And That Happened: Monday's Scores and Highlights

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Angel Pagan homer.jpgMets 6, Cubs 1: A pitchers’ duel until the 7th when the Mets unloaded on the Cubs’ bullpen, courtesy of an Angel Pagan homer, a Jason Bay double, an Ike Davis single and a Sean Marshall wild pitch.

The Pagan at bat was hilarious. Jose Reyes was on first base, getting a few throws over, but never really looking like he was stealing, mostly because he couldn’t figure out James Russell’s move. The ESPN crew was going on and on with that totally cliched rebop about how a fast guy “changes everything” when he’s on the bases, and all of that. Pagan then golfs one out to the deep part of the park, rendering the running game rather quaint and totally moot. Any acknowledgment of this fact by the announcers? Nah. They go into that “you can credit Reyes for disrupting the pitcher” jive. Just reminds you that so much of what we hear in a baseball broadcast is received wisdom bordering on religion. Pagan just timed it perfectly and unloaded with a beautiful, powerful swing. But no, gotta talk up that non-factor of a running game because you heard someone say that one time back when Lou Brock roamed the Earth.

Oh, Ike Davis debut: 2-4 with an RBI. Just before the RBI single Sean Marshall totally buckled his knees with a couple of curveballs, suggesting exactly why Davis has a reputation of being lost against lefties. The fact he stuck in on the third pitch and got the hit suggested, however, that it’s something he’s going to be able to overcome.

Rays 8, Red Sox 2: We spoke about this one at length already, but let’s add one more nugget in the form of a Victor Martinez quote after the game: “It’s kind of weird. Nothing is going our way. Every team we play, it
keeps falling their way.” I didn’t know that V-Mart wrote emo lyrics.

Nationals 5, Rockies 2: A homer and four RBI for Willie Harris puts the Nationals over .500, and I have to ask myself: did I rank these guys too low? More importantly, did I overrate the Rockies? Smallest crowd in Nats’ history, by the way.

Blue Jays 8, Royals 1: Brandon Morrow impressed, allowing one run and three hits and striking out eight and Jose Bautista hit two homers and the Jays won in a laugher. A record low crowd for Rogers Centre, breaking the old record which was set five days previously. I guess the Royals coming to town doesn’t really compete with Hockey Night in Canada during the playoffs.

Padres 3, Giants 2: Break up the Padres. Their fourth straight win came in dramatic fashion: a David Eckstein walkoff homer in the tenth. The little guy’s homer helped bail out Heath Bell, who had blown the save in the ninth by serving up a dinger to Juan Uribe.  Oh, and Chase Headley was nearly smacked in the head with the barrel of Uribe’s bat in the fourth inning after it was splintered by a Clayton Richard pitch.

Angels 2, Tigers 0: Joel Piniero’s good night (7.1 IP, 9 H, 0 ER) overshadows Dontrelle Willis’ pretty good night (6 IP, 4H, 2 ER, 2 BB).

Cardinals 4, Diamondbacks 2: Five straight losses for Arizona. Matt Holliday was 3-5 with a homer and 2 RBI. Brad Penny threw seven strong innings. Pfun Pfact: Albert Pujols went 0 or 3 against starter Rodrigo Lopez last night and is 0 for 8
against him in his career. Lopez should retire now so he can tell his grandkids about that.

Mariners 8, Orioles 2: The M’s put up seven in the third, so they didn’t really need Doug Fister to no-hit the Orioles into the seventh inning, but he went ahead and did it anyway.  Chone Figgins on the 6’8″ Fister: “It’s good being tall.”  Oh, and this game featured the third record-low crowd of the night.

Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery could share Cubs’ rotation spot in 2017

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 01:  Mike Montgomery #38 of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 1, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).

Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.

Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.

Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.

Michael Bourn to miss four weeks with a broken finger

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 6:  Michael Bourn #1 of the Baltimore Orioles looks out of the dugout as he waits to get on deck to bat during the sixth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 6, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Orioles’ center fielder Michael Bourn is expected to be sidelined for four weeks while he rehabs a broken ring finger on his right hand, according to reports from the Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck. Bourn broke the finger while playing catch with a football after a spring training workout.

The veteran outfielder re-signed with the club earlier this week on a minor league deal and was prepared to compete for a bench role this season. He’s in line to receive a $2 million salary if he makes the major league roster and can make an additional $3.5 million in incentives based on a set number of plate appearances. Now, however, his chances of cracking the roster out of spring training look considerably diminished, as his current timetable gives him an approximate return date of March 25 if all goes well.

Bourn had an impressive, if short-lived run with the Orioles following his trade to Baltimore last August, batting .283/.358/.435 with two home runs and a .793 OPS in 55 PA. While still somewhat removed from the totals that brought him an All-Star nod with the Braves in 2012, his defensive chops should give the Orioles some depth in center once he’s healthy again.