And That Happened: Monday's Scores and Highlights

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Phillies 3, Braves 1: I was momentarily angry when Derek Lowe gave up the homer to Greg Dobbs in the sixth, but then I acknowledged to myself that it didn’t matter. Lowe wasn’t likely to pitch a shutout anyway, and with Roy Halladay dealing like he was dealing, that’s what would have been required. So I said “screw it,” poured myself a drink and enjoyed watching arguably the best pitcher in baseball carve my dudes up. It’s far more enjoyable, truth be told, to see someone like Halladay do it than to have some tomato can shut you down. Halladay only needed 93 pitches to throw the complete game for cryin’ out loud. Game was over fast enough for me to read a couple of chapters in this pretty spiffy book I just got before I moved on to the box scores. Hey, I want to win, but if you have to lose, that’s the way to do it.

Reds 8, Mets 6: Also, if your team has to lose, best that they do it on a night when their closest competitors lose too. The one got wild in the fifth with the teams combining to score 11 runs off of starters who just lost it. Jerry Manuel got ejected when a bases loaded strikeout of Scott Rolen was overruled and changed to a HBP, bringing in what was then the go-ahead run.  For what it’s worth I think it was the right call — the ball looked like it hit Rolen — but calls are overturned so rarely that you can see why Manuel got hot.  Oddest thing: this may have been a cross-league makeup call by the umpiring crew.  Same four dudes had a similar play in the Yankees-Blue Jays game on Sunday, but the umps refused to call it a HBP.  Oh, and two homers for Joey Votto. Now that he came up big against New York, maybe Colin Cowherd will finally figure out who he is.

Tigers 12, Orioles 9: I hit this one up yesterday afternoon.  Kevin Millwood might not be able to get traded for a Donruss Duke Snider Diamond Kings puzzle and a pack of those K-Mart MVP cards from the mid-80s right now.

White Sox 9, Angels 2: Two homers for Carlos Quentin, and seven strong innings from Gavin Floyd.  Whatever happened to Scott Kazmir anyway (6.1 IP, 6 H, 7 ER)?

Cubs 9, Diamondbacks 4: Tom Gorzelanny somehow survived walking six guys in five innings. If he makes a habit of that we’ll start calling him Teflon Tom (no we won’t). I think the Diamondbacks had early dinner reservations or something, because they struck out eight times in the final three and a third innings.

Rays 6, Red Sox 5: Daisuke Matsuzaka and Boston blew a 5-1 lead.  Seriously: how can anyone watch Matsuzaka pitch? The guy walked four, gave up eight hits and threw 112 pitches in five innings. It’s bad enough when he wins, but when he’s frittering a game away like that he’s an affront to all that is good and decent in the world.  Terry Francona must like it though. I mean, he had ample opportunity to yank him before the Rays actually came all the way back, but didn’t.

Giants 6, Brewers 1: Bases loaded, game tied at 1 in the seventh inning, one out. Freddy Sanchez grounder to Alcides Escobar looks to be a double play ball — but no — Escobar drops it, everyone’s safe and the floodgates open four four runs, effectively ending the game.  Hey, at least the postgame tailgating at Miller Park is fun and takes the edge off and everything, right?

Royals 6, Mariners 4: King Felix left with a 4-2 lead but the bullpen couldn’t hold on to it when he left after the seventh. Yuniesky Bentancourt hit the go-ahead single in the 10th.

Yankees 3, Athletics 1: Javy Vazquez gave up on run over seven innings. Most interesting stat of the game, however: It was just 58 degrees at first pitch. It’s one of the few times that New Yorkers trying to make it through this sweltering week will ever be envious of people who live in Oakland.

Marlins 6, Dodgers 5: John Ely gave up six runs and nine hits in less than three innings and has now lost four of his last five starts for the Dodgers. Wait, that’s a strange way to put it. It’s not like he’s had starts for other teams during that time.

Indians 9, Rangers 3: Matt LaPorta hit yet another homer for Cleveland — his fifth since his callup. That’s good. Not so good: he was smacked in the back of the head with Elvis Andrus’ elbow during a play at first base and was knocked out of the game. He was taken to the hospital for a CT scan and, according to Manny Acta, he threw up a bit after coming out of the game.  It was a bruising game all around for Cleveland, as Austin Kearns was plunked three times too.

Bryce Harper will not be discussing his impending free agency with the media

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Bryce Harper is entering his walk year and it is widely expected that the Scott Boras client will, indeed, test out free agency next fall rather than engage in any substantial way with the Washington Nationals about a contract extension. There were some “casual conversations” between the parties in the early fall of 2017, but the Nats came away from that, quite reasonably, believing that Harper, who stands to land the largest contract in baseball history, will shop around.

For his part, Harper met the media on his first day of spring training workouts and let everyone know that, no, he does not plan to answer questions about his potential free agency every day between now and November. From MASN:

“Just want to let you guys know I will not be discussing anything relative to 2019, at all,” said Harper. “I’m focused on this year. I’m focused on winning and playing hard, like every single year. So if you guys have any questions about anything after 2018, you can call Scott and he can answer you guys.”

Makes sense. The alternative would be for Harper to give the same canned “I’m only focused on our next game” responses in front of his locker 150 times this summer, and that doesn’t serve anyone.

Thinking back to any other impending free agent’s comments about his free agency, I can’t remember a story along those lines which was worth much of anything. The genre generally consists of headlines which oversell an innocuous or offhand comment from a player as a means of guessing where his head is at with respect to his current team. I can’t think of any story in which a player, during his walk year, said something that concretely and definitively signaled his intensions in free agency one way or the other.

Reporters covering the Nationals who are curious as to how Harper feels about his current team at any given time would be better served just observing and inferring, with particular attention paid to how Harper and his teammates view the Nats’ competitive position as the season goes on, how they react to trades and stuff like that. There’s a lot of guesswork in all of that, but it sure beats trying to get a media savvy player like Harper to admit, after going 1-for-4 against the Phillies, where he plans to spend the next seven to ten years of his professional life.