Asdrubal Cabrera

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Indians 12, Reds 4: Asdrubal Cabrera hit two homers and went 5 for 5 with 5 RBI, but he wasn’t alone as the Indians complete the sweep of the Reds. This series is called “The Ohio Cup,” by the way. Little known fact: loser of the Ohio Cup has to stay in Ohio.

Rays 4, Marlins 0: James Shields has had a fantastic first couple of months of the season, and this was his most fantastic start yet: A three-hit, 13-strikeout shutout. Adherents of the game score stat will note that this performance — a 93 — is the top game score in 2011 thus far.

Orioles 2, Nationals 1: Vlad Guerrero’s two-run homer holds up. Here is what he said after the game: “I was looking for a good pitch to hit and just to make contact, and not for a home run.”  Which, if true, marks the first time in his sixteen-year major league career that he either (a) looked for good pitch; or (b) wasn’t trying to absolutely murder the baseball, God love him.

Cardinals 9, Royals 8: St. Louis walked 13 times — 13 times! — five of which went to Colby Rasmus. The Royals, in contrast, walked once. You wouldn’t think, based on that stat alone, that this could have been a close one, let alone an extra inning affair, but it was. And the Cardinals’ go-ahead and insurance runs came in fittingly in the 10th: walk-error-HBP-walk-walk. Glad I didn’t see this one. Sounds like the kind of game that would make you want to gouge your eyes out. But hey, at least it was over four hours long.

Angels 4, Braves 1: Anaheim gets back to .500 behind seven innings of one-run ball from Tyler Chatwood. As for the Braves, the fact that Joe Mather was the offensive hero of the weekend — and looks to be the only offensive hope for the foreseeable future given the injuries and Ugglaness of the rest of the offense — tells you everything you need to know about how they’re doin’ right now.

White Sox 8, Dodgers 3: Alexei Ramirez was 4 for 5 with 5 RBI.  Which is normally gonna win you the Offensive Shortstop of the Day Award, brought to you by Pacific Life Insurance, but it wasn’t quite as good as Asdrubal Cabrera’s day.

Mariners 6, Padres 1: King Felix struck out 13 and gave up but a single run in eight innings. The Mariners absolutely destroyed San Diego in this series. The Padres scored a single earned run the entire weekend. And it’s not just the Padres’ impotence making the Mariners look good. As Geoff Baker wrote yesterday, the Mariners have had nine straight outings of at least seven innings pitched and two runs or fewer allowed by their starting pitchers. No team has done that since the Giants did it in 1988.

Astros 3, Blue Jays 2: Here’s something you wouldn’t expect:

Even though the Astros had never played in Toronto before, Pence found himself the target of fans in the right-field seats. “I’ve never had it like that,” Pence said. “I just thought that’s how Canadians might be. They like to heckle … They actually got louder. That’s when you know you’re doing good. The louder they get, the better you’re doing.”

In his experience with leather-lunged fans, Pence said only those in the Wrigley Field bleachers compare to Toronto’s taunters. “It’s similar to Wrigley, but in Wrigley there’s so many yelling, it’s almost like you can’t totally pick them out,” Pence said. “These guys had a knack for being loud alone, or all chanting together. It was pretty aggressive.”

Not sure what’s more unusual: rude Canadians or Hunter Pence being the singular object of anyone’s derision.

Yankees 9, Mets 3: It may have changed since then, but as of 9PM last night, the sub-headline to the New York Daily News’ story about this game read “For six innings, the Yankees were the Yankees, plagued by their typical run-producing problems …”  Of course, going into this game the Yankees lead all of baseball in scoring, at a clip of 5.14 runs a game, so I guess “run producing” means something different than “producing runs.” And yes, I realize that there are people who think this team is too home run dependent — because home runs are totally something you never want — but the small-ball giddiness I’m reading in the game stories for this one due to the fact that A-Rod hit some 55-foot dribbler to spark a rally is too much. You know who hit a lot of homers? The 2009 Yankees did. They only won the damn World Series.

Diamondbacks 3, Twins 2: I know some Twins fans who laughed when division rival Chicago gave up Daniel Hudson in that trade for Edwin Jackson last summer. Damn poetic justice (Hudson: 8 IP, 8 H, 2 ER). Hey look: Arizona is at .500. And only one game behind the Rockies for second place in the NL West. Speaking of Colorado …

Brewers 3, Rockies 1: They get swept by Milwaukee. This was a toughie, as Jimenez pitched a complete game and only ran in to trouble in one inning — the third — when a walk, a HBP and a triple on which Ryan Braun was able to score by virtue of a throwing error gave the Brewers all of their runs.

Giants 5, Athletics 4: Five straight losses for Oakland. Twelve pitchers were used in this game. Nate Schierholtz hit a two-run pinch-hit homer in the eighth to tie it up.

Tigers 2, Pirates 0: Rick Porcello’s eight innings of one-hit ball give the Tigers their first win in eight days.

Rangers 2, Phillies 0: Matt Harrison helps the Rays avert a sweep. All the Phillies can say is thank God for that pitching staff, because it’s not often that you’ll see a team score five runs in a three-game series and take two of three.

