It was a week of baseball craziness, with the trading deadline today.
The Tour de France ended Sunday, Lexi Thompson won the Meijer LPGA Classic, and Tom Brady’s Deflategate suspension was upheld. Let’s go In Depth.
The Greinke Chronicles
We’ve followed Zach Greinke for a couple of weeks, and after taking a red-eye from California (where his first child was born) to New York, he showed he was human after all when he finally gave up a run after — well, was it 45-2/3 or 49-1/3 innings?
Greinke missed his scheduled start on Friday to be with his wife and couldn’t make it in time for Saturday’s game, so he pitched on Sunday.
In the third inning he hit a batter and gave up a single on which the center fielder made an error, allowing the lead runner to get to third base.
A grounder to first followed and Adrian Gonzalez threw home, just a hair too late to get the runner. The scorekeeper ruled the play a fielder’s choice. So far, the run is unearned.
Official scorers are supposed to use common sense when deciding what would have happened in the absence of an error. Since the scorer ruled the play on which the run scored a fielder’s choice, he felt an out could have been recorded. If there had been no error, it seems likely that Gonzalez would have stepped on first, allowing the runners to advance to second and third.
Now comes the hard part: The next batter hit a rather shallow fly ball to right field. In my opinion, the runner could not have scored from third after the catch. The following batter was retired, which would have been the third out.
Apparently the scorer felt the fly to right was deep enough to score the run and ruled the run earned.
My feeling is that the pitcher should be given the benefit of the doubt. The run was unearned.
In the sixth inning, the Mets scored an earned run when Greinke hit a batter with the bases loaded and two outs. So the streak of innings without allowing an earned run should be 49-1/3.
Trade Pays Off Already
The Dodgers-Mets game had an interesting ending. In the tenth inning, Juan Uribe drove in the winning run. It was the third time in a week that he had the game-winning rbi against the Dodgers — twice with the Braves before he was traded.
And Speaking Of Trades
Decoded Sports reported last week that Houston had gotten Scott Kazmir from Oakland. In his first start, Kazmir pitched 7 scoreless innings, and followed that with a second start of 7-2/3 shutout innings. He makes the Astros a serious contender.
Decoded Sports has also reported that Johnny Cueto would almost surely be traded — and so he has been. Cincinnati sent their ace to Kansas City for a bunch of minor league prospects. This makes Kansas City the team to beat in the American League; they already have the best record and now they are considerably stronger. Cueto pitched eight scoreless innings in his final appearance for the Reds on Saturday. He starts tonight for KC.
Why, you may ask, are the Reds giving up such a great pitcher? It’s because Cueto will be a free agent after the season and will command beaucoup bucks. Cincinnati will rebuild with the money they would have had to pay Cueto. As for Kansas City, they are basically renting a pitcher for the drive to the World Series, with an option to buy at the end of the season — but at a high price.
In other trades:
- Washington got Jonathan Papelbon from the Phillies. The Nats now have two closers. Papelbon got the save in Max Scherzer’s 1-0 shutout win on Thursday. Let’s see how Drew Storen, with 29 saves and a 1.73 ERA takes being moved to setup.
- The Phillies also sent ace starter Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers. All Hamels did to say goodby to Philly was pitch a no-hitter. He won’t be enough to get Texas into the playoffs.
- Toronto acquired Troy Tulowitzki from Colorado. This doesn’t make much sense to me. Tulowitzki is a terrific player, batting .300 right now, but he is in the second year of a seven-year contract with a lot of zeroes. The Jays also got David Price from the Tigers. Price becomes a free agent at the end of the season, so this one makes more sense. Toronto might make the playoffs this year as a wild-card team, but they would have to win a play-in game, then beat the Astros and the Royals (or maybe the Yankees) to get to the World Series. and it seems they will have mortgaged their future to do it.
- The Dodgers picked up Matt Latos from the Miami Marlins. Latos was once a top-of-the-rotation pitcher, but he’s now a four or five guy. I’m thinking the Dodgers will use him as a fifth starter on a team that already has two of the best, Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke. They may be looking forward to the rotation-shortened playoffs and putting Latos in the bullpen.
MLB Game Of The Week
Decoded Science’s top game this weekend involves two teams from Los Angeles. When the Yankees used to play the old Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series they called it a Subway Series. I guess we can call this a Freeway Series.
The big interest in this game is Zach Greinke’s first start since the end of his 45 plus scoreless-inning streak came to an end. Greinke should be well rested, with time off during the all-star break, another couple of days when his child was born, and an extra day since his last start.
Could Greinke be ready to start another streak on his way to this year’s Cy Young Award?
Last week I wrote about the British Open, a golf tournament for men. On Sunday, Lexi Thompson won the Meijer LPGA Classic with an 18 under par score of 266. Now I have this question about golf:
Why do the women tee off from a different spot than men? It is the only sport I know of in which the parameters are different for men and women.
- The basket is always 10 feet high in basketball.
- The fences are the same distance for men’s and women’s softball.
- The net is the same height for men and women in tennis.
- Men and women run the same triathlon course.
- Soccer fields and goals are the same dimensions for men and women.
So why the change for golf? Reader comments are welcome.
Roger Goodell Upholds Brady’s Suspension and Kraft Goes Ballistic
Was there ever any suspense? Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the National Football League (NFL), upheld Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his part in Deflategate. Since Goodell was the one who imposed the penalty, this cannot come as a shock.
The players’ union seems intent on pushing this, as they push every issue, to an absurd length. An injunction is probably the next step.
Last week I commended Robert Kraft for taking his medicine with respect to Deflategate. This week he sounds like a spoiled kid who didn’t get his lollipop.
All I can say of his tirade is that it gives credence to the rumor — which I discounted — that he had made a deal with Goodell in which he would accept the team’s punishment if Brady’s was reduced. His vitriolic words sound like they come from someone who thinks he was double-crossed.
Tour de France Ends in English Victory
Call it the sport in which everyone participates.
Spectators lined the streets of Europe to touch the riders as they logged 2200 miles across the continent, up and down the Alps, and finally through the streets of Paris.
This is both a team and an individual sport, and though I wasn’t sure who was who, it looked like fun as long as I wasn’t the one who had to pedal up those hills.
For the record, Englishman Chris Froome was the winner over Colombian Nairo Quintana by a single minute (yes, after cycling 2200 miles, the two were separated by a little over 60 seconds).
Baseball’s New Season
Major League teams were in a frenzy of deadline trading this year as never before. The rest of the season and the playoffs promise to be very exciting. What are your picks?