And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and hghlghts

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Mariners 6, Blue Jays 3: Yesterday was all about Kansas City. Let’s now look at what Seattle is doing. The M’s have now won seven of eight and are tied with the Tigers for the second wild card spot. They’re nine games over .500. There’s a lot of baseball left to be played, but can you imagine a world in which the Royals and Mariners both make the playoffs and the Yankees, Red Sox and Tigers do not?

White Sox 3, Giants 2: Chicago blew a two-run lead in the ninth, but then Gordon Beckham hit a two-out RBI single in the 10th. Tough no-decision for Chris Sale who struck out 12 over eight shutout innings.

Padres 4, Rockies 1: The Padres have won four in a row. Odrisamer Despainge tossed shutout ball for seven innings, striking out eight. Not bad a for a junkballer.

Cubs 3, Brewers 0: Kyle Hendricks with seven and a third shutout innings. In six starts since making his big league debut, he is 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA with only nine walks in 41 and two-thirds innings. Everyone talks about the Astros collection of young talent. The Cubs’ is not too bad.

Angels 7, Phillies 2: I haven’t checked the stats but I bet teams which put up seven-run sixth innings don’t lose a lot of games. I bet that goes for teams that put up seven run any inning. Or seven runs across any number of innings. Basically, scoring seven runs is a good way to win baseball games. The Angels needed this. It was just their second win in seven games and the offense had been struggling.

Marlins 3, Cardinals 0: Jared Cosart outpitches Adam Wanwright, posting seven shutout innings. I’m getting to the point here where I’m about to simply write “the pitcher for the winning team tossed seven shutout innings” for every recap. I could save a lot of time with that approach. Use it to watch cartoons and stuff in the morning.

Astros 10, Twins 4: Chris Carter homered twice and drove in five. He has 15 homers since July 1. Too bad the season doesn’t start on July 1. He was hitting .181 on that date and is now up to .230.

Nationals 7, Mets 1: Four homers backed Doug Fister, who — guess what? — had seven shutout innings. Rookie Michael Taylor, making his big league debut, hit one of the homers. Then — and I am not making this up — a ballboy tossed it to a fan in the stands, not realizing it was a keepsake for Taylor. They got it back, though. I hope the kid in the stands drove a hard bargain.

Athletics 11, Royals 3: Jon Lester struck out nine over six innings and Jeremy Guthrie got knocked around pretty badly, halting the Royals’ winning streak at eight. But they remain in first place because  . . .

Pirates 4, Tigers 2: . . . the Tigers keep losing. Edinson Volquez kept Detroit in check as Tigers starter Robbie Ray couldn’t make it beyond five. Robbie Ray last night. A guy named “Buck Farmer” today. On a team that less than two weeks ago it had more starters than it knew what to do with.

Red Sox 3, Reds 2: Jonathan Broxton threw a ball high-and-inside to Yoenis Cespedes, brushing him back. Next pitch: Cespedes hit a 433-foot home run. Someone send the video of that to Tony La Russa and explain to him that that’s how you retaliate for chin music. Cespedes has reached base in every game as a Red Sox. Red Sock? Um, as a player for Boston.

Rangers 3, Rays 2: The walkoff walk in the 14th inning. Four straight balls from Cesar Ramos to Adam Rosales. Ramos didn’t make Joe Maddon happy. After the game he said, “Just throw a strike there. Give us a chance.” Yikes.

Dodgers 4, Braves 2: We’ve now reached the “Craig needs to find a team to root for in the playoffs this year” portion of the season. Please leave your submissions in the comments. I will not root for the Nationals on division rival grounds and I won’t root for the Yankees or Red Sox on general principle, but that does not appear to be an issue this season. Anyone else is fair game at the moment. Probably not the Cardinals, though, actually. I have nothing against them but so many Cardinals fans think I hate their team and have it in for them that I’m not going to give them an excuse to let go of their derangement. It’s too hilarious.

Yankees vs. Orioles; Diamondbacks vs. Indians: POSTPONED: Come on take a walk on the wild side.  Let me kiss you hard in the pouring rain. You like your girls insane. Choose your last words, this is the last time. Cause you and I, we were born to die

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.