Associated Press

And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Braves 7, Marlins 6: Miami led 5-1 heading into the top of the ninth and needed only three outs to get the win and avoid the sweep. They’d get three outs, sure, but not before Atlanta scored four. The first came after Tyler Flowers doubled, took third on a wild pitch and then was balked home. Two batters later Ronald Acuña Jr. smacked a hanging slider for a three-run homer to force extras. Please, no one show this to Steve Blass. I’d hate for him to become filled with disgust at the jewelry and the “everything” and the “stuff” or whatever it is that angers him about Acuña:

The teams traded runs in the tenth inning, with the Braves’ run scoring on four straight two-out walks which is, no, not what you want. Atlanta took the lead and, eventually, the game thanks to an Ozzie Albies triple and a Matt Joyce single which drove him home.

Dodgers 1, Giants 0: WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?! I PUT THE SCORE THERE AND YOU JUST STARE AT IT?! IS THAT IT?! MOVE ALONG, PAL!!!

Sorry. Just caught up in all of Madison Bumgarner‘s insane, red-ass energy, on full display after Max Muncy hit that first inning dinger off of him:

But, to be fair, Muncy was TOTALLY showboating it. I mean, look:

You might think that little slow-walk-to-trot is pretty tame as far as these things go, but he may have been making a face too. I’m sure it has nothing to do with Bumgarner being a fragile and delicate little flower who fills his diaper when things don’t go his way.

Seriously, though: the absolute most exciting, coolest, badass, thing I’ve ever seen in person at a ballpark was when Bumgarner pitched five shutout innings on two days rest to win Game 7 of the 2014 World Series. It was just the best. But he’s the last dude I care to watch in a random game. Baseball: a land of contrasts.

After the game, Bumgarner was asked about his case of the Mad Bum, and he said this:

“I can’t even say it with a straight face but the more I think about it, I should just let the kids play. But I just … I can’t. … They want to let everybody be themselves, then let me be myself. That’s me.”

That’s like the baseball version of “your intolerance of my intolerance is totally intolerant!” or something. I like what Muncy said better:

So much fire to this that everyone forgot that Walker Buehler tossed seven shutout innings.

Mariners 9, Angels 3: Edwin Encarnación hit two homers. His second dinger was his 400th career bomb. Maybe it’s because of the cities in which he’s played– Cincinnati, Toronto, Cleveland and Seattle don’t get the kind of press other baseball towns get — but Encarnación’s may be the quietest 400 homers ever as far as hype goes. He has just showed up to work every day for 15 years and has done the do, man. And I love to see it. For a specific reason.

I’ve told this story before, but I’ll tell it again: In 2005 I drove up to Cleveland on Friday afternoon to visit my law firm’s home office for a weekend retreat. I was checking into the Marriott downtown at about three o’clock or so and Encarnación was in front of me in line. He had just been called up from the minors and was set to make his big league debut against the Indians that night. He seemed sort of overwhelmed — he probably just got off a puddle-jumper from Louisville — but the Marriott clerk was walking him through everything, giving him a big manilla envelope with all kinds of stuff the Reds had left for him, telling him that there was a car waiting to take him to Progressive Field since the team had already gone over and all of that. I knew who he was — and the hotel clerk knew who he was — but I doubt anyone else there had a clue and, frankly, he seemed lost. And it made my heart go out to him because I couldn’t even imagine how simultaneously stressed and excited he was at the time. Whenever I see him doing something great in the big leagues I still think back to that 22-year-old kid trying to navigate the Cleveland Marriott while his inner monologue was probably “I’M IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES NOW HOLY CRAP!!!” on repeat. Congrats, Edwin. Because of those few minutes in the hotel lobby I have some random vicarious pride for everything you’ve ever done.

Tom Murphy hit two homers too. Daniel Vogelbach and Kyle Seager each went deep for Seattle as well.

Rays 6, Red Sox 1: Brandon Lowe hit two solo homers and an RBI single, Guillermo Heredia and Yandy Díaz hit solo shots, and Blake Snell allowed only one run over six. The Rays took three of four from Boston and end the weekend tied with the Yankees for first place. I don’t know who is gonna win the division but I feel like Boston is gonna have to get cool with being a Wild Card team.

