Jayson Werth

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Nationals 7, Phillies 4: Heavy matchup. Both literally — Livan Hernandez vs. Joe Blanton — and figuratively as Jayson Werth faced the Phillies for the first time since he signed with the Nats. A signing that the Phillies fans who made the now-customary trek to Washington and decided to boo Werth throughout the game apparently wouldn’t have consummated if they were in Werth’s shoes because loyalty to some abstraction of what a Major League Baseball team is supposed to be is worth far more than the nearly $80 million that Werth would have sacrificed to stay in red pinstripes. Or something. Whatever the case, booing a guy who helped bring home what was only the second championship in the team’s 128 year existence and only left because it was clear that he’d be lowballed if he stayed makes no kind of freakin’ sense.  Oh, and Werth had a double and a home run. Booooo!!!!

Rays 3, Red Sox 2: And the Bosox are now 0-8 vs. non-Yankees teams and are now tied with the Rays for have the worst record in the AL.  When can we stop dropping the “it’s early, so …” before talking about the Red Sox?

Angels 2, Indians 0: Dan Haren put an end to the Indians winning streak with ath-or-i-tah, shutting them out on two one hit (sorry, I keep messin’ up today) and striking out eight. He and Jered Weaver are currently the most lethal one-two punch in baseball.

Braves 5, Marlins 0: Heyward and McCann homer and Tommy Hanson shuts the opposition down. Sort of the Platonic Ideal of a Braves game for fanboys like me.  And a lot of good defense from Alex Gonzalez and Dan Uggla, which is … like, whatever the opposite of the Platonic Ideal is. Platonic Gravy? Platonic Whatever, We’ll Take it?

Tigers 5, Rangers 4: The loss of the game is meaningless compared to the loss of Josh Hamilton, who will be out at least 6-8 weeks with a broken funny bone thanks to his head first slide into home. Well, maybe it was the slide. It’s possible that he broke his arm while throwing his third base coach under the bus when explaining how the play went down after the game.

Astros 11, Cubs 2: The James Russell: Starting Pitcher experiment did not achieve optimal results in its first cycle. Russell was tagged for five runs (four earned) on seven hits in less than two innings before making way for the pen to which he’ll likely be soon returning. After the bleeding stopped for a bit, Jeff Samardzija reminded us that he can’t really pitch and John Grabow got rocked too. For Houston, Angel Sanchez and Hunter Pence went nuts, combining to go 7 for 10 with six RBI.

Twins 4, Royals 3: Pop quiz, hot shot! You’re on the road, tied 3-3 in extra innings. After retiring the first batter in the 10th, you change pitchers. The new guy loads the bases with a walk and two singles, one of which was a freakin’ blast. You have arguably the second best closer in all of baseball in your pen, coming off an off-day. What do you do, hot shot? What do you do?!  Well, if you’re Ned Yost you leave Joakim Soria in the pen, let Robinson Tejada pitch and he gives up one more hit, losing the game. Which is not how I would have handled it, but what the hell do I know? I’m just speculatin’ on a hypothesis here.

White Sox 6, Athletics 5: Two homers and four RBI for Alexi Ramirez, including the game-winning bomb in the bottom of the 10th. This makes up for the error he made in the fifth that led to an Oakland run, I’d say.

Diamondbacks, 13, Cardinals 8: Three run homers from Justin Upton and Juan Miranda led the onslaught. Oh, and did Aaron not tell you yesterday that umpire Bob Davidson’s act was getting tired? Ask Kirk Gibson about that.

Giants 5, Dodgers 4: Check out the leather from Linceucm. Didn’t get the win, though, as Jeremy Affeldt vultured it from him when he allowed a game-tying homer in the seventh but then hung on as the pitcher of record in the bottom of the inning when the Giants took the lead for good. Brian Wilson gets his first save of the year.

Reds 8, Padres 2: Remember how awesome the Padres bullpen was last year? Yeah, well you sort of lose any claim to awesomeness when you give up six runs in the 11th inning. Not that it should have gotten that far. The Padres lost chances to win when they were met with a sick defensive play by Jay Bruce in the ninth and again when they squandered a one-out bases loaded situation in the 10th, again with help from the Cincinnati leather. Well, a Cincinnati misplay-but-recovery on a ball resulting in what at least looked like good leather if you didn’t see the initial misplay.

Mariners 3, Blue Jays 2: Michael Pineda wins his second major league start in impressive fashion, taking a shutout into the eighth inning while striking out seven.

Rockies vs. Mets, Orioles vs. Yankees and Brewers vs. Pirates: POSTPONED:  April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain.

