Max Scherzer

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights


If I missed something important in one of these it’s because I was less plugged-in than usual yesterday. My daughter Mookie had her dance recital. Both ballet and jazz, which required me to sit through two (2)  separate shows. I kid you not: four hours of sitting in an auditorium to watch eight minutes of my eight year-old daughter dancing. But hey, to make up for it I paid over $1,500 for dance tuition in the past year, plus tickets to both shows at $25 a pop, plus costumes and everything else. I swear, I can’t dance a lick, but I’m tempted to open up a ballet studio, because it’s a license to print money.

Of course, even if it’s not always pretty, I do it anyway because my girl is precious and cute and even as I bitch like crazy about how much I’m gouged for this kind of thing, I still have to fight back proud tears when she does her thing and then hug her tightly and never let go when she’s done.  Let no one doubt my commitment to Sparkle Motion.  Anyway:

Tigers 4, Pirates 3: Max Scherzer struck out 15 in seven innings. See, that’s what he does: gets totally killed for a few starts and then pulls something like this from where the sun don’t shine. His stuff is such that, if everything breaks right one year, he’ll put together some crazy Cy Young season. But in the meantime, erraticville.

Brewers 16, Twins 4: Jonathan Lucroy hit cleanup, homered twice and drove in seven. After the game he said he was comfortable as a cleanup hitter. The Brewers should bat everyone fourth, really.

Red Sox 5, Phillies 1: Josh Beckett continues to not poison the Red Sox with his horrible attitude and personal worthlessness. Shocking. I almost feel like someone was peddling a b.s. narrative in the wake of that tempest in a Boston teapot non-story a couple weeks ago.  Seven and two-thirds of one-run ball for Beckett. A three-run homer for Saltalamacchia.

Athletics 6, Giants 2: Tim Lincecum’s disaster season continues unabated. Beat by Bartolo Colon after giving up four runs in four innings and ending it with an ugly collision while covering the plate on his own wild pitch. Where is Timmy’s mojo?

Mariners 6, Rockies 4: The ninth inning was shaky, but the M’s held on to sweep the Rockies. Jesus Montero and Justin Smoak hit back-to-back homers, Blake Beavan struck out seven.

White Sox 6, Cubs 0: And the South Siders own Chicago for now, sweeping the Cubs. Jake Peavy threw six and a third shutout innings. Adam Dunn hit a homer. Peavy and Dunn. After last year, who knew?

Diamondbacks 2, Royals 0: I called Brandon Beachy “the best pitcher you’ve never heard of” the other day. How about Wade Miley?  After seven shutout innings he’s 5-1 with a 2.14 ERA.

Braves 2, Rays 0: Tim Hudson outduels David Price. His sinker was working and he wore out the infield carpet with 14 groundball outs. I never thought I’d think of Tim Hudson as crafty, but he was crafty. The Braves have won 7 of 10.

Rangers 6, Astros 1: Colby Lewis scoffs at the DH. In addition to allowing one run over eight innings, he went 2 for 4 with an RBI single. Texas scored five in the first inning, ending this one before it really began.

Nationals 9, Orioles 3: More DH-disrespecting: Stephen Strasburg struck out eight in five innings and went 2 for 2 with a homer. He left the game early with tightness in his biceps. Bicepts. Anyone miss Bicepts? He’s bugging me on Twitter to let him back in the comments. Said he would only comment in ATH and wouldn’t wade into other threads. I’m kinda skeptical, but you guys can offer your views. It’s not a democracy. I’m gonna make up my own mind on this, but your thoughts are welcome.

Mets 6, Blue Jays 5: Mike Baxter singled, doubled, tripled and drove in a run. Ain’t gonna lie: before this game, if you put Mike Baxter in a lineup I wouldn’t have been able to pick him out. I’d be all like, “I can put you in Queens on the night of the hijacking.” And he’d be like “Really? I live in Queens. Did you put that together yourself, Einstein? What, do you got a team of monkeys working around the clock on this?”

Reds 5, Yankees 2: The Yankees have lost five of six and Aroldis Chapman is now the Reds’ closer, which means he’s further ensconced in the bullpen what with the fancy label and all.  Gosh, there are days I wake up and think I don’t understand baseball anymore.

Padres 3, Angels 2: Clayton Richard pinch hit and was running the bases when he scored the winning run in the 13th, but that’s OK because Howie Kendrick was playing left field. No one was doing what they were supposed to do. Least of all the Padres, who were taking two of three from the Angels.

Marlins 5, Indians 3: Josh Johnson allowed one run over seven. Everyone who bought high on Derek Lowe following that shutout he threw last week saw him pitch well but still got the loss. Hey, he’s Derek Lowe, you can only ask so much.

