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And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Red Sox 5, Orioles 2: It was 2-1 in the seventh when David Ortiz hit a three-run homer, helping the Sox to their sixth straight win. Boston now has a four-game lead over Toronto and a five-game lead over Baltimore in the AL East with 11 games left to play. For the Orioles, Trey Mancini homered in his major league debut. There was some video of his mom freaking out in the stands after he did it. At one point those “moms in the stands cheering on players in their major league debut” videos showed old ladies. Now, suddenly, they show attractive women who, if I were so inclined, would be age-appropriate for me to ask out on a date. Must be a glitch. Someone should look into that. It’s somewhat troubling.

Braves 5, Mets 4: Four wins in a row for a Braves team on which, a few months ago, I would’ve bet my life would lose 100 games. Now they’re almost certainly not going to, which speaks to just how long and strange and unpredictable a baseball season can be. The Mets, stymied by Julio Teheran once again, fall into a three-way tie with San Francisco and St. Louis for the two NL wild cards.

Cardinals 10, Rockies 5: There’s helping your own cause and then there’s what Adam Wainwright did, driving in four, with a two-run double and a two-run single. Matt Adams and Jedd Gyorko homered, but they didn’t pitch at all, so advantage: Wainwright.

Giants 2, Dodgers 0: Congratulations, Giants: your bullpen didn’t blow a close game this time! Not that things are all rosy: Johnny Cueto had to leave with a strained groin and Brandon Crawford left with a dislocated finger. Eduardo Nunez and Brandon Belt each hit solo shots.

Phillies 7, White Sox 6Odubel Herrera homered, had three hits in all and drove in three. Tommy Joseph and Roman Quinn drove in three between them. Not bad for what, statistically, is the worst offense in the National League.

Indians 2, Royals 1: Brandon Guyer with a pinch-hit, walkoff RBI single. That brings the Indians magic number down to six. If they beat the Royals tonight, the World Series champs will be eliminated.

Marlins 1, Nationals 0: Jose Fernandez tosses eight shutout innings, striking out 12. I’m not sure what the Marlins latest thinking is on this guy — in the past it’s been suggested that they’d trade him before he could reach free agency — but if they wanted to trade him this winter, they’d get a freakin’ haul.

Yankees 5, Rays 3: The Bombers post a four-run seventh inning powered by homers from Mark Teixeira and Gary Sanchez. Which makes me realize that that may have been the last time I write Mark Teixeira’s name in one of these recaps. Wait, THAT was the last time I write Teixeira’s name. Wait.

Rangers 5, Angels 4: Rangers starter A.J. Griffin had to leave early due to illness, but Nick Martinez was solid out of the pen. How solid? This solid:

Nomar Mazara hit a go-ahead, two-run homer for the Rangers. This one got chippy too. After Mike Trout got hit by a pitch early, THREE Rangers batters were hit, eventually leading to the ejection of Mike Scioscia and Brett Oberholtzer. I guess that’s fair if you assume that Trout is three times better than anyone else. There are exchange rates for everything. At one point in there a Rangers pitcher threw behind the head of Andrelton Simmons too. I hope all those men feel more manly and validated now.

Cubs 6, Reds 1: Anthony Rizzo drove in three and Jon Lester won his 18th game. There was a bit of a scare as he was hit by a comebacker and doubled over at one point. Turns out the lefty was hit in his right hand. After the game he said “it’s my right hand, I don’t need it.” He could’ve said “that’s why God gave me two,” which is a line from an underrated movie I always think of in these sort of situations. If anyone knows the movie, put it in the comments.

Pirates 6, Brewers 3Andrew McCutchen, Jody Mercer and Josh Bell each drove in two. The Pirates have won five of six and are back at .500 which I suppose is something worth celebrating, even if it comes too late to matter.

Tigers 8, Twins 1: Matt Boyd allowed one run over eight innings and James McCann and Miguel Cabrera each homered, with three-run and two-run shots, respectively. Detroit is back one and a half games in the Wild Card with 12 games to go.

Astros 2, Athletics 1: George Springer singled in the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th, set up by Tony Kemp‘s leadoff double. Kemp provided the Astros only other run with an RBI double in the seventh.

Blue Jays 10, Mariners 2: Edwin Encarnacion homered and doubled in two. Russell Martin and Michael Saunders each drove in two of their own. Seattle has teased all year and then, when they’ve had a chance to make a real move on a playoff spot, they’ve failed to deliver. Has to be frustrating for M’s fans.

Padres 5, Diamondbacks 2: Adam Rosales homered and drove in four. Then, in a tribute to the earlier part of his career, he was signed and released by Oakland and Texas 12 times before the game was over. Weird, but that’s his lot in life.

Something needs to change to avoid future incidents like Machado-vs.-Welke

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On Monday, Major League Baseball announced that Padres third baseman Manny Machado was suspended one game and fined an undisclosed amount for “aggressively arguing” and making contact with home plate umpire Bill Welke after a controversial strike three call in the fifth inning of Saturday’s game against the Rockies in Colorado. The clip of the incident is below, showing that Welke’s call was poor. Machado’s behavior was also poor, as he indeed made contact — inadvertently or not — with Welke and repeatedly swore at him. Machado also threw his bat, though it was not in anyone’s direction and no one was put in harm’s way.

