And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights


Twins 6, Rangers 5: The coach-touching-the-runner interference call which ended this one is kind of nuts. Mostly because I can’t remember this even being talked about during a ballgame let alone ever having seen it. But it happened, Michael Young was out and the Rangers lost a game it looked like they were poised to at least tie up. My initial thought: even if there was contact here it was nothing of consequence, and did not “physically assist the runner in returning to or leaving third base,” which is what the contact needs to do per the rule in order to justify calling the runner out. In other words, it’s a judgment call, and the ump here, I think, judged it poorly.

All that said, how hilarious was it that third base coach Dave Anderson first yanked his hands back and then busted ass to get back inside the third base coach box as Young was running back to third? He knew they touched, and was trying his best to sell it that they didn’t. I still don’t think Young should have been called out, but maybe there’s a reason they have coaches boxes in the first place, huh?

White Sox 7, Red Sox 5: This is the game that sealed Papelbon’s non-tender this winter, right? Yeah, I realize that Richardson and Manuel walked in the go-ahead run and one to grow on, but they were Papelbon’s guys and the first rule of closing is not to put dudes on, right? Oh, and I’m guessing the White Sox are even angrier at that coach’s interference call in the Rangers-Twins game than the Rangers are. I mean, Texas basically has its playoff spot locked up. The Sox needed Minnesota to lose that one.

Cardinals 4, Reds 2: St. Louis took two of three, but is even that enough at this juncture? Chris Carpenter struck out 11. Matt Holliday hit the three-run bomb to put the Cards up for good. Future Braves centerfielder Colby Rasmus was 2 for 3.

Rockies 4, Padres 2: This is getting really hard to watch. Ten straight down, now the Giants are on the Padres’ heels and the Rockies — 4.5 back — aren’t far behind.

Giants 3, Dodgers 0: How close are the Giants? One game now thanks to a gem from Jonathan Sanchez (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 9K). A two run homer for Juan Uribe — his second of the series — but he had to leave the game because, right before his bomb, he fouled one off his leg. Check in with lar and the Tater Trot Tracker to see if Uribe’s trot was negatively impacted.

Mets 18, Cubs 5: An eighteen run outburst on getaway day. How fun do you suppose that flight to D.C. was for the Mets yesterday? Courtesy of the Crank: the Mets have scored 18 or more runs in games seven times in their glorious history. Four of those games were in Wrigley Field.

Marlins 7, Braves 6: I’m happy I spent my afternoon toiling in our basement crawlspace rather than going from angry (Marlins take 6-0 lead) to happy (Braves tie it up) to angry again (Marlins win it in the 10th). Although the crawlspace toiling sucks on several levels too. For one thing my legs are in flaming pain today from all of the crouching and lugging of stuff. For another, most of the lugging was of baseball cards, getting them out of the main part of the basement and into storage so I can make room for a treadmill and weight setup, which will put me in even more pain. Hell, maybe I should have just had a few beers and watched this mess of a game to begin with? In other news, I have way too many damn baseball cards.

Brewers 6, Phillies 2: Philly couldn’t take advantage of Atlanta’s stumble as Kyle Kendrick gave up a three-run bomb to Prince Fielder in the first inning and the Brewers never gave up the lead. Philly remains one behind the Braves.

Mariners 3, Indians 0: I felt pretty confident that Zack Greinke was going to win the Cy Young last year because his ERA and peripherals were so damn good that they had to overcome a lackluster win total that wasn’t his fault.  I’m less confident in Felix Hernandez pulling the same trick this year. Not because he’s not the best starter in the AL — he clearly is in my mind — but because the writers just ain’t gonna do the right thing twice in a row. Anyway, King Felix shut out the Tribe over eight and struck out nine dudes. He’s now 11-10 on the season, but he has 209Ks, has an ERA of 2.30, a WHIP of 1.09 and is going to finish with something like 250 innings pitched and fewer than 20 homers allowed.

Nationals 8, Pirates 1: Not all last place teams are created equal. Pirates starter Charlie Morton did lower his ERA from 10.03 to 9.66, though, so that’s a moral victory, right? Jason
Marquis refereed to himself in the third person after today’s game, describing his recent struggles thusly: “
That wasn’t Jason Marquis; it was Jason Marquis but pitching hurt, trying to battle through.” Craig doesn’t feel comfortable with a guy like Marquis doing that.

Blue Jays 7, Yankees 3: Haven’t scanned the tabloids yet, so someone tell me if any of them have blamed the return of A-Rod for the Yanks’ winning streak getting snapped. I wouldn’t bet a pair of fetid dingo’s kidneys that no one went there. I’d probably bet the pink slip to my car that they did.

Orioles 8, Rays 7: Rocco Baldelli hit a two-run homer in his first at bat of the season and three other Rays had dingers too, but they weren’t enough to stop Buck Showalter from snagging his 900th career win.

Royals 2, Tigers 1: Jim Leyland: “You’re not going to win any games normally with three hits.”  That’s why he makes the big bucks, folks.

Angels 7, Athletics 4: Anaheim salvages one after getting shut down on Friday and Saturday. Ervin Santana lowers ran his career ERA against Oakland to 1.80 ERA and improved to 12-3 against them lifetime.

Astros 3, Diamondbacks 2: From the AP recap: “Get rid of the first eight games of the season and the Houston Astros would be a .500 team.” Yeah, and if a frog had wings he wouldn’t bump his ass a-hoppin’. OK, that was harsh. I get the point — the Astros have been pretty good in recent weeks — but I like to whip out that “if a frog had wings” thing once or twice a year and I don’t think I’ve done it yet. I got another one about how my auntie would be me uncle if certain things were different, but this is a family blog so I’ll save that for when I usually use it: in conversations with my children.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.