Some insight into the human smuggling of Cubans into the United States

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Here’s a story about the sentencing of the ringleader of a human smuggling operation which brought people from Cuba, through Mexico and into the United States. Including ballplayers like the Rangers’ Leonys Martin:

The Lazo organization smuggled Cubans by boat to Mexico for $10,000 each, more for the baseball players, according to court documents. They would then usually travel to the U.S. border crossing at Laredo, Texas, and ask to be permitted to stay in the U.S. . . . Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Davidson said migrants who couldn’t pay were held for ransom by armed guards, often threatened and sometimes beaten.

A key part of this is that U.S. policy — both the country’s and Major League Baseball’s — help create the circumstances for these kinds of crimes and excesses. The United States’ “wet foot/dry foot” rule which has us deporting Cuban refugees if intercepted at sea but not if they try to enter the U.S. on land encourages people to come through Mexico if they can. Major League Baseball’s policy subjecting Cubans who come directly to the United States from Cuba but allowing them to be free agents if they land in another country first likewise incentivizes this circuitous route.

In both cases, that empowers the middle men who, in this case, happened to be Mexican drug cartels.

Max Scherzer, with broken nose, strikes out 10 Phillies over seven shutout innings

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Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.

Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.

Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.

Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.