Cliff Lee

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

71 Comments

Phillies 5, Red Sox 0: Cliff Lee.  Cliff Phifer Lee.  Cliff effin’ Phifer Lee throws his third straight shutout and completes his 32nd straight scoreless inning. Some may downplay this by claiming that this was against a weak Red Sox lineup, but a weak Red Sox lineup is still better than a great many other major league lineups at full strength. Either way, Lee is entering seldomly-navigated waters now, approaching the Hershiser Zone.

Mets 14, Tigers 3: Jose Reyes was 4 for 4 with a walk, a stolen base and three runs scored and Carlos Beltran drove in four. Clearly both should be traded.

Rays 4, Reds 3: Evan Longoria hits the walkoff jack. Which the Associated Press likes to call a “game-ending homer” for reasons that are unclear but are likely rooted in a love of buzz-killing bore-speak. Johnny Damon homered and drove in three. The Rays are on fire, having won nine of 11 and now stand a single game behind the Red Sox for second place in the East.

Pirates 7, Blue Jays 6: The Pirates roughed up Jo-Jo Reyes to take a 6-1 lead and then just held on as the Jays clawed back with the help of two homers from Edwin Encarnacion.  Kevin Correia gets his 10th win, though, becoming the first Pirate to win 10 games before the All-Star break since Bob Walk did it back in 1993. No one knows who did it before that because no one except some random scientists and academics had the Internet before then.

Cardinals 6, Orioles 2: St. Louis gets back on the winning track, helped by five shutout innings from Kyle Lohse. He had to leave a bit early due to a half-hour rain delay, but by then things were under control.

Giants 13, Cubs 7, Giants 6, Cubs 3: It’s not often that the Giants’ bats carry the day, but they did in this twin bill. They broke out for a baker’s dozen in the first game, saving Ryan Volgelsong from an uncharacteristically meh start. In the nightcap, two RBI a piece from the fearsome duo of Nate Schierholtz and Brandon Crawford made it more or less the same story.

Yankees 12, Brewers 2: I toyed with the idea of writing this one up as “a possible World Series preview!” because everyone else was saying that about the Red Sox-Phillies, ignoring the fact that, unlike the series going on down in Philly, at least both of these teams were in first place. But really, my heart wasn’t in it, because I’m not sure I take Milwaukee 100% seriously yet. Certainly the Yankees don’t, as they smacked Zack Greinke around. Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher each drove in four.

Rangers 7, Astros 2: C.J. Wilson didn’t allow the Astros’ offense to do much and, given how bad the Astros’ pitching is, a two-run game from their bats is basically a death sentence.

Twins 6, Dodgers 4: Yesterday, one of the Dodgers’ lawyers actually said, in open court, that the bankruptcy can’t possibly be affecting the Dodgers seeing as though they won 15-0 on Monday night.  If I were the judge I’d call his office this morning and demand that he file a supplemental brief explaining the result of last night’s game.  Don’t get cute with the baseball, Mr. Lawyer Man. That’s my gig.

Rockies 3, White Sox 2: Ty Wigginton hit the game-winner — a bloop single — in the 13th. Again, AP goes with “game-winning hit.” Maybe ESPN or someone copyrighted “walkoff” and that’s why AP style won’t allow for it. I kind of hope that’s it and that every time I use it I’m offending some ESPN lawyer or something.  And that the cease and desist letters keep getting lost in the mail.

Diamondbacks 6, Indians 4: Cerrano hit the curve! Wily Mo Pena with a pinch-hit, two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning for yet another walkoff (walkoff, walkoff, walkoff) win last night. Necessitated, however, by a rocky outing for J.J. Putz, so it’s not all Skittles and beer in Dback land.

Padres 4, Royals 2: The Padres stay hot, winning their sixth game in seven tries. Kansas City, in contrast, has lost eight of 10.

Braves 5, Mariners 4: Brian McCann may be the hottest hitter in baseball right now. Four hits for the Braves’ catcher, including a two-run single that put Atlanta up for good. He also threw out Adam Kennedy on an attempted double steal, blowing a hole in the middle of what could have and should have been a Mariners rally.

Athletics 1, Marlins 0: Gio Gonzalez and Javier Vazquez were both on point, but Gonzalez was pointier, allowing only one hit over eight innings while striking out nine.

Angels 11, Nationals 5: Vernon Wells went 4 for 5 with a homer and a couple of RBI on a rare night of big offense at home for the Halos. Davey Johnson just doesn’t know how to win.

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
Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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
1 Comment

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.

Shocker: Bruce Bochy tabs Madison Bumgarner to start Opening Day

Madison Bumgarner
AP Photo/Ben Margot
10 Comments

You might want to sit down for this news. Giants manager Bruce Bochy has tabbed ace Madison Bumgarner to start on Opening Day in Milwaukee against the Brewers, CSN Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic reports. Shocking, I know.

The Giants had a busy offseason, adding Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to the starting rotation, but neither had a shot at getting the Opening Day nod considering what Bumgarner has done for the Giants over the last five seasons.

Since the start of the 2011 season, the 26-year-old lefty compiled a 3.05 ERA with 1,034 strikeouts and 239 walks across 1,050 innings. Among starters who logged at least 800 innings in that span of time, only Clayton Kershaw, Cueto, Zack Greinke, David Price, and Felix Hernandez have posted lower ERAs.  And Bumgarner is the only one among them with a championship ring. In fact, he has three.