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And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Hi. I’m back. I was in Los Angeles on vacation. I saw a Dodgers game. The Dodgers lost but the sky was beautiful and a friend I hadn’t seen in a while joined me. Often times the best thing about a ballgame has very little to do with the actual ballgame.

Anyway, here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Phillies 9, Braves 4: J.T. Realmuto hit a grand slam and Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins and Adam Haseley all went deep as the Phillies avoided the sweep at the hands of the Braves. Aaron Nola was dominant for six innings but got tagged for four in the seventh so his line score looked worse than his game. A pretty decent finish to the series for Philly given that they lost the first two games of the three-game set by a combined 24-9.

Royals 9, Indians 6: This game will be remembered as the Trevor Bauer meltdown game. He got shellacked, giving up eight runs — seven earned — in four and a third and when Terry Francona came out to the mound to take him out of the game he had a little temper tantrum and threw the baseball over the fence in center field:

Francona asked Bauer “What the f**k is wrong with you?” After all these years watching Bauer be, well, Bauer, I don’t know that anyone has a good answer for that. For what it’s worth, here’s what Bauer had to say after the game:

“I’m an intense competitor and that fire is what drives me. Today it completely consumed me and took over. I just wanted to say I’m sorry for how I behaved. It won’t happen again.”

I guess those of us who had cranky toddlers didn’t realize that we really just had “intense competitors” the whole time. And here I missed out on sending my then-three-year-old son off to play baseball at the highest levels. My loss.

Rays 10, Blue Jays 9: Toronto led 4-0 and 8-1 but the Rays fought back. Ji-Man Choi and Guillermo Heredia each hit two-run home runs and Willy Adames tied the game with a solo shot in the eighth. Joey Wendle drove in the tie-breaking run with a bases-loaded groundout in the ninth. There was just as much action in the executive suites, as Eric Sogard was traded from the Jays to the Rays in the middle of the game. Sadly no one had the hustle to get him a Rays uniform fast enough for him to play for both teams in the game. I dunno, maybe that’s not even allowed. It should be, though. We need more exciting crap like that to happen.

Mets 8, Pirates 7: New York jumped out with six runs in the fourth and, while not enough to win the game, they won the game anyway. Michael Conforto hit a two-run homer. The Mets scored three unearned runs. That’s a four-game winning streak for the Mets, who are now 10-5 since the All-Star break. The Pirates, meanwhile, are terrible and have lost eight in a row and 14 of 16. After the game the Mets acquired Marcus Stroman. Which would mean they’re going for it. Whatever “it” is for a team six and a half out of the Wild Card with many teams in front of them and who are likewise strongly rumored to be trading away Noah Syndergaard despite the fact they acquired Stroman. I guess enjoy the winning streak while it lasts because anything beyond the moment at hand for the Mets is an utter mystery.

Marlins 5, Diamondbacks 1: Elieser Hernández and four relievers combined to toss a four-hit, one-run game against the Snakes, who have alternated wins and losses over their last seven games. It’s like a Dutch 200 for baseball. Wait, can we say “Dutch 200” anymore? I know you’re not supposed to say “let’s go Dutch” if you’re splitting the check, but a “Dutch 200” was definitely a thing we youth bowlers tried to do back in the day. I hope you can still call it a Dutch 200. Although maybe I shouldn’t care. Anyway, Miguel Rojas, Brian Anderson and Harold Ramírez all went deep for the Fish.

Reds 3, Rockies 2: Alex Wood made his 2019 debut and, though he didn’t qualify for the win, he pitched well enough for four and two-thirds. Tucker Barnhart hit a tie-breaking single in the sixth inning to push the Reds to victory. Cincinnati took two of three.

