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And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Instead of watching baseball last night I decided to watch “Batman vs. Superman,” most likely because I hate myself and I secretly want to be miserable. I wanted other people to be miserable too, apparently, so I liveblogged the thing. The movie ended up being better than I expected, but really, I shoulda just watched baseball. It’s far less contrived and the characters are better.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Orioles 5, Rangers 1: Dylan Bundy put up seven one-hit, shutout innings. It was the second time in a row he had taken a no-hitter into the sixth. Not bad for a guy who has only started four games in his big league career. Pedro Alvarez homered twice and O’s batters hit four in all.

Phillies 13, Giants 8: Crazyville. The Phillies jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two innings against Madison Bumgarner of all people, but then the Giants scored five times in the fifth to tie it. Then the Phillies led. Then the Giants. Then the Phillies scored six more unanswered runs between the sixth and eighth innings to bring it to where the game ended up. And the game wasn’t even the wildest thing that happened at the ballpark last night. Maikel Franco hit a three run shot and drove in four. Cameron Rupp hit a three-run shot of his own.

Twins 10, Indians 6: This one was pretty wild too. The Twins had an 8-0 lead through four and then allowed the Tribe to score six in the fifth to turn it back into a ballgame. Imagine being Kyle Gibson, staked to that big lead and being unable to make it out of the 5th and thus not qualifying for the win. Yikes. That’s all Cleveland would get, though. Max Kepler homered again. His fourth in two games.

Tigers 11, White Sox 5: That’s seven straight wins for the Tigers. And they got something encouraging out of it too: Anibal Sanchez, who has been a hot mess all year, allowed one run in six innings to get his first win as a starter since late April. The Tigers stood pat at the deadline but if Sanchez returns to form it’ll be like they picked up a starter anyway. The Tigers are three back of the Indians, who just lost Danny Salazar for three weeks. This could be an interesting race down the stretch.

Pirates 5, Braves 3: A four-run sixth inning helped the Pirates beat the Braves. The Braves being the Braves also helped the Pirates beat the Braves. Matt Kemp went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his Braves debut. Not great, but at least Atlanta has someone to put on the cover of the media guide alongside Freddie Freeman next year.

Reds 7, Cardinals 5: Tommy Pham homered in the eighth to give the Cards a one-run lead. Then the Reds who have vast experience watching other teams rally against their own bullpen put that to work for themselves, scoring three in the bottom of the ninth off of Cards closer Seung Hwan Oh to win it. The killing blow was a three-run walkoff homer from Scott Schebler, the guy the Reds just called up to take Jay Bruce‘s roster spot.

Mets 7, Yankees 1: Speaking of Bruce, he, like Matt Kemp in Atlanta, went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his Mets debut. Didn’t matter, though, asAs De Aza, d’Arnaud and deGrom were delightful for the Metropolitans. Jacob deGrom tossed seven shutout innings and his teammates scored seven off of Masahiro Tanaka, thanks in part to Alejandro De Aza and Travis d'Arnaud‘s homers.

Royals 3. Rays 2: Down 2-1 in the seventh, Sal Perez hit a two-run homer to give the Royals the lead for good. Kevin Cash beat himself up after the game for letting lefty reliever Xavier Cedeno face the righty Perez with a man on and a righty warming in the bullpen. Perez himself thought it was strange, but Perez has virtually no lefty-righty split in 2016, and even slugs slightly better against righties. Indeed, for his entire career Perez has virtually no split between righties and lefties, with almost identical averages and on-base percentages and only a .019 difference in slugging. I suppose gut instinct and conventional wisdom may make a manager go with the righty there anyway, but the numbers wouldn’t have suggested that it was necessary. And for cryin’ out loud, the righty was Kevin Jepsen.

Cubs 3, Marlins 2: Jason Hammel tossed six shutout innings and the Cubs managed to scratch out three runs against Jose Fernandez and to make that 3-o lead hold up. Aroldis Chapman hit 104.4 mph on the radar gun in a perfect ninth inning.

Blue Jays 2, Astros 1: R.A. Dickey‘s knuckler was fluttering well, allowing the Astros to score only one run off of him. Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion each homered. After the game Dickey cited his “command” of his knuckler as the key factor. Which, sure, I get that, but I like it better when knuckleballers talk as if they have no idea what their pitches are gonna do. It injects a bit more chaos into things.

Rockies 7, Dodgers 3: Carlos Gonzalez had three hits and four RBI. Colorado has won 10 of 12 and sits at .500. Who saw that coming? Bad news, though, as Trevor Story is out for the year due to thumb surgery. What a weird year for the Rockies.

Nationals 10, Diamondbacks 4: Wilson Ramos had two hits, including a three-run homer as the Nats put up double digits on the Snakes for the second straight night. The Diamondbacks have been outscored 38-8 in their last three games and lost 16 of 21 overall. Chip Hale has been on the hot seat. This is the kind of stretch that gets managers fired. Arizona has an off day tomorrow. If I were Hale, I’d maybe pack a bag before going to sleep tonight.

