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And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Astros 2, Angels 0: Justin Verlander was dealing. He shut out the Angels, giving up just five hits and a walk with seven strikeouts on 118 pitches. His seventh came in the ninth inning against Shohei Ohtani and marked the 2,500th strikeout of his career. Verlander is the 33rd member of the exclusive club. The Astros’ two runs came in the second inning on an Evan Gattis homer. Angels starter Garrett Richards wasn’t too shabby himself, giving up the runs (both unearned) on four hits and a walk with four strikeouts in seven innings.

Rangers 5, Mariners 1: Bartolo Colon held the Mariners scoreless over 7 2/3 innings, giving up only four hits and walking none while striking out three on 96 pitches. And he got hit by a comebacker, which didn’t faze him at all. Colon, who turns 45 years old next week, has a 2.82 ERA — 10th-best in the American League. Delino DeShields broke the scoreless tie in the top of the eighth with a double off of Nick Vincent. The Rangers tacked on four more in the top of the ninth. The Mariners’ lone run came on a Kyle Seager home run off of Keone Kela in the bottom of the ninth.

Blue Jays 12, Mets 1: Ugly day for the Mets. Zack Wheeler couldn’t get an out in the fifth inning. In fact, he led off the frame walking opposing pitcher J.A. Happ. In four-plus innings, Wheeler was on the hook for six runs on seven hits and three walks with seven strikeouts. The Mets’ lone run came in the bottom of the ninth on a solo homer from Brandon Nimmo. The Jays got homers from Justin Smoak, Teoscar Hernandez, and Jose Urena. Happ went 2-for-3 with the walk, and tossed seven shutout innings on two hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts. Almost Rick Wiseian.

Cardinals 7, Twins 5: This one was a group effort for the Cardinals. Six different hitters knocked in a run. Matt Carpenter, Dexter Fowler, Jose Martinez, and Tommy Pham had multiple hits. The Cardinals came close to giving up the lead but never actually trailed or were tied during the game. Logan Morrison homered and knocked in two for the Twins. Meanwhile, Eddie Rosario went 3-for-4 with a walk. Lance Lynn‘s struggles with the Twins continued — he lasted just three innings, giving up three runs on four hits and four walks with five strikeouts. His ERA is now 7.47.

Rays 5, Royals 3: Jake Faria was bad, but Jason Hammel was worse. Faria yielded three runs on four hits and four walks with two strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings; Hammel surrendered five runs on 10 hits and no walks with two strikeouts in six innings. C.J. Cron hit his 10th homer for the Rays. He’s been a real bright spot, considering he literally took the roster spot of Corey Dickerson. Denard Span and Wilson Ramos also picked up a couple of hits. For the Royals, Jon Jay went 3-for-4 with a double and a walk.

Brewers 8, Diamondbacks 2: Brewers hitters blasted four home runs, one each from Travis Shaw, Domingo Santana, Christian Yelich, and Tyler Saladino. All four homers came off of D-Backs starter Matt Koch, who couldn’t escape the fifth inning. He went 4 1/3 innings, giving up eight runs on nine hits and a walk with no strikeouts. Brandon Woodruff got the start for the Brewers, going five solid frames and yielding two runs on a hit and four walks with six strikeouts. Not pretty, but it got the job done.

Reds 6, Giants 3: The Reds scored four runs in the top of the first on Joey Votto‘s single and a three-run home run from Adam Duvall. Scooter Gennett hit a solo homer in the seventh. The Giants’ Brandon Belt stayed hot, homering in his third consecutive game. He has also now homered in each of his last five games against the Reds, dating back to last season. Matt Harvey got the start for the Reds. He went four innings, serving up three runs on seven hits with no walks and five strikeouts.

Red Sox 6, Athletics 4: The Athletics fought tough, but home runs by J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts proved to be too much. Martinez’s home run extended Boston’s lead to 3-0 in the first inning; Bogaerts’ homer made it a 6-2 game in the sixth. The A’s got homers from Marcus Semien, Matt Joyce, and Matt Olson. Chris Sale went just five innings, throwing 102 pitches, but he gave up just two runs on two hits and four walks with nine strikeouts. He’s now carrying a 2.29 ERA with an 87/15 K/BB ratio in 63 innings this season. Sale hasn’t been the American League’s best starter this season, but it will be interesting to see who hangs with him through the end of the season to compete for the Cy Young Award.

Marlins 6, Dodgers 5: J.T. Realmuto hit a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning off of Pedro Baez to break a 5-5 tie, which turned out to be the game-winning run. Starlin Castro also had a great game, racking up four hits in five at-bats. Walker Buehler had his first bumpy start for the Dodgers, giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits and two walks with seven strikeouts. His ERA rises all the way up to 2.67.

