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.

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.