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
dominant.

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
Oakland.

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.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.

For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.

Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.

Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.

The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.