Shocker: Bruce Bochy tabs Madison Bumgarner to start Opening Day

Madison Bumgarner
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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You might want to sit down for this news. Giants manager Bruce Bochy has tabbed ace Madison Bumgarner to start on Opening Day in Milwaukee against the Brewers, CSN Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic reports. Shocking, I know.

The Giants had a busy offseason, adding Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to the starting rotation, but neither had a shot at getting the Opening Day nod considering what Bumgarner has done for the Giants over the last five seasons.

Since the start of the 2011 season, the 26-year-old lefty compiled a 3.05 ERA with 1,034 strikeouts and 239 walks across 1,050 innings. Among starters who logged at least 800 innings in that span of time, only Clayton Kershaw, Cueto, Zack Greinke, David Price, and Felix Hernandez have posted lower ERAs.  And Bumgarner is the only one among them with a championship ring. In fact, he has three.

Tony Clark is not happy so many players remain unsigned

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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We’re almost halfway through February. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training soon. And yet, there are more than a handful of solid free agents that remain unsigned. Among them: Yovani Gallardo, Ian Desmond, and Dexter Fowler. All three have draft pick compensation tied to them, as each rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from his respective former team. That, undoubtedly, is a reason why they haven’t inked a contract yet.

MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark is unhappy about this reality and expects to discuss potential changes when the next collective bargaining agreement is negotiated. The current CBA expires after the 2016 season. Per the Associated Press, Clark said last week, “I think it’s disappointing when there are as many talented players still without a home. I don’t think it’s in anyone’s best interest to be in a world where very talented players are at home for whatever reason they are there. It will likely be a part of the conversation in bargaining.”

Clark also mentioned, among other things, the possibility of a draft lottery, which would take away the incentive for teams to “tank”, or lose on purpose. The Astros and Phillies have notably done this in recent years, finishing with baseball’s worst record and thus netting the #1 overall draft pick.

These are, however, simply two items of many that will be discussed during the upcoming offseason. It will be interesting to see what solutions are eventually put in place.

Michael Pineda hopes to reach 200-inning mark for first time

New York Yankees' Michael Pineda delivers a pitch during the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
AP Photo/Adam Hunger
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It was reported on Friday that Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka isn’t sure if he’ll be ready for Opening Day as he makes his way back from arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. His health will be crucial to the Yankees’ chances this season, but the same goes for rotation-mate Michael Pineda, who hopes that this is the year he’ll be able to take on the workload of a frontline starter.

Pineda was on pace for a career-high in innings last season, but he landed on the disabled list in late July with a right flexor forearm muscle strain and missed a month. He struggled upon his return and ended up with 160 2/3 innings, so he fell short of his career-high of 171 innings as a rookie with the Mariners way back in 2011. Now going into his age-27 season, Pineda told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com that his goal for 2016 is to reach 200 innings for the first time in his career.

“For me, this year, I’m coming here early to be strong and working hard to pitch 200 innings this year,” Pineda said at the club’s Minor League complex. “I want to throw 200 innings this year. This is my goal, and help my team.”

Pineda had a mediocre 4.37 ERA (90 ERA+) last season despite impressive peripherals with 8.7 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9. Among pitchers with at least 160 innings pitched, only Bartolo Colon of the Mets had a lower walk percentage. Pineda managed to increase his ground ball rate to 48.2 percent and also saw an uptick in velocity from 2014, so there’s reason to believe in improvement if he can stay healthy.

Brewers GM: Acquiring Jacob Nottingham doesn’t change Jonathan Lucroy’s status

Jonathan Lucroy
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
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The Brewers acquired prospects Jake Nottingham and Bubba Derby from the Athletics on Friday in exchange for slugging outfielder Khris Davis. The hope is that Nottingham will develop into the Brewers’ catcher of the future, so you could say that the club is planning for life after Jonathan Lucroy. However, Brewers general manager David Stearns said today that the trade doesn’t change Lucroy’s immediate status.

The Brewers are in rebuild-mode and Lucroy is an excellent trade chip if healthy, as his contract includes a $5.25 million club option for 2017. It’s likely just a matter of time before he’s shipped elsewhere, but yesterday’s trade shouldn’t change the timeline for a potential deal. Nottingham doesn’t turn 21 until April and has yet to play in Double-A, so he’s still a ways off from the majors. The Brewers can afford to wait on the right offer for Lucroy, whether it’s in spring training or at the trade deadline or perhaps later.

Checking in at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Nottingham batted .316/.372/.505 with 17 home runs over 109 games last season between Class A and High-A. He was traded from the Astros to the Athletics as part of the Scott Kazmir deal last July. It’s worth noting that Stearns was the assistant GM for Houston when Nottingham was drafted in the sixth round back in 2013, so he’s clearly a fan.