Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics

And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights


Athletics 5, Rangers 4: The promise of the Athletics’ offseason: adding a bit of offense to cover the holes from last year and bolstering the bullpen to solve the team’s other big weakness. Job well done as far as this game goes, as Hideki Matsui hit a walkoff homer in the 10th after the Athletics’ bullpen shut the Rangers out on two hits over four innings to end it. Grant Balfour made it interesting in the top of the 10th, but he wiggled out of it, so we’ll call that a bug and not a feature of the New and Improved Athletics.

Red Sox 9, Angels 5: Jered Weaver proves mortal. The Angels’ ace gets his first loss of the year after Boston tags him for three runs on six hits in six innings. Which isn’t a ton, but any hope of Weaver getting a no-decision was lost when Hisanori Takahashi and Francisco Rodriguez got lit up like a pinball machine in the seventh. All of Boston’s nine runs were driven in by the 2-5 hitters, Pedroia, Gonzalez, Youkilis and Ortiz.

Nationals 2, Giants 0: Tom Gorzelanny gave up only three hits in eight innings as the Giants continue to search for a way to score runs. In fact, they’ve been shut out three times in the past six games.  As I noted yesterday, it was Military Appreciation Night. Active duty members who have to wake up early tomorrow were probably pleased, therefore, that this game took only two hours and two minutes.

Braves 6, Brewers 2: The last time the Braves met Yovani Gallardo he shut ’em out on a two-hitter. This time the Atlanta bats do a bit better, scoring five runs on nine hits — plus four walks — in five innings. Jair Jurrjens has been outstanding in all four starts he’s had this season.

Yankees 5, Tigers 3: Seven straight losses for Detroit. This one was winnable. Down 3-0, the Tigers rallied to tie it in the seventh but the Yankees clawed back with two in the ninth. One of the runs scored on an Alex Avilia passed ball. But he also had two homers. And here I thought the book on him was that he was a good defensive catcher who couldn’t hit much.

White Sox 6, Orioles 2: Two homers for Paul Konerko and a sac fly to boot on a four-RBI night. Mark Buehrle allowed twelve baserunners — eight hits and four walks — in six and two-thirds innings of work, but he did not allow a single run to score.

Marlins 6, Cardinals 5: A Gaby Sanchez grand slam in the third gave the Marlins the lead, a Lance Berkman three-run shot in the bottom of the inning took it right back for the Cards. Mike Stanton would make the difference later, however, homering in the fifth and hitting a leadoff triple in the eighth and subsequently scoring on a sac fly.

Dodgers 5, Cubs 2: Andre Ethier is now halfway to Joe DiMaggio with 28-game hit streak. That’s not going to happen, but he is only three games short of the Dodgers’ record, set by Willie Davis in 1969. James Russell is now 0-4 with a 10.05 ERA since moving to the rotation to take over for the injured Andrew Cashner. It’s almost like Carlos Silva won that job out of spring training after all.

Pirates 4, Padres 3: The Pirates beat the Padres for the first time in ten games against them.

Astros vs. Reds: POSTPONED: These are the seasons of emotion and like the winds they rise and fall. This is the wonder of devotion – I see the torch we all must hold. This is the mystery of the quotient – Upon us all a little rain must fall.

Alex Rodriguez credits Tom Ricketts and Theo Epstein with Cubs’ turnaround

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13:  Tom Ricketts, owner of the Chicago Cubs, celebrates after the Chicago Cubs defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in game four of the National League Division Series to win the NLDS 3-1 at Wrigley Field on October 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Cubs defeat the St. Louis Cardinals with a score of 6 to 4.  (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
Getty Images

It isn’t difficult to see the fingerprints left by Cubs’ president Tom Ricketts and general manager Theo Epstein on the club’s remarkable 2016 season. In a piece for FOXSports.com, former Yankee Alex Rodriguez highlighted the duo’s effectiveness in liberating the Cubs from a five-year losing streak and six-year postseason drought, citing both the unrelenting work ethic and passion that Ricketts and Epstein brought to the club as major factors in their success.

Rodriguez’s first brush with sabermetric savant and all-around baseball wizard Theo Epstein came in 2003, when the then- 27-year-old All-Star was eyeing a deal with the Red Sox. The Major League Baseball Players Association eventually nixed the trade, and the Rangers’ young shortstop was sent to the Yankees shortly thereafter, but not before Rodriguez glimpsed the inner workings of Epstein’s mind.

What I remember best about that time was watching Theo furiously scribbling out the Red Sox lineup for the upcoming season on a room-service napkin. That’s when I saw Theo’s baseball mind at work. I saw he had a passion for the game, a depth of knowledge, and a thirst to be great. Theo’s passion was contagious. We were three 20-somethings convinced we were about to turn baseball upside down together. Though I never got a chance to work with Theo, I knew then that he was going to be a force.

A-Rod also referenced Ricketts’ thorough approach to rebuilding the organization. Ricketts, who purchased the franchise for $875 million in 2009, first made it his mission to transform Wrigley Field into a comfortable and enticing playing environment, then targeted top-tier management to run the show behind the scenes. With Ricketts fully backing Epstein’s transformative approaches — including an overhaul of the Cubs’ farm system, investments in international player development, and a comprehensive understanding and practical application of sabermetric advances — the Cubs’ path to a 97-win season in 2015 seemed a natural consequence of the pair’s hard work.

This year, the attention has been even more intensely focused on the Cubs’ elusive third World Series title. Rodriguez, however, believes that winning a championship is secondary to the strides Ricketts and Epstein have taken with the club.

Together, Ricketts and Epstein have built one of the greatest franchises in baseball and transformed 1060 W. Addison St. It’s a task that no one could quite get right for a hundred years. While four more wins would put a giant exclamation point on five years of focused work and determination, I won’t worry if this team doesn’t win the World Series in the next nine days.

Mets expected to pick up 2017 option for Jose Reyes

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 22:  Jose Reyes #7 of the New York Mets celebrates after hitting a game tying two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies Citi Field on September 22, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports that the Mets are expected to pick up the 2017 option for Reyes, but they haven’t done it yet. The option will be worth the major league minimum salary ($507,500), as the Rockies will continue to pay down the remainder of Reyes’ $41 million remaining on his contract.

The Mets signed Reyes after the Rockies released him in June. He had a .659 OPS in Colorado but improved to a .769 OPS in 279 plate appearances with the Mets, mostly playing third base in place of the injured David Wright. Bringing Reyes back next season will provide them more insurance at the hot corner.

Reyes, 33, served a 51-game suspension due to an offseason domestic violence incident while on vacation in Hawaii with his wife. As a result, he didn’t make his season debut until July 5, having spent some additional time in the minor leagues to get into game shape.