And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Rays 4, Angels 3: Pinch hit walkoff bomb from Brandon Allen to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Albert Pujols got a hit but he was thrown out at second trying to stretch it into a double. I think that’s what the fancy commentators on those evening baseball television programs call “pressing.” The Angels are nine games back of the Rangers already which, dude, wow.

Mariners 5, Tigers 4: As my Twitter friend Grey said yesterday: “Brandon Inge is gone and the Tigers still have 24 other guys who have also struggled this week! woooooo!” Yeah, not a week to write home about if you’re the Tigers. Which is worse considering they were at home for all of it. Chone Figgins was 3 for 4 with an RBI double. If Chone Figgins is kicking your butt, you gotta look in a mirror.

Royals 4, Indians 2: Break up the Royals, they’re on a winning streak!  Two straight for Kansas City. Alex Gordon after the game: “”We can’t lose now. It’s unbelievable.”  Yes, he actually said that.

Orioles 5, Blue Jays 2: Brian Matusz went six allowing two runs — but neither were earned — as the O’s sweep the Jays and take their fourth straight overall. You know who’s happy Albert Pujols is struggling so much? Jose Bautista. Because not that many people are paying attention to his .194/.349/.343 line.

Mets 3, Marlins 2: Rule of thumb: if you closer comes in to a one-run game and throws 46 pitches, he’s not having a good day and you’re not winning. Heath Bell threw 46 pitches, he was not having a good day and the Marlins didn’t win.

Giants 6, Reds 5: I hit the ending of this one up yesterday. In the comments to that post someone suggested that I pointed out the fact that Angel Pagan — who hit what proved to be the game-winning three-run homer — should have struck out but for the bad call because “you still can’t get over the fact that the Giants beat your Braves in the 2010 DS. Stop hating and give a little credit.”  Yes, that’s exactly why I pointed that out. You got me. I’ve been harboring my hate for the Giants for over a year and a half and finally — finally! — found my chance to pounce.

Red Sox 10, White Sox 3: I’m sure someone has done a study of how dudes do after throwing a perfecto, and I imagine they do quite poorly on average. Maybe not as poorly as Phil Humber did, though (5 IP, 8 H, 9 ER). Saltalamacchia hit two homers.

Padres 2, Nationals 1: Edinson Volquez gave up one run over seven. Which was one more than Edwin Jackson gave up over six, but Volquez had a better bullpen on his side last night.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.