And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

50 Comments

Red Sox 11, Tigers 1: David Ortiz had a monster game, hitting two homers and driving in seven. The game story says Ortiz was motivated by his emotional reaction to watching Pedro Martinez get inducted into the Hall of Fame earlier in the day. OK, we’ll go with that and not facing a struggling Shane Greene and one of the worst bullpens in baseball. In other news, last week it was reported that the Tigers would reassess whether they would be buyers or sellers after Sunday’s game. Well, you’ve played your Sunday game. Now, general manager Dombrowski of ours, I think it’s time you told your Don what everyone seems to know: this Tigers season is over.

Mets 3, Dodgers 2: Juan Uribe, acquired from the Braves Friday night, won the game with a walkoff single — which almost went out — in the 10th inning. Before that, however, the fans were treated to a duel between two of the game’s best pitchers in Zack Greinke and Jacob deGrom. Advantage: deGrom, as the Mets ace shut the Dodgers out into the eighth and struck out eight. Meanwhile, Greinke’s scoreless inning streak came to an end at 45 and two-thirds when deGrom knocked in a run on a fielder’s choice in the third. Here’s something weird: Jeurys Familia, who was trying for a four-out save, blew it. The weird part: it was his fourth blown save this year and the Mets have come back to win all four of them.

Angels 13, Rangers 7: Not sure what’s more impressive: Mike Trout hitting this grand slam or the fan catching it in his “Trout Net?”

 

Trout hit a solo homer in this one too and finished 4-for-4 with five driven in. He takes over the league lead in homers from teammate Albert Pujols. More importantly, the Angels end a three-game losing streak and regain first place over the Astros.

Giants 4, Athletics 3: By beating the A’s, Tim Hudson has now beaten every single team in baseball. Current team, anyway. I mean, he hasn’t beaten the original Buffalo Bisons, the Providence Grays or the Cincinnati Outlaw Reds, but that’s no slight on Hudson. He’s the 15th pitcher to do that. Matt Duffy hit a two-run homer in the first and drove in three runs to help Hudson’s cause.

White Sox 2, Indians 1: Carlos Rodon pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning helping the Chisox get the four-game sweep over a team I thought might turn things around after the All-Star break but, like, never mind. The Sox outscored the Indians 26-5 and never trailed in the series.

Orioles 5, Rays 2: Nolan Reimold had three hits and drove in two runs. Caleb Joseph hit a two-run homer. In five starts since coming back from Tommy John surgery, Matt Moore has yet to pitch longer than five innings. The Rays are skidding, having dropped eight of their last nine series.

Pirates 3, Nationals 1: Gerrit Cole won his 14th game — that leads the bigs — after allowing one run on seven hits in seven and two-thirds. According to the AP, Cole is the first Pittsburgh pitcher with 14 wins before August since Dock Ellis in 1971. Which is to say he is doing the do.

Royals 5, Astros 1: Last week Yordano Ventura was sent to the minors because he was lost and the Royals lost another pitcher in Jason Vargas due to Tommy John surgery. Last night they went to bed with Johnny Cueto on the team and Ventura having pitched seven innings of one-run ball against one of the best offenses in baseball. Not a bad turnaround.

Yankees 7, Twins 2: Nate Eovaldi won his tenth game, pitching into the ninth inning, and Chase Headley and Stephen Drew each homered. Headley drove in three. This a day after Alex Rodriguez hit three homers. Remember back in the winter when people wondered how those two would both work on this team? Haha, me neither.

Braves 3, Cardinals 2: Adonis Garcia broke the tie with a sixth inning homer. Which required me to go look up who in the hell Adonis Garcia was again. Sometimes it’s fun and enlightening when your team is rebuilding. Rookie Matt Wisler got the win and pitched well. Which was easier to do with Yadier Molina, Jhonny Peralta and Mark Reynolds taking the day off.

Phillies 11, Cubs 5: Man, not a great weekend for the Cubs. Not merely swept by the Phillies, but no-hit and blown out too. Aaron Nola got his first big league win and drove in a run and Ryan Howard homered for the second straight day. The Phillies have won eight of nine since the All-Star break. After the game Nola said “I’m just soaking as much as I can in right now and being a part of this is pretty amazing.” He’s talking about the 2015 Philadelphia Phillies, by the way.

 

Mariners 6, Blue Jays 5: Franklin Gutierrez hit a walkoff homer in the 10th. His comeback, a year after sitting out all year with a back condition, is pretty impressive so far. That’s his third homer in 19 games and he’s slugging .511. So good to see from a player who has been absolutely snakebitten with injuries and maladies. Of course this triple play was the highlight of the game:

 

Ezeiquel Carrera would’ve been safe if he didn’t fall off the bag. And otherwise he didn’t have a bad game — he robbed Mike Zunino of a home run and hit a solo homer of his own — but that one is gonna stick with him for a while.

