Max Scherzer

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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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.

Cubs, Jake Arrieta avoid arbitration at $10.7 million

Jake Arrieta
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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The Associated Press is reporting that the Cubs and starter Jake Arrieta have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $10.7 million salary for the 2016 season. That marks the highest salary on a one-year deal for a pitcher with four years of service, the AP notes. Arrieta and the Cubs were set to go before an independent arbitrator but now can simply focus on the season ahead.

Arrieta, 29, is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He had filed for $13 million while the Cubs countered at $7.5 million. The $5.5 million gap was the largest among players who did not come to terms with their respective teams by the January deadline. The $10.7 million salary is $450,000 above the midpoint between the two submitted figures.

Arrieta won the National League Cy Young Award for his performance this past season, narrowly edging out Zack Greinke, then with the Dodgers. Arrieta led the majors with 22 wins, four complete games, and three shutouts. With that, he compiled a 1.77 ERA and a 236/48 K/BB ratio across 229 innings.

Once a top prospect in the Orioles’ minor league system, Arrieta struggled in the majors but found immediate success with the Cubs in 2013 after the O’s traded him along with Pedro Strop in exchange for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.

Giants sign Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal

Los Angeles Angels third baseman Conor Gillaspie is unable to hold on to the ball after catching a grounder hit by Kansas City Royals' Lorenzo Cain in the fourth inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
AP Photo/Colin E. Braley
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Per Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, the Giants have signed infielder Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal. Gillaspie was selected by the Giants in the supplemental round of the 2008 draft, then was traded to the White Sox in February 2013.

Gillaspie, 28, hit a meager .228/.269/.359 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 253 plate appearances between the White Sox and Angels during the 2015 season. Almost all of his playing time has come at third base but he can also play first base if needed.

The Giants, thin on depth, will allow Gillaspie to audition in spring training for a spot on the 25-man roster.

Joe Nathan plans to pitch in 2016

Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joe Nathan throws against the Chicago White Sox in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Detroit Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
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Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that free agent reliever Joe Nathan, recovering from Tommy John surgery, plans to pitch in 2016 according to his agent Dave Pepe. According to Pepe, Nathan’s workouts are “going well” and the right-hander is “definitely planning on playing this year.”

Nathan, 41, got the final out on Opening Day (April 6) against the Twins before going on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right elbow, causing him to miss the next 161 games. He will likely be able to contribute out of the bullpen in late May or early June if he has no setbacks. On a minor league deal or incentive-laden major league deal, Nathan could make for a low-risk gamble.

Over a 15-season career that dates back to 1999 (he did not pitch in the majors in 2001 or 2010), Nathan has 377 saves with a 2.89 ERA and a 967/340 K/BB ratio over 917 innings.

The Rays are considering reliever Tyler Clippard

New York Mets pitcher Tyler Clippard throws during the eighth inning of Game 4 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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On Thursday, we learned that the Diamondbacks were still considering free agent reliever Tyler Clippard. You can add the Rays to the list as well, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

The Rays traded lefty reliever Jake McGee to the Rockies in exchange for outfielder Corey Dickerson in late January, so Clippard would be able to slot right in behind closer Brad Boxberger. Clippard, 30, compiled a 2.92 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 31 walks over 71 innings in a season split between the Athletics and Mets. The strikeout rate was at its lowest since the right-hander become a full-time reliever in 2009, and his walk rate was at its highest since 2010, which may be a factor in his still being a free agent in February.