Associated Press

And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

15 Comments

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Red Sox 3, Rays 2: David Price tossed seven shutout innings and the Rays starter, Johnny Wholestaff, started out with eight goose egg frames himself, heading into the bottom of the ninth with a 2-0 lead thanks to a Matt Duffy homer. The Sox rallied, however, with a Hanley Ramirez RBI single and an RBI double from Xander Bogaerts to force extras. Blanks until the bottom of the 12th, when a double and two walks loaded the bases for Ramirez who smacked a walkoff single to give Boston the game. I didn’t watch the postgame interviews, but I have to imagine that Rays manager Kevin Cash was peppered with tough questions about why he kept Wholestaff in for all 12 innings here. He had to be gassed.

Twins 4, Mariners 2: Seattle took an early two-run lead but the two was all they’d get. In the sixth Miguel Sano hit a two-run homer. Mitch Garver and Eddie Rosario would hit solo shots in the seventh and eighth, respectively. The Twins got four and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief from the bullpen, with Fernando Rodney getting his first save for Minnesota. The highlight of the game, however, came before it began, when a bald eagle landed on Mariners starter James Paxton’s shoulder. After the game, Paxton was asked how he remained so calm when the eagle landed on him. This is what he said:

“I’m not gonna outrun an eagle, so just thought, we’ll see what happens.”

I am being 100% sincere when I say that that is some seriously deep life lesson stuff. I’m fifteen years older than Paxton, I pride myself on rarely losing my cool when stressed or when I find myself in situations where I’m not in control, yet I continue to struggle for this level of zen in even my best moments. We should all simply chill out and see what happens whenever we’re faced with an eagle we cannot outrun. Metaphorically speaking.

Mets 8, Nationals 2: Michael Conforto came off the disabled list and hit a homer. Yoenis Cespedes homered as well. Jay Bruce later hit a grand slam that put the game well out of reach. At one point, when the game was close, the Nationals loaded the bases with nobody out and didn’t score a single run. Woof. After beginning the year 4-0, the Nationals have now dropped three straight. Woof woof. After a super hot start, Adam Eaton left the game after tweaking his ankle. Woof, woof, woof.

Phillies 5, Marlins 0: A combined shutout for Nick Pivetta and three Phillies relievers was backed by a 3-for-4, four-RBI afternoon from Maikel Franco, which included a two-run bomb. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler lifted Pivetta in the sixth after he had thrown 97 pitches and put a runner on. Totally conventional and totally defensible pitching change, but Phillies fans rained boos down upon Kapler, making up for the fact that all of the other stuff that he could’ve been booed for happened in road games.

Rangers 6, Athletics 3: A four-run second inning, aided by some bad Oakland defense, held up for Texas. Rangers starter Martin Perez was an escape artist, allowing ten hits in five and a third but giving up only three runs. Adrian Beltre made the record books by becoming the all-time hits leader among Latin-born players, passing Rod Carew. Shin-Soo Choo homered. Nomar Mazara added two hits. There were only 10,132 fans at this game and only 34,613 for all four games of this series. Yikes.

Rockies 3, Padres 1: Nothing but zeros on the board for either team through the first eight innings, but the Rockies got three in the ninth — all unearned — off of Brad Hand. Not that Hand distinguished himself, walking the first two batters he faced and then walking in a run before allowing a two-run single to DJ LeMahieu. The box score says “unearned” but cosmically speaking, Hand gave ’em up.

Tigers 9, White Sox 7: Miguel Cabrera left the game early when he jammed his hip, but his replacement — Niko Goodrum — came up big with a two-run homer in the ninth inning which brought the Tigers to within one run. Soon after that Victor Martinez doubled in Nicholas Castellanos to tie things up and send it to extras. In the 10th, Leonys Martin knocked in Mikie Mahtook on a fielder’s choice and Jeimer Candelario added an insurance run with an RBI single. The lead would hold, ending a cold and snowy home opener in Chicago. In other news, if you had asked your average Tigers fan who Niko Goodrum and Jeimer Candelario were a year or so ago, I’m guessing most would stare at you blankly. Hell, I follow baseball closer than most folks, and if you would’ve asked me, I might’ve said that “Niko Goodrum” was a character’s name in some bad allegorical fiction written by a college sophomore.

Orioles 5, Yankees 2: Masahiro Tanaka was doing just fine until the seventh, blanking the Orioles, but then he ran into some trouble, giving up a two-run blast to Adam Jones and then putting another runner on. Aaron Boone lifted him for Chad Green who allowed that inherited runner to score on an Anthony Santander double, put Colby Rasmus on base and then allowed both of them to score on a Trey Mancini single. Meanwhile, Andrew Cashner allowed only one run over six — Aaron Judge‘s second homer of the season, a solo shot — and his relief allowed only one more man to cross home plate. Judge’s bomb was the only hit Cashner gave up to the Yankees’ Big Three of Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez.

