Nyjer Morgan

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Miss me? No? Ah, well. Baseball stops for no one man. Back to the grind then:

Brewers 2, Pirates 1: The walkoff sac fly for Nyjer Morgan. Of course all guys who hit sac flies walk off the field, so whatever. Charlie Morton’s scoreless innings streak was snapped at 24. In other news, Charlie Morton had a sizable scoreless innings streak. The things you miss when you’re sitting and staring at a lake for a week.

Giants 5, Marlins 2: Two homers for Brandon Belt, so I assume he’ll be sent down to AAA now. Ryan Vogelsong ups his record to 10-2. He retired 17 straight Marlins at one point. He also got hit by a pitch and got real mad. Marlins’ manager Jack McKeon actually said this: “Guys get carried away. Vogel … Volkswagen … whatever his name is — he’s lucky he didn’t have to face Drysdale or Gibson or one of those guys. You would get a shave and a haircut real quick.”  And McKeon is basically the only guy who could get away with saying that kind of thing.

Cubs 6, Braves 5: Atlanta blows a four-run lead and Dan Uggla’s hitting streak ends at 33. Fun with line scores: Arodys Vizcaino struck out three in two-thirds of an inning. Wild pitches are the damndest things.

Dodgers 7, Astros 0: The Astros got swept. A shame too. Before the weekend began there was still a technical chance that they could finish above .500. So it goes.

Orioles 8, Tigers 5: Baltimore led 8-1 heading into the ninth and allowed the Tigers to rally for four. I’m guessing fans of most teams wouldn’t have gotten too worried, even if such events upset them. But there’s a certain brand of O’s fan — of whom I meet more and more these days — who probably figured their guys could woof this one away. Especially given that they blew a five-run lead on Saturday.

Mariners 5, Red Sox 3: The M’s take two of three from the Bosox as Charlie Furbush gave up one run over seven innings to the best offense around.

White Sox 6, Royals 2: A three-run homer for Brent Lillibridge pulls the Sox to .500 and to within four games of the Tigers.

Blue Jays 5, Angels 4: A walkoff single in the 10th for Edwin Encarnacion. And unlike Nyjer Morgan’s, this really was a walkoff. Because normally if you walk off the field right after hitting a single, they can tag you out or call you out for being out of the baseline or something. You can look it up.

Diamondbacks 5, Mets 3: A homer for Justin Upton. A couple of doubles for Paul Goldschmidt. A broken fibula for Jason Marquis. Two out of three ain’t bad. Six straight wins for the Dbacks.

Rangers 7, Athletics 6: The A’s have lost eight in a row to Texas. They really should stop scheduling those guys. Everyone complains when you beat up on some small school in August, but you rarely get penalized for it. Oh, sorry. I live in the college football belt, and sometimes this kind of talks just starts filtering in this time of year.

Padres 7, Reds 3: Dontrelle Willis had to leave early with forearm tightness. After the game he said “”This is the first time my arm felt like this. At this point in my career, it’s kind of shocking.”  More shocking: that Willis can talk about his career having any sense of normalcy or predictability to it whatsoever.

Cardinals 6, Rockies 2: With the Rockies down by only two, Octavio Dotel struck out Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton with the bases loaded in the seventh inning. Pretty clutch, eh? Dotel? Who knew? Long, long homer for Albert Pujols who now, despite such a poor start, leads the NL in bombs.

Nationals vs. Phillies: POSTPONED: I don’t begrudge the fact that, in large part, the ATH comments have been turned into a Phillies fan forum this year. You guys are passionate and committed and your team is doing well so it’s totally understandable. I must say, though, I am curious to see how you guys use a rainout as the basis to dominate the comments as usual.

Rays vs. Yankees: POSTPONED: See, if Yankee Stadium had a dome like they have down in St. Petersburg, this game would have been played. Why can’t anyone learn from the Rays’ example?

Twins v. Indians: POSTPONED: All three games that were postponed involved sure-thing playoff teams or potential playoff teams. I’m getting excited though, because we’re very close to the time of year when they cancel games and don’t bother to reschedule them in the event they involve a couple of dead-enders.

Cubs, Jake Arrieta avoid arbitration at $10.7 million

Jake Arrieta
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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The Associated Press is reporting that the Cubs and starter Jake Arrieta have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $10.7 million salary for the 2016 season. That marks the highest salary on a one-year deal for a pitcher with four years of service, the AP notes. Arrieta and the Cubs were set to go before an independent arbitrator but now can simply focus on the season ahead.

Arrieta, 29, is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He had filed for $13 million while the Cubs countered at $7.5 million. The $5.5 million gap was the largest among players who did not come to terms with their respective teams by the January deadline. The $10.7 million salary is $450,000 above the midpoint between the two submitted figures.

Arrieta won the National League Cy Young Award for his performance this past season, narrowly edging out Zack Greinke, then with the Dodgers. Arrieta led the majors with 22 wins, four complete games, and three shutouts. With that, he compiled a 1.77 ERA and a 236/48 K/BB ratio across 229 innings.

Once a top prospect in the Orioles’ minor league system, Arrieta struggled in the majors but found immediate success with the Cubs in 2013 after the O’s traded him along with Pedro Strop in exchange for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.

Giants sign Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal

Los Angeles Angels third baseman Conor Gillaspie is unable to hold on to the ball after catching a grounder hit by Kansas City Royals' Lorenzo Cain in the fourth inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
AP Photo/Colin E. Braley
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Per Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, the Giants have signed infielder Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal. Gillaspie was selected by the Giants in the supplemental round of the 2008 draft, then was traded to the White Sox in February 2013.

Gillaspie, 28, hit a meager .228/.269/.359 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 253 plate appearances between the White Sox and Angels during the 2015 season. Almost all of his playing time has come at third base but he can also play first base if needed.

The Giants, thin on depth, will allow Gillaspie to audition in spring training for a spot on the 25-man roster.

Joe Nathan plans to pitch in 2016

Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joe Nathan throws against the Chicago White Sox in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Detroit Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
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Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that free agent reliever Joe Nathan, recovering from Tommy John surgery, plans to pitch in 2016 according to his agent Dave Pepe. According to Pepe, Nathan’s workouts are “going well” and the right-hander is “definitely planning on playing this year.”

Nathan, 41, got the final out on Opening Day (April 6) against the Twins before going on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right elbow, causing him to miss the next 161 games. He will likely be able to contribute out of the bullpen in late May or early June if he has no setbacks. On a minor league deal or incentive-laden major league deal, Nathan could make for a low-risk gamble.

Over a 15-season career that dates back to 1999 (he did not pitch in the majors in 2001 or 2010), Nathan has 377 saves with a 2.89 ERA and a 967/340 K/BB ratio over 917 innings.

The Rays are considering reliever Tyler Clippard

New York Mets pitcher Tyler Clippard throws during the eighth inning of Game 4 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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On Thursday, we learned that the Diamondbacks were still considering free agent reliever Tyler Clippard. You can add the Rays to the list as well, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

The Rays traded lefty reliever Jake McGee to the Rockies in exchange for outfielder Corey Dickerson in late January, so Clippard would be able to slot right in behind closer Brad Boxberger. Clippard, 30, compiled a 2.92 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 31 walks over 71 innings in a season split between the Athletics and Mets. The strikeout rate was at its lowest since the right-hander become a full-time reliever in 2009, and his walk rate was at its highest since 2010, which may be a factor in his still being a free agent in February.