Chicago White Sox  v Tampa Bay Rays

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


White Sox 2, Rays 1: Chris Sale: 15Ks and three hits in seven and a third. Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer.

Red Sox 7, Tigers 4Jim Leyland said that we saw what we saw and should write what we saw, so let’s do that: The Red Sox’ second inning rally never should have happened but did because with two outs, the umpire said that Mike Aviles hit a foul tip that the catcher didn’t catch. Except replays showed it was a clean swing and miss that was caught. So, per Jim Leyland’s instructions, let us have some sort of robot/cyborg/android umpires now. That aside, Doug Fister did get beat up a bit, which serves him right for me having the parody song “Hey Doug Fister” in my head all weekend. It wasn’t his fault, but it makes wish I had actual Train songs in my head.

Indians 8, Royals 5: Jose Lopez and Jason Kipnis combined for five RBI, which is exactly how we expected the middle of the Indians order to roll this season.

Cubs 11, Padres 7: The Cubs’ losing streak finally ends with an offensive ‘aslposin. Three RBI a piece for Starlin Castro, Alfonso Soriano and Ian Stewart. Big winds blowing out helped the teams combine for eight home runs. Chase Headley had two of ’em.

Rockies 9, Astros 7; Rockies 7, Astros 6: Wandy Rodriguez had been pitching really well. I guess all good things must come to an end, because he got tattooed in the early game of the twin bill (5 IP, 10H, 7 R, 4 ER). In the late game, Dexter Fowler tripled home Michael Cuddyer in the 10th. Fourteen pitchers were used between the teams in the nightcap.

Giants 4, Diamondbacks 2: Barry Zito, seven innings, seven hits two earned runs. Gregor Blanco doubled twice. It was Kirk Gibson’s 55th birthday yesterday. On Sunday it as Siouxsie Sioux’s 55th birthday. Why I knew both of those things is a mystery to me too.

Pirates 4, Reds 1: James McDonald pitched eight five-hit shutout innings. How the Pirates are at .500 with their cruddy offense is beyond me, but there they are.

Twins 5, Athletics 4: Justin Morneau drove in a couple, Joe Mauer went two for three and scored twice and Matt Capps got a save despite being greeted into the game by a chorus of boos. Just like the season was supposed to go.

Marlins 5, Nationals 3: Logan  Morrison and Giancarlo Stanton homered, Carlos Zambrano pitched six strong innings and Heath Bell got a 1-2-3 save. Just like the season was supposed to go.

Phillies 8, Mets 4: Ty Wigginton drove in six and Cole Hamles won his eighth.

Cardinals 8, Braves 2: Lance Lynn also won his eighth. Matt Adams drove in three. And the Braves will apparently never win a game again. They have fallen all the way from first to last place in a little more than a week.

Rangers 4, Mariners 2: Mike Napoli with a three-run homer and Matt Harrison with eight strong innings.

Blue Jays 6, Orioles 2Drew Hutchison struck out nine in seven shutout innings and the Jays snapped their losing streak. the Orioles have lost three in a row and six of eight. For all the drama in the AL East this year, it’s still anyone’s division.

Brewers 3, Dodgers 2: The game was interesting, but to me the most interesting part was hearing Vin Scully explain how home plate umpire Brian Gorman’s father — also an umpire — was buried in full umpire regalia with a ball-strike counter in his hand, set to 3-2. I’m sure that’s not proprietary information, but I’m also sure that only Vin Scully is gonna talk about that stuff during a game. And it’s awesome. Oh, and Jerry Hairston is hitting .394/.474/.530 in 66 plate appearances. The most useful bench dude in the majors this year?

Angels 9, Yankees 8: Picked a wrong morning to have to wake up for an early as hell flight, because it meant I didn’t stay up to watch Mark Trumbo hit a walkoff homer to end this wild one. The Angels blew a three-run lead and suffered the early loss of Jered Weaver to win their seventh straight. Perseverance? I think so. And definitely a team turning things around.

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.

Yadier Molina’s new backup: Cardinals sign Brayan Pena to two-year deal

Brayan Pena Reds
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Veteran catcher Brayan Pena has agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract with the Cardinals, who’re investing much more than usual in their backup for Yadier Molina.

After bouncing around for a decade without getting even 250 plate appearances in a season Pena signed with the Reds and topped 350 plate appearances in both 2014 and 2015. His production didn’t improve any, as Pena hit .263 with five homers and a .652 OPS in 223 games as a regular.

Pena’s best skill is rarely striking out, which enables him to hit for a decent batting average, but he has very little power and swings at everything. He struggled to control the running game this season at age 33, but has a decent throw-out rate for his career.

Making a multi-year commitment to Pena suggests the Cardinals are no longer counting on Molina being the same type of workhorse behind the plate, which certainly makes sense given his age and injury history. Pena will replace Tony Cruz, who’s been Molina’s understudy since 2011 while hitting just .220 with five homers and a .572 OPS in 259 games.

While we wait for free agent signings: Andrew McCutchen stars in a one-act play

Andrew McCutchen
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It’s a pretty slow offseason so far. We’ve had a couple of minor signings. I guess Jordan Zimmermann is sort of a big deal. But it’s a lot more quiet so far this year than it was this time last year. I suppose there’s no real rhyme nor reason for it. Baseball offseason is long, there is no salary cap and thus there’s no rush to do things too quickly.

So, while we wait, here’s Andrew McCutchen doing his best to kill time until spring training starts:

Red Sox sign outfielder Chris Young

Chris Young Getty

Veteran outfielder Chris Young thrived in a platoon role for the Yankees this past season and now he’s headed to the rival Red Sox to fill a similar role, signing a multi-year deal with Boston according to Ken Rosenthal of

Young was once an everyday center fielder for the Diamondbacks, making the All-Star team in 2010 at age 26, but for the past 3-4 years he’s gotten 300-350 plate appearances in a part-time role facing mostly left-handed pitching. He hit .252 with 14 homers and a .773 OPS for the Yankees, but prior to that failed to top a .700 OPS in 2013 or 2014.

Given the Red Sox’s outfield depth–Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Brock Holt even with Hanley Ramirez back in the infield–Young is unlikely to work his way into everyday playing time at age 32, but he should get another 300 or so plate appearances while also providing a veteran fallback option. And it’s possible his arrival clears the way for a trade.