And That Happened: Sunday's scores and highlights

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Phillies 2, Mets 0: Blanton beats Santana, yadda, yadda, yadda. I want to use this entry to make my first observation of the All-Star season. Fact: Charlie Manuel manages the NL team this year. Fact:
he has an All-Star roster with too many first basemen and nary a
legitimate centerfielder to be found, among other issues that may very
well prevent the NL from winning. Fact: the league which loses the All-Star game costs its World Series representative home field advantage. Fact: the Phillies stand a decent enough chance to go back to the World Series this year. Fact: the Phillies have been a much better road team than home team this year. Theory:
Charlie Manuel is deliberately tanking the All-Star game in the hopes
that the Phillies lose home field “advantage.” Clever, Charlie. Very
clever.

Marlins 5, Pirates 0: Ricky Nolasco continues his post-call-up
tear, this time shutting out and striking out 12 Pirates and giving up
only three hits over eight innings. Hanley Ramirez was scratched from
the lineup because his hip is sore. When asked if he’d play in the
upcoming series in San Francisco, he said “I’ll see how it feels after
a 7-hour plane ride.” That’s funny. I checked Expedia, and there are no
direct commercial flights between Miami and San Francisco that
take more than six hours, and many take a little less. A chartered team
plane shouldn’t do any worse. If Ramirez is right, though, I can only
assume that Jeff Loria is so cheap that he has his team flying
Southwest or something. If you’re at the Oklahoma City airport later
today and see a guy that looks kinda like Dan Uggla getting a TCBY
while waiting for his connection, it probably is Dan Uggla.

Athletics 5, Indians 2: OK, we’ve got a situation here. Last
week I said I’d go with “Major League” quotes until either (a) Eric
Wedge was fired; or (b) the Indians won three in a row. In reality,
when I said that I assumed that Wedge was a dead man walking and that
the bit would end soon. Then, prior to yesterday’s game, Shapiro goes
and announces that Wedge will keep his job for the rest of the season.
So here’s the problem: there’s no way in hell this team is gonna win
three games in a row any time soon. Just look at yesterday: they had
two in the bag, their ace on the mound, and Gio-freakin’-7.27
ERA-Gonzales facing them. At home. What happens? Of course they lose.
So what do I do? I mean, I beat some bits into the ground, but I had no
intention of running “Major League” quotes every day. If I did, I’d
start to run out of good ones by, say, September. I’m going to give
some thought to how long I stick with this, but I’m leaning towards
giving it up and simply trying to find new ways to describe how
depressing this team is. I’ll leave that decision for tomorrow or the
next day. In the meantime: “Let me get back to you, will ya, Charlie? I
got a guy on the other line asking about some white walls.”

Cubs 8, Brewers 2: The AP game story quotes Ryan Braun talking
about how the Milwaukee pitchers aren’t getting the job done. That’s
interesting enough, but the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel quotes him getting into the GM’s business as well.
He then spent the whole bus ride back to Milwaukee complaining about
how the driver changed lanes too much and yelling at Corey Hart for
taking up too much armrest space.

Nationals 5, Braves 3: Atlanta sweeps the first place Phillies
and then drops two of three to the worst team in Major League Baseball.
Anyone who couldn’t have predicted that hasn’t watched much Braves
baseball for the past three or four years.

Cardinals 10, Reds 1: I’ve sorta not been paying that much
attention to the Reds lately, so I had just been assuming that Bronson
Arroyo was continuing his patteren of getting shelled, then pitching
well, then getting shelled, etc. Looking at it now, the “getting
shelled” option has been a lot more prevalent, and it happened again
yesterday (5 IP, 11 H, 8 R). Arroyo now has the worst ERA among regular
NL starters.

Yankees 10, Blue Jays 8: Joba Chamberlain gets his ineffective
butt saved by Derek Jeter and the rest of the Yankees’ offense. In
Chamberlain’s defense, neither of the homers he gave up would have
reached the seats in old Yankee Stadium. Such a defense only goes so
far, of course, given that Alfredo Aceves pitched against the same Blue
Jays and in front of the same outfield walls yesterday, and he only
gave up one hit in four innings of relief work.

Red Sox 8, Mariners 4: The Mariners would have liked to take
this one, but the fact is that they finished nine road games against
the Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox 5-4, and that’s pretty damn
impressive.

