Chris Perez

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Indians 3, Red Sox 2: There are certain games in which teams of destiny define themselves. I’m not saying the Indians are that kind of team — hell, I’m just as confused as the rest of you and thus will make no claim to being on the bandwagon earlier than anyone — but if they do turn out to be that kind of team, this game will be featured prominently in the highlight DVD at the end of the year. As lightning flashed and thunder crashed just west of the ballpark, the Indians came from behind in the eighth inning thanks to a Michael Brantley RBI single and then an RBI double by that man, Asdrubal Cabrera, scoring Brantley. Chris Perez allowed two base runners in the 9th but induced a Carl Crawford GIDP to end it.

Astros 4, Dodgers 3: Some comebacks may be season-of-destiny-defining, but just because your season isn’t destined for anything special doesn’t mean that a comeback can’t simply be fun. Bill Hall was 4 for 4 with two doubles, but it was his single in the bottom of the ninth that helped key the Astros’ comeback from a 3-1 deficit when they were down to their last out. That and a little double steal action that put Hall at third and pinch hitter Angel Sanchez at second to score on Michael Bourn’s game-tying double.  Two batters later Hunter Pence singled Bourn in for the game-winner.

Brewers 11, Nationals 3: Corey Hart blasts three homers and drives in seven. Coming in to this game he was batting .237/.275/.329 with no homers and a single RBI.

Phillies 10, Reds 3: Chase Utley returns and with him comes the offense. Of course correlation is not the same thing as causation so don’t read too deeply into his 0 for 5 night. Placido Polanco, Raul Ibanez and John Mayberry Jr. each had a couple of RBI, however, and that made for Philly’s biggest offensive night since, like, ever.

Tigers 6, Rays 3: Close until the eighth when the Tigers strung together two two-run hits off Juan Cruz. Tigers starter Phil Coke left the game in the top of the fourth after injuring his ankle whilst chasing a bunt. He was replaced by rookie lefty Charlie Furbush, who picked up the win in his major league debut. In other news, there is a pitcher named Charlie Furbush.

Mariners 8, Twins 7: Good thing the Twins traded top prospect Wilson Ramos for Proven Closer Matt Capps last year, because there is no way that Jon Rauch or someone else who has not gone on the Proven Closer Vision Quest and had the secrets of the Proven Closer Elders handed down to them could have blown that save in the ninth last night.

Rangers 4, White Sox 0: Josh Hamilton returns with a bang, homering in the first inning of his first game since April 12th. Meanwhile, Alexi Ogando’s post-blister problem run continues nicely, as he takes his third straight decision in what was his best start of the year so far (CG, SHO 5 H).

Blue Jays 7, Yankees 3: Bartolo Colon follows his best start of the year up with his worst. Well, his second worst, but it looks bad compared to that gem against Baltimore last week.  Carlos Villanueva filled in for Jesse Litsch nicely, allowing one run on two hits over five innings. J.P. Arencibia had four RBI and Jose Bautista hit a homer.

Angels 4, Athletics 1: Torii Hunter was the hero in the field and at the plate, nailing Andy LaRoche as he tried to score in the seventh and driving in the go-ahead run with a double in the eighth. On a night when some teams who had not been scoring runs lately broke out with some nice offense, the Athletics remain in the offensive desert.

Cardinals 3, Padres 1: At least the A’s have some company in the offensive desert, as San Diego continues to treat run scoring as if it were radioactive or something. And hey, Albert Pujols hit a homer!

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.

Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery could share Cubs’ rotation spot in 2017

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 01:  Mike Montgomery #38 of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 1, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).

Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.

Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.

Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.