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And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Dodgers 2, Cardinals 1: I’ve lost count of how many gams the Dodgers have won thanks to late-inning magic at Dodger Stadium this year, but they did it again yesterday shut out for seven innings on ten strikeouts by Jack Flaherty and then held scoreless in the eighth as well, L.A. came to the plate in the ninth down 1-0 and rallied, with Corey Seager taking a base on a one-out plunking, Will Smith singling, both runners moving into scoring position on a wild pitch and then, with two outs, Russell Martin driving them in with a seeing-eye, walkoff single:

It was the Dodgers’ tenth walkoff win of 2019. It feels like the 20th. There is some magic in Chavez Ravine this year.

Braves 11, Twins 7: On Tuesday the Braves leapt out to an 11-0 lead and won 12-7. Yesterday they leapt out to a 6-0 lead and won 11-7. I wonder if they played three more games against each other if it’d go 10-7, 9-7, 8-7. The way Atlanta is tattooing the ball nothing would surprise me. This one could’ve been much worse, actually, as the Braves led 6-0 in the third and had the bases loaded with no one out before the Twins stopped the damage via their second triple play in the span of two weeks. And it was one of the good ones, 5-4-3, and not one of those weird ones in which someone catches a fast line drive and catches two other guys having wandered off the bases and who are doubled off before anyone really knows what’s happening:

That was really all the Twins had to show for themselves here, though. For the Braves, Ozzie Albies homered twice and had his second four-hit game in a row and Ronald Acuña Jr. and Freddie Freeman both went deep.

Mets 7, Marlins 2: The Mets refuse to lose. Michael Conforto hit two homers, Jeff McNeil hit his fifth homer in his last 10 games and Pete Alonso went deep as well. Steven Matz cruised on all that cushy run support, scattering seven hits and two runs over six and two-thirds to get the win. The win is the Mets’ sixth in a row and gives them 13 wins in their last 14 games. They’re 19-6 since the All-Star break. They — along with the Cardinals — are a half game out of the second Wild Card.

White Sox 8, Tigers 1: Ivan Nova pitched eight scoreless innings and James McCann hit two RBI singles and an RBI double. And here’s a fun fact: the White Sox, who took three of four,  became the first team since 1974 to put a runner on base in every inning of a four-game series. Detroit should just forfeit the remainder of the season and come into spring training next year with an extra couple months’ rest.

Indians 2, Rangers 0; Indians 5, Rangers 1: Zach Plesac combined with two relievers for a six-hit, 13-strikeout shutout in the first game, with a José Ramírez two-run homer constituting the game’s only scoring. The nightcap was a bullpen pen for the Indians and it worked out just fine, with five pitchers combining to allow one run on four hits. Ramírez homered again and Cleveland plated four runs between the seventh and the eighth to foreclose the possibility of a late Texas comeback. Cleveland’s sweep of the doubleheader combined with the Twins’ getting pounded by Atlanta for two straight days, puts the Indians only two back of Minnesota in advance of the four-game series which starts between them tonight at Target Field.

Blue Jays 4, Rays 3: They tried but there would be no late comeback for the Rays in this one. Wilmer Font opened for the first couple of innings and blanked Tampa Bay and he was followed by Brock Stewart, who allowed only two hits over four scoreless innings. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Randal Grichuk and Derek Fisher homered and Bo Bichette set a team record with a double in eight straight games while extending his career-opening hitting streak to 10 games. Maybe he’ll hit in every single game in his career.

Astros 14, Rockies 3: Yuli Gurriel exploded for eight RBI, thanks to a three-run homer, a sac fly, a three-run double and a fielder’s choice. This comes a day after homering twice and knocking in three. I’d say he likes playing against Colorado. José Altuve homered and Alex Bregman drew a bases loaded walk. All of that gave Gerrit Cole plenty of room to work as he allowed only two runs and struck out ten in six innings.

Cubs 10, Athletics 1: Yet another blowout in a day full of them. Ian Happ hit a grand slam, Kyle Schwarber hit a three-run homer, Victor Caratini homered as well and and Javier Baez had two hits and two RBI. The Cubs scored nine runs between the fourth and fifth inning and José Quintana allowed only one run over seven and he and a couple of relievers combined to three-hit the A’s.

