And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Rays 4, Yankees 3: Dan Johnson hit two homers off Phil Hughes. But really, the fun story here was Derek Jeter acting his way onto first base with a phantom HBP in the seventh. He grimaced and called the trainer out and everything, even though replays clearly showed that the ball hit the end of his bat (which Jeter admitted after the game). Joe Maddon got ejected arguing the HBP call, even though he was right. I wonder if Jeter will send him flowers or something?  Anyway, I’ll have more on this later this morning, because (a) it was kind of a fun play when you think about it; and (b) it has me thinking about some larger issues about the media and Jeter and stuff.

Phillies 10, Marlins 5: Look! A contending NL East team winning the games it’s supposed to win. How novel. Halladay gets his 19th win. The point will get muddled because in this case the NL wins leader also happens to be the best overall pitcher, but he’s not doing anything to hurt his Cy Young chances. He probably has three more starts left, two against Atlanta — whom he owns — and one against the Mets. Dude could have 22 wins by the time it’s over.

Nationals 4, Braves 2. Blah. Didn’t you hear me? I said Blah!

Rockies 9, Padres 6: Troy Tulowitzki (2 HR, 7 RBI) cannot be bargained with. He cannot be reasoned with. He cannot feel remorse, or pity or fear. And he will not stop until you are dead. But if Tulowitzki is the Arnold version of the Terminator, let’s be sure to note that Adrian Gonzalez was the liquid metal version from T2 (i.e. almost as good, but not victorious): 2 HR and 5 RBI for him. Shame that they both got lowered into that molten lava at the end of the game.

Giants 2, Dodgers 1: The Giants have allowed four runs in their past five games. Sure, two of those games were losses because they themselves were shut out, but that’s life in the NL West. Bruce Bochy: “It’s good for these guys because you can’t lose your concentration or focus out there when you’re in games like this.” Yeah, winning one 7-2 or something wouldn’t be nearly as good.

Cubs 7, Cardinals 3: The Cubs sweep the Cards in St. Louis for the first time 22 years.

Reds 7, Diamondbacks 5: The Reds’ magic number is now 10. A great catch by Jay Bruce won this one. My guess is that he won’t get the gold glove because it’s a reputation thing and it takes a couple of years for a guy’s defense to capture the zeitgeist of the voters, but people I know who watch the Reds everyday think Bruce is deserving of the honor (as did Thom Brennaman announcing the Bruce highlight, but hey, Thom Brennaman).

Twins 9, White Sox 3: Another day, another 9-3 loss for the White Sox. Theirs is one of only six games tonight. If it’s a Sox loss, look for the ugliness and finger pointing to begin in Chicago first thing tomorrow morning.

Mets 8, Pirates 7: Pittsburgh jumped out to a 5-0 lead but lost it damn quickly, as the Mets put up a seven spot in the fourth thanks in large part to the Pirates crappy defense. If the Pirates were a computer game, I would have set the computer to “auto manage” about a month ago, set the schedule in motion and gone off to get a sandwich. When I got back, it would all be over and I could start over.

Rangers 11, Tigers 7: The Rangers are the first team to get their magic number under 10.

Angels 7, Indians 0: Jered Weaver one-hits the Tribe over seven innings with 7Ks and no walks.

Brewers 8, Astros 6: The Brewers blew a 5-0 lead, but tied it up in the ninth and then took the game on a Mat Gamel ground rule double in the tenth and tacked on an insurance run for good measure. “I just feel good that the guys played all the way to the end,” Ken Macha said after the game. That’s what I’d say too if I was pretty certain that a meeting was going to take place soon in which my termination would be discussed. Every manager in Macha’s position — flawed but talented team that didn’t overcome any of its weaknesses — has to hang his hat on the “we never quit” card.

Orioles 3, Blue Jays 1: Orioles get the sweep. Jose Bautista hits his 47th, tying George Bell for the franchise record. To truly match Bell’s 1987 feat, however, Bautista will have to somehow manage to steal the MVP from someone more deserving. Ahem.

Red Sox 5, Mariners 1: The Sox sweep the M’s and are now six games back of the Yankees in the wild card race. I know it’s close to impossible — the Yankees could play .500 ball and the Sox would have to go 14-2 just to tie — but catching New York and snagging the wild card would be a bigger coup than the 2004 ALCS, wouldn’t it?

Royals 6, Athletics 3: Bruce Chen won his 10th and Wilson Betemit hit a grand slam to add to his fantastic season at the plate. “What are, ‘things Braves fans figured would happen circa 2002?'”  Correct! Pick again! “OK, I’ll take ‘Potent Potables for $500, Alex.”

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.