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And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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There were ten games yesterday. The winning team scored in double digits in six of them. This is what baseball would be like if aliens tried to replicate baseball on their own planet but all they had to go by was old video of every Rangers game from the mid-late 1990s or something. I guess it’s OK if you’re into that sort of thing.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Braves 10, Cardinals 2: Adam Wainwright was a Braves product before being shipped to St. Louis for J.D. Drew. That was so long ago that no one in Atlanta is still around who was there at the time save a couple of elderly advisors and maybe some assorted office workers. I guess the old trainer Jeff Porter is probably still knocking around too, though if I remember correctly he got promoted to advisor status too. The team is even owned by different folks. Maybe that contributed to the rude welcome Wainwright was given by his original organization, which tattooed him for five runs on five hits in the first four innings. Rookie Austin Riley — who was six years-old when Wainwright was traded to St. Louis — went 3-for-4 with a double, drove in a run and scored twice. Julio Teherán tossed five scoreless and drove in two himself. Wainwright:

“It’s the worst fastball command I’ve had all year,” Wainwright said. “I actually had a good fastball, but I just didn’t locate it worth a darn, and worst breaking ball I’ve had all year. Bad combo.”

“Darn?”

Athletics 17, Tigers 3: Well that was something. It’s been a whole lot of something for the Tigers of late. They have lost four straight games and have been outscored in those games 41-9. A week prior they lost 13-0. A Twitter correspondent told me yesterday that, had the Tigers not scored three runs with that two-out, bottom of the ninth homer from Dawel Lugo it would’ve been the first time in baseball history that a team lost two 13+ run shutouts at home in the span of a week. Way to deprive us of history, Lugo. Gosh.

In other news, I’ve long been of the view that, if everyone has the right attitude about it, following a really bad team can be kind of fun. It’s not fantastic or anything, but if people are realistic with their expectations, don’t take the losing too personally and try to maintain a sense of humor, the shared misery of it all can bring forth some unexpected joy. Stuff like this, tweeted out by the team right after the game ended:

As for the A’s, Jurickson Profar hit a grand slam, Josh Phegley had four hits including a homer and Matt Olson and Marcus Semien and Mark Canha all went deep for Oakland as well. Canha should get an asterisk as he hit his off of outfielder Brandon Dixon, but since baseball doesn’t do asterisks we won’t either.

Rangers 16, Royals 1: Another blowout as Texas socks five homers in this laugher. Rougned Odor hit two of them on a four-RBI day, and Hunter Pence, Joey Gallo and Willie Calhoun all went yard as well. Calhoun was 4-for-7 with three driven in. It’s only been two games since he’s been called up but he already has six hits and five RBI on the year. Like the Tigers, the Royals used a position player to pitch: Chris Owings. He got not just one but two innings on the mound, surrendering Pence’s bomb and Odor’s second one.

Nationals 7, Mets 6: The Nats win their first series in a month. It wasn’t easy as they blew an early 4-0 lead, but Gerardo Parra hit a two-run homer in the fifth to put Washington back on top and they didn’t trail after that. Parra went 3-for-3 with that homer and three RBI in total. He’s been a nice pickup for Washington so far. Bad news for the Mets: they lost both Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto to injuries in this one. The former with abdominal tightness, the later left the game after colliding with teammate Robinson Canó and was later diagnosed with a concussion. Those two have, by far, been the Mets best offensive players this year — Conforto hit a three-run homer in this one to tie the game at four — and losing even one of them is a tremendous blow. Both in one game? Oof.

Brewers 11, Phillies 3: Christian Yelich hit two homers — his major league-leading 17th and 18th on the year — and Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas each went deep as Milwaukee takes three of four from Philly. Yelich had three hits and scored three times. He’s batting .342 and at the moment is in great shape to challenge for a second straight MVP Award.

Indians 14, Orioles 7: “Jason Kipnis?” the old man said, taking a long drag off his cigarette while staring into the middle distance. “I haven’t written that name in a recap for years.” Here he homered twice — one was a three-run shot — and drove in six. The Indians were down 5-1 in this one and didn’t take the lead until the sixth inning, but then they put up a five run seventh to render this one less-than-competitive. Thanks to Wednesday’s double header the Orioles lost three games in around 24 hours which is “fun.” Overall they have lost seven of eight.

Reds 4, Cubs 2: Chicago got two off the Reds ace Luis Castillo early but would get nothin’ the rest of the way. Jose Perazá homered for Cincy and Eugenio Suárez knocked in a couple. The rain got an assist too, as very wet and very sloppy conditions just before a rain delay contributed to José Quintana throwing back-to-back wild pitches which allowed a run to score. The Cubs came into this three-game set with the Reds having won or split 10 straight series but they dropped two of three.

White Sox 4, Blue Jays 2: It was tied at two in the eighth with a runner on third and Ryan Cordell at the plate for the Chisox when Rick Renteria called for the suicide squeeze:

I guess the aliens had some old small ball videos lying around too.

