April

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Angels/Giants 22, Tigers/Braves 0: So, I’m a Braves fan and my girlfriend is a Tigers fans and each of our teams got the crap beat out of them last night. So we agreed that baseball sucks and decided to watch downloaded “Parks and Recreation” episodes instead. Good call, yes? I mean, Mike Trout and Buster Posey are good, but they’re not as good as Aubrey Plaza representing the moon in a model U.N.

Reds 4, Diamondbacks 0: We don’t know any Diamondbacks fans or else we would have let them watch TV with us too. I mean, if your team got shutout last night, you probably should have been watching different TV instead.

Rays 4, Indians 2: Matt Moore labored — he threw 90 pitches and walked five dudes in five innings, but the bullpen bailed him out and the Indians failed to capitalize.

Nationals 5, Mets 4: The Mets bullpen can do it all. If you need them to blow leads in the ninth inning: they got you covered. Tenth? Hey, they can do that for you too. They can give up RBI singles and triples. They can throw wild pitches with the bases loaded. Really, there’s no job too small for the New York relief corps

White Sox 7, Red Sox 5: Three run home run for Kevin Youkilis in Fenway. Drops mic, walks off stage.

Yankees 6, Blue Jays 1: CC Sabathia returns and pitches six shutout innings. So, all that happened with the big man gone was that the Yankees built the biggest lead in all of baseball and they got their ace rested some for late in the season.

Brewers 3, Cardinals 2: The stars were dropping like flies. Lance Berkman was ejected, Ryan Braun and Matt Holliday left due to injures.  K-Rod, taking over for John Axford, got the shaky save.

Marlins 9, Cubs 5: The Ozzie returns to Chicago. This was fun: Cubs fans booed him during a pitching change in the eighth inning. So Guillen pointed toward his ring finger, telling the Wrigley faithful that unlike the Cubbies, he has a World Series ring. God, I love Ozzie sometimes. Carlos Lee had a grand slam in a five-run fifth inning for the Fish.

Mariners 9, Royals 6: Ryan Verdugo didn’t scare anyone. He was lit up for six runs on eight hits in an inning and two-thirds in his major league debut. I mean, Vin Mazzaro came in and mopped up for the guy. And he’s sort of like a harbinger of death.

Phillies 3, Dodgers 2: Halladay returns. He only went five innings and didn’t figure in the decision, but he struck out six. It took five relievers to go the final four innings, but dadgummit, they held on.

Padres 8, Astros 2: Yonder Alonso had a homer and drove in three. Alexi Amarista and Cameron Maybin each had three hits. The Padres have been scoring a lot of runs lately. Weird.

Rangers 6, Athletics 1: Roy Oswalt vs. Bartolo Colon. Nice matchup if it were, say, 2005. But Oswalt did look like his old self, allowing one run in six and a third innings in the win.

Twins 6, Orioles 4: Three hits and an RBI for Joe Mauer, as the Twins knock off the fading Orioles. Zach Britton walked six guys. The Orioles got lucky with starting pitching in the early part of the season. Now it’s freefall city.

Pirates 6, Rockies 2: Andrew McCutchen homered. The Pirates notch their 50th win. I still don’t buy them as winning the central, but I think they can do better than 31-41 the rest of the way and get that sub-.500 monkey off their back.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.

 

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.com 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.