And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Marlins 6, Astros 2: Two teams that, one day, we’ll all sit
around and say “yeah, I totally forgot that Pudge played for those
guys.” Stellar game for Ricky Nolasco (CG, 3 H, 2 ER, 10K). Three more
hits for Hanley.

Mets 9, Braves 4: Derek Lowe’s worst outing of the season (3.2
IP, 11 H, 8 ER) negates the Braves’ early four-run lead. Martin Prado
removed for a severe headache and will now go back to Georgia for
tests. When the Braves break bad, they really break bad.

Rays 5, Orioles 4: Every time I see Gabe Gross’ name I
immediately think of Greg Gross, but before the conscious part of my
brain concludes “different people,” the part of my brain that forms
impressions and snap-judgments thinks “man, that guy has to be 100
years old.” I’m guessing this will only get worse as I get older. Hell,
I picked Ivan DeJesus, Jr. in my Scoresheet League’s supplemental draft
yesterday and I’d by lying if I didn’t think of the late-70s Cubs as I
did it. Anyway, Gross hit a two-run homer, which ain’t too shabby for a
57 year-old guy who has hit only seven dingers over the course of his
17-year career.

Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 9: A couple of ugly starting pitching
performances from Ricky Romero and Josh Beckett, but the Red Sox
weathered the ugly storm a bit better. Kevin Youkilis returned from
suspension. Dustin Pedroia left the team to be with his wife who gave
birth. The little fellow was 5’9″ and 180 pounds. No word on the size
of the baby.

Giants 8, Reds 5: A day after Jonah pimps Lincecum’s MVP case,
Timmy drops a relative stinker (6 IP, 6 H, 5 R). The Giants pull it
out, however, because they’re facing the Reds, who hath been baptized
with a curse, and for whom a spirit of the air hath begirt them with a
snare and for whom in the wind there is a voice which shall forbid them
to rejoice. Or they just suck, I can’t decide which.

Tigers 5, Mariners 3: Porcello vs. Hernandez, the combined age
of whom is 0.93 Moyers. Hernandez pitches better (7 IP. 5 H. 1 ER, 9K),
but the Tigers beat up reliever Mark Lowe for the come from behind win.
Bad day to be a Lowe in baseball.

Pirates 5, Brewers 2: Ross Ohlendorf is putting together a nice second half, and gave up one run over seven innings at PNC last night.

Angels 5, Indians 4: I ripped this observation off of someone on
Facebook, but it’s worth repeating to those of you who, unlike me, have
real live friends: The batting averages of the Angels nine starters
after last night’s game: .308, .310, .310, .313, .303, .307, .300,
.300, 313. For those of you who care, two teams — The 1927
Philadelphia Athletics and 1930 St. Louis Cardinals — each had ten players who hit over .300 during the same season.

Rockies 4, Nationals 3: Carlos Gonzalez homers for the third
straight game. From the game story “Washington’s first game since
signing No. 1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg to a record $15.1 million
contract drew a crowd of only 18,192 — about 5,000 lower than the
team’s average attendance this season.” Well, it’s not like he was
gonna pitch or anything. What, people are supposed to show up at the
ballpark due to their euphoria that Boras got a couple million dollar
commission? It’s still the 2009 Nats we’re talking about here and it
was still a horrible hot and humid Swampland night.



Twins 9, Rangers 6: Joe Mauer went 3-5 with two homers and three
RBI. I know we have more than a month of baseball left to play, but
Teixeira-for-MVP people are going to have to start making their case in
terms of “why Joe Mauer isn’t the MVP” as opposed to making Teixeira’s
case on the power of some vague “run producer” noises. Seriously, tell
me how a plus-defense catcher hitting .380+ with power is not worthy.
My boy falls for the “I got your nose” trick, and even he wouldn’t buy
anyone’s anti-Mauer argument at this point.

Royals 5, White Sox 4: Unless the question is “who can make one
of baseball’s worst offenses look potent?” Freddy Garcia is not the
answer (4.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER). Bonus: “He worked very slowly, repeatedly
fell behind batters and topped out at 90 mph.” Tasty! If Kenny Williams thinks the Sox were underperforming when they beat the Royals on Monday, I can’t imagine what he thought last night.

Phillies 5, Diamondbacks 1: Pedro started, the rains came, and
Moyer finished with six scoreless innings. Pedro after the game: “You
never know what you’re going to get when you put two old goats out
there.” The life expectancy of a goat is actually only 16 years, max,
so Martinez and Moyer were the combined equivalent of 5.188 goats. I
promise that is the last time I use Moyer-to-English conversions this
morning.

