And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Maybe the most boring ATH of the year. Really, every game was “pitcher pitches OK but not dominant and he got enough offense but no one truly went hog wild.” I’d say it made my choice to watch TV instead of baseball last night a good one, but the TV I decided to watch was, finally, the season finale of “True Detective” and that was a total disaster. So what I’m saying is that Monday night was super lame. Anyway:

Yankees 8, Twins 7: The Yankees loaded the bases in the tenth with no one out, so the Twins went to a pulled-in, five-man infield. Chase Headley grounded sharply to Eduardo Nunez. Should’ve been at least an out at home, maybe a double play even. Nope: Nunez bobbled it and it turned into a walkoff groundout. Brian McCann had a big game: he homered, drove in five and hit a tenth inning double which put two men on and inspired Paul Molitor to load the bases for Headley. The play of the game everyone wanted to talk about, though, was the comebacker to Bryan Mitchell’s face. It was scary, but he ended up with “only” a broken nose and was back in the dugout by the end of the game.

Cardinals 2, Giants 1: Michael Wacha was dominant and Stephen Piscotty tripled and scored in the eighth. After the game reporters asked Wacha if this was some sort of atonement for giving up the walkoff homer to the Giants in Game 5 of last year’s NLCS. Wacha: “Everyone tries to amp it up and make a story out of it, but I was just trying to approach it just like another game.” Irresistible force: reporters trying to fashion narratives. Immovable object: players taking it one day at a time. It’s the eternal struggle.

Orioles 4, Athletics 2: The O’s complete the sweep in a series that wrapped around until Monday which is, basically, against the laws of both God and Man. Steve Clevenger hit a three-run homer. In Sunday’s rout he had four hits. Not bad for a dude who just got called up on Friday. The A’s seven-game road trip comes to an end. They went 0-7 on it. Tonight they’re back west but they have to face Clayton Kershaw, so that’s great for them.

Diamondbacks 4, Pirates 1: Jeremy Hellickson beats Gerrit Cole by pitching one-run ball into the sixth and with the help of his own RBI single and a Jake Lamb homer. Five relievers followed Hellickson because that’s 21st century baseball.

Indians 8, Red Sox 2: Danny Salazar had his fourth straight start in which he’s given up one run or less and Lonnie Chisenhall had a solo homer and three RBI. A five-run fourth inning off of Matt Barnes.

Rangers 4, Mariners 3: The Fernando Rodney Experience was in action in the ninth as the Mariners closer gave up two bunt singles, hit a dude and then walked in the winning run. Kudos to Lloyd McClendon for using his closer on the road in a tie game, which goes against The Book. Unfortunately his closer is Fernando Rodney. UPDATE: Forgot that Rodney got demoted. Never mind then. It was a poop-show all around. The Rangers are now only a half game behind the Angles for second place in the AL West and one game out of the second wild card spot.

Marlins 6, Brewers 2: The Marlins win for the fifth time in seven games. Justin Nicolino pitched into the seventh and Derek Dietrich hit a two-run home. Dee Gordon had two hits, two RBI, scored a run and stole a base.

Rays 9, Astros 2: Tim Beckham hit a three-run homer and Asdrubal Cabrera drove in three. Fun fact: the Rays have a better record than the Washington Nationals.

Angels 2, White Sox 1: C.J. Cron and Albert Pujols each homered and Andrew Heaney allowed one run over six. Carlos Rondon tossed a complete game loss. That’s at least the second time one of those has happened in a week or so.

Padres 5, Braves 3: Colin Rea won his first big league start last week and wins his second big league start here. Only 509 to catch Cy Young. The Padres scored three runs on four hits off Braves pitcher William Perez in the second inning so he had some breathing room.

 

MLB to crack down on sign stealing

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We’ve had a couple of notable incidents of sign stealing in Major League Baseball over the past couple of years. Most famously, the Red Sox were found to be using Apple Watches of all things to relay signs spied via video feed. Sports Illustrated reported yesterday that there have been other less-publicized and unpublicized incidents as well, mostly with in-house TV cameras — as opposed to network TV cameras — stationed in the outfield and trained on catchers, for the specific purpose of stealing signs.

As such, SI reports, Major League Baseball is cracking down beginning this year. Within the next couple weeks an already-drafted and circulated rule will take effect which will (a) ban in-house outfield cameras from foul pole to foul pole; (b) will limit live broadcasts available to teams to the team’s replay official only, and the replay official will be watched by a league official to keep them from relaying signs to the team; and (c) other TV monitors that are available to the clubs will be on an eight-second delay to prevent real-time sign stealing. There will likewise be limits on TV monitors showing the game feed in certain places like tunnels and clubhouses.

Penalties for violation of the rules will include the forfeiting of draft picks and/or international spending money. General managers will have to sign a document in which they swear they know of know sign-stealing schemes.

As was the case when the Apple Watch incident came up, there will not be any new rules regarding old fashioned sign stealing by runners on second base or what have you, as that is viewed as part of the game. Only the technology-aided sign stealing that has become more prominent in recent years — but which has, of course, existed in other forms for a very, very long time — is subject to the crackdown.

While gamesmanship of one form or another has always been part of baseball, the current wave of sign-stealing is seen as a pace-of-play issue just as much as a fairness issue. Because of the actual sign-stealing — and because of paranoia that any opponent could be stealing signs — clubs have gone to far more elaborate and constantly changing sign protocols. This requires mound meetings and pitchers coming off the rubber in order to re-start the increasingly complex series of signs from dugout to catcher and from catcher to pitcher.

Now, presumably, with these new rules coming online, teams will figure out a new way to cheat. It’s baseball, after all. It’s in their DNA.