Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights


Rays 9, Red Sox 2: And things get closer. Three RBI a piece for B.J. Upton, Evan Longoria and Casey Kotchman. Bad starting pitching, bad middle relief, slumbering bats swung by aching men. In other words, par for the course for Boston.

Phillies 3, Marlins 1Phillies 2, Marlins 1: Kyle Kendrick and five relievers limited the Marlins to one run in the first game. In the nightcap, Cliff Lee was one strike — one measly strike! — short of another shutout, but gave up a game-tying homer to Jose Lopez. Ryan Howard drove in the game-winner in the 10th, however. And please save me the sarcastic “I guess all of Ryan Howard’s RBIs are useless” rebop. He was 0 for his previous 15 going back to Sunday. Yes, the RBI was great. But the 0 for 15 happened too. You gotta judge it all, not just the good stuff.

Giants 8, Rockies 5: Pablo Sandoval — the only Giant who decided to pack his bat when they came north from Scottsdale this year — hit for the cycle. Here’s video of all four hits.  I gotta tell ya, the triple looks like the product of a conspiracy with Carlos Gonzalez. I’ve seen European soccer players stand more resolutely against contact than Gonzalez did when he fell down.  I’m calling shenanigans. Launch an investigation.

Pirates 6, Dodgers 2: Ross Ohlendorf pitched well and hit a three-run homer. Sad. This is one of the last “he helped his own causes” of the regular season.

Athletics 6, Tigers 1: Finally, Lloyd McClendon can change his underwear. The streak ends at 12. Brandon McCarthy allowed one run over seven.

Nationals 10, Mets 1: Five hits and three batted in for Ian Desmond. A pathetic display for the Mets, who lost their sixth in a row. After which Terry Collins said his team “folded it up.” It’s a charge that seems to have a little weight. They’re just mailing it in and looking forward to tee times two weeks from now.

Royals 7, White Sox 2: Is it misplaced to praise Mark Buehrle for still working fast when he gives up 15 hits?  Yeah. probably is. Still: two hours and thirty-eight minutes. The man is a the model of efficiency. Even when he’s getting beat like a red headed stepchild.

Rangers 7, Indians 4: Alexi Ogando surrendered but two hits in six shutout innings. No one tell him that he probably took the plurality of the vote in the Ugliest Active Player in Baseball poll in yesterday’s Twitter questions post, OK?

Reds 8, Cubs 6: The Cubs tied it up off Francisco Cordero in the ninth, but Jay Bruce won it with the walkoff job in the 11th inning. Reds starter Homer Bailey gave up a couple of homers. He hasn’t done that a lot lately, so he was asked about it: “You come out there and you don’t expect it to be 40 degrees,” Bailey said.  Fine, maybe it was the weather’s fault. But you can totally expect the weather. There are websites and everything that tell you all about it.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

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.