San Francisco Giants v Colorado Rockies

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Giants 8, Rockies 1: Lincecum had a no hitter into the seventh inning. As I was watching it in the den, my wife walked in. She loves Tim Lincecum, so I said “hey, your boyfriend has a no-hitter going in the seventh.”  She said “Is that good?”  I’ve been married to this woman for almost 16 years and we’ve been together for over 20 and absolutely zero baseball knowledge has rubbed off on her. There’s an aggressive, tenacious amount of ignorance there, bordering on the hostile. Maybe it’s for the best. If she was into baseball, she probably would try to do something about her Tim Lincecum fixation. Timmy struck out 10 in seven and two-thirds.

Indians 7, Royals 3: A tight one in regulation between the top two teams in the AL Central. Though they would pile more runs on in the 10th, Shelley Duncan’s RBI double that inning ended up being the game-winner. So two of the Calcaterra ladies had reason to be happy last night, even though they were both oblivious of it. My wife because of her active ignorance of her boyfriend’s eventually spoiled accomplishment, my daughter because her minor league baseball crush got his hit after her 8:30 PM bedtime.

Dodgers 4, Braves: 2:   I couldn’t watch all of this one because of the time difference, but I switched to it as soon as Lincecum’s no-hitter was broken up. Thanks to MLB.tv I had my choice of announcers. Do I watch my favorite team’s crew, or do I watch the bad guys’ crew? The former is Chip Caray. The latter is Vin Scully. Who do you think I watched?  In the top of the second inning Scully said the following, and this is an exact quote: “Dan Uggla — U-G-G-L-A. It is a Swedish name, and it means owl.”  You can never go wrong with Scully.

Red Sox 9, Blue Jays 1: I hit this one up yesterday afternoon. Still no word if the real Dice-K has been found. I don’t know that anyone’s looking. We may have a Martin Guerre situation at work here. Except in this case, I think everyone will be just fine if Arnaud du Tilh is allowed to stick around.

Brewers 6, Phillies 3: John Axford blew the save by allowing a pinch-hit RBI single to Pete Orr, and they played on deadlocked until the 12th. That’s when Kyle Kendrick came in for Philly. While he pitched the entire 12th inning, Kendrick didn’t retire anyone who didn’t willingly give themselves up. Here’s how the inning went: walk, attempted sacrifice/Kendrick throwing error, sacrifice, HBP, run-scoring wild pitch, intentional walk, RBI sacrifice, intentional walk, RBI single, but the third out on an outfield assist. Oy.

Rays 5, White Sox 0: In the Power Rankings yesterday I excoriated the Mariners for making Adam Kennedy the DH and batting him cleanup last week. In this one Joe Maddon did the same for Felipe Lopez. Lopez, however, went 3 for 4 with a double a homer and three RBI. Sam Fuld went 4 for 4, and his legend grows. Eight shutout innings for David Price.

Twins 5, Orioles 3: Eight straight losses for Baltimore. Drew Butera — who else? — swings the big stick for the Twins, going 2 for 3 with a double and three RBI. Matt Capps allowed a homer in the ninth but got the save anyway. Which is an improvement.

Pirates 9, Reds 3: Travis Wood takes a cue from Edinson Volquez and allows three runs in the first inning and the Reds never really recovered. Wood gave up six runs on eight hits in all. No home runs for Pittsburgh, but every Pirate starter except the pitcher got a hit, and most of them had two hits.  Only bright spot for Cincy: Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless ninth, hitting triple digits on the radar gun multiple times. The ballpark radar gun registered 106 once, but that was obviously hot. But even if it was, what, four or five miles per hour over, it ain’t like Chapman was throwing meatballs.

Cubs 1, Padres 0: It was 34 degrees at the time of the first pitch, so the fact that this was a 0-0 game through nine innings is kind of understandable. Carlos Zambrano shut out the Padres on three hits while striking out eight ten during his time in the game. Tim Stauffer did the same on four hits over seven. Cubbies win it when Tyler Colvin doubles in Geovany Soto in the bottom of the 10th.

Rangers 7, Angels 1: C.J. Wilson strikes out nine in seven innings and Ervin Santana shows us that there’s a long ways down from Mt. HarenWeaver to the valley in which the rest of the Angels rotation resides (4 IP, 10 H, 6 ER).