Royals 6, White Sox 3: Some interesting thoughts about the whole Rany-Royals dustup here.
I wish someone would have thought to ask Ozzie Guillen about this over
the weekend. Even in the very likely event that he knows none of the
actors and cares not a bit about this drama, the way in which he would
have put it would have been pretty entertaining.

Twins 6, Tigers 2: A bunch of those “The Tigers are in the
driver’s seat” stories popped up last week. Everyone who wrote them
forgot the fact that the Twins just never, ever seem to go away, no
matter how hard you try and make them. They take two of three from the
kitty cats and stand ready to be a total pain in Detroit’s butt for the
next three months.

Diamondbacks 4, Rockies 3: Dan Haren pitched six innings and
stood to be the winner after the Dbacks took the lead in the top of the
seventh. I probably would have bet the balance of my 401K that the
Arizona bullpen wasn’t going to hold that lead for him, but I’ll be
damned if they didn’t.

Angels 9, Orioles 6: Baltimore held 4-0 leads on Saturday and Sunday and blew them both. But it’s not like there isn’t hope.

Dodgers 7, Padres 6: Broxton blows a four-run lead in the ninth
(I’m sure it was Manny’s fault somehow), but James Loney hits a solo
homer in the 13th to give the Dodgers the win.

Astros 7, Giants 1: Roy Oswalt is 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA over his
last three starts. Randy Johnson bailed early with a strained shoulder.
He probably did it while batting earlier in the game. Some joker
somewhere will use that as an argument for the DH, ignoring that
Johnson has had nearly 700 career plate appearances without incident
before yesterday.

Rangers 5, Rays 2: The Rangers sweep the Rays — allowing only
seven runs in the three game set — and now start a big series against
Anaheim. Tasty.

Shapiro, Murray defend Dellin Betances after arbitration feud

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Dellin Betances #68 of the New York Yankees and the American League pitches against the National League during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The dust hasn’t quite settled after right-hander Dellin Betances‘ arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Saturday. The case was decided in the team’s favor, awarding Betances with a $3 million salary for the 2017 season instead of the $5 million he initially requested. Yankees’ president Randy Levine held a press conference to voice his outrage over the figure presented by Betances and his agency, saying it had “no bearings in reality” since Betances does not have the elite closer status required for a salary bump of that magnitude.

Needless to say, the comments caused some consternation within Betances’ camp. The reliever publicly addressed the outburst, telling the press that he was prepared to put his differences with the team aside until he heard what Levine had to say. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

Players union executive Rick Shapiro and Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, also spoke out in the right-hander’s favor. Shapiro presented Betances’ case during the hearing on Saturday and called Levine’s comments “an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.” In a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Shapiro added: “The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.”

Murray spoke exclusively to Rosenthal, accusing the president of effectively bullying the 28-year-old during the arbitration process and claiming that Levine had both mispronounced Betances’ name throughout the hearing and blamed the reliever for “declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history.” Like Betances, Murray said that the agency was ready to accept the arbiter’s decision and move on before Levine’s decision to air his grievances to the media. “The only person overreaching in this entire situation is Randy,” Murray told Rosenthal. “He might as well be an astronaut because nobody on earth would agree with what he is saying. Even the others in the room would disagree with him.”

Royals will experiment with Alex Gordon in all three outfield spots this year

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 7: Alex Gordon #4 of the Kansas City Royals reacts to a fan while on first base during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 7, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Royals’ manager Ned Yost is shaking things up in 2017, starting with left fielder Alex Gordon. Yost told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that “every scenario is open,” and expects to utilize Gordon in right and center field this spring while he figures out where to position Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss.

Gordon, 33, hasn’t manned right field since a three-game experiment with the Royals back in 2010 and has yet to play center field during any regular season to date. The focus, however, isn’t on Gordon’s capabilities. Among the three outfielders, he carries the best defensive profile and appears to be the most versatile of the bunch.

According to Flanagan, Soler and Moss are average on defense and will continue working closely with Royals’ coach Rusty Kuntz as the season approaches. One arrangement could see Gordon in center field, flanked by Soler in right field and Moss in left, though Yost foresees Soler taking some reps at DH if his defensive chops aren’t up to snuff.

While Moss is prepared to see starts at either outfield corner, Yost appears to be set on keeping Soler in right field, at least for the time being. The club is hoping for a bounce-back season from the 24-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Cubs in December after batting a lackluster .238/.333/.436 and sustaining a slew of minor injuries throughout the 2016 season.