Getty Images

And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

12 Comments

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Brewers 2, Reds 1: Eleven total innings, twelve total hits and thirteen total pitchers led to only three total runs, the last of which came on a Lorenzo Cain dinger in the final inning to give Milwaukee the win. This a day after these two beat the tar out of each other. Baseball, man.

Indians 5, Twins 3: Jason Kipnis hit a three-run homer in the Tribe’s four-run sixth inning to break a 2-2 tie. Mike Clevinger pitched into the seventh allowing only two unearned runs. Both of those unearned runs, however, came on a two-run homer that, no matter what preceded it, was Clevinger’s fault. Which just bolsters my long-held view that earned/unearned runs are mostly bullcrap and that we should just call every run earned unless the run literally would not score absent some Three Stooges action. Which, yes, I will define in the rules if I am made Commissioner.

Tigers 8, Yankees 7: Victor Martinez tied the game in the ninth with a two-run homer — his second homer and this third and fourth RBIs of the game — and the very next batter, Niko Goodrum, put the Tigers up for goodrum with a solo shot. That was possibly the last great night of Martinez’s fine career, which is likely to end in a month. Nice to see him have (at least) one more moment of glory. Anyway, both of the ninth inning homers came off Dellin Betances. Think the Yankees miss Aroldis Chapman?

Cardinals 5, Pirates 0: Six Cardinal pitchers combine to shut out the Buccos, led by John Gant who started and took the shutout into the sixth. Gant homered too, as did Harrison Bader. Jose Martinez drove in two on a single. The Cardinals have won 17 of 21 and have won ten consecutive series.

Cubs 5, Braves 4: Chicago took a 3-0 lead early, lost the lead in the fifth when Freddie Freeman tripled in two and Kurt Suzuki knocked in a run but Tommy La Stella‘s two-run pinch-hit homer in the sixth brought the Cubs back to a one-run lead that held up over the final four frames. Chicago won for the eighth time in nine games, Atlanta lost for the fourth time in six.

Red Sox 9, White Sox 4: Sox win! Some late inning drama on a night with a good deal of it. Mookie Betts tied it with a two-run homer in the seventh and then in the ninth the Sox rallied for five thanks to RBI singles from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew Benintendi and a three-run homer from J.D. Martinez capping things off. The Red Sox have dominated all year, but lately they’ve shown that they can come back late too. Indeed, they’ve trailed late in each of their last three games yet have won each time.

Angels 5, Astros 2: For the second game in a row Tyler White homered in the ninth inning but when your team is down 5-0 that’s not quiiiiite as dramatic as a walkoff situaish. That deficit came largely courtesy of Andrelton Simmons, who hit a bases-loaded double in the sixth inning which plated all three runners and gave the Halos a 4-0 lead that proved to be enough.

Mariners 7, Athletics 1: Unlike many of the other games last night this one featured an early rally rather than a late one, with the M’s plating five in the opening inning, all on a couple of singles, a bases loaded walk and an error. Somehow A’s starter Frankie Montas stayed in the game after that and didn’t allow too much more damage, but Wade LeBlanc wasn’t allowing any damage for Seattle, twirling seven shutout innings. The Mariners pulled to four and a half games of the A’s for the second Wild Card. Oakland remains two and a half back of Houston in the AL West.

Diamondbacks 3, Dodgers 1: The Dodgers came into this big series hot but the Dbacks cooled them down and pushed their lead over L.A. back to two games. All of Arizona’s runs came on a three-run homer from David Peralta in the fifth inning. Manny Machado hit a solo shot in the sixth but that’s all Robbie Ray would allow on the game and five Snakes relievers finished off the night for him.

Padres 3, Rockies 2: Arizona gained a game on the Rockies too, who they now lead by a game and a half, thanks to a two-out, 13th inning walkoff homer from Franmil Reyes. The game featured only nine total hits between the teams, with the Rockies having only three all night. Again, 13 innings. There were 13 pitchers too. That walkoff jack was cool, but sometimes I wonder if baseball isn’t broken lately.

MLB to crack down on sign stealing

Getty Images
Leave a comment

We’ve had a couple of notable incidents of sign stealing in Major League Baseball over the past couple of years. Most famously, the Red Sox were found to be using Apple Watches of all things to relay signs spied via video feed. Sports Illustrated reported yesterday that there have been other less-publicized and unpublicized incidents as well, mostly with in-house TV cameras — as opposed to network TV cameras — stationed in the outfield and trained on catchers, for the specific purpose of stealing signs.

As such, SI reports, Major League Baseball is cracking down beginning this year. Within the next couple weeks an already-drafted and circulated rule will take effect which will (a) ban in-house outfield cameras from foul pole to foul pole; (b) will limit live broadcasts available to teams to the team’s replay official only, and the replay official will be watched by a league official to keep them from relaying signs to the team; and (c) other TV monitors that are available to the clubs will be on an eight-second delay to prevent real-time sign stealing. There will likewise be limits on TV monitors showing the game feed in certain places like tunnels and clubhouses.

Penalties for violation of the rules will include the forfeiting of draft picks and/or international spending money. General managers will have to sign a document in which they swear they know of know sign-stealing schemes.

As was the case when the Apple Watch incident came up, there will not be any new rules regarding old fashioned sign stealing by runners on second base or what have you, as that is viewed as part of the game. Only the technology-aided sign stealing that has become more prominent in recent years — but which has, of course, existed in other forms for a very, very long time — is subject to the crackdown.

While gamesmanship of one form or another has always been part of baseball, the current wave of sign-stealing is seen as a pace-of-play issue just as much as a fairness issue. Because of the actual sign-stealing — and because of paranoia that any opponent could be stealing signs — clubs have gone to far more elaborate and constantly changing sign protocols. This requires mound meetings and pitchers coming off the rubber in order to re-start the increasingly complex series of signs from dugout to catcher and from catcher to pitcher.

Now, presumably, with these new rules coming online, teams will figure out a new way to cheat. It’s baseball, after all. It’s in their DNA.