Braves 4, Cubs 1: Carl Edwards, Jr. melted down in the eighth inning, forking over three runs to the Braves to break a 1-1 tie. He gave up a one-out triple to Ozzie Albies, then consecutive singles to Ronald Acuna and Freddie Freeman. He intentionally walked Nick Markakis to load the bases, then unintentionally walked Tyler Flowers to force in a run. Justin Hancock relieved Edwards only to issue a two-out walk to Johan Camargo to force in another run, charged to Edwards. Both starters, Tyler Chatwood and Brandon McCarthy, pitched well, yielding a lone run each in 5 1/3 and six innings, respectively. The Braves still lead the NL East, now with a 26-16 record. Who saw the Braves and Phillies being No. 1-2 in the NL East midway through May?

Phillies 4, Orioles 1: Nick Pivetta struck out 11 Orioles, giving up just one run over seven innings. Aside from a disastrous outing on May 4 against the Nationals, Pivetta has mostly been outstanding for the Phillies this year. While we shouldn’t expect double-digit strikeouts from him on a regular basis, if he can hold his own, the Phillies are legitimately scary in the NL East. Cesar Hernandez homered and tripled for the Phils. He has quietly been one of the better infielders in baseball over the last few years. Baseball Reference credits him with 3.2 WAR in 2016, 3.1 last year, and 1.3 already in 2018. Odubel Herrera extended his on-base streak to 42 games. On the Orioles’ side of things, Adam Jones homered, which was really the only thing worth writing home about.

Indians 6, Tigers 0: Trevor Bauer fired eight shutout innings, holding the Tigers to four hits while walking none and striking out 10. Something, something, spin rate. So far, it looks like Bauer is having a career year. He’s been steadily improving in a lot of areas over the last few years. Since 2015, his ERA has gone 4.55, 4.26, 4.19, and now 2.59 this year. K-rate since 2016: 20.7%, 26.2%, 27.2%. BB-rate since 2015: 10.6%, 8.6%, 8.0%, and 8.5% this year. Anyway, Michael Brantley had three hits including a solo homer.

Pirates 3, White Sox 2: Josh Bell hit an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to break a 2-2 tie, proving to be the game-winning hit. Jameson Taillon, who recently said he’d consider some alternative measures to heal a cut on his hand, gave up two runs in 5 2/3 innings on five hits and three walks with five strikeouts. Leury Garcia and Yolmer Sanchez both hit solo home runs for the White Sox off Taillon.

Yankees @ Nationals: Postponed due to inclement weather. The two clubs were going to play the remainder of Tuesday’s suspended game, but both that and Wednesday’s game have been rescheduled for Monday, June 18 at 5:05 PM ET.

Mad Dog Licks Boots

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Earlier this week Tyler Kepner of the New York Times reported that the MLBPA and the league are heading back to the table more than two years before the expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, which expires following the 2021 season.

This had been hinted at for some time, as the union has shown clear displeasure at the current state of business, particularly with the free agent market. The league, one might assume, is happy with the current state of affairs, but it also has an interest in heading off potential strife or even the hint of a labor stoppage in the future. Moreover, there are priorities which have emerged on MLB’s part since the last CBA was signed that they’d love to advance — pace of play, etc. — so they have some incentive to talk as well. So, while it’s totally newsworthy that the sides are talking, it’s also quite understandable and not particularly controversial.

It’s also quite understandable that, given that this is a negotiation between parties in an adversarial position, there will be public comments from the principles which involve advocacy or even posturing on occasion. That’s part of the deal of any negotiation that holds public interest. So, when Tony Clark, for example, says something like “the system doesn’t work,” and “either we’re going to have a conversation now, or we’re going to have a louder conversation later,” which is what he told Kepner, it’s not really a controversial thing. Indeed, it’s expected.

Chris “Mad Dog” Russo thinks it’s pretty controversial, however. The MLB Network host and talk radio legend took to the airwaves yesterday blasting Clark for not being more deferential to Rob Manfred who “was nice enough to extend him an olive branch.”  Russo likewise asked, rhetorically, what “Rob” must’ve thought when reading Clark’s quotes “over his cup of coffee, and bran muffin, on Madison Avenue, after his workout and all those things . . . his morning coffee, milk and two sugars by the way — Sweet and Low.”

He’s the Mad Dog, but he certainly licks boots here:

 

It’s amusing enough that Russo believes that Clark, Manfred’s counterpart and adversary, is supposed to be deferential and thankful for the mighty Manfred. It’s even more amusing, however, that he takes the tack of arguing that MLB has no real interest in negotiating now and is somehow merely throwing the union a bone or offering an olive branch. In saying this Russo, whether he realizes it or not, is accusing Manfred of bad faith, optics-only talks with the union. I don’t feel like Manfred thinks he’s doing that. And I don’t think Clark would be talking to him if he felt he was being patronized to either. Indeed, the dance of the last several months around all of this was, in part, to ensure that that was not the case.

I don’t know what Manfred thought about Clark’s comments on Tuesday, but I do wonder how he feels about being accused by an MLB Network employee of playing games like this. It might be enough for him to spit out his bran muffin and coffee. Cream and two sugars and all.