August 4, 2020

G11: Rays 5, Red Sox 1

Red Sox - 010 000 000 - 1  8  0
Rays    - 000 220 10x - 5  9  1
The Rays were home on Tuesday night, after suffering through an 0-5 road trip during which they scored only 13 runs in five games, batting .185. Back at the Trop, they did two things against the Red Sox that they have failed to do on the road: score five runs in a game, and win.

The Red Sox are now 3-8. They got off to a 3-8 start last season, also, and were 31-29 after 60 games. In 2011, they began 2-9, which is tied with 1925, 1927, and 1996 for the franchise's worst 11-game start to a season.

Strikeouts accounted for five of the Rays' first seven outs, but they put their offense in order against Nathan Eovaldi (5-6-4-1-6, 85) in the middle innings. Mitch Moreland's third home run of the season had given the Red Sox a 1-0 lead in the second, but the Rays wiped that out in the fourth. After Eovaldi got the first two outs, a walk, a single, and Hunter Renfroe's two-run double put the Rays on top 2-1.

In the fifth, Tampa Bay did their scoring with no outs. Eovaldi hit the leadoff batter and gave up a triple to Austin Meadows (back after missing the Rays' first 10 games with SARS-CoV-2) and a single to Brandon Lowe.

The Red Sox stranded men at second and third in the third, wasted a one-out double in the sixth, and had runners at first and second with one out in the eighth, but Pete Fairbanks struck out both J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts, swinging.

Down by four in the ninth, singles by Christian Vázquez, Kevin Pillar, and Jackie Bradley loaded the bases. In a near-repeat of the seventh, Jose Peraza and Andrew Benintendi both struck out looking.
Nathan Eovaldi / Charlie Morton
Benintendi, LF
Devers, 3B
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, 1B
Vázquez, C
Verdugo, RF
Bradley, CF
Peraza, 2B
From MLB: Tonight's Marlins-Orioles game may be delayed as the teams await the final test results that could (or could not) clear the Marlins to play.

Craig Calcaterra tweets: "I ask about players leaving the hotel because a little bird in a position to know tells me that they have witnessed a number of players currently on a road trip leave the team hotels in Ubers, etc. tonight [last night, 9 PM-ish]. Won't say where to not blow my source's cover, but it's happening."

A reply: "Not surprised, I've seen pics on instagram from players' wives out at restaurants with players on road trips last week before the outbreaks started. I knew problems would happen when I saw that."

This Date In Baseball History (Tim Hurst Edition)
1897: In the second inning of the second game of a doubleheader between the Pirates and Reds in Cincinnati, OH, fans throw an empty beer bottle in the direction of umpire Tim Hurst. Hurst picks it up and throws it right back in the crowd. He is arrested and fined $100 dollars on a charge of assault and battery when the bottle hits a spectator [a fireman, reportedly], causing a gash over his right eye.

1908: The Brooklyn Superbas and St. Louis Cardinals play an entire game with one ball. Brooklyn wins, 3-0.

1909: Umpire Tim Hurst instigates a riot by spitting in the face of Athletics 2B Eddie Collins, who had questioned a call. Under police guard, Hurst is ushered off the field. This incident will eventually lead to Hurst's banishment from baseball in two weeks. [This actually happened on August 3, 1909]

1911: Lee Tannehill of the White Sox, the only SS to execute two unassisted double plays in one season, makes both of them in the same game versus Washington. Walter Johnson still wins 1-0 for the Senators in the first game of a doubleheader. In the second game, Germany Schaefer famously steals first base for the Senators. In the bottom of the ninth, with Clyde Milan on third base, he steals second in an attempt to draw a throw, in order to allow Milan to score. When that fails, he leads off second, and breaks towards first base on the next pitch, making it safely, and then, while Sox manager Hugh Duffy is out arguing the call, he attempts to steal again. This time, Milan breaks for home and the White Sox throw him out to end the inning. The rules will be changed to prevent players from running the bases backwards in order to confuse the defense or make a mockery of the game ...

