Betancourt double play.bmp

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Brewers 4, Padres 3: Holy moley, this Yuniesky Betancourt-to-Rickie Weeks double play is the defensive play of the year so far. It’s enough to make you contemplate the nature of Yuniesky Betancourt. How someone can just do that without thinking — because he had no time to think — yet is unable to make basic plays a lot of the time. There are just some people like that in the world. Don’t-think-just-do people. My brother is like that. You played pickup basketball with a guy like that. Never ask them to do the workaday things but Christ Almighty they will pull stuff like that once in a while that makes your jaw drop. It’s those kind of guys who make grinders like the rest of us shake out heads and wonder about the gulf between the conscious and the unconscious world.

Red Sox 2, Twins 1: Jose Iglesias was inserted as a pinch runner for Jed Lowrie, who walked in the bottom of the 11th and he was doubled in by Carl Crawford for the win (assist to Ben Revere for an awful throw from left).  I suspect that, between the highly-touted prospect and the highly-touted struggling free agent, there will be a few storylines spawned by this one as the morning progresses. Oh, and you can throw in the fact that Ron Gardenhire got ejected by Joe West for flavor. And if you really like Joe West flavor, here’s some more for you.

Phillies 6, Marlins 4: Thanks for the appearance Javier Vazquez, but really, your services, such as they are, will no longer be needed (4.1 IP, 9 H, 6 R). And a nice alley-oop play by Mike Stanton on the Rollins homer. Although, yeah, it kind of looked like it was going out anyway.

Pirates 4, Dodgers 1: This double play — made possible by Jose Tabata picking up a ball on the rebound but playing it off like he caught it — led to the ejection of Jose Uribe and Don Mattingly. I often agitate for replay, but the big question about replay is what you do about the continuation play, as it were. If the ump in the booth calls down and says no, it was a trap, what base do you give Matt Kemp? He probably makes third base if the play was properly called as a hit, but as it was he’s back hanging around first base, waiting for the replay, when the call is finally overturned.  My best guess is to allow the ump in the sky to make a judgment call — Kemp gets second or Kemp gets third — but that’s not ideal.  Probably preferable to blown calls like this one, though.

Athletics 7, Rangers 2: One way people like to argue for the MVP award is to say how bad off the team would be without the guy.  If that argument holds, Josh Hamilton is the runaway winner, because Texas has sucked eggs since he went down. Five RBIs for Josh Willingham, who apparently made the right decision in appealing his suspension for ump bumping on Saturday.

Tigers 10, Blues Jays 5: Max Scherzer goes to 6-0, which ties him for the MLB lead in wins. Which doesn’t mean he’s the best pitcher in baseball — far from it — but makes it pretty good to be Max Scherzer lately.

Reds 6, Astros 1: Travis Wood pitched shutout baseball into the seventh and hit a three-run homer which — per union bylaws — I’m required to describe as “helping his own cause.”

White Sox 8, Angels 0: A beatdown. Edwin Jackson with seven scoreless innings, Carlos Quentin went 3 for 4 with 5 RBI.

Rockies 2, Mets 1: It’s not often that you walk six guys in six innings while throwing just 55 of 107 pitches for strikes and get away with it, but  Jhoulys Chacin did.

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.

Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.

Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.

Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.

Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.