And That Happened: Sunday's scores and highlights

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Giants 9, Rockies 5: What a difference a week makes. Heck, not
even a week. Six days after the Rockies beat the Giants on a grand
slam, the Giants do it to the Rockies, courtesy of Edgar Renteria.
Given the Dodgers’ relatively uninteresting play lately, I think I’m
going to squint my eyes until the end of the season and pretend that
this is a bonafide pennant race as opposed to a wild card race.

Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 0: Papa-oom-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow-mow,
papa-oom-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow (6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER). Not that we
should be surprised. Byrd has always done well on 340 days rest.

Royals 3, Mariners 0: More dominance from Zack Greinke (CG, SHO
1 H). We can only hope that the writers are smart enough to realize
come awards voting time that Greinke’s win total is a function of his
team. Given the extremes involved here, I think they will. If he had
won 15-16 wins for a middling team like the Twins or the Brewers,
someone would be tempted to say that Greinke wasn’t a “winner.” That
many wins with a profoundly terrible Royals team will be viewed as a
positive rather than a negative. In other words, he’ll get the Steve
Carlton-in-72 vote.

Angels 9, Athletics 1: After the game, John Lackey talked about
how this Angels team compares to the 2002 team which won the World
Series and on which he made his debut: “Several guys on that ’02 team
will tell you we might not have been the best team, but we were hot . .
. That ’02 team was more of an offense-based team, for sure. We didn’t
pitch that well.” That’s so right. Except for the fact that the 2002
Angels were tied for the best ERA and allowed the fewest runs per game
in the American League.

Brewers 4, Pirates 1: Jeff Suppan won on his bobblehead day. In other news, there’s a Jeff Suppan bobblehead day.

Cardinals 2, Nationals 1: Adam Wainwright won on his bobblehead
day. This is somewhat more defensible. Though to be honest, I’d rather
have the Suppan, just for the sake of randomness.

Tigers 4, Rays 3: This is the kind of game the Rays were winning
a year ago. There’s not some magical explanation to it. The pendulum
just swings, ya know?

Mets 4, Cubs 1: Nelson Figueroa (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 10K, RBI) was
a one man team. Really, it was just him, playing all nine positions
like Bugs Bunny vs. the Gashouse Gorillas because the rest of the Mets
are on the DL.

Twins 5, Rangers 3: The Twins scored three runs in the eighth
via a variety of unconventional means, after which Ron Gardenhire said
“We kind of knick-knacked them a little bit.” I think that means that
instead of being pummeled, the Rangers were Hummeld.

Yankees 8, White Sox 3: The Yankees keep winning, and because
they’re doing so well, they continue to mess with Joba Chamberlain,
yanking him after 35 pitches despite there being nothing wrong with
him. At the risk of sounding like one of those cranky old pitchers from
the 60s and 70s, I can’t help but think that Chamberlain is going to
turn out like that kid you knew whose parents would never let leave the
house growing up and then got alcohol poisoning the same week he went
away to college because he had no perspective or life experience. Sure,
you don’t want to let him kill himself now, but there are worse things
in the world than letting the boy pitch and get knocked around a bit.

Orioles 5, Indians 2: Brian Matusz has the best start of his
very, very young career, and spends a lot of time in the game story
talking about how he overcame his initial struggles with adjustments
and video and all of that. The fact that he was facing the Indians
didn’t hurt either.

Marlins 6, Padres 4: “It was a tough weekend for us and today
was nice to salvage the series,” Cody Ross said after the game. The
Padres took two of three. If they had lost the first one and won the
second two, no one on the Marlins would be talking about how the win on
Friday “salvaged the series.” Likewise, if they had won Saturday’s game
but lost on the bookends, no one would feel too good about things. I
use that phrase all the time, but games are games are games.

Dodgers 3, Reds 2: Dodgers pitchers combined to strike out 20
Reds. Nine of those Ks came in the 8th-12th innings, dooming
Cincinnati’s chances to get anything going. Clayton Kershaw still
hasn’t won a game since mid-July, despite the fact that he has a
sub-3.00 ERA since then.

Diamondbacks 4, Astros 3: Arizona won the game, but closer Chad
Qualls dislocated his kneecap on the last play of the game and will
probably be done for the year. I’m one of the more squeamish people I
know. Seriously, my daughter lost her first tooth a couple of weeks ago
and was out of commission for hours. But nothing makes me cringe more
than thinking about kneecap injuries. Really, it’s taken me ten minutes
to just write this individual recap out because I’ve been alternating
between mild nausea and frantic rubbing of my own kneecaps in an effort
to somehow make the horror of that kind of injury erase itself from my
thoughts.

Phillies 3, Braves 2: Games like this don’t make me feel too hot
either. First Chipper throws away the bunt in the seventh, and then
Garret Anderson just butchers the Carlos Ruiz “double” that put the
Phillies ahead for good. Continued failure to support Jurrjens. Just —
further failure. At times like these I have to remember that, for most
of the year anyway, I’ve been on the “2010 is the Braves’ year” train,
believing that the team brass was really thinking that too, even if
they could never admit it. I still think that’s right, but that little
hot streak earlier this month is the kind of thing that makes you
forget.

Angels ink Javy Guerra to minor league deal

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.

Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.