Machado chose to appeal his suspension, as is his right. While that matter is in the process of being resolved, the Major League Umpires Association put out a lengthy statement on Facebook and a shorter but hashtag-laden post on Twitter. The statements were problematic for a number of reasons, chiefest being that the union is publicly commenting on an ongoing matter. MLB can keep Machado’s suspension at one game, which seems likely, or it can reduce his suspension to zero games. The league can also choose to reduce or remove the fine as well. Once the matter is resolved, the MLBUA should feel free to comment publicly on the matter.

MLBUA’s statement was also poorly proofread, hyperbolic, and creates a very legitimate argument for bias against Machado and/or the Padres going forward. The MLBUA described Machado as “violently” throwing his bat “with no regard to anyone’s safety.” It continued, “It is NOT okay to throw a temper tantrum and physically touch someone of authority, just because you don’t agree.”

MLBUA then moralized, asking, “What does this teach the MLB’s immense and ongoing influential youth movement trying to attract young fans to the game? Major League Baseball has to always lead by example in all cases of violent behavior, on and off the field.” It closed out, saying that the union was “extraordinarily disappointed” in MLB’s “inaction.”

Among the hashtags MLBUA used on Twitter were “#TemperTantrum,” “#RepeatOffender,” and “#Nonsense.”

Major League Baseball then released a statement on Tuesday night, saying, “…we do not believe it is appropriate for the union representing Major League Umpires to comment on the discipline of players represented by the Players Association.” The league added, “We also believe it is inappropriate to compare this incident to the extraordinarily serious issue of workplace violence.”

Whoever put out the message on behalf of the MLBUA should have asked themselves, “What is my purpose here and for whom am I posting this?” The entire purpose of a trade union is to create a cohesive unit, establishing bargaining power on behalf of labor versus capital. So, MLBUA is not writing this for fans, for players, or for MLB executives; it is publicly commenting for umpires. An ancillary benefit might be to engender public support for umpires vis-a-vis Welke.

It must then ask itself if the statement creates solidarity among umpires. And I think that’s a solid no. Machado is not the first player and will not be the last to make contact with an umpire and to throw a “temper tantrum” of that magnitude. So why single Machado out and die on this hill today? I would be shocked if more than a handful of umpires outside of Welke and his closest confidantes appreciated the MLBUA reacting the way it did. It doesn’t help them achieve any union-specific goals and might actually hurt them. Repeatedly referring to Machado’s actions as a “temper tantrum” and “nonsense,” and calling him a “repeat offender” is unprofessional. It’s something an Internet commenter would write in the heat of the moment, not the representative of a trade union in one of the most profitable industries in the country. Furthermore, in singling out Machado, Machado himself as well as his teammates have a legitimate reason to believe Welke and his crew might be biased against them not just for the remainder of the season but for the foreseeable future.

On a more pedantic note, the MLBUA wrote that it is not okay for players to act the way Machado did against “someone of authority.” It’s not the power that should shield umpires from workplace violence; it’s their humanity. Machado should no more or less scream and yell at an umpire than he should anyone else in any walk of life. However you rank umpires, coaches, front office executives, teammates, opponents, fans, etc. — they should all be treated equally.

All of this being said, there was one part of MLBUA’s statement that rang true. As mentioned, Welke did suffer violence in the workplace. I disagree with MLB that the comparison was inappropriate. There is nuance to what constitutes “workplace violence.” Is it a mass shooting? Of course not. But in no other employment setting would it be appropriate for one person to scream, curse, and throw items across the room during a disagreement. The union correctly wrote, “Physical contact simply cannot be tolerated.” The crux of all of this is that Major League Baseball doesn’t discourage altercations between umpires and players/coaches. Things have gotten better since the implementation of instant replay, but some instances — especially ball/strike judgment — can turn into very heated altercations.

MLB needs a flat rule instructing players and coaches not to argue with umpires. The team of the offending person(s) would incur an in-game penalty as well as a potential fine and suspension. In exchange for this loss of power on the part of players and coaches, the umpires should be subject to actual oversight. As it stands, umpires are almost never punished in any way for any kind of behavior towards players and coaches, nor are they often punished for poor results in terms of correct calls made. The umpires already have the advantage with their authority; their lack of oversight puts that advantage on steroids, which is why there’s often so much frustration. Umpires instigate confrontations a non-negligible amount of the time. If they felt like they would actually be held accountable for it, they might be much more reluctant to act, for example, the way Ron Kulpa did towards the Astros in early April.

MLBUA helped gain that power imbalance for its members, so it isn’t likely to give it up very easily. I don’t see my utopian dream coming to fruition anytime soon. But that’s the crux of every umpire-involved confrontation: authority. Umpires and players/coaches need to be on a level playing field in that regard, and the rules need to be crystal clear on what kind of behavior is allowed from both sides. Until that happens, we’ll be seeing a Machado-vs.-Welke incident once or twice every year ad infinitum.