And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


Phillies 3, Dodgers 1: Cliff Lee hadn’t been looking like Cliff Lee lately. In this one, he looked like Cliff Lee (7 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 10K).  Dee Gordon made his major league debut. He was inserted as a pinch runner in the ninth inning, took third on a single and then scored the Dodgers’ only run on a fielder’s choice.

White Sox 3, Mariners 1: Not many guys have out-pitched Michael Pineda this season, but John Danks did (7.1 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 6K), snagging his first win of the year in the process.

Twins 6, Indians 4: Scott Baker didn’t look like he’d make it out of the first inning, but he settled down. That’s five wins in a row for the Twins. Five losses in a row for the Indians.

Orioles 4, Athletics 2: The Athletics would kill for their losing streak to be as short as five. This one was the seventh straight loss for Oakland. And they lost Mark Ellis to a hamstring strain in the sixth inning, though given how he’s been hitting, they may not notice his loss.

Reds 8, Cubs 2: Things continue to careen out of control for the Cubbies, who also lost their seventh straight. Matt Garza and reliever Jeff Samardzija each got lit up. Jonny Gomes drove in four.

Brewers 7, Marlins 2: Hey, the Feesh didn’t lose a one-run game!  Zack Greinke continues to round into form (7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER) and Prince Fielder drove in four. The Brewers, by the way, have won 13 of 16 games.

Tigers 13, Rangers 7: Colby Lewis didn’t have a lick of nothin’ (3.1 IP, 10 H, 9 ER and 4 — count ’em — 4 home runs).  Brennan Boesch had two of those homers, went 5 for 6 and drove in 5, making him the official RBI whore of the night.  Question: are we tired of that yet? I think we may be tired of it.

Giants 5, Nationals 4: Tim Lincecum needed five strikeouts to reach 1,000 for his career. He got exactly five, though he was not at his sharpest last night, allowing four runs in five innings. San Francisco rallied in the eighth to tie it, however, and Freddy Sanchez’s RBI single won it in the bottom of the 13th.

Rockies 3, Padres 0: Your standard six-pitcher combined shutout for Colorado.

Rays 5, Angels 1: Justin Ruggiano hit homer and drove in three and David Price took a shutout into the eighth inning. Ruggiano wouldn’t have even been playing — it was only his fourth start of the year — if there hadn’t been a bug going through the Rays’ clubhouse.

Royals 3, Blue Jays 2: Eric Hosmer hit a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 11th. I have this feeling we’ll hear more about this game soon, as Joe Posnanski — who is moving away from Kansas City — was taking in his last Royals game as a local and said he’d write a post about it. I’m sure his rendering will be better than anything I can spew about it at 5:30 in the morning.

Shohei Ohtani is having a brutal spring training

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Spring training is tough for players under the best of circumstances. Even in an age when players work out all year, getting back into the swing of baseball-at-full-speed is tough. Many players spend the bulk of February and March knocking off the rust and getting their timing back. Because of this — and because the games have no real stakes — it is not wise to take spring training statistics super seriously. Especially if the player in question is assured of a spot on the roster and is trying to avoid injury before the regular season arrives.

Spring training for Shohei Ohtani is doubly difficult. Not only does he have to knock the rust off from the offseason, but he (a) has to get used to a new country and language; (b) has to get to know all new teammates, coaches and, really, an entirely new baseball culture; and (c) do all of that while dealing with a media crush that hasn’t been seen in baseball since Ichiro first arrived 17 years ago. In short, Ohtani is under massive pressure and has to make massive adjustments in a short time.

With that said, neither the Angels nor Ohtani can be all that pleased with how his spring training has gone. In two actual major league exhibition games he’s allowed eight runs in two and two-thirds innings. Seven of those came on Friday when he was shelled by the Rockies in an inning and a third. If you include B-games against minor leaguers, he has allowed 17 runs on 18 hits, four of which were homers, in four games. As a hitter he’s 2-for-20.

As Jeff Fletcher of the OC Register notes, Ohtani’s peripherals are not bad, as he has struck out a lot of guys and walked very few and the average on balls in play against him has been brutal, which is not super sustainable. Bad luck and some fat pitches at a time of the year when luck doesn’t really matter and the pitches, because of the rust, are likely to be fatter than normal.

As Fletcher also notes, Nolan Arenado, who faced Ohtani on Friday, said that his stuff looked good and that he’s going to be a good big league pitcher. Ohtani and Angels officials are all striking the right notes about bad luck and adjustments, saying that they’re not worried.

I imagine they’d be worrying even less if things had gone well this spring. Unless of course this is just a professional wrestling-style work aimed at getting more of us to watch his regular season debut, in which he’ll reveal that he was sandbaggin’ all along.