And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

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White Sox 11, Twins 0: Paul Konerko was a triple short of a cycle. (Oh crap; now I’m in trouble!).

Angels 7, Red Sox 2: Anaheim finally wins one against Boston. A three-run homer from Hideki Matsui in the 6th opened things up for the Angels. Know what ain’t lookin’ good right now? Josh Beckett’s contract extension (6 IP, 7 H, 6 ER).

Orioles 4, Rangers 0: Brian Matusz shut the Rangers out over eight. He had struggled mightily against them in two previous starts this year so maybe our children is learning. Texas is 2-5 since Greenberg and Ryan took over, by the way. I think I’m gonna try and get some sort of curse started. By the time it gains cultural purchase, people will have forgotten that I invented it from whole cloth.

Giants 5, Phillies 2: Jonathan Sanchez shut the Phillies down until
tiring in the ninth. Bruce Bochy removed Sanchez from the game in the
middle of Placido Polanco’s at bat in the ninth while he had a five run
lead. At the time he had exactly 100 pitches. Someone want to give Bochy
the pitch count lecture again? I mean, yeah, monitor it, but no one is
gonna die if they get to 101.

Astros 3, Mets 2: Hard to expect a hell of a lot more from Pat Misch
than three runs in six innings. The Mets just couldn’t get it done with
the bats.

Padres 5, Cubs 3: I’m beginning to think that this Mat Latos character can pitch a little bit (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 10K). And this was fun.  Pro tip: when you call time out, make sure time out is granted before you lollygag around the infield.

Nationals 6, Braves 2: Atlanta pop-fouled and ran its way out of potential rallies in both the sixth and eighth innings and the Nats pen shut the Braves down in the final innings, preventing one of their increasingly common late game comebacks.

Yankees 11, Tigers 5: When the sixth inning began it was 2-2. when it ended it was 11-2. Robinson Cano hit a two-run bomb and an RBI double that inning. He also finished a triple short of the cycle!  (Damn!)

Dodgers 2, Rockies 0: The season hasn’t gone the way the Dodgers want it to, but you can’t blame their main trade deadline pickup. Ted Lilly was masterful, throwing a two-hit shutout with a 11 strikeouts.

Reds 9, Diamondbacks 5: The Reds are on their longest winning streak of the year — six games — and now have their largest lead over the Cardinals all year as well: three and a half games.

Athletics 4, Rays 3: Most of Trevor Cahill’s recent starts have been dominant. This one was less so — he was in a bit of trouble — but he fought through it and got some timely offensive support and some great defensive behind him. Included in that was a couple of double plays and this spiffy catch from Coco Crisp.

Indians 7, Royals 3: The winning team had five errors. There were 23 hits in the game. It lasted 3:24. The stands were basically empty. Gametime temperature was 90. I love baseball with a passion, but being at this game would seriously test it.

Marlins 4, Pirates 2: Susan Sontag once said that “the
life of the creative man is led, directed and controlled by boredom.
Avoiding boredom is one of our most important purposes.” While I believe that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap, there’s something to that quote. It’s something that inspired me not to spend any time reading the box score or dwelling too deeply on the specifics of a mid-to-late August, midweek Marlins-Pirates game. Life is too damn short. I’m sorry.

I’m goin’ on vacation next week. Based on the fact that I punted those last two recaps I probably need it.

Pirates sign reliever Eric O’Flaherty

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Left-hander Eric O'Flaherty has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Pirates that includes an invitation to spring training.

O’Flaherty was one of the best relievers in the league for the Braves from 2009-2013, posting a combined 1.99 ERA in 249 innings, but Tommy John elbow surgery derailed his career and he struggled for the A’s and Mets in 2015 while dealing with shoulder problems.

It’s tough to know if O’Flaherty is healthy at this point, but the 31-year-old southpaw certainly has a chance to be a nice reclamation project for the Pirates on a no-risk contract.

Mariano Rivera to get his plaque in Monument Park on August 14

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The greatest closer in history is going to get the ultimate honor the New York Yankees bestow on August 14. That’s when Mariano Rivera will get his plaque in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium before a game against the Rays.

There was some chatter in the last year or two about whether the Yankees were somehow lowering their standards out there, what with guys like Tino Martinez getting honored. But if that’s something you care about it won’t matter in this instance. Rivera would’ve been worthy even if the old snobby ways had held and only inner-circle types got a plaque, what with him being a key member of five World Series-winning teams and his status as the all-time saves leader in the regular season and the postseason.

The Yankees retired Rivera’s No. 42 in 2013. He’ll get his plaque in August. Then, on the first ballot for which he is eligible, he’ll be voted into the Hall of Fame, likely with a percentage in the mid-to-high 90s.

Dodgers “trying to trade” Alex Guerrero

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Alex Guerrero is a potentially good right-handed bat without a position to play in Los Angeles, so Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reporting that the Dodgers are “trying to trade” him makes sense.

Guerrero, who signed with the Dodgers out of Cuba for $28 million in October of 2013, spent last season in the majors hitting .233 with 11 homers and a .695 OPS in a part-time role that generated 230 plate appearances. He logged a total of just 355 innings defensively, mostly as a left fielder and third baseman.

Guerrero could be intriguing–particularly to an American League team for whom his defense isn’t much of an issue–because he hit .329 with 15 homers and a 1.113 OPS in 65 games at Triple-A in 2014 and was consistently a .300 hitter with an OPS around 1.000 in Cuba. He’s also 29 years old, so Guerrero is no doubt looking to play regularly.

The New Zealand World Baseball Classic team performs the Haka

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It’s World Baseball Classic time again. Just the qualifying rounds. The actual tournament happens in 2017. Qualifiers will happen in Sydney, Australia, Mexicali, Mexico, Panama City, Panama and Brooklyn, N.Y., periodically, between now and September.

The Sydney round just got underway yesterday, so yes, some actual baseball is going on. As I’ve written and ranted before, the WBC is not my favorite thing that happens in baseball and certainly not the most important thing, but it’s pretty fun. Especially when there are displays of enthusiasm and pageantry and the like.

Such as the Haka, which basically every New Zealand sports team does and which never gets old:

 

Down in Sydney, the Australia, New Zealand, Philippines and South Africa teams are competing in a six-game, modified double-elimination format. In the other three qualifying rounds, Mexico, Czech Republic, Germany, Nicaragua, Colombia, France, Panama, Spain, Brazil, Great Britain, Israel and Pakistan will compete. Each qualifying round puts one representative in the WBC.

Those four qualifiers will compete in the WBC itself against countries that performed well enough in the past that they need not submit to qualifying: Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela.

Someone make sure Jon Morosi is well-hyrdrated. It’s gonna be a long year.