Daily Dose: Busy day in Atlanta

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Wednesday was a busy day for Atlanta, as the Braves released a Hall of
Famer, pulled off a big trade, and announced plans to call up their top
prospect over the weekend. Tom Glavine tossed six shutout innings in a
rehab start Tuesday and said afterward that he was ready to rejoin the
rotation, but instead the Braves cut the 305-game winner loose
Wednesday and prepped for the Tommy Hanson era.

Glavine would’ve been due a $1 million roster bonus and also could
have earned $2.5 million for 90 days on the team, but that money will
now go to Nate McLouth after Atlanta acquired him from Pittsburgh just
hours later for Gorkys Hernandez, Charlie Morton, and Jeff Locke. While
that package represents solid value for the Pirates, it’s odd that
they’d build the deal around a center fielder like Hernandez.

Hernandez projects as a possible leadoff man in time, but has
limited upside and the Pirates already have a long-term center fielder
in Andrew McCutchen. In fact, they called McCutchen up immediately
after trading McLouth and the 22-year-old will play every day. His bat
may not be an asset yet after hitting .291/.367/.424 at Triple-A, but
he swiped 48 bases in 210 games there and offers strong defense.

For the Braves, bringing in McLouth a day after demoting Jordan
Schafer back to Triple-A represents a huge upgrade offensively. His
glove is incredibly overrated, but McLouth has hit .268/.353/.482 while
going 52-for-56 swiping bases over the past three years. Adding him
without giving up one of the organization’s best 3-4 prospects is a
no-brainer move for the Braves given their weak outfield situation.

Meanwhile, the team’s top prospect and arguably the best pitching
prospect in all of baseball will be joining the rotation Saturday
instead of Glavine. While cutting Glavine when he was ready to pitch
again is likely tough for fans to take, Hanson is simply a better
pitcher right now after posting a 1.50 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 66.1
innings at Triple-A, and Atlanta still has lots of rotation depth to
fall back on.

While the Braves hog all the headlines for a day, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* In other prospect news, the White Sox are calling up 2008 first
rounder Gordon Beckham, which is interesting given that Ozzie Guillen
explained a few days ago that “if we have Beckham here, we’re in
trouble.” Apparently they’re in trouble, or at least tired of getting
horrible production from second and third base. Beckham has hit
.316/.371/.509 as a pro and went 10-for-23 in a brief stint at
Triple-A.

* Phil Hughes went 2-0 with a 3.50 ERA and 21/3 K/BB ratio during
his last three starts, but the Yankees demoted him to the bullpen
anyway Wednesday to make room in the rotation for Chien-Ming Wang. Wang
will be limited to 75-80 pitches in his Thursday start against the
Rangers after allowing two runs in eight innings of relief work since
coming back from the disabled list.

AL Quick Hits: Kevin Youkilis exited Wednesday’s game after Josh
Anderson ran over his ankle … Jeff Niemann tossed a two-hit shutout
Wednesday, striking out nine Royals … Asdrubal Cabrera is expected to
miss 2-4 weeks with a separated shoulder, moving Jhonny Peralta back to
shortstop … Cliff Lee turned in his 10th straight Quality Start with
eight innings of one-run ball Wednesday night … Jered Weaver racked up
a career-high 10 strikeouts while allowing one run over seven innings
Wednesday … Andy Pettitte lost Wednesday for the first time since April
26, giving up four runs and six walks in five innings … After being
bashed around for eight runs Wednesday, Brian Bannister is 1-3 with a
7.86 ERA since starting 3-0 … Josh Beckett had a no-hitter through 7.2
innings Wednesday, but failed to record the third out … Mark Teixeira
was scratched from the lineup Wednesday with a bruised ankle … Anthony
Swarzak predictably ran out of magic pixie dust Wednesday, coughing up six runs in four innings.

NL Quick Hits: Randy Johnson’s bid for victory No. 300 was
postponed by rain Wednesday … Brandon Webb (shoulder) threw from flat
ground Wednesday and reported no problems … Carlos Beltran (stomach
virus) was in the lineup before Wednesday’s game was postponed, but
Jose Reyes (calf) suffered a setback in his rehab and is no longer due
off the disabled list when eligible Friday … Jorge Cantu went deep
Wednesday for the first time in 25 games and Brandon Phillips stole his
first bases in over a month … Scott Hairston’s breakout was put on hold
Wednesday when a biceps strain sent him to the DL … Kyle Lohse exited
in the third inning Wednesday, aggravating his forearm problem … Hunter
Pence went 4-for-5 with a homer Wednesday, driving in his first runs
since May 21 … Sammy Sosa formally retired Wednesday by saying: “I will
calmly wait for my introduction to the Hall of Fame” and “will not
allow anyone to tarnish what I did on the field.”

Chris Archer could lose his 20th game tonight

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10:  Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on from the mound after surrendering a home run in the sixth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 10, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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That’s a pretty negative way to put a headline, but the fact is, a starting pitcher losing 20 games is a rare and notable feat these days. But Tampa Bay Rays starter Chris Archer could pull it off against the White Sox this evening. He’s 8-19 with a 4.02 ERA in 194.2 innings across 32 starts in 2016.

That’s a big fall from 2015, when he was considered one of the rising aces in the game. Archer was an All-Star last year, and finished fifth in the Cy Young voting, finishing fifth in pitcher WAR, sixth in ERA, second in strikeouts, second in strikeouts per nine innings, fourth in fielding independent pitching and allowing the fourth lowest number of hits per nine innings pitched among AL starters.

