And That Happened: Sunday's scores and highlights

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Phillies 5, Mets 4; Phillies 1, Mets 0: The Phillies win the
second one behind eight shutout innings from Pedro Martinez. Next up:
Tom Glavine comes out of retirement on Tuesday and throws a three
hitter at the Mets, getting run support from Mo Vaughn, who hits for
the cycle, while Vince Coleman coaches third base and Bobby Bonilla
coaches first.

Red Sox 3, Rays 1; Red Sox 4, Rays 0: The Rays drop their 10th
and 11th straight. This is the most unexpected losing streak since
Eddie Murphy went on his 19-movie skid following “Coming to America.”
If we try to match these up, the first game of the doubleheader was the
equivalent of “Holy Man” and the second was “Life.” In the former,
we’ll credit Matt Garza as Robert Loggia, for putting in a quality
performance in what was otherwise a lost cause. In the latter, we’ll
credit Willy Aybar as Martin Lawrence for his 0-4, 3K showing, which
made a stink bomb even more unbearable. And for those of you playing at
home, (a) I’m not counting Murphy’s voice roles or that weird Michael
Jackson music video compilation; and (b) I’m counting his supporting
role in “Dreamgirls” as the streak breaker. I think he was a bit
overrated for that, but if I didn’t count it, we’d be up in the 30s.

Giants 7, Dodgers 2: It’s odd to say it, but this week’s series
with Colorado is bigger than this past weekend’s series against the
Dodgers. The Giants salvage one to pull within four and a half of the
Rockies for the Wild Card.

Padres 7, Rockies 3: After all three of them dropped two of
three to San Diego in consecutive series, as far as the Dodgers,
Rockies and Giants are concerned, the Padres are just a fly in the
ointment. The monkey in the wrench. The pain in the ass, Hans.
Yippee-ki-yay.

Angels 3, White Sox 2: Torii Hunter hit a tie breaking homer off
of Buehrle in the seventh. Hunter said that as the pitch came in, he
was looking changeup because that’s what Buehrle threw him in the same
situation earlier in the game, but that for some reason his hands
reacted to the cutter that he actually received. “My mind said
something else, but my hands said, ‘No,'” Hunter said. Hunter’s alien hand syndrome bears watching going forward. Will it turn horrific like it did for Michael Caine in “The Hand,”
or it will it merely be funny like it was for Peter Sellers in “Dr.
Strangelove?” In other news, my Dad told me that spending every single
weekend between 1988 and 1991 renting awful, awful horror movies like
“The Hand” was a colossal waste of time. It may have taken 20 years,
but it’s starting to pay off, baby. Next up: I try to find some way to
slip in a reference to “April Fool’s Day.”

Twins 8, Athletics 0: Brian Duensing wins the battle of rookie
lefthanders over Gio Gonzalez. “Gio just didn’t have command of his
pitches today,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “It seems when he missed he
walked guys, and then he’d come in and it would hit the fat part of the
plate.” With the exception of a brief stretch in early August this
could describe any Gio Gonzalez start this year.

Braves 9, Cardinals 2: Please explain to me how you get your
lunch handed to you by the Reds a week ago and then turn around and
sweep the Cardinals in their own ballpark? The Braves hung seven on
Chris Carpenter. I’d like to think that this was a gift on their part
to former Braves’ farmhand Adam Wainwright in his effort to win the Cy
Young Award.

Yankees 13, Orioles 3: CC Sabathia didn’t have his best stuff,
but with his teammates scoring 13 runs on 20 hits, he could have had
Gio Gonzalez’s stuff and still notched the win. The Yankees’ favorite
umpire — Marty “he didn’t have to tag you since the ball beat you”
Foster — ran A-Rod with seemingly no warning and then ran Girardi
after he bolted out of the dugout to argue the A-Rod ejection. Johnny
Damon almost threw a ball into the stands with two outs because he
thought there were three, and his brain lock allowed a run to score.
But again, you score 13 on 20, and none of that garbage really matters.



Pirates 2, Astros 1: Matt Capps got mad because he thought Miguel Tejada and Astros’ first base coach Jose Cruz were stealing signs. Apparently Capps hasn’t read Tejada’s press clippings.
He gives signs, he doesn’t steal them. Tejada, who popped out to end
the at bat, said “I just made an out. That is the first time I have
ever seen a guy mad, yelling at a guy for getting out.” I guess Tejada
didn’t see Game 2 of the 2000 World Series.

Royals 7, Indians 0: The Indians have lost 10 of their last 13,
and have looked really, really bad in most of those games. Carlos
Carrasco gave up five runs on eight hits in six innings, but to read the quotes from Eric Wedge in this game story,
you’d think he pitched a three hit shutout. I can only assume that
Wedge is visiting some self-help/life affirmation guru who has
counseled him to say five nice things a day in order to maintain a
“penumbra of positivity” or to keep his Lifeline oriented more towards
“love” instead of “fear” or some such nonsense.

Tigers 7, Blue Jays 2: Rick Porcello: twenty year-old stopper.
Deep thought: when the Tigers clinch the division, will Porcello be
cited for underage drinking if he partakes in the champagne shower?
Will anyone in Tigers’ management be arrested for contributing to the
delinquency of a minor?

Brewers 5, Diamondbacks 3: Prince Fielder ties Cecil Cooper’s
single season team RBI record at 126 and the Brewers sweep the series.
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is one of my favorite
beat writers, and one of the reasons is that he live blogs every game.
There’s always something interesting in there too. Little stuff that
never makes the game story and which doesn’t matter in the grand
scheme, but that you’d like to know anyway. Yesterday he had this from the Brewers’ half of the seventh inning: “Braun fouls out to left. The ball was only a foot or so foul and Braun didn’t run. Interesting.”

