And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and highlights

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Red Sox 4, Angels 1: Say what you want about the guy, but Dice-K
has always done well on 89 days rest (6 IP 3 H, 0 ER). I’m not sold
yet. Even Dontrelle Willis had a good game his first time back this
year.

Blue Jays 10, Yankees 4: Fisticuffsmanship! Jorge Posada and
Jesse Carlson threw down in front of the Yankee dugout in the eighth.
Unlike most baseball fights, however, someone connected.
Girardi got popped once too. Even an umpire was taken out, with crew
chief Derryl Cousins leaving the game after the fight. Either Cousins
got a case of the vapors or else someone is going to be suspended for
about a decade for roughing up an ump. UPDATE: according to the game
story he was hit in the knee with a bottle of soda thrown from the
stands. So basically everyone was misbehaving.

Giants 10, Rockies 2: Barry Zito struck out nine and the Giants pull to two and a half back. Nervous Jim Tracy?

“Here’s the deal. Here’s our situation. It’s very simple.
It’s black and white. There’s no gray. There’s no middle area. We’ve
got an opportunity to win a game in this series, which is something
that we’re obviously striving for, and you move on and you’re 3½ ahead.
Or you lose and you’re 1½ ahead and then everything’s up for grabs. I’m
not sitting here saying to anybody that we’re trailing. We’re not going
to trail. We’ve still got a lead. But the opportunity of having a
cushion versus giving it back — that’s what tomorrow is all about.”

With quotes like that, I give it greater than even odds that that man is sitting in a broadcast studio someday.

Dodgers 5, Pirates 4: Andre Eithier gets his fourth walkoff home run of the year. He’s the first Dodger to hit 30 home runs since 2004.

Braves 6, Mets 0: The Mets had absolutely no answers for Tommy
Hanson. Couldn’t even get a man past second base on him during his
seven innings of shutout ball (his second straight start without
allowing a run). Adam LaRoche homered twice and drove in three, doing
nothing to harm his second-half-stud reputation. Too little too late
for Atlanta, but it’s nice to see them play out the schedule on a high
note.

Phillies 5, Nationals 0: After three lackluster starts, Cliff
Lee returns to being Superman (CG SHO 6 H, 9 K). Lee is an Adam LaRoche
All-Star himself, improving to 20-3 after the break over the past two
seasons.

Royals 11, Tigers 1: Good thing Detroit doesn’t have to play
Kansas City in the playoffs, because KC has their number, taking their
fifth straight from the Tigers. Magglio hit an $18 million groundout in
the fifth. Play was delayed briefly in the top of the seventh when a
shirtless fan ran onto the field. I have some nogoodnik kin up in
Detroit who don’t do much all summer besides drink beer with their
shirts off, so I’m expecting the call for help with bail any moment
now.

Orioles 10, Rays 5: After lulling the American League into a
false sense of security, Matt Weiters finally decides to strike: 3-5, 5
RBI. It begins.

Marlins 2, Cardinals 1: Wainwright pitched well, but got the
loss because Sean West and the Marlins’ bullpen pitched better.
Wainwright stays at 18 wins. Unless La Russa decides to give him extra
rest heading into the playoffs, he probably has three starts to go. I’m
going to assume at this point that if he wins 20, he’s a lock for the
Cy Young.

Reds 5, Astros 4: I’m not going to say that it’s hard to find
something interesting to talk about in a late-season, no-hope
Astros-Reds series, but here are two of the “game notes” from the game
story: “Janish became the first Reds batter with three doubles in one
game since Jorge Cantu on Sept. 21, 2007, at San Francisco” and “ESPN
college basketball announcer Dick Vitale watched the game with Reds
owner Bob Castellini.” Feel the magic.

Cubs 13, Brewers 7: The Brewers walked 12 guys and hit three
more, so this wasn’t exactly a crisp one. Carlos Zambrano kind of
melted down after four good innings. I’m sure this has absolutely nothing
to do with him being rattled at the “we’re gonna trade you” talk from
earlier in the day, because Carlos is totally composed and cool when
he’s out there and let’s no emotions intrude on the task at hand. Total
iceman.

Athletics 6, Rangers 1: That sound you hear is the Rangers’
playoff hopes being stuffed into a burlap sack and thrown into a river.
The sack’s technically still floating, but it’s about to go under any
minute now. Michael Young came back as a DH after missing two weeks,
but he pulled himself from the lineup because he tweaked the hamstring
again. It’s been a nice season for the Rangers and the future is
bright, but it’s just not happening.

Twins 5, Indians 4: The game stories still talk about the Twins
having a chance to make a run at Detroit, but then you read something
like this: “Along with Morneau, third-baseman Joe Crede is likely out
for the season with back problems, and recent call-up Justin Huber is
day to day with a strained oblique. But Gardenhire said his desire to
call up reinforcements was “squelched” by the front office.” Has the
front office thrown in the towel, or is Gardenhire asking for
unrealistic things? And why is he telling reporters about that kind of
family business? Stange.

Diamondbacks 4, Padres 2: Mark Reynolds hit what proved to be
the game winning homer in the 9th. Nick Hundley made a pretty spiffy
defensive play, acrobatically pursuing an overthrown ball into the
dugout (he went in, not the ball) and throwing out Eric Byrnes at the
plate, who was tagged out by Ardian Gonzalez, who was sliding/diving
for the throw. I’m guessing video does that play better justice than
that description did.

