And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

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Giants 2, Mets 0: Carlos Beltran returns and goes 1 for 4 — and was caught stealing after the hit — but Tim Lincecum puts on his 2009 pants and throws a six hit shutout. And RBI double for Pablo Sandoval too, which is a far more important bounceback for the Giants if they want to get back in contention in the West.  Beltran on the caught stealing: “”I was trying to pick up the catcher’s sign,” Beltran said. “I saw two
fingers and I just felt that I was going to be able to make it. I guess
when you drink too many coffees and too much sugar before the game, it
makes you do crazy things.”  I know most baserunners are trying to do it, but I don’t know that I can remember a player saying, right after the game, that he was trying to snag the catcher’s signs like that.

Cardinals 7, Dodgers 1: Like Lincecum, it looks like Chris Carpenter benefited from the time off (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 6K 0 BB). Not so much for Clayton Kershaw, who gave up five runs over four and a third inefficient innings. Joe Torre: “He hadn’t pitched in a week, you’ve got to chalk it up to that.” Rest helps some guy, hurts others. Sometimes I think we don’t know a damn thing about pitching.

Angels 8, Mariners 3: Ichiro Suzuki and Erick Aybar both lead off and both drove in three runs. Eight runs on sixteen hits for the Angels is a good sign after stumbling into the break in a run-scoring funk. Which unlike most kinds of funk, isn’t good!

Cubs 12, Phillies 6: Picked a hell of a day to write my “is Jamie Moyer a Hall of Famer” post, eh? The aged one gets smacked around for six runs in three innings and Ryan Demptser handles the Phillies bats for six innings. Aramis Ramirez hit a couple of doubles and had four RBI and Derek Lee and Geovany Soto each had two-run bombs. Which is how they figured over the winter the lineup would work.

White Sox 8, Twins 7: The White Sox pulled off four hit-and-runs and got all bunty and stuff. As a fan I enjoy watching that stuff. As someone who tries to think hard about baseball, I worry about the diminishing returns of all of that. Worked last night, though. For the Twins, Joe Mauer had three hits and three RBIs, but Kevin Slowey couldn’t miss any bats. Oh, and Justin Morneau is on the DL now, so things just keep getting better for Minnesota.

Rangers 7, Red Sox 2: What happens when the flutterball doesn’t flutter: seven runs pm eight hits in two innings, that’s what happens. Three doubles for Josh Hamilton who now leads the AL in hitting. The Sox have dropped six of eight.

Braves 2, Brewers 1:  Jason Heyward returned. He had no hits, but he made two big defensive plays, each victimizing Casey McGehee. First he threw McGehee out at third when he tried to take two bases on a Jim Edmonds single, then he made a running, smash-into-the-wall catch of a McGehee drive.  In a game as close as this one, both plays were critical.  And with the Mets and Phillies losses, Atlanta leads them in the East by five and five and a half games, respectively.

The Tigers are trying to convert Anthony Gose into a pitcher

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Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.

While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.

Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.

Stephen Strasburg is the Nationals’ Opening Day starter

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Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg will take the mound for the club on Opening Day, manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. The news is hardly surprising given Max Scherzer’s questionable status this spring, though it had yet to be confirmed by the club.

Strasburg is approaching his eighth run with the club in 2017. He went 15-4 in 2016, finishing the year with a 3.60 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 in 147 2/3 innings. This will mark his fourth Opening Day assignment with the Nationals.

Scherzer, the Nationals’ Opening Day starter in both 2015 and 2016, is scheduled to make his season debut sometime during the first week of the season. The right-hander is expected to take things more slowly this spring as he finishes rehabbing a stress fracture in his finger.

The Nationals will open their season against the Marlins on April 3.