Nationals 11, Dodgers 4: Stephen Strasburg won his seventh consecutive start and his 14th game overall by tossing seven innings of one-run, two-hit ball. Meanwhile, Brian Dozier and Juan Soto each homered and Anthony Rendon had three hits and four RBI. The Nats salvaged one in the three-game set and broke a three-game losing streak. Now they start a three-game set against the Braves, who they trail by five and a half.

Cubs 11, Brewers 4: Kyle Schwarber hit a second inning grand slam that went about eleventeen miles and then hit a three-run homer in the fourth to give the Cubs a 7-0 lead all by his lonesome. Victor Caratini helped out with a three-run homer later.

Twins 11, White Sox 1: The Twins jumped out to a 5-0 lead and led 9-0 before the fifth was over. Miguel Sanó Jorge Polanco, Jonathan Schoop and Max Kepler all went deep as the Twins completed a three-of-four-games pounding of the White Sox to maintain their thin lead over the Indians in the Central, which is now at two games. It was one when yesterday began. While on my vacation I had lost track of almost all baseball except for that game I went to in L.A. and, I’ll have to admit, realizing how close the AL Central has gotten over the past couple of weeks snuck up on me.

Astros 6, Cardinals 2: George Springer led off the game with a home run because of course he did and Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez socked homers as well. Altuve had three hits. Paul Goldschmidt‘s streak of six straight games with a home run came to an end. Houston has won nine of 11.

Angels 5, Orioles 4: Matt Thaiss opened the scoring in the game with a second inning two-run homer. He also ended the scoring with a walkoff solo homer. In between those two Albert Pujols hit his 650th career longball. Only 646 more for Thaiss to tie Pujols. Thaiss’ heroism kept the O’s from completing a four-game sweep of the Angels which, frankly, would’ve been embarrassing.

Giants 7, Padres 6: Mike Yastrzemski had four hits, two RBI and scored the go-ahead run and Madison Bumgarner pitched seven solid enough innings to win his last game before the trade deadline. If the deadline, in fact, matters as the Giants are surging and now stand only two and a half back in the Wild Card race. Do they still sell off? Probably, but I have no idea.

Mariners 3, Tigers 2: J.P. Crawford hit a walkoff single with one out in the 10th inning to carry the M’s to their fifth straight win. The teams combined to use eleven pitchers in an 3-2 game. Thats quite the dang thing but that’s 2019 for ya.

Athletics 6, Rangers 5: A third AL West walkoff win, this one coming after a two-run rally with the first run scoring when Matt Olson singled in Chris Hermann. That was followed by a walkoff walk to Khris Davis. Marcus Semien is the one who scored on the walk. Earlier he homered. Tough loss for the Rangers, who rallied from a 4-2 deficit in the eighth to take a 5-4 lead.

Yankees 9, Red Sox 6: I didn’t watch this one even though I was home because “A Place in the Sun” was on TCM and I’d rather watch Monty Cliff and Liz Taylor do their thing for two hours than watch the Yankees and Red Sox do their thing for over three and a half. Although, on some level, you sort of know what you’re getting with both of these. Shelly Winters, as usual, ends up dead in the water — seriously, that happens in like four of her movies — and the ESPN booth spends more time talking about other stuff than the game in front of them. Frankly, I’ll take Cliff, Taylor and dead Shelly Winters over New York and Boston. Although maybe we could trade away Raymond Burr, who seems to be acting in a completely different movie, for Mookie Betts. Ah, yes. Mookie Betts as the prosecutor in “A Place in the Sun” would make it even better. He’d never smash that rowboat. He’d have Cliff on death row way easier than that.

Wait. Where was I? Oh yeah, the ballgame:

Chris Sale continues to be terrible, allowing six runs in five and a third. It’s the fourth time in his last six outing he’s allowed at least five. Austin Romine and Didi Gregorius homered to give the Yankees a 4-0 lead early and after that it appeared from the box score anyway to be kind of a snooze fest of bad pitching and defense. Again, I stress, “A Place in the Sun” was the way better choice.

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

Mookie Betts
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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.