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And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 11, Orioles 4: New York batters were not terribly intimidated by O’s starter David Hess, touching him for nine runs on eight hits — three of which were dingers — and walking four times in five innings. Clint Frazier hit two of the bombs and knocked in five runs. Gary Sánchez swatted a three-run homer. The Yankees have already played ten games against Baltimore this year. They are 8-2 against them and have outscored them 73-40. Oh, and Frazier’s three-run homer last night was the 100th one Baltimore pitchers have allowed on the year, putting them on pace to obliterate the single-season record for team homers given up.

And if anyone complains about the schedule having New York play Baltimore so much early I’m gonna get cranky. One of the beauties of baseball is that, at least in a division, everyone plays everyone more or less the same amount of times and there are so many damn games overall that schedule differences are so small as to be insignificant. If you wanna beef about schedules — maybe the most boring and kind of pathetic beef in sports fandom — take it to the college football page.

Blue Jays 10, Red Sox 3: Rowdy Tellez who, with a name like that, should be a character in a Hollywood western as opposed to a 1B/DH, hit two homers — a two-run shot and a three-run shot — to lead the Blue Jays attached. Both of them came against Eduardo Rodríguez, who is a lefty. Tellez is a lefty too who, as Laura Armstrong of the Toronto Star wrote on Sunday, had been used almost exclusively against right-handed pitching until recently. Charlie Montoyo has changed his mind on that, she reported, allowing Tellez to face southpaws and it’s been paying off. Definitely paid off last night. What kind of great timing was that by Armstrong and The Star? Nice work!

Astros 5, White Sox 1: Justin Verlander took a no-hitter into the seventh before José Abreu broke it up with a homer. He’d end up going eight, allowing just that homer, while striking out 12. Probably shouldn’t have been surprised by that homer, though. Abreu has, somehow, owned Verlander over the years. Entering last night’s game he was hitting .366/.435/.780 with five homers and two doubles off of him in 46 plate appearances.

Marlins 5, Tigers 4: Chris Wallach doubled in a run in the second and doubled in a run in the 11th. The one in the 11th ended up winning the game and gets more ink devoted to it, but if not for the one in the second he doesn’t have a change to hit that one in the 11th, right? It’s like time travel paradoxes and all of that jazz. If it helps, think of the 11th inning double as Thanos snapping his fingers and the second inning double as him acquiring the Infinity Stones. If the Tigers develop a time machine and want to stop him, they’re way better off going back to the second inning is what I’m saying.

[Editor: the movie has been out for almost a month. You can stop now, OK? Maybe a more timely reference? Just suggesting.]

As I was saying, that’s why Marty McFly couldn’t just leave 1955. He had to get his parents to dance together first.

The Marlins have won four in a row. I suspect some sort of supernatural cause of that with time travel possibly playing a part.

Athletics 5, Indians 3: Trevor Bauer continues to struggle of late. Here he gave up a pinch-hit homer to Mark Canha in the third to give the A’s a lead they’d not surrender. Bauer walked in a run with the bases loaded in the second and allowed four runs, walked four and hit three batters in six innings on the night. Not that things are rosy for the A’s. The reason Canha was pinch-hitting in the first place is because Khris Davis had to leave the game due to continued problems with a sore hip which, after the game, landed him on the injured list.

Cubs 3, Phillies 2: Andrew McCutchen gave Philly a 2-1 lead with a two-run single in the seventh but a ninth inning rally capped by a walkoff RBI single from pinch hitter Javier Báez gave the Cubs the win. The first run in the rally came when Kris Bryant scored from third on an Albert Almora Jr. chopper by motoring home to beat a play at the plate. He hauled butt from second to score on a groundout earlier in the game, so it was all wheels for him. Bryce Harper went 0-for-4 but he did this too, so let’s call the night even for him:

