And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights


Trey Hillman OK.jpgRoyals 6, Indians 4: Look on the bright side, Trey: not many managers can say they went out a winner.

Marlins 2, Mets 1: Johan Santana and Josh Johnson each went seven innings allowing a single run. I’m going to assume that Fernando Nieve’s pitch in the dirt that allowed the winning run to score was a function of overuse making it impossible for him to simply throw a ball sixty feet any longer.

Padres 1, Giants 0: Work fast? Check. Change speeds? Check. Throw strikes? Check.  Mat Latos follows Ray Miller’s rules to the letter, one-hitting the Giants in a cool two hours and five minutes. He singled in the game’s only run too. Oh, and that one hit he gave up? Infield single that bounced off his glove, and they almost got the runner anyway.

Rangers 2, Athletics 1: Two balks were called on the Rangers by home plate umpire Bob Davidson. The second one was ticky tack according to Ron Washington: “That was Balkin’ Bob back there. That’s all I can tell you.”  Maybe its his rehab or something, but I like the new, 100% honest Ron Washington.  If he and Charlie Manuel got a film crew and went on a cross country tour together during which they basically just talk about stuff I’d watch that every week.

Astros 4, Cardinals 1:  Getting swept by Houston isn’t going to go on the postseason highlight reel, that’s for sure. Chris Carpenter and Carlos Lee jawed at each other after Lee popped out in the third inning. It was ostensibly about yelling or emotions or something, but I’ll be damned if I can figure it out.  All I can figure is that there was some unwritten rules violation or another involved. Really, baseball is becoming as complicated as Byzantine tax law or Bolero dancing or something these days.

Tigers 6, Yankees 0: Just about every game yesterday had “getaway day” written all over it, this one included. Sure, most of these teams did actually have flights waiting for them, but they were charters. It’s not like anyone had to play as though they were in such a hurry.

Nationals 14, Rockies 6: The Rockies bullpen is lucky they called this one after eight innings, because there is a limit to how much embarrassment anyone can take. Ryan Zimmerman hit two homers and drove in six.  That was nice and all, but they probably shouldn’t have been playing this one in the first place. The rain was just too hard, the basepaths became filled with puddles and someone could have gotten hurt.

Orioles 6, Mariners 5: King Felix handed Brandon League a 5-1 lead in the eighth inning, but
League frittered it away via a leadoff homer to Corey Patterson — Corey
Patterson?! — yes, Corey Patterson, a bunch of base runners and then a
grand slam to Luke Scott. Mike Sweeney homered, and then he threatened all of his teammates into giving him high fives in the dugout.

Oh, and in case you’re curious, I’ve lifted the ban on using the Mariners’ name because, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Larry LaRue was allowed to stand in the reporters’ scrum in the locker room after this game. Maybe Mike Sweeney is still shunning him — no quotes from him about his homer in LaRue’s story — but apparently some players have decided to get on with their lives. No reason for me not to do the same.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

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.