Yankees 7, Indians 6: The Yankees probably should’ve lost this game, at least if cosmic stuff mattered. They blew a 5-0 lead in the sixth and a 6-5 lead in the ninth thanks to a couple of bad errors from Aroldia Chapman and Didi Gregorius. Aaron Hicks saved their bacon and helped the Bombers avoid the sweep, when he hit an RBI double with two outs in the 10th. Brett Gardner hit a two-run homer despite stitches in his lip from that little helmet-throwing tantrum he threw the other day. In case you missed it:

Nice recovery, Brett!

Reds 4, Phillies 3: The Reds were down 3-1 in the seventh and rallied for three runs on a two-run single from Joey Votto and an RBI single from Eugenio Suárez. The Phillies might’ve gotten one more run earlier in the game if Bryce Harper had been a step faster on an attempted straight steal of home:

Or if Rhys Hoskins hadn’t stepped out of the box and given the catcher a clearer shot and a better chance to tag Harper. Or, really, since Hoskins likely had no idea that Harper was going — Gabe Kapler called it “overaggressive” later — maybe he scores later if he just doesn’t try to steal at all?

Diamondbacks 8, Blue Jays 2: Carson Kelly and Ketel Marte each homered as the Snakes scored eight in the third inning to help them complete the sweep. Eduardo Escobar had three hits and reached base five times. The Diamondbacks have won six of eight.

Mets 6, Rockies 1: Noah Syndergaard tossed seven one-hit shutout innings and, this time, Mickey Callaway did not lift him too early. Todd Frazier doubled and homered and drove in four. Colorado only had two hits in the entire game. The Mets have won four of five.

Twins 12, Tigers 2: Nelson Cruz homered for the fourth straight game and Miguel Sanó, Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario also homered for the Twins. Jake Odorizzi didn’t need that kind of run support, though, as he allowed only one run over six, winning for the ninth time in ten starts. He has given up just one run in his past 22 and a third innings. The Twins take two of three from a Tigers team that has lost 13 of their last 15 at home.

Astros 4, Orioles 0: Wade Miley and four relievers combined for a six-hit shutout and Yordan Álvarez hit a two-run homer in his major league debut. Not that the power should be a surprise. He hit 23 homers in just 56 games at Triple-A this season. Normally I’d make a joke along the lines of “he was so comfy with Triple-A pitching that, obviously, he felt comfortable facing the Orioles,” but Dylan Bundy actually pitched pretty well for Baltimore so that’d be a low blow. Álvarez earned that first dinger.

Brewers 5, Pirates 2: Christian Yelich hit his league-leading 24th homer on his bobblehead day. Mike Moustakas hit a homer that, because it smacked an SUV on display beyond the outfield wall, won the car for the fan. Hit bull, win steak, etc. Another random thing from the AP gamer:

COUNSELL ON JURY DUTY

Brewers manager Craig Counsell was notified by Milwaukee County that he may be called for jury duty.

Craig, if you wanna get out of it, just take George Carlin’s advice: tell the judge you’ll be a GREAT juror because you can spot a guilty person *snap* just like that!

White Sox 5, Royals 2: Eloy Jiménez hit a moon shot, folks:

471 feet if you believe the Statcast folks. Meanwhile Sox’ starter Reynaldo López was solid, allowing one run on four hits in six innings, walking one and striking out eight.

Athletics 9, Rangers 8: Oakland took an 8-0 lead into the fourth inning, thanks in part to homers from Matt Olson and Khris Davis. Texas clawed back, though, making it 8-6 by the eighth. Oakland made it 9-6 heading into the bottom of the ninth, Texas scored two more but . . . the A’s wriggled out of it. Phew. In other news, Bryce Harper should watch the part of the Rangers’ clawing back that involved Rougned Odor stealing home. Maybe he can get some pointers.

 

Nationals 5, Padres 2: It was 1-1 in the too of the eighth when the Nats went back-to-back-to-back-to-back. The mashers were Howie Kendrick, Trea Turner, Adam Eaton and Anthony Rendon, respectively:

Cubs 5, Cardinals 1: For the second time this season the Cubs sweep the Cards at Wrigley. Kyle Hendricks scattered eight hits over seven one-run innings. Or, well, six zero-run innings and one one-run inning. “Seven one-run innings” sounds like he gave up a run an inning for seven innings and that certainly didn’t happen. Adam Wainwright, meanwhile, pitched one one-run inning, one two-run inning and two and a third zero-run innings. Gosh, this is complicated. I need to think of another way to talk about games like this. Let’s just note that Kyle Schwarber knocked in two and Carlos González hit his first dinger as a Cub.

If 2020 season is cancelled, which teams would be hurt the most?