Pirates 5, Reds 2: Gregory Polanco hit a two-run homer during a four-run fifth. Earlier he had plated a run via a sac fly. Polanco has driven in nine runs on the young season. I guess being in The Best Shape of His Life is paying off. Buccos’ starter Steven Brault pitched one-run ball over five innings. Not gonna freak out or anything, but Joey Votto is 3-for-19 with only one walk and no extra base hits in his first five games.

Diamondbacks 3, Cardinals 1: Robbie Ray allowed one run over six innings and struck out nine. He walked a lot of guys, but he allowed only one hit and the pen allowed only one additional hit for the rest of the game. Meanwhile, his counterpart, Adam Wainwright, labored to throw 89 pitches in three and two-thirds innings.

Cubs 8, Brewers 0: Jon Lester tossed six scoreless frames, striking out six and even picking off a runner at third base, which is not the sort of thing Lester is known for. Of course that runner, Ryan Braun, was only in a position to break for third because he had stolen second due to Lester’s inattention to him previously, but let us not dwell on such details. The Cubs were up 5-0 after three and added more as the night went on, with the scoring capped by a Jason Heyward homer in the ninth. Even worse for Milwaukee: they lost All-Star closer Corey Knebel due to a hamstring injury as he pitched in a non-save situation in the ninth. All he wanted to do was to get some work in, and now he’s DL-bound.

The Astros continue to refuse to take responsibility for the Taubman Affair

Getty Images
10 Comments

I’m calling it the “Taubman Affair” because writing “the incident in which a top front office executive — Astros Assistant General Manager Brandon Taubman — taunted a reporter for her past opposition to the team acquiring a domestic abuser, after which the team lied, aggressively about it, accusing another reporter of fabricating a story, then admitted that they lied but made no apology for smearing the reporter” is too unwieldy for a headline.

If you need catching up on it, though, you can read this, this or this.

The latest on it all: yesterday, after walking back their angry denial that the incident ever occurred and admitting that, yes, Taubman did in fact gleefully and profanely target a reporter for taunting, the team basically went silent and let Game 1 unfold.

Today General Manager Jeff Luhnow went on a team-friendly radio station (i.e. the station that broadcasts Astros games). In the entire segment he was asked only one question about it: “Your thoughts on the SI article, Jeff.” Luhnow said that he would withhold comment, but apologized to “everybody involved,” including the fans and the players, saying “this situation should have never happened.” You can listen to the entire segment here.

He did not, however, make any specific mention of what “this situation” was. Nor did he acknowledge that, actually, it’s at least two “situations:” (1) the initial behavior of Taubman; and (2) Monday night’s team-sanctioned attack of Sports Illustrated’s Stephanie Apstein, who reported it. Indeed, at no time in the team’s now multiple comments has anyone acknowledged that, as an organization, the Houston Astros’s first impulse in all of this was to attempt to bully and discredit a reporter for what has now been established as a truthful report to which the Astros have admitted. And they certainly have not voiced any specific regret or offered any form of accountability for it.

Major League Baseball is apparently investigating Taubman’s conduct. But it is not, presumably, investigating the Astros’ disingenuous smear of Apstein. A smear that the Astros likely undertook because they figured they could intimidate Apstein and, what may even be worse, because they assumed that the rest of the press — many of whom were witnesses to Taubman’s act — would go along or remain silent. If they did not think that, of course, releasing the statement they did would’ve been nonsensical. It speaks of an organization that believes it can either bully or manipulate the media into doing its bidding or covering for the teams’ transgressions. That part of this has gone wholly uncommented on by the Astros and apparently will for the foreseeable future. No matter how this shakes out for Taubman, if the Astros do not talk about how and why they decided to baselessly attack Apstein on Monday night, nothing they ever say should be trusted again.

More broadly, everything the Astros are doing now is the same as when they traded for Roberto Osuna in the first place.

In 2018 they wanted to do an unpopular thing — arbitrage a player’s domestic violence suspension into the acquisition of cheap relief help — while wanting to appear as though they were good actors who had a “zero tolerance for domestic violence” policy. To solve that problem they shoveled a lot of malarkey about how “zero tolerance” actually includes a fair amount of tolerance and hoped that everyone would go along. When not everyone did — when fans brought signs of protest to the ballpark or expressed their displeasure with Osuna’s presence on the roster — they confiscated them then hoped it’d all blow over and, eventually, via Taubman’s rant on Saturday night, lashed out at their critics.

Here, again, they want to do something unpopular: retain a boorish and insensitive executive in Taubman without him or the team suffering any consequences for it, be they actual consequences or mere P.R. fallout. Again, it’s kind of hard to pull that off, so to do so they falsely accused a reporter of lying and then circled the wagons when they caught heat for it.

I have no idea how long they plan to keep this up. Maybe they are calculating that people will forget and that forgetting is the same as forgiveness. Maybe they simply don’t care. All I do know is that folks will be teaching the Astros’ response to all of this as a counterexample in crisis management courses for years.