1989: Dave Stieb retires the first 26 batters he faces before giving up two hits in a 2-1 win over the Yankees. The previous September, the Toronto Blue Jays' hard luck hurler lost back-to-back no-hit bids with two outs in the ninth inning.
Hurst ("The pay is good, and you can't beat the hours - three to five"):
In 1900, a number of owners asked that he be banned from their cities because of his fiery temper and ungentlemanly language. He only umpired one game in 1904 and was out of action until hired by the American League in mid-season in 1905. He umpired in the junior circuit until 1909, when he was fired by AL President Ban Johnson on August 12th following a heated argument with Eddie Collins of the Philadelphia Athletics in a game on August 3rd. According to his obituary "Hurst insulted Collins so flagrantly that Ban Johnson fired him and wouldn't hear of a reconsideration of his case." What happened was that he called Collins out when [Collins was] trying to advance from first to second on a fly out, even though Chicago White Sox second baseman Jake Atz had clearly dropped the ball; when the mild-mannered Collins objected, Hurst insulted him and spit a wad of chewing tobacco at him. It seemed that Hurst's motivation at making the call, which came late in the second game of a doubleheader, was that he wanted to catch a train home from Philadelphia to his home in New York City, and thus made a deliberately bad call to shorten the game. ...

Hall of Fame umpire Bill Klem later called him "the toughest umpire of them all"; "he was so tough that if a ballplayer did not like one of his decisions and challenged him on the field, Tim would say 'OK, we'll stop the game and go right under the stands and settle it now.'" He went on to add that one day, a batter stepped out of the box to show disagreement with one of Hurst's calls; the umpire replied that if he did it one more time, he would spit in his eye. The batter did it again one pitch later, and Hurst kept his promise. He was involved in a number of fights with players, including one with Kid Elberfeld earlier in 1909 that had already tried Ban Johnson's patience with his outbursts.

August 3, 2020

MLB Postpones Four-Game Series Between Cardinals (7 Players Among 13 Positive Tests) And Tigers; Marlins May Resume Schedule Tomorrow, After 8 Days Off

This week's four-game series between the Cardinals and Tigers has been postponed, as the Cardinals have had 13 people test positive for SARS-CoV-2 (seven players and six staff members).

A statement from MLB says the team will remain quarantined in Milwaukee and will be tested daily. The team hopes to resume its schedule on Friday.

All 13 people who tested positive are back in St. Louis. Five of the 13 are asymptomatic.

Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak:
The morale up here is good, all things considered. I do think people are tired of sitting in their room, but you've got to put safety first.
The Marlins, the first team with an outbreak, are scheduled to play tomorrow, which would be after eight off-days.

Marlins CEO Derek Jeter blames a false sense of security for his team's outbreak:
Guys were around each other, they got relaxed and they let their guard down. They were getting together in groups. They weren't wearing masks as much as they should have. They weren't social distancing. The entire traveling party got a little too comfortable. ... We did have a couple of individuals leave the hotel. We had guys leave to get coffee, to get clothes. A guy left to have dinner at a teammate's house. There were no other guests on site. There was no salacious activity. There was no hanging out at bars, no clubs, no running around Atlanta.

The Post claims Jeter "threw MLB under the bus" when he denied a report that the Marlins decided on their own to play on Sunday, July 26. CI says the decision was made by MLB and its COVID-19 response committee.

Tonight's Phillies-Yankees game is still on the schedule, but Tuesday's game has been postponed. The reason is weather: heavy rains from Tropical Storm Isaias. The teams will play a doubleheader in Philadelphia on Wednesday, with the teams alternating as home and away teams. The MFY's current schedule now includes two (seven-inning) doubleheaders in four days (Wednesday and Saturday).

Commissioner Ostrich: "I Am Not A Quitter"

I think that if everybody does what they are supposed to do, we can continue to play, have a credible season ... We think it's manageable.

Dave Sheinin, Washington Post, August 2, 2020:
Still under self-isolation at their Milwaukee hotel amid a weekend's worth of postponed games, the St. Louis Cardinals were bracing Sunday for more positive tests for the novel coronavirus as baseball's worst current outbreak deepens, potentially threatening more games in the coming week.

Multiple reports said the Cardinals were expecting additional positives when the latest results of testing arrive. It would be the latest in a string of new positive tests for the Cardinals, whose three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers was postponed ... [The Cardinals' four-game series against the Tigers was scheduled to be a home-and-home, but all four games will now played in Detroit, with a doubleheader scheduled for Wednesday]

The number of confirmed positives for the Cardinals is unknown and complicated by the fact the team is running rapid tests for its personnel at a hospital, in addition to the saliva tests being run through MLB's laboratory, and the results reportedly have not always agreed.

"[W]e do not anticipate having any updates until [Monday]," the Cardinals said in a statement Sunday night.

The Cardinals confirmed Saturday night that one player and three staff members tested positive but said an additional player and three additional staff members received results that were inconclusive. The infected personnel were heading back to St. Louis in cars, while the rest of the team's traveling party remained at the Milwaukee hotel.

The Cardinals' outbreak appears to be the second biggest in baseball, with the season only a week and a half old. The Miami Marlins had 18 players and two coaches test positive last week ...

All told, 19 games have been postponed.

