And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Red Sox 7, Tigers 5: You’ve probably seen the Youkilis-Porcello fracas, but here’s video of it from a slightly different angle
which makes Youkilis seem like even more of the bad guy here. Of course
his ejection was the best thing to happen to the Sox last night, as he
was replaced by pinch-runner Mike Lowell, who stayed in the game and
proceeded to hit two homers and drive in three. So yeah, that was all
fun and everything, and it actually worked out for Boston, but can we
all agree that plunkings, retaliation plunkings, retaliation for the
retaliation plunking and all of that is a total drag? It’s the one part
of baseball where Klingon law basically reigns, and I’ll just never get
it. Your guy hits my guy? Who cares? The only reason you’re doing it is
because we’re hitting you hard. That kind of thing doesn’t call for
revenge. It calls for pity.

Indians 5, Rangers 0: Laffey, Smith and Sipp — pitchers, not a
1960s kids show featuring puppets — combine to shutout the Rangers.
The Indians did all of their damage in the third via one of those death
by a thousand cuts kinds of innings:
single-single-HBP-walk-single-double, eventually followed by a
sacrifice fly.

Braves 8, Nationals 1: Tommy Hanson (6.2 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 9K) puts
a stop to the uppity Nats. Every Braves regular had a hit. Leadoff
hitter Ryan Church reached base in four of his five plate appearances.
Sure, he doesn’t get big feature stories like the guy he was traded for
does, but I don’t think anyone cares.

Orioles 3, Athletics 2: Brian Roberts had three hits, an RBI and
two stolen bases as the Os get a rare win over the A’s. Wait. Why does
the apostrophe look right on the “A’s” but not the “Os?” I’d think that
the apostrophe would be improper in both instances given that they’re
abbreviations of plurals as opposed to possessives, but everyone writes
“A’s” don’t they? Did Oakland ever formally change their nickname? When
I was growing up they were almost always referred to as the A’s, but in
recent years you hardly ever see that anymore. Maybe “A’s” was just the
proper noun, apostrophe and all, now it’s not, and we’re just dealing
with vestigial punctuation? Man, what I wouldn’t give to have a
linguistic anthropologist handy right now. Short of that, I’ll settle
for APBA Guy. Got any insight here, dude?

Yankees 7, Blue Jays 5: Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada hit back-to-back homers leading off the eighth inning to give the Yanks the lead (where have we heard that before?).
There was a moment of silence before the game for Merlyn Mantle, the
widow of Mickey Mantle, who died Monday. There, my friends, was a woman
of serious freakin’ strength, because God love him, but Mickey Mantle
would have driven most women to their graves about 40 years before Mrs.
M. was finally put to rest in hers.

Marlins 9, Astros 8: Game story: “Just before the bottom of the
11th inning, Cody Ross turned to teammate Dan Uggla on the bench and
gave him a few choice words. “This is the inning,” Ross said he told
him. “I feel it. I usually don’t say stuff like that.” Of course the
bases were loaded at the time, so the odds were decidedly in his favor.
Nice game-winning single by Uggla, but I’m not going to give Ross “I
see dead people” kind of credit.

Padres 13, Brewers 6: Adrian Gonzalez went 6 for 6 and the Padres had 22 hits in all off of Braden Looper and six other Brewer pitchers.

Phillies 4, Cubs 3: Brad Lidge blew a 3-2 lead in the ninth, but
Ben Francisco homer in the 12th got him off the hook. Lidge certainly
ain’t right, though. How about this: Jamie Moyer, closer. Or would he complain about that too?

Reds 5, Cardinals 4: Coming off a shutout, Justin Lehr pitches
well again, although this time in much better luck, giving up only one
run in six innings despite allowing 11 hits and only striking out one
dude. Which is why I hate the first sentence of the AP game story:
“Apparently, Justin Lehr is no fluke.” Isn’t he? He’s a 32 year-old
journeyman who isn’t allowing any runs despite not striking anyone out
and has allowed 19 hits and 8 walks in 20 innings. Great results that
still count and everything, but that’s pretty much a textbook example
of fluky.


Royals 14, Twins 6: Demoting a knuckleballer like the Twins did
with R.A. Dickey last week is the same as breaking a mirror or killing
an albatross while crossing the ocean or something: courting doom. How
else to explain a shellacking at the hands of the usually punchless
Royals? Miguel Olivo homered and drove in three runs. The Twins have
lost five of six and eight of 10, and they’re getting beat up at home
on a pretty regular basis.

Pirates 7, Rockies 3: Ugly game for the Rockies, as they walk a
bunch of dudes, commit a bunch of errors, and make the Pirates look
like a good team in the process. Andrew McCutchen stole three bases.

Angels 6, Rays 0: Yesterday I read this story
entitled “The Mighty Fall of Angels Pitcher Ervin Santana.” Ervin
Santana apparently didn’t read it (CG SHO 3 H). David Price didn’t
allow a hit until the fifth, and then the wheels just came off (6 IP, 8
H, 6 ER).

Diamondbacks 6, Mets 2: I think it’s safe to say that we’ve
entered the “playing out the string” portion of the season for New
York. Trent Oeltjen had four more hits, with a triple, a double and a
couple of singles. Crikey.

White Sox 3, Mariners 1: Janks (8 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 8K) and Denks
(23rd save in a perfect ninth) more or less shut down Seattle, but if
it wasn’t for an Alexei Ramirez three-run homer in the ninth, it would
have been in vain. Well, I suppose it could have been a two-run homer.

Dodgers 9, Giants 1: Remember that thing I said on Monday
morning about there maybe being a race on in the NL West? Eh, forget
it. Manny hit a two-run homer, had an RBI double and, working off of
the general “treat Manny like Barry Bonds” vibe, was intentionally
walked twice. Randy Wolf allowed one run and three hits in eight
innings, retiring 16 of his final 19 batters. This allowed Giants fans
to leave early, obviating the need to rush to get to the Larkspur Ferry.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.