Atlanta Braves v Colorado Rockies

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Rockies 6, Diamondbacks 1: I took my bike out for a spin for the first time in a while last evening. It was a nice ride on a nice night. At least apart from the crazy, over-the-handlebars wreck I got into at the corner of Alpath and Johnston Road. There were no apparent injuries at the time — not even a scrape — and I got up and rode away before anyone saw me. But as I went to bed last night my ankle became very grouchy and it hurts like the dickens this morning. It’s basically telling me “stick to the treadmill, old man.”  Meanwhile, a nearly 50 year-old man in Colorado pitched effective ball into the seventh inning and drove in two by hauling ass down to first on an infield single. Sigh.

Rangers 4, Athletics 1: I watched a lot of this and I can offer you my expert opinion: Yu Darvish is pretty good. He moves his record up to 6-1 after seven and two-thirds innings of one-run ball.  Bonus: at one point during the game the Rangers announcers had an extended conversation about the rapper B.o.B., which is something I didn’t need to hear.

Indians 9, Mariners 3: It’s not often you see a line like this from Felix Hernandez: 3.2 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 6 ER, 3 BB and only three strikeouts. Eric Wedge after the game: “Felix just had an off-day. He’s human. I think sometimes we forget about that.” It’s easy to forget that, actually. Normally it takes only twenty, thirty questions, cross-referenced, to figure that out. With Hernandez it took 100. Wait … he doesn’t know, does he!

Marlins 8, Braves 4: Miami stays hot, notching their 12th win in 15 games in the month of May. Mike Minor has another ugly start for the Braves. Freddi Gonzalez gave him a vote of confidence after the game, but I see Gwinnett in his future.

Reds 6, Mets 3: Todd Frazier hit two homers. The second off of D.J. Carrasco, who got released right after the game. A heckuva couple of nights for Carrasco.

Astros 8, Brewers 3:  Carlos Lee drove in three and Bud Norris pitched seven strong. The Astros — who were supposed to be historically bad — and the Brewers — who were supposed to contend — have the same 16-21 record.

Blue Jays 8, Yankees 1: Hiroki Kuroda was shellacked and Kyle Drabek … wasn’t. Homers from Edwin Encarnacio, Jose Bautista, Kelly Johnson and J.C. Arencibia.

Nationals 7, Pirates 4: Adam LaRoche had a double a homer and four driven in. Gio Gonzalez struck out ten in seven innings. Four runs is something of an offensive outburst for the Pirates lately.

Phillies 9, Cubs 2: It was tied up heading into the eighth and then Philly scored seven runs in the last two innings. Hector Luna hit a grand slam and Carlos Ruiz hit a homer of his own. Meanwhile, Placido Polanco left the game in the seventh with a knee contusion. Because the Phillies need more injured infielders. The Phillies are at .500.

Twins 11, Tigers 7: Is it time to press the panic button yet?  Kinda feels like it. As was prophesied in the spring, horrible defense — every member of the Tigers infield committed an error — made Rick Porcello’s night harder than it needed to be, which is saying something given that he kinda stunk anyway. Oh, and Austin Jackson left with an injury, and he’s been hitting better than just about anyone on that squad.

Rays 2, Red Sox 1: There was a scary moment when Will Rhymes passed out after taking first base upon being hit by a pitch on the forearm in the bottom of the eighth.  As Marc Topkin reports, when he came-to, the medical staff asked him what his name was and he said “Batman.” Granted, Batman didn’t even pass out when the leader of the Mutants nearly killed him in “Dark Knight Returns,” so no fastball is gonna give him trouble, but we’ll give Rhymes credit for pluck.

Padres 4, Dodgers 2: Chase Headley homered, doubled and drove in three. If was his fifth homer of the year. Last year he hit only four.

Orioles 4, Royals 3: 0 for 6 while stranding a bunch of runners through the first 14 innings? No worries, Adam Jones hit a homer in the 15th to lift the O’s to victory in a mini-marathon. I say mini, because they had that 17 inning game against the Red Sox less than two weeks ago. I guess it’s their thing.

Cardinals 4, Giants 1: David Freese hit a go-ahead solo home run in the seventh and Skip Shumaker pinch hit in the eighth and delivered with a two-run double. Jaime Garcia struck out nine.

Angels 7, White Sox 2: More signs of life from Albert Pujols. Three hits on Tuesday and a three run homer in this one. And a study in contrasts: Jerome Williams allowed ten hits and only two runs. Gavin Floyd allowed ten hits and seven runs.


Michael Brantley’s timetable off shoulder surgery is “hazy”

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Paul Hoynes at the Cleveland Plain Dealer has an in-depth look at how the Indians will manage their outfield during the early part of the 2016 season, in the absence of star Michael Brantley.

Brantley underwent labrum surgery on his right shoulder this past November and has not picked up a bat all winter. “In the off-season people know I love to hit,” Brantley acknowledged to Hoynes late last week. ”I hit a lot. It’s just been a change in my timetable.”