Dodgers 6, Cardinals 5: I’m supposed to be a professional baseball writer with a national focus and I had no idea that Andy Van Slyke’s kid was in the bigs? God, sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t get out of bed in the morning. Scott Andyson (see what I did there?) hit a pinch-hit three-run homer in the seventh to snatch victory from what, for much of the evening, looked like the jaws of defeat for the Dodgers.

Report: Around 20 teams have contacted the Braves about Shelby Miller

AP Photo/John Bazemore
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The rebuilding Braves have already been active on the trade market and they might not be done, as CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that right-hander Shelby Miller has been a very popular name. In fact, around 20 teams have checked in.

Nothing is considered close and the Braves have set a very high asking price, mostly centered around offense. They asked for right-hander Luis Severino in talks with the Yankees and would expect outfielder Marcell Ozuna among other pieces from the Marlins. The Diamondbacks and Giants are among the other interested clubs.

Miller is under team control through 2018, so there’s not necessarily a sense of urgency to move him, but anything is possible with the way the Braves are doing things right now. The 25-year-old is coming off a year where he went 6-17, but that was about really rotten luck more than anything else, as he had a fine 3.02 ERA and 171/73 K/BB ratio over 205 1/3 innings. The Braves gave him the worst run support of any starter in the majors.

Mets expected to tender a contract to Jenrry Mejia

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 12:  Jenrry Mejia #58 of the New York Mets reacts as he walks off the field after getting the final out of the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on July 12, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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Jenrry Mejia appeared in just seven games this past season due to a pair of suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs, but Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Mets are expected to tender him a contract for 2016.

While the Mets were vocal about their disappointment in Mejia’s actions, it makes sense to keep him around as an option. Had he played a full season in 2015, he would have earned $2.595 million. He’s arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and figures to receive a contract similar to his 2015 figure, but he’ll only be paid for the games he plays. He still has 100 games to serve on his second PED suspension, which means that he’ll only be paid for 62 games in 2016. This likely puts his salary closer to $1 million, which is a small price to pay for someone who could prove useful during the second half and beyond. He also won’t count toward the team’s 40-man roster until he’s active.

Mejia, who turned 26 in October, owns a 3.68 ERA in the majors and saved 28 games for the Mets in 2014. He’s currently pitching as a starter in the Dominican Winter League.

Braves and Jim Johnson reunite on a one-year contract

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 17: Jim Johnson #53 of the Atlanta Braves throws a ninth inning pitch against the Chicago Cubs at Turner Field on July 17, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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UPDATE: The deal is official. Bowman adds that Johnson will make $2.5 million in 2016.

6:11 p.m. ET: Jim Johnson enjoyed some success out of the Braves’ bullpen in 2015 until a midseason trade to the Dodgers and Mark Bowman of reports that he has returned to Atlanta on a one-year contract. No word yet on the terms involved.

After an awful 2014 between the Athletics and Tigers, Johnson signed a one-year deal with the Braves last winter and bounced back to the tune of a 2.25 ERA and 33/14 K/BB ratio over 48 innings. He also saved nine games. However, things went south for him after a trade to the Dodgers in late July, as he put up an ugly 10.13 ERA in 23 appearances. He was left off the team’s roster for the NLDS against the Mets.

It’s unclear what role the Braves have in mind for Johnson, as Arodys Vizcaino finished the season as the closer, but they have made upgrading their bullpen a priority this winter.

Report: Barry Bonds under consideration to be the Marlins hitting coach

Barry Bonds

This shouldn’t cause any controversy, lead to a lot of people saying dumb things or provide fodder for jokes at all. Nope, none whatsoever:

In what promises to be a bombshell move, if executed, all-time great slugger Barry Bonds is under consideration to become Marlins hitting coach.

Team higherups have quietly been discussing this possibility for weeks.

That’s Jon Heyman, who reminds us that Bonds has worked with the Giants in the spring in recent years. And who, no matter what else you can say about him, was one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. Also worth remembering that despite his controversial past, that greatness came not just from physical gifts, naturally or artificially bestowed. It came from his approach, preparation and strategy at the plate. No one can teach a hitter to hit like Barry Bonds, but you’d think that hitters could be taught to try to approach an at bat the way Barry Bonds would. And who better to do it than Barry Bonds?

That is, if Bonds is willing to drop his seemingly ideal retired life in San Francisco, move to Miami and work for Jeff Loria for nine months a year. Which, eh, who knows? But the possibility of it is pretty fascinating to think about.