And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

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Andre Ethier Slam.jpgDodgers 7, Brewers 3:  Walkoff slam for Andre Ethier! Jonathan Broxton had blown a two-run lead in the top of the ninth, but Either untied it with authority to end it. It was Ethier’s second game-ending hit of the season and 11th since the
start of 2008. Video here.

Rangers 13, Royals 12: Texas jumped out to an eight run lead, blew it, and then hit back-to-back homers off Joakim Soria to come from behind. Note to the Rangers: there are no adjustments given for degree-of-difficulty. Just win the friggin’ ballgame the easy way next time, OK? In other news, make sure you have emergency provisions, your bible, your gun and head into your panic room, because the end is nigh: Yuniesky Betancourt walked twice.

Nationals 3, Braves 2: Scott Olson takes a no-hitter into the eighth, only to have it broken up by singles from David Ross and Nate McLouth. Then, 17 personnel changes of questionable wisdom later, Tyler Clippard gave up a two-run, pinch hit single to Jason Heyward — Jason Heyward? — yes, Jason Heyward.  All seemed lost for the Nats as the Braves loaded up the bases with one out in the ninth but this time Ross grounded into a double play. The Nats scored the winning run on a walk, a double, a walk and a single.  On some level it’s just easier to lose 5-1.

Phillies 7, Cardinals 2: I talked about Halladay’s day here, so I’ll leave that alone.  Here’s something to chew on: the Cardinals have looked absolutely lost in series against the Phillies and the Giants who — nothin’ personal San Diego Padres — look like a couple of teams St. Louis might face in the playoffs.

Pirates 11, Cubs 1:  The Cubs had a bit of momentum and the Pirates dead ahead, so you figured things would keep looking up. Then Pittsburgh sweeps ’em. And what’s this? The Pirates actually win a blowout?  Must be the result of the Pirates’ “two-hour pregame meeting with a communications coach designed to build
their social skills and boost their image” reported in the game story. Word on the street is that they learned during the meeting that losing is a disease. As contagious as polio.

Giants 6, Marlins 3: Matt Cain had a no-hitter through six and pitched into the eighth. After him it took four relievers to get the final six outs, but really this one wasn’t close. San Francisco is in first place all by its lonesome now.

Diamondbacks 6, Astros 3: There goes Houston’s 1-game winning streak. Kelly Johnson hit his 10th home run which is further proof that the universe is random and lawless and that anything can happen.

Orioles 2, Twins 0: I’d like to think that the Orioles pitchers are getting a secret kick out of Andy MacPhail publicly criticize all the hitters, what with all of that “the hitting should be fine but the pitching will be a question mark” jazz from the spring.

Blue Jays 2, White Sox 0: The Jays’ fifth straight victory. If you weight the wins to account for the fact that three of them came against Cleveland, however, it comes out to 2.2 victories. Dana Eveland — who I continue to maintain is really the name of a second-tier actress from the old studio system days — three seven shutout innings, allowing only two hits.

Red Sox 11, Angels 6: Dear God, the Angels are playing some craptacular baseball lately. Scott Kazmir was terrible and his relief was not much better. Daisuke Matsuzaka walked three and allowed four runs in the
first inning, but after that he settled down. Victor Martinez homered and drove in four.  That’s, like, a gabillion straight losses for the Angels.

Rays 8, Mariners 0: I don’t outsource my recaps very often, but in this case I’ll make an exception. Here’s Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner on last night’s game (“Hyphen” is M’s starter Ryan Rowland-Smith]: “You don’t need a recap of that. Hyphen sucked, the offense sucked, the
defense sucked, Snell sucked, and the weather sucked. So, why should
the recap be any different? They get the recap they deserve. When they
play like a major league team, they’ll get written up like one. Until
then, they get this.”  But seriously, Dave: don’t hold back. Tell us how you really feel.

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.

Rockies sign 30-year lease to stay in Coors Field

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Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies agreed to a $200 million, 30-year lease with the Metropolitan Baseball Stadium District, which is the state division that owns Coors Field. As part of the deal, the Rockies will lease and develop a plot of land south of the stadium, which will cost the team $125 million for 99 years.

As Groke points out, had the Rockies not reached a deal by Thursday, March 30, the lease would have rolled over for five more years.

Rockies owner Dick Monfort issued a statement, saying, “We are proud that Coors Field will continue to be a vital part of a vibrant city, drawing fans from near and far and making our Colorado residents proud.”

The Rockies moved into Coors Field in 1995. It is the National League’s third oldest stadium. In that span of time, the Rockies have made the playoffs three times, the last coming in 2009 when they lost in the NLDS to the Phillies. The Rockies were swept in the 2007 World Series by the Red Sox.