And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Crawford Upton.jpgRays 4, Orioles 3: Opening Day comes a day late for the Rays and Orioles. And only the Rays and Orioles. Why they didn’t get to play on Monday when everyone else did is beyond me. Maybe there was a gun show or a regional numismatic convention scheduled for the Trop over the weekend and they needed Monday to staple down the turf or something.  No matter, because it was worth the wait for the Rays, as they beat up Baltimore’s new closer Mike Gonzalez, who struck out Pat Burrell and then proceeded to give up a single, a double, intentionally walked a guy and then blew the game on a two-run single by Carl Crawford. That effort ended up wasting homers by Luke Scott, Adam Jones and Matt Weiters.  Rafael Soriano gets the win for the Rays despite allowing three base runners in his only inning of work. So basically, a decidedly “meh” night for former Braves closers. UPDATE: Word is now coming in that Gene Garber came up snake eyes while trying to hit on a waitress at Hoss’s Steak and Sea in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania last night as well, tipping the scale from “meh” to “ugh.”

Yankees 6, Red Sox 4: Kind of a see-saw affair that ended with
the Yankees’ pen working how they drew it up in the offseason: shutout
ball capped off by Joba and Mariano Rivera shutting the door. Four
innings of shutout ball, though, which is probably more than Joe Girardi
had wanted with A.J. Burnett on the mound, but Burnett wasn’t exactly
efficient or effective in his five innings. The winning run came when a
Scutaro throwing error allowed Jeter to reach on what what would have been out
number three followed by a Nick Johnson walk with the bases loaded. Oh, and I’ll stop mentioning that these guys play long and boring games when they stop playing long and boring games. This one: 3:48.

Giants 3, Astros 0
: The ‘Stros do worse against Barry Zito than they did against Lincecum. Zito had help, as five Giants pitchers combined for the shutout, but Barry handled six of those innings. Jeff Keppinger may have been robbed of a home run in the sixth when a ball he hit appeared to bounce off the yellow line on top of the left field wall yet was called a double by the umpires, who conferred for a bit after the play. I imagine the conversation went something like this:

Ump 1: Anyone see that?
Ump 2: I think it hit below the line.
Ump 1: You think or you know?
Ump 2: I, um, I can’t say.
Ump 3: Man, if there were only some way we could see that again so we could get the call right.
Ump 4: Sadly, no. The means have not yet been invented. Hey: anyone want to share a carriage with me to the nickelodeon theatre after the game? I hear there’s a humdinger of a moving picture playing. Then perhaps we can get hard candy, play ukuleles in canoes, and ride bicycles with giant front wheels while twirling our mustaches and singing jaunty tunes!
Umps 1, 2 and 3:  That sounds swell!

UPDATE: As many of you have noted in the comments — and as I completely missed — the umps did review Keppinger’s hit as a boundary call, just like the rules call for. Most people think they still got the call wrong. And life goes on.  Glad I didn’t realize this before I wrote the post because then I would have been deprived of writing the whole nickelodeon/big wheel bicycle sequence, and I had a lot of fun with that.

Brewers 7, Rockies 5: An unspectacular yet useful enough Brewers debut by Randy Wolf (6 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 8K) was supported by Casey McGehee’s three-run homer in the first inning which gave the Brew Crew a lead they would not relinquish. Greg Smith (5 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 HR) isn’t anyone’s idea of a number two starter and he didn’t do anything to change anyone’s mind about it.

Twins 5, Angels 3: Starting pitcher with new contract: check (Blackburn, 6 IP, 3 R, 8 H, 4 BB, 4K).  Franchise catcher with new contract: check (Mauer, two run HR). Unexpected new closer: check (Rauch, first save with 2Ks and no baserunners).

Athletics 2, Mariners 1: Don Wakamatsu, I love you and everything, but if you keep encapsulating everything that matters in pithy little postgame quotes like this, I’ll be out of a job: “It’s really the offense. From 4-9 we were 1 for 24 and that’s the story
of this ballgame. The story comes down to not scoring runs. We scored
the one on a wild pitch and that was it.” I’ll merely add that it’s a story that he should get used to. And it won’t hold up to repeated readings like, say, Isaac Asimov’s “Nightfall.”

Padres 6, Diamondbacks 3: Chris Young’s first start since last June 14th was quite the success (6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 5K). Which had to be galling for the Diamondbacks because Brandon Webb is coming off the same surgery Young had back in August and he can’t even really throw yet.  Pfun Pfact: While Arizona’s Chris Young hit an RBI double off of Luke Gregerson, he is 0 for 16 in his career against San Diego’s
Chris Young. It’s like having an arch nemesis doppleganger, but different.

Josh Harrison wants out of Pittsburgh

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In the wake of the Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole trades, Pirates infielder Josh Harrison released a statement to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic today in which he said he’d like to be traded if the Pirates are going to rebuild over the next couple of years.

Harrison said “If indeed the team does not expect to contend this year or next, perhaps it would be better for all involved, that I also am traded,” He couched it all in is love of Pittsburgh and his desire to win in Pittsburgh, adding “I want what is best for the organization that gave me a chance to be a Big Leaguer,” but he said “I just lost two of my closest friends in the game. Cole and Cutch were not just friends, they were the best pitcher and best position player on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Now, I am the most tenured member of the Pirates, I want to win, I want to contend, I want to win championships in 2018, 2019 and beyond.”

Harrison is under team control on a very team-friendly contract that has him signed through 2018 and with the Pirates holding pretty cheap team options for 2019 and 2020. He’ll make $10 million this year and if the Pirates want to keep him they’ll owe him $10.5 million in 2019 and $11.5 million in 2020, with $1 million and $500,000 buyouts, respectively. Harrison played second, third and in the outfield in 2017 and hit .272/.339/.432 with 16 homers and 12 stolen bases.

Part of Harrison’s statement included the phrase “baseball is a business.” That is correct, and when Harrison signed his deal he had to know that the Pirates could blow things up, trade him or anything else during its term. That’s simply a risk one runs when one agrees to a deal that buys out free agency years. At the same time, it can’t be at all fun to be part of a tear-down process the likes of which is now getting underway in Pittsburgh, and it’d be hard to say any of us would feel differently than Harrison does if we were in his shoes.

All of that said, Harrison may very well get his wish. Rosenthal writes that the Mets, Yankees, and Brewers are among the teams with reported interest in Harrison. There are probably way more who would make a good offer for him given his versatility and given how often recent World Series winners have featured a player with exactly that kind of versatility (think Ben Zobrist and Marwin Gonzalez).

My guess is that he’s either going to be dealt now or at the deadline this coming season.