Cubs 5, Reds 2: With this loss the Reds were officially
eliminated from the NL Central race so, you know, I suppose they can
stop trying now. Nice gesture: the Dayton Daily News’ Hal McCoy —
another excellent beat guy — is being forced into retirement after the
season after 27 years covering the Reds. In his honor, the Cubs gave
him a scoreboard panel with a “37” on it after the game. They would
have given it to him on Friday, but since the Reds and their pitching
staff were in town, they wanted to hold back the 37 just in case they
needed it.

Rangers 7, Mariners 2; Mariners 5, Rangers 0: Not going anywhere
for a while? These guys were already playing a doubleheader because of
Friday’s rain out, and then the first one was delayed four and a half
damn hours. Tommy Hunter threw a six hit complete game in the first
which is totally what you want to see in a twin bill. Didn’t carry
over, though, as Texas had no answers to Felix Hernandez (7 IP, 4 H, 0
ER). Ichiro’s hit in the nightcap was his 200th. He does that an awful lot.

Nationals 7, Marlins 2: Another rainy game, this one was called
in the bottom of the ninth following a second lengthy delay. Of course,
if this game was worth a pair of fetid dingo’s kidneys to the playoff
races they probably would have waited it out. Cody Ross: “Tough series
for us. Definitely not what we wanted. When you’re losing the whole
time it just makes it miserable. The steady rain just compounds that
terrible feeling you have inside.” Cody, it’s OK. Have a good cry and
then give Eric Wedge a call. You’ll be smiling in no time.

Report: Koji Uehara close to signing with the Cubs

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 10:  Koji Uehara #19 of the Boston Red Sox pitches in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians during game three of the American League Divison Series at Fenway Park on October 10, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
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Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports, citing a source as well as Nikkan Sports, that reliever Koji Uehara is close to signing a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Cubs.

Uehara, 41, finished the 2016 season with a 3.45 ERA and a 63/11 K/BB ratio over 47 innings. He missed some time in the second half with a strained right pectoral muscle. When Uehara returned from the disabled list on September 7, he tossed 11 scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts and two walks through the end of the regular season. So there’s at least some evidence, albeit in a very small sample size, that Uehara has stuff left in the tank.

The Cubs recently acquired closer Wade Davis from the Royals. Uehara would join Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Carl Edwards, Jr., Justin Grimm, and Mike Montgomery in what is once again a very deep bullpen.

MLB implements another player-unfriendly rule, this time targeting draftees

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 28:  MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred speaks to the media before Game Three of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Jon Morosi of MLB Network and FOX Sports reports that the MLB draft has a new program in which the top-50 pitching prospects are asked to undergo a voluntary pre-draft MRI on their throwing arm. At first glance, it seems reasonable because, hey, pitchers are injury-prone and players sometimes hide injuries. It would feel bad if my favorite team drafted a lemon!

The reality is that this is just another player-unfriendly rule that shifts financial risk away from the owners and onto the players. The players, in this case, are often not wealthy and are about to begin life in the minor leagues where they earn less than $8,000 per year. Signing bonuses help alleviate some of the immediate financial discomfort of minor league life.

The pre-draft MRI is “voluntary” with quotes around it. Choosing not to undergo the MRI will only give prospective teams more reason to be skeptical of one’s durability. It’s a lot like those voluntary workouts in football that aren’t so voluntary due to superior and peer pressure. You don’t show up, you’re lazy, entitled, a bad teammate, etc. In this case, a pitching prospect refuses to undergo the MRI, it’s because he’s hiding an injury.

Ian Anderson was the first pitcher taken off the board in the 2016 draft, going to the Braves at No. 3. He got a $4 million signing bonus. Let’s say this new MRI program had already been instituted and Anderson refused, or something came up that caused the Braves to change their minds. Anderson’s draft stock falls, let’s say to 21 where the Blue Jays took T.J. Zeuch with a $2.175 million signing bonus. Falling 18 spots in this case costs Anderson about $2 million, perhaps more because he loses a lot of negotiating leverage. Maybe he falls further, even to the second round.

In a column for FanGraphs nearly two years ago, Nathaniel Grow showed that, as a percentage of total league revenues, player salaries have been declining since the early 2000’s. In 2002, player salaries made up 56 percent of league revenues. In 2014, it was only 38 percent.

In isolation, the MRI program isn’t a big deal. The injured player loses stock, but another player moves up to take his place and earns a bit more money. As part of the bigger picture, however, this is part of an ongoing trend in which owners abdicate financial risk and push it all onto the players. The new collective bargaining agreement, for example, capped international signings at $5-6 million per team per year. That removes any incentive for overseas stars like Shohei Otani from coming over to play Major League Baseball. If he wanted to anyway, he would make much less money than he otherwise would on an open market. The amateur draft itself is almost entirely risk-avoidant for owners and it’s terrible for the players because they, too, would earn much more on an open market. And let’s not forget how owners have fought tooth-and-nail to keep minor league salaries suppressed.

Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick once paid $2.8 million for the Honus Wagner T-206 baseball card. Let’s not act like these owners can’t afford to shoulder the risk on young pitchers.

EDIT (4:40 PM EST): As I’ve seen others mention it, it’s worth bringing up the Astros/Brady Aiken issue. The Astros took him first in the 2014 draft, but they took issue with his elbow health. The two sides had agreed to a $6.5 million signing bonus, but the Astros wanted to reduce it to $5 million as a result. Aiken didn’t end up signing with the Astros. He underwent Tommy John surgery and was later selected by the Indians 17th overall in the first round of the 2015 draft. He got a $2,513,280 signing bonus.