Seattle Mariners v Texas Rangers

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Rangers 11, Mariners 5: According to Google Translate, a literal translation of “run support” in Japanese is サポートを実行する.  I have no idea if that covers the actual concept of run support, but I bet after last night Yu Darvish knows. He started out his major league debut by giving up four runs in the first inning while throwing 42 pitches. The bats of Nelson Cruz, Mitch Moreland and Josh Hamilton bailed him out of 4-0 and 5-2 deficits, however and later they piled on some more. Darvish ended up laboring through five and two-thirds, throwing 110 pitches, striking out five and walking four. But I suppose he just knows how to win, because he got the W.

Giants 7, Rockies 0: Barry Zito throws his first shutout in nine years. In Coors Field of all places. He only gave up four hits too, and didn’t walk anyone. I think the most logical explanation here is that Zito has been abducted by the pod people, who then put a cyborg in his place. I mean, sure, that sounds fanciful, but I’m a proponent of Occam’s Razor and in accounting for Barry Zito throwing a shutout in 2012, the cyborg/pod people story contains no more assumptions than are necessary to accomplish the explanation.

Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 2: The Sox win and Alfredo Aceves gets a save? Way to kill the narrative, Boston. I had hoped I could ride that out the rest of the week. Not I gotta think and stuff. I go it! Daniel Bard to the bullpen … of the 2003 Red Sox!

Yankees 6, Orioles 2: The Yankees get their first win too, though it wasn’t quite as narrative-killing as the Boston win. Red Sox fans watch their team lose three games and kind of freak out. The Yankees could lose their first 26 and they’d say “Here it goes: we’re gonna win the next 136 games! Go Yankees!”  Don’t applaud yourself for your optimism here, however, Yankees fans: both behaviors are highly annoying to the rest of us. Jeter had four hits. Since Ivan Nova both (a) won; and (b) allowed ten hits, I am contractually obligated to say that said hits were “scattered.”

Athletics 1, Royals 0: Wow, Tom Milone. Eight three-hit shutout innings? With no strikeouts, by the way, which doesn’t happen often.

Mets 4, Nationals 3: The Mets keep chugging along. The game was tied 3-3 since the fourth inning, but Daniel Murphy singled home Mike Baxter in the bottom of the ninth to win it.

White Sox 4, Indians 2: Chris Sale wins his first career start, pitching into the seventh and allowing only one run on three hits. Gotta like the Indians chances tonight, though: according to the game notes, the White Sox plan to tour the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today, and that’s so damn depressing that the Sox will likely be down for the game.

Cardinals 7, Reds 1: Homer Bailey is awfully sweet. He knows that some Reds fans are probably missing Edinson Volquez this year, so he did a great impression of him by getting lit up like a Christmas tree in the first inning. Matt Holliday homered and then David Freese and Yadier Molina hit back to back dingers that inning. Given that Jake Westbrook allowed only three hits and an unearned run in seven, that was all the Cards really needed.

Astros 8, Braves 3: Atlanta’s season continues to be depressing. This one was a full team effort: the Braves committed four errors, their pitchers made the Astros hitters look pretty darn good and once Houston had the lead, Braves hitters looked like they rolled over and died.  Really, in the seventh inning, Braves hitters saw six pitches. Six total pitches all inning long. Oh, and their manager continues his misguided though somehow admirable campaign to make Braves fans never, ever forget that Bobby Cox is gone. [Miss you Bobby! Call me!]

Marlins 6, Phillies 2: Hit this one up yesterday, but here’s the short version: Omar Infante — former All-Star — hit two bombs, as the Phillies home opener was no fun for anyone apart from the Marlins.

Angels 5, Twins 1: C.J. Wilson gave up one run on three hits in seven innings. After Jason Hammel’s outing on Sunday, I’m sensing a pattern here: pitchers do really well when facing the Twins.

Brewers 7, Cubs 5: Ryan Braun got booed like crazy in his first action in Wrigley Field since everyone decided that he was guilty of taking something. Whatever. There were nine Cubs players named in the Mitchell Report plus Sammy Sosa who wasn’t, and I’m assuming all of them were booed heartily too. Wait, they weren’t? Why, if I didn’t know better, I’d be tempted to believe that the booing is based on some form of tribalism as opposed to genuine disapproval of Mr. Braun’s alleged actions.

Orioles re-sign Michael Bourn to a minor league deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Michael Bourn #1 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a single in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.

Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.

Shelby Miller is in the best mental shape of his life

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 24:  Shelby Miller #26 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller had about as bad a season as one can have. He was the headliner in the trade that sent 2015 No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson, All-Star outfielder Ender Inciarte, and highly-regarded pitching prospect Aaron Blair to the Braves. It was a trade that was pilloried at the time and continues to be pilloried to this day.

Miller didn’t do then-GM Dave Stewart any favors with his 2016 performance. He went 3-12 with a 6.15 ERA and a 70/42 K/BB ratio over 101 innings. That included a bout with mechanical failure, as he kept hitting the mound with his follow-through. He went on the disabled list. And after that, he was demoted to Triple-A. After getting fired, Stewart expressed remorse over acquiring Miller — or, more accurately, giving up Swanson to do so.

So, the 26-year-old Miller heads into 2017 without any momentum. To his credit, though, he’s going into the new season with a very positive perspective. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:

I’m just in a really happy place, away from the field, on the field. […]

Maybe it’s just the way I go about everything, trying to be positive in every single aspect of life. Baseball’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. I know bumps in the road are going to happen. Last year was obviously not just a bump, but a huge mountain. Right now, that’s completely behind me. I’m not worried about any of that.

I’m really ready for this year, ready to redeem myself so much.

Even pitching coach Mike Butcher sees the change in Miller’s mentality. “He’s not a different guy. But you can see there’s a presence in him. That’s what we need. Just be Shelby Miller. You don’t have to live up to anything. Just be yourself.”

Manager Torey Lovullo, too, praised Miller. “I saw a guy who had spent a lot of time taking care of his business in the weight room — he looks fantastic, in fantastic shape,” he said.

It sounds like Miller is not only in great mental shape, but great physical shape, too. Is it the “best shape of his life”? Only time can tell.