Boston Red Sox Beckett pitches against Seattle Mariners during their MLB baseball game in Boston

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Red Sox 5, Mariners 0: That Josh Beckett is such a disgrace! He’s poisoning this team, I tell you, poisoning them! Oh, wait, he pitched well? Seven shutout innings while striking out nine? Well, in that case, I stand corrected.

Cardinals 7, Cubs 6: Jason Motte vultured a win when he gave up a tying homer to Alfonso Soriano in the ninth but then stayed on to be the pitcher of record when Yadier Molina hit the game winning single in the bottom half of the inning. After the game Mike Matheny said “”There’s going to be some loud music playing in the clubhouse, and there’s going to be some crazy stuff on the plane, too.”  Somewhere, wherever he is, Tony La Russa had a pain shoot up his side.

Phillies 4, Astros 3: As we noted yesterday, Hunter Pence hit the walkoff homer. But the real play of the day came from umpire Bob Davidson, who in ejecting Charlie Manuel for no apparent reason apart from his own combative insecurity, truly lived up to his reputation yesterday. Oh, and Cliff Lee was pretty amazing despite the no decision.

Tigers 10, White Sox 8: Ugly all around. An eight-spot for the Tigers in the sixth inning helped them win it, but that was sandwiched by another bad, bullpen-stressing Max Scherzer start and a Jose Valverde injury on the other side. Chicago of course feels bad about it too, what with giving up a six-run lead.

Padres 6, Nationals 1: Strasburg was cold from the get-go. Just icy. The fireballer had to be hot about how bad his start was. Really burned him up, I’m sure. Oh, and Bryce Harper hit another homer, but he’s old news compared to Strasburg’s burning bits and pieces.

Indians 5, Twins 0: Derek Lowe’s shutout — and really, his entire season so far — is basically this to all Braves fans who enjoyed him losing 17 games last year. Not that we’re crying because we’re doing just fine without him, but still.  As for the Twins: currently on a worse pace than the 1962 Mets, so there’s that.

Angels 4, Athletics 0: Albert Pujols broke out, going 3 for 4 with two RBI singles. Ervin Santana pitched seven and two-thirds shuout innings.

Brewers 8, Mets 0: The Travis Ishikawa and Zack Greinke show. The former drove in five with the help of two homers. The latter shut the Mets out for seven innings, striking out seven. Oh, and right after Rickie Weeks hit a homer, Ryan Braun was plunked on the next pitch by D.J. Carrasco. Umpire Gary Darling ejected Carrasco. Darling must be an HBT reader and knows that intentional plunkings should not be tolerated. Good man.

Marlins 6, Pirates 2: Omar Infante went 4 for 5 and is hitting .325/.350/.598.  Remember when everyone made fun of him making the All-Star team a couple of years ago. Tell me: how many teams wouldn’t want that kind of production from their second basemen right now? Josh Johnson: two runs over seven innings for his first win in over a year.

Rays 4, Blues Jays 3: Down 3-0 after four innings, the Rays rallied and David Price won his fifth, retiring 12 of the final 13 he faced. And then there was ugliness, as Brett Lawrie was ejected after losing his sh** and throwing his batting helmet at the umpire. Then manager John Farrell got ejected too. Then:

Police and stadium security were seen pointing into the crowd after an exchange between fans and umpires as the crew headed off the field through the visitor’s dugout.

Canadian players and fans? Acting threateningly? Unpossible! Enjoy your suspension, Mr. Lawrie.

Braves 6, Reds 2: Tim Hudson allowed two runs over seven innings and the Braves had no problems holding the 6-0 lead they had after only four innings. Why are the Braves winning so much? The top seven of last night’s lineup sported OBPs as follows: .399, .374, .368, .360, .331. .348, .362.

Orioles 5, Yankees 2: Chen outduels Sabathia.  Guessing that’s the only time I’m gonna ever write that.

Royals 7, Rangers 4: The last time we saw Vin Mazzaro throw a pitch that counted he was in the process of giving up fourteen runs to the Indians in what was probably the worst single-game performance by a pitcer in baseball history. Last night: surprisingly repectable: he gave up three runs in five innings, which isn’t bad against that Ranger lineup.

Diamondbacks 5, Dodgers 1: Weird: Andre Ethier started in center, which is something he has never done. Chad Billingsley continues to struggle. The Dodgers’ five-game winning streak ends.

Rockies 5, Giants 4: The Rockies blew a 4-1 lead in the eighth inning, but Marco Scutaro’s ninth inning homer broke the 4-4 tie.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.

 

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.