Mets 6, Nationals 5: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the Nats blew a late lead. Two actually. Up 3-1 in the seventh, J.D. Davis hit a three-run pinch-hit homer to give New York a 4-3 lead. Washington took the lead back in the eighth thanks to RBI doubles from Trea Turner and Juan Soto, but the lead was blown again when Pete Alonso hit his 16th dinger on the season in the bottom half. The Mets won it on a walkoff infield single from Ahmed Rosario in the bottom of the ninth. Here’s the highlight package of both the homer and the walkoff. Fast forward to the Rosario hit and watch him haul it down to first base to beat that throw. That’s some serious hustle:

Giants 4, Braves 3: It was a big night for walkoff singles, eh? The Cubs, the Mets and Giants all did it. Here Joe Panik did the honors, knocking in two to end the game and completing a big comeback for the Giants who were down 3-1 entering the bottom of the ninth. Before Panik’s single Kevin Pillar knocked one in and a couple of stolen bases put the runners in position to score. All three runs and both stolen bases came against Braves reliever Luke Jackson. It was Jackson’s fourth blown save of the year. Don’t worry, though, Braves fans. The team’s decision to put more money in real estate development than the bullpen may be highly annoying, but it continues to pay off financially and has the glide slope and all of that looking A-OK.

Rockies 5, Pirates 0: Germán Márquez was stellar, tossing eight shutout innings, allowing only three hits and striking out seven. He also — all together now — helped his own cause by knocking in a run with a single in the eighth. A Trevor Story homer and a two-run triple from Charlie Blackmon helped his cause earlier.

Dodgers 7, Rays 3: This game featured ten total runs, none of which scored on a homer. Someone had better alert the league office because I’m sure there’s some kind of rule against that now. Clayton Kershaw took a shutout into the seventh and ended up allowing two runs before leaving to pick up his fourth win against no losses. He has not been the dominant Kershaw of old of late but the Dodgers have won the last 15 regular season games he has started. It’s a cliche, but that “he gives us a chance to win” stuff matters. L.A. has won six of seven.

Reds 3, Brewers 0: Sony Gray tossed six shutout innings, striking out nine, and the pen handled the final three frames, striking out five more. Cincinnati scored all three of its runs in the first off of starter Gio Gonzalez: one by wild pitch, one by a double and one by a fielder’s choice.

Rangers 5, Mariners 3: Lance Lynn allowed two runs over seven innings, striking out 11. Nomar Mazara had three hits, an RBI and Joey Gallo hit a two-run shot. The Rangers have won six of their last seven games and are now at .500.

Twins 8, Angels 3: Marwin Gonzalez homered and drove in three. His two-run jack in the sixth tied the game and then the Twinkies put up a four-run seventh to put the game out of reach. The Twins have won five of six and own a seven-game lead in the AL Central.

Padres 3, Diamondbacks 2: Eric Hosmer hit a two-run, homer off Greinke in the Padres’ three-run sixth inning. Greinke had been tossing a one-hit shutout before that and had recorded his 2,500th career strikeout earlier. Way to rain on the guy’s parade. San Diego is a game over .500 now. The Snakes have lost four straight.

Royals vs. Cardinals — POSTPONED:

The sun is out, the sky is blue
There’s not a cloud to spoil the view
But it’s raining, raining in my heart
The weatherman says clear today
He doesn’t know you’ve gone away
And it’s raining, raining in my heart
Oh, misery, misery
What’s gonna become of me?
I tell my blues they mustn’t show
But soon these tears are bound to flow
‘Cause it’s raining, raining in my heart
But it’s raining, raining in my heart
And it’s raining, raining in my heart

Rob Manfred explains reasoning behind proposal to cut 42 minor league teams

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As we learned earlier this week, Major League Baseball wants to contract 42 minor league teams, mostly in short-season and rookie ball. The proposal earned a lot of backlash, including from some of the teams on the chopping block and from Congress. MLB responded with its own letter to Congress, written by deputy commissioner Dan Halem, explaining the league’s reasoning.

In the letter, Halem complains about the lack of competition between minor league teams and independent teams. Halem wrote, “The lack of competition among operators of teams for an affiliation with a Major League Club has reduced the incentive for some affiliated Minor League teams to improve their facilities and player amenities.” It is an interesting thing to write as someone representing a $10 billion business that has benefited for a century from an antitrust exemption.