Nationals 4, Giants 1: Joe Ross tossed six shutout innings, Gerard Parra hit a three-run homer in the third and the Giants couldn’t scratch anything across until the ninth. The Nats complete the three-game sweep.

Mariners 3, Padres 2: Seattle snaps its five-game skid thanks to a solid start by the highly-touted yet mostly struggling-in-2019 Yusei Kikuchi. Kyle Seager homered and drove in two.

Brewers 8, Pirates 3: Keston Hiura hit two homers and drove in three. The Brewers swept the three-game series and in doing so moved past the Cardinals into second place in the NL Central, three games behind the Cubs and in a total clusterbang in the NL Wild Card race. I mean look at this:

Yankees 14, Orioles 2: Gio Urshela and Kyle Higashioka each hit two home runs and Cameron Maybin went deep as well. If this was a fight someone would’ve stopped it in the fifth or sixth inning. Heck, the promoter should probably be decertified for putting this matchup on the card as the Yankees have now taken 13 of 15 from the Orioles this year, and all ten of the games they’ve played in Camden Yards. If they play the rest of ’em the Orioles might get hurt.

Heck, if the Orioles keep Chris Davis in their dugout for games against anyone their manager may get hurt.

Diamondbacks 6, Phillies 1: Zac Gallen, making his Arizona debut after being picked up in that odd trade with Miami at the deadline, threw five scoreless innings and [all together now] helped his own cause with a run-scoring sacrifice bunt. The Phillies have lost three of four and four of six overall to the Dbacks and White Sox. Gabe Kapler’s seat is getting toasty, folks.

Royals 4, Red Sox 4 — SUSPENDED: This was still tied in the tenth inning when the rains came and everyone hung around until after 12:30AM to see if it’d stop but it never did, so they suspended it. The game will be resumed up on Aug. 22, at 1:05 p.m. The Royals were supposed to have a day off while on their way from Baltimore to Cleveland and now the have to stop in Boston for a resumption that could last all of 20 minutes if the Royals go scoreless in the remainder of their tenth and Boston scores in the bottom half. There’s a decent chance that this game will not even matter in the standings given that K.C. is not in the hunt and Boston is doing a good job of falling out of Wild Card contention. You’d think they’d hold off a week or two to officially schedule the resumption.

Astros fan logs trash can bangs from 2017

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A fascinating and no doubt time consuming research project was released this morning. An Astros fan by the name of Tony Adams went through every Astros home game in the 2017 season and logged trash can bangs. Which, as you know, was the mechanism via which Astros players in the clubhouse signaled to hitters which pitch was coming.

Adams listened to every pitch from the Astros’ 2017 home games and made a note of any banging noise he could detect. There were 20 home games for which he did not have access to video. There were three “home” games which took place at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida due to the team being displaced by hurricane Harvey and for which, obviously, the Astros’ camera setup from Minute Maid Park would not have been applicable.

Adams logged over 8,200 pitches and found banging before over 1,100 of those pitches. He graphed which players got the most bangs during their at batsMarwin Gonzalez got the most, with bangs coming before 147 of 776 pitches seen, followed by George Springer, who got bangs on 139 of 933. José Altuve had the least among regulars, with only 24 bangs in 866 pitches. One gets the sense that, perhaps, he felt that the banging would interfere with his normal pitch recognition process or something. Either way it’s worth noting that a lack of banging was also signal. Specifically, for a fastball. As such, Astros hitters were helped on a much higher percentage of pitches than what is depicted in the graphs themselves.

Adams reminds us that Commissioner Manfred’s report stated that the Astros also used hand-clapping, whistling, and yelling early in the season before settling on trash can banging. Those things were impossible to detect simply by watching video. As it is, Adams’ graphs of bangs-per-game shows that the can-banging plan dramatically ramped-up on May 28.

It’s hard to say anything definitive about the scope and effectiveness of the Astros’ sign-stealing scheme based on this study alone. Adams may or may not have been hearing everything and, as he notes, there may have been a lot more pitches relayed thought means other than trash can banging than we know. Alternatively it’s possible that Adams was marking some sounds as bangs that were not, in fact, Astros players sending signals to the batter. It’s probably an inexact science.

Still, this is an impressive undertaking that no doubt took a ton of time. And it at least begins to provide a glimpse into the Astros’ sign-stealing operation.