Associated Press

And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

43 Comments

There were only 14 games in Major League Baseball, as the Cardinals and Twins were idle. Which is really, really weird, because I can’t remember the last time teams had a scheduled off-day on a Wednesday. I know the schedule is different this year due to some changes about travel days to the west coast and whatnot, but it’s really disorienting for a guy who does what I do each morning. After ten years, “15 games on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and a usually lighter schedule on Monday and Thursday” is how I arrange my life from April through September. Oh well.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 9, Red Sox 6: It all happened so fast. Both the blown lead in the game and the blown lead in the standings. As for the former: the Sox had rallied to take a 6-5 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth and called on Craig Kimbrel for a five-out save, bringing him into the game with runners on the corners and one out to face Brett Gardner. Gardner tripled in both runners and, the very next batter, Aaron Judge, homered to bring home two more. As for the latter: on April 20, the Red Sox led the Yankees by seven and a half games. They’re now a game behind, as the Yankees won their 17th game in their last 18 contests.

Pirates 6, White Sox 5: Chicago had a 4-0 lead heading into the sixth inning and a 5-2 lead in the ninth. That’s when Nate Jones came on to close it out, but, as noted baseball analyst Robert Burns once said, “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/Gang aft agley/An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain/For promis’d joy!”

Or something like that.

The Pirates scored four off of Jones in the ninth via a two-run ground rule double from Elias Diaz and then a Colin Moran two-run shot immediately thereafter. White Sox manager Rick Renteria:

“I couldn’t have scripted it any better today. We did exactly what we wanted to do, got to the back end of the game. We had the guy we wanted to close it out, and we didn’t. That’s it. We played a really good ballgame, I thought.”

See, he’s read Burns. Rick knows what time it is.

Cubs 13, Marlins 4: It was all over after the Cubs put up an eight-spot in the third, but they kept playing because those are the rules. Anthony Rizzo hit a three-run homer and a pair of run-scoring doubles to give him five RBI on the day. Kris Bryant hit his 100th career homer. It came on the third anniversary of his first homer. He should’ve made a diving stab instead, because everyone knows that the third anniversary gift is leather. Wood is for the fifth year. My god, do they not teach kids the important things these days?

Reds 2, Mets 1: The Mets batted out of order in this one, it cost the team a chance to score and they ended up losing by one run in extra innings. So, yes, the mistake may very well have cost them a game. Adam Duvall‘s 10th inning walkoff homer was the more visible game-decider, however, as the Reds take two of three from the Mets. New York has lost 16 of 23 and is now in fourth place in the NL East.

Braves 5, Rays 2: Julio Teheran shut out the Rays for six innings and left with a 5-0 lead thanks to a Nick Markakis three-run homer and RBI from Freddie Freeman and Ender Inciarte. Markakis is hitting .338/.419/.554 with seven homers. His high in homers over his last nine seasons is 18. I’m going to assume this is some sort of 1980s movie-style body-swap situation, possibly involving an enchanted object of some kind. Just gotta figure out who he’s body-swapped with. Possibly Marcell Ozuna?

Blue Jays 5, Mariners 2Yangervis Solarte and Justin Smoak both doubled in a eighth inning rally, the former tying things up and the latter putting the Blue Jays ahead as Toronto bounced back from being no-hit on Tuesday night. Wade LeBlanc started for the Mariners. He has zero career shutouts in 80 starts. That’s not a lot of starts over a ten year career, but I’ve always hoped I’d get the chance to write “Wade LeBlanc LeBlanks [opposing team].” Maybe someday.

Phillies 11, Giants 3: Nick Pivetta tossed five innings of shutout ball and Carlos Santana went hog wild, driving in five. The Phillies are 20-11 since a 1-4 start. “I just try to focus and make contact,” Santana, who had slumped terribly until very recently, said after the game. “It’s been a big difference.” What was he doing before?

Padres 2, Nationals 1: Gio Gonzalez and Joey Lucchesi dueled, each allowing one run, and Matt Szczur‘s go-ahead RBI double in the seventh decided it. “I was just trying to get something good to hit,” said Szczur after the game. “I knew I had to get something in the air and I put a good swing on it.” Huh. Really makes you think.

Indians 6, Brewers 2: The Indians climb back to .500 thanks to a dominant outing from Carlos Carrasco, who tossed a 14-strikeout complete game. He likewise singled in a run (all together now) helping his own cause. A three- run homer from Tyler Naquin and a solo shot from Francisco Lindor helped it even more.

Rangers 5, Tigers 4: Nomar Mazara hit a solo homer in the seventh to tie the game and to eventually force extras. Then he hit a walkoff solo shot in the bottom of the tenth to win it. Not as notable in the box score but pretty darn impressive too: Delino DeShields drew four walks, all leading off innings.

 

Angels 8, Rockies 0: Jaime Barria and four relievers combined to shut out the Rockies and Rene Rivera, Justin Upton and Zack Cozart all homered. Andrelton Simmons‘ 12-game hitting streak ended but he did take a walk with the bases loaded. I wonder how many times the Rockies have been shut out at Coors Field. I’m guessing fewer than most teams have been shut out at home, pro-rated for ballpark age.

Astros 4, Athletics 1: Gerrit Cole wasn’t as sharp as he was in his last outing, but let us not make the perfect the enemy of the good. Cole continued his fantastic 2018 season by allowing one run over six innings while striking out nine. Back-to-bak homers from Max Stassi and Derek Fisher in the seventh and a two-run double from Yuli Gurriel constituted the Astros’ offense. He leads the league in strikeouts with 86 and trails only teammate Justin Verlander in ERA, 1.43 to Verlander’s 1.17. Houston sweeps Oakland, outscoring them 25-5 in the series.

Orioles 5, Royals 3: Baltimore puts an end to their seven-game skid. Mark Trumbo hit a tiebreaking, two-run single in the eighth, Chris Davis homered and Andrew Cashner pitched respectably in a no-decision.

 

Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 3:  Yasiel Puig came back from a stint on the disabled list and went 3-for-4 with two runs scored as the Dodgers avoid being swept by the Dbacks. These two teams do not meet again until August 30. given how often they’ve played each other so far this year, I think everyone could use the break. It’s been like when there were two teams doing spring training in Tucson and they didn’t want to drive up to Phoenix or something.

Covid-19 test delays impacting multiple teams

Covid-19 test delays
Getty Images
3 Comments

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.