Tigers 8, Mariners 3: Detroit comes from behind when they put up a 6-spot in the seventh inning. Or, as Eric Wedge put it after the game, “that seventh inning got ugly there.” A win, but a costly one for Detroit, as they lose Victor Martinez to a groin injury in the second.

Joe Mauer reveals he’s had blurred vision since 2013 concussion

Joe Mauer
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After a decade as the best all-around catcher in baseball Joe Mauer suffered a concussion in August of 2013 that forced him to change positions and marked the end of his time as a great hitter.

Mauer was doing his usual thing at the time of the concussion, hitting .324 with a .404 on-base percentage and .880 OPS. Since returning from the brain injury he’s hit .270 with a .348 on-base percentage and .725 OPS while seeing his numbers decline across the board.

Mauer revealed today to Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that “lingering symptoms occasionally blurred his vision at the plate the past two seasons” and “he will experiment hitting with sunglasses for the first time to improve his pitch tracking” this season.

Here’s more from Murphy:

Bright sunshine sometimes triggered blurred vision that Mauer links to the concussion with which he was diagnosed in August 2013 after absorbing at least “two significant blows” from foul tips while he was still catching.

“I don’t want that to be kind of an excuse. If I’m out there, I’m out there. That’s just the way I am,” Mauer said. “There are times I’ve gone up to the plate and I just couldn’t pick up the ball. That’s part of the frustration because I’m trying to do everything I can to get back. It just takes time.”

There are more quotes along those same lines and Mauer’s numbers in night games were much better than his numbers in day games last season.

I live in Minnesota and it has been incredibly frustrating to see such a large (or at least vocal) segment of the Twins fan base treat Mauer’s steep decline as if it has nothing to do with the significant brain trauma he suffered. I’m hopeful that Mauer going public about literally struggling to see the baseball while at the plate will convince people to treat him more humanely, but that’s probably wishful thinking at this point.

What a shame, on every level.

Masahiro Tanaka can’t say for sure if he’ll be ready by Opening Day

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Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka said today that he “can’t say for sure” whether he’ll be ready for Opening Day.

Tanaka underwent arthroscopic surgery in late November to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. Tanaka threw off a bullpen mound Tuesday for the first time since undergoing a cleanup procedure on his right elbow last October and, while healthy, may be behind other pitchers.

Tanaka posted a 3.51 ERA and a 139/27 K/BB ratio across 154 innings last season. He also has a partially torn UCL he’s been pitching through for some time which is always something the Yankees have on their mind when it comes to schedules and workouts for their ace.

Denard Span, not Angel Pagan, will be Giants’ center fielder and leadoff hitter

Denard Span
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Making official what was assumed when the Giants signed Denard Span to a three-year, $31 million contract last month, manager Bruce Bochy announced that Span will start in center field and bat leadoff.

That means 34-year-old Angel Pagan, who’s been the Giants’ starting center fielder and primary leadoff hitter for the past four seasons, will slide to left field and bat further down in the lineup. About a month before the Span signing Bochy said Pagan would remain in the center fielder/leadoff role, but the situation obviously changed.

It’s a move that makes sense, because Span–if healthy following hip surgery–is a superior defensive center fielder with better on-base skills. And if Pagan doesn’t bounce back following a rough 2015 season then having him in left field will make it easier for the Giants to platoon him or bench him in favor of, say, Gregor Blanco or a bigger bat.

Pitchers to receive new visor-like protective headgear

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For the past few years MLB, the MLBPA and cap and helmet manufacturers have been working on various models of protective headgear for pitchers. Some of the models have been unworkable, some of them have not met the satisfaction of pitchers and others have, well, looked a little odd. At present the only pitcher who routinely wears any headgear is Alex Torres, who wears the bulky isoBLOX helmet.

Now, however, there is a new option. And, as you can see above it’s a bit different than what we’ve seen before. It’s more or less like a visor, which will have a nylon top on them to give a full cap-like appearance. The ear flaps will be lefty and righty-specific, given that righties are more likely to be hit on the right and lefties on the left given their follow-throughs.

The new caps will be given out to players this spring and, like the old ones, will be used or not used at the choice of the players. You can read more about the new helmet at ESPN’s Outside the Lines report.