Hoynes says the projected date for Brantley’s 2016 debut is “hazy,” guessing that it might happen around late April or early May if everything continues to go smoothly. Shoulders can be tricky, for hitters and pitchers.

Rajai Davis, Abraham Almonte, and Lonnie Chisenhall figure to make up Cleveland’s primary starting outfield while Brantley is finishing his rehabilitation. Collin Cowgill and Joey Butler could also be in the mix. It’s a lacking group, tasked with replacing one of the most productive players in baseball.

Brantley, 28, has slashed .319/.382/.494 over the last two seasons, tallying 35 home runs, 90 doubles, 181 RBI, and 38 stolen bases in 293 games.

Could the talented Tribe be in for another slow start?

Shouldn’t this club be spending more money?

Jose Bautista had a courtside view of Saturday night’s epic NBA Slam Dunk Contest

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Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic put on a tremendous show in Saturday night’s NBA Slam Dunk Contest up in Toronto, Canada. The stars were out to see it at the Air Canada Centre, and Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista had one of the very best views in the house. Check out this video he posted to Instagram of LaVine’s final dunk, a between-the-legs jam from just inside the free throw line …

Its a wrap!!! #BackToBack #SlamDunk #Champion @zachlavine8 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽

A video posted by Jose Bautista (@joeybats19) on

That is Toronto’s very own Drake going wild in the pink jacket. Gordon probably had the best individual dunk of the night, though, if we’re being really real …

Back to your regularly scheduled baseball programming. Pitchers and catchers report Friday.

Cubs expected to host an All-Star Game in the near future

A general view of Wrigley Field and the newly renovated bleachers during the second inning of a baseball game between the the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds Thursday, June 11, 2015,  in Chicago. Chicago won 6-3. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
AP Photo/Paul Beaty
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The 2016-18 All-Star Games are spoken for, but the Cubs could play host not long thereafter according to commissioner Rob Manfred, Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reports.

The Padres are hosting at Petco Park this year, the Marlins will host at Marlins Park next season, and the Nationals will host in 2018 at Nationals Park. That will make four consecutive National League hosts and five if the Cubs get it in 2019. In the past, the National and American Leagues have alternated hosting privileges. That is sort of important now since the league that wins the All-Star Game gets home field advantage in the World Series.

The Cubs last hosted the All-Star Game in 1990 and have hosted a total of three times (1962 and 1947 being the other years) since its inception in 1933.

Wrigley Field has been undergoing renovations which are expected to be completed by the 2019 season. Manfred said that the Cubs hosting the All-Star Game “will provide the Cubs and Ricketts family a chance to showcase the unbelievable renovation they are in the midst of doing for Wrigley field.”

Update: Here’s a table showing the last time each team hosted the All-Star Game.

Team Park Last Hosted Yrs Since Notes
Dodgers Dodger Stadum 1980 35
Nationals Olympic Stadium (Expos) 1982 33 2018 host
Athletics Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum 1987 28
Cubs Wrigley Field 1990 25
Blue Jays SkyDome 1991 24
Padres Jack Murphy Stadium 1992 23 2016 host
Orioles Oriole Park at Camden Yards 1993 22
Rangers The Ballpark in Arlington 1995 20
Phillies Veterans Stadium 1996 19
Indians Jacobs Field 1997 18
Rockies Coors Field 1998 17
Red Sox Fenway Park 1999 16
Braves Turner Field 2000 15
Mariners Safeco Field 2001 14
Brewers Miller Park 2002 13
White Sox U.S. Cellular Field 2003 12
Astros Minute Maid Park 2004 11
Tigers Comerica Park 2005 10
Pirates PNC Park 2006 9
Giants AT&T Park 2007 8
Yankees Yankee Stadium 2008 7
Cardinals Busch Stadium 2009 6
Angels Angels Stadium of Anaheim 2010 5
D’Backs Chase Field 2011 4
Royals Kauffman Stadium 2012 3
Mets Citi Field 2013 2
Twins Target Field 2014 1
Reds Great American Ball Park 2015 0
Marlins Never Hosted 2017 host
Rays Never Hosted

Kyle Hendricks and Adam Warren will compete for No. 5 spot in Cubs’ rotation

Chicago Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks throws during the first inning of Game 3 of the National League baseball championship series against the New York Mets Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
AP Photo/David J. Phillip
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Expect Kyle Hendricks and Adam Warren to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Cubs’ starting rotation this spring, writes Gordon Wittenmyer for the Chicago Sun-Times. Clayton Richard could serve as a fallback option as well.

Hendricks, 26, pitched well in his first full season in 2015. He finished with a 3.95 ERA and a 167/43 K/BB ratio over 180 innings. That was a solid follow-up to his rookie campaign in 2014, when he posted a 2.46 ERA over 13 starts.

The Cubs acquired Warren, 28, from the Yankees in the Starlin Castro trade. He contributed both out of the rotation and the bullpen in the Bronx this past season, pitching 131 1/3 innings with a 3.29 ERA and a 104/39 K/BB ratio.

One through four, the Cubs’ rotation is solid with defending National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Jason Hammel.