And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and highlights

Leave a comment

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.

Cubs, Jake Arrieta avoid arbitration at $10.7 million

Jake Arrieta
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
1 Comment

The Associated Press is reporting that the Cubs and starter Jake Arrieta have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $10.7 million salary for the 2016 season. That marks the highest salary on a one-year deal for a pitcher with four years of service, the AP notes. Arrieta and the Cubs were set to go before an independent arbitrator but now can simply focus on the season ahead.

Arrieta, 29, is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He had filed for $13 million while the Cubs countered at $7.5 million. The $5.5 million gap was the largest among players who did not come to terms with their respective teams by the January deadline. The $10.7 million salary is $450,000 above the midpoint between the two submitted figures.

Arrieta won the National League Cy Young Award for his performance this past season, narrowly edging out Zack Greinke, then with the Dodgers. Arrieta led the majors with 22 wins, four complete games, and three shutouts. With that, he compiled a 1.77 ERA and a 236/48 K/BB ratio across 229 innings.

Once a top prospect in the Orioles’ minor league system, Arrieta struggled in the majors but found immediate success with the Cubs in 2013 after the O’s traded him along with Pedro Strop in exchange for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.

Giants sign Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal

Los Angeles Angels third baseman Conor Gillaspie is unable to hold on to the ball after catching a grounder hit by Kansas City Royals' Lorenzo Cain in the fourth inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
AP Photo/Colin E. Braley
Leave a comment

Per Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, the Giants have signed infielder Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal. Gillaspie was selected by the Giants in the supplemental round of the 2008 draft, then was traded to the White Sox in February 2013.

Gillaspie, 28, hit a meager .228/.269/.359 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 253 plate appearances between the White Sox and Angels during the 2015 season. Almost all of his playing time has come at third base but he can also play first base if needed.

The Giants, thin on depth, will allow Gillaspie to audition in spring training for a spot on the 25-man roster.

Joe Nathan plans to pitch in 2016

Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joe Nathan throws against the Chicago White Sox in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Detroit Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
2 Comments

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that free agent reliever Joe Nathan, recovering from Tommy John surgery, plans to pitch in 2016 according to his agent Dave Pepe. According to Pepe, Nathan’s workouts are “going well” and the right-hander is “definitely planning on playing this year.”

Nathan, 41, got the final out on Opening Day (April 6) against the Twins before going on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right elbow, causing him to miss the next 161 games. He will likely be able to contribute out of the bullpen in late May or early June if he has no setbacks. On a minor league deal or incentive-laden major league deal, Nathan could make for a low-risk gamble.

Over a 15-season career that dates back to 1999 (he did not pitch in the majors in 2001 or 2010), Nathan has 377 saves with a 2.89 ERA and a 967/340 K/BB ratio over 917 innings.

The Rays are considering reliever Tyler Clippard

New York Mets pitcher Tyler Clippard throws during the eighth inning of Game 4 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
Leave a comment

On Thursday, we learned that the Diamondbacks were still considering free agent reliever Tyler Clippard. You can add the Rays to the list as well, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

The Rays traded lefty reliever Jake McGee to the Rockies in exchange for outfielder Corey Dickerson in late January, so Clippard would be able to slot right in behind closer Brad Boxberger. Clippard, 30, compiled a 2.92 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 31 walks over 71 innings in a season split between the Athletics and Mets. The strikeout rate was at its lowest since the right-hander become a full-time reliever in 2009, and his walk rate was at its highest since 2010, which may be a factor in his still being a free agent in February.