ATH Express: Last night's scores and highlights


This isn’t a full-blown And That Happened. Too much other stuff going on for that. But baseball games did occur last night, so you all should have a place where you can discuss them. So . . .

Nationals 8, Phillies 1: Not even 10 AM yet and all of the “see, I told you Roy Oswalt was no savior” people are coming out of the woodwork. Didn’t hear any of that yesterday afternoon.  Personally, I think the Phillies should never have traded away the ace they used to have. Of course I’m talking about Kevin Gross. Floyd Youmans is NOT the answer people!

Braves 6, Reds 4: Jason Heyward with a big two-run RBI in the 10th. When that happened I went “yay!”  Then, when Martin Prado was writhing in pain due to injuring his finger I curled up into a fetal position.  I’m still in that position actually, and won’t be out of it until we hear that it’s OK. Hell of a way to type, though.

Rays 3, Yankees 2: 0 for 4 for A-Rod. Man, that guy is just never gonna make it in New York.

Diamondbacks 9, Mets 6: This fall, as the Mets are watching the playoffs from their homes, they’ll probably be thinking of just how badly they were abused by the Dbacks this year.

Tigers 6, Red Sox 5: Detroit takes the first game in the battle of the What Coulda Beens. Yes, that’s the second time in three days I’m writing off the Red Sox. Wanna fight about it? Jose Valverde got a shaky as all hell save, throwing nearly 60 pitches. John Hiller nods approvingly.

Blue Jays 8, Indians 1: Jose Bautista hits a grand slam. I can’t decide if his continued power display means that the Jays should keep him or be even more intent on trading him as his value peaks.

Astros 5, Brewers 0: J.A. Happ shuts out the Brewers on two hits over six innings in his Houston debut.

White Sox 6, Athletics 1: After learning what we learned last night about the Edwin Jackson thing I think the Twins should call Kenny Williams and tell him that they’d totally trade him Joe Mauer — and send cash in the deal — if only he could find some way to get Barry Zito or Carlos Lee or someone to flip back in a trade.

Royals 7, Orioles 5: FOX and TBS were seriously considering broadcasting this series nationally this weekend, but then those kill-joy human rights groups chimed in, putting the kibosh on the deal.

Cardinals 1, Pirates 0: The rain dealy (2:22) was almost as long as the game (2:38) as Chris Carpenter, Jeff Karstens and all of the relievers not named Javier Lopez kept the opposition scoreless.

Twins 5, Mariners 3: Matt Capps makes his debut for the Twinkies. He comes out to Europe’s “The Final Countdown,” by the way. He got the save!  So maybe the Twins didn’t make a huge mistake.

Rockies 17, Cubs 2: Sometimes I miss the old Coors Field. Nice to see it come back once in a while.

Angels 9, Rangers 7: First loss of the year for Tommy Hunter, who got shelled.

Marlins 4, Padres 2: Miguel Tejada’s presence somehow didn’t will the Padres to victory. Huh.

Giants 6, Dodgers 5: Brian Wilson wasn’t available due to back spasms, so Jonathan Sanchez, Chris Ray, Denny Bautista and Sergio Romo combine to handle the ninth inning and create/fend off a late Dodger rally.

Eh. This feature is way more fun to write at 11PM the night before while half-crocked on Maker’s Mark.

Nationals fire reigning Manager of the Year Matt Williams

Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams looks on from the dugout during a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, May 2, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

Matt Williams was voted the National League Manager of the Year on November 11, 2014, receiving 18 of 30 first-place votes from Baseball Writers Association of America members.

Today the Nationals fired him following a season full of disappointment, reports of clubhouse discontent, and Jonathan Papelbon choking Bryce Harper in the dugout.

Williams went 179-145 (.552) in two seasons in Washington, which is an excellent winning percentage, but when you take over a stacked team the expectations are extremely high and there was seemingly nothing anyone could point to about his actual managing that suggested he was doing a good job.

His in-game tactics and particularly his rigid bullpen usage patterns infuriated fans. His dealings with the local media became increasingly antagonistic. And even setting aside two players literally fighting in the dugout there’s ample evidence that Williams lost the clubhouse a long time ago.

Williams was far from the only thing wrong with the Nationals this season and he’s hardly the primary person to blame for their disappointing record, but it’s also hard to make a strong case for his sticking around–meaningless, beat writer-voted award or not–and general manager Mike Rizzo predictably acted quickly to move on.

Now we’ll see who gets to take the next crack at managing the Nationals to play up to expectations.

Dan Haren plans to retire after the playoffs are over

Dan Haren
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Dan Haren, who said two months ago that he was leaning toward retiring after the season, reiterated those plans following the Cubs’ regular season finale Sunday.

At age 34 he started 32 games for the Marlins and Cubs with a 3.60 ERA and 132/38 K/BB ratio in 187 innings, so Haren would have no problem finding work and a solid paycheck for 2016.

However, he’s not expected to part of the Cubs’ playoff roster and told Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago:

That was it for me. If I have to pitch in the postseason, I’ll be ready for sure. Happy the way the last few starts have gone. Being able to contribute to this amazing team. I’m just thankful to be a part of it. If I don’t pitch in the postseason, that’s it. It’s been fun. Hopefully there’s a lot more games to go. … If my name is called, I’ll be ready.

Injuries has lessened Haren’s overall effectiveness in recent years, but he’s remained a solid mid-rotation starter and has pitched 13 seasons in the big leagues with a 3.75 ERA in 2,419 innings. He made three All-Star teams and earned more than $80 million.