And That Happened: Wednesday's scores and recaps

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Pirates 3, Braves 2:
Right after I graduated law school I traded in my 1990 Chevy Cavalier
for a new Honda. The Cavy still looked good — clean, no rust, no dings
— but it ran like hacking death. It would just stall the hell out for
no reason, but not before convulsing in a violent, noisy rattle. It was
so unpredictable, though. It would run fine for days and then — whammo
— it just died. If you let it sit for ten minutes it would start right
back up and run fine again. Totally bizarre. Anyway, as I turned over
the keys to the thing at the Honda dealer, I was worried that someone
from the used car department would start the thing up and and have it
seize on them before I could sign on the dotted line for my new car,
but no one bothered to try. I can’t tell you how happy I was that, if
the Cavy did eventually die on them, I would be nowhere near
the place when it did. The Braves were unable to avoid this kind of
embarrassment when their trade-in — Charlie Morton — had to leave the
game in the second inning with a bum hamstring. Caveat emptor, Pirate dudes.

Royals 9, Indians 0:
Just when Carlo Pavano was starting to get the kudos for a career
revival, the Royals of all teams lay an eleven-hit, nine-run smackdown
on him. Alberto Callaspo was the offensive hero for Kansas City, going
4 for 4, including a grand slam. Worth noting that Kyle Farnsworth — a
man who made the first couple weeks of the season so awful for Royals
fans — hasn’t allowed a run over seventeen appearances since April
19th, and he’s only walked two dudes in that same span. Greinke will
fill the bill this season, but the Royals have had way worse players
than Farnsworth represent them at the All-Star game in recent years.

Mariners 4, Orioles 1: Two home runs from Jose Lopez and the eighth straight game in which the Mariners have allowed three runs or fewer = win.

Astros 2, Cubs 1: Nice pitchers duel between Wandy Rodriguez and Carlos Zambrano, even if neither of them figured into the decision.

Tigers 2, White Sox 1:
Another spiffy pitchers duel, this one Verlander vs. Danks, with the
former (CG, 6 H, 1 ER, 9K) dueling just a bit more skillfully than the
latter. From the game story, it’s noted that the Tigers selected NCAA
killer Andy Oliver in the draft. Given his mastery of Ohio courts, he
should consider making his home in Toledo even after he makes the big
club despite the long commute to Tiger Stadium. Dude could be
bulletproof here.

Cardinals 13, Marlins 4: I’m less
interested in the fact that Marlins’ pitchers gave up 13 runs than I am
that they didn’t strike out a single Cardinal in the game.

Phillies 5, Mets 4: Yesterday I noted
that the Phillies’ bullpen is doubling as the cast of a reality show.
Given that six members of that pen were pressed into actual pitching
duty to get last night’s win, there probably wasn’t a lot of
opportunity for confession cams and the kind of manufactured drama you
usually see in these shows. The producers must have been furious.

Red Sox 6, Yankees 5:
Chien-Ming Wang still can’t find it so Phil Hughes had to come in. If
I’m Joe Girardi, I just switch places with these two next Tuesday and
see what happens. And while I didn’t watch most of this game, I did
hear the bit where Sutcliffe was talking about some deal Terry Francona
has with J.D. Drew where Francona pays Drew a couple hundred bucks each
time he hits a ball off the Monster. At least I think that’s how it
went. If so, is that even allowed?

Rays 8, Angels 5: John
Lackey gets shelled. Jeff Niemann was no great shakes himself, but his
bullpen bailed him out with one-hit, shutout relief over the final five
and a third innings.

Rockies 4, Brewers 2: Brad Hawpe (2-4, 2B, HR 2 RBI) did the damage, as he has all year.

Reds 4, Nationals 2:
Worst-timed rainstorm ever. The Reds get to the bottom of the ninth
with a 2-0 lead, only then to have to sit for a two hour and ten minute
rain delay, after which the Nats scored two sending it to extras.
According to the game story there were only about 100 fans left after
the delay. I’m shocked that there were that many.

Padres 3, Dodgers 1:
Kevin Correia (6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) pitched well on three days’ rest.
Clayton Kershaw threw 83 pitches in less than three innings, which made
it a long night for the bullpen.

Giants 6, Diamondbacks 4
: Feels like San Francisco has
been on the road forever, but at least they’re ending it well. Barry
Zito struggled, but his offense (and the Dbacks’ poor defense) picked
him up.

Twins 6, Athletics 3: Bullpen failure. Someone
should write a book someday compiling all of the subtly sarcastic or
passive-aggressive things starting pitchers say when betrayed by their
pen. This, from starter Dallas Braden, who was sick before the game, is
one of the better ones: “I think I probably could have put the upset
stomach and tired arm aside for one more inning, so I’ll wear this one
for sure.” Translation: dudes, I’m sick, and I just gutted out seven
strong innings. You gotta do better than that. Man.”

Blue Jays vs. Rangers:
Postponed: Mt. Waialeale in Kauai, Hawaii, has up to 350 rainy days
every year. This why they do not play baseball on Mt. Waialeale.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.