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And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights


Hi folks. I’ll be bugging out for the day after the recaps are up and Bill and Ashley will be covering for me. The reason: I’m going on a special little baseball trip to my old home among the hills, Southern West Virginia, for a couple of Appalachian League games and a Prospect League game over the next three evenings. Tonight It’ll be Princeton, for a Princeton Rays game, tomorrow night Beckley to see the West Virginia Miners and on Sunday I’ll be in Bluefield to check out the Blue Jays’ class-A club in action.

As I’m taking in the action I’ll be guest posting on the Visit Southern West Virginia Instagram account with some photos and some live/video stuff. Give it a follow if you want to see me in my rare non-snarky, non-commie mode. I swear that mode exists, especially when I can help let people know just how darn beautiful and fun it is go visit my old stamping grounds.

Until then, here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Diamondbacks 4, Marlins 0: Zack Greinke kicks off the last day in “Seven Shutout Innings Week” with . . . seven shutout innings. He also went 2-for-3 with an RBI and scored a run. Dude stole a base, too. As I’ve always said: pitchers hitting is the best and we should always, always, make sure pitchers continue to hit.

Athletics 4, Tigers 2: The A’s very much enjoyed their trip to the Motor City, sweeping the Tigers in four games. Jed Lowrie particularly enjoyed it, going 9-for-17 with two homers and three doubles while driving in at least one run in all four games. The Tigers aren’t enjoying much of anything lately, losing their ninth straight game. They’ve played way better this year than most folks thought — a lot of people figured they’d lose 100 games — but the dog days will soon be upon us, and that’s often the time that over-achieving cease to be just that.

Twins 2, White Sox 1: Fernando Rodney walked in a dang run in the bottom of the ninth to help the White Sox force extras but then Hector Santiago walked in a dang run in the top of the 13th to help the Twins take the lead and the ballgame. Seems like there’s been a lotta dang guys walking in a lotta dang runs lately.

Mariners 4, Orioles 2: The M’s sweep the O’s N four games. P cool, A?

Cubs 11, Dodgers 5: If you had told me at any point in the past decade or so that Clayton Kershaw would allow one run in a start, that the Dodgers would score five but that the opposing team would win, I’d be inclined to disbelieve you. But that’s what happened here, primarily because Kershaw only pitched five innings and the bullpen — specifically Walker Buehler and Erik Goeddel — decided it was better to pour kerosene on the deck and drop cigarettes than to supply some decent relief pitching. Anthony Rizzo hit a three-run double and Addison Russell hit a two-run homer during the Cubs’ seven-run seventh inning and, though I didn’t watch it, there were probably a lot of shots of Kershaw on the bench in the dugout, doing that hat-off, forearms on his legs, looking kind of dumbfounded thing he tends to give whenever he’s watching a lead slip away and is unable to do anything about it. In other news, Buehler had been a starter, but after a month on the DL the Dodgers decided that, in lieu of a rehab start, they’d let him come out of the bullpen. Guess that didn’t work.

Rockies 9, Giants 8: Big day for DJ LeMahieu. he had a career-high five RBI and hit a two-run homer in the ninth that put the Rockies in the lead and ended up winning the game. Nolan Arenado homered too, tying him with Bryce Harper for the N.L. lead at 19. The Rockies snapped a four-game losing streak.

Red Sox 4, Angels 2Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-run homer and Rafael Devers had a solo shot. That was the last of six games these two teams will play this year. The Red Sox won all six of ’em, outscoring the Angels 49-12. The Red Sox have won four in a row and six of seven. They now head to New York to open three-game series with the Yankees.

Phillies 4, Nationals 3: Aaron Nola allowed one run while pitching into the eighth and Rhys Hoskins hit a two-run shot in the seventh inning to give the Phillies their final two and, ultimately, deciding runs. Philly is two behind the Braves and the Nats are four back in the East.

Brewers 6, Reds 4: Eric Thames has destroyed the Reds since coming back to the United States to play and he kept that up last night, hitting a three-run homer. Jesus Aguilar hit a two-run homer. He also had a lovely moment in the benches-clearing incident spurred by Joey Votto and Brewers catcher Erik Kratz jawing at each other. Watch for Aguilar putting his arm around Reds infielder Alex Blandino when everyone gathers around and THEN he stops the Reds relievers from joining the scrum, not out of malice, but because “hey, man, we’re all just trying to calm down here.”

Feel the love triumph over hate.

Astros 1, Rays 0: And Lance McCullers ends the last day of “Seven Shutout Innings Week” with, yep, you guessed it, seven shutout innings. The pen handled the last two and Jake Marisnick’s solo homer in the fifth was all the offense there was.

Have a nice weekend, everyone.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.