Seattle Mariners v Texas Rangers

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Mariners 21, Rangers 8: Look, we can point to Justin Smoak driving in a half dozen runs, Jesus Montero nearly hitting for the cycle or any number of other things as being the cause of this bloodbath. But the fact is, Derek Holland shaved his mustache the other day, and there is likely a causal link there.

Rockies 13, Astros 5: Carlos Gonzalez hit homers in the 5th, sixth and 8th innings. He’s 10 for 16 with five home runs in his past four games.

Pirates 2, Reds 1: A.J. Burnett didn’t allow any earned runs over seven innings. Aroldis Chapman didn’t pitch in this game. Based on how his last week or so has gone, I’m going to assume he was unavailable because he was either running from Interpol, involved in a long con involving a phony off-track betting parlor or was compelled to participate in some underground Russian roulette ring in Saigon by circumstance and his own mental scars.

Braves 10, Cardinals 7: Freddy Freeman got his new sports glasses yesterday. And then, in his first at bat since his eye problems got intolerable, hit hit a home run. He added a double and finished with three RBI. Ze goggles! Zay do zomething!

Marlins 5, Nationals 3: Johnson beats Wang. Wang didn’t go long in this one, but he allowed no home runs, so no one was hard on him. In other news: “That’s OK, I brought an erector set.” “Throw a towel over it!” “Do some pushups Pablo, Maybe it will go away!” If you get that — and if you’re anyone other than Old Gator — kudos.

Blue Jays 4, Orioles 1: The O’s lose their fifth straight after giving up four solo homers to the Jays. But bad news for T.O.: Brandon Morrow left the game early after getting plunked on the shin by a line drive. Just a contusion, and he should make his next start.

White Sox 4, Rays 3: The winning streak is now at eight, this despite losing starting pitcher Jose Quintana via ejection and the whole Hawk Harrelson freakout and everything. The Rays have lost 9 of 13 at home. Joe Maddon: “We’re not really playing a high level of baseball right now,” Maddon said. “Too many mistakes on the field.”  As opposed to too many mistakes at the golf course or in the Matrix or wherever.

Cubs 8, Padres 6: Darwin Barney had a two-run walkoff homer. After the game he said “That was the first walk-off home run I’ve had at any level, I didn’t even see it go out.” Maybe it didn’t happen then? Maybe … Barney doesn’t himself believe in Darwin!  In other news, my Padres tickets probably just got another buck cheaper.

Phillies 10, Mets 6: The Phillies win, but since Lee went six and since they scored nine of their ten runs in the seventh inning and beyond, he doesn’t get the win. I guess chemistry didn’t help the back end of the Mets bullpen.

Red Sox 6, Tigers 4: David Ortiz and Will Middlebrooks each hit two-run homers and Kevin Youkilis had a solo shot. Miguel Cabrera went 4 for 5 with three doubles in a losing cause. The Red Sox have won 14 of 19. Tigers fans are the most dour bunch on the planet right now. And now that their division deficit is 5.5 games, ugh, maybe they should be.

Twins 4, Athletics 0: Oakland stinks on ice right now. Letting Francisco Liriano — who had been one of the worst starters in all of baseball so far this year — shut you out on three hits over six innings is damn nigh inexcusable. Josh Willingham homered and drove in three. He has to be serious trade bait at the deadline, right?

Royals 6, Indians 3: Kansas City finished May 15-13. It was their first winning May in 12 years. Cleveland has lost five of six.

Diamondbacks 4, Giants 1: Tim Lincecum pitched better than he has but Ian Kennedy pitched better than Tim Lincecum, allowing one run in seven and two-thirds. Paul Goldschmidt has had only 13 at bats against Lincecum but already has four home runs off him, the most of any player.

Brewers 6, Dodgers 3: One Matt Kemp injury was survivable for the Dodgers. But, uh oh, here’s another. Well, the same one re-aggravated. “It feels worse than the first time,” Kemp said. Not good.

Yankees 6, Angels 5: New York avoids the sweep and LAA sees its winning streak end. The Yankees blew a four run lead first, but it was all OK in the end. Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson homered.

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.

Report: Dexter Fowler will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after lining out during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.

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Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.

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Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.

Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.

Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.