New York Mets v St Louis Cardinals

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Mets 8, Cardinals 6:  Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles, the Mets saved the Braves’ bacon, at least for another day. The Cards had a 6-1 lead after seven, but the bullpen — obviously channeling April — blew it. Or La Russa blew it with the parade of relievers and intentional walks to load the bases and all of that kind of nonsense. Whatever the case, a six-run ninth against a Mets team that looked to be mailing in this getaway day game for the first several innings is inexcusable. If the Cards fall a game short of the wild card, this will the game they look at and wonder how in the frak they let it get away.

Rays 15, Yankees 8: The Rays shave a half game off Boston’s lead by pounding New York. Matt Moore: money. He struck out 11 in 5 innings in his first big league start. I have no idea if Tampa Bay will catch Boston, but I know that they’re gonna be good for a long time after this year.

Blue Jays 4, Angels 3: The Angels, alas, do not make up that half game. Walkoff shot for Edwin Encarnacion in the 12th. Check out the home run call. Pretty fantastic stuff.

Nationals 6, Phillies 1: Look: the 2010 Phillies were pretty dominant in September and they lost in the NLCS, so it doesn’t necessarily mean anything. But dudes, seriously. When something called a “Brad Peacock” shuts you down for nearly six innings you have to take a look in the mirror. A sweep by the Nats, who now look to kill the Braves’ season this weekend. Six straight south for the Phillies.

Orioles 6, Tigers 5: The O’s have won eight of ten. Yes, last year taught us not to draw too much from what happens after the meaningful baseball games end, but it’s been nice to see Baltimore play like they mean it these past couple of weeks.

Indians 11, White Sox 2: Asdrubal Cabrera drove in five. Tribe starter Jeanmar Gomez won his fifth straight since being recalled from Columbus. Speaking of guys going up to Cleveland from Columbus, I’ll be at the Indians-Twins game tonight, sitting in the Tribe Social Suite with other bloggery types. I mean look: when you can drive 130 miles to see the 2011 Minnesota Twins play, that’s just something you do.

Twins 3, Mariners 2: Oh, maybe I shouldn’t hate on the Twins too much. They’ll be heading in to Cleveland on a winning streak. A one-game winning streak after dropping 11 straight. Rene Tosoni hit an RBI double with two outs in the ninth to win it.  No, I have no idea who Rene Tosoni is. If you would have asked me before I read the box score I would have assumed that he was a composer. Light opera. Maybe got into some television scoring in the early 50s before he died.

Athletics 4, Rangers 3: Oakland avoids the sweep behind a bullet-dodging start from Trevor Cahill. Ten hits in six and two thirds, but the Rangers weren’t able to string ’em together well enough to do too much damage.

Dodgers 8, Giants 2: Matt Kemp: 4 for 5 with a two-run homer and three doubles. M-V-P! M-V-P!

Astros 9, Rockies 6: Four RBI for Carlos Lee, three for Matt Downs.  Alex White gave up five runs in four and two-thirds innings, hitting two batters and throwing two wild pitches. But hey, at least he’s not in Ohio.

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.