Red Sox 5, Cubs 1: This was the first time Tim Wakefield faced the Cubs since 1918. Or maybe I read that little series preview wrong. I dunno. Sounds sensible enough. The knuckler was dancing last night, as Wakefield pitched into the seventh allowing one run on four hits. Adrian Gonzalez went 4 for 4 and is pretty much fulfilling all of those “Adrian Gonzaelz will totally hit in Fenway Park” predictions.

Marc Rzepczynski signs two-year, $11 million contract with Mariners

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 9: Marc Rzepczynski #23 of the Washington Nationals looks on before pitching against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the sixth inning during game two of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 9, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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After rumors of the deal surfaced on Thursday, the Mariners officially signed veteran reliever Marc Rzepczynski to a two-year, $11 million deal on Friday night. Per a report by ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the lefty is due $5.5 million in 2017 and 2018.

The signing marks the left-hander’s fourth trade since July 2015. He bounced from the Indians to the Padres at the 2015 trade deadline, then to the Athletics in the offseason, then to the Nationals in late August of 2016. Last season, he pitched to a career-best 2.64 ERA during 47 2/3 innings with the Athletics and Nationals, but hit an all-time low with 5.5 BB/9 that fed into a 1.59 K/BB rate. While the 31-year-old’s split against right-handed batters are underwhelming (a career .277/.377/.431 line with 123 walks and 24 home runs), he’s held lefties to a respectable .222/.291/.298 line with just 52 walks and eight homers.

Adding Rzepczynski to the bullpen should check off another to-do item for Mariners’ GM Jerry Dipoto, though FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman notes that the club is still likely to pursue an additional reliever and a No. 4 starter before the offseason comes to a close.

2016 Winter Meetings Preview

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - FEBRUARY 26: The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is seen along the Potomac River February 26, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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The baseball world will descend on Washington D.C. — well, the Maryland suburbs of Washington, at the Gaylord Resort at National Harbor — this weekend for the 2016 Winter Meetings. There’s a lot of work to be done.

Twenty free agents from a class of 191 have signed thus far. Among the notable: Yoenis Cespedes, Edinson Volquez, Neil Walker, Josh Reddick, Bartolo Colon, and R.A. Dickey. That, of course, leaves a ton of notables left, including Edwin Encarnacion, Justin Turner, Jose Bautista, Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, Mark Trumbo, Mark Melancon, Rich Hill and a host of others. Here is our rundown of this offseason’s top free agents if you’re curious. As you have come to expect from us, we’ll have a writeup of everyone who signs, faster than almost anyone else will.

Despite the sheer number of available free agents, this is an historically thin free agent class in terms of talent. That means that, for a team to improve significantly, they may be better served by making a trade. We’ve seen a couple already, most notably the deals which sent Taijuan Walker to the Diamondbacks, Jaime Garcia to the Braves and Brian McCann to the Astros. Most experts believe there will be plenty more this winter, and the ball could really get rolling on that in the next week with guys like Andrew McCutchen, Chris Sale, Chris Archer, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson and Brandon Phillips on the block.

Another major activity of the Winter Meetings is the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee vote. Except, this year, there is no Veterans Committee, at least in name. It’s now the “Today’s Game” committee. Here are links to breakdowns of the candidacies of all ten men on the ballot the new committee will consider:

Harold Baines
Albert Belle
Will Clark
Orel Hershiser
Mark McGwire
George Steinbrenner
Davey Johnson
Lou Piniella
John Shuerholz
Bud Selig

Trade deals, free agent negotiations and Hall of Fame votes take place behind closed doors at the Gaylord Resort. One of the major public activities of the Winter Meetings is when all 30 of the managers meet and greet the press. This year’s new faces are Torey Lovullo with the Diamondbacks, Rick Renteria with the White Sox and Bud Black with the Rockies. Brian Snitker, now the permanent manager of the Braves, will get his first go-around at the managerial cattle call. I’ll be in the scrum for a lot of these guys — they do them two at a time so I can’t see everyone — and will let you know if they say anything fun.

Outside of the transactions and the Hall of Fame stuff, we have the more mundane Winter Meetings business. And a lot of it. Indeed, the vast majority of the people at the Meetings aren’t there for transactions. They’re there to network, seek jobs and discuss the business of baseball like any other industry convention. Ever year we hear about a rule change or a proposal for future rule changes at the Meetings, though this year’s brand new Collective Bargaining Agreement should overshadow that. We’ve already discussed the major points of that and, yesterday, I speculated that, as time goes on, the way this agreement was reached could lead to some serious strife going forward, particularly on the union side. Expect to hear some anonymous rumblings about all of that in the next few days, from players, agents and other interested parties who may not be all that pleased with how it goes.

The final event of the Winter Meetings is the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place at 8am on Thursday morning. You likely have no idea who most of the players who will be selected are, but here’s a good place to start your research on that. If your team takes someone in the draft, the most important thing to know is that he’ll either be on the big league roster all year or he’ll have to be returned to his original team. Well, they could be stashed on the disabled list with phantom injuries so they won’t have to be returned, but no team would ever do that, would they? Perish the thought.

So, yes, there’s a lot to be done. I’ll be on the scene at National Harbor, bringing you all the best hot stove business we have to offer and, as usual, some more fun odds and ends from baseball’s biggest offseason event. As they used to say in radio, tune in to us and rip off the dial. Or, at the very least, keep a tab open to us and refresh a lot.