And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights


Markakis swing.jpgOrioles 4, Red Sox 3: Juan Samuel gets his first win as the O’s manager
and the O’s get their first win in ten games. Nick Markakis breaks an
0-14 slump with the game-winning RBI single in the 11th. According to
the game story, they were doing the shaving cream pie in the face thing
in the clubhouse after the game. Really Baltimore? I’m not saying we
always did it right back in the day, but if my Babe Ruth league coach
caught us celebrating like that after one win in the middle of a crap
stretch we’d be running in the outfield for the next six hours.

Brewers 4, Cardinals 3: Manny Parra strikes out ten Redbirds, including
four in one inning. He didn’t get the win, though, Zach Braddock did.
Note: “Zach Braddock” is not the secret identity of a teenage super
hero, no matter how much it sounds like it is. It’s merely the name of a
pitcher on the Milwaukee Brewers. As far as you know.  Anyway, the
point is, Braddock did not get a pie in the face as a celebration. He
got a beer shower, which is a far better way of celebrating baseball
accomplishments. Especially in a game between teams from Milwaukee and
St. Louis.

3, Diamondbacks 2
: Ubaldo shut the Dbacks down through seven, but
was obviously out of gas to start the eighth giving up a double, a
dinger and a walk before being lifted. His scoreless innings streak
ended at 33 and his ERA shoots way the hell up to 0.93, so like, I guess
he’s some kind of scrub now or something.

Angels 9, Mariners 4: Mike Napoli had four hits including a two-run homer as the Halos sweep the M’s, outscoring them 27-7 in the series. Anaheim’s fifth straight win overall. Ron Roenicke was the acting manager because Mike Scioscia was attending his daughter’s high school graduation. I think that was just a cover story, though. Because as everyone know, Roenicke went 4-0, sweeping these same Seattle Mariners, as a fill-in skipper when Scioscia was suspended for four games back in 2006. So, yeah, Roenicke is a Mariners-killer.

Astros 6, Cubs 3: After dropping five out of six, Chicago now has to fly to Pittsburgh for a makeup game tomorrow and then right on to Milwaukee for a series against the Brewers. There they go, playin’ the star again. There they go, turn the page.

Athletics 5, Twins 4: Oakland avoids the sweep behind Gio Gonzalez’ seven strong innings. Game story: It was Little League day, and “Some 275 Little Leaguers from [Dallas] Braden’s hometown of Stockton attended.”  Given that they’re from the 209, I’m guessing they’re the toughest and most tattooed bunch of 12 year-olds west of the Mississippi.

Giants 6, Pirates 5: Brian Wilson blows the save and gets the win, which is a scoring decision that would be utterly impossible if I ruled baseball. Lincecum still struggled with his control, but not as badly as his last couple of starts, walking only two this time out.

Rays 9, Rangers 5: A game that lasted over four hours and, according to Joe Maddon and the Rays who complained about it, the heat was something fierce. Seems like it’s always hot down there, no matter when you come. It’s the kind of heat that holds you like a mama holds her son. Tight when he tries to walk, even tighter if he runs.

Royals 7, Tigers 2:  Brian Bannister is great in day games and great against the Tigers, so this one was no surprise. Next up: the 1935 Yankees are going to trade for him and see if they can’t steal that pennant from Detroit. Game aside: I totally need this shirt, don’t I?  Yeah, I thought so. See honey! They don’t think $35 is too much for a t-shirt, so you should let me buy it!

Reds 5, Nationals 4: We’ll all remember where we were the first time Stephen Strasburg charted pitches in the Major Leagues. Matt Capps blew his third save in four chances.  Note: ever since Capps met my friend Megan at that charity ball last month, his ERA has gone from 0.98 to 3.62. Watch out, boys, she’ll chew you up.

White Sox 8, Indians 7: The Chisox rally from down 6-2 to salvage one against the Tribe. Mark Buehrle continues to struggle, as he needed 95 pitches just to get out of the third inning. He has struggled since the end of last year, really. The lesson here: Armando Galarraga was very lucky not to have thrown that perfect game. It’s the kiss of death, brother.

Yankees 4, Blue Jays 3: All hail Javy Vazquez. The man who was booed gave up one hit and two runs in seven innings against a team that has knocked the cover off the ball this year. That’s two outstanding starts in a row for Javy. Of course the last one was against Baltimore, so weigh that however you’d like.