To be fair, he still should be considered one of the best pitchers in the game. Yes, it has been a bad year for Archer, but he still strikes out a lot of guys. Overall, it takes a pretty good pitcher to lose 20 games in the big leagues. You don’t get the opportunities to do such a dubious thing unless you’re healthy and you have the confidence of your manager to take the ball every fifth day. And to be fair to Archer, he’s had bad defense and awful run support this year. Make no mistake, he has pitched worse than he did a year ago, but not so much worse that he deserves to reach a milestone no one has reached since 2003.

The guy who did that in 2003: Mike Maroth of a 119-loss Tigers team. Maroth won nine games that year and now gets referenced every time someone approaches 20 losses. If Archer avoids his 20th loss, he might match Maroth’s 2003 win total himself tonight. If not, well, everyone will cite Archer’s name, and not Maroth’s, whenever someone get to 19 losses in a season.

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 28:  Mark Teixeira #25 of the New York Yankees celebrates his game winning ninth inning grand slam home run against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on September 28, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 5, Red Sox 3: Congratulations to the Red Sox, I guess. They won the AL East thanks to the Blue Jays loss while this game was still going on, but they were deprived of the right to woop and holler on the field in New York given Mark Teixeira‘s stunning walkoff grand slam with two outs in the ninth. The Yankees were down 3-0 heading into the inning. The Yankees staved off elimination for another night. It will come, but in the meantime this was their 82nd win, ensuring a winning season at the very least.

Orioles 3, Blue Jays 2Hyun Soo Kim hit a ninth inning pinch hit homer which gave the Orioles a 3-2 lead and, eventually, 3-2 win over the Blue Jays. It simultaneously gave the Red Sox the American League East. Not too bad. Unless you’re a Jays fan, that is. For the O’s, it kept them a game ahead of the Tigers in the Wild Card and pulled them to within a game behind Toronto for the top slot.

Tigers 6, Indians 3: The Tigers likewise keep pace with Baltimore, thanks to a tiebreaking three-run homer from Miguel Caberea moments before the game was stopped on a very rainy night in Detroit. It ended up being shortened to a five inning affair. There was an earlier stoppage of 45 minutes before the 72 minute delay turned into the end of the game. If the Indians hadn’t already clinched the Central I’m guessing they’d be pissed about this, but at least this way they got to go back to the hotel and relax.

Mariners 12, Astros 4: Robinson Cano hit a three-run homer in the first inning and the M’s added four more before the Astros scored their first run, making this one a breeze. The pile on led to a win which kept Seattle two games behind Baltimore for the second Wild Card slot.

Mets 5, Marlins 2: Jay Bruce and James Loney homered as the Mets give themselves a one and a half game lead over San Francisco for the NL’s top wild card spot. The Marlins’ pregame routine for this one was Jose Fernandez’s funeral, so it’s understandable if their heads weren’t completely in this one.

Reds 2, Cardinals 1: Cardinal-killer Anthony DeSclafani allowed only one run over six innings as Adam Duvall‘s two run single in the third holds up. DeSclafani is 4-1 with a 2.13 ERA against St. Louis in his young career. He’s 15-19 against everyone else.

Rockies 2, Giants 0: The Rockies, paced by Tyler Chatwood‘s eight scoreless innings, shut out the Giants. Nolan Arenado singled in a run in the fourth and Gerardo Parra singled in one in the seventh. Jeff Samardzija struck out 11 while pitching into the seventh. If needed, he’ll pitch in a Wild Card tiebreaker on Monday.

Pirates 8, Cubs 4: John Jaso hit for the cycle. It was the first cycle for a Pirates hitter since Daryle Ward did it in 2004. Remember Daryle Ward? Meanwhile, Jake Arrieta went five innings and allowed 10 hits and seven runs in his worst start of the year.

Braves 12, Phillies 2Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 30 games, Matt Kemp hit a two-run homer and Mike Foltynewicz pitched two-hit ball over five innings. The Braves’ second half has been pretty darn good.

Royals 5, Twins 2: The Red Sox lost, but won the AL East anyway. The Royal won, but were officially eliminated from the postseason. Oh well. The Twins lost their 10th game in their last 11. That ties the record for the most losses since the franchise moved to Minnesota. One more loss and they’ll top the 1982 club for this grand honor. Gary Ward was the offensive star of that team. No one remembers Gary Ward, do they?

Diamondbacks 3, Nationals 0: Another rain-shortened game, this one lasting through the top of the sixth. The Nats have lost seven of 11. Between that and all of their injuries, they have to be the division winner with the least amount of confidence heading into the playoffs.

Rangers 8, Brewers 5: Texas was down 5-4 heading into the bottom the eighth but rallied for four. Elvis Andrus singled in run to tie it and then Carlos Gomez hit a three-run homer to give the Rangers the game. It was the second night in a row Gomez hit a three-run shot. In all, he has eight homers and 24 RBI in 31 games since joining the Rangers after being released by Houston.

White Sox 1, Rays 0: Miguel Gonzalez pitched a three-hit shutout into the ninth inning but was pulled when he put a runner on his pitch count went over 100 in what is a meaningless game. His workload was actually higher, as he threw a lot of warmup pitches during a rain delay. Todd Frazier‘ 40th homer was the game’s only scoring. Overall he’s hitting .228/.307/.474.  Statistically this has to be one of the worst 40-homer seasons ever, right?

Angels 8, Athletics 6: A win is nice, but having Mike Trout get hit with a pitch late in the game which will cause him to have tests on his shoulder isn’t the best news. Kole Calhoun homered as the Angels sweep the A’s.

Padres 6, Dodgers 5: Padres rookie outfielder Hunter Renfroe hit a homer onto the roof of the Western Metal Supply Building in right field at Petco Park. He’s the first one to ever do that in the park’s history. Not bad. Now the Padres have something to lead the 2016 highlight reel anyway. Renfroe was the PCL MVP this year and has hit four home runs and drove in 12 in the seven games since he’s been called up.