Halem also noted that MLB has several goals that are supposedly attained by cutting 26 percent of the minors: ensuring the quality of the facilities for the players, reducing the travel burden, improving the “compensation, accommodations, and amenities” for players, improving the affiliation process between minor league and major league teams.

Commissioner Rob Manfred essentially echoed that sentiment on Thursday, per Newsday’s Laura Albanese. He gave four reasons behind the proposal: inadequate facilities, travel, poor pay, drafting and signing players who don’t have a realistic shot to make it to the majors. The last reason is a new one, but let’s go over those four reasons in context.

It is true that some, perhaps even most, of the facilities of the 42 named teams are inadequate. It’s not all of them. As NECN’s Jack Thurston reports, the owner of the short-season Lowell Spinners, Dave Heller, said that his team’s stadium is “arguably the best facility in the New York-Penn League,” speaking highly of its lighting and field conditions. The Quad Cities River Bandits, the Astros’ Single-A affiliate and also on the chopping block, renovated their stadium a handful of times over the last 12 years. In fact, it earned an award from BallparkDigest.com for “Best Ballpark Improvement” in both 2008 and ’09, and finished third in the 2018 running for “Best View in the Minors.” At any rate, if facility quality is such a big issue, why did the Athletics continue to play in a stadium that repeatedly had its sewage system overflow in 2013?

Travel is certainly a big issue for minor leaguers because they mostly travel by bus, not plane. Having teams located closer to each other would be more beneficial in this regard. Or — and hear me out, here — major league teams could take on the extra expenditure of paying for their minor leaguers’ airfare. Several years ago, the Phillies took on the extra expenditure of making sure their minor leaguers ate healthy food and that has worked out well. The Blue Jays took on the extra expenditure of giving their minor leaguers a pay raise and that has worked out well. The Red Sox took on the extra expenditure of installing a sleep room at Fenway Park to ensure their players were well-rested and that has worked out well. No one is suggesting that Single-A players have to fly first class on every flight, but the travel issue is an easy fix that doesn’t require contracting 42 teams. Teams have individually chosen to improve their players’ quality of life and it has yielded positive results. Imagine it on a league-wide scale for thousands of players in their formative years.

Manfred citing minor league pay as a basis for the proposal is laughable. His own league successfully lobbied Congress to amend language in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, classifying minor league players as seasonal workers. That means they are not entitled to a minimum wage or overtime pay, among other worker protections. If the pay of minor league players was so important to Major League Baseball, it wouldn’t have pressured the government to legally ensure they didn’t have to pay them a living wage. Every baseball team is worth at least a billion dollars. The league has set year-over-year revenue records for 16 consecutive years, crossing $10 billion in 2018. Minor leaguers could be compensated well without robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Lastly, it is true that a majority of minor league players will never reach the major leagues. That doesn’t mean that their presence in the minor leagues or their effort to realize their dreams have zero value. Lopping off the bottom 26 percent of minor leaguers might nominally increase the level of skill on each roster, but it eliminates so many jobs — well over 1,000. Furthermore, there are few incentives for athletes to want to slog through several years of the minors as it is, as Kyler Murray recently showed, but there would be even fewer incentives by shrinking the minors (and, consequently, the draft). Shrinking the minors and the draft could lead to more minor league free agents, but if baseball is actually interested in a free market (it’s not) then it should abolish the draft entirely as well as the arbitration system.

These reasons, each uniquely fallacious, hide the real reason behind the proposal: shifting money around so Major League Baseball can say it will award pay raises to minor leaguers, ending a years-long stretch of bad P.R., without actually cutting into profits. MLB could have afforded to pay minor leaguers a living wage years ago and it chose not to. MLB could have chosen not to lobby Congress for the ability to continue underpaying minor leaguers years ago, but it chose to do so. Everything since has been the league trying to avoid lying in the bed it made for itself.