And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Cubs 5, Astros 4: The Astros should be bottled like some 19th Century patent medicine, guaranteed to cure all!  They can call it “Dr. Mills’ Blood, Liver and Stomach Invigorational Tincture” or something. Jeff Baker took a swig of it, obviously, and it gave him the gumption and pep to hit the game-winning single in the 10th. Or maybe Hunter Pence forgot to take it, causing bad humours and vexation to build up in his ocular region, this leading to him missing Marlon Byrd’s fly ball, which put Byrd on third base for the waiting Baker.  The Cubs take all three from Houston.

Reds 4, Braves 3: Drew Stubbs: walkoff homer. And for the second time in a week, when the game was on the line, the Braves lost it because Fredi Gonzalez has a pathological aversion to using his best reliever in a tie game on the road.  But hey, at least the feelings of whoever wrote The Book weren’t hurt.

Giants 2, Brewers 1: Madison Bumgarner outduels Yovani Gallardo. Pfun Pfact: I misspell Bumgarner’s and Gallardo’s names 100% of the time I write them, having to go back and change them. Every single time. And half the time I change them to another misspelling.

Yankees 7, Athletics 5: Bartolo Colon had a nice outing, suggesting that the “oh noes, he’s turning back into a pumpkin” fears are either overstated or premature.  Oakland had a chance to tie or win this one in the ninth, loading the bases against Mariano Rivera. The one-out line drive off the bat of David DeJesus found Mark Teixeira’s glove, however, and he turned the double play.

White Sox 4, Indians 2: Ezequiel Carrera woofed a simple Adam Dunn fly ball with two runners on in the sixth, scoring the Sox’ second and third runs of the game. But hey, when you’re a household name like Ezequiel Carrera, you can shake those sorts of things off, secure in the knowledge that you won’t get benched tomorrow or anything.

Diamondbacks 7, Rockies 0:  Justin Upton went 4 for 4 with two doubles, a triple and three RBIs and Micah Owings — really? — threw five shutout innings. He also had an RBI single, natch, because that’s what Micah Owings does.

Pirates 4, Cardinals 3: The Pirates needed this one. And they got the winning run small-ball style, which is about the only style they have at the moment: infield hit, steal of second, advance to third on a throwing error and in to score on a sac fly.

Rays 5, Royals 0: Alex Cobb throws seven shutout innings and three relievers carry the final two.

Red Sox 12, Mariners 8: The Red Sox were none too impressed with Michael Pineda (4.1 IP, 8 H, 7 ER).  Tim Wakefield got beat up too, but he’s been taking punches like that for years, so it was no sweat to him. Fifteen (15) (XV) straight losses for the M’s.

Phillies 5, Padres 3: Five in a row for Philly and seven of nine since the break. They’re just making it look easy.

Marlins 5, Mets 4: A great day for David Wright — homer, double and a single — but Bobby Parnell went kablooey in the eighth, giving up a Logan Morrison homer and a John Buck RBI double.

Angels 9, Orioles 3: The Angels put up a five-spot in the eighth, turning a close one into a not-so-close one, thanks in part to Mike Trout and Torii Hunter homers. Trout’s first one, by the way.

Dodgers 3, Nationals 1: Chad Billingsley struck out 10 over seven innings. The Nats have dropped six of nine since the break.

Blue Jays 4, Rangers 0: Brett Cecil threw a four-hit shutout against the Rangers in Arlington? All singles? Only one runner reaches second base? That’s pretty cool.

 

The Tigers are trying to convert Anthony Gose into a pitcher

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Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.

While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.

Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.

Stephen Strasburg is the Nationals’ Opening Day starter

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Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg will take the mound for the club on Opening Day, manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. The news is hardly surprising given Max Scherzer’s questionable status this spring, though it had yet to be confirmed by the club.

Strasburg is approaching his eighth run with the club in 2017. He went 15-4 in 2016, finishing the year with a 3.60 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 in 147 2/3 innings. This will mark his fourth Opening Day assignment with the Nationals.

Scherzer, the Nationals’ Opening Day starter in both 2015 and 2016, is scheduled to make his season debut sometime during the first week of the season. The right-hander is expected to take things more slowly this spring as he finishes rehabbing a stress fracture in his finger.

The Nationals will open their season against the Marlins on April 3.