And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Giants 15, Brewers 2: Observations regarding this bloodbath: (1) Brian Sabean spent the first month of the season talking about how Buster Posey wasn’t ready for the bigs yet. Yeah: 4 for 4, 2 HR, 6 RBI; (2) Lost in the carnage is the fact that Tim Lincecum pitched a whale of a game: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 10K; (3) As has become habit, I spent a third of my latest HBT Extra segment slamming something (i.e. the Giants’ lack of offense), only to have those criticisms contradicted by pesky fact in short order; and (4) it’s sad to see Trevor Hoffman used as a mopup man.

Reds 3, Mets 1: Bronson Arroyo — or, as I shall henceforth call him, Captain America — shuts down the Mets over eight innings. Brandon Phillips had a homer and an RBI double and flashed some nice leather for the Redlegs. He also was interviewed by NBC’s own Tiffany Simons the other day. In recent weeks she’s interviewed Evan Longoria, Jose Reyes, Kevin Youkilis and now Phillips. They all had really excellent games within 24 hours of the interview going down. Coincidence? Before you answer, know that she interviews me every week and I keep shuffling through life as though someone has cauterized my synapses and wrapped my hands in thick bandages, so maybe her powers only work on mega-athletes.

Marlins 4, Dodgers 0: Josh Johnson was, once again, spectacular, shutting out the Dodgers over eight innings and striking out eight. His ERA, by the way, is 1.70 — way lower than Ubaldo Jimenez’s — but he’s getting about a fraction of the press Jimenez continues to get.

Tigers 4, Orioles 2: You’re saving your really good lies for some smarter cop, is that it?
I’m just a donut in the on-deck circle. Wait until the real guy gets
here. Wait until that big guy comes back. I’m probably just his
secretary. I’m just Montel Williams. You want to talk to Larry King.
I’ve been in murder police for ten years. If you’re going to lie to me,
you lie to me with respect. What is it? Is it my shoes? Is it my
haircut? Got a problem with my haircut? Don’t you ever lie to me like
I’m Montel Williams. I am not Montel Williams. I am not Montel Williams!

Sorry. Once a year I crack at the sameness of Baltimore Orioles recaps and feel the need to go all Detective Munch on them. I wish you didn’t have to see that, but I can’t control it. There are days I wish I could be transported back to 1970 and I could write glowing praise about the latest Orioles victory, but that ain’t gonna happen.  As it is, the Orioles aren’t good enough for that and, sadly, they’re not interesting enough for me to even mock like I sometimes do to the Pirates or the Nats in recent years.  They’re just depressing team that makes me reach back 16 or 17 years for TV quotes to dull the pain.

Braves 7, Phillies 5: A couple of bombs from Martin Prado + a three-run double in the course of a six run inning for Brian McCann = the Phillies in a flat spin. Pfun Pfact, courtesy of Mac Thomason: Phillies starter Jamie Moyer made his major league debut when Braves starter Kris Medlen was nine months
old.

Nationals 7, Padres 6: Adam Dunn slams three home runs. The Donkey is on pace for yet another damn spectacular season and yet the first thing out of most people’s mouths when they talk about him is how he strikes out all the time.

Rays 6, Red Sox 4: The Rays sweep the Bosox behind David Price, who picked up his 12th win. Weirdness alert: Joe Maddon had Matt Garza close the game. No real explanation in the game story I read other than he only threw three innings in his last outing. Of course, he threw 84 pitches in those three innings, so it’s not like he was totally fresh.  Whatever. If Casey Stengel could use Whitey Ford in relief I suppose Joe Maddon can use Matt Garza there once in a while.

Blue Jays 6, Twins 5: Jose Bautista hit an inside the park homer which (altogether now!) was the result of poor defense.  Delmon Young hit a homer in the losing effort. You know, between Garza being relegated to the bullpen in Tampa and Young hitting bombs and being talked about as an All-Star, can we now say that the Twins won that trade?

No, of course we can’t, but I did want to see who was paying attention.

Cubs 8, Diamondbacks 3: This, from the game story, is a rather startling stat: Arizona had 10+ strikeouts for the
fifth straight game. The AP writer calls it Arizona’s “whiff-a-palooza,” which I rather like.

Royals 7, Mariners 3: Down by a run in the eighth, no outs, runners on first and second, Ned Yost ordered Alberto Callaspo to bunt. He couldn’t get the bunt down, however, so with the count 3-2 he swung away and hit a three-run homer. There’s a lesson in there that I’m guessing Ned Yost will never learn.

Rockies 8, Cardinals 7: It’s probably time to start worrying, Cardinals fans. For the second straight night St. Louis blows a lead late. This one wasn’t as dramatic — what could be? — but the Cards had a 5-0 lead in the fifth and a 7-4 lead in the seventh, but once again the pen couldn’t seal the deal.

Yankees 6, Athletics 2: The A’s simply didn’t show up for this series. They even made A.J. Burnett look good last night (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER).

White Sox 5, Angels 2: The Sox have now passed Minnesota and sit in second place, a mere game behind the Tigers.

Astros 6, Pirates 3: Carlos Lee and Lance Berkman hit homers. This is not a repeat from Tuesday night. Astros’ starter Brian Moehler had to leave the game with a groin injury. No matter how many times I write the words “groin injury” — which I estimate has been 1,952 times since I began blogging — it still makes me wince.

Rangers 4, Indians 3: Jumpin’ Jesus on a pogo stick! Would the AP writer stop obsessing on Josh Hamilton’s “home hitting streak?”  Quick — how many of Joe DiMaggio’s 56 games were home games? If you can’t answer that without looking it up, this little statoid is meaningless drivel.  In other news, Michael Young is one of the guys in the “final vote” thing for the All-Star Game. According to the game writeup “the Rangers have enlisted Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten” in the effort “with Witten encouraging
fans to vote online for Young.” Does this really motivate anyone? I mean, I know people get Cowboys crazy down there, but if a Cowboy asked you to jump off a bridge would the Metroplex do it?  Wait, don’t answer that.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

Screenshot 2016-02-07 at 10.16.43 AM
Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.