And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 12, White Sox 3:  Well, I was supposed to be at this one.  Instead, my 9:30 AM flight to New York turned into a 12:08 PM flight which then turned into a 3:30 PM flight through Philly, which then turned into a 5:17 PM flight through Philly that was highly unlikely to allow me to make the connection to New York at all last night, let alone in time to see the ballgame. So I made the decision any wise man would make: I called my mom, had her pick me up from the airport and drive me back home so I could at least sleep in my own bed rather than some Philadelphia Ramada Inn.  Not that I ever got too mad or complained too greatly. The same storm system that mildly inconvenienced me killed hundreds the day before so, no, complaining was not exactly the order of the day. OK, some very mild, perspective-laden complaining. But I felt guilty about it afterward.

As you’re reading this on Friday morning I am (cross my fingers!) en route to New York, this time for real. It’s a flight so early that — apologies — this edition of ATH is a slightly truncated one. I’ll be sure to refund your money at my earliest convenience.

As for the Yankees-Sox game: this was one of the more Edwin Jackson starts you’ll ever see. He had a no-hitter going for a while but was still down 2-0. Then it went downhill because Edwin Jackson basically has no idea where the ball is going. 91 pitches in four innings. Quite the trick.

Giants 5, Pirates 2: The species known as Ryan Vogelsongia displays a combination of long life cycles, a seven-year periodicity, and mass emergences. They are closely-related to locusts, but they are not locusts at all, as locusts belong to the order Orthoptera. The nymphs of Ryan Vogelsongia live underground at depths of 30 cm or more, feeding on the juices of plant roots. They stay immobile and go through five development stages before constructing an exit tunnel in the spring of their 7th year, at which time they give up two runs on four hits while striking out eight in five and two-thirds innings.

Rays 15, Twins 3; Rays 6, Twins 1: Ben Zobrist certainly ate his Wheaties yesterday. Eight RBI in the first game and another two in the nightcap.

Indians 8, Royals 2: The Royals sent the worst regular starting pitcher in the history of baseball out to face the first place Indians and achieved the expected results.

Blue Jays 5, Rangers 2: It was a 2-2 tie from the third inning on, but then Darren Oliver got knocked around in the ninth. If you can call having Corey Patterson lay down a bunt RBI single and having Adrian Beltre and Oliver combine for the most confusing and ugly-looking two-run, two-error play you’ll ever see “being knocked around.” The Jays take three of four from Texas.

Mariners 7, Tigers 2: I watched some of this on the laptop while hating life at the airport.  Michael Pineda has seriously nasty stuff. He’s going to throw a no-hitter someday. Or strike out 18 dudes or something.

Red Sox 6, Orioles 2: Jon Lester’s mastery of Baltimore continues. A 3 for 5, 2 RBI day for Adrian Gonzalez, who is starting to heat up.

Nationals 4, Mets 3: The Mets’ winning streak ends as Livan Hernandez hangs ’em out to dry for eight innings. Like he as some kind of launderer or something.

Cardinals 11, Astros 7: Five RBI for Lance Berkman against his old team. Take that, Milo Hamilton.

Diamondbacks 11, Cubs 2: Ryan Dempster lasted one-third on an inning. Gave up seven runs in that time.  Yikes.

Evan Longoria: ‘I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base’

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The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.

Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.

Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”

Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.

The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.