Seattle Mariners v Texas Rangers

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


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.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero
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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.

Marlins announcer Tommy Hutton was let go because he was “too negative”

marlins logo wide

We heard earlier this week that Marlins television analyst Tommy Hutton was let go after 19 seasons on the job. By all accounts, he’s well-liked and respected, so it smelled a little fishy with a team that has owner Jeffrey Loria calling the shots. Well, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald was told by a source close to the Marlins that Hutton was let go because he was “too negative.”

Jackson was also able to get in touch with Hutton, who provided some details about how things went down.

“I know there were times I was negative, but I thought those times were called for,” he said. “Ninety percent of what I said was positive. I tried not to be a homer, but you could tell I wanted the Marlins to do well.”

After being told that his salary wasn’t a factor in the decision, Hutton suspected that his candid, blunt analysis might be the impetus for his ouster.

So after learning his fate on Monday, he asked that question – whether they thought he was too negative — to both a Fox producer (at a meeting at Starbucks) and the Marlins’ vice president/communications (by phone).

He said the question was met with silence by both executives.

“I couldn’t get a yes or a no,” he said.

Hutton said there were three incident in recent years where he was told the Marlins were uncomfortable with something he said. He disclosed one example where he was exasperated at the ballpark’s dimensions after former catcher John Buck flew out to the warning track for the final out of a game. He was told by a Marlins vice president after the game that Loria prefer he not talk about the ballpark’s dimensions. Of course, the team is moving in the fences this winter.

To be clear, Hutton said he was told it was a “mutual decision” between the Marlins and FOX to let him go, but Jackson’s source hears that the concern about his “negativity” came from the team.

Hey, do you know the best way to prevent “negative” talk about your team? Fielding a winning baseball team without a dysfunctional ownership and front office. Crazy idea, I know, but it could be cool?