Twins 11, Mariners 6: The Twins sent 13 men to the plate and scored seven runs in the fourth inning and they made everyone continue to play the rest of the game after that for some reason. Four Minnesota batters homered: C.J. Cron, Jason Castro, Max Kepler and Byron Buxton. Cron went 4-for-5. Buxton drove in three.

Padres 4, Pirates 3: San Diego was down 2-1 in the sixth when Ian Kinsler smacked a three-run homer. Kinsler, who has gotten heat from Padres fans this year, flipped his bat after his homer and offered what the AP game story called a “profane outburst” as he crossed home plate which many in attendance took to be aimed at the hometown fans. Which, um, seems pretty accurate:

After the game he said that was directed at his teammates as a means of celebration, but that doesn’t seem really plausible. It’s worth noting that his manager didn’t buy it either. Andy Green said he’d talk with Kinsler about it and added:

“We as professionals should handle that displeasure in a more positive way than it was handled today. With [Kinsler], he knows that. He’s played the game a long time . . . Clearly not expressed well today. Ultimately, though, he’s a passionate baseball player.”

So, yeah, not the best look from Kinsler. One wonders if all of the people who get up in arms about player decorum will do so here.

Congressional task force passes resolution opposing MLB’s minor league contraction plan

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We’ve talked at length about Major League Baseball’s plan to eliminate 42 minor league clubs. We also recently talked about Congress getting involved. Today that process started. It started with a non-binding, symbolic move.

That move: several members of Congress, calling themselves the “Save Minor League Baseball Task Force,” introduced a resolution saying that Major League Baseball should drop its plan to eliminate the minor league clubs and, rather, maintain the current minor league structure. The resolution reads as follows:

RESOLUTION

Supporting Minor League Baseball, and for other purposes.

Whereas 40 million plus fans have attended Minor League Baseball games each season for 15 consecutive years;

Whereas Minor League Baseball provides wholesome affordable entertainment in 160 communities throughout the country;

Whereas, in 2018, Minor League Baseball clubs donated over $45 million in cash and in-kind gifts to their local communities and completed over 15,000 volunteer hours;

Whereas the economic stimulus and development provided by Minor League Baseball clubs extends beyond the cities and towns where it is played, to wide and diverse geographic
areas comprising 80 percent of the population in the Nation;

Whereas Minor League Baseball is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion through its Copa de la Diversio´n, MiLB Pride, FIELD Program, and Women in Baseball Leadership initiatives;

Whereas Minor League Baseball is the first touchpoint of the national pastime for millions of youth and the only touchpoint for those located in communities far from Major League cities;

Whereas Congress has enacted numerous statutory exemptions and immunities to preserve and sustain a system for Minor League Baseball and its relationship with Major League Baseball;

Whereas abandonment of 42 Minor League Baseball clubs by Major League Baseball would devastate communities, bond purchasers, and other stakeholders that rely on the economic stimulus these clubs provide;

Whereas Minor League Baseball clubs enrich the lives of millions of Americans each year through special economic, social, cultural, and charitable contributions; and

Whereas preservation of Minor League Baseball in 160 communities is in the public interest, as it will continue to provide affordable, family friendly entertainment to those communities:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved,

That the House of Representatives—
(1) supports the preservation of Minor League Baseball in 160 American communities;
(2) recognizes the unique social, economic, and historic contributions that Minor League Baseball has made to American life and culture; and
(3) encourages continuation of the 117-year foundation of the Minor Leagues in 160 communities through continued affiliations with Major League Baseball.

Major League Baseball issued a statement in response:

MLB is confident we can modernize or minor league system, improve playing conditions for our players, and protect baseball in communities across America. However, doing so is best achieved with Minor League Baseball’s constructive participation, and a recognition that they need to be a part of the solution. So far their approach has neither been constructive nor solutions-oriented. The most constructive role Congress can play to achieve these goals is to encourage Minor League Baseball to return to the bargaining table so we can work together to address the real issues impacting minor league players and communities all across the country.

So that’s fun.

It’s worth noting, again, that this move by Congress does nothing substantively and, rather, exists primarily to allow Members of Congress to talk about baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and America in that way that politicians like to do. Almost any act they take is opposed by half the populace, so they will always jump at an opportunity to say things that most people agree with like “taking away our sports teams is bad. If Congress wants to do something substantive here it can hold hearings and take tangible steps toward eliminating baseball’s antitrust exemption, which is basically the only real hammer it has in influencing the league. I suspect it won’t go that far and will, instead, continue to just issue statements like this.

For its part, Major League Baseball’s statement should be read as “we want to kill these guys over here, the guys we want to kill are being REAL JERKS about it and won’t help us in killing them. Congress, please shut up about not wanting them to die and, instead, tell them that they should let us kill them, OK?”

The upshot: wake me up when something actually happens beyond this posturing.