White Sox 6, Mariners 3: The White Sox have gone back and fourth between wins and losses for nine games. One more and they have a Dutch 200, right?

Jeremy Giambi vs. David Ortiz

jeremy-giambi
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The 2002 Red Sox won 93 games, only to finish 10 games behind the Yankees in the AL West and six back of the lone wild card. They named Theo Epstein the GM that November and allowed him to begin reshaping the team, then led by Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez.

The Red Sox didn’t make any big splashes that winter. Their biggest free agent signing was Ramiro Mendoza, who got $6.5 million for two years. They also signed Mike Timlin and Bill Mueller (who played behind Shea Hillenbrand at third initially). They traded for Todd Walker. They stole Bronson Arroyo off waivers.

What Epstein did totally overhaul was a first base-DH situation that held the team back the previous season. 2002 trade deadline pickup Cliff Floyd exited in free agency, as did disappointments Tony Clark and Jose Offerman.

Brought in was a three-headed monster of underappreciated, high-OBP, Moneyball-type players. First, the Red Sox traded Josh Hancock to the Phillies for Jeremy Giambi, who had just hit .244/.435/.538 in 156 at-bats after coming over from the A’s at midseason. He hit .272/.402/.475 in 684 at-bats total between 2001 and 2002, and he looked like he was still very much in his prime at age 28.

The day after the Giambi trade, the Twins made the move to release David Ortiz. No one pounced, though, and Ortiz remained unsigned for a month before joining the Boston on a one-year, $1.25 million contract. Ortiz, who was entering his age-27 season, hit .272/.339/.500 in 412 at-bats for the Twins in 2002.

While that was going on, the Red Sox were working to bring in Kevin Millar for first base. Millar hit .306/.366/.509 in 438 at-bats for the Marlins in 2002 and was even better the previous season, but he was a poor outfielder and third baseman and the team already had Derrek Lee at first base. So, the Marlins, rather than trade Millar for a player, sold him to Japan for some much-preferred cash. Millar, not realizing that he was a desired commodity around the league, went along with the plan. That’s when the Red Sox broke an unwritten rule and claimed Millar off waivers. It turned into a long ordeal, but the Red Sox were finally able to land Millar in February by buying him from the Marlins.

I remember at the time being most excited about the Giambi acquisition. He couldn’t play defense and he had gotten himself exiled by the A’s for some transgression the previous year, but he looked like an awesome offensive force with his terrific power and ridiculous walk rate. Ortiz was certainly worth taking the chance on, too, but I thought Giambi would be better and leave Ortiz with little to do.

Indeed, Giambi started over Ortiz on Opening Day. However, both got off to lousy starts and Giambi’s playing time quickly diminished. Giambi finished April at .125/.288/.292 in 60 plate appearances, starting only once in the final week of the month. Ortiz came in at .212/.311/.346 in 61 plate appearances.

Both players found their strokes at the beginning of May. For Giambi, though, it amounted to all of about two weeks of success. He peaked with an .828 OPS on May 16. Ortiz’s build was slower, but it lasted. He had a .942 OPS in May, a .961 OPS in June, a .987 OPS in July and a 1.097 OPS in August before plummeting all of the way to .977 in September. He finished 5th in the AL MVP balloting despite playing about half the time the first two months.

Giambi, finding himself more starved for at-bats after Ortiz heated up, landed on the DL in late June with a bad shoulder. At the time, it looked like it might have been a made-up injury to get him playing time in the minors for a spell. It wasn’t. He returned a few weeks later, but he still wasn’t right. He made his last appearance on Aug. 1, going 0-for-3 against the Orioles. He landed back on the DL and then underwent surgery to repair damage in his labrum and rotator cuff.

As it turned out, Giambi never played in the majors again. As he was trying to come back from the shoulder surgery the next spring, he developed back problems. He played in 17 minor league games with the Dodgers in 2004 and nine with the White Sox in 2005. That was it for him, and he was done at 30 years old. In early 2005, he admitted to using BALCO-provided steroids and said that he regretted it. The strength training likely played roles in both his emergence and his downfall, given the breakdown of his body.

Things worked out a little differently for Ortiz…

Ortiz through 2002 (age 26): .266/.348/.461, 108 OPS+ in 1,693 PA
Giambi through 2002 (age 27): .269/.381/.437, 114 OPS+ in 1,549 PA

Ortiz after 2002: .290/.386/.570, 148 OPS+ in 8,387 PA
Giambi after 2002: .197/.342/.354, 81 OPS+ in 156 PA

And those 2003 Red Sox? Well, they won 95 games, which was good enough for the wild card this time. Still, they lost to the Yankees in seven games in the ALCS. They were still one year away.

Jose Fernandez’s high school jersey was returned

MIAMI, FL - JULY 09:  Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Marlins Park on July 9, 2015 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Yesterday it was reported that someone stole Jose Fernandez’s high school jersey, which had been hanging in the Alsonso High School dugout in Tampa for a vigil. That was pretty vile stuff indeed.

Thankfully, however, someone’s conscience got the best of them: the jersey has been returned. School officials say that a family found a large envelope outside of the high school with the words “Jose’s jersey” written on it. They took the envelope into to the school this morning and the jersey was found inside.

Bad form taking it, whoever you are, but in most cases it’s never too late to make a better decision and fix your mistakes.