August 2, 2020

G10: Yankees 9, Red Sox 7

Red Sox - 203 010 100 - 7 10  1
Yankees - 032 010 03x - 9  9  1
Rafael Devers gave Boston a 7-6 lead with a home run in the seventh and Matt Barnes recorded the first two outs in the bottom of the eighth.

Barnes failed to retire #9 hitter Mike Tauchman, walking him on five pitches. Tauchman stole second. Barnes failed to retire DJ LeMahieu, who singled. Tauchman scored the tying run. And Barnes failed, in spectacular fashion, to retire Aaron Judge, who launched a 2-0 curveball an eye-popping 468 feet to left-center.

The Red Sox held (and lost) four leads on Sunday night: 2-0, 5-3, 6-5, and 7-6. Barnes stated the obvious afterwards.
[T]wo outs, nobody on, and the nine-hole hitter, can't walk him. Can't walk the nine-hole hitter to get to the top of their order.
Actually, it turns out you can - but you really shouldn't.

It was Judge's second home run of the night and his sixth of the season.
Trying to locate a 2-0 breaker down and away ... tried to locate it down there and certainly not put a hanging breaking ball middle up and in on him. Can't do that to a guy, one, who's locked in, and, two, who's got the power that he's got. Just a poor sequence of events there.
Again, "Barnesy", you can do that, but . . . oh, piss off.

The Red Sox are 3-7 and 5 GB in the AL East.

Manager Ron Roenicke thought it might "surprise people to be this far down already". Hmmm. Boston does not its top three starters from last season. One was traded, one had surgery, and one is infected with a dangerous virus that is also messing with his heart. That's a big hit for any team to absorb.

On the bright side, Xander Bogaerts went 4-for-4, hit two home runs, singled, doubled, scored three runs, and drove in three. Devers drove in two runs with a single and a home run.
Austin Brice / James Paxton
Pillar, LF
Devers, 3B
Martinez, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Vázquez, DH
Chavis, 1B
Plawecki, C
Bradley, CF
Peraza, 2B
In his first start of the season, Paxton threw 41 pitches and got three outs.

The Red Sox plan to fly to Florida (the hottest SARS-CoV-2 hotspot on the planet (9,642 new cases yesterday and about 7,000 new cases so far today)) after tonight's game.

They are off tomorrow and play in Tampa Bay on Tuesday and Wednesday.

More possible strangeness in a strange season:

The Mets:
As of game time, Yoenis Céspedes has not reported to the ballpark today. He did not reach out to management with any explanation for his absence. Our attempts to contact him have been unsuccessful.
Ken Rosenthal:
Mets have learned they have no reason to believe Cespedes’ safety is at risk, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
Yoenis Céspedes has opted out of the rest of the 2020 season for "COVID-related" reasons, according to Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen.
Jeff Passan (ESPN):
When Yoenis Cespedes didn't show up today, the Mets sent security to his room. They found it empty. He had taken his belongings, just up and left, and through his agent informed the team mid-game that he was opting out ..

August 1, 2020

July 2020: Linescores & Factoids

A few cool linescores from the past week.

July 24
SFG - 001 000 000   - 1  4  4
LAD - 110 111 22x   - 9 13  1
July 28
CHC - 001 111 112   - 8 12  1
CIN - 000 200 012   - 5  6  0
July 29
CWS - 000 000 004   - 4  5  0
CLE - 000 000 000   - 0  6  2
WAS - 000 000 000 4 - 4  5  1
TOR - 000 000 000 0 - 0  3  0

Since 1900 (modern era), no player in the 9th slot in the batting order had accounted for all of his team's hits (minimum 3 hits), coming into tonight. Orlando Arcia had all 3 hits for the #Brewers tonight [July 24, Opening Day], batting 9th.

For the first time since 1893 when the pitcher's mound was moved to its current distance from home plate, Reds pitchers have begun the season with at least 10 strikeouts in each of the first three games (13, 17, 10 so far today).

The Astros have had 7 pitchers make their MLB debut this season, the most by any team through 5 games in modern MLB history (since 1900). The previous record, according to Elias Sports, was 5 pitchers by the 1962 Cubs and 1998 Marlins.

According to research by's Sarah Langs, first baseman Anthony Rizzo is only the third player in recorded history (since 1901) to be hit by a pitch at least four times in a team's first four games. In addition to Rizzo (who was also plunked four times in four games in 2015), the others are José Guillén (four in 2006) and Jake Stahl (five in 1904).

Since 1893 (when the mound moved to its current distance from home plate), Shane Bieber is the first pitcher with 13+ strikeouts in each of his first two starts of a season [July 24 and July 30].

