And That Happened: Wednesday's scores and highlights

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Tigers 7, Twins 2: I’ve seen a lot of “well, whaddaya expect,
Pavano sucks” comments floating around the internet since last night’s
loss, but it’s all from New York people who can’t get his time in
Gotham out of their heads. Sure, he got knocked around last night, but
before that he had owned the Tigers this season, going 4-0 with a 1.69
ERA. It wasn’t his night, no, but the outcome wasn’t preordained. Give
Detroit the credit for doing what had to be done. And it is all but
done, no? Three games back with four games to play? Sorry, Twinkies, I
think it’s over.

Marlins 5, Braves 4: Speaking of over. Sixteen freakin’ strikeouts by Ricky Nolasco. Sixteen! If only the Braves had listened to Mike Schmidt.
But they could have won! A dramatic comeback in the ninth, only to be
short-circuited by Matt Diaz’s total brain lock at third base with the
bases loaded in the ninth. Either run home or don’t go, Matt. At least
there’s dignity in being gunned down at home. Dying at third base is an
empty death.

Phillies 10, Astros 3: And now we’re talking really over.
As in the NL East race, which the Phillies have now clinched. Brade
Lidge was brought in to pitch the last out of the ninth with a seven
run lead. I’d call that “baby steps” but to do so would be an insult to
babies everywhere. This is more like it.

Rockies 10, Brewers 6: And really, given how they’re playing
(i.e. not on fire, but better than L.A., St. Louis and Philly) they
kind of have to be your NL favorites, no?

Reds 6, Cardinals 1: I’m supposed to be writing a preview of
whichever NLDS the Cards are a part of, and as I sit here right now, I
can’t picture doing it without using the word “stanky.”

Blue Jays 12, Red Sox 0: Even stankier, though to be fair, the
Sox trotted out a AA lineup the day after clinching the wild card.
Still, thank goodness Pouliot is writing the Anaheim-Boston preview,
because I wouldn’t know what to say. Let’s all tip out hats to Roy
Halladay, who probably had more annoying crap to deal with this season
than any other superstar. He plays for an imploding organization who
left him dangling in the breeze for over a month, and then when it
didn’t happen, he got to read all kinds of stuff talking about how
he’ll never be more valuable, and just wait for the decline, and all of
that. Screw that, he said, and went and shut down the Sox (CG SHO, 3
H). Again, sure, it was almost all second stringers, but dominant is

Indians 5, White Sox 1; White Sox 1, Indians 0: Eric Wedge bids
adieu to Progressive Field with the split of the doubleheader. I
basically got fired nearly a year ago, so I know from playing out the
string in October. Contrary to the gloomy game recaps, my guess is that
he rather enjoyed the day. Sure, it will weigh on him later, but once
you hear the rumors about the axe coming down, it’s something of a
relief to actually have it happen. In other news, I heard a rumor that
Shapiro had a line on a new manager. I can’t mention any names until
the deal is official, but I think it will be as soon as the candidate
gets off the other line with that guy who is interested in a set of
white walls.

Rays 5, Orioles 3: “You’re saving your really good lies for some
smarter cop, is that it? I’m just a donut in the on-deck circle. Wait
until the real guy gets here. Wait until that big guy comes back. I’m
probably just his secretary. I’m just Montel Williams. You want to talk
to Larry King. I’ve been a murder police for ten years. If
you’re going to lie to me, you lie to me with respect. What is it? Is
it my shoes? Is it my haircut? Got a problem with my haircut? Don’t you
ever lie to me like I’m Montel Williams. I am not Montel Williams. I am not Montel Williams!” In other news, I’m done thinking of new ways to describe the Orioles’ suckitude. Here on out, it’s only “Homicide” quotes.

Pirates 4, Cubs 0; Pirates 8, Cubs 2: Charlie Morton throws a
four-hit shutout in the first game. Donnie Veal got in another third of
an inning in the second. Nice job getting him some work, Russell. The
Pirates need only split their remaining four to avoid 100 losses. I’m
kind of rooting for them.

Nationals 7, Mets 4: Justin Maxwell came in as a pinch runner,
hung around for a plate appearance and hit a walkoff grand slam on
K-Rod’s 37th pitch of the game. Jerry Manuel after the game: “We’re
just not a good team right now.” You don’t say, doc?

Royals 4, Yankees 3: Derek Jeter led off the first with a homer,
which I’m pretty sure makes him a felon or a fraud or a war criminal of
some kind. Joba Chamberlain was booed off the field following 3+
lackluster innings. He’s 0-4 with 8.42 ERA in his last eight starts,
and at this point I don’t see the Yankees putting much if any trust in
him in the postseason. I think he was jerked around a bit in the second
half, but really, at some point you gotta pitch regardless of how the
bosses are doin’ you.

Padres 5, Dodgers 0: Clayton Richard tosses a one-hitter over
seven and then the bullpen closes the door. Torre: “We certainly don’t
want to finish the season on a bum note because momentum-wise it
doesn’t help you in the postseason.” Sorry Joe, the bum note has
already been played. All that’s left to determine is how long you all
sustain it. Pirates and Padres. Wow.

Angels 5, Rangers 0: One-hitters were apparently all the rage
out west last night. In this one, it was Matt Palmer and four other
relievers who did the trick. And it was a leadoff single in the first
inning! And Palmer was basically just a spot starter, taking Weaver’s
place so that the Angels could set up the playoff rotation.

Mariners 7, Athletics 0: OK, so maybe 629 was Griffey’s
last homer. Although at this rate he may convince someone to give him a
job next year. Oh, and Brandon Morrow gave up one hit over eight
innings. There’s a lot of talk in the game story about how this helps
the Mariners figure out the rotation next year because, boy howdy, how
great is it to have a second strong starter after Hernandez. That talk,
however, doesn’t really acknowledge that one start does not a strong
starter make, especially when it comes on September 30th against

Giants 4, Diamondbacks 1: The Giants are now officially
eliminated. Brad Penny threw a complete game. Based on how he looked in
the middle of the season in Boston — sweaty and tired mostly — I
would have bet the lives of my children that he wouldn’t make it past a
seventh inning for the rest of his days. Throw him in with Zambrano as
a guy who either (a) needs to improve his conditioning; or (b) always,
always always pitch in 62 degree weather. Brad: have your agent call
Mr. Sabean and get a deal done right now.

Orioles interested in Denard Span

Denard Span
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.

Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.

The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.

Blue Jays showing interest in Ryan Madson

Ryan Madson
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.

Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.

Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.

After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.

Trevor Cahill considering the Pirates as a potential destination

Trevor Cahill
AP Photo/Paul Beaty

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.

It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.

Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.

Blue Jays narrow GM search to two candidates: Tony LaCava and Ross Atkins

Tony LaCava
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.

LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.

Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.