Detroit Tigers v Pittsburgh Pirates

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Pirates 5, Phillies 4: All of you who predicted that A.J. Burnett was going to rattle off eight straight wins at some point this year, please cut it out because you’re lying. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go piss off a bunch of Yankees fans by suggesting that Brian Cashman should trade for Burnett to shore up the depleted pitching staff.

Rangers 7, Athletics 6: Because you want to play an almost four-hour nine-inning game in steamy hot Arlington, Texas, the ten pitchers these teams trotted out there combined to throw 345 pitches.

Rockies 11, Nationals 10: This one was probably fun for no one either. The Rockies jumped out to a 7-0 lead, totally squandered it when Josh Outman couldn’t live up to his name, then finally pulled it out on a Marco Scutaro RBI single in the 11th. Jim Tracy said after the game “we made it a lot harder on ourselves than we needed to.” That describes most of the 19 years of Colorado Rockies baseball, no?

Padres 7, Astros 3: Kind of a wild one. Andrew Cashner had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning but left that inning poised to be the loser. Then San Diego rallied for six runs in the ninth, capped by an Alexi Amarista grand slam.

Diamondbacks 3, Braves 2: Trevor Bauer made his big league debut, but wasn’t efficient and didn’t figure in the decision. Chris Young hit a ninth inning homer to win it.

Tigers 5, Rays 2: Four straight losses for the Rays. Weird stat line: James Shields allowed 14 hits, but still pitched seven and two-thirds innings. How often do pitchers who get knocked around like that go almost eight?

Angels 9, Blue Jays 7: The Jays loaded the bases against Ernesto Frieri in the ninth, but he slipped out of it. Two run homers each for Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo. We’ve been calling their numbers all year.

White Sox 4, Yankees 3: Any team can have a closer blow a two-run lead in the ninth, but it takes a special team to have three relievers more or less combine to do it. Cody Eppley and Clay Rapada each put a runner on base in the ninth — Rapada thanks to his own throwing error which should have resulted in a double play — and then David Robertson gave up a three-run homer to Dayan Viciedo.

Indians 7, Orioles 2: The Tribe snap a five-game losing streak. How did they do it? Likely some sort of Faustian bargain. How else to explain a Johnny Damon three-run home run off a lefty?

Giants 5, Reds 0: Madison Bumgarner: one-hitter complete game. That’s four straight shutouts for San Francisco pitching. Eventually, I presume, a team will score a run against the Giants. I’m just not sure when.

Mariners 1, Red Sox 0: Wow, another awesome pitching performance out west. Living in the eastern time zone sucks, dudes. I saw the ugly games last night and missed the gems. Felix Hernandez: CG SHO 13K.

Mets 3, Dodgers 2: L.A. is reeling, but hey, at least they ended their 33-inning scoreless streak. David Wright hit a solo homer and RBI double. Fifth straight loss for the Dodgers.

If Brett Anderson hits better this year, thank Josh Donaldson

Los Angeles Dodgers' Brett Anderson ducks away from a pitch from Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher David Holmberg on a bunt attempt during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Associated Press
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Or, at the very least, thank his bat.

Brett Anderson, who hit a meaty .085/.173/.106 last season, just got his first 2016 bat delivery, it seems. He posted a pic of the shiny lumber on Twitter a few minutes ago, with a message to his former teammate, the reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson, whose “JD” initials signifying whose model number it is are plainly visible on the barrel:

 

If Anderson breaks out offensively this year — say, he pushes that OBP over .200 — I may reconsider my “DH in the National League now” argument and merely suggest that pitchers get better bats.

In other news, whose bat was Zack Greinke using last year? And did he leave any behind at Camelback Ranch? Might be worth looking.

Diamondbacks working on a deal with Tyler Clippard

at Citi Field on July 28, 2015 in Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
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Last week Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart revealed that he was interested in signing free agent reliever Tyler Clippard and now Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the two sides have “made progress toward a deal.”

Piecoro notes that by trading Aaron Hill and his remaining contract to the Brewers the Diamondbacks created a bit of payroll flexibility that they could use to sign Clippard.

Clippard has a long history of excellent work as both a setup man and closer, but his raw stuff and secondary numbers have declined even though his ERA remained very good at 2.92 last season for the A’s and Mets. His strikeout rate dipped to a career-low 8.1 per nine innings, which is drop of about 25 percent from 2009-2014.

Two elite Cuban players defect

cuba hat
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Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com just reported that Yulieski Gurriel & Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who are brothers, reportedly defected and will be seeking MLB deals. There aren’t any details yet, but Sanchez will be updating with a full story that we’ll link here when he has it. UPDATE: Here it is.

Yulieski is a 31-year old third baseman and, according to Baseball America’s Ben Badler he was the No. 1 player remaining in Cuba. He was one of the Cuban players who was permitted to play in Japan recently, and he just put up a .305/.349/.536 season with 11 homers in 62 games for the Yokohama Bay Stars and has continued to rake in Cuba. He is likely major league ready right this instant. He’d be an unrestricted free agent given his age and team’s signing him would not be subject to international bonus pool limits.

Lourdes is only 22 years old. He’s hit .269/.355/.414 in 1036 Serie Nacional plate appearances and Badler thinks he has 20-homer potential in the majors one day. He’s currently a shortstop, but is probably destined for a corner. He is young enough to where he would be subject to bonus pool limits. Several teams have already exceeded those limits for the current signing period, limiting the number of teams who could sign him. If, however, it takes MLB a long time to clear him as a free agent — and with immigration issues and the like, that’s very possible — he may not be eligible to be signed until next year, which could bring some other teams into the fold.

 

Indians close to signing ex-Nationals reliever Craig Stammen

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Right-hander Craig Stammen, who spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Nationals, is expected to sign with the Indians.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Indians “hope to finalize a deal” with Stammen today, adding veteran depth to the bullpen. It’ll likely be a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Stammen missed nearly all of last season following elbow surgery and the Nationals non-tendered him, but he’s scheduled to be ready for spring training. After struggling as a starter early in his career he’s posted a 3.02 ERA in 280 innings out of the bullpen, so if healthy it’d be a nice addition for Cleveland.