And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Nationals 3, Braves 0: Stephen Strasburg was scratched, but at least he showed up at the ballpark. Can’t say the same for the Braves. Hell, I think they’re still stuck in the Miami airport waiting for their charter to D.C. Whoever it was playing in the road uniforms last night didn’t seem to give a rat’s patootie about this game, though. Two of the three Nats’ runs were unearned because the dudes wearing the Brian McCann and Chipper Jones replica jerseys threw the ball all over the place. Give a hand to Miguel Batista, though, for stepping in on short notice and throwing five innings of shutout ball. Whether it was against impostors or not, that’s some gutsy baseball right there.

Mets 8, Cardinals 2: Home sweet home for the Mets as they lay the beatdown on Adam Wainwright. Jeff Francoeur had a three-run homer because God wanted my Tuesday night to be as crappy as possible from a baseball perspective. In related news my dream last night was Kent Hrbek, Jim Leyritz and the ghost of Eric Gregg ganging up on me in an alley while Lonnie Smith yelled at me to “Run! Run! Run like your life depends on it, Craig!”

Indians 4, Yankees 1: Josh Tomlin makes his major league debut and shuts
down the Yankees over seven innings. At this point I would like to
mention that I saw Tomlin pitch here in Columbus back in May and
at the time I said that he looked better than anyone the Indians had on
their roster at the time, so maybe they should call him up
. I would also like to point out that Tomlin is facing felonious assault charges right now, — UPDATE: the charges were recently reduced to “disorderly conduct” — so maybe he figured “screw it; no reason to save any energy for tomorow because there may be no tomorrow for me.”

Phillies 9, Diamondbacks 5: Six straight for the Phillies behind homers from Werth and Howard. Bad news though too: Shane Victorino left the game with an oblique injury. Bad news for Arizona too as Justin Upton left with a bum hip.

White Sox 11, Mariners 0: Know how I know the Mariners suck? They had nearly a dozen runs scored on them by a team who was using Juan Pierre as their DH. That’s how I know the Mariners suck. Ryan-Rowland Smith keeps getting starts for these guys too. I mean, I keep telling Don Wakamatsu that Smith is bluffing and that he’d never release the pictures to the media because they’d be just as damning for him, but he apparently doesn’t believe me.

Rays 3, Tigers 2: Carlos Pena and Matt Joyce account for all the Rays runs. Joyce had the big hit on Monday night too. Given how charitable Detroit is to former Tigers, I expect Joe Maddon to employ the following lineup for tomorrow night’s game:

1. Ron LeFlore CF
2. Lou Whitaker 2B
3. Rusty Staub DH
4. Darrell Evans 1B
5. Kirk Gibson RF
6. Larry Herndon LF
7. George Kell 3B
8. Lance Parrish C
9. Ray Oyler SS

Yeah, it’s not perfect –Ray Oyler turns 72 next week and couldn’t hit when he was 30 and George Kell is dead for cryin’ out loud — but I like their chances against the current Tigers squad, don’t you?

Oh, and B.J. Upton got hurt too. Bad night for the Uptons. I’m going to assume that it was like Cheech and Chong in the Corsican Brothers and that each felt the others’ pain.

Rangers 3, Athletics 1: The Rangers just got done putting the Angels in
their place as would-be competitors and now they’re doing the same thing
to the A’s, who are tied with Anaheim for second. Cliff Lee was his
usual astounding self: Complete game nine innings (of course). No walks (of course).
Thirteen strikeouts (of course). Game score for pitchers isn’t the
be-all end-all, but it’s fun. Lee’s game score of 88 was the same as
Ubaldo Jimenez’s score for his no-hitter and the same as Armando
Galarraga’s for his near-perfect game.

Astros 6, Cubs 1: All this effort to trade Roy Oswalt when Brett Myers is (a) having a better year; and (b) is way more tradeable given his contract. Another great outing for him last night (CG 4 H, 1 ER, 12K). Ted Lilly did nothing to hurt his trade stock either, as he threw five and two-thirds shutout innings. They weren’t the most efficient innings on the planet, but good is good. The score is a function of a bullpen implosion.

Blue Jays 8, Orioles 2: Jose Bautista clubbed two more homers, bringing his league leading total to 30. It’s probably time for the O’s to shut Kevin Millwood down for the year following yet another awful outing. He’s either still injured or else he has a giant fork sticking out of his back.

Giants 6, Marlins 4: I declared the Giants dead a few weeks ago. Which goes to show you that you should never listen to anything I have to say about anything ever.

Dodgers 2, Padres 0: We should all probably thank the Padres and the Braves for taking one for the team and giving us all a couple of nice tight races this summer when they really didn’t have to. Billingsley Kuo and Broxton combine for the shutout.

Red Sox 4, Angels 2: John Lackey gives up two runs in seven and a third against his old mates. He was booed lustily by the Anaheim crowd in his second game against the Angels since leaving via free agency, though first in California.

Pirates 4, Rockies 2: Colorado is 2-10 since the All-Star break. It’s like the bizarro version of one of those incredible runs like they went on last year or in 2007.Clint Barmes after the game: “We’ve been playing bad baseball. We’re not doing the little things.”  That’s not fair, Clint. You guys aren’t doing the big things either.

Twins 11, Royals 2: Another day against the Royals another double-digit offensive output for the Twins. Another big day for Danny Valencia too, who went 4 for 5 with three RBI.  And the 13th win for Carl Pavanostache.

Reds 12, Brewers 4: Cincinnati raps out 19 hits and pull back into a tie in the NL Central. This was probably the ugliest game of the night. Eleven pitchers allow 28 hits, neither starter goes four innings and the whole shebang lasts 3:41. Edinson Volquez is probably back from surgery too soon, by the way. He may feel good but he has no command.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.

Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery could share Cubs’ rotation spot in 2017

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 01:  Mike Montgomery #38 of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 1, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).

Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.

Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.

Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.