Josh Johnson

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Marlins 5, Braves 1: Josh Johnson takes a no-hitter into the eighth before Freddie Freeman breaks it up with a double. Probably for the best. Johnson was at 109 pitches. If he keeps the no-no up all the way his pitch count is getting a bit nutty. Chipper Jones’ otherwise meaningless home run in the ninth gave him his 1,500th career RBI. Nine more and he ties Mickey Mantle. If he stays reasonably healthy this year he could get up to Al Kaline/Harmon Killebrew/Rogers Hornsby territory.

Phillies 3, Nationals 2: Roy Halladay had a two-hit shutout into the ninth when things started to get a bit shaky, but I don’t think anyone ever doubted that he’d finish the job. Indeed, I had this game on when Cholly visited the mound in the ninth. His gait was quick. It seemed clear that it was only a courtesy call. Of all of the 3-2 games you’ll see, this one felt the least close.

Tigers 3, Rangers 2: [Ron Washington shows the visiting conigliere around his estate]: “Feliz … Feliz.  I’m not gonna pitch him, though. I’m gonna put him out to stud.  Thanks Tony. Let’s get something to eat, huh?”

Cubs 9, Astros 5: I neglected to mention it in yesterday’s recap, but I’m pretty sure a big part of Tuesday night’s loss was attributable to Mike Quade’s displeasure at having to miss the Rush concert at the United Center in Chicago that night. That kind of thing can throw a guy. At least a guy who continues to be a big Rush fan into his 50s. Unable to really relax, knowing he missed a sweet show, Quade could do nothing Tuesday night except lie awake, staring out at the bleakness of Megadon.  But, with Rush safely in Toledo last night — not that I, um, know that or anything — Quade could relax and the Cubs could too, teeing off on Wandy Rodriguez and racking up 14 total hits.

Athletics 7, White Sox 4: “Dear Bobby J. I’m sorry for all of the things I said about you last year. My son is sorry too.  Fact is, we never realized we had it so good. The team needs you. The bullpen needs you. Bobby: I need you. Please come back. I can’t bear to see us blow games late again like this anymore. It’ll be the death of me. Sincerely, Ozzie.”

Rockies 5, Mets 4: The Rockies continue to go nuts, as does Troy Tulowitzki, who hit a three-run homer in the fifth to put the Rockies up for good. At the time, there were two outs, first base was open, there were runners on second and third and Jose Lopez was on deck. Don’t you walk Tulowitzki there?

Brewers 6, Pirates 0: This is why the Brewers got Shawn Marcum, who shut the Pirates out on four hits over seven innings. Three-run homer from Prince Fielder, who is absolutely tearing it up right now. Potentially sacrilegious question: is Fielder a more attractive free agent first baseman than Albert Pujols next winter?

Yankees 7, Orioles 4: A.J. Burnett wasn’t dominant, but he won his third game. Chris Tillman got destroyed, thanks in part to a three-run A-Rod homer and a two-run Robbie Cano double in the second. The second inning could have gotten even more out of hand if Adam Jones doesn’t make this sick grab on a bases loaded bloop from Jorge Posada.

Angels 4, Indians 2: Anaheim takes the second in a row from Cleveland, winning it on a Jeff Mathis sac fly in the 12th inning. After a rocky start to the year, the Angels bullpen has stepped up,  having not given up an earned run in their last 22 innings.

Padres 3, Reds 2: The Reds’ bullpen was not so sublime. They coughed up the lead in the eighth and the game in the ninth, with a nice assist from some bad defense. The Padres salvage one after a couple of tough losses.

Blue Jays 8, Mariners 3:  The Jays exploded for six in the eighth inning, with the big shot being a Jose Bautista three-run homer. Another record-low crowd for Seattle, though according to the game story a decent portion of it consisted of Jays fans who came down from British Columbia. Earlier this week someone mentioned in the comments that they went to college in B.C. or something and that going to Jays games in Seattle was a rite of passage. All of which leads me to ask if anyone in the M’s or Jays’ fan base — fan bases with which I have the least experience out of almost anyone — thinks of the teams as rivals by virtue of them being 1977 expansion partners.  These are the kinds of things I sit and wonder when the cable goes out.

Royals 10, Twins 5: It’s a lot of fun to blame Ron Gardenhire for telling Francisco Liriano to “pitch to contact,” but ultimately Liriano has to pitch, and he’s simply not doing it right now. Liriano was shelled by Kansas City for seven runs in five innings. He was beat so bad that Kyle Davies got the win despite allowing five runs on ten hits in five innings of his own.  I guess Davies just knows how to win.

Cardinals 15, Diamondbacks 5:  It was 12-0 by the middle of the fourth inning. Lance Berkman had a grand slam and another RBI on a groundout. He now has four homers in the past three games. Every Cardinal starter except Matt Holliday had a hit, which has to make a guy in Holliday’s position really, really frustrated, even if he can’t say anything about it.