Dodgers 7, Cardinals 3: Chad Billingsley returns after missing a
start and throws six decent innings, and Albert Pujols and Matt
Holliday combine to go 0-for-8.

Padres 6, Cubs 3: A day after hitting a walkoff homer, Kyle
Blanks hits an inside the park homer. Blanks is 6’6″ and 285 pounds. I
am now going to find some video of that bad boy, because I can’t even
picture a guy that big rumbling around the bases.

Yankees 7, Athletics 2: Sabathia wins his 14th and Derek Jeter
goes 3-5. Jeter is 20 for his last 36. Game story: “Girardi spent the
morning watching a joint practice between the Oakland Raiders and San
Francisco 49ers as a guest of Niners coach Mike Singletary. Girardi met
former Raiders coach John Madden and owner Al Davis. “Mr. Davis told me
to tell Mr. Steinbrenner, ‘Hi,” Girardi said.” Huh. You’d think Davis
would simply say hello to Steinbrenner himself at the next Big Conclave
of the Supremely Evil.

Giants and Brandon Belt have an arbitration hearing scheduled for Wednesday

San Francisco Giants'  Brandon Belt reacts after being called out on strikes by home plate umpire Jim Joyce to end the top of the first inning against the Colorado Rockies in a baseball game Friday, Sept.. 4, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.

Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.

Padres sign veteran utility player Skip Schumaker

Cincinnati Reds' Skip Schumaker is tagged out at home plate by San Francisco Giants' Buster Posey during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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The Padres have inked veteran utility player Skip Schumaker to a minor league contract, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

Schumaker, who turned 36 last week, has spent the last two seasons with the Reds. He batted .242/.306/.336 with one home run and 21 RBI over 131 games last season while making starts between all three outfield spots and second base. Cincinnati cut ties with him in November after declining a $2.5 million club option for 2016.

While Schumaker had to settle for a non-guaranteed deal here, it would be no surprise to see him land a bench job with the Padres come Opening Day.

Report: MLB, union making progress on new slide rule at second base

New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada falls after a slide by Los Angeles Dodgers' Chase Utley during the seventh inning of an NL Division Series baseball game Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Los Angeles. (John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News via AP)
John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News via AP
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After Ruben Tejada suffered a fractured right fibula on a takeout slide from Chase Utley during the playoffs, there was momentum for a new rule about slides at second base. We haven’t heard much about it since the Owners’ Meetings in November, but ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that talks between MLB and the players’ union are making progress and a change is expected for the 2016 season.

The exact wording of the new rule is still unclear, but Olney hears that there’s a focus toward “ensuring that sliding runners either touch the base or make an effort to touch the base.” Below are some more details:

Sources said that in the union’s internal discussions, players made it clear they had been taught since they first began playing baseball to go into second base with the intent of breaking up double-play attempts. Although the union wants to improve safety for middle infielders, it does not want to eliminate players’ aggressiveness on slides or the ability to break up a double play.

However, there is a desire on both sides to eliminate slides on which a baserunner goes beyond the effort to reach second to make contact with middle infielders.

There’s already a rule in place for a situation like we saw with Utley, but it’s rarely, if ever, enforced. It’s unfortunate that Tejada’s fractured fibula had to be the catalyst for change or clarification with the rules, but hopefully this will result in fewer injuries in the future. Similar to the “Buster Posey Rule” for plays at home plate, get ready for life with the “Chase Utley Rule.”

Here’s the video of the Tejada/Utley play:

And here’s the video of another high-profile play from 2015 which resulted in a torn lateral meniscus and a fractured tibia for Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang:

Report: Tigers and J.D. Martinez agree to a two-year, $18.5 million deal

J.D. Martinez
Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images
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UPDATE: Jason Beck of MLB.com confirms that it’s a two-year, $18.5 million deal.

8:00 p.m. ET: Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the Tigers have avoided arbitration with outfielder J.D. Martinez by agreeing to a two-year contract. No word yet on the terms involved, but Robert Murray of Baseball Essential reported earlier today that he was hearing rumblings about a two-year, $18.5 million deal.

Martinez filed for $8 million and was offered $6 million by the Tigers when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. There has been some talk about a long-term extension, but we heard last week that the two sides were discussing both one- and two-year deals. This new deal will buy out Martinez’s final two years of arbitration, so as of now, he’s still on track to go into free agency after 2017.

After a breakout 2014, Martinez batted .282 with 38 home runs and an .879 OPS over 158 games last season.