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And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Orioles 4, Mariners 0: Dylan Bundy tossed a one-hitter complete game shutout, striking out 12. The only hit allowed: a bunt single to Kyle Seager in the fourth. I wonder how that bunt single would’ve gone over with the unwritten rules crowd if it came in the eighth or ninth. Anyway, he was backed by four solo homers, two of which came from Manny Machado. The O’s win their sixth straight.

Nationals 8, Marlins 3: Giancarlo Stanton tied a major league record with his 18th home run in August — his 51st overall — but there weren’t many more highlights for the Marlins. Anthony Rendon drove in four via an RBI single and a three-run double. Edwin Jackson allowed three runs — two earned — over six.

Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 0: Chris Sale had allowed eleven runs over his last ten innings heading into this one but he corrected that, shutting out Toronto for seven frames and striking out 11. It was a close one for the first few innings, however, as Brett Anderson pitched well in his Blue Jays debut, allowing only one run while pitching into the sixth inning:

Pretty much.

Reds 14, Mets 4: Cincinnati ended its 14-game losing streak against the Mets with an offensive romp. Scott Schebler hit his first career grand slam and drove in five in all. Adam Duvall hit a three-run homer. Joey Votto reached base four times. The first time was a walk, which was his sixth straight plate appearance with a walk, which was the longest streak for any player in nine years. Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki pitched, so at least that was fun.

Rangers 12, Astros 2: The Rangers beat the Astros in Exile in front of about 3,400 people at Tropicana Field.  Shin-Soo Choo homered and drove in four runs and Adrian Beltre drove in three. The home team wore road jerseys and used the visitors dugout. The road team wore white jerseys. This is just a series to get through, not one to really enjoy.

Cardinals 10, Brewers 2: Matt Garza got beat up and the Brewers played sloppy defense behind him in a game that ceased to be competitive pretty early. Biggest highlight of the game was Matt Carpenter hitting a fifth inning homer whichmeans he donated $10,000 to hurricane recovery.

Cubs 4, Pirates 1: Jake Arrieta tossed six shutout innings. He’s 6-1 with a 1.59 ERA since the All-Star break. Anthony Rizzo went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Ben Zobrist homered as the Cubs extend their NL Central lead to three and a half games.

Twins 6, White Sox 4: Jorge Polanco homered twice and Ervin Santana allowed three runs while scattering seven hits over six and two-thirds. Minnesota is 18-10 in the month of August and has a one-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels for the second Wild Card.

Royals 6, Rays 2: The Royals scored a dang run, finally, ending their 45-inning scoreless streak. It was snapped when Whit Merrifield homered with two outs in the third. Jorge Bonifacio and Eric Hosmer homered later, ensuring that a new streak did not begin. Well, they were scoreless in the eighth, so I guess they are now on a one-inning scoreless streak, but that’s OK.

Rockies 7, Tigers 3: It was close in the seventh inning when Nolan Arenado hit a three-run homer to decide this one. It was the fourth win in six games for the Rockies, who extended their lead to four games over Milwaukee for the second NL Wild Card. A pro-Tigers friend of mine was at the game and texted me that he saw Joel Zumaya, Donnie Kelly, Phil Coke, Bobby Higginson, and Avisail Garcia Tigers jerseys on fans in Coors Field. Good to see the mid-2000s so well represented.

Diamondbacks 7, Dodgers 6: Rich Hill got an extra day’s rest after his ten inning, near-no-hitter last Wednesday, but it didn’t do him any good as the Dbacks jumped all over him for five runs right out of the chute. Paul Goldschmidt homered and Brandon Drury hit a two-run double and A.J. Pollack hit a two-run bomb. Things got dicey in the ninth, but Fernando Rodney eventually settled down to close it out. That’s five straight wins for the Dbacks who are the leaders for the NL Wild Card.

Angels 8, Athletics 2Mike Trout promised C.J. Cron season tickets to the Phoenix Suns if he hit two home runs. C.J. Cron hit two home runs, a three-run drive and a solo shot, so I guess it’s time for Trout to pay up. Martin Maldonado also homered. No word if Trout promised him anything.

Padres 6, Giants 3: Manuel Margot hit a three-run shot to break a 2-2 in the fourth inning. Jabari Blash also homered to back Luis Perdomo, who allowed only one earned run over six innings. The Padres have taken eight of 11 from the Giants.

