Arizona Diamondbacks v Philadelphia Phillies

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Diamondbacks 3, Phillies 2: Roy Halladay struck out 14 and pitched a complete game but lost all the same. Guess he just doesn’t know how to win, huh?  Lyle Overbay knocked in all three of the Snakes’ runs, including a two-run double which ended up winning it in the ninth.

Astros 6, Cubs 5: Where in the hell did that come from? It was 5-2 in the ninth and I was just about ready to write that the Astros may not win 50 games this year, when all of a sudden something called a Brian Bogusevic hits a walkoff grand slam off Carlos Marmol. I mean, sure, Marmol has had his share of meltdowns this year, but since when do the Astros have any late game moxie? Oh, and they still may not win 50 games this year, but given this dramatic win, it would be rude to point that out in this recap.

Braves 2, Giants 1: Whichever San Francisco Giants employee built their house on that ancient Indian burial ground, can you please tear it down? On a day when practically everyone who has ever worn a Giants uniform dating back to Billy O’Dell was placed on the disabled list or otherwise injured, starter Jonathan Sanchez had to leave the game early with a sprained ankle. That the Braves won it on an 11th inning single was probably a blessing for Bruce Bochy, who no doubt was convinced by then that he’d lose a player to Cotard’s Syndrome or something. As it is, he probably has a case of Trichotillomania by now.

Athletics 8, Orioles 4: Read the box score if you want to know what happened in the game. For now, I’m mostly interested in the AP recap. For the second day in a row (here’s yesterday’s), the guy writing the O’s-A’s recap has gone with a pitcher talking about his cut fastball as the centerpiece. Coincidence? Possibly. Maybe that’s just what the player decided to talk about in the clubhouse afterward. But part of me thinks that we have a cutter obsessive on our hands, lurking in west coast ballparks, armed with a press pass and his monomania. But what does he want? WHAT DOES HE WANT?!

Rangers 7, Angels 3:  [As the Angels join hands to sing]: I was born here and I’ll die here against my will. I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still. Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb. I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from. Don’t even hear a murmur of a prayer. It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.

Red Sox 3, Rays 1; Rays 6, Red Sox 2:  I hit the first game up in a post yesterday. As for the second, one day after I mentioned that I like the bang-bang-bang triple plays, the Red Sox turned one. What kind of sorcery is this, and can I learn to use it on demand?

Tigers 7, Twins 1: Justin Verlander cruises, as usual. I know wins aren’t everything, but the guy is on pace for something like 24 wins right now, and that kind of total doesn’t happen much these days. There’s a righteous argument for him to win the Cy Young on the real merits anyway, but if he snags 24 wins, it’s probably unanimous because it’s the kind of thing on which everyone can agree.

Pirates 5, Cardinals 4: Walkoff homer for Garrett Jones in the 11th. I have no idea how this happened. I mean, Tony La Russa had his ancient lefty specialist in to face the lefty Jones, and the gods who gave La Russa was all of his baseball wisdom proclaimed that such a strategy never fails. I saw it written in flaming letters on the side of a granite cliff. I swear.

Brewers 2, Dodgers 1: As the Cardinals lose, Milwaukee improves to 12-2 in August thanks to Mark Kotsay’s RBI single to end it in the ninth. They now have a seven game lead in the division. That’s only a half game worse than Philly’s lead in the East, which is the biggest in baseball.

Nationals 6, Reds 4:  I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that, both times recently when I remembered that Wang was pitching, he won.  Because I have a clever little phrase I want to use that I’m sure no one has ever thought of before in the event that someone beats Wang.

Padres 6, Mets 1: Like the Cubs, the Padres are putting it together too late for it to matter. But hey, at least they’re putting it together. How together? San Diego leads all of baseball in runs scored since the All-Star break. Yeah, that’s a bit of a shocker.  Fifteen hits last night, including two triples for Nick Hundley.

Blue Jays 13, Mariners 7: They Jays jumped out to a six-run lead, blew it, and then went on to win by six anyway. It’s like they have a crate of six-run leads in the clubhouse that they can just use whenever.

Marlins 6, Rockies 5: Eight strong innings from Anibal Sanchez to give him his first win in over two months. It was almost deja vu for Florida, though, as the Rockies mounted a ninth inning rally. It fell short, of course. If it hadn’t, I would have written the score differently.

Yankees 9, Royals 7:  Ivan Nova gave up seven runs on nine hits in five and a third. But he got the win, so by definition, that makes him better than Roy Halladay.

White Sox 8, Indians 7:  A wild one. The wildest part: Juan Pierre, offensive hero. A homer in the fourth — only his 16th in his whole long career — and the walkoff single in the 14th.  Also wild: the Sox had five triples. Also wild: the Indians had the bases loaded with one out in the 13th but couldn’t get it done. A five-hour+ game.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.

 

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.