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And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Cubs 7, Brewers 2: Jason Heyward tied it up at two in the eighth with an RBI single to force extras and then the wheels came off for the Brewers in the 11th when Matt Albers surrendered a homer to Anthony Rizzo and was charged with four more runs after that, all coming with two outs, including a two-run double from Heyward. It was the Cubs’ seventh straight win over the Brewers and it put them in first place in the NL Central, a half game ahead. Chicago, quite quietly, has the best record in the National League.

Diamondbacks 9, Pirates 5: You can blame both Pirates pitcher Joe Musgrove and Karma for the Dbacks’ rally, which had them come back from a 5-0 deficit late. With that five-run lead, Musgrove hit Chris Ownings on purpose, in retaliation for a HBP of Josh Harrison in the top half of the inning. Musgrove owned up to it too, saying some bullcrap about how “that’s how the game is played” and how he had to “protect his teammates.” Well, he may have protected his teammate and the Play The Game The Right Way Gods may be happy, but he didn’t protect the lead. After Owings reached he moved on to second on a wild pitch and then scored on a Nick Ahmed single. An error later and there were two on, Musgrove was out of the game and Jake Lamb hit a three-run homer. In the eighth the Snakes scored two runs on wild pitches and a couple more on an RBI triple from Daniel Descalso. No, Arizona did not score all nine of those runs because of one hit-by-pitch, but if you’re dumb enough to put runners on base late in a game to protect your honor, you deserve whatever happens after that.

Red Sox 2, Orioles 0: The Orioles toss eleven innings of scoreless, four-hit ball — with Dylan Bundy shutting the Sox down for eight innings himself — but Boston loaded the bases against Mychal Givens in the 12th, got two sac flies and that was enough.  Steven Wright and five relievers tossed the goose eggs for the Sox. A win, yes, but Boston has scored only ten runs in its last five games.

Marlins 7, Giants 5J.T. Realmuto had three hits, homered and drove in two and Brian Anderson homered, doubled twice, and drove in two his own self. Madison Bumgarner didn’t have the best night of his life, giving up four runs in five and a third, blowing a 4-2 lead in his final frame, and when he was lifted for a reliever he got ejected for beefing at the home plate ump on his way off the field. “There was just a lot of borderline pitches that I didn’t get,” Bumgarner said after the game. Well, welcome to Major League Baseball, MadBum. It happens.

Rays 8, Blue Jays 4: Rookies Jake Bauers and Willy Adames each drove in two runs, with Bauers hitting his first homer in the bigs, getting on base four times and scoring three times. His homer, a two-run shot, brought the Rays back from a 4-3 hole. Ryan Yarbough, one of the Rays’ relievers who start sometimes, went six innings, which is probably the most you can expect from those guys.

Indians 4, White Sox 0: Carlos Carrasco struck out 11 over seven two-hit, shutout innings, Yan Gomes doubled in a couple and Michael Brantley hit his 11th homer of the year. The Sox were victimized, once again, but wildness from Lucas Giolito, who walked Yonder Alonso and Melky Cabrera with two outs in the fourth before giving up a bloop RBI single to Lonnie Chisenhall and then Gomes’ double. Walks will kill you, man. The Tribe has won five of six.

Cardinals 5, Padres 2: Jose Martinez and Marcell Ozuna hit two-run homers and Jedd Gyorko hit a solo shot. Martinez has five homers over his last five games and has reached safely in each of his last 11 games. Jack Flaherty pitched into the seventh inning, allowing one run on three hits.

Mariners 5, Angels 3: All eight runs in this game came on home runs, two each by Mike Trout and Nelson Cruz. Albert Pujols and Ryon Healey were the other two who went deep. The difference here, of course, was who was on base when those homers were hit. In the Angels’ case: no one, for any of ’em. In the Mariners’ case, Jean Segura and Kyle Seager were on when Cruz and Healey went deep, respectively. Jean Segura had three hits, in fact, to raise his average to .343.

An Astros executive asked scouts to use cameras, binoculars to steal signs in 2017

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The Athletic reports that an Astros executive asked scouts to spy on opponents’ dugouts in August of 2017, suggesting in an email that they use cameras or binoculars to do so.

The email, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports, came from Kevin Goldstein, who is currently a special assistant for player personnel but who at the time was the director of pro scouting. In it he wrote:

“One thing in specific we are looking for is picking up signs coming out of the dugout. What we are looking for is how much we can see, how we would log things, if we need cameras/binoculars, etc. So go to game, see what you can (or can’t) do and report back your findings.”

The email came during the same month that the Red Sox were found to have illegally used an Apple Watch to steal signs from the Yankees. The Red Sox were fined as a result, and it led to a clarification from Major League Baseball that sign stealing via electronic or technological means was prohibited. Early in 2019 Major League Baseball further emphasized this rule and stated that teams would receive heavy penalties, including loss of draft picks and/or bonus pool money if they were found to be in violation.

It’s an interesting question whether Goldstein’s request to scouts would fall under the same category as the Apple Watch stuff or other technology-based sign-stealing schemes. On the one hand, the email certainly asked scouts to use cameras and binoculars to get a look at opposing signs. On the other hand, it does not appear that it was part of a sign-relaying scheme or that it was to be used in real time. Rather, it seems aimed at information gathering for later use. The Athletic suggests that using eyes or binoculars would be considered acceptable in 2017 but that cameras would not be. The Athletic spoke to scouts and other front office people who all think that asking scouts to use a camera would “be over the line” or would constitute “cheating.”

Of course, given how vague, until very recently Major League Baseball’s rules have been about this — it’s long been governed by the so-called “unwritten rules” and convention, only recently becoming a matter of official sanction — it’s not at all clear how the league might consider it. It’s certainly part and parcel of an overarching sign-stealing culture in baseball which we are learning has moved far, far past players simply looking on from second base to try to steal signs, which has always been considered a simple matter of gamesmanship. Now, it appears, it is organizationally-driven, with baseball operations, scouting and audio-visual people being involved. The view on all of this has changed given how sophisticated and wide-ranging an operation modern sign-stealing appears to be. Major League Baseball was particularly concerned, at the time the Red Sox were punished for the Apple Watch stuff, that it involved management and front office personnel.

Regardless of how that all fits together, Goldstein’s email generated considerable angst among Astros scouts, many of whom, The Athletic and ESPN report, commented in real time via email and the Astros scout’s Slack channel, that they considered it to be an unreasonable request that would risk their reputations as scouts. Some voiced concern to management. Today that email has new life, emerging as it does in the wake of last week’s revelations about the Astros’ sign-stealing schemes.

This is quickly becoming the biggest story of the offseason.