Giants 4, Dodgers 3:  The Giants take two of three from L.A.. Buster Posey had a stolen base. The AP story puts it thusly:

After Posey went to first in the third inning, he stole his first career base. He had one steal during last year’s playoffs but it doesn’t count toward his official statistics.

And the one he stole in the postseason shouldn’t have counted because POSEY WAS FREAKING OUT.

Not that I’m hung up on that or anything.

Rays vs. Red Sox: POSTPONED: Although I shelter from the rain under a broken tree, My chair was nearest to the fire In every company that talked of love or politics, Ere Time transfigured me.

Yoenis Cespedes says he does not plan to opt out of his contract

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 04: Yoenis Cespedes #52 of the New York Mets reacts after he hit a two run double in the eighth inning inning against the Miami Marlins during a game at Citi Field on July 4, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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Yoenis Cespedes is in the first year of a three-year, $75 million deal with the Mets that includes an opt-out clause leading into 2017. It’s a great situation for him. If he was hurt or ineffective this year, hey, he still gets $75 million. If he rakes he can go back out on the free agent market this November and see if he can’t do better than the two years and $50 million he’ll have left.

Cespedes said today, however, that he does not plan to exercise his opt-out this winter:

Speaking through an interpreter, Cespedes stayed on message, saying his focus is on “helping the team win so we can hopefully make it to the playoffs.”

When asked by The Record’s Matt Ehalt if he intended to honor all three years of his current $75 million contract, without opting out, Cespedes flatly said, “Yes.”

The beautiful thing about baseball contracts is that the Bergen Record is not a party to them and thus statements made to them about the contract are not legally binding. Cespedes can most certainly change his mind on the matter — or just lie to the press even if he fully intends to opt-out — and nothing can be done to him. At least nothing apart from having someone write bad things about him, but that’s gonna happen anyway. The guy can’t play golf without someone who has no idea how to Cespedes’ job say that he “just doesn’t get it.”

So, will Cespedes opt-out? He’s certainly making a case that it’d be a wise thing to do purely on financial terms. He’s hitting .295/.365/.570 with 25 homers in 98 games. And those numbers are dragged down a bit by the fact that the Mets kept playing him through an injury for the second half of July.

Maybe Cespedes just likes New York and maybe he’s happy with his two-year, $50 million guarantee and won’t opt out. Maybe he doesn’t want to deal with the drama and uncertainty of free agency again, even if he would have no trouble finding a job. Maybe he thinks that he’ll fall short of the $25 million average annual value he’s looking at for 2017 and 2018 if he opts out, even if he does get a longer deal as a result.

We have no idea and we have no say. But it’s not hard to imagine that, if he keeps hitting and especially if he helps the Mets get into the playoffs, he’d be leaving a ton of money on the table if he doesn’t test the market once again.

Oakland A’s officials taking a tour of a possible waterfront ballpark site

OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 19:  A Maersk Line container ship sits docked in a berth  at the Port of Oakland on February 19, 2015 in Oakland, California. International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) longshoremen at the Port of Oakland took the day shift off today to attend a union meeting amidst ongoing contract negotiations between dockworkers and terminal operators at west coast ports. The port closure, the seventh one this month, has left 12 container ships stuck at the dock with no workers to load and unload them. The ILWU members at 29 West Coast ports have been without a contract for 9 months. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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The Oakland Athletics’ ballpark saga has gone on for years now, with false starts in Fremont and San Jose, lawsuits and seemingly interminable talks with the City of Oakland over a new place on the current Coliseum site. That’s all complicated, of course, by the presence of the Raiders, on whose address — be it Oakland, Las Vegas or someplace else — the A’s future is still largely contingent.

The city has tried to get the A’s interested in a waterfront site for several years now. There are a lot of problems with that due mostly to zoning and regulatory matters, as well as proximity to transit and other practical concerns. The artist’s renderings are often pretty, but it takes more than artist’s renderings to make a good ballpark plan.

But no one is giving up on that and, it seems, even the A’s are willing to at least listen to such proposals now:

Oakland A’s co-owner John Fisher is expected to join officials Thursday for a hush-hush tour of the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal, a cargo-loading area near Jack London Square that Mayor Libby Schaaf tirelessly promotes as “a fantastic site for a ballpark.”

Guess it ain’t so “hush-hush” anymore. As with all Oakland ballpark stories, however, feel free to continue snoozing until someone gives us a real reason to wake up.

Note: The above photo is from the Port of Oakland. I have no idea what the proximity of the working part of the city’s port is to where they’d build a ballpark, but I used this picture because I love the story about how George Lucas spotted those things from an airplane as he was leaving Oakland or San Francisco or whatever and used them as inspiration for the AT-AT Imperial Walkers in “Empire Strikes Back.” Which may be a totally aprocyphal story, but one I love so much that I told it to my kids when we flew in to Oakland back in June and will choose to believe despite whatever evidence you provide.