And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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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.

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

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To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.