And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and highlights

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Rangers 11, Indians 9; Rangers 10, Indians 5: Lots of runs,
Marlon Byrd went 4 for 4 in the day game, blah, blah, blah, but I wanna
talk about something else. As I mentioned before, I’m re-reading Nice Guys Finish Last.
I’m being really pokey about it, putting it down, reading other stuff,
forgetting it for a week and going back again. It just lends itself to
that, ya know? Anyway, a few days ago I read a passage I hadn’t thought
anything of the first time I read it — probably because I was a kid —
but that I can’t shake. In it, Durocher is lamenting the decline of the
playing manager, which is how he began his career. The book was
published in 1975, the year Frank Robinson became the Indians’ manager.
Take it away, Leo:

I get a kick out of reading how difficult it is going to be
for Frank Robinson to manage the Cleveland Indians and also serve as
their designated hitter. Since when has swinging a bat every half hour
or so become so taxing on the brain? My bet is that Frank’s very
presence in the lineup will give the club a shot in the arm. The
Cleveland situation was made for Frank Robinson, and Frank Robinson was
made for them. A good baseball city, hungry for a winner. A city which
has become predominantly black . . . I always said that when it came to
naming the first colored manager, Rule #1 would still apply. It was
going to be the man who was in the right place at the right time.

A man of his time, I guess, but no less disturbing to see it written
like that. Far more disturbing, however, was how Leo used the Robinson
bit to note how he thought that Maury Wills would have become the first
black manager: “Maury has everything it takes to make a good one,”
Durocher writes. Of course, Wills went on to become perhaps the worst
manager in the history of baseball with the Mariners a few years later.
There’s no point to this other than to say that times and people
change, it’s September, and at some point you really have to quit
caring about Indians-Rangers games in which no one decides to pitch.

Red Sox 10, Orioles 0: Clay Buchholz seems to be figuring this
Major League stuff out (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER). Two homers for Pedroia. Papi
hit a homer too. If he hits one more, he sets the DH record. The next
seven games are at home, however, so we’re not likely to see fans
holding up asterisk signs for this momentous record. The asterisks
would not be for the PED thing, though, because no one really cares
about that. They’d be in protest of his status as a full time DH which
is an affront to good and true baseball the world over. OK, nowhere in
the world but the NL and the Central League, but if everyone else jumped off a bridge would you do it too? Well, would you?!

Cubs 9, Pirates 4: The AP game story referred to the Pirates as
“hapless.” I think hap-quotient is a lazy post-hoc rationalization for
a team’s performance. There have been plenty of teams that have won a
lot of games with very little hap, and vice-versa. The 1988 Braves?
Tons of hap. Lost 106 games. The 1970 Orioles, on the other hand, were
a great team, but were almost totally hap-free. You can look it up.

Blue Jays 6, Twins 3: Jon Rauch was tagged with a blown save
despite entering the game in the sixth inning. If I were him I’d
protest that one, because there was no way he was going to finish that
game. Charging a guy with a blown save in a game where he’d never
otherwise sniff a save is like charging a guy with robbery when he
never got anywhere near the safe.

Phillies 5, Nationals 3: You’re not going to believe this, but
Brad Lidge almost blew this one in the ninth. Single, ground out, HBP,
WP, walk, yanked. The yanking probably came less because he was about
to blow the game than it was because the walk was issued to Christian
Guzman, who doesn’t exactly feature the base on balls in his arsenal.
Raul Ibanez hit his 29th and 30th homers, joining Howard, Utley and
Werth with 30+ homers. Back in the 80s Donruss would have made a
baseball card with all four of them holding bats out over the words
“heavy lumber” or something. Do they still do stuff like that? Is
Donruss even around anymore? If not, are my Diamond King puzzles worth
anything? How about my Ron Darling “rated rookie”? Why am I going on
like Andy Rooney?

Marlins 4, Mets 2: Carlos Beltran returns and goes 1 for 4. It
seems like he was lost eight years ago, but it was only June. I had
forgotten how great a season he was having too (.335/.423/.527). One
can only wonder how 2009 could have gone for this team if they had even
a scintilla of luck this year.



Yankees 3, Rays 2: A walkoff Nick Swisher homer wins it for the
bombers, his second of the game. This was the Yankees’ 90th win, so
they can go 0-22 for the remainder of the season and still finish the
year a game better than last year.

Braves 2, Astros 1: Javier Vazquez had a nice game: seven
innings of shutout ball with nine Ks while smacking two hits of his
own. Otherwise the Braves offense consisted of two solo homers and a
single from Martin Prado. With this kind of onslaught, it’s a wonder
the Braves didn’t fall out of it long before they did.

Athletics 11, White Sox 3: I haven’t seen this many crooked numbers in an Oakland A’s box score since monsters like John Jaha roamed the Earth.

Royals 7, Tigers 5: Yuniesky Betancourt took a walk for the second night in a row. Next come the Tribulations and the Red Heifer.

Rockies 3, Reds 1: Eric Young Jr. hit his first home run.
Nothing makes me feel older than the fact that the son of a guy who
played for a 1990s expansion team is now hitting home runs in the
majors. Let me guess: Chuck Carr and Pat Rapp’s kids are finishing med
school this year?

Cardinals 4, Brewers 3: Fourteen pitchers were used in a 4-3
game. I’d like to think that in using so many guys Ken Macha was just
messin’ with La Russa and giving him some of his own business. Either
way, someone soon is going to get wise to the fact that walking Pujols,
intentionally or otherwise, to get to Matt Holliday — who had the game
winning dinger in the ninth with Pujols on base via a free pass —
isn’t the smartest move in the world.

Padres 4, Giants 3: Madison Bumgarner — who was born two weeks
after I got my driver’s license and thus makes me feel just as old as
Eric Young Jr. does — made his debut in place of the aching Tim
Lincecum, giving up two runs over five and a third and left the game
with the lead. That was against the Padres, though, so that translates
into seven or eight runs against a real offense. With this loss and the
Rockies’ win, the Giants fall three back in the wild card. They had
better rally soon, though, because this is the closest thing we have to
a race this year.

Dodgers 5, Diamondbacks 4: Four RBI singles in the eighth lead big blue to a comeback win. The Dbacks turned five double plays in the game.

Angels 3, Mariners 2: A nice start from Scott Kazmir went
unrewarded due to poor run support and another blown save by Brian
Fuentes, but Erick Aybar’s two out single in the 10th saved the day.
Both of Kazmir’s starts have come against Felix Hernandez. I’m guessing
he’s getting tired of that.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.