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And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Tigers 10, Yankees 6: Well this sure got out of hand. I wrote up all of the fisticuffsmanship as it happened, so if you need the blow-by-blow, go here. For now, know that the best part of it was Alex Wilson admitting after the game that, yeah, he hit Todd Frazier on purpose. There’s something refreshing about that. In all five players were ejected, along with both managers and the Yankees’ bench coach. There were beanings and plunkings. It all may have been avoided if the umpires had properly warned everyone when Michael Fulmer hit Gary Sanchez, which is basically what set everyone off. No one covered themselves in glory here, though, no matter who you think was more responsible. The Tigers may have started it, but the only guy throwing at someone’s head was on the Yankees. Gary Sanchez was throwing cheap shots in the scrum, but Miguel Cabrera‘s failure to keep his cool is what set off the actual fighting. It was just a mess. Justin Upton and James McCann homered for Detroit, but it’s not like anyone cared too much about the game from the sixth inning on.

Diamondbacks 3, Mets 2: Robbie Ray returned to action for the first time since being hit in the head with a line drive last month, and he was pretty darn good, striking out nine in five innings. He allowed only one run on two hits, one of which was a Yoenis Cespedes homer. Gregor Blanco and Ketel Marte had an RBI single and sacrifice fly, respectively, and Brandon Drury singled in the Dbacks’ third run. Also, there was a super bad call in this game that made us happy that replay exists now.

Marlins 9, Phillies 8: Giancarlo Stanton hit his 47th homer on the year and  J.T. Realmuto hit an inside-the-park job. As with most inside-the-park homers, he had an assist from an outfielder who made choices, this time Nick WilliamsA.J. Ellis and Christian Yelich also homered for Miami. Rhys Hoskins went deep again for Philly, which set a new record. In the future, if this trend continues, all recap posts will be nothing but a list of home runs hit by dudes.

Rays 2, Blue Jays 0: Five pitchers combined to shut the Jays out, with starter Alex Cobb only making it through four and a third. No worries though, because even if he wasn’t efficient, Kevin Kiermaier was. Check out how far this cat ranges for these two balls:

Rockies 3, Royals 2: Greg Holland has been a hot mess of late, blowing a save and taking the loss on Wednesday night, so a lot of eyebrows were raised when Bud Black called on him to protect a one-run lead in the ninth here. No worries, though: he got the save and needed only seven pitches to do it, retiring the Royals in order. Before that the Rockies came back from a 2-0 deficit thanks to a Raimel Tapia RBI single in the sixth and a two-run homer from Pat Valaika in the eighth.

Dodgers 5, Pirates 2: If Wednesday night’s no-hitter-busting walkoff loss was demoralizing the Dodgers shook it off pretty quickly. Here Curtis Granderson homered in the fourth to give L.A. a lead they’d never relinquish and Yasmani Grandal and Adrian Gonzalez hit back-to-back homers in the eighth to give them insurance. Hyun-Jin Ryu allowed one run over six innings as the Dodgers win the series. They win basically every series.

Reds 4, Cubs 2: Jose Peraza hit a ground rule double off of Pedro Strop that scored two in the eighth and then Strop uncorked a wild pitch that allowed a third eighth inning run to score. I guess we all have bad innings sometimes. Sal Romano didn’t get the win but he did allow only two runs in seven innings AND he directed that Patio Cola commercial that was inspired by “Bye-Bye Birdie,” and that was pretty quality work for a novice.

Indians 13, Red Sox 6: Chris Sale is the Cy Young favorite in the American League and some people have even suggested him as an MVP candidate in recent weeks. Last night the Indians beat him around like a journeyman, however, lighting him up for seven runs on seven hits and three walks in just three innings. That’s not even something especially new, as  Sale is 5-8 with a 4.87 ERA in 29 career appearances vs. the Indians. Yandy Diaz was 4-for-4 with two driven in. Giovanny Urshela — who? — drove in four. Baseball is hard to explain sometimes.

Padres 4, Cardinals 3: The Padres broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the ninth when Carlos Asuaje singled home a run and added a necessary insurance run via a Jose Pirela sac fly. Luis Perdomo allowed two runs over six. The Cards bullpen allowed 12 runs in seven innings in the series.