Mookie Betts
Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images
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MLB commissioner Rob Manfred recently expressed his optimistic outlook, saying that he hoped the league would begin “gearing back up” in May. That would put a regular season return potentially at the end of June or at some point in July. He expressed that the league may have to get creative, likely referring to ideas like playing doubleheaders, extending the season deep into fall, and playing some games at neutral parks in warm-weather areas.

Manfred isn’t the only one champing at the bit for a return to normalcy. President Trump recently said he wanted to “open” the economy back up by Easter, meaning that our social isolation plan could be done in two weeks. And, frankly, I’m sure many of us are starting to become a little stir-crazy as we attempt to flatten the curve.

It’s hard to imagine life returning to normal when Coronavirus (COVID-19) is really starting to spread in the United States. It would be ill-advised for us to go back to business as usual. This is a time when we need to put other interests ahead of business interests. Frankly, there’s a very real possibility that there is no MLB season in 2020. Or, at the very least, there may be a point when Manfred has to choose between starting a season or protecting the health of the players and coaches, journalists, fans, and all of the many people that would interact with them and potentially become vectors for the virus.

In the event the 2020 season is cancelled, which teams stand to lose the most? Let’s take a look at some contenders.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The most obvious of the bunch. The club swung a deal with the Red Sox a month and a half ago to acquire the 2018 AL MVP along with David Price in exchange for Alex Verdugo, Connor Wong, and Jeter Downs. Betts was a huge upgrade to an already potent Dodger roster, one which won 106 games during the regular season last year.

Betts, however, is a free agent after the 2020 season. MLB owners and the MLBPA reached an agreement last week stating that, if there is no season, players would still get credit for a full year of service time. If the season is canceled, the Dodgers very well may have given up three good young players and taken on a lot of salary for basically nothing. They’ll get to keep Price, who is under contract for two more years after this, but that’s no consolation.

The Dodgers also have some other important players potentially hitting free agency after the 2020 season: Justin Turner, Kiké Hernández, Joc Pederson, and Pedro Báez.

Cincinnati Reds

The Reds had a better 2019 campaign than their 75-87 record indicated. They finished in fifth place from 2015-18 before last year’s fourth place finish. The club acquired Sonny Gray from the Yankees before the season and picked up Trevor Bauer from the Indians at the trade deadline. Eugenio Suárez, Aristides Aquino, and Michael Lorenzen were among a handful of players who shone brightly as well.

As a result of a roster on the come-up, the Reds bolstered the roster even more, picking up free agents Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas. The Reds signed both players to four-year deals, so they will still be around when baseball eventually resumes, even if it’s next year, but Moustakas will be 32 and Castellanos will be 29. It’s a pretty big deal to miss 25 percent of their contracts in what are, on average, the seasons likeliest to be their best.

Bauer, by the way, can become a free agent after the season. That’s a pretty big deal, too.

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies were supposed to be competitive last year, but they fell a bit flat, finishing exactly at .500 with an 81-81 record. GM Matt Klentak continued to bolster the roster a year after inking Bryce Harper to what was then the richest contract in baseball history (13 years, $330 million). This past offseason, he signed Zack Wheeler to a five-year, $118 million deal. They also added Didi Gregorius on a one-year deal.

This is a team meant to be an NL East contender in 2020, to finally reach the postseason which it hasn’t done since 2011. If the season is cancelled, that’s one very valuable year out of its window completely gone. That is even more the case upon realizing that catcher J.T. Realmuto, arguably the best player at his position in baseball right now, is a free agent going into 2021. The two sides have discussed a contract extension, but that was tabled as of two weeks ago.

The Phillies haven’t had stability at the catcher position since Carlos Ruiz in the early- to mid-2010’s. They do have some catchers among their top-30 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline, in Deivy Grullon, Rafael Marchan, and Rodolfo Duran, but none of them are J.T. Realmuto. Realmuto is a guy you want to keep around if possible, especially considering the scarcity of his caliber of talent at that position.

. . .

This is a partial list, so this is not to say that teams omitted would not suffer at all from a lost season. You can see the factors that determine whether or not a team has a lot at stake this year: splashy trades, free agent signings, stars potentially becoming free agents after the season, etc.

In general, every team would be devastated by a lost season not just due to the lost development time or the loss of an attempt to win a championship, but because of lost revenues. This is going to have a ripple effect through the baseball economy. Teams will likely become less active in the free agent market, to name one of many potential effects.