Chad Billingsley, Aaron Miles

And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Dodgers 9, Reds 6: Chad Billingsley — altogether now — helped his own cause by hitting  a homer, a double and driving in three.  I was watching the game when he hit the homer. I couldn’t see the beginning of his sentence, but Reds’ starter Travis Wood quite clearly mouthed the words “… homer to the motherf***ing pitcher,” as Billingsley rounded the bases. I was watching the game with my kids and they asked me why I was laughing. I said “no reason.”

Cardinals 3, Cubs 2: Nowadays everybody wanna talk like they got something to say, but nothin comes out when they move they lips, just a buncha gibberish, and muthaf***as act like they forgot about El Hombre.

Nationals 9, Diamondbacks 4: A wild one, including multiple hit-batsmen and multiple pitcher/manager ejections. A big blown lead for the Nats in the ninth, made up for by a bases loaded walk/grand slam rally in the 11th. If two teams I don’t care a lick about want to hold my interest for a few innings, this is a great way to do it.

Giants 2, Rockies 1: Once over the line maybe you can pick cotton in the fall. Maybe you can go on relief. Why don’t you go on west to California? There’s work there, and it never gets cold. Why, you can reach out anywhere and pick a starting pitcher, right off the tree. Like Ryan Vogelsong (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7K).

Twins 6, Royals 0: Brian Duensing (8 IP, 6 H, 0 ER) helps the Royals continue to slide down the list of highest scoring teams in the American League.  A couple weeks ago they were second. Now they’re sixth and dropping. As for the Twins, before the game Gleeman tweeted this, and I agreed with him: “For a full season I think today’s Twins lineup could rank as high as third or fourth among International League teams in scoring.”  And then they scored six, including three RBI for Jason Repko.

Tigers 7, White Sox 3: Actually, the Tigers may have passed up the Royals on the AL offensive list after this game, putting Detroit in sixth place and Kansas City in seventh. As I’m typing this Baseball-Reference hasn’t refreshed to reflect Sunday’s games, so let’s revisit later this morning.  Ryan Raburn with a grand slam.

Phillies 7, Pirates 3: Philly salvages one in Pittsburgh and breaks a four-game losing streak. Leave it to Doc, I guess (7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER). And Ryan Howard, who drove in three.

Red Sox 6, Athletics 3: Carl Crawford with a three-run homer, Adrian Gonzalez with a two-run homer and, in his return, John Lackey was as effective as he’s been able to muster this year, pitching into the sixth inning. Just like they drew it up over the past couple of winters.

Brewers 6, Marlins 5: Football is called a game of inches, but sometimes the slightest margins mean everything in baseball too. Three straight one-run wins for Milwaukee in Miami. Florida has stranded runners all over the place this series, and they still have one more game to go on the wraparound today.

Blue Jays 7, Orioles 4: Jo-Jo Reyes just knows how to win. The fact that Adam Lind was 4 for 4 with two homers helped him win, of course.

Rangers 2, Indians 0: C.J. Wilson shut the Tribe down into the eighth inning and the pen finished the job, as the Rangers swept the Indians in a four-game series. Detroit is only 2.5 games back now. The fairytale is almost over.

Yankees 5, Angels 3: Two homers for Mark Teixeira, including a two-run shot that put the Yankees ahead for good. After dropping the first two in Seattle last week, the Yankees finish their west coast swing 6-3. Not too shabby.

Mariners 9, Rays 6: Miguel Olivo with a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth. Did you know that he is the most indispensable Mariner?  Greg Halman got his first major league action of the year and went 3 for 4 with two runs batted in.

Padres 7, Astros 2: The Padres take three of four from the Astros in the battle of the “mehs.”  Although maybe San Diego shouldn’t be considered too “meh.” They’ve won eight of 11.

Mets 6, Braves 4: R.A. Dickey had it goin’ on (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER) and no one save Brian McCann had a clue what to do with his fluttery wonderfulness (Diory Hernandez’s pinch hit homer came against the pen). Odd game for me, because there aren’t many ballplayers I like to see do well more than Dickey, and that even extends to when he pitches against my favorite team. By the fourth or fifth inning I got disgusted with the Braves and just started pulling for Dickey. Yeah, fan infidelity and all that, but it’s a long season and stuff like that happens from time to time. It’s no different than being married for 16 years and taking an occasional furtive glance at a nice looking brunette that just happens to walk by.  Not that I know anything about that.

