinals 2: The Brewers arrest a seven-game skid and reclaim sole possession of first place. It was a 19-hit attack, led by Elian Herrera, who had five hits, including a double, and scored three times. Carlos Martinez had a forgettable game, giving up four runs in four innings and getting yelled at by the umpire for tossing his bat in frustration. Take a few days off, Carlos.

Nationals 10, Phillies 3: Jayson Werth homered and knocked in four. Ryan Zimmerman homered and drove in two. Ian Desmond drove in two without a homer. If you extend that pattern out long enough you run into a Zeno’s Arrow situation, I assume. Not gonna check, though. I already clicked out of the box score.

Braves 10, Cubs 7: Chris Johnson hit his third homer in two days, accounting for three of the runs in Atlanta’s four-run third inning. The Braves and Nats finish the first half tied for first place. Washington is one better in the loss column.

Royals 5, Tigers 2: The Royals avoided a four-game sweep thanks to a five-run seventh inning. Still, they blew an opportunity to gain ground on the Tigers and hit the break six and a half back.

Rays 3, Blue Jays 0: David Price, who is still a Ray for some reason, shut ’em out over eight. It’s his fourth win in four starts. Toronto is skidding into the break, having lost eight of ten.

Reds 6, Pirates 3: Kris Negron hit a three-run homer — his first ever — and Todd Frazier added a two-run shot. Frazier is in the Home Run Derby and you all are totally sleeping on him. He’s grip-it-and-rip it. Giancarlo Stanton is the safe bet, but I bet Frazier does really damn well. You heard it here first. And if he does poorly? Hell, I’ll just delete this comment. I have total control of this website.

Indians 3, White Sox 2: Yan Gomes drove in all three runs, including a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth. Then, since he’s from Brazil, the White Sox scored seven straight goals off of him.

Red Sox 11, Astros 0: Remember when Clay Buchholz was dead back in May? Well, he’s back to life now. Three-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts. Brock Holt had five hits including a leadoff homer. Boston wins four of five heading into the break. Still nine back, but at least now their mini-vacation will be more pleasant.

Athletics 4, Mariners 1: Sonny Gray was on point once again, allowing nothin’ but an unearned run in seven and two-thirds.

Angels 10, Rangers 7: Mike Trout doubled twice and drove in four. He’s hitting .310/.400/.606 with 22 homers, 73 RBI and 10 stolen bases. And he’s younger than 14 of the 50 guys in yesterday’s Futures Game.

Twins 13, Rockies 5: Two homers for Brian Dozier. Maybe don’t sleep on him in the Home Run Derby either. It felt weird being in Target Field for baseball all day yesterday while the Twins were in Colorado. It was like having a party when your parents are out of town.

Dodgers 1, Padres 0: Four Dodgers pitchers combine to toss a four-hit shutout. I am picturing Bud Black throwing a bag of bats into the showers and telling his Padres hitter “it’s a miracle we got four.”

Orioles 3, Yankees 1: A rain-shortened win, featuring a Chris Davis two-run homer that was hit several hours before the rain shortened it. I’m sure Major League Baseball loved that the man of the week, Derek Jeter, is going to be getting to Minneapolis so late — or early, whichever — and be tired for all of the festivities.

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.