Nationals 5, Astros 4: Anthony Rendon‘s sac fly gave the Nats the lead in extra innings and Matt Weiters singled home a necessary insurance run. Huh, sounds familiar. Extra innings wouldn’t have been necessary except the Astros got to both Sean Doolittle and Brandon Kintzler for three late runs. The Nats previously troubled bullpen had vastly improved since the trade deadline, mostly because of those two guys, but everyone gets got sometimes.

White Sox 5, Twins 1: The White Sox scored two runs on errors and one a fielder’s choice. Those were bookended by a Yolmer Sanchez homer and an RBI double from Kevan Smith. Byron Buxton homered for the Twins only run. Since the All-Star break he’s batting .302/.340/.570.

Rangers 3, Angels 0: Martin Perez shut the Angels out for seven innings and Jason Grilli and Ricky Rodriguez finished the job. Drew Robinson hit a two-run homer and Old Friend Mike Napoli hit a solo shot.

Congressional task force passes resolution opposing MLB’s minor league contraction plan

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We’ve talked at length about Major League Baseball’s plan to eliminate 42 minor league clubs. We also recently talked about Congress getting involved. Today that process started. It started with a non-binding, symbolic move.

That move: several members of Congress, calling themselves the “Save Minor League Baseball Task Force,” introduced a resolution saying that Major League Baseball should drop its plan to eliminate the minor league clubs and, rather, maintain the current minor league structure. The resolution reads as follows:

RESOLUTION

Supporting Minor League Baseball, and for other purposes.

Whereas 40 million plus fans have attended Minor League Baseball games each season for 15 consecutive years;

Whereas Minor League Baseball provides wholesome affordable entertainment in 160 communities throughout the country;

Whereas, in 2018, Minor League Baseball clubs donated over $45 million in cash and in-kind gifts to their local communities and completed over 15,000 volunteer hours;

Whereas the economic stimulus and development provided by Minor League Baseball clubs extends beyond the cities and towns where it is played, to wide and diverse geographic
areas comprising 80 percent of the population in the Nation;

Whereas Minor League Baseball is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion through its Copa de la Diversio´n, MiLB Pride, FIELD Program, and Women in Baseball Leadership initiatives;

Whereas Minor League Baseball is the first touchpoint of the national pastime for millions of youth and the only touchpoint for those located in communities far from Major League cities;

Whereas Congress has enacted numerous statutory exemptions and immunities to preserve and sustain a system for Minor League Baseball and its relationship with Major League Baseball;

Whereas abandonment of 42 Minor League Baseball clubs by Major League Baseball would devastate communities, bond purchasers, and other stakeholders that rely on the economic stimulus these clubs provide;

Whereas Minor League Baseball clubs enrich the lives of millions of Americans each year through special economic, social, cultural, and charitable contributions; and

Whereas preservation of Minor League Baseball in 160 communities is in the public interest, as it will continue to provide affordable, family friendly entertainment to those communities:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved,

That the House of Representatives—
(1) supports the preservation of Minor League Baseball in 160 American communities;
(2) recognizes the unique social, economic, and historic contributions that Minor League Baseball has made to American life and culture; and
(3) encourages continuation of the 117-year foundation of the Minor Leagues in 160 communities through continued affiliations with Major League Baseball.

Major League Baseball issued a statement in response:

MLB is confident we can modernize or minor league system, improve playing conditions for our players, and protect baseball in communities across America. However, doing so is best achieved with Minor League Baseball’s constructive participation, and a recognition that they need to be a part of the solution. So far their approach has neither been constructive nor solutions-oriented. The most constructive role Congress can play to achieve these goals is to encourage Minor League Baseball to return to the bargaining table so we can work together to address the real issues impacting minor league players and communities all across the country.

So that’s fun.

It’s worth noting, again, that this move by Congress does nothing substantively and, rather, exists primarily to allow Members of Congress to talk about baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and America in that way that politicians like to do. Almost any act they take is opposed by half the populace, so they will always jump at an opportunity to say things that most people agree with like “taking away our sports teams is bad. If Congress wants to do something substantive here it can hold hearings and take tangible steps toward eliminating baseball’s antitrust exemption, which is basically the only real hammer it has in influencing the league. I suspect it won’t go that far and will, instead, continue to just issue statements like this.

For its part, Major League Baseball’s statement should be read as “we want to kill these guys over here, the guys we want to kill are being REAL JERKS about it and won’t help us in killing them. Congress, please shut up about not wanting them to die and, instead, tell them that they should let us kill them, OK?”

The upshot: wake me up when something actually happens beyond this posturing.