Raul Ibanez, Brian McCann

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights


Phillies 14, Braves 1: Like I’ve always said: you give Cole Hamels 14 runs to work with, and he’s probably going to win. Raul Ibanez drove in five runs in the entire month of June. He drove in six in this game. Oh, and watch the comments here: some readers/Braves fans foolishly bet some Phillies fans that, if the Phillies won this series, they’d write some variation of “Phillies Rule” in their comments today. I kept out of that because I’m neither a betting man nor am I deluded regarding the relative power of these two teams. But for those of you who did bet: keep your word, folks. Keep your word.

Yankees 1, Rays 0: CC Sabathia gets his 13th win with a four-hit shutout. James Shields’ throwing error led to the only run scored in the game.

Cardinals 4, Diamondbacks 2: Albert Pujols had a couple of hits to make for a pretty productive weekend and David Freese hit a homer because, well, he’s got to occasionally, right?

Tigers 2, Royals 1: I went outside for, like, ten minutes yesterday and almost collapsed from heat exhaustion. Justin Verlander allowed no earned runs over seven and two-thirds, and threw 119 pitches on a brutally hot day in Kansas City. Other than that, he and I are alike in all kinds of ways.

Brewers 4, Reds 3: Francisco Cordero came in to close things out with a one-run lead in the ninth but couldn’t get it done. An RBI single for Mark Kotsay tied it and a sacrifice for Craig Counsell won it for Milwaukee. In other news, I have mixed up Mark Kotsay and Craig Counsell for years, often referring to one when I meant the other. So, heck, maybe click through to the box score to make sure I’m right. Maybe Kotsay had the sac fly.

Twins 6, White Sox 3: Jake Peavy was eminently hittable. Anthony Swarzak pitched six strong innings. By the way, Anthony Swarzak is a pretty solid Midwestern name. Kind of has a Bill Brasky thing going on with it, so I hope he stays in Minnesota and pitches well for a long time.

Pirates 9, Cubs 1:  Andrew McCutchen homered and drove in five. The Pirates are 47-43, which is their best record at the break since Barry Bonds played there.

Red Sox 8, Orioles 6: A four-game sweep of the O’s for Boston. Baltimore is skidding out of control, having lost 12 of 13 and seven in a row. Both managers were ejected as there was more chin music in this one. Just an pug ugly series in a lot of ways.

Rangers 2, Athletics 0: An Adrian Beltre two-run homer took care of all of the offense. Matt Harrison and a couple of relievers took care of the shutout.

Nationals 2, Rockies 0: Much like the Rangers-A’s game. Jordan Zimmermann and three relievers combined for the shutout here. The Nationals are at .500 at the break, which wasn’t something a ton of people were expecting.

Marlins 5, Astros 4: I love the lede from the AP game story for this one:

With his enthusiasm and veteran leadership, center fielder Mike Cameron has helped rejuvenate the Florida Marlins, who are undefeated since he joined the team. On Sunday he contributed a hit, too.

I’ve read that a couple of times, and I can’t decide if the writer is being sincere about the value of Cameron’s leadership and enthusiasm or if he’s making a somewhat sly comment on that, noting the coincidence between Cameron’s presence and the Marlins’ wins in his first three games there.  Has me looking like this.

Blue Jays 7, Indians 1: A five-run third inning off Carlos Carrasco helped the Jays win their third in a row. The Indians fall a half-game back of Detroit at the break. I’m mildly pleased by this. Not because I’m rooting against Cleveland or anything, but I get mild pleasure from knowing that everyone writing their “first half in review” stories can’t go with the easy “well look who’s in first place” lead-in.

Angels 4, Mariners 2: Three straight games with a homer for Mark Trumbo. Who, whenever I hear his name, makes me think of Dalton Trumbo, which in turn makes me think of either (a) the Hollywood Blacklist; or (b) “Spartacus.”

Dodgers 4, Padres 1: Two homers for Andre Ethier and four wins in a row for the Dodgers. Almost enough to make you forget that the franchise is an utter train wreck. But just almost, or else I wouldn’t have typed that.

Giants 4, Mets 2: Pablo Sandoval extended his hitting streak to 21 games, hitting an RBI double. Matt Cain pitched six scoreless. Both All-Stars, you know, but then again, who isn’t an All-Star these days? I’m pretty sure I’m on the team too.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.

Marlins announcer Tommy Hutton was let go because he was “too negative”

marlins logo wide

We heard earlier this week that Marlins television analyst Tommy Hutton was let go after 19 seasons on the job. By all accounts, he’s well-liked and respected, so it smelled a little fishy with a team that has owner Jeffrey Loria calling the shots. Well, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald was told by a source close to the Marlins that Hutton was let go because he was “too negative.”

Jackson was also able to get in touch with Hutton, who provided some details about how things went down.

“I know there were times I was negative, but I thought those times were called for,” he said. “Ninety percent of what I said was positive. I tried not to be a homer, but you could tell I wanted the Marlins to do well.”

After being told that his salary wasn’t a factor in the decision, Hutton suspected that his candid, blunt analysis might be the impetus for his ouster.

So after learning his fate on Monday, he asked that question – whether they thought he was too negative — to both a Fox producer (at a meeting at Starbucks) and the Marlins’ vice president/communications (by phone).

He said the question was met with silence by both executives.

“I couldn’t get a yes or a no,” he said.

Hutton said there were three incident in recent years where he was told the Marlins were uncomfortable with something he said. He disclosed one example where he was exasperated at the ballpark’s dimensions after former catcher John Buck flew out to the warning track for the final out of a game. He was told by a Marlins vice president after the game that Loria prefer he not talk about the ballpark’s dimensions. Of course, the team is moving in the fences this winter.

To be clear, Hutton said he was told it was a “mutual decision” between the Marlins and FOX to let him go, but Jackson’s source hears that the concern about his “negativity” came from the team.

Hey, do you know the best way to prevent “negative” talk about your team? Fielding a winning baseball team without a dysfunctional ownership and front office. Crazy idea, I know, but it could be cool?