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.

Yu Darvish will report to spring training on time, hopes to begin mound work in March

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Rangers ace Yu Darvish missed the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last March 17. Most starting pitchers take 13-15 months to fully recover from that procedure, and the Rangers aren’t counting on Darvish until sometime this May.

His rehab so far has gone on without issue.

Darvish offered some very positive updates Tuesday to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram …

Darvish, 29, boasts a 3.27 ERA and 1.196 WHIP in 83 career major league starts. He can also claim a whopping 680 strikeouts in 545 1/3 career major league innings.

Texas has him under contract for $10 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017.

Masahiro Tanaka throws off mound for first time since October elbow surgery

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According to the Associated Press — via Chad Jennings of The Journal News — Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka threw off a bullpen mound Tuesday for the first time since undergoing a cleanup procedure on his right elbow last October.

The throwing session took place in New York, and Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild later told the media in Tampa that all of the reports he heard were good.

Tanaka might be behind some of the Yankees’ other pitchers when spring training officially begins, but he should be ready for the start of the 2016 regular season.

The 27-year-old native of Japan posted a 3.51 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 139/27 K/BB ratio across 154 innings last season for New York. He owns a 3.16 ERA (123 ERA+) in 290 1/3 innings since becoming a major leaguer in 2014.

Tanaka is still pitching with a partially-torn ligament in his right elbow that could eventually require Tommy John reconstructive surgery. His surgery last October was of the arthroscopic variety and simply removed bone spurs.

Bud Selig to teach a class at Arizona State law school

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Before Bud Selig ultimately retired, he had a couple of false start retirement announcements only to have the owners beg him to sign on for one more term. In one of those false starts he talked about how the University of Wisconsin had set up an office for him in the history department and that he’d be doing some research and teaching a class now and again. And he has, in fact, taught some one-off seminars at Wisconsin’s law school and the like.

Now something a little more permanent along those lines is in the works for The Greatest Commissioner in Baseball History. The Arizona Republic reports that Selig will join the Sports Law and Business program at Arizona State University’s law school where he will teach and advise as well as start up a speakers series in which he will bring in high-powered guests. No word on how many speakers will talk about big, important historical sports law cases like, say collusion in baseball, which was orchestrated by an ownership class in the mid-to-late 80s, of which Bud Selig was far and away the most influential member. That could get sort of awkward, I suppose.

Either way, it’s a good way to keep busy. I mean, that’s what it has to be as he’s not hurting for cash, what with the obscene $6 million severance package the owners gave him to, I dunno, not give interviews about bad stuff that happened back in the day like Fay Vincent does all the time. Stuff like collusion. Maybe he gets the $6 million for some other purpose. Who can say, really? It’s never made any sort of sense otherwise.

Anyway, good luck in Tempe, Bud. Maybe I’ll stop by your office at ASU when I’m there next month — I always stay in Tempe — and we can chew the fat or climb that butte with the big A on it or something. First round at Four Peaks afterward is on me.

White Sox sign first baseman Travis Ishikawa

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First baseman Travis Ishikawa has agreed to a minor-league contract with the White Sox that includes an invitation to spring training.

Ishikawa was previously reported to have a minor-league deal with the Mariners last month, but the signing was never finalized. Now he joins the White Sox, who have Jose Abreu and Adam LaRoche ahead of him on the first base/designated hitter depth chart.

Ishikawa had some big moments for the Giants in the 2014 playoffs, but he’s a 32-year-old journeyman with a lifetime .255 batting average and .712 OPS in 488 games as a big leaguer.

It’s possible the White Sox could keep him around as a bench bat and backup first baseman/left fielder, but Ishikawa seems more likely to begin the season at Triple-A.