Livan Hernandez

Brewers just barely pretending that Livan Hernandez is still a pitcher

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There’s a long story about all the things Livan Hernandez brings to the Brewers in today’s Journal-Sentinel.

There’s an extended bit about how he’s jovial and well-liked and can help hitters figure out how pitchers pitch them and stuff. Normally such a person is called a coach, but that’s OK.  But really, Doug Melvin, tell us about Livan’s pitching prowess:

“He’s a veteran guy who can take the ball,” said general manager Doug Melvin. “He can take the abuse if he has to on certain nights, but we also think he can get people out. He gives you a little bit different look for our bullpen, too.”

Parsing:

He’s a veteran guy: “That’s a factual statement. I would technically be lying if I claimed Hernandez to be a rookie.”

Who can take the ball: “He is not insubordinate and has at least one hand.”

He can take the abuse if he has to on certain nights: “On other nights he can’t take the inevitable abuse he will receive. Really, it’s about coping for him.”

But we also think he can get people out: “It’s a bonus if he does the one job the pitcher is supposed to do. Gravy, really.”

He gives you a little bit different look for our bullpen, too: “Indeed, we haven’t had anyone with his distinct look since we sent Bob Wickman away in the Richie Sexson deal.”

After the interview, Melvin found the media relations guy and fined him $50 for making him actually answer questions about the value a castoff mopup man brings to the team.

Dusty Baker on struggling Jonathan Papelbon: “He doesn’t look very good.”

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 24:  Jonathan Papelbon #58 of the Washington Nationals looks on after coming out in the ninth inning during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 24, 2016 in Washington, DC.  The Padres won 10-6.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
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The Nationals lost a heartbreaker on Tuesday night, as the Indians overcame a two-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Nationals 7-6. Closer Jonathan Papelbon faced five batters but was unable to record an out, yielding a leadoff walk, a double, a bunt that ended up very successful due to a Ryan Zimmerman throwing error, an intentional walk, and a single. Oliver Perez came in and eventually allowed one of his inherited runners to score, saddling Papelbon with the loss.

Papelbon also served up four runs in the outing before Tuesday’s, on Saturday against the Padres. The two clubs entered the top of the ninth tied 6-6, but a walk followed by three two-out singles and a bases-clearing double off of Papelbon allowed the Padres to take a 10-6 lead.

On the season, Papelbon is 19-for-22 in save chances with a 4.18 ERA and a 30/12 K/BB ratio in 32 1/3 innings. If the season were to end today, the right-hander’s 21.4 percent strikeout rate would be the lowest mark of his career and his 8.6 percent walk rate would be his highest mark since 2010.

Manager Dusty Baker didn’t indicate that he’s going to make a change at closer, but he sounded dissatisfied with Papelbon’s performance thus far. Via Mark Zuckerberg of MASN, Baker said, “He doesn’t have his command, which is evident when you walk the leadoff hitter. But it’s like, what do you say? How does he look? Right now he doesn’t look like Pap. He doesn’t look very good. Usually he doesn’t walk people like that.”

The non-waiver trade deadline is on Monday, August 1. The Nationals, at 58-42, still have a four-game lead over the Marlins and a 4.5-game lead over the Mets. Tuesday’s loss has motivated the club to attempt to upgrade the bullpen, Jon Morosi reports. The Nationals were in the mix for Aroldis Chapman before the Yankees sent him to the Cubs. Perhaps Andrew Miller could be next on the Nats’ wish list.

Blue Jays trade Drew Storen to the Mariners for Joaquin Benoit

TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 29: Drew Storen #45 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the eleventh inning during MLB game action against the Boston Red Sox on May 29, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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The Blue Jays announced on Tuesday night that the club traded reliever Drew Storen and some cash to the Mariners in exchange for reliever Joaquin Benoit.

Storen, 28, was designated for assignment by the Jays on Sunday after posting a 6.21 ERA with a 32/10 K/BB ratio in 33 1/3 innings. The Jays acquired him during the offseason from the Nationals in exchange for Ben Revere and a player to be named later.

Benoit, 38, struggled as well, putting up a 5.18 ERA with a 28/15 K/BB ratio in 24 1/3 innings with the Mariners.