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And That Happened: Thursday’s Score and Highlights


I wasn’t even going to do a recap given that there was only one measly game last night. Hardly seems worth it. But (a) I feel like I have a duty and even when the task is small, duty calls; and (b) if I didn’t write a recap post where else would I talk about a thing I noticed last night while watching “The Avengers” for the 5,000th time?

I’ve been re-watching a lot of the older MCU movies lately. Primarily because they’re good and relatively mindless fun when you need some relatively mindless fun, but also because it’s been interesting to see, in light of “Endgame,” how much old stuff they incorporated, fudged, built off of, etc., in making that gigantic flick. I’ll spare you all the detail on that but let’s just say that I’m very impressed with the MCU folks’ commitment to continuity, detail and all of that. When writing “Endgame” they did a really good job of picking up even tiny details from even the minor, earlier MCU movies in order to make it all hold together better than it even had to, really. Pretty impressive given that they could’ve printed money for themselves even if they phoned it in a little bit.

Anyway, in “Avengers,” which I hadn’t watched of a couple of years, there’s that scene where everyone is on the Helicarrier bickering, and Captain America rips Tony Stark for his self-absorption, saying “you’re not the guy to make the sacrifice play. To lay down on a wire.”  Which, uhhh, in light of “Endgame” definitely reads differently than it did the first time. I mean, bruh. There’s a bunch of other stuff like that littered all over these movies, with the newest one making all of the older ones even better and more interesting to watch in a lot of ways. That was one of the better ones, really.

Yeah, I know. I’m a giant sucker for a giant Disney-owned franchise. I’ll cop to that. They got their hook in my mouth and I’m flopping on the deck. But it least gives me something to do when they only schedule ONE MEASLY GAME on a Thursday night. I mean, c’mon, guys.

Anyway, here is the score. Here are the highlights:

Rangers 5, Astros 0: Lance Lynn — who knew? — won his league-leading 12th game of the season thanks to seven innings of shutout ball in which he struck out 11 dudes and scattered only six hits. He was able to cruise as Texas put up four of its five runs in the first inning with Rougned Odor‘s two-run double capping the big inning. Lynn is now 8-1 over his last 11 starts.

Some bad news for Houston: Alex Bregman left with a lacerated chin after taking a ground ball on a bad hop. He received four stitches. No word on whether he’ll have to miss any time. We’ll update when we hear.

Programming note 1: In case you missed it yesterday, I wrote a big “looking ahead to the second half” post, which serves as a handy refresher and scene-setter as the second half gets underway in earnest today. Enjoy.

Programming note 2: On Wednesday night I wrote an obituary for Jim Bouton, which I hope everyone got a chance to read. Later that night, with the help of a little whiskey, I wrote a more personal and sort of non-baseball post about Bouton and what he meant to me personally. Short version: he and his example meant an awful lot. Maybe more to me than almost any ballplayer’s example has. If you’re into self-indulgent stuff written late at night, it may be your bag.

Programming note 3: I’m gonna be out on Monday — I’m swinging through Philly and then D.C. over the weekend to go see a my favorite band as sort of a birthday present to myself — so I won’t be here for recaps. And I can’t promise that Tuesday’s recaps won’t just be me yakking about the shows and posting song lyrics, so be forewarned.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).