Cliff Lee

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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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.

Drew Smyly brings youth and experience to Mariners rotation

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PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) Trades don’t surprise Drew Smyly anymore.

At age 27, the Seattle Mariners left-hander has been dealt twice. The first swap sent him from the team that drafted and developed Smyly, the Detroit Tigers, to the Tampa Bay Rays in midseason 2014. That trade landed star pitcher David Price in Detroit.

“I was surprised by that one,” Smyly said.

The most recent trade involving him came in January, when the Rays shipped Smyly to Seattle for three prospects in one of many moves by Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto. Smyly immediately joined the Mariners’ projected starting rotation, and is having fun getting to know his new teammates at spring training by way of manager Scott Servais’ clubhouse icebreakers.

Servais thinks Smyly is a solid fit as a still young yet experienced pitcher.

“One, being where he’s at in his career age-wise and service time, he’s kind of at the point where, put him in the right environment … very good defensive outfield, he’s a fly ball guy, maybe he does step up and take the next step,” Servais said. “Getting out of the American League East certainly should help him, but there’s no guarantees. Our division’s pretty tough.”

Servais suggested that another Arkansas native, ex-big leaguer Cliff Lee, might have helped sell Seattle on Smyly. Lee is a former Mariner and the two share an agent.

Smyly went 7-12 in a career-high 30 starts last season in Tampa, but won five games from July 30 to the end of the season after starting out 2-11. From May 21 to July 18, he lost seven straight starts.

“Pitching’s tough, you know,” Smyly said. “To manipulate the ball, to make it do different things, to put it in the strike zone with hitters that know what they’re doing. … I just had a rough stretch but I show up at the field every day, play catch and work on my craft and you know, that’s going to turn around one day.”

The 32 home runs Smyly surrendered in 2016 figure to be reduced in Seattle’s pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.

“It can only help,” he said. “But it’s still going to be up to me to execute pitches and pitch well.”

Smyly is set to join the U.S. World Baseball Classic team shortly. Before that, he’ll make his first spring training start in the middle of next week.

“It’s an honor to be able to put your country on your chest and play with some of the guys on that team,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it big time.”

NOTES: Servais plans to roll out what figures to be Seattle’s opening day lineup in the spring training opener Saturday against San Diego. It’s OF Jarrod Dyson, SS Jean Segura, 2B Robinson Cano, DH Nelson Cruz, 3B Kyle Seager, OF Mitch Haniger, 1B Dan Vogelbach, C Mike Zunino and OF Leonys Martin. … Servais said Cano and Cruz will play a little more than is typical for early spring games, as the two will depart for the World Baseball Classic in early March. … LHP Ariel Miranda will start Saturday, then RHP Chris Heston Sunday, RHP Yovani Gallardo on Monday and ace Felix Hernandez on Tuesday.

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.