Jake Peavy

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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I went to the optometrist’s office yesterday for an eye exam. They gave me the eye drops. And they were worse than usual. In addition to causing my pupils to dilate and my vision to blur, they somehow caused me to be transported back in time to 1968 when no one could score any damn runs.  What are in those things, man?

White Sox 1, Indians 0: Everyone who expected Jake Peavy to pitch a three-hit shutout in his second start after his return to the rotation, raise your hand. Not so fast, Mr. Peavy! You had a freaking detached latissimus dorsi muscle, and should barely be lifting your arm at all at this point, let alone raising it in response to my questions! Man, modern medicine is pretty damn incredible.

Red Sox 1, Tigers 0: There was a time a couple of years ago when my first impulse with these recaps would be to focus on any outstanding pitching outings first. Since it’s the Deadball Era, Mark III apparently, I’m going to need a new approach.  How about this: An offensive explosion for the Red Sox in the eighth as Saltalamacchia hit an RBI double, busting the game wide open!!!!  Five straight wins for the Bosox.

Phillies 2, Rockies 1: Whoa, a winning team scoring more than one run? Show offs.  Cole Hamels allowed one run on five hits, striking out eight. Jason Giambi ended the game striking out as a pinch hitter. Based on both the looks of him and on the amount of life seemingly left in him, he may as well be Quint in “Jaws” at this point.

Yankees 4, Orioles 1: Fifteen innings, with the win for New York coming courtesy of two-run double by Robinson Cano.  Of course getting us to extra innings in the first place was the Orioles tying it up in the ninth, and with respect to that, the big point of contention in real time (i.e. on Twitter) was Joe Girardi’s decision to send Mariano Rivera out for the ninth inning with a 1-0 lead instead of letting Bartolo Colon finish the game.

Stop and think for a minute how insane that sounds as an actual point of contention.  Yes, I realize that Colon was on it last night and had thrown only 87 pitches.  And I’m actually cool with people who say that, if they were in Joe Girardi’s shoes, they’d have kept Colon in the game because hey, Rivera doesn’t have to close out every win.  But on what friggin’ planet have we landed where someone can actually rip a manager for sending out MARIANO FREAKING RIVERA to protect a ninth inning lead?  Neither decision would have been a bad one. The one that Girardi had made happened to backfire. Shit happens. And besides, if it’s not for the Yankees’ impotent bats, we’re not even having this conversation.

Academic now because, hey, the Yankees won, but if they hadn’t, how much disingenuous criticism of Girardi would there be over this?  And now that I think about it, it’s 5:40 in the morning as I’m writing this and I haven’t read the New York papers yet. Maybe there still is some criticism.

Cubs 7, Marlins 5: Highlight of the game: buck naked streaker. Second best highlight: Marlon Byrd’s tie-breaking homer in the eighth.  Hey, cut me some slack. I see homers every day.

Pirates 5, Reds 0: Remember when we were making fun of Charlie Morton for aping Roy Halladay’s delivery and we were saying stuff like “yeah, you wish, buddy!”  Well, I’m not sayin’ they’re even or anything, but it is worth noting that Halladay hasn’t pitched a complete game shutout this year and he only has one game with a higher game score than Morton had in this one.  And, though there’s a huge difference in quality in Halladay’s favor once you dig into the peripherals, just for fun let us note that Charlie Morton is 5-1 with a 2.62 ERA and Halladay is 5-3 with a 2.21.

Mets 3, Nationals 0: No healthy position players, no fans in the stands, no dry weather, no problem: Jon Niese threw seven shutout innings and Justin Turner continued his nice little run with a two-run double.

Cardinals 5, Astros 1: A costly win as the Cardinals had both Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday leave the game with injuries.

Rays 6, Blue Jays 5: Tampa Bay jumped out to a 6-0 lead by the third inning and then held on. Matt Joyce homered and is at .365/.434/.619 on the year. Elliot Johnson had three RBI.

Rangers 5, Royals 4: Eric Hosmer’s homer in the bottom off the ninth of Neftali Feliz tied it, and the Royals had a chance to win after that when both Jeff Francoeur and Billy Butler reached base. However, each was pinch-run for — by Jarrod Dyson and Mike Aviles, respectively — and both Dyson and Aviles were picked off first. Mercy. Into extra innings, where Adrian Beltre’s two-run single in the 11th proves to be the game winner.

Giants 8, Dodgers 5: On a night when so many teams couldn’t muster offense, the two lowest-scoring teams in the NL combine for 13. Because that makes sense.

Brewers 5, Padres 2: The Brewers have the worst road record in baseball. The Padres had the worst home record. Something had to give!

Mariners 3, Angels 0: Jason Vargas shuts out the Angels on four hits over seven innings while striking out nine. Two RBI singles for Jack Cust proving that, contrary to popular belief, he is not in fact dead.

Twins 4, Athletics 3: Three RBI for Trevor Plouffe, including the game-winning sac fly in the 10th. Two wins in a row for Minnesota. In their case I don’t think it’s too much to call this a winning streak.

