And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 6, Astros 4: Chipper Jones came off the disabled list, singled in his first at bat and hit a home run in his second. Dude is on death’s door and he hasn’t had functional knees since Bush’s first term yet he’s still the best hitter on this team.  Tyler Pastornicky hit his first MLB bomb. In other news, the Astros wore their Colt .45 throwback jerseys and they looked totally amazing. Check out those stirrups, dude.

Rangers 1, Mariners 0: Neftali Feliz didn’t allow a run in his first ever — and long overdue — major league start. But according to my sources in the ATH Texas satellite office, he wasn’t all that crisp out of the gate, elevating pitches and the like. Guess there’s more of a margin for error when you’re facing the Mariners. Mike Napoli took an ugly one to the noggin but was OK.

Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 3: Daniel Bard got roughed up (5 IP, 8 H, 5 ER). Thankfully no one in Boston overreacts to such things and will give him all the time he need to ease into the rotation rather than freak the hell out and demand that he be moved to the pen. Meanwhile, Kyle Drabek gave up one run on three hits in five and a third. If he comes correct this season the Jays’ perceived rotation problems will be way less significant.

Nationals 6, Mets 2: Between learning about David Wright’s broken finger and losing their first game of the season, it seems that the Mets are not invincible after all. Jayson Werth went 4 for 5 and drove in two.  Ross Detwiler pitched five scoreless innings.

Brewers 7, Cubs 4:  The Brewers scored five in the first with the help of an Alex Gonzalez three-run homer.

Yankees 5, Orioles 4: Freddy Garcia threw five wild pitches. That’s special. Raul Ibanez doubled in the go-ahead run in the 12th. That’s unexpected.

Tigers 5, Rays 2: Work fast, throw strikes. It’s pretty easy, yes? Rick Porcesllo made it look so on a cold afternoon. Porcello allowed two runs on four hits in seven innings. Matt Moore was almost as effective for Tampa Bay, but the bullpen gave up three.

Dodgers 2, Pirates 1:  Andre Ethier hit a homer with two outs in the eighth to break a 1-1 tie on Dodger Stadium’s 50th anniversary. The Beach Boys sang the National Anthem. Brian Wilson was actually there, so it was the actual Beach Boys, not Mike Love and his Twisted, Depressing Beach Boys Tribute Band.

Cardinals 3, Reds 1: The Cardinals are 5-1, are hitting the ball well and are getting great pitching too. I guess they don’t quite miss Tony La Russa, Albert Pujols and Chris Carpenter yet. Homers from Carlos Beltran and David Freese.

Diamondbacks 4, Padres 2: Chris Young with a two-run homer in the 12th wins it. He hit it off Micah Owings, who probably should have been playing left field instead, but then again people have been saying that about Micah Owings for years and folks still let him pitch. The Snakes were lucky the game went extras given that their starter, Trevor Cahill, threw more balls than strikes while walking six dudes in six innings.

Royals 3, Athletics 0: Given the forecast I saw yesterday afternoon I’m surprised they even got this one in. But they did, even if it was rain-shortened. Danny Duffy allowed only one hit in six innings while striking out eight. According to the game story there were probably 150 people in the Coliseum taking this one in.

White Sox vs. Indians: POSTPONED: This one was postponed due to a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow. Well, rain, but since the temperatures were falling, it could very well have been snow eventually.

2017 Preview: The National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics