Jered Weaver

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.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Tuesday’s action

New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Wednesday, April 27, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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We’re back to a full slate of games on Tuesday night. The game to watch tonight, especially if you’re a fan of mismatches, is Braves-Mets. The Mets easily handled the Braves on Monday night, winning 4-1. The club blasted three home runs in the first inning off of Mike Foltynewicz, which is nearly as many homers as the Braves have hit all season (five). The Mets went on cruise control from there. Bartolo Colon finished with seven strikeouts over eight shutout innings. Jeurys Familia gave up a run but was able to reach the finish line.

The Braves are now 6-19, a game ahead of the Astros and Twins for the worst record in baseball. It’s not particularly shocking since the Braves have embraced tanking in their final year at Turner Field. How low can they go? The Atlanta record for losses in a season is 106 by the 1988 club. The 1935 Boston Braves went 38-115. The Braves’ current .240 winning percentage would rank as the worst in franchise history — including Atlanta, Boston, and Milwaukee — if the season were to end today.

Tuesday’s pitching match-up features Matt Wisler for the Braves and Matt Harvey for the Mets. The two will square off at 7:10 PM EDT at Citi Field tonight.

The rest of Tuesday’s action…

Detroit Tigers (Justin Verlander) @ Cleveland Indians (Josh Tomlin), 6:10 PM EDT

Chicago Cubs (Jake Arrieta) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Jon Niese), 7:05 PM EDT

New York Yankees (Luis Severino) @ Baltimore Orioles (Chris Tillman), 7:05 PM EDT

Texas Rangers (Martin Perez) @ Toronto Blue Jays (Marco Estrada), 7:07 PM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks (Patrick Corbin) @ Miami Marlins (Justin Nicolino), 7:10 PM EDT

Los Angeles Dodgers (Scott Kazmir) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Matt Moore), 7:10 PM EDT

San Francisco Giants (Jeff Samardzija) @ Cincinnati Reds (Jon Moscot), 7:10 PM EDT

Boston Red Sox (Steven Wright) @ Chicago White Sox (Jose Quintana), 8:10 PM EDT

Los Angeles Angels (Nick Tropeano) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Junior Guerra), 8:10 PM EDT

Minnesota Twins (Alex Meyer) @ Houston Astros (Collin McHugh), 8:10 PM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies (Aaron Nola) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Michael Wacha), 8:15 PM EDT

Washington Nationals (Tanner Roark) @ Kansas City Royals (Chris Young), 8:15 PM EDT

Seattle Mariners (Hisashi Iwakuma) @ Oakland Athletics (Sonny Gray), 10:05 PM EDT

Colorado Rockies (Eddie Butler) @ San Diego Padres (Andrew Cashner), 10:10 PM EDT

Bryce Harper signs the largest endorsement deal in MLB history

Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper pumps his fist as he takes a curtain call after he hit a grand slam during the third  inning of an baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Thursday, April 14, 2016, in Washington. This was Harper's 100th home run of his career. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
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I figure it’s not that hard to sign the largest endorsement deal in baseball history. In the NBA? Sure. Those deals are insane. But in baseball? Man, we still have major leaguers doing quickie, video taped ads for local car dealerships and sandwich shops and stuff. It would mildly surprise me if I saw a third starter for a .500 team spinning and flipping one of those signs on a street corner near a new apartment complex some day, but I wouldn’t be utterly shocked. It’s just a different set of economics. You can’t really wear baseball shoes out around town. Cleats tend to scuff up the woodwork.

But Bryce Harper is different. He was barely in the league a year before I saw his giant underwear-clad butt in a big glossy ad while walking through the unmentionables department at Macy’s and his Under Armour ads are all over the place. Probably the closest thing we’ve seen to NBA-style shoe exposure in MLB, though it doesn’t quite compare.

It may one day, though: he has reportedly signed a 10-year extension with Under Armour that is believed to be the largest endorsement deal in history for a baseball player. Terms aren’t being disclosed, but they’re claiming that so it’s probably at least plausible.

Baseball players will still never be the kind of product-pushers other athletes are, but Harper is probably the closest thing it’ll get for a while. At the very least he can be the second or third banana in one of those commercials in which stars from various sports do things like shave, drink sports drinks and, I dunno, flex their quads while wearing compression gear. He can be Garfunkel to Steph Curry’s Simon. Or something.

Major League Baseball may cancel the upcoming Puerto Rico series due to Zika concerns

FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2016, file photo, Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae sit in a petri dish at the Fiocruz institute in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil. Even before the Zika virus reached crisis levels early this year, Brazil had trouble maintaining routine eradication efforts. An Associated Press investigation found that cities and states in Brazil’s northeast ran out of larvicide for several months last year. The Aedes aegypti mosquito are a vector for the spread of Zika virus. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
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Last month we wrote about how the Pirates and the Marlins are scheduled to play a series in Puerto Rico at the end of May. And how, due to an outbreak of Zika on the island, Pirates and Marlins players have voiced serious concerns. For, among other reasons, Zika precautions are such that those exposed should not engage in procreative sex for several months due to birth defects concerns and baseball players are at an age when doing stuff like having kids is a pretty important thing.

This afternoon Yahoo’s Jeff Passan reports that, while the official line is that the series will still be played, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation are telling him that it’s on “the brink of cancellation.”

It’s understandable though, as Passan notes, it makes politics — both baseball politics and regular politics — with Puerto Rico kind of uncomfortable. And then there’s the concern that Zika could spread to Florida and is already in other countries, which means that the Pirates-Marlins thing is something of a case of first impression which could set precedents beyond just baseball.

That’s understandable, but it’s also a set of concerns that are above the pay grade of baseball players. Personally, it’s hard to blame them for being wary. And this seems like some reasonable wariness, not hysteria.

 

Tigers activate James McCann

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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The Tigers have activated catcher James McCann from the 15-day disabled list. He’s been out since April 11 with a sprained ankle.

Whether he has a position is an open question. In his absence Jarrod Saltalamacchia has put up a .947 OPS. That’s weighted somewhat heavily by slugging and some fluky power, but he’s done a good job. At the very least it will cause Brad Ausmus to ease McCann back into the lineup more slowly, possibly in a split role as opposed to a backup/starter relationship.