Angels 5, Athletics 4: Jefry Marte hit a three-run homer and Matt Shoemaker allowed two runs over seven innings. Cam Bedrosian got his first big league save. I’m so old I remember his dad and Milt Thompson being traded by the Braves to Philly for Pete Smith and Ozzie Virgil.

Mariners 5, Red Sox 4: The Andrew Benintendi era began in Boston with him pinch hitting, batting twice and going 0-for-2 with a strikeout. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, etc. Robinson Cano is many thousands of miles into his journey and he hit a three-run homer to cap the Mariners’ five-run eighth inning rally against a tiring David Price and abad Fernando Abad.

Brewers 3, Padres 2Ryan Braun hit a tiebreaking homer in the sixth and Zach Davies was effective once again. The highly-touted Orlando Arcia made his debut for Milwaukee and went hitless. Not the greatest day for debuts around baseball yesterday.

Covid-19 test delays impacting multiple teams

Covid-19 test delays
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Covid-19 test delays — and at least one incident in which testers simply didn’t show up at all — have delayed workouts for at least two teams so far. And at least one team’s general manager is hopping mad about it.

Alex Coffey of The Athletic reported overnight that the Oakland Athletics have yet to have a full squad workout because of COVID-19 test delays. They were supposed to begin such workouts yesterday, but delayed them until today. They have since been delayed again until tonight, and even those may not happen.

Why? Because the initial team tests that are required before allowing the team’s full complement of players and coaches into the facility had not even arrived at MLB’s testing center in Utah as of last night. Indeed, they sat in the San Francisco airport all weekend because no one with MLB or the league’s testing company bothered to account for the Fourth of July holiday and expedite shipping.

Coffey obtained the text message Athletics’ GM David Forst sent to the entire club about the COVID-19 test delays. And, frankly, it’s gobsmacking.

The upshot, as Forst explains in the text, is that the test samples which were collected on Friday and which were due to be in Salt Lake City on Saturday sat at the San Francisco airport because of the July 4 holiday. Which, OK, fine, in which case someone should have changed the shipping instructions for Sunday delivery rather than have it just wait around until Monday like any other package. But no one bothered to do that. Forst, in the text:

On top of screwing up the logistics of this whole thing, neither MLB nor CDT (the company that collects the samples) communicated any of this to us until we pressed them for information, at which point all they could do was apologize, which frankly doesn’t really do much for us. Our best shot is to schedule a workout for [Monday] night with the hope that the samples arrive at the lab on time tomorrow and they are able to turn around your results in a matter of a few hours.

Forst goes on to say that the blame for the COVID-19 test delays “lies with CDT and MLB and I won’t cover for them like I did earlier today.”

The “covering for them” refers to comments Forst made to the media after the initial delay in testing, which he and manager Bob Melvin blew off as a routine delay, with Forst saying “We all know that being flexible and adjusting to the unknowns is going to be part of everything we do this season.” In the text, however, Forst is clearly pissed off:

Despite having our schedule a week ahead of time, they didn’t alert us to the possibility of any complications around July 4th, and once there were issues, they did nothing to communicate that to us or remedy the situation until Nick (Paparesta, the A’s head athletic trainer) and I forced the issue at various times today. If possible, I’m as frustrated and pissed as you are (well, probably not as pissed as Matt is), and I assure you the rest of the staff is as well.” 

“Matt” refers to A’s third baseman Matt Chapman, who expressed his anger at the COVID-19 test delays to Forst. He’s not the only A’s player to be upset about this:

This anger is not merely about delays to workouts which, given how compacted training camp and the season is, matter a great deal and put the A’s at a competitive disadvantage to teams who are already playing simulated games. It also poses health and safety concerns.

Pitchers and catchers have been allowed to report already and without the test results they have no idea if COVID-19 is spreading in the clubhouse or if any of them need to be isolated. Diekman has specific reason to be concerned as his history of ulcerative colitis, which caused him to have part of his colon removed a few years back, puts him in the “at risk” category. The A’s, now, get to sit around most of today waiting for testing results that, per Coffey’s report, likely, at best, arrived at the Utah testing facility after 1AM this morning.

And the MLB Covid-19 test delays, it seems, are not limited to the Oakland Athletics. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that down in Anaheim, the testers who conduct saliva tests for the Los Angeles Angels simply did not show up as scheduled yesterday. Rosenthal says that it led to Angels players conducting their own tests. He said that it was unclear if the tests were shipped to lab in Utah — the AWOL testers are supposed to do that — but he does note that today’s workouts were pushed back from 9 am to noon, most likely to account for the testing screwup.

Rosenthal says “two other, unidentified teams had same issue on Sunday,” which suggests as many as four teams, including the Athletics and Angels, are experiencing COVID-19 test delays.

This, to say the least, is inexcusable. Major League Baseball has based its entire, radical 2020 season structure on extensive health and safety protocols and an extensive COVID-19 testing regime. There is already concern on the part of some that, even with such protocols and testing, playing the 2020 season is too risky, but it’s undeniable that there is zero way for professional sports to be conducted in a pandemic without such protocols or with material COVID-19 test delays.

Mere days into the endeavor, however, we have all of this.