Braves vs. Phillies; Indians vs. Yankees — POSTPONED:

The clouds started forming at five o’clock pm
The funnel clouds touched down
Five miles north of Russellville
Sirens were blowing, clouds spat rain
And as the things came threw, it sounded like a train
“It came without no warning” said Bobbi Jo McLean
She and husband Nolen always loved to watch the rain
It sucked him out the window, he ain’t come home again
All she can remember is “It sounded like a train”

 

Whitewash: Rob Manfred says he doesn’t think sign stealing extends beyond the Astros

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Rob Manfred said today that he believes the sign-stealing scandal which has taken over the news in the past week does not extend beyond the Houston Astros. His exact words, via Jeff Passan of ESPN:

“Right now, we are focused on the information that we have with respect to the Astros. I’m not going to speculate on whether other people are going to be involved. We’ll deal with that if it happens, but I’m not going to speculate about that. I have no reason to believe it extends beyond the Astros at this point in time.”

This is simply incredible. As in literally not credible.

It’s not credible because, just last week, in the original story in The Athletic, it was reported that the Astros system was set up by two players, one of whom was “a hitter who was struggling at the plate and had benefited from sign stealing with a previous team, according to club sources . . . they were said to strongly believe that some opposing teams were already up to no good. They wanted to devise their own system in Houston. And they did.”

The very next day Passan reported that Major League Baseball would not limit its focus to the Astros. Rather, the league’s probe was also include members of the 2019 Astros and would extend to other teams as well. Passan specifically mentioned the 2018 Red Sox which, of course, were managed by Alex Cora one year after he left Houston, where he was A.J. Hinch’s bench coach.

Add into this the Red Sox’ pre-Cora sign-stealing with Apple Watches and widespread, informed speculation on the part of players and people around the game that many teams do this sort of thing, and one can’t reasonably suggest that only the Houston Astros are doing this.

Which, as I noted at the time, made perfect sense. These schemes cannot, logically, operate in isolation because players and coaches change teams constantly. In light of this, players have to know that their sign-stealing would be found out by other teams eventually. They continue to do it, however, because they know other teams do it too. As is the case with pitchers using pine tar or what have you, they don’t rat out the other team so they, themselves, will not be ratted out. It’s a mutually-assured destruction that only exists and only works if, in fact, other teams are also stealing signs.

So why is Major League Baseball content to only hang the Astros here? I can think of two reasons.

One is practical. They had the Astros fall in their lap via former Astro Mike Fiers — obviously not himself concerned with his current team being busted for whatever reason — going on the record with his accusation. That’s not likely to repeat itself across baseball and thus it’d be quite difficult for Major League Baseball to easily conduct a wide investigation. Who is going to talk? How can baseball make them talk? It’d be a pretty big undertaking.

But there’s also the optics. Major League Baseball has had a week to think about the report of the Astros sign-stealing and, I suspect, they’ve realized, like everyone else has realized, that this is a major scandal in the making. Do they really want to spend the entire offseason — and longer, I suspect, if they want a thorough investigation — digging up unflattering news about cheating in the sport? Do they really want to be in the bad news creation business? I doubt they do, so they decided to fence off the Astros, hit them hard with penalties, declare victory and move on.

Which is to say, it’s a whitewash.

It’s something the league has tried to do before. They did it with steroids and it didn’t work particularly well.

In 1998 Mark McGwire, that game’s biggest star at the time, was found to have the PED androstenedione in his locker. It was a big freakin’ deal. Except . . . nothing happened. Major League Baseball planned to “study” the drug but most of the fallout was visited upon the reporter who made it public. It was accompanied by some shameful conduct by both Major League Baseball and the baseball press corps who eagerly went after the messenger rather than cover the story properly.

Four years later Ken Caminiti and Jose Canseco went public with their PED use and said drug use was widespread. MLB’s response was slow and, again, sought to isolated the known offenders, singling out Caminiti as a troubled figure — which he was — and Canseco as a kook — which he kind of is — but doing them and the story a disservice all the same.

The league eventually created a rather toothless testing and penalty regime. Congress and outside investigative reporters filled the void created by the league’s inaction, calling hearings and publishing damning stories about how wide PED use was in the game. Eventually Bud Selig commissioned the Mitchell Report. Some ten years after the McGwire incident baseball had at least the beginnings of a sane approach to PEDs and a more effective testing plan, but it was pulled to it kicking and screaming, mostly because doing anything about it was too hard and not very appetizing from a business and P.R. perspective.

And so here we are again. Baseball has a major scandal on its hands. After some initially promising words about how serious it planned to take it, the league seems content to cordon off the known crime scene and refuses to canvass the neighborhood. Sure, if someone gratuitously hands them evidence they’ll look into it, but it sure sounds like Rob Manfred plans to react rather than act here.

That should work. At least until the next time evidence of cheating comes up and they have to start this all over again.