And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

24 Comments

Padres brown.jpgCardinals 8, Padres 3: The Padres lost, but they looked damn good
losing in those mustard and brown throwbacks.  Pujols hit a homer. It’s hard to say that a guy with a .900+
OPS is struggling, but he is, so the dinger had to feel good. Brendan Ryan had to be feeling good too, after a 4 for 4 day with a homer, an RBI and a stolen base.

Mets 3, Phillies 0: The Phillies probably need to start calling the Mets “daddy” here pretty soon, as New York shuts out the Phillies for the third straight game.  It’s the fourth time in five games the Phillies have failed to score a run. Mike Pelfrey, this time.  Only silver lining: the last time this happened to the Phillies was 1983, a year in which they won the pennant.

Reds 8, Pirates 2: As God is my witness, Charlie Morton has started and lost four or five games in the past week.  Really, every time I look at a Pirates box score Morton is the starter and he’s given up five or six runs in two or three innings. Without looking, I’m going to guess that he’s 0-18 right now with a 11.25 ERA and has infected three dozen people with swine flu.  How close am I? I’m close, aren’t I? Yeah, I knew it.

Giants 5, Nationals 4: Freddy Sanchez got spiked in the face. In. The. Face. But he stayed in the game and a hit two-run single that put the Giants in front to stay.  “Those are the situations that you want to be in as a player,” Sanchez
said after the game. “There’s nothin’ better than gettin’ your face aerated to prepare you for the big hit,” he did not add.

Rockies 8, Diamondbacks 2: Troy Tulowitzki is on a tear. A two-run homer last night makes it five dingers in the last week. He’s on an 11-game hitting streak and has raised his OPS 100 points in May. And what the heck is up with Dan Haren? Eight runs on ten hits in six and a third, raising his ERA to 5.35 on the year.

Cubs 1, Dodgers 0: Ted Lilly shuts out the Cubbies over seven. Sure, he cheated a little bit by not standing on the rubber, but when was the last time you saw a batter who didn’t have a foot out the back of the batter’s box?

Brewers 4, Astros 3I hit this up yesterday, though when I first wrote it, I said it was Chris Gomez with the single rather than Carlos Gomez.  I guess Chris Gomez was a such a fungible journeyman for so damn long that I just figured, yeah, he could be playing for the Brewers right now.  I mean, he and Terry Mulholland are probably roommates, right?

Rays 5, White Sox 1: There hasn’t been a team this happy to change its Sox in a long time.

Royals 4, Red Sox 3: Joe West was the home plate umpire. The game took 3:03.  Dice-K walked eight guys in four and two-thirds. I’m curious to see if this was a function of the return of the deliberate, nibbling Dice-K we’ve come to know and love, or if West was squeezing the Sox because he’s a big flaming jackass.

Athletics 7, Orioles 5: Brad Bergesen was cruising until the eighth, gave up a couple of singles, left the game with a 5-2 lead and — stop me if you’ve heard this one before, Orioles fans — then watched as the bullpen frittered it away.

Twins 8, Yankees 2: Jason Kubel homers twice and racks up five RBI. Javy Vazquez’s ERA goes up to 6.86. The Yankees now embark on series against Cleveland, Baltimore and Houston.

Braves 8, Marlins 3: A rain delay knocks Tim Hudson out before he can get the win. More importantly for the Braves, the rain knocked Ricky Nolasco out and allowed them to get to the Marlins bullpen.

Report: Rays having “advanced talks” with free agent reliever Tommy Hunter

Leave a comment

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported this morning that free agent reliever Tommy Hunter required core muscle repair surgery earlier this offseason. Coming off a disappointing 2015, it’s understandable why he’s still on the market, but it sounds like he has at least one significant lead.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times hears that the Rays are having “advanced talks” with Hunter as they attempt to add an experienced arm to their bullpen. Nothing is considered close and Hunter is also talking to other clubs. Meanwhile, the Rays have been in touch with veteran reliever Ryan Webb while monitoring the trade market.

Hunter posted a 2.88 ERA as a late-inning arm from 2013-2014, but he compiled a mediocre 4.18 ERA over 58 appearances last season between the Orioles and Cubs. On the bright side, his velocity has held steady and his control is still very good. Despite the down year and core muscle surgery, Topkin writes that Hunter may be holding out for a multi-year deal.

Pirates sign left-hander Cory Luebke

Cory Luebke Getty
Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Eric O'Flaherty wasn’t the only reclamation project added by the Pirates today, as the club also announced that they have signed left-hander Cory Luebke to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Luebke once looked like a solid rotation piece for the Padres, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in the majors since April 27, 2012. He’s undergone a pair of Tommy John surgeries since. Now 30 years old, he logged seven innings in the minors last season before requiring a procedure to remove loose bodies around a nerve in his forearm. The Padres cut ties with him in November after declining a $7.5 million club option for 2016.

It’s hard to count on much from Luebke at this point, but he told Adam Berry of MLB.com that he feels healthy and hopes to compete for a bullpen job in the spring.

White Sox reportedly considering Ian Desmond

Ian Desmond
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
4 Comments

Many have speculated on a potential match between the White Sox and Ian Desmond this winter, but we haven’t heard much in the way of legitimate interest. That could be changing with spring training right around the corner, as MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Chicago is among the teams considering the free agent shortstop.

After turning the page on Alexei Ramirez this offseason, the White Sox currently have Tyler Saladino in line to serve as their starting shortstop in 2016. The 26-year-old is considered a strong defender, but he batted .225/.267/.335 with four homers over 254 plate appearances as a rookie in 2015. Desmond is coming off a nightmare of a walk year and has seen his strikeout rate climb by 8.5 percent since 2012, but he possesses more offensive upside and it’s not hard to imagine a bounceback campaign while calling U.S. Cellular Field home.

Similar to fellow free agents Yovani Gallardo and Dexter Fowler, Desmond is attached to draft pick compensation after turning down a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Nationals. It’s a big reason why a potential deal with the Rays is reported to be a “long shot.” Chicago’s No. 10 overall pick in this year’s draft is protected, so they would give up their No. 28 overall pick if they sign a qualifying offer free agent like Desmond.

Pirates sign reliever Eric O’Flaherty

Eric O'Flaherty
Leave a comment

Left-hander Eric O'Flaherty has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Pirates that includes an invitation to spring training.

O’Flaherty was one of the best relievers in the league for the Braves from 2009-2013, posting a combined 1.99 ERA in 249 innings, but Tommy John elbow surgery derailed his career and he struggled for the A’s and Mets in 2015 while dealing with shoulder problems.

It’s tough to know if O’Flaherty is healthy at this point, but the 31-year-old southpaw certainly has a chance to be a nice reclamation project for the Pirates on a no-risk contract.