Mets 7, Marlins 6: The Mets were down 5-0 in the sixth before asploding. Jeffy Francouer’s three-run bomb in the seventh tied it up and Ike Davis hitting into a double play — but plating a run all the same — drove in the game-winner. The Marlins now get Mike Stanton, by the way, and he hits ten homers a game so this losing with a mere six runs thing is officially now a thing of the past.

6, Phillies 5
: The Padres took the lead in the 10th. The
Phillies tried to rally in the bottom of the inning, with Placido
Polanco reaching on a walk. Chase Utley was up next and he singled to
center, but Tony
Gwynn Jr. nailed Polanco trying to make it to third
. Sweet play, as
the ball was softly hit and Gwynn never got a chance to plant and throw.

5, Braves 4
: The Braves took a 4-1 lead but then squandered both it
and many other opportunities to with the game. In more uplifting news,
the Dodgers made it Jose Lima tribute day, having his son throw out the
first pitch and playing video of Lima singing the National Anthem and
“God Bless America.”

Report: Barry Bonds under consideration to be the Marlins hitting coach

Barry Bonds

This shouldn’t cause any controversy, lead to a lot of people saying dumb things or provide fodder for jokes at all. Nope, none whatsoever:

In what promises to be a bombshell move, if executed, all-time great slugger Barry Bonds is under consideration to become Marlins hitting coach.

Team higherups have quietly been discussing this possibility for weeks.

That’s Jon Heyman, who reminds us that Bonds has worked with the Giants in the spring in recent years. And who, no matter what else you can say about him, was one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. Also worth remembering that despite his controversial past, that greatness came not just from physical gifts, naturally or artificially bestowed. It came from his approach, preparation and strategy at the plate. No one can teach a hitter to hit like Barry Bonds, but you’d think that hitters could be taught to try to approach an at bat the way Barry Bonds would. And who better to do it than Barry Bonds?

That is, if Bonds is willing to drop his seemingly ideal retired life in San Francisco, move to Miami and work for Jeff Loria for nine months a year. Which, eh, who knows? But the possibility of it is pretty fascinating to think about.

Yadier Molina’s new backup: Cardinals sign Brayan Pena to two-year deal

Brayan Pena Reds
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Veteran catcher Brayan Pena has agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract with the Cardinals, who’re investing much more than usual in their backup for Yadier Molina.

After bouncing around for a decade without getting even 250 plate appearances in a season Pena signed with the Reds and topped 350 plate appearances in both 2014 and 2015. His production didn’t improve any, as Pena hit .263 with five homers and a .652 OPS in 223 games as a regular.

Pena’s best skill is rarely striking out, which enables him to hit for a decent batting average, but he has very little power and swings at everything. He struggled to control the running game this season at age 33, but has a decent throw-out rate for his career.

Making a multi-year commitment to Pena suggests the Cardinals are no longer counting on Molina being the same type of workhorse behind the plate, which certainly makes sense given his age and injury history. Pena will replace Tony Cruz, who’s been Molina’s understudy since 2011 while hitting just .220 with five homers and a .572 OPS in 259 games.

While we wait for free agent signings: Andrew McCutchen stars in a one-act play

Andrew McCutchen
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It’s a pretty slow offseason so far. We’ve had a couple of minor signings. I guess Jordan Zimmermann is sort of a big deal. But it’s a lot more quiet so far this year than it was this time last year. I suppose there’s no real rhyme nor reason for it. Baseball offseason is long, there is no salary cap and thus there’s no rush to do things too quickly.

So, while we wait, here’s Andrew McCutchen doing his best to kill time until spring training starts:

Red Sox sign outfielder Chris Young

Chris Young Getty

Veteran outfielder Chris Young thrived in a platoon role for the Yankees this past season and now he’s headed to the rival Red Sox to fill a similar role, signing a multi-year deal with Boston according to Ken Rosenthal of

Young was once an everyday center fielder for the Diamondbacks, making the All-Star team in 2010 at age 26, but for the past 3-4 years he’s gotten 300-350 plate appearances in a part-time role facing mostly left-handed pitching. He hit .252 with 14 homers and a .773 OPS for the Yankees, but prior to that failed to top a .700 OPS in 2013 or 2014.

Given the Red Sox’s outfield depth–Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Brock Holt even with Hanley Ramirez back in the infield–Young is unlikely to work his way into everyday playing time at age 32, but he should get another 300 or so plate appearances while also providing a veteran fallback option. And it’s possible his arrival clears the way for a trade.