Christian Vázquez has hit 4 HR and played in only 5 games this season. He has tied the Red Sox record for most HR in a player's first 5 games of a season, matching Jackie Jensen (1954 & 1958) and Bobby Doerr (1941). [Doerr hit 4 HR in the first 4 games]

Jayson Stark:
When [Yoenis] Céspedes homered off [Atlanta's] Chris Martin on Opening Day, it provided one of the strangest tidbits of this or any season: It was his third consecutive game with a home run. That seems good. But those games took place on May 13, 2018 ... then (68 days later) July 20, 2018 ... then (735 more days later) July 24, 2020! So that's three straight games worth of Céspedes home run trots — over a period spanning 804 days! It's the longest streak of that many "consecutive" games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, since the legendary Calvin Pickering took 1,053 days to homer in three in a row (for the Red Sox and Royals) between Oct. 5, 2001 and Aug. 23, 2004. In between, Pickering did some homering in Mexico, but that's not important now. ...

[The Nationals were scheduled to play in Toronto on July 29, but the game was played in Washington, with the Blue Jays as the home team. What does that mean?] It means the Nationals have now won more road games in Washington this year (two) than they've won home games in Washington (one). They also managed to win an extra-inning game in their own park (Wednesday) but have it not be via a walk-off. ... And on an even brighter side, they dodged the weirdness of losing that extra-inning game via a walk-off — in their home park. ... [see linescore above]

Wednesday night in Houston, the Dodgers' Edwin Ríos led off the 13th inning with a home run. Now that's been done before. But thanks to the miracle of the runner-on-second rule, our friend Boog Sciambi got to fulfill his lifetime dream, right there on ESPN, of saying: "And that's a leadoff two-run homer."

The strangest but truest extra inning of the year: The #Royals managed to score a run in the 10th today [July 25] - despite zero official at-bats! Ghost runner on 2nd. Sac bunt. Sac fly. Walk. Runner thrown out stealing. ... If this feels like the most Royals thing ever, you won't be shocked to learn that the last four times somebody scored a run in any extra inning without working in an official at-bat, that somebody was (yep), the Royals ... But here's what's especially cool: STATS' play-by-play files go back nearly half a century, to 1974. And you know how many other teams have done this in the last 47 seasons but not done it via a walk-off (meaning they had zero at-bats in a *full* inning)? Of course, that would be none! ...

In case you missed Craig Kimbrel's outing Monday, please fasten your seat belt firmly across your lap and put your seat back in the full upright and locked position. All right, here it comes: Walk, Wild Pitch, Out, Walk, Stolen Base, Walk, Hit By Pitch, Walk, Google Map directions to the clubhouse. ... [T]here has been only one other game, since the invention of the modern save rule, in which a reliever entered a game with a ninth-inning save opportunity, then spewed out four walks and a hit batter, and didn't make it through the inning. That involved [Cleveland's] Danys Baez, on Sept. 8, 2002 – a 2/3-1-4-4-4-0 classic in which he hit Paul Konerko, walked José Valentín, Willie Harris, Magglio Ordóñez, and Carlos Lee, and served up a three-run homer to Frank Thomas.
Jayson told that story out of order. Baez's inning went like this: He walked Valentín and walked Harris. Got two outs: D'Angelo Jimenez popped to short and Aaron Rowand hit into an FC. Gave up Thomas's three-run homer. Walked Ordóñez, hit Konerko, walked Lee. David Riske took over and allowed a game-losing single to Joe Crede.

G9: Yankees 5, Red Sox 2

Red Sox - 002 000 000 - 2  6  0
Yankees - 140 000 00x - 5  8  1
Gio Urshela hit his first career grand slam and Aaron Judge homered for a career-high fourth consecutive game. The MFY's last 17 runs have come on dongs.

Facing Zack Godley (3.1-6-5-2-1, 69), the first three Yankees in the second inning singled before Urshela went deep.

Boston got on the board in the third when Andrew Benintendi walked and Kevin Pillar singled, both with one out. Xander Bogaerts doubled in one run and another run scored on Gleyber Torres's error.

The Red Sox (3-6) did not get another hit until the eighth (though they drew two walks along the way). They did not have two baserunners at the same time until there were two outs in the ninth. Jackie Bradley walked and Tzu-Wei Lin singled. Benintendi batted as the tying run, but he went down on strikes.

The White Sox's lineup on Saturday night was the first in major league history with four Cuban-born players in the top four spots. Luis Robert led off, followed by Yoán Moncada, José Abreu, and Yasmani Grandal. Chicago's Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert both singled, doubled, and homered.

