And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights


Francisco Liriano pitch.jpgTwins 2, Tigers 0: Francisco Liriano dominates again. Jon Rauch gets his seventh save in eight chances. Jim Thome, Jason Kubel and Delmon Young all get in the game and provide some production. As long as it doesn’t snow during the Twins’ next homestand, I think we’ll be able to say that all of the uncertainties facing the Twins heading into this season have been sorted out.

Pirates 7, Brewers 3: The only sad thing for Pirates fans here is that the Buccos didn’t channel the ol’ ball coach and hang half a hundred on ’em in retaliation for the last week’s worth of butt-kicking. The sad thing for the Brewers — and the rest of us who appreciate greatness — is that Trevor Hoffman looks like he has a giant fork sticking out of his back. The two homers allowed was bad enough, but the scary part is that he only threw two changeups in the entire ninth inning. That’s like Batman hanging from a rope ladder over the ocean without his shark repellent.

Cardinals 5, Braves 4: Nothing is going right for Atlanta. The scariest
part: after the game Bobby Cox got on
Heyward’s case
for taking too many pitches. Because what you really
want is a young kid with plate patience to be scared into swinging at
everything by his living legend manager who won’t be around next year
when his approach is all messed up. Or maybe I’m just overreacting
because the Braves will never win another baseball game ever again in my natural lifetime.

Mariners 3, Royals 2: Zack Greinke pitches seven shutout innings and hands it over to the pen, which promptly blows it. I just did a little legal research on the subject, and I’ll be damned if it isn’t now Missouri law that Greinke can kill relief pitchers without facing any legal liability whatsoever.

Mets 4, Dodgers 0, Mets 10, Dodgers 5: Game one features six innings of shutout ball from Johan Santana, three more from the pen and the first homer of the season for Jason Bay. Game two featured the Mets’ bullpen and bats saving Oliver Perez from himself and extending the team’s win streak to six. The late Phillies game (see below) put the Mets in first place. That’s right kids: the New York Mets are in first place in the National League East.

12, Diamondbacks 1
: Ubaldo Jiminez’s and Edwin Jackson’s
ERA-trajectories could be used to demonstrate Newton’s Law of Balanced
Force, with all of us remaining perfectly stable as they simultaneously
race towards the infinitely small and infinitely large.

6, Astros 2
: Aaron Harang — previously dead — is reanimated. He
and Dusty Baker go on a theater tour singing “Putting on the Ritz,”
complete with top hats and tails, until it ends in disaster when a
defective stage light frightens Harang into a rampage.  Why no, I didn’t
watch any of this game. Why do you ask?

3, Cubs 1
: After giving up one run in seven innings Livan
Hernandez’s ERA rises to 0.87. Given that the statute of
limitations has pretty much run over that whole 1997 NLCS fiasco, I’m
officially rooting for Hernandez to beat out Tim Lincecum and Roy
Halladay for the Cy Young Award because such a thing would be glorious
in its randomness and because my personal motto is “viva chaos.”

Sox 2, Blue Jays 1
: The bullpens get a rest as Clay Buchholz and
Shaun Marcum each work into the eighth inning. A bases loaded walk to
Mike Lowell — who was pinch-hitting for Big Papi — provided the game
winning RBI. Except we don’t keep track of those anymore.

5, Yankees 4
: And the Bombers have suddenly lost four of five. 0-5s
for Jeter, Gardner and A-Rod. Granderson is now 0 for his last 17. New
York threatened in the ninth, scoring a couple and loading the bases up
for A-Rod, but he grounded to second. I
blame Obama
. Or Dave Robertson. Either way, really.

4, White Sox 2
: Matt Treanor alone put the Rangers out in front 3-0
with a homer and a two-run double, and that proved to be enough. I’ll
admit, I was pretty dubious about the C.J. Wilson-as-starter thing when
they announced it, but it’s working out just fine (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER).

Rays 8, Athletics 6: An appearance from the bad Ben Sheets (4 IP, 9 H, 8 ER) and a three-run homer from Pat Burrell lead the Rays to their 12th win in 14 games. Still, no one showed up for this one, putting lie to the notion that people will start showing up when the Rays win.

Padres 4, Marlins 1: Both of these teams play in near-tropical climes, so this is probably as good a place as any to register my dissatisfaction at the fact that “Lost” was a rerun last night. Anyway, Jon Garland struck out ten Feesh in six innings and all of the Padres runs came in on singles, which is something I find highly annoying when it happens against my team.

Indians 9, Angels 2: I’m not sure I have room in the reality centers of my brain to accommodate Austin Kearns being good, but he’s been on a tear lately. Last night: 3-6, 2 2B, HR, 5 RBI.

Giants 6, Phillies 2: Homers from Matt Downs and Aubrey Huff, good pitching from Todd Wellemeyer and some nice defense all contribute to yet another Giants win. Oh, and in the second inning Ryan Howard dogged it to second base on what he thought would be a double and was thrown out. Jayson Stark says it’s OK, though, because Babe Ruth did that all the time.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.