Diamondbacks 5, Braves 4: Ryan Roberts scored from third on an infield hit by Justin Upton in the bottom of the 11th — despite the Braves’ drawn-in infield — completing the comeback win. Atlanta had its chances to win this one but ran its way out of a great scoring opportunity in the sixth and couldn’t nail down leads in the 7th and the 11th.  Not surprisingly, Fredi Gonzalez used Jonny Venters, Eric O’Flaherty and Craig Kimbrel again.  At this rate they’re each going to have close to 90 appearances.  Take it easy Fredi.

Michael Pineda hopes to reach 200-inning mark for first time

New York Yankees' Michael Pineda delivers a pitch during the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
AP Photo/Adam Hunger
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It was reported on Friday that Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka isn’t sure if he’ll be ready for Opening Day as he makes his way back from arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. His health will be crucial to the Yankees’ chances this season, but the same goes for rotation-mate Michael Pineda, who hopes that this is the year he’ll be able to take on the workload of a frontline starter.

Pineda was on pace for a career-high in innings last season, but he landed on the disabled list in late July with a right flexor forearm muscle strain and missed a month. He struggled upon his return and ended up with 160 2/3 innings, so he fell short of his career-high of 171 innings as a rookie with the Mariners way back in 2011. Now going into his age-27 season, Pineda told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com that his goal for 2016 is to reach 200 innings for the first time in his career.

“For me, this year, I’m coming here early to be strong and working hard to pitch 200 innings this year,” Pineda said at the club’s Minor League complex. “I want to throw 200 innings this year. This is my goal, and help my team.”

Pineda had a mediocre 4.37 ERA (90 ERA+) last season despite impressive peripherals with 8.7 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9. Among pitchers with at least 160 innings pitched, only Bartolo Colon of the Mets had a lower walk percentage. Pineda managed to increase his ground ball rate to 48.2 percent and also saw an uptick in velocity from 2014, so there’s reason to believe in improvement if he can stay healthy.

Brewers GM: Acquiring Jacob Nottingham doesn’t change Jonathan Lucroy’s status

Jonathan Lucroy
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
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The Brewers acquired prospects Jake Nottingham and Bubba Derby from the Athletics on Friday in exchange for slugging outfielder Khris Davis. The hope is that Nottingham will develop into the Brewers’ catcher of the future, so you could say that the club is planning for life after Jonathan Lucroy. However, Brewers general manager David Stearns said today that the trade doesn’t change Lucroy’s immediate status.

The Brewers are in rebuild-mode and Lucroy is an excellent trade chip if healthy, as his contract includes a $5.25 million club option for 2017. It’s likely just a matter of time before he’s shipped elsewhere, but yesterday’s trade shouldn’t change the timeline for a potential deal. Nottingham doesn’t turn 21 until April and has yet to play in Double-A, so he’s still a ways off from the majors. The Brewers can afford to wait on the right offer for Lucroy, whether it’s in spring training or at the trade deadline or perhaps later.

Checking in at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Nottingham batted .316/.372/.505 with 17 home runs over 109 games last season between Class A and High-A. He was traded from the Astros to the Athletics as part of the Scott Kazmir deal last July. It’s worth noting that Stearns was the assistant GM for Houston when Nottingham was drafted in the sixth round back in 2013, so he’s clearly a fan.

Joe Panik says he’s “100 percent” recovered from back injury

San Francisco Giants second baseman Joe Panik follows through on a single off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Scott Oberg in the eighth inning of Game 1 of a baseball doubleheader Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Denver. The Giants won 10-8. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Giants second baseman Joe Panik missed nearly all of August and September last season due to a nagging back injury, but he told Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com on Friday that he’s feeling “100 percent.”

Panik, who earned his first All-Star selection last season, originally landed on the disabled list in early August due to what was described as lower back inflammation. He made his return in September, but appeared in just three games before being shut down. The good news is that he was cleared by doctors in mid-December and considers himself “back to normal.”

“It was right around the time of all the signings,” he said, smiling. “I was able to fly under the radar. I got tested and everything had healed up. I got cleared and was able to have my full offseason workouts. I’m good to go. I’m happy to be feeling good and going back out on the field to show that I’m healthy. My swing feels strong.”

Panik altered his offseason workout routine and plans to spend less time in his spikes in the early part of spring training. The hope is that these changes will prevent future issues.

After a strong showing as a rookie in 2014, the 25-year-old Panik proved to be one of the best second baseman in the majors last season by batting .312/.378/.455 with eight home runs and 37 RBI over 100 games while playing solid defense.

Baseball America names Corey Seager as baseball’s top prospect

Los Angeles Dodgers' Corey Seager follows through a single that scored Austin Barnes, in front of Colorado Rockies' Wilin Rosario during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
AP Photo/Danny Moloshok
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Baseball America unveiled their top 100 prospect list Friday night during a special on MLB Network. It should come as no surprise that Dodgers infielder Corey Seager came in at No. 1.

This makes Seager the consensus top prospect in the game. He was also ranked first by MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus, and ESPN’s Keith Law. Twins outfielder Byron Buxton was ranked second on all four lists.

Baseball America has the most aggressive ranking of Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada from the Red Sox, who checked in at No. 3. He was followed by pitching prospects Lucas Giolito from the Nationals and Julio Urias from the Dodgers to round out the top five.

You can see Baseball America’s full top 100 list here.