WICHITA, Kan. -

Joakim Soria may end up being a good thing for the backend of the Tiger’s bullpen, but his line on Tuesday was frightful. In order: Single, Double, Home Run, Home Run, Groundout, single, single…exasperation.

Deadline approaches---

Will the Royals do anything more than trade Danny Valencia to the Jays for a couple guys who probably won’t help them down the stretch before the deadline tomorrow? KC has rumored to be in the mix for Boston’s Jonny Gomes, who’s still effective against left-handed pitchers, despite missing much of this season with an injury. Healthy now, he’s not hitting for a high average, but he has good post-season prowess. I was actually in St. Louis last October when he hit a huge three run homer to beat the Cardinals in game five of the World Series.

Speaking of the Red Sox---

It’ll be interesting to see what Boston does with John Lester. The lefthander is a two month rental for a contender before he becomes a free agent at the end of the season. The word in New England is that the Sox will try to move Lester to a contender for a couple of prospects, then will try to sign him again next year. It would be quite a coup if they could pull it off.

The Royals have also said to be in the mix for Sox pitcher John Lackey, if the Sox were inclined to make a move. Boston is said to be asking a steep price for the right hander, as they try to go entirely with the youth movement down the stretch of a lost season.

Mizzou rising---

Most baseball fans know about Max Scherzer, the Missouri product who is the reigning American League Cy Young winner. Aaron Crow has been solid in the middle of the Royals bullpen, but are you aware Kyle Gibson? The Royals are.

The former Tiger went seven innings allowing just two hits and no runs in a 2-1 final, improving to 9-8 for the Twins—no mean feat.

Tigers slipping---

The Royals missed a chance to pull within four games of the Tigers, which were pounded by the White Sox. Wichita States Conor Gillaspie had three hits in the game to raise his average to .327 this season, which is tied with Seattle’s Robinson Cano for second best average in the American League. Gillaspie’s 300 at bats don’t yet qualify as enough to be officially in the batting race, although he should get their shortly. Houston’s Jose Altuve continues to set the pace on the Junior Circuit hitting .343, so Gillpaspie has some work to do to win a batting title.

Silencing Stephan A.---

Stephan A. Smith, one of the more outspoken voices at ESPN was suspended for a week after making remarks that suggested a woman’s culpability in sexual assault. Smith was in full retreat a couple days later and made, what appeared to be, a heart-felt apology on the air Monday.

It’s amazing to me how many people are tripping over themselves in the wake of the Ray Rice and, more recently, Joe Mixon episode at OU. In both cases there’s video proof that women were struck and rendered unconscious, but in both cases apologists are hiding behind the law.

In Rice’s case he qualified (I’m not sure how) for diversion. If he stays clean for the specified amount of time the incident will be expunged from his record. It will be as if it didn’t even happen…well, save for the x-rays of the broken bones in his wife’s face and video of him dragging her seemingly lifeless body out of an elevator.

In the case of Mixon, a highly regarded running back from California—they’re claiming provocation in a similar incident where a woman was rendered unconscious and suffered numerous broken bones. The Oklahoma brain trust has yet to weigh in on Mixon’s transgressions, but what do you want to bet we’re going to let this ‘play out in the legal system’.

The hope, of course, is that any charges filed will be knocked down to simple assault—a misdemeanor, instead of aggravated assault—a felony. A misdemeanor makes it much easier to explain keeping a player on the roster—because every kid deserves a second chance…right? If the video is as compelling as some say and Mixon did take a damaging whack, it’s hard to see a program keeping him.

Mixon’s attorney’s continue to maintain that their client has done nothing wrong…we’ll see. It’s pretty tough to spin a man striking a defenseless woman, but some would argue that Rice got away with it.

At some point, OU head coach Bob Stoops will have to make a decision on Mixon’s future in Norman right on the heels of deciding to allow troubled Missouri transfer Dorial Green Beckham into the program. The timing is tough, or maybe it’s perfect. Imagine a high profile coach letting a five star recruit go to make a meaningful statement on a really shameful issue in our society—it would be refreshing.