Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Diamondbacks 4, Giants 1: Bye-bye Giants? They drop two of three to the Dbacks and now find themselves down by seven with 22 to play. Sure, Arizona could collapse — anyone can — but the dirty little secret about history’s big collapses is that they were always accompanied by another team surging. Is there anything about this Giants team that suggests to you that they are capable of a surge? Me neither.

Tigers 18, White Sox 2: Bye-bye White Sox. Note the lack of a question mark here. Detroit swept ’em in pretty damn convincing fashion. For Chicago the conversation now turns to what is shaping up to be a very eventful offseason.

Indians 9, Royals 6: Two homers and five driven in for Shelley Duncan made my daughter smile when I told her about it. Not that she knows what an RBI is. I mean, I teach her the important stuff about baseball, not beside-the-point facts.

Brewers 4, Astros 0: Shaun Marcum allowed one hit over seven innings. Ryan Braun drove in three. One on a single, one on a homer and one on a bases-loaded walk.

Marlins 5, Phillies 4: Crazy game. And not just for that video-review that maybe shouldn’t have been (and about which we’ll have a dedicated post later this morning).  The Marlins stranded 23 guys and still won. The Phillies walked the ballpark, many of them intentionally. The game finally ended in the 14th when, after one unintentional walk and two intentional walks by David Herndon, he issued one more unintentional walk to force in the winning run. His actual quote after the game: “stuff happens.”  Boy did it.

Yankees 9, Blue Jays 3: Derek Jeter drove in five runs, tying a career high. He’s hitting .346 with 17 extra-base hits and 34 RBIs in 50 games since he came off the DL in early July. I tell ya, his greatness is yet to be fully appreciated.  Homers from Jeter, A-Rod and Nick Swisher helped finish off the sweep. Jose Bautista hit his 40th.

Rangers 11, Red Sox 4: The Bosox allowed 28 runs while dropping two of three to Texas. In the one game they won they scored 12. This could be a fun playoffs matchup. And by fun I mean “dear God I hope these guys figure out how to pitch in the next month.”

Angels 4, Twins 1: Los Angeles of Anaheim beats Minnesota of Minneapolis, keeping pace 3.5 back of Texas. The Angels are the only team who wouldn’t make the playoffs if the season ended today which has a greater than 10 percent chance of making it overall based on however that playoff possibility factor is calculated. They’re at 10.6 percent.

Padres 7, Rockies 2: Will Venable and Jeremy Hermida each drove in three, helping snap a nine-game losing streak.

Cubs 6, Pirates 3: Randy Wells had his second-straight strong start. After the game people were asking him if he’s found his 2009 form again after a tough 2010. One of the things he said about last year: “There was a lot of stuff off the field that was said and thrown out there that was false.” Which sounds more like something a person on a reality show or some pop star who has been in the tabloids a lot says. But hey, I suppose that’s where we are as a society.

Athletics 8, Mariners 5: Hideki Matsui continues his hot second half hitting, smacking three doubles. He’s batting .343 since the break. The A’s sweep.

Reds 3, Cardinals 2: This is why there was no real reason for the Brewers to freak after getting swept by the Cards last week. To stay in it, St. Louis still had to, you know, beat other teams. The Reds took two of three in this series. Juan Francisco had four hits including the go-ahead single in the 10th. Lance Berkman, looking ahead to the Milwaukee series that kicks off today:

“If we can sweep them again, we can put ourselves at least within the realm of possibility, I guess you could say.”

Well, I guess you could say that. You could say a lot of things.

Mets 6, Nationals 3: From the game story: “[Willie Harris’] pinch-hit single highlighted a four-run sixth inning, spoiling what was likely Hernandez’s final game with Washington.” Seeing as though Livan Hernandez is easily my least favorite player in baseball, please forgive me if I shed no tears over this.

Rays 8, Orioles 1: The battle of the Jeremys. Hellickson has two complete games this year, each of which were four-hitters against the O’s. Shocker. Guthrie took his 17th loss. If he stays in the rotation and the rotation stays on schedule, he would get four more starts this year. C’mon, Jeremy! You can do it!

Braves 4, Dodgers 3: Atlanta salvages one, snapping the Dodgers’ six-game winning streak. Martin Prado drove in the winning run with a single in the bottom of the ninth. Chipper Jones called it “one of our biggest wins of the year.” Maybe he’s right.  I know people who are able to talk in detail about random games from five months ago — or heck, five years ago — but I’m not one of those people. Maybe I read too many box scores or something and they all blend together to me. So I guess this was one of the team’s bigger wins. We’re just at the point of the season when I’ve forgotten a lot of what has happened, so I can’t really say.

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.