Cubs expected to host an All-Star Game in the near future

A general view of Wrigley Field and the newly renovated bleachers during the second inning of a baseball game between the the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds Thursday, June 11, 2015,  in Chicago. Chicago won 6-3. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
AP Photo/Paul Beaty
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The 2016-18 All-Star Games are spoken for, but the Cubs could play host not long thereafter according to commissioner Rob Manfred, Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reports.

The Padres are hosting at Petco Park this year, the Marlins will host at Marlins Park next season, and the Nationals will host in 2018 at Nationals Park. That will make four consecutive National League hosts and five if the Cubs get it in 2019. In the past, the National and American Leagues have alternated hosting privileges. That is sort of important now since the league that wins the All-Star Game gets home field advantage in the World Series.

The Cubs last hosted the All-Star Game in 1990 and have hosted a total of three times (1962 and 1947 being the other years) since its inception in 1933.

Wrigley Field has been undergoing renovations which are expected to be completed by the 2019 season. Manfred said that the Cubs hosting the All-Star Game “will provide the Cubs and Ricketts family a chance to showcase the unbelievable renovation they are in the midst of doing for Wrigley field.”

Kyle Hendricks and Adam Warren will compete for No. 5 spot in Cubs’ rotation

Chicago Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks throws during the first inning of Game 3 of the National League baseball championship series against the New York Mets Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
AP Photo/David J. Phillip
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Expect Kyle Hendricks and Adam Warren to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Cubs’ starting rotation this spring, writes Gordon Wittenmyer for the Chicago Sun-Times. Clayton Richard could serve as a fallback option as well.

Hendricks, 26, pitched well in his first full season in 2015. He finished with a 3.95 ERA and a 167/43 K/BB ratio over 180 innings. That was a solid follow-up to his rookie campaign in 2014, when he posted a 2.46 ERA over 13 starts.

The Cubs acquired Warren, 28, from the Yankees in the Starlin Castro trade. He contributed both out of the rotation and the bullpen in the Bronx this past season, pitching 131 1/3 innings with a 3.29 ERA and a 104/39 K/BB ratio.

One through four, the Cubs’ rotation is solid with defending National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Jason Hammel.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson plans to limit David Wright to 130 or fewer games

David Wright
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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Mets third baseman David Wright missed four months of the 2015 season due to spinal stenosis. In other words, Wright dealt with a narrowing of his spinal column. Going forward, the Mets plan to be cautious with Wright so as not to overuse him.

As ESPN’s Adam Rubin reports, Mets GM Sandy Alderson plans to have the 33-year-old Wright play in no more than 130 games. Alderson said, “We’re gonna make sure that he’s not overworked. So it’s important for us to find somebody who can play 30 games or so at third base when he’s not in there. But I think we have to be realistic, and not expect that he’s gonna be an absolute everyday [player] out there playing 150 or 155 games. That’s not gonna happen.”

Wilmer Flores played 26 games at third base in his rookie season in 2013, so he could back up Wright as needed. But Alderson mentioned that because Wright would mostly sit against right-handed pitchers, the switch-hitting Neil Walker or Asdrubal Cabrera could get the call at the hot corner.

When he was on the field last season, Wright hit a productive .289/.379/.434 with five home runs and 17 RBI in 174 plate appearances.

Marlins still searching for starting pitching depth

Aaron Harang
AP Photo/Matt Slocum
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The Marlins would like to add “another pitcher or two” before pitchers and catchers report to Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes. Among starting pitchers available, Kyle Lohse, Aaron Harang, and Alfredo Simon are candidates for the Marlins, but they may hold out for the possibility of inking a major league contract. Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee are other potential candidates, per Frisaro.

This offseason, the Marlins signed Wei-Yin Chen to a five-year, $80 million deal and Edwin Jackson for the major league minimum. The back of the rotation, though, is still a question mark as Jarred Cosart, Adam Conley, and Justin Nicolino will compete with Jackson for two spots. David Phelps is dealing with an elbow injury and may or not be ready by Opening Day, but he could function in a swingman capacity as well.