Padres 3, Marlins 2: Justin Upton homered and Odrisamer Despaigne pitched six solid innings and the Padres win their third in a row and the fifth in the past eight games since the break. Have to figure they’re still sellers but winning does sort of mess up the narrative when it comes time to trade away everyone you just brought in to, you know, win.

Rockies 17, Reds 7: That thing about the Royals up above? The opposite for Cincinnati. They lost Johnny Cueto and then had their young pitcher get his rear end handed back to him. The Rockies hit five homers — two from Carlos Gonzalez — and had a ten-run third inning against Michael Lorenzen and Dylan Axlerod. Axlerod wore this one, giving up eight runs himself in an inning and a third.

Diamondbacks 3, Brewers 0: The Brewers were shut out by Dbacks pitchers for the second straight day. This day Jeremy Hellickson did the honors, tossing six shutout innings. Milwaukee scored just five runs in the four-game series.

The Astros continue to refuse to take responsibility for the Taubman Affair

Getty Images
9 Comments

I’m calling it the “Taubman Affair” because writing “the incident in which a top front office executive — Astros Assistant General Manager Brandon Taubman — taunted a reporter for her past opposition to the team acquiring a domestic abuser, after which the team lied, aggressively about it, accusing another reporter of fabricating a story, then admitted that they lied but made no apology for smearing the reporter” is too unwieldy for a headline.

If you need catching up on it, though, you can read this, this or this.

The latest on it all: yesterday, after walking back their angry denial that the incident ever occurred and admitting that, yes, Taubman did in fact gleefully and profanely target a reporter for taunting, the team basically went silent and let Game 1 unfold.

Today General Manager Jeff Luhnow went on a team-friendly radio station (i.e. the station that broadcasts Astros games). In the entire segment he was asked only one question about it: “Your thoughts on the SI article, Jeff.” Luhnow said that he would withhold comment, but apologized to “everybody involved,” including the fans and the players, saying “this situation should have never happened.” You can listen to the entire segment here.

He did not, however, make any specific mention of what “this situation” was. Nor did he acknowledge that, actually, it’s at least two “situations:” (1) the initial behavior of Taubman; and (2) Monday night’s team-sanctioned attack of Sports Illustrated’s Stephanie Apstein, who reported it. Indeed, at no time in the team’s now multiple comments has anyone acknowledged that, as an organization, the Houston Astros’s first impulse in all of this was to attempt to bully and discredit a reporter for what has now been established as a truthful report to which the Astros have admitted. And they certainly have not voiced any specific regret or offered any form of accountability for it.

Major League Baseball is apparently investigating Taubman’s conduct. But it is not, presumably, investigating the Astros’ disingenuous smear of Apstein. A smear that the Astros likely undertook because they figured they could intimidate Apstein and, what may even be worse, because they assumed that the rest of the press — many of whom were witnesses to Taubman’s act — would go along or remain silent. If they did not think that, of course, releasing the statement they did would’ve been nonsensical. It speaks of an organization that believes it can either bully or manipulate the media into doing its bidding or covering for the teams’ transgressions. That part of this has gone wholly uncommented on by the Astros and apparently will for the foreseeable future. No matter how this shakes out for Taubman, if the Astros do not talk about how and why they decided to baselessly attack Apstein on Monday night, nothing they ever say should be trusted again.

More broadly, everything the Astros are doing now is the same as when they traded for Roberto Osuna in the first place.

In 2018 they wanted to do an unpopular thing — arbitrage a player’s domestic violence suspension into the acquisition of cheap relief help — while wanting to appear as though they were good actors who had a “zero tolerance for domestic violence” policy. To solve that problem they shoveled a lot of malarkey about how “zero tolerance” actually includes a fair amount of tolerance and hoped that everyone would go along. When not everyone did — when fans brought signs of protest to the ballpark or expressed their displeasure with Osuna’s presence on the roster — they confiscated them then hoped it’d all blow over and, eventually, via Taubman’s rant on Saturday night, lashed out at their critics.

Here, again, they want to do something unpopular: retain a boorish and insensitive executive in Taubman without him or the team suffering any consequences for it, be they actual consequences or mere P.R. fallout. Again, it’s kind of hard to pull that off, so to do so they falsely accused a reporter of lying and then circled the wagons when they caught heat for it.

I have no idea how long they plan to keep this up. Maybe they are calculating that people will forget and that forgetting is the same as forgiveness. Maybe they simply don’t care. All I do know is that folks will be teaching the Astros’ response to all of this as a counterexample in crisis management courses for years.