Last night, Atlanta pitcher Chris Martin recorded a save in an 11-10 qwin over the Mets, but he had no idea it was the ninth inning. He was busy walking back to the dugout when someone finally yelled at him. Catcher Travis d'Arnaud: "He thought it was the eighth. I was walking to the mound laughing the whole time and looking at the guys in the dugout. They were all pointing and laughing at him, too."
Zack Godley / Masahiro Tanaka
Benintendi, LF
Pillar, DH
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, 1B
Vázquez, C
Verdugo, RF
Bradley, CF
Lin, 2B
Eduardo Rodriguez will not pitch again this season. His heart issues have not abated, but everyone is expecting a full recovery for 2021.

In other news, Astros owner Jim Crane is a tone-deaf, clueless moron who can't stop saying stupid shit.

"More Than Five" Additional Cardinals Test Positive (Did Players Go To A Casino?)

Updated: Manfred's latest reaction (in Ravech/Calcaterra tweet).

"More than five" additional Cardinals have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, and today's Cardinals-Brewers has been postponed. That makes at least eight positives on the Cardinals. More test results are expected later today.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that MLB has told its national TV partners they should have alternate programming ready in case games are postponed are next week.
So, Rob, are we in a "nightmare" situation yet?
(Yep. Baseball is fucked.)

After the first two positive cases on Thursday night, all Cardinals players and staff were told to self-isolate in their hotel rooms. But there are reports this morning that at least six members of the organization, including pitcher Carlos Martinez, broke the league's rules and went to a casino, albeit before the team's outbreak. The report comes from former player Jerry Hairston Jr.
The Marlins have been criticized for going to a strip club and the hotel bar in Atlanta two days before the season began. They have a total of 20 positive cases.

The Phillies had no new positive test results on Friday and have reopened its park to players for staggered workouts.

There have been a total of 128 positive tests, 104 players and 24 staff members.

Despite having health and safety protocols in place before the season began, MLB is making things up as it goes along, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

League officials say the system is improving, according to Rosenthal, but others in the game say it feels inconsistent and puzzling. MLB's responses have been inconsistent and contradictory. The Marlins and Phillies were allowed to play last weekend despite four positive cases (and the strong possibility that more existsed), but MLB cancelled other games last week despite no positives, saying it was exercising "an abundance of caution", despite throwing caution to the wind in a much more serious instance.

The original plan was to keep plowing forward, to absorb positive tests, plug in new players and accept any consequences, all to prevent the league from collapsing like a house of cards. Well, the house-of-cards analogy still applies, only now it feels to many in the game as though the league is playing with a different deck. MLB believes its adjustments are all in the name of safety, the objective that matters most. But as the sport evolves to this new plan, it's fair for people around the game to ask: Why wasn't it in place from the start?

Sports Websites: Do They Have Linescores? Where Are Their Linescores? Let's Find Out!

I love linescores.

Almost all major sports websites have stopped showing linescores when you click on "scoreboard". What they offer, at first glance, is only the R-H-E summary (some don't even do that).

If you want to know when the runs were scored (did the team that won 7-5 score all of its runs early and hold on, did they have a late rally, did they fall behind and steadily chip away throughout the game?), you have to click through to the box score. And if you want to see the linescore for another game (perhaps you enjoy perusing the previous day's games hoping for an odd or surprising linescore), you have to go back to the scoreboard and then click through on another game. It's annoying as hell.
Brief Tangent: I was saddened to learn Jayson Stark likes the Extra Inning Rule. (He was also surprised.) In his explanation, he linked to an amazing linescore from the California League (A):
July 15, 2019
Inaland Empire 66ers - 200 000 000 011 114 - 10 10  0
Modest Nuts          - 000 002 000 011 110 -  6  5  5
That is some weird, wild stuff.
You might think that the official website of Major League Baseball would offer easy viewing of linescores and you could simply scroll down and check them out.

If you thought that, you would be wrong.

I have fond memories of buying The Sporting News each week in the late 1970s so I could enjoy all the major league box scores from the previous week or so. In the decades before that, TSN (once known as "The Bible of Baseball") also published all minor league box scores.

TSN published its last physical issue in 2012 and its online scoreboard likely causes Alfred Spink (Canadian!) to spin in his grave. ... No hits and no errors!

Sports Illustrated is still publishing, but is a faint shadow of its former self. Does its website provide easy access to linescores? No.

All that empty white space is perfect for linescores.

What about ESPN? No.

CBS Sports? No.

Fox Sports? No.

MSN Sports? No.

Yahoo Sports? No.

NBC Sports? . . .


All Hail NBC Sports!!

NBC Sports is now the only place I will go to check baseball scores.