And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Angels 5, Athletics 0: Jered Weaver continues his early season dominance with a seven-hit, ten-strikeout shutout. Last week I said that he and Haren are like Dback-era Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. That comp was off the top of my head, but it has some validity at the moment as Weaver is the first pitcher to have six wins in his team’s first 23 games since The Big Unit did it in 2002. Overall, he’s the sixth pitcher since 1900 with six wins by the end of April. That list includes Johnson in 2002 and 2000, Dave Stewart in 1988, Vida Blue in 1971 and Brandon Webb in 2008.

Diamondbacks 4, Phillies 0: Ian Kennedy dominated the Phillies, pitching a three-hit shutout and striking out 10. Crazy couple of days for Kennedy: his daughter was born at 2AM on Sunday and then this a little over 40 hours later.

White Sox 2, Yankees 0: Phil Humber — Phil Humber? — took a no-hitter into the seventh against the Bombers and Chris Sale and Sergio Santos took the shutout the rest of the way home. The Yankees’ silent bats waste a strong performance from A.J. Burnett (8 IP, 3 H, 1 ER).  Who is this Phil Humber anyway?  A former Mets draft pick who was part of the Johan Santana deal, did his time in Minnesota, spent a season in Kansas City and then was waived to the A’s who in turned waived him to the White Sox, that’s who. He was born in Nacogdoches. That’s in east Texas. Not far from the border. But he likes to tell everybody that he’s from Lake Charles.

Marlins 5, Dodgers 4: Don Mattingly is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. Last Thursday he stretched Clayton Kershaw into the ninth inning against the Braves because he apparently didn’t trust Jonathan Broxton to lock it down, Kershaw tired, the Braves tied it up and on they went into extra innings. Last night he goes to Broxton in the ninth and he allows four baserunners — all of whom reached after there were two outs — and blows the game. Granted, he had help from Jamey Carrol whose error prolonged the game and allowed the tying run to score, but there’s something to be said about prophecies and chickens and eggs and all of that here. Or you can just say that Jonathan Broxton stinks.

Padres 5, Braves 3: Two homers from Ryan Ludwick, including a two-run walkoff job in the 13th inning. In other news, giving up five runs to the Padres these days is like giving up 10 runs to any other team.

Pirates 4, Nationals 2: Brandon Wood’s first action in a Pirates uniform and he hits a two-run double and later comes around to score. This will be kind of cool if it leads to Wood making a fresh start in Pittsburgh and regaining some of the luster he had a few years ago. It won’t be cool, however, if his playing time comes at the expense of Pedro Alvarez, who stands a much better chance of being the part of the next winning Pirates team than Wood does (if indeed, such a beast ever comes to pass).

Blue Jays 6. Rangers 4: You can’t stop Corey Patterson, you can only hope to contain him (2 for 4, HR, 3 RBI).

Reds 9, Brewers 5: A six-run third inning against Chris Narveson from a revamped Reds’ lineup. Brandon Phillips was three for four with a double and three RBI. He’s 11 for 28 with a homer and four doubles since missing three games with a sore groin a couple of weeks ago.

Rockies 5, Cubs 3: A defensive disaster for Chicago, with four errors — three from Starlin Castro — leading to four unearned runs for the Rockies. They were sloppy against L.A. over the weekend too.

2017 Winter Meetings Preview

Craig Calcaterra
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL — The baseball world has descended on the Swan and Dolphin Resort at Disney World for the 2017 Winter Meetings. There’s a lot of work to be done.

The two biggest names on the market — Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton — have found new homes, but so far only 33 of baseball’s 249 free agents have signed, almost all of them minor. Still looking for a home: Yu Darvish, J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Jake Arrieta, CC Sabathia, Lorenzo Cain, Wade Davis, Lance Lynn, Greg Holland and many, many more. In early November we ran down the top free agents, position-by-position, to help you get a jump on who is available and what your team is looking at as it seeks to fill its needs.

It’s not just players looking for homes this week, however. It’s teams looking to make up for their failures in the Ohtani and Stanton derbies. The Cardinals and Giants both went big to get Stanton and came up empty. The Giants were likewise in Ohtani, but no dice. Baseball’s worst team in 2017 is obviously willing to spend some money to improve, and now they will look elsewhere to spend it. The Red Sox weren’t in on those two, but since it’s biggest rival landed Giancarlo Stanton, GM Dave Dombrowski will no doubt be kicking the tires hard on J.D. Martinez or Eric Hosmer to try to keep pace. The Mariners acquired a lot of international pool money in their quest for Ohtani, but they could still use a starting pitcher or two, so perhaps they may look at, say, Jake Arrieta? Lance Lynn? Yu Darvish? Well, they should, but who knows if they will.

Despite the sheer number of available free agents, this is a thin free agent class in terms of talent. That means that, for a team to improve significantly, they may be better served by making a trade. The Marlins already traded Stanton, but their fire sale does not seem to be over. Could they deal the newly-acquired Starlin Castro? Christian Yelich? Marcel Ozuna? Bet on yes, and bet on any team wishing to spend prospects instead of free agent cash to take what Miami is unloading. Other potential trade candidates: Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, Rays starter Chris Archer and third baseman Evan Longoria and Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler.

Trade deals and free agent negotiations take place behind closed doors at the Swan and Dolphin. One of the major public activities of the Winter Meetings is when all 30 of the managers meet and greet the press. This year there are six new men at the helm: Dave Martinez in Washington, Mickey Callaway with the Mets, Gabe Kapler — Baseball’s Most Handsome Manager — in Philly, Alex Cora in Boston, Aaron Boone with the Yankees and Rob Gardenhire with the Tigers. I’ll be in the scrum for a lot of these guys — they do them two at a time so I can’t see everyone — and will let you know if they say anything fun. Or if any of them slug me for saying that they’re ugly.

Outside of the transactions and the Hall of Fame stuff, we have the more mundane Winter Meetings business. Indeed, the vast majority of the people at the Meetings aren’t there for transactions. They’re there to network, seek jobs and discuss the business of baseball like any other industry convention. Ever year we hear about a rule change or a proposal for future rule changes at the Meetings. The big one everyone is talking about this offseason is the possibility of a pitch clock.

The final event of the Winter Meetings is the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place at 8am on Thursday morning. You likely have no idea who most of the players who will be selected are, but here’s a good place to start your research on that. If your team takes someone in the draft, the most important thing to know is that he’ll either be on the big league roster all year or he’ll have to be returned to his original team. Well, they could be stashed on the disabled list with phantom injuries so they won’t have to be returned, but no team would ever do that, would they? Perish the thought.

So, yes, there’s a lot to be done. I’ll be on the scene down here at Disney World, bringing you all the best hot stove business we have to offer and, as usual, some more fun odds and ends from baseball’s biggest offseason event.